Work in progress…

As I sit here tonight struggling through another frustrating lupus flare – it’s like rolling the dice, you never know what combination its’s going to land on- extremely dehydrated, swollen, exhausted from iron deficiency, AND might as well throw in the feeling of a small ice pick stabbing me in the neck. That one’s always super fun. 😁  It never ceases to surprise me how quickly we can become conditioned or adapt to certain struggles or pain; it’s like the body’s way of coping and surviving. Usually when this happens we are actually getting stronger with each trial. It’s the same methodology used when working out. No pain no gain. It hurts now but you’ll thank me later when you have abs of steel. I wish I could say that’s what happens with chronic illness but unfortunately, body-wise, that has not been the case for me. My body feels beaten up, tired and worn down most days. Not to mention my abs are softer, my muscles are definitely less defined, and my time at the gym has diminished greatly. But that’s a totally other blog post. Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful for my daily walks with Chachi, monthly hikes and an occasional spin class. These are all major blessings considering there are days I am just fighting to be up and dressed. I really didn’t set out to talk about physical fitness woes or abs of steal (I’ve let that dream go for now).

What was really pressing in on me tonight was this immenseΒ feeling of hurt- and no I don’t mean the mini ice pick in my neck- It’s the kind of hurt that doesn’t even feel localized to your heart, it feels like its running through your veins. At first I thought it was because of my recent trek into the dating world (totally painful but in a more boohoo heartache kind of way) but now I’m starting to realize that pulsing, rushing pain is actually…supreme disspoinment. I always had this idea in my mind for so long of the woman I wanted to be and the life I needed to live to be that woman. I must be extremely successful and do something worthwhile with my life or else I am a dismal failure. And of course failure is beyond earth-shattering so that just can’t happen. Somehow this grand idea that pain and suffering is actually being beneficial and making me a better person was getting me through the last 5 years or so. Truth be told… I’m totally over that now. Β I can’t pretend I’m sitting here cultivating this extreme depth of character when really anything good or of worth that has ever been or will ever exist in me is solely reliant on Jesus. As much as I would like to take credit for some wisdom gained over the years, I truly know better. Sometimes I catch myself thinking and I’m just astounded at the ridiculousness of my ruminating thoughts and don’t even get me started on making decisions. That’s a whole other mess. At least I did decide to finally go back to school and get my degree. But still, I can’t quite get over myself…. How am I going to turn this into my grand, life-alrtering, successful adventure… I guess I’ll have to get back to you on that one.

It seems, quite possibly, that life may be about the day-to-day, moment- by-moment experiences, as opposedΒ to the 5 year plan I always employed. I will be totally up front with you, I love planning and I love lists and I hate flying by the seat of my pants, but somehow along the way I ended up here; never knowing how I’m going to feel or what I am going to be able to do each day. I have recently decided to look at my daily life as adventurous and unpredictable rather than scary and unreliable. It’s amazing how powerful our words are, especially what we say to ourselves. The Bible does remind us..”life and death is in the power of the tongue.”- Proverbs 18:12

So speak things that encourage life, not those negative things that break it down. I’m still very much a ‘work in progress’. As I’m sure is abundantly clear from this post and all my previous blatherings. The good thing is, there are two really good words in that phrase; Work and Progress. If you are feeling worn down, disappointed or even like a house ripped down to the studs, I encourage you to focus on those words. It may not make sense to you now but the One with the blueprints knows what He is doing; trust the True Builder. He specializes in full restorations. I’m counting on it.

“Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.”- Psalm 127:1

Love always,

Kristin

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Feelings are stupid….

I was just having a conversation yesterday with my mom about the difference between loving someone and being ‘In Love’. Β Is it just the element of romance or is it more than that? I’m not sure we came to a conclusion but one thing I do know, it’s impossible to have love without pain. I find it ironic that I specifically named my blog Love Always Kristin as a reminder to myself to not shut my feelings off but be more open to the element of love. I am really rethinking that right now. 😁
Then I thought, I should write a blog post about all of this, considering I do have some specific thoughts on it, but my heart is pretty tender right now and all I could think is, it would hurt way too much to go there. Not only do I not want to be feeling all these feelings that I’m feeling but do I really want to analyze them even more by writing about them?….I suppose since I’m willing to listen to the new Adele album on repeat (track 6 at the moment being my drug of choice) then I might as well admit it, I’m just a glutton for punishment….so let’s do this….
While I appreciate everyone’s thoughts on the matter of love, I think it boils down to this main thing: We’ve all been hurt by love and yet, we all need it. Most times this need out-ways the risk of pain associated with love and vulnerability. Eventually we will all give in. So that being said; there will always be the highs and lows of love, the butterflies and heartbreak, the ‘real thing’ and the ‘not-so real thing’. The worst part of it all in my opinion is, navigating through all of these unknown seas. What may look to be like safe waters can turn out to be the Bermuda Triangle. Once you’re there in the middle of it, it’s too late to turn back and you just have to hope to make it out alive. I guess that’s a little dramatic but I happen be in the middle of some pretty rough waters right now and most days I’m unsure if I’ll make it to the other side in tact or will I just wash up on shore in pieces.
Maybe not all love has that effect but for me, in this place, I feel completely broken apart; and the idea of being put back together seems insurmountable.

I’m sure there are plenty of good sailing days ahead for the majority of us but the truth is, there’s always going to be a storm and uncharted seas to go through at some point. Does that mean we should jump ship, find an island to be deserted on and give up on the whole love and feeling thing? Well, yes you could actually. I’ve known plenty of people who have. I even tried it for 14 years or so…it wasn’t as lonely as you might think. But, herein lies the problem….Inevitably someone will stumble upon your perfectly secluded island and then all of sudden you’re forced to feel, care, communicate, and love. Why? because thats what people do and that’s what we were meant to do.

Summed up: We weren’t meant to be alone. Yes, in some respects it is easier but is it really better? Can struggle produce strength? Can longing produce faith? Can pain produce joy? Is love really worth it?
My hope is that it is. Is there anything better than being fully known and fully loved for who you really are? No, nothing better.
My prayer is that one day we will all be made complete in this kind of love. And then, all the rest of this mess will just be history.

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Crazy Awesome Quiet Life

“…aspire to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands….so that you will walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.”- (1 Thessalonians‬ ‭4‬:‭11-12)

My friend Erica Dean recently sent me a blog post from Doctrine On Tap by Chris Lazo.
It’s titled, A Life of Radical Simplicity. Here is an excerpt:
The times my life is the most complicated, sometimes also happens to be the most lacking in true, heavenly power. And I wonder if there’s a correlation. I long for simple power. To not be dominated by my calendar, technology, bills, emails, and urgent-but-menial tasks. I’m guessing that for a lot of you, it’s the same. That would make simplicity a discipline that we must enter into and practice if we’re going to take seriously God’s Word. It won’t just happen. But the discipline we enter into is not some spiritual form of self-flagellation. It’s a pattern by which we subvert dangerous cultural norms that threaten to derail us from true peace of mind. It’s a discipline by which we experience and reflect God’s power in our lives regardless of the external pressures of our world. It’s a way of saying, breathing, and living a simple motto: my union with Christ is enough.

Man do I agree with this statement. I have experienced God’s presence more in these last 4 years of being at home on my ‘sick bed’, than I have in my whole lifetime walking with Jesus; as I worked in LA, went on mission trips, served in church, etc…
I think Lazo hit it on the head: Is our union with Christ enough? Five years ago I would have easily said yes, without even really knowing what being unified with Christ really felt like. I thought I knew; I experienced him in times of worship, maybe a zing or two through a good sermon…The real question I think now is, Are we availing ourselves to truly experience the overflow of Christ’s presence? I say overflow because the picture in my mind is an overflowing fountain that’s waters never dry up, they just keep coming fresh, flowing with ease.
Most of us carve out time on sundays to be in Gods presence at church, during a Bible study, or maybe we have our set time during morning devotionals. All of that is good and certainly produces fruit, but are we truly being transformed by being in His presence? Are you able to let go of the scheduled time with him and instead allow him access to your whole day? The truth is, God is ever- present… but are we? The so- called quiet life with God is not so quiet I can certainly attest to that.

When I first got knocked down with this strange neurological disease, I fought to hold on to my life with everything I had. Then round two came with pneumonia… then lupus. This time not so easy to hold on to that same life and with each year I watched more of it fall away. It hurt more than I could put into words. Like having a huge part of my soul ripped out. But therein lies the problem; I had given my life -what I created it to be- the biggest part of my soul. It became the driving force, the most important part of my waking hours, and at that point there becomes little room for transformation.

As the years went on I began to see life differtly. It was no longer filled with long term goals and grand ideas of success. It became a day; a class room almost; filled with 24 hours of possibility. What will I learn today? What new and creative ways will He reveal his love for me? How will He lead me to minister in His power today? Will it be at the grocery store? The doctors office…at a neighbors house? With each passing day I felt more and more stripped of myself… yet now I see how the more I lost what my life once was, the more I gained Christ. His indwelling presence was filling me up and there is nothing in this life that compares. A little of Him is most certainly not enough, trust me. Now, I am not saying whatever your doing scrap it so you can gain Christ. I hope you understand my heart on all of this, because that’s where it all really stems from. Where is your heart? What is filling it? What is driving your heart’s desires? Only you and God really know the answer to that question.
Is your hair standing up on end as God reveals His heart towards you with one word? Are you being moved out of your comfort zone to a place of free falling faith with Jesus leading the way? Are you eagerly anticipating being taught be God today? This is what He has for all of us. No matter what season of life we are in. Know that. Don’t wait until Sunday worship or morning devotional time to invite His presence. Do it anywhere. At all times. Be available to God. Allow for the quiet unknown…it just might blow your mind.

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Commitment Issues…

So I am finally doing it….For those of you who know me, this has been a long time coming. Starting a blog has been something I’ve wanted to do for quite a while. Unfortunately, having some Type-A, slightly OCD personality issues can get in the way of actually following through. I promise I won’t bore you with the details of my idiosyncrasies and minor character flaws. I just want to set the record strait before I begin this journey; I will most definitely have typos, misspelled words and improper grammar usage, my pictures aren’t professional and I may or may not drive you crazy with way to many pictures of my ridiculously adorable dog, Chachi. There, I feel better already.
First off, I do love to bake! I cook and eat gluten free and about 95% Paleo. πŸ˜‰ Most of the time I will try to make things as healthy as possible but without skimping on flavor. What’s the point of eating a treat if it doesn’t taste like a treat, right!?
I also love fashion, accessories and cosmetics but that’s not a huge surprise considering most women have a propensity for at least one of those things if not more. What I really love to do is find great fashion pieces or outfits at affordable prices. And since I do have a little obsession with CVS and Target I can definitely recommend some inexpensive products that are must haves!

Overall, what you can expect from me is a love and a passion for people. My heart’s desire is to be an encourager and to inspire others to do the same. I love Jesus with all my heart, and with that love, faith and trust in him, my life has been transformed. There are difficulties, struggle, and even sadness at times but I am daily encouraged by the Lord’s loving words and his constant pursuit of my heart. Nothing can ever separate us from the love of God…he will never leave us or forsake us!
There are many facets of me, as I’m sure is the case for you too. I am sure
as time goes by we will get to know each other better and better and that is what I am truly looking forward to. So without further ado….Welcome to my Blog! I hope you enjoy it.
P.S. Below is a picture of Chachi. I just couldn’t start this journey without including him, he is such a big part of my heart. πŸ’—
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