Crying a river…

Hello Lovelies!

This weekend was crazy and long, but good. I was dead tired when I got home from work. I left for work at 9:30am Saturday and didn’t roll into my driveway until 1:36am Sunday morning..yeah..that’s late for this kid. I said a quick prayer before I went to sleep that God would wake me up in time for church. I can’t explain how much I am in love and loving my church right now. It’s unfathomable. I’ve been doing a poor job of sharing my faith on my blog, and I’d like to rectify that. If it offends you..don’t read my blog :)

So…I woke up at 9:26. Church starts at ten..it was tempting to roll back over but I resisted and I’m glad I did.

The last six to eight weeks have been full of a lot of tears. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we never went through valleys as Christians? What if our lives were always on an even keel, or better yet, high up on the mountain slopes?

We’ve been studying the book of 1 Peter at church and in our connect groups. Wouldn’t you know this week we’re in chapter 4 and guess what we’re talking about? Suffering. Yep, those trials and fiery ordeals.

12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”[a] 19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

As we dug into the chapter this week, I was reminded that part of being a Christian is going through suffering. But it’s not a bad thing..it’s something God uses to draw us closer to him and to make us stronger. When I think of fire, I often think of destruction, ashes, and char. But it can be brilliant! Fire makes glass turn into amazing works of art. It makes metal stronger. It welds ships together. It cleans out impurities.

We can’t stand on the top of the mountain all the time. Valleys are just a part of our journey. I sat in church yesterday thinking about how many valleys I’ve already walked through in my young life…it’s been a lot. But as I thought about them, I realized that I wouldn’t change my journey. Each of those experiences allowed me to minister to others down the road, made me stronger, and allowed me to praise and glorify God.

And I realized something so important this week. I’ve always struggled with the idea of praising God during a time of suffering. So often I want to be so angry with Him and ask Him – Why God? Why me? But as I re-read these verses, I realized it’s not IF but WHEN His glory is revealed. Suffering is all about glorifying God. It’s not about glorifying Kat for being a trooper and surviving it. It’s about watching what the Lord does through a rough situation.

When I was in high school, my grandfather was diagnosed with stage 4 liver, kidney and colon cancer. I was so angry. I was angry at my parents for not telling us. At the time, we were in a third world country so coming home to America to see Pop wasn’t an option. God endured my anger for many months. It wasn’t until I came home and talked with Pop-Pop that my heart changed. During our talk, he told me something so powerful that I still gives me chills to this day. He said: “I’m going to glorify God through cancer.” I was broken. If he could glorify God through something so painful and horrible..certainly I could glorify Him during the good times. The doctors gave him three months to live, but Jesus gave us five more years. During that time, he showed Jesus to every doctor, nurse, and therapist he had. He showed it to his buddies at the golf course, his hair dresser, and anyone he met. Other cancer patients became believers because of my grandpa’s walk through cancer and his suffering.

Was God’s glory revealed? Totally! During his funeral, over four hundred people showed up to celebrate his life. My grandpa’s influence and reach is still felt to this day.

It doesn’t mean that those valleys we walk through will be easy…but God’s right there beside us.

I’ve often wondered why God wouldn’t answer me. I was going through a really rough time in my life while my grandfather was ill. I was taking care of my brother and sister full time, cleaning the house, and cooking three meals a day, plus doing my own school work while my mom helped care for him.

I remember one afternoon, as I sat by his bedside I asked him why God wasn’t talking to me and why he felt so far away. He said: “Darling, he’s holding you so tight in his arms right now. Sometimes he speaks to us in still small voices. Maybe it’s time you stop yelling at God and listen.” Wow…my grandfather was a wise man :)

So, this week I’ll be listening!

Pray with me as I pray for healing for my family, restoration of my parent’s marriage, and the strength to walk by faith and not by sight.

XoXo,

One Quiet Lemon

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Sometimes it’s okay to be a mess…

“Do not worry about what other people think of you. The work I am doing in you is hidden at first. But eventually blossoms will burst forth, and abundant fruit will be borne.” ~ Jesus Calling

This season of my life hurts…and hurts bad. I’ve been quiet about it, but as I’ve learned (yet again) that I have to talk about things or else they stay bottled up inside.

I’ve been living on my own since December. It’s been amazing…but for the first time in my whole life I don’t have to deal with my family 24/7. I can come home, unwind and breath. But I have a lot of time to think, which is challenging. There are a lot of things about my family that the world doesn’t know. Things I’ve grown up and dealt with for over 20 years. For longest time, I thought all families were like that.

In April, my parents split up. On one hand, I’m happy for my mom. But it’s really hard. I felt caught between the middle of a war. I’ve prayed for years that God would heal my family. I was tired of the lies. Tired of hearing people say they love my dad and I have the best parents in the world. When behind the doors of our home, life was another story.

They’ve since filed for divorce….that’s not something that you are prepared to deal with at 27….or at any time in your life I feel like.

There are no rules, no explanations, just things that happen. The house you grew up in being sold. The splitting up of family heirlooms. The awkwardness of trying to figure out which parent to spend what holiday with. The constant battle of trying not to appear as if you’ve chosen a parent. The pain of having to deal with 20 years of bottled up emotions, anger, grief, brokenness.

I’ve cried so much in the past four weeks, I don’t think I can cry anymore. I made a decision recently and I’ve really begun to question whether I made the right decision or whether I’ve screwed up the best thing I’ve ever known.

Matt and I started dating in January and it was a whirlwind. It scared me to death how perfect it was in the beginning. Then life began happening and I began to slowly freakout. Instead of being honest with Matt about it, I didn’t tell him what was bothering me. He’s so sweet and loves me like crazy and I wasn’t sure how to handle that.

But then the drama with my parents started, and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. The more Matt tried to be there for me, the more I felt smothered and I did what I always do. I pushed him away.

I always do that. It’s a side effect of moving 24 times in 18 years. We never stayed in once place long enough to make friends. Eventually, it was just easier not to make any than to have to lose them when we moved. Anytime anyone got close, I would just push them away. It happens when people have hurt you your whole life. Good people..people who claim to love you…and care about you..only to stab you and your family in the back.

So I learned to push them away. I built up walls to protect my heart.

It’s been three weeks since I sat down with Matt and talked to him about some concerns I was having. I felt like my life was spiraling out of control. We decided to take a break. I told him that I thought everything with my mom and dad was playing into our relationship and that I needed some time to work on me and deal with that. Time to heal, time to breathe, time to go see my doctor. He agreed to a break and I was relieved.

Being a mess isn’t pretty, it’s not something I like to let people see. It’s not something I’ve shared with someone before. But lately, I’ve realized that I want him here by my side as I walk through this.

A week after we had that conversation, Matt came over to my house and told me he wanted to break up. He asked me if that was what I wanted and it was and it wasn’t. But I thought if it was what he really wanted, then I guess we should. So I said it was fine. (Yes, I know..I need to say what’s in my mind. I’m horribly guilty of saying I’m fine, when I’m not.)

But I was devastated. I literally fell onto the floor after he walked out of the door and cried for hours. I feel like someone has ripped my heart out of my chest.

I’m really not sure that we/I made the right decision. I know we have things in our relationship that we need to work on. What relationship doesn’t? I take responsibility for my part. I need to be honest with Matt.

These three weeks without him have been hell. I miss him so much I ache. I cry myself to sleep at night because I miss him. It’s never been like this before. I’ve never been in love with anyone. That night Matt asked me if I loved him, and I told him I didn’t know. Because I honestly didn’t know. But now, I do. I love his goofy Batman shirts, the way he always brings me flowers, the shoulder massages after a long day, and the fact that I can talk to him about anything. I love how hard he works, I love his family. The first time I ever met them, I was scared to death. But they instantly welcomed me into their home, hugged me (weird because we don’t do that in my family, but I secretly love it!), and let me help in the kitchen. I felt like I fit in with them, and that was a big deal for me.

I love the way Matt protects me, the way he can look at me and know something is up, the way he cherishes me, and holds my hand. The way he brings me coffee before we head to church. I just love him. I love that he leaves notes for me with his pyramid of XoXo’s.

And now I’m afraid that I’ve pushed the one thing I truly love away. I’ve had this delusion that if a guy truly loved me, he would fight for me. It was hard for me to fathom that Matt would give up on me/us after only a week.

I can’t fix me in a week. I need time to heal. I’ve had a lot to process with my family and work has been beyond stressful.

So I don’t know what to do. I don’t know whether to talk to Matt and tell him how I feel or just let him be.

He seems to be fine. He’s playing in a band and living life…and I’m sitting here on my couch, wearing glasses, hair in a messy bun, wishing I could stop crying and sniffling.

Yes, I am a mess. But you know what….sometimes it’s okay to be a mess.

XoXo,

One Teary Eyed, Confused Lemon

Life is Beautiful

Life-Is-Beautiful

Hi Lovelies :)

This week God has constantly been reminding me how worthy I am of His love. For so long, I’ve felt broken and ugly..How could He want something so broken? He reminded me. Because I AM WORTHY. Worthy! I don’t often feel like I am..but as I continue to work my way through our Bible Study, I see assurances. He showed me in Psalm 139 that I am worthy….I am fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of a Father whose love NEVER changes. He cares for me, loves me, and I can always depend on his truth and not this roller coaster of feelings life throws me.

Last year was a roller coaster for me. I bought a house, remodeled a house, coached too much, stretched myself thin, struggled desperately in my first semester of graduate school, and wondered why no one loved me. I felt worthless. Rejected. Discarded.

As I battled through those fickle feelings, God was constantly drawing me closer to Him. You are beautiful my darling, He said. You are captivating, He whispered. How my heart longed to be those things. As I dug back into His word, I realized how I had failed to invest time into my relationship with Him. I had been going to church and reading my Bible, but somewhere in the chaos of my life…I had lost those still quiet moments with my Father.

The amazing thing…no matter how far I run, how little I invest, my Father stands there waiting with open arms when I need to run back to Him. Broken relationships can break a woman. I had been holding so tightly onto my heart for fear it would get broken again. Trust me, He whispered.

Tears filled my eyes. Never would my heavenly Father disappoint me. I slowly opened my hands and gave him the thing I treasure the most, my heart.

I had lost the girl I used to be. The one who loved Jesus with her every breath. The world holds no hope for me. The evil that seeps from it threatened to destroy me. I let go of all the hurt, anxiety, the layers of regret, the shame and embraced His love and the healing began.

I am worthy. I am beautiful. I am captivating. I am His.

There is power in the word of the Lord. He took my chaos and turned it into peace. He took my broken heart and made it new. He blessed me with the most amazing gift of all, His love.

I had one more thing clutched tightly in my hand..the reigns to my love story. But I was tired. Tired of looking for this fabled love. Tired. I turned back to my Father and said here, take these. I released the control that I had so tightly held for the last year.

I’ve often joked with my mom that I wished God would just drop a guy in my life and say, Hey Kat…here he is. I don’t know why I’m so surprised that He did just that. This new chapter in my life is amazing :)

All of those hopes, dreams and wishes I had been quietly recording in my journal for years are coming true. I can’t begin to tell you what a blessing having MB in my life is. I am amazed everyday at the beauty of his heart and his sweet smile. He reminds me so very often of how amazing I am. I am, I’ve realized, amazing. For the first time in my life, I’m embracing the beauty of what makes me…me. I should be amazing, I’m created in the image of a the most beautiful thing in the world, my heavenly Father. I thank Him daily for this six-foot five heap of blessing He’s brought into my life. I’m amazed at how intent MB is on pursuing my heart. He reminded me again last night that he’s not done with my heart to sit back and enjoy the journey.

This weekend we enter the next phase of our story. He’s meeting with my dad and praying for his blessing to pursue me. In another week, I meet his mom. I am constantly praying that I will be as much of a blessing to this man as he is to me. I am nervous to meet his mom! But so thankful she raised her son into this wonderful man of God. I couldn’t ask for anything more :)

Life is beautiful!

XoXo,

One Worthy Lemon

Thirty Days of Thankful

Hi Lovelies!

So much to catch you up on! I’m working on some blog posts about my trip to New York :) I did so much and learned so much it’s taking longer than expected.

But this month I decided to challenge myself. Thirty Days of Thankful! Often I’m so busy that I forget to be thankful for the little things in life. Today as I was hurriedly eating my sandwich on the way to the bank on my lunch break…a memory from my childhood surfaced. It’s one I don’t like to think about, but had a huge impact on me.

When I was about 6 years old, we came to visit my grandparents for two weeks. We lived in Oregon at the time so spending time with them was rare as they lived all the way across the USA in South Carolina. While we were there, my dad’s niece invited me to come spend the night with her daughters. We were born three days apart and we trouble with a capital T whenever we were together. I had never been allowed to go to their house before. We had always spent the night at their grandma’s house as their mom was usually working. So to spend the night at their house was a treat!

I’ll never forget that night though. When we pulled into their yard I remember thinking where is the swing set? Why aren’t there any toys? I had brought my teddy bear (I seldom left home without him, he even has his own Delta wings!) and I couldn’t help but hug him tighter. Their house was nothing like mine. No tv, hardly any toys and it was dirty. We played outside for a few hours and then she tucked us into bed.

We woke up the next morning long before their mom. I was hungry..I’m like a starving baby bear at breakfast (still am!). We traipsed into the kitchen and my heart plummeted. They offered me the last of their orange juice which along with a spoiled gallon of milk was the ONLY thing in their fridge. Quite a shock for a kid whose fridge was never empty… I asked for some water and when they opened to cabinets to find some thing to eat..there wasn’t anything. I played it off and said I wasn’t really hungry. I remember praying that my dad would come soon. Thankfully, my dad showed up about thirty minutes later. What did he do? Loaded all of us up in the car, took us down the road and fed us breakfast. After breakfast, we spent the day fishing before taking them to their grandma’s house. I didn’t say much all day or anything on the ride home. I remember getting back to my grandma’s house, climbing onto my mom’s lap and bursting into tears. It hurt my heart to know I had so much and others had so little.

As I ate my sandwich today, I thought long and hard about that memory. How many kids will go hungry this holiday season? How many kids go hungry in my community every year? How many lunches do I eat out paying more than anyone should for a chicken sandwich? My appetite lost, I placed my remaining half of a turkey sandwich in my lunchbox and pulled into the grocery store parking lot. I grabbed two canvas bags out of my truck and headed into the store. I loaded them up with all kinds of canned goodies. Yams, soups, peas, corn, green beans, stuffing, cranberry sauce..anything I could think of that a family might need for a Thanksgiving meal.

On day 6, I’m thankful for parents who did without so that we wouldn’t go hungry. For food on the table (yes, even those nasty brussel sprouts), and the opportunity to feed some kids in my community. Tonight, I’ll drop the food off on my way home and know that somewhere..someone will be able to eat :)

64% of the kids in the 20 counties that surround me will go hungry this week.

So I ask this of you! Next week, instead of eating out one day, donate that $6-$10 to a local soup kitchen or take those canned goods you really aren’t going to eat to a donation drop off.

Love,

One Humble Lemon

 

If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?

James 2:16