4/25/18

unsettled truth

It's overcast & drizzly
the weather uncertain what it wants
Likewise my heart
Uncertain plans
Uncertain feelings
Uncertain life
Unsettled
The yellow truck whizzes by
a bit of happy in a grayish world
& my soul stretches out its arms
seeking rest & peace
A gentle reminder
just when I need it
God's got this!
Truth words given by a dear friend
who understands this unsettled way of being
The rain continues
pouring out of the sky
bringing crispness
& clarity?
Weakness is strength
Contradictory
Yet True
OUR weakness
HIS strength
& when can't He work mightily
when I'M out of the way?
Letting go
Prying my fingers
(joint by joint)
off of my life
Owning that I'm not capable
(of anything)
Yet HE is strength
& Peace
& Calm
especially in the midst of rain
He sends the yellow trucks
& the happy laughter behind me
& every tiny reminder that
He
Has
It
All
Under
Control
(no matter what it looks or feels like)
It can feel all willy-nilly
but it's not
It never is with Him
Ever
Remember that

kara
4.23.18

4/17/18

kindred spirits

I just walked into my usual room at the library and as soon as I sat down, I noticed the person sitting across from me. It's a Quiet Room so we weren't allowed to chat, but we instantly recognized each other and he mouthed that it'd been a long time. And it has! It's actually been a few months since we've run into each other here. For a period of time a few months ago, we met often in this room. Never actually talking, but always acknowledging and smiling. It's felt like a strange but awesome "friendship". Like we actually know each other, when we really don't.

Seeing him again tonight made my mind spin with thoughts (naturally :). The extent of our interaction has only ever been seeing the other and acknowledging their existence in the realm of the Quiet Room. We've never arrived or left at the same time, we've never seen each other anywhere else, we don't know anything about the other at all, we've only just spent an hour or two at most in this same room at the same time. Isn't it funny these little connections we humans can have? Because, like I said, we've never even really talked, yet when we saw each other tonight it was an instant acknowledgment from both of us that "Hey! I know that person!" :)

Doesn't that mean something to us? I do believe we were created to seek connections with our fellow humans and, crazy as it may sound, even a small connection such as this one can make one feel less alone in the world. If that makes sense?

It's like that Anne of Green Gables quote that I love: "Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world."

What's the definition of a kindred spirit anyway? According to google, it's "a person whose interests or attitudes are similar to one's own." So doesn't that mean that someone can be a kindred spirit just because you both happen to love the library and spending time there working on projects?

Jumping off of that definition and into the deeper end of things, that really must mean that we have a lot of kindred spirits in the world! I mean, isn't that a comforting thought? That it doesn't take a huge amount of effort on anybody's part, it simply takes being around one another in some capacity and finding a connection. Even a small, teeny, tiny connection such as the Quiet Room.

And when we find it, don't we tend to look forward to it then? I remember when this person and I were seeing each other on a fairly regular basis, I did look forward to it. Mainly by wondering if we'd run into each other again that day or not. And it's just a really pleasant thing to have a smiling face welcoming you somewhere, even somewhere as comforting as the library is for me.

I think that's all any single one of us wants. Isn't it? To feel welcome? To feel happy? To feel like someone else sees us? Even if only for a moment of time?

It matters, is what I'm saying.

We thrive when we have connections. So here's my challenge to myself, enjoy them! Treasure them! And search them out. Small ones can be just as joyful and happy as the deeper ones we have with our lifelong friends.

Don't you think so too?

2/11/18

brought near


When disappointment tangles
along shallow reasoning
& my heart feels adrift with "but..."
I am gently reminded
to seek Gratitude
Then shame rings loud
causing my heart to shrivel
& twist at such selfish hopes
So I curve my fingers
round warmth, cinnamony & sweet
Seeking rest
& redemption
from my own questionable motives
The enemy presses hard
persistence his game
But what he forgot?
The tenacity of Jesus!
Who reaches down
into my momentary sad
& makes glad my heart that's His
Yes, He is mine
But even greater...
I am His!
& His are never forsaken
(especially in moments of shame)
What can't I give up?
What can't I surrender?
When the Ever Faithful has Given
relentlessly in pursuit
of ME
of my heart
of my selfish motives
that can but turn to sacrifice
in comparison to HIS sacrifice
Heart pursued
Heart won
Gratitude melts my emotions
spilling over cheekbones
& nose
Sacrifice
Surrender
Hope
& ultimately
LOVE
that knows no bounds
& hears my smallest whisper
of thank you

kara
2.6.18

1/23/18

do it afraid

"Sometimes fear does not subside and one must choose to do it afraid."
~ Elisabeth Elliot

I think I'm finally accepting of this fact. Because that? That right up there is a true statement. A scary statement to be sure! But a true one.

Back when I was barely twenty-one and decided to move all the way across the country to California (again), I was fearless! I was ready for the grand, new adventure! I was certain it would be exciting and amazing and everything awesome....and I was right. I'm sure I had some fears, but they were of the normal, garden variety. You know, the wondering if I'd find a more permanent place to live than where I was starting out, the wondering if I would find a more permanent job than where I was starting out, the wondering if it would be as exciting as I anticipated or even more so? Nowhere in my thought processes do I remember wondering if God knew what He was doing. At no point do I recall ever really feeling scared. Ah, the fearlessness of youth!

But now I'm an adult. Now I'm a lot closer to 40 than I am to 30. (How wild is that?!) Now when I anticipate making a HUGE CHANGE to my life, there's a lot more fear involved!

Why is that?

At what point did I lose my fearless sense of adventure when contemplating change?

At what point did I begin listening to the enemy instead of my Father? Why do I tend to believe him over Him? (I know better than that.)

I don't know those answers. All I know is that somewhere along through my twenties, something changed inside of me. I felt it four years ago when I moved from California back to Virginia again. And I am definitely feeling it now when I'm anticipating a move to Thailand!

{Yes. You read that right. I am planning to move to Thailand in a few months. That is my Big Thing. (And trust me, it's huge!) But it'll only be for eight months or so! So it's a limited time adventure. But still a big adventure nonetheless!}

But back to fear. Or should I say un-courage. (Yes, I know that's not really a word. But I like it, so let's just go with it, shall we?) Or botheration! Whatever the word, I feel it. I have felt it all! (Well....maybe not all, but a whole lot of it!) That has been one of my biggest struggles in working through all the decision-making for Thailand. My own inability to just stop thinking so hard about it. I conjure up all manner of fear about this huge, new, adventure that I've never experienced before! And just when I conquer it in this corner of my heart, it springs up anew over there! I tell you, the enemy is seriously working overtime with this. He needs to STOP IT.

And yet, funnily enough I can find comfort even in that? Because if the enemy is working so hard, it must mean that God's got a really great plan in place for this new journey. A plan the enemy is out to stop at all costs. Only I'm not going to let him win this one! I'm determined to battle it out to the end! Because in grabbing my Brave and moving out, in spite of the fear, it's there God can work. It's there that amazing things can happen! It's there that I learn to let go of my self and let Him do it.

As one of my favorite author friends says, "Fear is just a flashlight to help you find your courage."

So I'm going to choose to do it afraid!

I'm probably going to quiver in my knees every single step. I guarantee there'll be some sweating anxiety in nuisance-y places. I'm certain my heart will be in my throat and it's gonna take an awfully long time for it to settle down again.

And yet...

I also know my Father will be with me every single step. (Last September, He gave me the most vivid and clear picture of His hand reaching down and holding mine. Proof that I won't be doing it alone! I won't be doing anything alone.) I know that where He's guiding (and He so clearly has been guiding this journey and not me! I'd've never imagined such a scenario actually happening in my wildest dreams.) will only lead me to places that will give growth and closer intimacy with Him. I know that it will be hard, but it will be worth it.

Because when God is involved? When Jesus steps out first and says all I have to do is simply follow Him? When the Holy Spirit continually gives scriptures to remind me that God's got this?

Why would I ever choose anything less?

KNOWING

Recently, my chiropractor and I were talking about the concept of just "knowing" when a person was the right one for you. He had only known his wife for two weeks when he was certain she was "the one". It's such an interesting concept to me, as someone who's single and had never felt that way about anyone. But I told him that I think, to a small degree anyway, that I finally understand that feeling.

You know my Big Thing? That Big Thing I've talked about before on here, many moons ago, but wasn't certain if I could overcome the fears to say yes to it? I finally said yes. Actually, I said YES! Because I get it now. I'd prayed for weeks that God would give me clarity regarding this decision. It was not something I wanted to flippantly decide and then regret later if it wasn't truly His Will for my life. And He answered! (Of course He did, He always does. :) Yet I had been struggling for weeks to reach that moment. And that single, undeniable moment happened when I suddenly realized that when I thought about this Big Thing, it was no longer "if" but "when". That moment I had a close friend sit down with me and begin asking all these questions she'd asked before and I'd been flip-floppy with my answers back then. Suddenly every single one of my answers came with no doubt inside at all. I was ready! I wanted to move forward and I finally wanted other people to know about it. So move forward I did! (And am still doing, currently.)

But it was that moment of knowing that I loved. That single, solid, no doubt, no fear, no questions, I just knew it was right. Finally. And I looked into my friend's eyes, where they were shining with pleasure for me that I'd reached this spot I'd been desiring for months, and my heart flipped upside down with fierce happy in that moment. For the record, I would have been fine (I think :) if His answer had been a solid NO! It was simply that I really, really wanted as much certainty as He would give me. I didn't want to feel wishy-washy about it, or flip-floppy about it. I wanted Certain! And Certain He gave.

So I get it now, friends. I'm sure my Know to go is probably a different sort from your Know to marry, but it's still a Know! A Know that I wanted so, so badly and about drove myself insane analyzing everything trying to get it. Yet, and isn't this so like our beloved Father, He simply waited for me to stop trying to think so hard and just rest. It wasn't until I rested and repeatedly told Him I'd trust Him to answer every time I began to swirl about in the head, that He gave me what I asked.

That was a powerful lesson that I hope I don't forget. Or if I do forget it that He'll patiently teach me again! How REST is so important. And trust.  I needed to stop trying so hard myself and just let Him work in His timetable. It wasn't easy, let me just say. But oh so worth it to finally reach that Know!

So if you're ever there, friends? If you're ever in a moment when a big decision is before you and you're trying to find certainty that God is leading you that direction and nothing else....can I just suggest perhaps some rest is needed? A conscious decision to stop all the thoughts and the wondering and the analyzing (because I can't be the only one who does that, right?), just simply stop and let Him prove it to you.

He will!

Oh my friend, how He will.

And when you're tempted to pick those thoughts right back up again, remind yourself that you're trusting God to make it clear and then let it go for the moment. If you're like me, then you might have to do this exercise 50 billion times a day, just so you know! But do it 50 billion and one if you have to. And set a time limit for this! Tell God that you'll stop for a certain period and when that time is up, you're going to ask Him again. Isn't that really a form of trust? He might tell you to keep resting for a week or three more, or perhaps a month, or even a year! But just keep revisiting it, and trusting that He. Will. Make. It. Clear.

And then you wait. And you pray. And time may sometimes seem to crawl during this period. Believe me, I know! But I am slooooooowly learning that in the waiting is where He does some of His best work. :)

So hold on, friend. You'll get there just like I did.

I know it.

10/31/17

:: old friends ::

There we were, a whole group of us. Sitting around a table of hot tea, delicious food, and delightful conversation. Though seemingly only one thread connected us, yet it may surprise you to know there's so much more. There's a knowing that comes from years. And experiences. A knowing of the heart that settles in.

No matter the time.
No matter the circumstances.
No matter the age differences.

Once connected in heart, always connected in heart.

The infinite beauty of an old friend.

We've chosen different jobs, different churches, different life experiences...

And yet...

The same God, the same Jesus, the same love, and the same friendship. Even the same laughter whenever we're together! So much more commonalities than would seem apparent.

It's the heart lessons here. It's joy we've experienced together, and it's the heartaches too. These ladies have simply always been there. I've moved far away, yet they never left me. I came back and there they were, arms wide open.

My constants.
My heart.
My dearest of friends.

We have hiked and road-tripped and toured...
We have sat hours talking and playing games...
We have journeyed life together...
And at the end of the day, we have LOVED.

It's a heart-full, loved-on, happy-inducing, smile-bright, imperfectly-perfect friendship, these ladies.

And through dating, marriages, inter-state moves, and all manner of changes... Every single step we've taken together has grown my heart three sizes.

There's just something about old friends!

For my heart that pulls elsewhere always knows,
no matter where it may be,
there's hearts waiting,
always at the ready,
to welcome and love
no matter what.

It's a glorious feeling like none other! And when life hits hard, and the pain gets crazy, my wild heart knows the place it can count on...

That's what these ladies are to me.
A comfortable place of rest that is sure.

HOME

kara
10.28.17

10/21/17

fighting fear

"Being brave and courageous isn’t the absence of fear, but as many have said, it’s the willingness to fight that fear head on. It wouldn’t be courageous if there wasn’t something a bit scary about it."
My friend Jamie wrote that in a post from last year. I was randomly skimming through some of her old blog posts for whatever reason and I read that and y'all....

Fear is so very real, isn't it? It's a BATTLE. Every single day! Maybe not everyone has the hard battle I do with it, but I feel fairly safe in saying we all battle it in some form or other. And man what a battle it is!

And now that I'm at a better place with my health, I have no excuse for just sitting idly and refusing to think about this Thing again. So naturally, that's when this incredible FEAR rises! Everything within me may be saying YES, but that fear says what about...what if...what are you doing?! And honestly? I have no idea what I'm doing. I have absolutely no idea where this will take me or what hard I may endure or what exciting stuff may happen. The only thing I do know? Is God has absolutely gotten me this far. I would NOT be here but for Him. I would definitely not be on this cliff edge, wondering if I should jump off into the unknown, but for Him.

Yes, it's scary. But as so many have said through the years, if it's scary that probably means you should do it! If it's scary, that probably means that the enemy is striving hard to keep you from it, because it likely means you could do him some serious damage if you do it! And how amazing would that be? To be a part of the bigger battle! To do some MAJOR damage to the enemy! To become broken and scared and wondering, yet step out anyway! Because God said DO IT and I did.

If He tells me to do it and I don't? Isn't that a MUCH scarier place to be? I think so!

I think maybe He's just waiting for me to LEAP and then He'll take care of the rest. He's waiting for me to prove I believe Him, that I trust Him, and so what if I fall? So what if I leap out and then it turns out maybe I don't actually do this Thing after all? Turning around after leaping out doesn't mean I was wrong. It doesn't mean I misheard Him. It simply means I had things to learn from the experience. It means those steps were necessary in order for the next steps after to be able to happen. For that next person that I might need to help, for that next experience to grow in my knowledge of Him, for the next example I can use to reach someone who is withering in the battle themselves!

For the simple fact that I chose to be obedient.

I've been waiting for the clear sign I've asked for. Didn't I receive it this past week? I'm pretty sure I did! So if that sign is there, how can I deny it?

There are unsettled days
When sense & logic are a tangle of knots
The heart is seeking elsewhere
& every thought is churning
In the question marks & unknowables
& all the unexplainable feelings
(which tumble & crash & loop-de-loop)
God's quiet relentlessness can break our walls
fill our hearts
& make possible embracing our uncertainty
It's there we surrender
& in our yielding, He is Grace
& Hope is brave again

kara
4.30.16

Going back to my own words to remind myself....

Hope is brave again