Embracing the Mess of My Before

I'm a mess. This Big Move and subsequent Big Change has felt like it's chewed me up and spit me out. There has been good in the past year, just so you know.

There's been great actually! And happy!

But inside? I'm still a jumbled up mess. Still confused where I'm headed. Still unsure where to place my next footstep. Feeling like there's a Plan (because I know God has one), but unable to see what it is yet. And frustrated because I think I should be knowing and stepping and feeling sure.

Don't compare! says everything I read. And that's true. I know it's not good to compare my life with someone else's, because they have different things they're going through than I. We've faced different situations and different choices.

But still.

Do you know how easy it is to do that? When I'm feeling stuck in a spot that I'm not enjoying? My heart cries out that there has to be more! There has to be so much more than just going through each day, working to make money so I can buy one more book or one more Starbucks Chai Tea (those things are good). When the people all around me seem to be headed in a direction (whatever it may be) and I'm still here treading water....

That moment is where it's really hard not to compare.

Still. I do know that I haven't seen all their Before. I'm just looking at their After. And the After always looks settled and figured out (probably because it usually is). I have to keep trusting that I'll have an After some day. ("You will," says future Kara. Meanwhile, present Kara is still hoping.)

So here am I. All up in a tizzy when there's people dying in other countries. (In my own country!) When I type that sentence.....when I think that sentence, I am reminded once again how blessed I am. And somebody else could be looking at my Before, thinking that it's my After, because their Before is much more sobering than mine.


See? This is why I write. Because getting my thoughts down in words allows me to see precisely what a "selfish creature" I can be. And how grateful I should be. Pardon me while I gather my selfishness, give it to Jesus, and determine to accept the mess I am so I can love others no matter what. Answers or no answers, God's got this.

Why am I so worried again?


"The joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold." Nehemiah 8:10amp

It is indeed. I'm reminded again and again, but it truly hit me the other day. Our adversary is weakened when I'm singing praise to Jesus! When I look around and can see the positive and the amazing things that God is doing (whether in my own personal life or in the life of a friend), my heart rejoices and the doubts and fears that satan threw at me disappear. When that happens, when I stop focusing on me and focus on Jesus, the weaker and smaller satan seems. And the bigger and stronger God is!

Recently, I had a hard day at work and I was pushing my way through the fog, trying to see Jesus' Light. It was very slow going. But then. But then! A close friend sent me a text about an awesome thing God had done in her family's life and that's all it took. Suddenly the Light was shining clear and bright and the fog was gone. I only needed the reminder of where to look--UP! Not around.

Isn't God just amazing like that? :) He uses the simplest and smallest things to show His mightiest power. All I could do was sing loudly in my car as I drove home and let His joy make everything better. It didn't fix my own problems, I still had to deal with them. But I could deal with them with a brighter and shinier heart again. And sometimes? That's all I need to get me dancing again.


Just Breathe

{So I started this post a great while ago and left it unfinished. After reading Jamie's post (and attempting a completely different answer to her question "Where are you with God right now?" which I could not seem to write), I was inspired to finish writing this and share it as my answer instead. And.....um....this is a brave moment of mine, just so you know. Pressing that publish button isn't always as easy as one may think.}
Have you ever been there? Where life is full and chaotic and every single moment is filled with crazy? Where you feel like you can barely take a breath? And then...

And then!

A moment happens. A person you love, a person who understands, a person who simply "gets you" arrives right smack dab in the middle of the crazy and....


Just by them being there, it's like you can take the biggest breath again

I tend to be pretty introverted by nature and alone time is incredibly important to me. But I have learned that there is absolutely nothing like that moment when someone jumps in the middle of the frayed ends of my life and ties me back together. What makes it even better is when they have no idea that they're doing it! A God-moment if ever there was one.

In the midst of the fear, the joy, the insecurity, the certainty and the uncertainty, the happiness and the unhappiness, and the chaos of my thoughts that tend to swing around and around and around, I have been incredibly blessed with amazing friends. Both online and off! :) Sometimes all it takes is a simple reply to a phone call or a text message. (Or a comment on a post!) Just having the reminder of the knowledge that I have people in my life who love me is sometimes all I really need. So when it comes at a moment during my day when things are hard (unfortunately, this has been happening a lot more as of late), it's a simple reminder for me to breathe.

Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.

Be still. I love that verse from Psalm 46 that says, "Be still and know that I am God." Because it's only in my stillness that I can truly hear Him. His still, small voice tends to get overpowered by the loud noise of my every day life and I need the reminders to stop letting everything ride ruckus over me, to just let them go.

The words that hurt? Let them go. The frustration of not knowing what this person truly wants? Let it go. The fear that what I may say or do that could potentially lead down a path that I've no interest in? Let it go. (Also, I promise I'm not trying to get that Disney song in your head! ;)

Just. Breathe.

In. Out.

Be still. Let His shoulders take it. He can bear it! Let Him carry the emotions I'm dealing with. Because He's a big enough God that He can handle even the impossible. So of course He can handle this "stuff" of mine.

Desperate for a deliverer, my weak faith I bring to You.
Trusting You will accept me and make my heart brand new.

My hurt and my pain overwhelm me, I cannot carry this load.
And I know my suffering Savior has been farther down this road.

Then You wrap Your arms around me, holding my guilt at bay,
Saying, "My death has the power to take all of your shame away!

I know you don't feel worthy, your heart may be trembling with fear.
But My hands are always open, just waiting to draw you near!

Let Me carry your hurt, your pain be Mine to bear.
My shoulders are strong enough, even for your despair.

I'll bind up your wounds, heal your fear and distress.
Just trust Me and release it. With My peace you will blessed!"

With trembling fingers open, I let go of one, then two.
And the sweetest joy overtakes me, I look up and whisper, "Thank You!"

(I wrote this poem a couple years ago and recently found it again. It seemed precisely what I needed right then. Another God-moment! :)