Sailboat

As most of you know, I’ve been through a big and tough transition in my life recently. Many people have been asking me how I’ve been doing, and I haven’t had a great answer. It’s really hard to describe. And then I heard this song. This. This is how I am doing. Confusion. Doubt. Wondering. Wandering. Hope.

“Sailboat” by Ben Rector

I feel just like a sailboat
I don’t know where I’m headed
But you can’t make the wind blow
From a sailboat

I have seen the sun
Felt the rain on my skin
I’ve been lost and found
But mostly I’ve been waiting

Oh I’m out in the waves
I’m hoping and praying
Please let this wind blow me home
Night after night there’s an empty horizon
And my God do I feel so alone
Sometimes life, most times I, feel just like a sailboat

I’m pretty sure I’m heard
At least I know I’m speaking
But I feel like a fool
Cause I can’t hear you listening

But I’m not giving up
Oh I will move on forward
I’m gonna raise my sail
God knows what I’m headed towards

Oh I’m out in the waves
I’m hoping and praying
Please let this wind blow me home
Night after night there’s an empty horizon
And my God do I feel so alone
Sometimes life, and most times I, feel just like a sailboat

The only change I see
Lost or found, let’s see
The only difference is believing I’ll make it in

Oh I’m out in the waves
I’m hoping and praying
Please let this wind blow me home
Night after night there’s an empty horizon
My God, do I feel so alone
Sometimes life, most times I, feel just like a sailboat

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Right Beside Jesus

My six year old nephew, Cooper, had a narration assignment for school. This is what he said (documented by my sister). I thought it was worth of it’s very own blog post.

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Dear Anna Kendrick,

Dear Anna Kendrick,

I had a dream about you the other night. Before I tell you about my dream, I feel the need to preface it with a few things. I am not crazy. I do not stalk you, google you, have posters of you in my room, sit in a van outside of your house, or even know if you have a house. I do follow you on Twitter, but that’s because someone retweeted something you tweeted and I thought it was hilarious. I also follow this guy @badbanana on Twitter because he is hilarious. I don’t know him either. All that to say, though I have enjoyed your movies, I don’t think about you very often, Anna Kendrick, so when I had a dream about you it was unusual.

In the dream you and I were apparently life long friends, but we lived in different cities and didn’t see each other often. You were still and actor and I’m not really sure what I did. But anyway, we happened to be in the same city at the same time and you asked me to drop by your shoot if I had time. I finished up what I had to do and headed your way. There was this huge drawn out part of the dream of me trying to get through your security and trying to explain that we were buds. It was stressful. I finally walked into your dressing room and you were talking and laughing with your “people.” When you saw me you asked them to “give us a few minutes.” As soon as they left you completely changed. You took of your “mask of happiness” that you were using with them, and with me, your lifelong friend with whom you could be real, you were just sad. Your eyes were full of sadness. You didn’t say anything in the dream, you just hugged me and were very, very sad. Anna Kendrick, I am not a crier, but I woke up crying and feeling a strong sadness because in this dream you were so sad. It was a very deep, deep sadness. I’m not gonna lie, it’s like three days later now and I still feel sad.

So, Anna Kendrick, I’ve decided to pray for you. Maybe I shouldn’t admit this, but I don’t usually pray for people I don’t know. I mean, I pray for things like genocides, and human trafficking, natural disasters and the riots in Venezuela, but praying for one person that neither I nor anyone else I know actually knows is a new thing for me. But I am praying for you. I don’t know if you are actually sad in real life…maybe you are very happy…but you’re stuck with me either way. I promise to continue not googling you, putting up posters of you, or sitting in front of your house in a van. But I will pray for you.

And I pray that you, Anna Kendrick, being rooted and established in love, may have power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Sincerely,

Kelly

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A Prayer

I started off 2014 reading the book of Ephesians and was drawn in to two powerful prayers in this incredible book. The more I read them, the more I felt like God was calling me to pray this prayer regularly for the girls at La Casa de mi Padre. So, I took the prayers and made them into one, and wrote it out with a blank where the name would go. Every day I pray this prayer for whomever God places on my heart. Sometimes I pray it eleven times, one time for each of the girls. Sometimes it is one specific girl. It just depends. I thought I would post it here in case any of you would like to join in praying for them. It’s also a great prayer to pray for yourself and anyone in your life.

A Prayer for the Girls of La Casa de mi Padre (from Ephesians 1:17-19, and 3:16-19)

I ask that you, the God of our Lord Jesus Chris, the glorious Father, may give __________ the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that she may know you better. I pray also that the eyes of her heart may be enlightened in order that she may know the hope to which you have called her, the riches of your glorious inheritance in the saints, and your incomparably great power for us who believe. I pray that out of your glorious riches that you would strengthen __________ with power through your Spirit in her inner being, so that Christ may dwell in her heart through faith. And I pray that __________, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that she may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

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A Life

Today I found out that an old friend from high school has cancer. A few months ago a friend lost his grand daughter after just 14 days of life. So I’ve been thinking about life.

God tells us that all of our days are written in his book when he formed us. So I’ve got to believe that each of us lives our full life…even if it seems short to those of us left behind. But I can tell you, each life that I have known and said good-bye to has impacted me.

Brooks never breathed a single breath here on earth, but I felt his kicks against my hand from inside his mom’s stomach. I saw his so very small casket be lowered into the ground. I watched his parents grieve and find hope in the midst of great despair. Brooks’ life was full…and it mattered.

Rick lived 23 years here on this earth. He made me laugh, he was a cherished friend, he led me closer to the Lord by the way he lived his life. He impacted me in his life, and he impacted me in his death. What Rick could have never known at the time is that God would use his tragic (to us)/glorious (to him) death as a pivotal circumstance in my faith. It was a moment in my life in which I had to decide if this walk of faith was worth it or not. I really battled with the Lord during that time. I asked really hard questions. I cried, I yelled, I was angry…and like David in the Psalms…my anguish turned into praise. Day after day. Rick’s life was full…and it mattered.

Then I put something together that I never had before.

My Uncle Chuck died when I was five years old. I don’t really remember him because he was sick for most of my life. But I remember his kindness even though I don’t remember his face. After he died I was riding to Target with my mom and I began to ask her questions about where my uncle was now that he had died. My mom began explaining heaven and the sacrifice Christ made for us. In that car, on that day, I gave my heart and my life to Jesus. I vividly remember it. All because of a life…and a death. My uncle’s life mattered.

We have this one life here on earth. We have this one chance. What do you want to be remembered for? What do you want people to think of, even if they can’t remember your face?

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Armor

Over the last week, because of a great discussion with my missionary coach, I have been thinking a lot about the Armor of God described in Ephesians 6:10-18. I’ve read these verses many times throughout my life, but for some reason, this week made them really come alive for me. I thought I would outline here the process that I have been using with these verses in case it is helpful to anyone else.

v. 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. (Where does my strength come from?)

v. 11 & 12 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is no against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Who is my enemy? The devil. Or better yet, who is not my enemy? It has helped me to say out loud who my enemy is NOT. (My friend, my boss, my parent, my sibling, etc…wherever your struggle is) is NOT my enemy.

v. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (There is a solution! God has provided the ability for us to stand firm.)

v.14a Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist… (What is the truth? What is the truth about God’s thoughts towards me? What is the truth about my calling? What is the truth about God’s character?)

v.14b …with the breastplate of righteousness in place… (The breastplate protects your chest, protects your heart…the exact place where the enemy is going to fling his arrows. What are my wounds that he is going to target? What are my vulnerable spots? And what is the truth about that?

v. 15 …and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. (What is it to be a peacemaker? Commit to speaking the truth in love with the intention of bringing peace, not causing discord.)

v.16 & 17 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Commit to memorizing verses pertaining to your struggle so that you can be armed and protected.)

v.18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions, with all kinds of prayers and requests. (We are not alone! Sometimes it means putting on this armor several times a day. Sometimes it means repeating “such and such is NOT my enemy” several times a day. But whatever the case, help is with us always.)

 

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Sandpaper People

We’ve all had them, or will have them, or currently have them in our lives. They are the people that rub us the wrong way. You know what I mean. They make life just a little bit harder with their bad attitude, constant criticism, and controlling nature. They are impossible to please and just bring us down.

I recently heard this type of people referred to as “sandpaper people.” Sandpaper is rough and it rubs us wrong. But the more I got to thinking about that term, I realized that sandpaper is used to smooth and refine something. It takes off the rough edges and makes things ready for use.

When dealing with sandpaper people and you find it tough to figure out the point of having them in your life, take a step back. Look at your rough edges. Is this person in your life to refine you? If so, don’t let bitterness steal your joy. Let yourself be refined.

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But As For Me…

I love reading the Psalms. They are such a dramatic mix of anguish and praise. Today I was reading Psalm 55 and it was no different. David had some serious drama in his life. He is going on and on about his enemies, his fear and anguish, you name it.

I have found myself doing the same thing throughout different points in my life. I go on and on to God about this person or that person, this situation, money, business, health…I could go on and on. Sometimes I get so caught up in myself that I find myself standing there with my fists clenched, not willing to let any of it go.

The interesting thing about Psalm 55, however, is that it ends with a bit of a zinger. After all of his ranting and crying out, David ends with this line:

But as for me, I trust in you.

Amen. May that be the constant cry of my heart and echo of my life. But as for me, I trust in you.

If you would like to read the whole passage, click here.

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2014 Reading List

Well, I really tanked on my 2013 reading list, so a lot of these are going to be repeats. Apparently moving to a new country and settling in to ministry really cuts into my reading time! I resolve to read more this year, however. So, here is the list for this year:

  1.  The Making of an Atheist: How Immorality Leads to Unbelief – James Speigel
  2. Washington: A Life – Ron Chernow
  3. No Way Down: Life and Death on K2 – Graham Bowley
  4. The History of Love: A Novel – Nicole Krauss
  5. Uncensored Grace: Stories of Hope from the Streets of Vegas – Jud Wilhite
  6. Citizen Soldiers: The U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany – Stephen Ambrose
  7. The Mormonizing of America: How the Mormon Religion Became a Dominant Force in Politics, Entertainment, and Pop Culture – Stephen Mansfield
  8. Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions – Lysa Tyrkeurst
  9. Ike’s Spies: Eisenhower and the Espionage Establishment – Stephen Ambrose
  10. Wild (From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail) - Cheryl Strayed
  11. Empty Promises: The Truth About You, Your Desires, and the Lies You’re Believing – Pete Wilson
  12. You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving the Church…and Rethinking Faith - David Kinnaman
  13. The Victors: Eisenhower and His Boys the Men of WWII – Stephen Ambrose
  14. Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking- Susan Cain
  15. Majestic and Wild: True Stories of Faith and Adventure in the Great Outdoors
  16. A Life Observed: A Spiritual Biography of C.S. Lewis – Devin Brown
  17. Gods and Generals – Jeff Shaara
  18. The Reagan Diaries- Ronald Reagan
  19. Bridge to Haven- Francine Rivers
  20. All Is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir – Brennan Manning
  21. The Last Full Measure: A Novel of the Civil War- Jeff Shaara
  22. The Steel Wave: A Novel of WWII- Jeff Shaara
  23. Made to Crave- Lysa Terkeurst
  24. Fifteen Minutes- Karen Kingsbury
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Best of 2013

It’s that time of year again! I know you guys have been looking forward to this since last year’s post (or, like me, you completely forgot about it)! This year it’s going to look a little bit different because, well, I moved to El Salvador and I just don’t watch as much TV, see as many movies, buy as much new music, or really do much of anything that I used to do.

Favorite Movie: The Croods- Like I said, I haven’t seen too many movies, but this one just really cracked me up! So far I’ve only seen it in Spanish, but I bet it’s even funnier in English.

Favorite Album: John Mayer- Paradise Valley- I love it. It’s smooth, it’s soft, the lyrics are great as always. It’s great driving music. It’s great napping music. It’s just great music.

Best Thing I Did To Prepare Myself To Move To El Salvador: Language Acquisition School- I went out to MTI (I forget what that stands for) in Colorado Springs for two weeks in January and loved every minute of it. It was two weeks spent in linguistics and preparing to learn a language. It was all so helpful. Not to mention I spent two weeks with about 40 other people who were also about to head out on the mission field. It was a great time of fellowship and hearing incredible stories of God’s faithfulness and calling. Plus it was two weeks in an incredibly beautiful setting where I did lots of exploring.

Best Novel I Read This Year: Divergent- I love teen fiction. I just love it. I can’t wait for the movie to hit the theaters in March!

Best History Book I Read This Year: The Life of Andrew JacksonAll I knew about this guy was that he was the only president ever to pay off the national debt (earning him his place on the twenty dollar bill), but he is actually a pretty fascinating character. A close second place in this category would be Killer Angels. It’s about the battle of Gettysburg and was good stuff.

Best Habit That I Started This Year: Starbucks Time- My missionary coach (a requirement by North Point that I am extremely grateful for) recommended to me that I take a couple of hours out of the work week to do something just for me. Something that I really enjoy doing that will charge me back up. So every Friday, after staff devotions, I head over to Starbucks for a couple of hours before the kids get out of school and just sit and read. It took me a little while to get over my guilt complex of sitting at Starbucks and not “doing something productive,” but after a few weeks of going, I realized that it was probably the most productive thing I did all week because it completely recharged me and allows me to enter into the weekend charged up and ready to invest in the girls.

Favorite Thing To Do: Spend Time With The Kids At La Casa- I just love those kids. They have totally and completely captured my heart and I look forward to when they get out of school each day. And in those rare moments when one of the girls shares her heart or her struggles, or her tears, it is my greatest privilege to sit and listen.

Favorite Trip: I can never answer this one. I love traveling and each trip has something special about it. This year’s traveling was limited now that I am in El Salvador, but I was able to fit a couple in before I left. Colorado Springs, as I already mentioned, was a real game changer. California with Hannah to go to Disneyland- epic. We spent 48 hours cramming in as much as possible including- Santa Monica pier, Fish tacos at Rubios, Slurpees from 7-11, Disneyland, getting as close to the Hollywood sign as possible, dinner on Sunset Blvd, a quick trip down Hollywood Blvd, breakfast at the beach in Santa Monica, a beautiful drive up the PCH, Starbucks in Malibu, a quick tour of Pepperdine, and Rodeo Dr. Yep, all in 48 hours (including two 5 hour flights!). My trip home in September was also fantastic. I loved just being home, eating familiar food, meeting my nephew, and catching up with everyone. Family vacation was the best part of my trip home. We went down to Rosemary Beach for a week and it was a great time to spend exclusive time with my family.

Favorite Game: Rummikub-  I have spent literally hours playing this game with the girls. I had never heard of it before this past fall really and I love it. So addicting.

 

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