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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Falling Free

It's funny how the heart begins to change, little by little, as we read, talk, and share ideas.

Recently I threw my name in the hat for a Book Launch Team.  I'd never done this before, but I love to read, so I applied and was super excited to be accepted to the team.  The book came in the form of a pdf, which proved slightly challenging, but I was no less excited to soak in the words of this awesome writer.



Shannan Martin lives in Indiana.  She's a mama and a wife, a blogger and an instagrammer, and she is living a life that most of us would only cringe to dream about.  She left everything behind in the countryside, where she started her popular blog flowerpatchfarmgirl.com and moved to the inner city.  She and her husband put their money where their mouths were and trusted God with EVERYTHING... Their money, their future, their children, their safety, their very lives.  And Falling Free is the story of how it all came to pass.

I won't give anything away here, but let me assure you, LOVE WINS.  In the biggest and most God-sized way possible.  You will love her heart for those with less.  Take a look at this example that blew my mind...


I had never heard it put in that way before.  Can you imagine if we all stepped out, opened our eyes and hands, and poured into the people out there that need our capital?  

A few years ago, I ran into an old student at a sporting event.  He's in high school now, but I had him as a fourth grader.  I've never known why, but God has placed this child on my heart... to the point that I would literally take him in and make him my son to this day.  My whole family knows this, and they've all agreed that when and if that day comes, he will be ours.  No questions asked.  Here's his story.

Since reading this book, I've been thinking about this kid specifically.  I've been praying for him with abandon.  And my heart is opening up to where God is leading me with this new paradigm.  I'm thankful Shannan put her words to a page, because all the people on this launch team share about the many ways their hearts are shifting and opening.  And community is so important.

The other part of her book that has shaken me to my core, is this next blurb.  


AMEN! Right?  How often are you comforted with the story of another person?  For me, hearing the healing from hurts that can cripple a soul have allowed me to find freedom in the forgiveness of my own sin.  I love the times that God prompts my heart to share my story with people who not once, but EVERY time, have replied with tears that they have the same story to tell.  We find that moving beyond pain is the realization that there is no shame in sins that are forgiven!  Once God wipes our slate clean, there is nothing that can hold us in darkness any longer except Satan telling us that we should live in shame.  Sharing your story breaks your stronghold, friend.  Don't allow the enemy to hold you in bondage anymore!

Anyway, back to Shannan!  hehe!

Dear Reader, please consider buying this book.  It will open your eyes in the most wonderful ways and you won't be able to stop telling people about it.  Just ask me.  ;)


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

modern-day miracles



Her husband had unceremoniously moved out the day before.  It was her first day as a single parent and she was trying to find joy in the small things.  The kids had gone to visit their dad at his new home, but she still had a nagging feeling.  Earlier in the day, my friend Melinda, had picked up a pregnancy test.

Now, I know what you're thinking if you read my last post.  OHMYGOSH NO.  I had the same reaction, albeit a little more cussy.

She wondered how in the world she would be able to raise not just four children, but a newborn as well?  All alone??  How God?  I never even wanted five kids!  

And yet...

That night, we had dinner together with some friends and when I dropped Melinda off at her house, I could tell something was off.  She was distracted all evening.  Not herself.  OF COURSE, BECAUSE SHE IS PREGNANT AND DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO BLURT THAT OUT.  So when she got back to the house, her husband was there, with the kids.  He got up to leave and she followed him to the car.  He was headed back to his new reality.  His new home.  And that's when she told him.

There are many personal details here, dear reader, that are not mine to tell.  In fact, I'm not even privy to the moments Melinda's husband spent with God that night.  But let's say this....

That night, alone in his new home, Melinda's husband had a divine appointment with the Creator.  God spoke truth into him that he hasn't heard from anyone on this earth.  And for the first time in months, Melinda's husband got the message loud and clear.  "My will, not yours be done."

So after a restless night of sleep, he awoke, called his lawyer and cancelled the divorce.  He called his wife and asked to come home.  He was the Prodigal Son, coming home, to the arms of a wife who never lost hope, never stopped praying, never gave up on the husband she vowed to love through thick and thin.

I cried tears of joy to hear this news and then I was taken back to my last blog post.  How did it end?  I'll remind you.  Mind you, this was the day before he moved out.  I asked you this:
"I would covet your prayers for Melinda.  For her 4 children.  And especially for her husband, who has lost his way.  It is never too late to right a wrong.  Will you believe with me?  Amen."

I hope it's not lost on YOU (You, who prayed for Melinda.  You, who prayed for this family.  You who prayed for her husband) that YOUR PRAYERS repaired a marriage.  Your prayers moved mountains for my friend, her children, and especially for her husband who needed us to stand in the gap for him.

I especially love that none of this was a surprise to God.  He knew all along that in the silence, He was still moving.  We couldn't see it, but He was at work!  He never stopped interceding on behalf of these precious people I call friends.

If you don't know the power of pray and a mighty God who still does miracles, please seek out someone who does.  Call me.  Call a friend who loves Jesus.  We would love nothing more than to point you to the cross.

And all the people said AMEN!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Where is God?

"Where is God?" my friend asked.

I'll never forget this moment.  I was standing in my closet while one of my dearest friends told me her husband was leaving.  He has decided their marriage has "run it's course" and he's moving out.  Leaving his adoring wife and four small children in the wake of his selfishness.

My friend, we'll call Melinda, has been married 12 years.  She has four precious children.  She has shown her husband the kind of unconditional love that many people will never know in their lifetime.  She is the quintessential homemaker.  Melinda makes home cooked meals, sews, bakes, keeps an extremely clean home, and feeds her family organic food.  She is thrifty in a super cool kind of way, and watches all of her pennies.  Melinda is not only an amazing wife, she's probably better at this wife-ing thing than I am.  In fact, if I were one of those sister-wife kind of cult members, I'd totally make her wife #2.  I think the world of Melinda.

But yesterday when she told me that her husband had sat the kids down to break the news, I cried.  "Where is God?" she asked.  "Why didn't he answer my prayers? This isn't fair!"

As I stood there, staring at the wall, I asked the same thing.  "God!  Help me!  I have no words!  She needs to know where you are!  Help me help her!"  And yet, my tongue was still.  I had no answer.  All I could do was sit down on the floor and cry with her.  My heart ached while I wondered, how do I show my friend that God is still there in the midst of our deepest suffering?

I felt God stirring in me.  BE STILL, Kim.  You don't have to have words for everything.

And yet....

I have allowed this question to stir in my mind for a day now.  I've thought of Melinda and her children, and even her lost husband, and prayed.  I've wondered why God didn't change his heart.  Why didn't He open her husband's eyes?  Why didn't he place someone in this man's path that could speak the truth to him in love?

Tonight I was brought back to a song by Lauren Daigle.  I was singing along without thinking at first, but then I really listened to the song when I heard this:

When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You!

You are my strength and comfort
You are my steady hand
You are my firm foundation; the rock on which I stand

Your ways are always higher
Your plans are always good
There’s not a place where I’ll go, You’ve not already stood


And that's when I realized.  I won't have all the answers to why bad things happen to good people on this side of heaven.  But I can trust that when God says He's gone before me, before my friend Melinda, He has already paved the way.  There are no surprises here to Him.  He knew my friend would feel this pain.  He knew her kids would be devastated.  But HE promises to make beauty from ashes.  HE promises to show her the unconditional love that she has given away but not received.  HE promises that her pain is not forgotten, not without use, and not permanent.  HE will give her new blessings.  HE will give her new hope.  And HE will surround her with just the right people at just the right time.  All we have to do is trust.  Trust that He is who He says He is and He will do what He says He will do, as Beth Moore once said.

I believe firmly that God protects the orphans and widows, as He says in the Bible.  But I also think the single mamas are in there, too.  And I have a HUGE heart for those single mamas. 

I would covet your prayers for Melinda.  For her 4 children.  And especially for her husband, who has lost his way.  It is never too late to right a wrong.  Will you believe with me?  

Amen.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

pink chairs and soft hearts

Well hello there!  Have you missed me?  I've been busy.  Planning a fair, throwing Gatherings, and of course teaching the loveliest group of second graders you've ever known.  It's been a fun and busy year and my blogging has taken the hit.

I've thought of funny stories along the way to share, but haven't had the time or inclination to type them out.  Until today.

You know we bought this new house last year.  It's been over a year now in our latest home and we've settled in so happily.  We used most of what we already had to decorate and finish it out but have slowly changed things out as time and money have allowed.

Right now we're in the throws of redoing our little Buddy's room.  When we moved in, he had a green room and bunkbeds.  Well, that's just what he had at the last house, so we figured we could throw him in there swiftly and easily.  He wasn't thrilled as his big sister had gotten a redesigned "middle school girl" room and he was entering middle school, waiting for his turn at "the dream bedroom".  He'd have to wait, as there were vacations and holidays and sports, oh my.  And then.... well... we just forgot.  So now, we're moving things out and moving things in.  We're painting and building and conspiring.  And it's going to be great.  Very "big boy".  Very "this room will take you into college" - like.  Hopefully.

But then, my Mother-in-Law came over recently and made me the loveliest curtains for my formal dining room.  Suddenly, those red parsons chairs at the table were craptastic.  I needed to replace them.  And soon.  Along with finding time to paint that table white.  (It never ends, right?)

Man, that's crappy lighting.

Yesterday, MIL told me about some chairs on sale at Steinmart, so I headed on over there to check them out of course.  The Mister and my little Buddy were in tow.  So when we walked in the door and I saw the pink coral dining chairs sitting inside the front door by the cash register, I stopped in my tracks.  CORAL DINING CHAIRS?  COULD IT BE?  The thoughts started swirling in my head.  OH THE BEAUTY.  OH THE FUN.  I MUST HAVE THESE CHAIRS.

Don't they look darling with my new curtains??


Luckily, as I turned to look at the Mister, he agreed!  WHA the WHA??  REALLY??  Then let's go find 4 more, I said, and we took off for the back corner of the store.  

Unfortunately, all we found was one more chair.  But that would not deter me.  No-siree!  I grabbed that chair and started heading back to the front.  And that's when my son, in all his wisdom turned to his dad and said, "Dad.  Why are you letting her carry that pink chair?  It makes her look like a feminist.  Take the chair and carry it for her!"

Y'all.  I AM DOING SOMETHING RIGHT.  Because A. I didn't have to carry that pink (okay, coral) chair an inch further.  And B. because my son is learning to respect his elders and women.  Thank you Jesus.

The coolest kid with the kindest heart.  Seen here in Hawaii.  ;)

Sunday, March 6, 2016

i am a walmart mom.

I had a moment today.

We are only days away from leaving for a big trip.  We needed snacks and travel sized everythings.  So the whole fam damily loaded up and headed to the Super Walmart.

While there, every. single. person. in my family was vying for the products they believed they needed to add to the cart. Things like pringles and body spray and selfie sticks.  The cart was filling fast with tiny things.

And then my daughter piped up.  She needed new shoes.

Why?

Because when we go hiking, she wasn't willing to wear her chacos.  Her ridiculously priced and previously purchased chacos.  You know, the ones we were planning for her to wear the whole time.

Again, why?

Because, like, last year when we bought them (for her birthday), she, like, bought them a little off in size.  Like, she bought them thinking, like, they would fit a little better.  But, like, they fit exactly, and like, not even a little too big.

Are you hearing what I'm hearing?  Wait, they fit, and that's a problem?  Well then why didn't we buy them to not fit?  And when did I become the adult making fun of the teenager saying like all the time?  I used to be her!

No, MOM.  Ugh, you just don't understand.

{meanwhile, over my right shoulder...}
Mom.  Mooom.  MOM!  <tap tap tap> Mom!  Moooooom.  <tap tap tap> Hey!  Mom!

And this, dear reader, is when I lost my $#!T in Walmart, becoming "that Walmart mom".  You know the one... she raises her voice and yells at her kids in public.  Yep!  That was ME!  Yippee!

In my defense, I think only one Walmart customer turned and looked at me, but I'm pretty sure since my kids are teenagers and I wasn't raising a hand to swat anyone, she quickly turned away to ignore me.

Man, I love it when God humbles me.  It's ugly and real.  And it brings me off my high horse and down to the ground, where I actually reside.

Because I'm really just a hot mess, going through life generally thinking I'm doing okay in this gig.  But clearly, I'm not.  Clearly I'm as human as they come.  And in desperate need of more patience.

Monday, February 8, 2016

karma

What goes around, comes around.  Right?  Well after I posted that last little diddy about my tragic eyebrow wax (which was a little strongly worded, please don't think less of my mom.  She had her mama bear claws out, understandably), karma bit me in the butt.  This is the story where I redeem myself for making my mom look bad.  I hope.

I told you I wax my own eyebrows, so naturally, anyone in my family who needs a good tightening up, gets it done by you-know-who.  This could include, but is not limited to, my daughter, sisters, a nephew who will never be named, and many a friend through the years (both female and male).  Don't worry, if you're a man and you're my friend, I would never wax your face without your permission.

You should know that this usually accompanies an evening of laughter and discussions about things that never leave that room. And a glass of wine.  Or three.

To be sure, when mama and her friends head to the master bath, you know there's some waxing about to go down.  By a completely uncertified, and certifiable, not-so-much-an-esthetician gal.  Little ol' me.  I mean, I'm not qualified by an stretch of the State's imagination, but since no one is paying me, I figure, who could sue me?

So back to the story.

I was waxing my daughter's eyebrows.  All was well. There was no wine involved.  And then it happened.

The wax was a leetle thick.  And it spread when I laid the strip on top of it.  And soooooo.... well.... a leetle more hair came off than expected.  oops.

When my daughter turned to the mirror, she knew at once something was wrong.  It could have been instinct.  OR it could have been that I gasped after ripping off the muslin.  Who knows.

She yelled into the mirror an unnamed cuss word.  Then she literally BURST into tears.  And then she screamed the unnamed cuss word.  {Apparently the cussy thing has caught on around this place.}  Finally, she looked me in the eye with hot tears streaming down her cheeks and yelled "You have ruined my life!  This is the worst day of my entire life! What the h*(# were you thinking???"

OOF.

What to do?  What to do.  I couldn't glue those little follicles back on!  So when I finally pulled myself together (because who could actually keep themselves from laughing.  is there a more reasonable response??), I got on my knees and begged forgiveness.  It took her a few minutes to come off the ledge, but she did finally forgive me.  Thank goodness.  Because I'm not paying someone to wax her eyebrows when I can clearly do it myself.

Monday, January 18, 2016

waxing nostalgic

When I was a newlywed, I went to a local spa to get my eyebrows waxed.  This thing, this eyebrow waxing, was not a new thing in my life.  But the lady doing the waxing was.  And when I asked her to tighten up my eyebrows, she went to work.

About 20 minutes later she was done.

Now, I don't know how familiar you are with the process of waxing eyebrows, but this is no rocket science, folks.  You do the underneath side, rriiippp.  You do the top side, rriiipp.  You do between the brows, rriiipp!  And repeat.  Once you've waxed, it's time to trim the length of the remaining hair.  You use scissors and a small brush.  And then!  You are done.  I know all this because I've been doing them myself at home for about 10 years now.  Easy. Peasy.

I should have grown concerned after 10 minutes.  And then again as the time inched to 15 minutes.  But I was young and naive and was probably laying there thinking, Wow, look at me.  I'm in a spa!  Getting my eyebrows waxed!  I feel like such a lady of leisure!  Aren't I lucky!

But my luck was about to run out.  I had a date with destiny and her name was The Mirror.

When Sweet Newbie Waxer handed me the mirror and sat me up, I fought back tears.  I tried to appear as calm as possible.  I was only 26 and didn't really know how to ask for my eyebrows back.  As if that was a real possibility.

So I waited until I got in the car and I burst into tears.  And I drove myself home where my husband greeted me and started giggling immediately.  WHERE ARE YOUR EYEBROWS? he asked.  I replied with big, fat, hot tears, and he hugged me as he finally figured out the correct husband response.  I'm sorry honey!  They'll grow back!

A few minutes later I was on the phone with my mom.  I had called her for other reasons, but of course, the eyebrows came up when I was walking around and accidentally looked in the mirror as I passed by.

I recounted the whole 20 minute event to my mom who replied with the most inappropriate answer I could fathom at that moment.

THAT BITCH!!  she hissed.

Ummm.  WOAH.  WAIT.  WHAT?

I can't believe she DID THAT TO YOU! she replied, as if this was my mortal enemy I had laid down in front of to trust my eyebrows with and she had double crossed me.

Suddenly every emotion I had of sadness and slight anger flew out the window and I found myself defending this stranger.  MOM!  CALM DOWN!! 

And the rest, as they say, is history.  Through the years, we've looked for hilarious and inappropriate times to yell THAT BITCH in a conversation with my mom.  Because laughter makes the heart stronger.