Our least favorite story to tell (and why it’s the most significant)

I pride myself in my resilience, my unshakeable faith and my level-headed mind.

But two years ago, I wasn’t any of those things. Two years ago, I was coming undone.

I was reminded of that time, when something popped up in my newsfeed today. A Facebook status from the past, that stopped me dead in my tracks and reminded me of my least favorite story to tell. The darkest one.

Continue reading Our least favorite story to tell (and why it’s the most significant)

Advertisements

On Divorce, Thanksgiving, And Sticky Fingers

sticky fingers 1

We will be divorced by Thanksgiving.

….That wasn’t the answer anyone was expecting. I could tell by the way they squirmed uncomfortably in their seats upon hearing my response, how unbearable it became to maintain eye contact after such candidness.

They had asked what we were doing for Thanksgiving this year, and it was obvious to me that it didn’t matter –

If we were still living in New York City by Thanksgiving, our marriage didn’t have a chance.

Life in New York City meant demanding schedules, late nights, and season after season of poor excuses as to why this term would be “unusually busier” than the last… and the last… and the LAST! … Each time at the cost of my little family that was already trying desperately to catch our breath. But then I learned a lesson about sticky fingers that changed everything:

It was during that same time in NYC when my toddler was running rampant in our apartment, getting her sticky – fruit snack and dried apple juice – laden little fingers on everything she could get her hands on. In her destruction she snatched spatulas, earrings (one of them of course!) and nail clippers. She abducted green onions from the counter, books that had been left on the nightstand, and one time even, a stick of butter.

When I was just about at the end of my rope, I remember complaining to my mom and giving giving her excuse after excuse as to why I was merely helpless at the hands of her brutality, and this was her response,

“ You’ll see… One day she will get her hands on something of such value, you will realize if it’s important enough to you, you will find a better hiding place for it.”

Her words rang true when just days later, I found the little terror standing front-and-center at her Dora Kitchen making a mirepoix of her loot of mismatched socks, q-tips, the tv remote and (wait for it…) MY WEDDING RING!!!  

Horrified, I quickly snatched the band from her possession, “OH NO YOU DIDNT!!! Listen up chick, You can have my spatula, my earrings and my books, but THIS is where I draw the line!!!!” 

I continued to sputter off accusations until they went far beyond what her 3 year old mind could comprehend. And as I held that ring in my hand and all that it symbolized, I realized what I was saying was true for more than just the sticky fingers of that of my toddler…

It was true for the demands of New York, for the 60+ hour work weeks that greedily demanded more and MORE from my family and fiercely sucked the life and delight out of my marriage like a vacuum! That day I decided, with Dora as my witness, Enough was ENOUGH!

Because my mom was right,

“If something is valuable enough to you, you will protect it AT ALL COSTS.”

… That oftentimes what we value will demand it!

One thing is certain: Had we not learned that when we did, I have no doubt we would be divorced by Thanksgiving.

Thankfully though that will not be case. On the contrary, we are in the process of rebuilding, often painstakingly brick – by – brick, but rebuilding nonetheless. And yet it has taken our time in New York – and more importantly, LEAVING New York – for us to learn what we value most is our FAMILY, and that we must protect it accordingly.

You see, this Thanksgiving each of us will gather with family and friends, and express gratitude for all that is most dear to us. But realize:

While Thanksgiving is about publicly declaring what we are most grateful for, the other 364 days of the year are about protecting it. Relentlessly!

… to protect it from the stickiest fingers both in the maddening toddler form, and in the ruthless demands of every day life!

For us that meant trading the bright lights and excitement of the city, for the breathtaking sunsets, and the downright ordinary of the South.

It took a pay cut, an ego check, and it took smacking the greedy hands of the business world to proclaim that our family was UNTOUCHABLE, and that no amount of money could ever be offered in return for missed holidays and the simple pleasures of tucking your children into bed at night.

And now, if I may, a word to the Sticky Fingers of this world:

Listen closely. There is a standing reservation in our home for dinner each night between 6-7. You are more than welcome to come, but what you are NOT welcomed to do is make my family the sacrificial lamb on behalf of your most pressing deadlines or staggering seasons (And as a rule, the closer you push dinner to 7 the more likely you will be required to bring a bottle of wine!)

…Why? Because FAMILY is what we value. FAMILY is what we will go to great lengths to protect. Relentlessly!

And given the chance that slips your mind, or worse, that you get your sticky fingers on my wedding ring and all that it symbolizes, mark my words: I will cut you.

On that note, Happy Thanksgiving friends!

May we vigorously protect what we are most thankful for, today and always!

image

5 Seconds Of Encouragement For The Worst Days Of Your Marriage

heart

This one’s worth tucking away for a rainy day…

Because Lord knows, the rain will come!

“The vows are serious. Staggeringly serious. But you did not take them trusting in your own strength to perform. The grace that enabled you to take those vows will be there to draw on when the performance of them seems impossible.”

-Elisabeth Elliot, Let Me Be a Woman

… and that’s all folks! Some things are just so good they don’t need any help.

 

Krista Signature

We Must Remember The Storm

Of all my most cherished photographs there is one that stands out.

There are pictures illustrating wedding day jitters, and another portraying a perfectly wrinkled newborn smirking in her sleep. There is one that captures the rare occurrence of me and my siblings embracing, and another of my daughter warily taking her first steps.

And then there is the picture I hold closest to my heart…

a picture of when I had nearly given up.

storm

The summer sun illuminating the smile I had purposefully painted on my face doesn’t fool me. At the exact time this picture was taken my husband had been sleeping on the couch for weeks, and the broken promises within our marriage easily outnumbered the wedding gifts we had received just two years earlier! We had run out of things to say and even worse, reasons to keep trying to make it work!

…And it was going to get worse!

At the time this picture was taken, I could have never known that there were more lies bubbling to the surface, more fits of tears in store (that were oftentimes so intense, I questioned whether my heart would physically give out) And even more difficult for me to admit, a bout of depression that would have me questioning whether I could endure any longer.

The picture that holds the most significance to me is one taken amidst a raging storm in my life. A storm that pains me to remember, but I am hard-pressed to never forget!

A storm much like what was described in the Bible…

“The waters of the flood came and covered the Earth…

All the underground waters erupted from the Earth and the rain fell in mighty torrents from the sky…

The rain continued to fall…

The floodwaters grew deeper…

As the waters rose higher and higher above the ground, the boat floated safely on the surface.”  

Genesis 7:10-12, 17-18

This violent storm that the Bible is referring to is the flood, and from the sound of its enormity it sounds much like the ’emotional storms’ I have found myself in!

…When bad luck seemed to fall ‘ in mighty torrents from the sky’…when my seemingly happy existence ‘erupted’ into something barely recognizable …When my trials got deeper… and deeper… and each new wave of trouble threatened to overtake me….

Yet, the Lord kept me safe.

After all I am here to tell you about it, aren’t I?

God tells us that our lives will be full of many seasons, “planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night…” but in Genesis 9:11 He clearly says, “… never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood.”

God made a promise to the world (via a rainbow) that He would never again destroy all life, and that picture of me smack-dab in the middle of my heartache proves He never did!

Even so, my heart will always break for the girl in that picture. When I look into her eyes I will always feel pressed to tell her there’s no need to disguise her pain because I know she cries every night in a heap in the closet. Oh, how I wish I could remind her that when she screams out in frustration like a raging lunatic, it’s not a direct reflection of how ‘awful she is’ but how hurt she has been!’

… And that no matter how unfair a hand life has dealt her if she can withstand the storm  just a little longer, the storm will settle ‘and she will not be destroyed!

Our God promises a life of varied seasons, so we can be certain that at times it is going to rain! Likely even that it will POUR!

But even when life seems most bleak… we will not be destroyed!

Even when we feel most weary… we will not succumb!

Because In God’s hands we will ‘float safely on the surface’ of every storm that comes our way!

Oftentimes it takes staring deep into the heartache of our past, to speak directly to the fear that is overwhelming us in the present. So this week: find a picture of yourself in the midst of the most turbulent storm in your life, and remind yourself that our God will overcome!

He did it before, He will do it again! ( and again!)

“[God] calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves.” Psalm 107:29Krista Signature

Misconceptions of a Godly Woman

54 (1 of 1)

I realize that this post may offend certain people: Good people, people who I’d probably really get along with otherwise…

But for the record, I am not sorry.

Last week’s post Worthy of Rubies was me, buttoned up in my ‘Sunday’s best’ and smiling pretty. But over the last couple of days a fire has come over me and I can’t keep silent.

You see, I hate when women stand before other women and use their platform to hide behind facades of ideal marriages, perfect specimens of children and strong opinions on the likes of breastfeeding, vaccines, and church politics…

I cringe when the Kim Kardashian’s of the world pose half-naked in an attempt to prove that they’re still sexy, when any ‘real mom’ feels like anything but! When friends on Facebook post statuses like “ …Made 6 loaves of banana bread, ran 12.8 miles, fed the homeless, and saved a cat, and was still able to get home in time to make homemade apricot pork loin and apple crisp for dinner tonight,” while the rest of us are left wondering how we even made it out of our pajamas today?!?

I don’t know when being sexy and domestically superior made us more of a woman, but let me challenge you with what I believe is the #1 misconception of a godly woman…

Years ago, I took a class in bible college that still to this day gets my blood boiling. It was a class called Christian Womanhood.

Three times a week hundreds of college freshman ladies piled into the auditorium, and who if they were anything like me, anticipated by the name of the class ‘Christian Womanhood’ that we would come to understand what it truly meant to become the godly woman the Lord desires for us to be.

Most of the girls attending the class would one day go on to become pastor wives, missionaries, and christian school teachers. Women who would have the potential to impact other women, communities and the World in POWERFUL ways!

And yet, THIS is what we learned…

– How to execute a wedding. Complete with rehearsing a mock wedding in which each of my peers played a ‘part.’ I however, sat in the audience (on the groom’s side if you want to be specific) uninterested, and unapologetic …I mean, seriously? 

– The importance of making dinner for our families each night, and pointed out the convenience of using a crock pot. …Yep, it happened.  

– Why we must only read the King James Version of the Bible. But I have no notes on that lesson, because unashamedly, I tuned that one out!

It was also in this class that we did an in-depth study of Proverbs 31 in the Bible. Which wasn’t bad per se, but due to all of the above (and the fact that I actually paid for this nonsense of a class!) I don’t think it would surprise anyone to know that still to this day, I have a physical aversion to any of the topics covered in that class, including the beloved Proverbs 31 woman!

Interestingly enough though, my husband came to me last week and asked me to write a devotion for our church on you guessed it – Proverbs 31!  And in all honesty I fought it HARD, as if to completely downplay the significance of it in the Bible.

And yet as I pored over the chapter myself, I realized something I had never seen before, something I can assure you was NEVER taught in my class all those years ago:

Who can find a capable wife?… She is energetic and STRONG…  She has NO FEAR of winter…  She is clothed with STRENGTH…

Proverbs 31:10, 17, 21, 25

The Proverbs 31 woman is a lot of things- domestic and lovely, successful and well-respected, But most repeated, she is STRONG! Not anything like the passive and weak woman we are so often encouraged to be! She has no fear of winter – the difficult times to come – and is most definitely not limited to planning weddings and using crock pots!

65 (1 of 1)It got me thinking go the times I have had to be strong…

When 2 years into my marriage, when we should have been comparing paint swatches for the living room and eating breakfast in bed (or whatever it is that newlyweds do!) but instead we were battling it out in screaming matches and trying to decided what we would do with the house in the event of a divorce.

…When The Lord asked me to forgive my husband, and when even more clearly, I begged God kicking and screaming to let me move on, to give me permission to break ties with the man I was petrified would hurt me once again! But how the Lord never wavered.

How I was furious and shaken, but STRONG enough to choose to please the Lord above all else and embark on a journey to learn to love my husband again.  And for the record,  I am so incredibly glad I did!

How years later, we faced an unimaginable tragedy in our church while my husband was away at summer camp. How I wanted nothing more then for my husband to walk through the door, so I could immerse myself into the comfort of his arms, allowing myself to freely fall into a heap of tears with the one person who shared my mutual heartache. And how it never happened…

Because upon returning home, my husband made only one request: we not cry. How instead, he wanted to watch the news footage covering the accident over… and… over… and lay on floor and listen to worship music until late into the night. How he needed me there, and how more than anything he needed me to be STRONG!

How impossible it felt (how impossible it would’ve been apart from the Lord!) but how I sought hard to find my strength in Christ, relying on Him wholeheartedly for my comfort so that I could be strong for my husband, so that in return, he could be strong for so many others as their Pastor!

Oh, how my soul longed in those moments, for a woman to have opened up and spoken to me as a college freshman about THAT! To have a woman stand before me, vulnerable about her overwhelming fears and unworthiness, but of God’s immeasurable strength available to us in spite of it!

And so if I could teach a class on christian womanhood, and if all of you reading were my exceptionally lovely students, I would tell you that the most breathtaking picture of a ‘christian woman’ is not merely a sweet, modest, well-spoken, domestic goddess – but the woman whose strength and unshakeable faith lifts up all those around her despite the circumstance or ‘winter’ she has found herself in. (Prov. 31:21)

I’d tell you that no matter how beautiful of a bride you make, that one day your marriage may feel hopeless. And to remember when that day comes, it’s not a direct reflection of the INADEQUACY of you, but the potential GREATNESS of God if we allow Him to restore the broken pieces left of our hearts, and our vows.

That one day, the strong men we marry may need OUR strength to literally and physically pick them up off the floor, and that it won’t be a damn crock pot that will save the day, but the fire deep within us to FIGHT for our marriages and for our husbands to be the godly men that the Lord desires them to be!

Because the truth is, EVERYONE can let us down. But by choosing to find our strength in Christ, there is NOTHING God can’t grant us, and NOTHING He can not restore! 

We need only to turn to Him, for He is the only one capable of giving life to our broken hearts and the strength we need to keep holding on.

And it would be as simple as that.

Class is dismissed.

Krista Signature