About to Lunge…Don’t Mess with Single Women on Mother’s Day

It was during the final part of the message earlier today. The guy that was speaking was giving a very practical talk on accomplishing big things. He began sharing about a female friend of his who had made some declarations about the type of man she wanted to marry. She was set on marrying a wealthy guy who was debt-free, and mentioned a few other things. His response was that that guy she is wanting to marry is likely looking for some very similar characteristics for his future wife. With wide eyes she said, "Well then I need to work on myself, huh?"
They sat down together and came up with a seven-year plan for her to completely get out of debt, for starters. She was determined to break this down and move forward with this plan for her future.
I was tagging right along with this story and cheering her on, since this sounds a lot like my train of thought….until he said those words. The pastor uttered the words, "and guess what happened next." That was the moment that I wanted to lunge from my third row seat onto the stage. I wanted to tell him how unfair it was to put relationships into the simplicity box of, "just follow the steps and the right person will come along." I was pretty sure that he was going to say that within one year she had found her husband and he bought her this gorgeous house by the water and they lived happily ever after. It was honestly the most natural train of thought from where he was in the story.
Lucky for him, that is not how the story went so I stayed still at my seat. He proceeded to share how a family had asked her to come and live in their basement, rent-free. This , along with a lot of discipline and other changes, allowed her to pay off her debt in one and a half years instead of seven.
While this is not completely my story, there are certainly some similarities that caused me to tear up, recognizing that God continues to add large doses of favor to my life. I am not debt-free yet, but so much of it has been disappearing as God has taught me to be more and more faithful with my finances. And I am definitely in a much better place to meet that wealthy, debt-free guy since I know how to handle money well. ;-). Just sayin'.

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I Can Do Hard Things

Run is such a strong word for what I do.

Nonetheless, I run.

I love the mental and physical sensation that comes from running.  I love the soreness that I acquire when I start running again…that is, when I go through a dry spell and jump back in again…because thankfully that soreness goes away once I'm in the zone.

A little over a month ago I was sitting around with some friends at a park in Old Town.  Late to the game, I jumped into the topic of "tell us about a dream that you have…"  

Immediately I thought of two things:

"I want to see people get set free…all the time…I just want to see people walk in freedom"

"I want to get married and have a family, of course!"  

Someone else said one of them, so I told them about another dream that I've had for many years, which is to run a marathon.  I also added that I wanted to go Hawaii, and someone suggested that I run a marathon in Hawaii.  I figure I could kill three birds with one stone by getting married, going to Hawaii for my honeymoon, and run a marathon while I'm there. 😉  I dream…I digress…

That afternoon I decided to sign up for a 5K.  Yea, I can't run a full 5K right now.  (ugh) BUT I am getting there, and more quickly than I used to!  (This is exciting)  I think my body is starting to kick into gear more quickly, and it's not considering running to be so foreign as it has in the past when I started again. Good thing.  I got off track for a few days so I skipped a few of my Couch25K training days and ran much longer than I was originally supposed to today.  I love when I actually do what I put my mind to.  It's the sort of day that I was super proud of myself.

One of my favorite things about running is all the ways God teaches me through it.  It never fails…there's ALWAYS a lesson to learn.  Plus, I am so that Chariots of Fire guy, Eric Liddell, when he says that he feels God's pleasure when he runs.  (Run is still such a strong word for what I do, so maybe I can just say that I feel God's pleasure when I jog.:)  I picture Jesus on the sidelines with a sweatband on his forehead and a shirt that says, "KimPossible iz my HomeGurl!"  He's not usually wearing a robe in those visions.

Today I decided to go out when it was late in the afternoon, and it snapped into darkness during the warmup!  The thing I love the most about the location of my living arrangement is that we have trails down GW Parkway.  Love me so trails, trees, nature…falling leaves now.  (sigh)  Except when it's dark.  I am the sort of person who could be voted most likely to twist my ankle doing nothing (not claiming it, just sayin'), so GW Parkway trails would not necessarily be my friend at night.  This evening I decided I wasn't going to care and that I'd just be extra careful.

This is what it looked like:

2013-11-11 17.50.51

No joke.  That's an actual picture I took during the cool-down.

Then I tried to force the flash and got this:

2013-11-11 17.51.16

It. Was. Dark.

This trail had some lovely little twists, turns and hills, but all I could get were glimpses of what was right in front of me, just a few steps ahead.  

Such is life, right?

There are times when God makes everything that's coming very clear.  Other times all I get is a few steps ahead of me.  That trust in Him has to be pretty real.  

"Seriously, God, are you sure this is the best road for me to be on?  I mean, can't we find a safer place to journey and learn a few lessons?  Perhaps one that would be less painful if (and when) I fall?"  

"Sure, but you'd be bored," is what I think I hear Him say to me often.  

There were times, tonight, that I would start jogging and wonder why it had just gotten harder, until I realized I'd just gone up a small hill without even seeing it.

There's a reason why Psalm 119:105 is a big deal.  

Your word is a lamp before my feet and a light for my journey.

Oh, the journey.

Sometimes I feel like I can't do hard things.  I feel like I get blindsided by little hills that I climb that I don't feel prepared for, but God tells me that I can do hard things (see Philippians 3:14 for proof).  It's my mantra for life right now.  If you see me walk through something tough and I look like I'm going to meltdown, feel free to simply say, "Kim, what can you do?", to which I will crack a smile and reply, "I can do hard things."  It may even look like I'm rolling my eyes at you, but don't take it personally…I'm really rolling my eyes at me.

Plus…

I can do hard things

Yes.  I have that as a screensaver on my phone.  A girl can never remind herself enough about WHO she is.  ;-)

While I was jogging through one of my last stints tonight, a non-running song came through on my phone, but this was a song I just don't turn off when it comes on, so I slowly jogged to a slow song. It's this Bebo Norman song that I have LOVED since college; it's the song I want to walk down the aisle to at some point in time when a man decides to be captivated by all this redheaded awesomeness.  God reminded me, once again, that even that part of my journey will have more answers someday, and even that dream will come true as well.  Even though it's hard to wait, I can do hard things.  

In two weeks I will have run myself a nice little 5K, and will begin training for a 10K…because I can do hard things.

Even if I have to run in the dark, I will do so with only a few steps ahead of me illuminated…because I can do hard things.

And I will become a runner…because I can do hard things.  

If anyone feels called to sponsor my trip to Hawaii, I will accept…because you are awesome.  (That didn't go with the poeticness of the last few lines, but figured it wouldn't hurt to throw it in just in case. 😉

“But Who Will Marry ME?”-Sweet Friend Gabby

Scrabble

(Check out this sign on Etsy here)


I love to keep up with messages by my amazingly anointed and gifted friend (and former pastor), Brad.  He is the pastor of a thriving church in my hometown, Philly.  God is blowing my mind @ City Life Church, in the ways that He is moving, and I'm so proud of my friends and their team for pursuing the City of Love with the ultimate Love of Christ.  

Every now and then I have a Brad Leach marathon and listen to several messages from the past couple months, and today is such a day.  Due to Singles Awareness Month around here, 😉 I have been avoiding listening to his relationship messages from last month, feeling great in that area and not needing one more right now.  But after posting yesterday', about my sweet moment with Jesus and the stallion that He has prepared for me, I decided it would be okay to hear Brad's thoughts about this.

He tells this precious story about his little girl, Gabby, at the beginning of this message, and if you've got it in you to hear one more message about relationships any time soon, this is another great talk on the topic for all my phenomenal friends out there in a season of wondering, "But who will marry ME?"  Check it out here. (2/24/13)  He even gives a great reason to join the Operations Team @ DC Metro Church…suggesting that you can enter Connection Cards from Sunday and scope out the new single people @ the church.  Just sayin'. 😉

I "don't need to budge from God's plan for my life."  So glad that I get to thrive in my singleness.

 

She-Rah, Sighing and a Stallion

Recently I had the privilege of praying with some of my beautiful prayer warrior friends.  One of them, I even call She-Rah:  Prayer Warrior Princess.  We are a part of a team at our church that gets to do personal prayer ministry with individuals.  One and a half to two hours, just for one person.  A long time ago God began using people to teach me about "the one".  Jesus cares about everyONE.  He wants us to invest in the ONE.  I love this ministry because I get to focus on just one person at a time-to honor and care for in prayer.  There are few places I'd rather be on those nights.

Sometimes our team gets together to do some training and practice.  The other night these warrior princesses in my life ministered to me for a brief time during our practice.  One person was leading that part and the rest of us were to ask a question:  "Jesus, what lie am I believing about you?"  I wasn't feeling well that night, so I had already decided that I wasn't really going to participate.  (I live in a land called "Of Course", where God does things that I wouldn't have necessarily seen happening, but Daddy knows best and just goes for it.  Because I choose to submit to Him-many times ;-)- He brings me along for a ride anyway!)  So…of course I was the first person to get an answer, and that meant that I was the one that was supposed to receive ministry in that session.  (sigh)

Literally, I sighed.  

Loud.  

I didn't feel like participating.  I just wanted to look in from the outside and coach them through it.  

But, no.  Jesus wanted to dispell a lie.

In my open-book transparency, I often still censor what I'm sharing with the world for good reason. Everyone just doesn't need to know everything, and there are plenty of women in my life with whom I share life with.  For some reason though, this month has been highlighted to me as "Singles Awareness Month" @ my church (not really, but it just feels like it is) and I thought I'd share some thoughts for the sake of amazing women in my life.

The lie.  "You think that I'm always going to be just your friend, but that I'm never going to be your groom."

Boom.

Story of my freakin' life.  How often do I say it?  "I'm always the friend, but never the bride."  "He thinks I'm such an incredible woman…sucks I'm not attractive enough."  "I'll have great guy friends until the day I die…but am I ever going to have a husband?"

There I said it.  

But does that really mean that because I've thought those things that I really don't think that Jesus is going to be my groom?  The Bible tells us that Jesus is coming back someday, and that he is coming back for his bride.  I believe that.  I believe that Jesus is the ultimate Groom and that someday I will be with him in Heaven.  I also believe that He's my friend; I've a friend in Jesus. (Click for a belly laugh).  

What Jesus was telling me was that deep down I am actually relating my expectation of Him to my wonderings about whether I'll ever go from "awesome, incredible, amazing, sister in Christ" to bride.  I just didn't think I was doing that…until I asked. Dang those questions!  

So in this prayer session with my friends, I asked Jesus if there was anyone I needed to forgive for this lie being in my life.  Together we walked through a couple of items there and then I gave that unforgiveness and frustration to Him.  I asked Him what he would give me in exchange for that junk and do you know what he gave me?  

Bay-Azteca-Stallion (Original image)

Yes, He did.  He gave me a stallion.

So I can wonder all I want to, whether I will ever make the transition from "amazing friend" to a bride someday, but I don't really have to.  All that does is feed a lie that I already got rid of.  I have to admit, it's still hard to believe.  Really.  But I choose to believe that my stallion is out there-or right around the corner; I have no clue.  

In the meanwhile, I will continue to be aware of my singlesness because I can't seem to get away from it…at all.  Might as well enjoy a great message on either marriage or singleness here. (March 3, 10, 17) 😉

 

 

Apple Delight

A couple of weeks ago I was browsing the Facebook newsfeed on my phone, when I came across a picture that was posted by my high school youth pastor.  At first glace, on the tiny screen, I wasn't quite sure what I was looking at.  Then I looked more closely and saw an apple.  I got on my computer so that I could see the picture a bit bigger and saw an incredible site.

Photo

Now, take a moment to really look at this picture.  Rob and his son, Noah, were chopping some wood that day, and when they chopped through one piece, they came across this.  Beautiful.

My initial, gut reaction, was of course, "Wow."  And I thought, you know, God's just showing Rob how pleased He is with his life.  Rob and wife Kim just moved from Eureka, Illinois, to Rice Lake, Wisconsin to plant a church (and all my church planting friends say, "Awesome!")  This is a couple that truly impacted my teenage years, and as if that investment were monetary stock…I feel like I'm reaping the millionaire rewards of their investment.  They've raised this incredible family of kids that love Jesus and seem to make great life choices (their daughter went to our alma mater for college, after all).  Rob always taught us about faith, big faith, and taking big risks.  He always talked about taking big risks. I'm definitely not surprised to know that he moved to Rice Lake to plant a church. :-) 

Back to the picture-I immediately thought, "Rob, God wants to remind you that you're the apple of His eye…in the center of His heart!"  What a picture!

I was in a group of friends the next day and was sharing this picture and story with them-the picture alone is just really cool, but the thoughts behind are just a beautiful and even more meaningful.  As I was talking about it, one of my friends said, "Kim, you are so excited about this!  It's almost like God did that for you more than for your friend!  You're talking about His words and thoughts…"…basically she went on to say that I was talking about it as I was sensing the Lord wooing my heart.  As if He really did do that just for me.

All of a sudden I realized that my heart was beating fast and that I had that same sense about me as when I talk about an amazing man in my life, that I would not mind sitting next to on a couch for the rest of my life. :-)  God is really wooing my heart and I love it!  He even allowed me to experience this super cool piece of wood that He created…HIS CREATION calls out to me.  So precious. 

I love this picture quite a bit.  It reminds me…I need the reminder.  It's my new wallpaper and screensaver on my phone, so that every time I go to use my phone I am reminded of just how much God likes me.  I am the apple of His eye.  I'm His favorite.  I'm centered in His heart and He delights in me, no matter how many times I screw up.

"Keep me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings." Psalm 17.8