Monday, April 15, 2013

Chocolate Love

"No matter how wonderful a taste of relational fullness you have, you will want 

more... Eve is a  bottomless well of longing.  Jesus alone is the never-ending fount, 

which can slake her thirst.  No other source, no other relationship will fully satisfy.  

God made us that way.  On purpose." 

-John & Stasi Eldredge, Captivating

Chocolate Love

Imagine that you had never tasted chocolate before.  Imagine that you did not even know it existed.  And then one day, someone said, "Hey! Would you like some chocolate?!" I would think that you may at first be hesitant to try something that you had never tasted before, let alone even heard of!  Cautiously, you put out the palm of your hand and receive a piece of chocolate.  You may ask, "What does it taste like?"  Your friend says, "Just trust's delicious."

Still not convinced, you place the piece of chocolate into your mouth.  Now, (if you're like me), you supernaturally begin to hear the angels singing the Hallelujah chorus, a NASCAR stadium cheering loudly, a July 4th fireworks show, and behold, your tongue was just introduced to the outer realm of heaven.  Once you tasted it once, you could potentially binge on it.  (especially dark chocolate! nom nom...)

I've been talking a lot about relationships lately.  And, well, here I go again.  I can't help it.  God is doing something and I want you to know about it.

I love the family God gave me to.  They're wild and funny.  They are farmers, four wheel riders, cinnamon roll makers, board game players, and fall harvest party extraordinaires.  They're close knit and rely heavily upon each other for help in child-rearing, chicken-butchering, and cutting wood for winter.  And like most families, they. are. dysfunctional.  They also have no sense of what healthy boundaries are.

My mom and I fought literally almost every day of my time at home.  (not exaggerating)  Hating each other was just what we knew.  My dad worked 60-70+ hours a week.  It was his way of avoiding the domestic chaos.  My heart learned to hide.  Hiding kept me safe.  (or so I thought...)  After all, no one can trample a heart, (or love it), that has coated itself in concrete walls with barbed wire coiled on top.

As my process in counseling continues, I've learned how to chip at that concrete and expose my heart very carefully and slowly to safe people in my life.  

However, this part of it makes me feel extremely needy.  Just like someone who has tasted chocolate for the first time, my heart senses safe, sees healthy, and feels cherished for the first time in a long time.  And once you've had good chocolate, you want more...and more...and more.  Praise God for loving me enough to place additional family, healthy people in my life who are cautious and tender with my heart.  I feel like I should be careful.  Don't eat too much, Kayla...they're not going anywhere.

Like most female humans, I often feel that my heart is seriously waaaay too much to handle.  Shoot, it's too much for ME to handle, let alone for someone else!  Just like John & Stasi write in the quote above, we are "bottomless wells of longing"...and only Jesus is going to ever fully fill us.  He made us this way because He is the one who wants that place in our life.

Currently, I'm navigating... navigating this seemingly increasing neediness, my worth, my place in this city, my future, and growing with Jesus. What part of me does Jesus fill?  What part of me do people fill?  Every time I feel like I get a little closer to figuring out who I am, I quickly find myself reevaluating it.

Anyone else relate to this stuff, or am I confusingly rambling?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

relationships, forgiveness, boundaries, parents, love, thankfulness

Today at North Point Church, they began a series entitled "Once Upon A Time".  I saw it last night on their Facebook page and I really had a tugging toward it, so I obeyed and went.  Pastor Jeremy talked about relationships that can be toxic in our lives (maybe you're the toxic one...) and how to handle them in a Godly and biblical way.  He spoke on the parable of the prodigal son.

I'd like to share with you some of the points that Pastor Jeremy gave us:

"A toxic person is not someone who annoys you, it is someone who hurts you."

1. Accept my limitations.  I am NOT God!  I cannot control others' choices! I am ONLY responsible for me.  Do not let your life be guilted or controlled by others.

Some people talk about "loving" their toxic person and many times "loving" them means letting go.  Pastor Jeremy said, "If you hug a porcupine, you are going to become a pin cushion."

2. Eliminate all bitterness. Forgive.

Forgiveness has 2 phases:
1) Forgiveness of the offense to God.
2) Forgiveness to the person requesting it.

**NEVER offer forgiveness to the person who doesn't ask for it.***
^Your forgiveness of the offense is first and foremost given to God, so the offender does not need to ask for your forgiveness for you to be healed from the offense.

3. Establish clear boundaries.  If you can't change their actions, change your reactions! Stop letting people hurt you.  STICK TO YOUR BOUNDARIES! They will be tested by the toxic person.  Toxic people flip out when boundaries are installed.  Do not allow yourself to be manipulated.

4. Allow boundaries to create brokenness.  The person who is toxic may call you unspiritual because of your boundaries, but boundaries can be the MOST spiritual thing that you do for a toxic person and yourself.

5. Be quick to forgive.  It is impossible to dish out more forgiveness than you've received.  The goal of establishing boundaries is to bring reconciliation.

The prodigal son's father set boundaries with him, out of love.  He allowed his son to leave and he gave him his inheritance.  And his son left.  But the father did not give up on him.  He waited and he watched and when he saw him returning from afar, he ran up to meet him and greet him and clothe him and feed him.  The son was broken over his choices, and it drove him to return to his father.

Right now, I have very strict boundaries set with my family and relatives.  And they have their opinions on my boundaries for sure.  They feel as if I am withdrawing, removing, separating, and distancing myself from them.  (This is actually true.)  They believe I am doing it because I hate them. (This is not true.)  But, after many years, I began to see the cycle of abuse.  I refuse to be hurt by them any longer.  My heart is my responsibility to guard.  And, I am capable of turning away from harmful things.  I am capable to turn away from it because regardless of their choices to change in the future, I am going to be okay without them.

Being free from toxic relationships allows healthy relationships to form in your life.  For months and months, I prayed that God would bring a father and mother into my life.  The kind who are willing to let me be their child and encourage my strengths and help me with my weaknesses.  The kind who understand boundaries and help me build my own.  Parents who long to hear about my day and what I envision for my future.  The kind who confront me when I'm doing something wrong and can point me in a better way.  Parents who don't quit being parents.  Parents who want me to be with them because they enjoy me.  Parents who like hugs and laughing and talking.

God has answered this in a beautiful way, and I am so thankful.  I love my mom and dad, and I pray that one day reconciliation happens.  But until then, I'm not going to wait to be their kid when other people are asking to be my parents.  Because I need a mom and dad.  Everyone does.

Thank you, God for toxic relationships.  They show me how beautiful healthy ones are.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

the opposite sex

Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, by the gazelles and wild deer, not to awaken love until the time is right. (Song of Songs 3:5 NLT)

Dating. Kissing. Marriage. Sex. Babies.

In that order, please. Come to me, husband.

Have you ever read the Song of Songs? Wow, it's pretty hot. I mean, who thought Solomon could write this and get away with it in THE BIBLE (!!!) :

"Your thighs shelter a paradise of pomegranates with rare spices— henna with nard..." Song of Songs 4:13

-at which the young woman responds:

"...Blow on my garden and spread its fragrance all around. Come into your garden, my love; taste its finest fruits." Song of Songs 4:16

Ummm, I'm no theologian, but I'm not sure I need my expository to figure out what they're telling each other. ...if ya know what I mean.

Let's get real. I'm 24 years old. We're supposed to be in our prime!! Where are all the good men? (I know that sounds cliche, but for reals...)

Bottom line is that, I'm waiting. I've actually been waiting. ...and waiting. And I guess I'll keep waiting. (It's not like there's actually anything I can do about the matter except...well, wait it out.)

I pray that whoever the Lord has designated to be blessed by me (sarcasm...), will come along in the right time. There is still much healing that my heart needs. And God has gently reminded me of that.

I want a dynamic marriage. I want to marry my best friend. I don't want perfection, I want someone to do life with. And life gets messy. And pasts are messy. My past is messy. I can love regardless. I want a man of God who loves deeply and leads valiantly and pursues diligently. I want to be a wife who walks beside him, loves him, and submits honorably. And I want to be a Mom that he has envisioned for his children, a mom to my kids and kids birthed by others...

I'll wait for that. And I trust that married life will be as hot as Solomon and his lover write about in the Song of Songs.

Here's to us, single people!

You're legit. Worth waiting for. You're gorgeous. You're handsome. You're hot. Your value is way more than rubies. And you have a LOT to offer the opposite sex someday.

Press on!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

is love enough?

James 1:22-27
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

I have read the book of James many times over my life.  But as we know well, the Word of God is alive and sharper than a two edged sword and often it carves a new creation on our hearts. 

This morning, I was reading and seeking God's voice.  I skipped church because I just didn't feel like fighting with snow and my warm bed was too comfy to leave.

As I read this passage in James, I had to really ask myself some questions.  First, "Do I do what God's word says to do?"  "Do I control my tongue?"  "Do I really care for orphans and widows in their distress?"

My heart is good and intentional, but my arms and legs (and tongue and wallet) often fall short.  For the last couple of weeks, I have been caught up in the grace of God.  But I have to ask myself this morning, "Am I placing bets on grace?  Can't grace just carry me on?"

I'm not religious, and I'm not legalistic.  But, am I truly living like Jesus asks me to?

I drink alcohol (often), I use cuss words, and I listen to "Thrift Shop" by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.  I got a tattoo and intend on getting more.  I don't pay tithes (honest) and I skip church... often.  I talk a lot about caring for the orphans.  I wrestle in sin and it usually wins.

But, I love.  I love deeply.  Is that enough?  

It's not.  

James 2:20, "Can't you see that faith without good deeds is useless?"

I know it's not about works,'s about works.

Eh.  I have questions.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

scandalous grace

do you struggle with the concept of grace?

do you wrestle with the belief that God holds the balance of grace and justice in perfect harmony?

do you accept His grace?

do you believe He longs to bestow it upon you?

When I chose to open my eyes and gaze into the ugly of my sin, I became fully aware of how unworthy I am to be a recipient of God's grace.  because grace is for those who sin "little" sins.  grace is for those who tell "white lies" and quietly mutter disdain under their breath.  grace is only for those who are worthy of receiving it.  grace is for those who don't return to their sin.  grace is for the perfect.  

if I am aware of my shortcomings, how much more is God aware of my failings.  how can a God who is whole and holy and worthy and perfect possibly give such a sinner His graciousness.

it is hard for me not to view God watching me in disgust.  looking down from the beauty that is Heaven and shaking His head at my ridiculousness.  I anticipate that He will open His mouth and spew judgment on my mind of wrath and heart of resistance.  the Bible speaks of Him both as grace-giving and a judge.

is it possible for me to know which stance He will take with me?  how does He view me? is He disappointed in me?

Romans 2:6, "He will judge everyone according to what they have done."
Ephesians 1:6, "So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son."

which is it?  because much like Paul, I find that even though in my deep I desire to do good, I so often do wrong.

I struggle with the concept of grace.  I wrestle with believing that God truly holds a perfect balance between grace and judgment.  I don't always accept grace.  I believe that God would rather pour out wrath of judgment on me than lavish me in grace.

grace is a scandalous thing.  

most incomprehensible.

what are your thoughts on the subject of grace?  what has God taught you throughout your journey?  do you wrestle with the same things I do?  have you grown in understanding of grace through your struggle?  if so, please share...

Friday, March 8, 2013


What a brilliant day.  The sun was shining warmly and flip flops donned my feet; time for pedicures again!


I was oddly excited for it this year.  twenty.three. was just a hard year.  I wrote a blog recently about this year being one of "recovery".  (You can visit it if you click on the link.)  In that blog, I spoke of my upcoming birthday and about how I was praying and believing that my twenty.fourth. year would be so much better than my twenty.third.

This day, I remembered where my heart was one year ago.  Let's just say that it was certainly not where it is today.  My heart was hurting so deeply that even I could not see the depth of the ache.  However, there were people in my life who recognized it and called it out.  Many of you have watched me top mountains to hopelessly land in valleys moments later.  Yet, you've loved me unconditionally.  Though my twenty.third. year was horrific in many ways, it was a year in which the Lord taught me of relentless love.

He has displayed it through you.

James 5:19-20 says, "My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins."

I declare that twenty.four. is going to be an amazing year.  While continuing in recovery, the Lord is stitching and healing and creating something beautiful.  Romans 8:28 tells me, "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God..."

I wish that I could express through words or gifts how much you mean to me.  There is simply not a word that defines the deep gratitude and love my heart feels for you and all that you've sacrificed to love me through.  There is not a gift that can show thankfulness for the late night talks, the hugs, the notes, the messages, the dinners, the coffees...

You know who you are.  Every day, I'm paying it forward.  Jesus in you.  Jesus in me.  This world will change.  Babies will be rescued.  Children will be set in families.  Hearts will turn toward the Savior.  The unloved will be loved.  The angry will find rest.  The stressed will find peace.  The hurting will find healing.

My twenty.fourth. will not be silent.

My twenty.fourth. will be resilient.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


I am such a sinner., seriously.


be careful if you think you are standing, because >BAM< you find yourself eating the concrete, searching for your glasses because you can't see anything, and your once white pants are soaked in the muddy puddle.

for me, it happens suddenly.  my hands will be in the air worshipping the God I claim as my own, and the next thing they're spelling words they shouldn't be.  sin is alluring.  sin is tempting.  sin is fun.  and in the moment, nothing matters except keeping the attention.

but afterward, you feel like shit about yourself.  because our hearts are not created to withstand what is harmful to us.  but often sin is placed in a form that makes it feel impossible to resist.

a tiny pinch of it begs us leaving for more and more and before long you've lost sight.  the glasses are nowhere to be found, and all sense of clarity in your mind has left you.  all that matters is the next hit of whatever makes you feel good, so you chase more of it.  and in your chase, something causes you to trip, and then you're crawling on the ground sucked into the irresistible.  the rest on the ground feels initially nice so you just stay awhile.

meanwhile, something weighted seems to be keeping you from moving as freely as before.  slightly panicked, you attempt to rise, only to realize you're pinned...and it's dark outside, the noises are not calming, and the ground is getting cooler.

stay with me...I'm just painting a picture of what happens to me when I dabble in the sin that so often entices me.

he is charming, and he is manipulative.

sin separates me from the God I reach out my hands to.  not because He doesn't love me, but because I've chosen darkness over light.  ...once again.

but I still walk through the church doors, and I shake the hand of the person beside me and I smile and I fool them.  I fool me.

I contemplate communion.  my hands don't deserve to touch it.  I am too unclean.  like a leper.  I should be confined to the outer walls of the city, unable to commune with people of God.  because I am a sinner.  unclean.

then Grace happens.  a scandalous thing it is.  Grace takes my leprous hands, places the bread and wine into them.  I push it away, "Don't you know what I've done..."  Grace nods His head and pushes the elements back into my grip.

I take you back.  I will always take you back.  Commune with me.  

The weights on the body loosen, Grace hands you back your sight, and helps you to your feet.

"Hang out with me..." Grace says, "Let me walk with you..."