Tag Archives: faith

Faithful-Child Looking {In from the Outside} as a Lost Twenty-something – A Reflection

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Cars go past building after building — zipping toward their next destination.

A set schedule must be kept to succeed.

No time to take in all that is around them.

Can’t lose time or slow down.

The cars are not driving on their own.  The driver is making decisions on the route and pace.  There are places to be and things to do.  Life is a blur.  Only living on the surface and never stopping to see that life could be different.  Zipping and zooming – while weeks lead to months, than to years.  Calendars full of where they feel they must be with no time carved out for what was important in their youth.  They may deny nature, church and God, because they feel they are connected enough but by self-imposed limits and religion is complicated.  For a decade, I was this kind of driver.

Zipping & Zooming

But when I was a child; nature, church and God were my only focus.  I was constantly outside amazed by God’s design from the fuzz on caterpillars to the way my body could cartwheel.  I was blessed to be part of a community where children and adults always asked where people went to church and it was a sign of community and not exclusiveness.  God was the cornerstone of all my interactions.  Time was spent in prayer in communion with nature and community.

Then my twenties were a decade of independence.  I had grown-up and changed.  I wasn’t a little girl anymore twirling outside on the farm.  I didn’t know how to have a relationship with God.  I felt that I could not rely on God as if my life depended on it.  I felt that I had a lot of control in what happened in my life and I could decide if I wanted to succeed.  If I had the determination and worked hard, I could succeed at anything and be anyone I wanted.  I was one of those drivers who zipped and zoomed.  I rarely slowed down.  I was oblivious to the lessons of my youth.  I was in denial of how important my relationship with God needed to be. With that said I wasn’t searching for the rhythm of God that surrounded me and that was beating within me.  I even felt that nature would always be there.  I didn’t realize I needed nature to center myself to God.  If I wasn’t busy and plugged in to the greater world, I wasn’t making the right choices to succeed.  Yet I wasn’t happy.  I was left yearning for something that I couldn’t fulfill.

Looking back I wasn’t the only one zipping and zooming.  I was conditioned to be oblivious and it wasn’t just in my personal life.  When I was at work, God was off of the table.  Even though I know the sales force and leadership secretly prayed that the market would improve and deals would be made.  My work-life became segmented like my personal life.  This increased my need for control and being self-made.  No reliance on anyone, but me.  I didn’t let God in, because I avoided deeply trusting, building new relationships or expressing my faith openly.  I wanted to be enough on my own, but I craved more.

I kept God in the Sunday morning box I was used too.  Since I was on my own; church became optional.  I didn’t know God had created me to live fully within community.  I denied what I craved.  I didn’t know if a boxed-God was going to accept me anymore.  I felt I was calling, “Hello? Hello? Anybody there?”  I didn’t know if I could belong to a communal life where I could rely on God and others to teach, engage and love me.  Relying on God to find a faith community that could help me understand the world around me seemed overwhelming.  How could I be accepted?  Could I just decide to start over my own way with God?  Would God have me even if I didn’t fit in the box any longer?

I stopped zipping and zooming, when all my questions started in my late twenties.  By listening to the rhythm of my heart, I drew closer to God and continue to seek.  I started answering my heart’s true desires.  I slowed down and spent lots of time in prayer.  I would listen to anyone who would share their faith story and show me that God could accept me and the box was my own to destroy.  That helped me to start looking for my own faith community where I could challenge and celebrate my relationship with God.  I am no longer that child from my youth or that self-absorbed, success-oriented twenty-something.  And the world doesn’t look like the one I used to know so well.  It took some time, but I figured out that the risk was worth identifying myself as a Christian who is still an open-minded, free-thinker who wants to serve God by loving others.  The work hasn’t been easy and the struggles are still real.  I feel God has reassured me that I am here to love and lead.

I started to see the connectivity of God and all the creation around me.  Churches need to be a place where weary zippers and zoomers can seek comfort, love and community.  And that they can find their way back to God.  There is risk in slowing down and vulnerability in stepping outside what is considered normal.  It is counter-culture to  live fully in the dependence of God.  I feel that our role as God’s people is to create kind, loving and supportive communities that are an extension of what matters.  God’s people not the type of man made religion they practice.  I believe churches can flourish in the future, it the God they have boxed-in is able to be freed from the constraints placed by others so that true community can be extended.

Praying we all can find the community God calls us to create and live into even if it means slowing down.

Would love to hear if this piece resonates with you and your story.  Hoping it touches many.

{This piece was written as a response to the decline of the church for my course, Writing for Effect – – Central Baptist Theological Seminary – Spring 2013}

Free Image Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d1/Clevedon_MMB_99_M5.jpg

Ah… February…

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February is my crossroads month

February is my crossroads month

 

 

Usually around February my known world gets shook up. Here is the run down on my significant Februarys.

February 1998: I was selected as a new sales employee for Fred Pryor Seminars, a training company. I didn’t graduate until May, but they were willing to wait for me to finish and join the team. This plan allowed the usual senior job crisis to not effect me. I truly loved my capstone classes and time with my friends. The fact I was joining an organization that was based on life-long learning was an amazing step.

February 2003: I had been home for five of my twelve weeks of maternity leave with Ian. I crunched numbers and prayed. We decided that with my previous schedule and Amon’s new work travel each month, I needed to be home. I felt like I was betraying my wonderful boss and all my faithful clients in exchange for the unknown, spit up and no sleep. How we were going to pull off this big, unplanned for step was intimidating. (I guess we pulled it off… it has been 10 years as of 2/4/13)

February 2007: I gave in and we purchased a one-year old orange mini-van and added our then two car seats. (Ian was 5 and Kaylee was 2.5) I knew that day our van, our home and our hearts needed another Wooldridge. More praying and listening. Rhett was born June 2009 and helped fill our mini-van, home and hearts in unmeasurable ways.

February 2010: I did my best to support my dear friend during her loss and my mom as she faced chemotherapy for breast cancer. I became a basket case. I had major times of doubt and questioned my faith in the same moment, I prayed for God to be with those I loved dearly. Now my friend and mom are my biggest cheerleaders to this day.

February 2012: I felt like God was putting many different encouraging voices in my path that guided, nudged and urged me to apply for the CREATE Masters of Divinity program at Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Shawnee, KS. More praying, worrying and doubting flooded my days. I pushed through it and applied even though I was terrified. I know my steps were guided and I was accepted to the fully scholar-shipped program.

February 2013: In two more class I will have finished my first of three years for my masters. Balance, commitment, and family are the three guides for my life now. It is fulfilling, challenging and divine. And completely unexpected. It keeps working out.

I didn’t know how it would work out each February, but looking back it speaks volumes to believing God will provide a path for me. My heart always leaps a little for February and I hope it always does. I hope you can find your month of calling and for you to see you have already been guided divinely or will be soon.

Love and Blessings to you and your families.

Kristin

PS – I felt compelled to share this note with you.  I wrote it for the MOPS@2BC February 2013 newsletter.  I hope if you read it earlier, you can feel a clearer stirring of your own month.

Unexpected Talent

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My daughter has asked me to teach her how to whistle no less than a million times in her short 6 years of life.  No, I didn’t keep track but it feels like a million.  Do you realize it is actually hard to teach someone (especially a determined child) to whistle?  I would say how, I would show her how and then I would whistle.  That would anger her and her blood would boil.  “Mom it isn’t that easy.  Why can’t I just do that,” was her constant reply.

Her determination was partly from her plight of being the second born.  She loves doing anything her older brother can’t or hasn’t even tried yet.  She loves competition.  (as long as she has forecasted the odds in her favor)  So many sessions have been spent on whistling with no change, no luck and lots of spit.  Just watching her was entertainment enough sometimes.

She recently stopped asking, which was sad.  I knew she had given up on her dream.  But to both our surprise this morning she came into the kitchen beaming.  She asked me to stop making lunches and listen.  She then went into a continuous whistling fest.

She then declared, “I know what has been holding me back all this time mom from whistling.”  I then asked her what it was.  She said, “Losing all my teeth was the best thing ever because I can finally whistle!”

Then the rest of my morning, I fought the urge to not ask her to stop whistling!!!

It makes me wonder what physical attribute we have that we consider a road block…  And the exhilaration if we could change it.

I am excited that she can whistle since she is toothless, but part of me also wishes it gets a little hard again when her teeth return! 🙂

Hearing Voices…

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Do you now think I am a little crazy for hearing voices?  Well if you know me you already would say that I am. 🙂  I am crazy for my God, my family and others in my life.

But lately I’ve been taking a lot of time to think about this venue (i.e. blogging)  It really is a personal journey of stretching and exposing what I really think and how I feel.  It is not private though… it is “out there”.  My goal is to be transparent and real.

WHO DOES THIS?  I am starting to think I am in the minority.  But I know that I am drawn to sharing on this blog to help others.  I have received quite a few private messages on how I have helped someone or that I helped them reframe their way of thinking.  Some have even said they are trying to be more boldly blessed as well.  And I get encouragement to continue and I have even been asked in the past week where my posts are and when I am going to get back to it.  (thanks to my cheerleaders)

It is in my head!  But not online.  I have had that negative churning voice of self-doubt creep in.  I WANT TO SHAKE IT!  …who am I to write this way… no one else is doing this… are you sure you are in the right place to do this… what do people really think…  and you guessed it … this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Even last Sunday from the pulpit, my church youth pastor was preaching on the importance of listening.  And he feels like social networking is a cry to be heard and understood.  He even said that blogging is a cry for people to be heard.  OUCH!  It has taken 4 days and this isn’t a personal sting anymore but it did give supporting evidence to my “voices”.  And it helped in the halt of me posting.  It gave power to the “voices”, which was not needed.

But then today on my “quiet day” (all 3 kids are in school), I was exceptionally grateful for God’s understanding and provision.  So, I went to my ipod and the first song that came up was about voices in my head.  NO Joke!

Mark Schultz – You are a Child of Mine lyrics — read if you want… or listen here… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExLouwVF4Q4

I’ve been hearing voices
Telling me that I could
Never be what I wanna be.
They’re binding me with lies,
Haunting me at night,
And saying there’s nothing to believe.
Somewhere in the quietness,
When I’m overcome with loneliness,
I hear You call my name.
And like a father You are near
And as I listen I can hear You say

Chorus:
You are a child of Mine
Born of My own design
And you bear the heart of life.
No matter where you go,
Oh, you will always know
You have been made free in Christ.
You are a child of Mine

And so I listen as You tell me who I am
And who it is I’m gonna be .
And I hang on every word,
Knowing I have heard
I am Yours and I am free
But when I am alone at night
That is when I hear the lie
You’ll never be enough
And though I’m giving into fear
If I listen I can hear You say

WOW!!!!!  That was what I needed.  Then I listened to this song cranked up sooooo loud and I was belting it out!

That chorus in bold gets me… I am a child of His born of His own design.  If I feel called to share and use this venue that I will be qualified to use it as it needs to be used.

I am going to work on letting the voices fade away.  I am going to keep on the path of being transparent and bold to encourage others to be as well.

Lost my way for a bit…

BUT I am a child of His own design and I won’t be stopped!  WILL YOU??

Worry, Anxiety, Stress = Life?

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From time to time I go the dark, low, ugly place of worry, anxiety, and stress.  Thankfully, I don’t live with it all the time but it does seep in.  It reminds me of the dementors from Harry Potter.  It just seeps in and takes over.

Worry, anxiety and stress are a response of my brain when I start “what if-ing”.  Do you suffer from spinning “what if’s”?  It is awful and spiraling at times.

You may not, but here is what can happen in less than a minute in my head.

Using the previous post this week on bullying:  GO

> what if it was too soon to talk to the teacher?

> what if it was too late to talk to the teacher?

> what if the teacher thinks we could have handled it differently?

> what if the “talk”she mediates between the two boys is awful?

> what if the things were bad before and now they will be worse?

> what if the other boys gets mad and gets others to be mad at my son?

> what if this changes my son?

> what if I advise him incorrectly?

Ok, see and that was just a minute.  What if I typed faster? (yikes that was a true wonder not worry question)  And now since I have listed those what if’s they are even harder to silence.  So why share them on here and with you??  Well we all have these plaguing what if’s.  You can’t deny it.

I probably what if off and on all the time, but when I change-up the order of worry, anxiety, and stress, I see the word saw.  Saw?  Yep, saw!  This word makes me think of God.  Not following?  Let me explain.  God saw what has happened, he will see what will happen and he has already saw the outcome of it.  Nothing I can guess will change the outcome.  I need to see Him in the situation.

See “saw” can be a helpful word.  What a great little word to help get rid of the “ifs”.  I know that God has a plan even during this issue at school and that it won’t be the last.  I am not going to turn a blind’s eye to the issue but I am going to pray and put trust in God that he will provide me with the right words and encouragement for my son.

This week I have had a stalker.  Not in a scary way. (that is a story for another day)  No, Psalm 139 won’t leave me alone and I know it is no coincidence.  It was in my Sunday School class lesson, part of two devotionals I have read this week, an article from an old magazine I found, I heard part of it on the radio, it is part of Veggitales and today it was the additional reading to my Jesus Calling reading.

I hear you God.  I get it!!!! (well I am trying to get it)

I love all of Psalm 139, so I am glad it has weaved its way through my week.  But to help me get past my human nature of what if’s I would like to share the last two verses.  Maybe they will help you too.

23 -Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24-See if there is any offensive ways in me and lead me in the way of everlasting.

Try to break your what if-ing.  It may just make you go crazy if we don’t.  I know I don’t what if on positive events.  Only the unknown and perceived negative ones.  I need to trust more.

Prayers for both you and I as we get past the what ifs!!

All of Psalm 139 if you are interested:

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+139&version=NIV

Significant… a reflection on 9-11

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It has been since September 2nd, since I have posted here.  Pure neglect.  My head was overtaken by motherhood and ongoing thoughts and to do’s for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers).  At first I was a little disappointed that I didn’t make a whole 30 days straight to blog daily.  But I know that is crazy to be so hard on myself.  And that to blog again it needed to be significant…

What is significant is what called me back to post again.  Significant because today is such a hard day of remembering as an American.  I was 25 on 9-11.  A girl by all means.  Sure I was college educated, home owner, working, and married, but when 9-11 happened I was lost like so many.  My big view of being invincible came crashing down around me as those towers crashed and planes fell from the sky.

Like most I vividly remember all that day and for Amon and I our 9-11 story started a few days before.  We returned from a 5 day escape to NOLA (New Orleans) on 9/8.  We had a great time as a young married couple in an amazing city that was pre-Katrina.  It was almost magical except for Amon’s 102 fever right before we left.  Then on 9/10, we returned to work.  My sweet, hard-working yet not currently billable to a big client was asked to turn in his laptop because he was part of a large downsizing at his internationally known consulting firm.  What a blow.  And we thought that was a big and a bad day.

But when I was evacuated on 9-11 from the downtown core due to being close to the new Charles Evans Whittaker Federal Courthouse (named after my great-uncle but that is for another day), I was heading to my Amon.  As I pulled into our 1 car, 2 beds, 1 bath sweet, post WWII Prairie Village house, I knew he was waiting for me.  He received me with his hug and we cried together for hours in front of our t.v.

What I am thankful for that day is that he was already there waiting for me.  Also for what he said that day will always be in my heart.

We had been married for 3 years but had been together as a couple for 6 and were toying with the idea of starting a family God willing.  But on 9-11 I told him in no uncertain terms while sobbing the ugly cry, “That too much is wrong with this world and we shouldn’t ever have children.”

I was pretty adamant and lost.  He took me and hugged me and said to me that isn’t what God wants.  Even with all this tragedy, we have to live on and bring joy into this world.  Or we really have let the enemy win because they have stopped us from dreaming and living.  I cried so hard and knew deep down he was right.

On December 25, 2002 God fulfilled our dream of starting a family.  What a gift and blessing our son has been to us each day.  And when I think of 9-11 I am so thankful that my husband’s faith was strong when mine was lost.

My prayers go to the families and friends who lost thier loved ones so abruptly and tradgicly and to our nation as we remember to live on in honor of them.  God Bless the United States of America.

~~~~~~~~~~

Don’t let darkness keep you from dreaming and loving.  Your light can shine through any darkness and by shining you light the path for others to follow.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (NIV)

Popular vs. Me

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Yikes!  I just found a crazy quote about blogging and the internet.  Here goes: “The internet is like high school, you have to consistently put out to be popular”.  At first this made me laugh.  Because this was not me at all in high school.  I was called a prude by boyfriends.  I just knew that I wanted to graduate and not get pregnant.  I figured by not I would definitely graduate and not be a mom at the same time.  Goal achieved.  However I was broken up with and treated poorly.  But what is that saying, “what doesn’t kill makes you stronger”.  Of course at the time, I second guessed myself all the time for not giving in.  What does this have to do with blogging?

Well, since my blog is picking up steam it makes me wonder what other blogs are like and how to get my blog read.  Which is strange, since 3 weeks ago I didn’t care at all about blogs what so ever.  I started this as a place to stretch myself personally and be more real.  Real in life, real in faith and be more of mindful of my gifts.  Possibly to help others stretch and grow too.  And the funny part is I am trying really hard to be consistent.  Sure my posts may be all over the place.  Faith based, woman based, and family based.  But I am just writing each day from what comes from deep within.  Maybe I should analyze more about what I should blog or say, but I am more of fly by the seat of my pants kind of blogger.  I don’t want to be considered just a “mom blogger”.  I hope I have more to say to a broader group then moms.  I am here as a woman of God saying I want to live my life loved and be mindful of the gifts God has given me.  And encourage others!  I am trying to meet my goal of posting every day for 30 days and so far I have been pretty consistent.

I do wonder where this might all lead.  I have received many emails, comments, Facebook posts and had real conversations that my posts are insightful, funny and helping people.  I pray they are those things for as long as I do this.

I promise to do my best to “put out consistently” when it comes to this blog.  Please share it along with your friends and maybe we can cause a ripple effect of other people being more of themselves, living with grace and giving it and also for each of us to be more inclusive.

A couple of you have wanted to know how to share this blog, well if you had seasoned blog veteran writing this than she would have added a “share” button weeks ago.  But alas you have me.  I am as green as green can be.  I added the “share” button for Facebook today on all my posts.  Please feel free to “share” my thoughts and ramblings.  I hope it helps others stretch.  I would love to be blessed with more readers.  But I know that who is reading is finding me consistently here at www.boldlyblessed.wordpress.com and that is all that matters.