Tag Archives: God

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

Summer Pep Talk for You and Me

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There is a saying that floats around Facebook.  You may have heard it from well-meaning women in grocery store check-out lines while your tribe is begging for all the impulse candy.  I know I hear it often in my head. 

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Oh! This saying creates a sense of panic in me.  What about you?  I start questioning my involvement, my intentions and my priorities.  Am I too caught up in the moment-to-moment emotions, homework and conflicts to see the good stuff in front of me?  Am I wishing my days would either smooth out or go by faster instead of soaking up that our house is great when it is noisy and crazy?  I know I have done both over the past 10.5 years of my mothering journey.  (I still can’t believe my first-born is 10.5 years old… how did that happen? I bet I blinked.  My Mom warned me not to!)

Mothering has changed me in ways I didn’t know it would.  It has built me up and broke me apart.  Being a mom has brought me closer to what truly matters to me.  I have gained a deeper relationship with my God, my self and my family.  It has granted me the sweetest moments of love, pure and true.  Each time one of my children holds my face in their sweaty little grip to kiss me gently or they give me eskimo kisses I feel that love.  And I have seen God in their love for each other.  Sure, they can fight to the death at times, but those fights are few compared to the countless times I have caught them doing right by one another.  They help one another, they stick up for one another and they go on great-caped adventures around our home together.  I have also seen God in their love of all creation.  During the times we slow down, we become grass-stained, freckle-faced and sun-kissed together.  Those days make mothering feel long in a good, carefree way.

The long and short of it is that someday we will swear all the carefree and stress-filled days went faster than we ever thought possible.  If only God would let us push pause, I know we all would.  Here is a glimpse of my paused world maybe you feel the same.  

~ I would pause to have the table full of clanking silverware, dropped napkins, spilled milk that floods everywhere to feel bliss.

~ I would pause to have full beds of the ones we love under the same roof each night to feel peace.

~ I would pause to be the one our children turn to no matter if it is a fly they know for sure is a “bee” or a scary dream that they need to be comforted from.

~ I would pause to be the short order cook/nutritionist who wants to raise healthy people.

~ I would pause to be the one that hugs when they bubble over for no good reason when hormones have started to wreck their bodies, minds and spirits.

~ I would pause to be the one that teaches them to find God in everything around them and in everyone they meet.

In the long and the short of our days, I am praying for you and I to fully sit in the brevity and choose to honor the moments we have been given.  God has chosen us to be a guide in our children’s lives. We point out the path and then let them lead the way.  They are to be our guide as well to bring us back to what truly matters.

Let your children guide you this summer and let’s all enjoy the days we are blessed with.

Remember – try not to blink!

Blessings and Peace to your families and YOU.

Kristin

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(This was originally shared with MOPS@2BC in May 2013.  I re-read it today, because after a crazy week with 2 rounds of antibiotics for major spider bite infections/pain/illness for Rhett and I, a small bathroom renovation, boys traveling for the week, usual wild week stuff plus Kaylee getting sick with the flu early today – – I really needed to be reminded that the days are long and the years are short… share on if you think others might need a reminder too.  Let’s be honest we all do.)

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.

BE A BLESSING!

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It all started when Ian went to Kindergarten in the fall of 2008. I would bubble up with all the remember to’s when he left me each day for school.

Remember to play nice.

Remember to use your listening ears.

Remember to be good.

Remember to share.

Remember to take care of yourself.

Remember to help friends who need help.

These don’t even cover the magnitude of what I thought I needed to remind him of each morning. It became quite a long speech. One day it hit me that he didn’t need a bullet point list on how to be at school. He had received that foundation. What he needed was encouragement and inspiration from his Momma. I thought long and hard about what to say in a quick, loving send off.

Be good – but it sounded like be better than others

Be the best – but it sounded like a lot of pressure for a 1st born/type A kiddo

Follow Instructions – but it sounded only rule focused and not creative or relational.

Then I started to learn more about God’s intentionality about each person being designed with a true gift and purpose. We are to use our individual giftedness to be a blessing to ourselves and others. It flipped a switch in my brain. A true EUREKA moment happened. I had found it. My blessing and sending off each time my kids headed to school or anywhere became…

BE A BLESSING!

In the morning now for years, I focus on each of them before they leave our home. Right after jackets and backpacks are on, I take them by the collar and look them right in the eye. I smile and say, “Be a Blessing!” No matter our morning. No matter how tense the time may have been. I bless them. It has become a Wooldridge Ritual. Even Amon surprised me when I was heading off to my seminary retreat in August. He took my by my shoulders and told me to Be a Blessing! It was the first time in over 4 years of blessing our children, that I was blessed before I headed out on a new journey. It felt GOOD! I felt like I was commissioned and blessed with love.

Even today as my three kids left for school, I pulled each of those yahoos by their collars and looked them in the eyes. I then happily sent them off with their blessing!

It is powerful.

It is intentional.

It is positive.

It is from love.

It is inspirational.

I pray for the them to do good, kind things to themselves and those they come in contact with. And that they can make choices that they can be proud of or at least learn from. Raising loving, positive kids should never be easy. It is all about constant choices, communication and pressure. But it is rewarding and amazing to witness their wings being developed. Man, oh, Man – – are they going to take off some day!

SO REMEMBER…

BE A BLESSING!

A little extra I had to share with you::

Today after Ian and Kaylee left the house. I turned my attention to the final details of getting Rhett out the door. I heard the back door open and I wasn’t surprised to hear MOM yelled. It happens often…

Someone forgot a coat

Someone forgot a permission slip

Someone forgot a lunch

Someone forgot a library book

Someone forgot their glasses (usually this one)

I came quickly back into the kitchen to see Ian beaming. Then he started to repeatedly and loudly chant to me.

BE A BLESSING!

B E A BLESSING!

BE A BLESSING!

B E A BLESSING!

What a great chant to start my day! I am blessed beyond measure.

Praying that each of us can B E A BLESSING to those in our lives.

(Thank you for your grace and support as I have been absent from blogging. I am praying to be more intentional. It helps me express my thoughts and I hope it provides encouragement to you as your read. Thank you again for your support. I count each of you who read this as blessings in my life. BE A BLESSING!)

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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??