My Test is my Testimony

A testimony is an awesome way to share how Christ has gotten you to where you are in your life. I had the opportunity tonight to share mine with a girlfriend and thought it would be worth writing down.

I was raised by Christian parents who had my brother and I in church on Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, Wednesday evenings and actively involved in youth group on the weekends. I was raised knowing that this was an essential part of my life and my future. When I got to high school, I made the boyfriend in my life my god and without realizing it, in college they were the idol that ran my whole world. While I was in college, I found that my life was pretty good and on the right track just how it was going, so I continued to put the Lord on the back burner and live my life the way I wanted to.

When I wasn’t with my boyfriend, or getting drunk with my sorority sisters, I felt lost. I had the dream of getting into nursing school, and after 3 years of trying my hardest, I had to let the dream go and find another focus that would get my out of college with a degree without accruing too much extra unexpected student loans. I graduated one semester later than planned, with a wonderful man in my life. I went to Africa to teach English for 6 weeks, found a job as soon as I got home and have been in IT sales since.

Slowly after returning stateside, the Lord started working on me. I started seeing things I had always ignored in a different light. Like that my boyfriend wasn’t a Christian and wouldn’t go to church with me on the rare occasions that I attended. This started to slowly eat at me, and other things came into focus. I have always wanted a husband and a family. This boyfriend and I had always discussed the possibilities of a family, and had always been on the same page, but now in this new light when it was mentioned, we didn’t seem to even be speaking the same language. Ultimately, less then 2 years later, I ended the relationship because we were not on the same page when it came to families or faith. These were 2 things that I was never going to be willing to give up. I was going to marry a Christian man who would be a strong leader, and would share my desire to have a family and babies.

8 days later I booked my moving truck to get me to my fresh start in Austin, TX. God has been working in my life every day since, and I have been working hard to not ignore Him. When I look at all of the things that He kept me from, and all the amazing things that have occurred because of His hand on my life, there is no one that deserves the credit more than Him. God has opened doors and closed windows to give me the life that I have never dreamed of. He put me into a house that I could barely afford by giving me the loan officer that fought for me and got incredibly creative every step of the way. He has given me a women’s Bible Study that keep me focused on my goals and are incredible examples of the Christian woman that I strive to be every day. He has blessed me with a family that has loved me through all of the messes that I’ve learned to get through. He reminds me of the things that I will not give up and keeps me focused on the plan that He has laid out for me. He answers my prayers and is with me every step of the way.

I only have this life because God has provided every piece of it to me. He deservers every ounce of recognition and praise because I am only where I am because of Him. He leads me despite all of my poor choices, and mistakes, not in spite of them. God is so good every single day and the future will be full of blessings and challenges that continue to allow me to grow and further pursue Him.

Your test will become your testimony and your mess your message. ❤

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Dating the Lord

God help me to be fully satisfied in you. The idea that I need to be in a relationship needs to be removed from me because ultimately I’m in a relationship with you God. I want to be fully 100% satisfied in you and at peace with the plan that you have prepared for me. Amen. 
The scariest part about asking the Lord to make me fully satisfied in Him, is that I’m also asking for peace if that means I’m called to be single for the rest of my life. I totally understand that you’re thinking “that’s a little extreme” but hear me out. We’re all called to be and to do something. While I have felt that I was called to be a wife and a mother my entire life, the Lord may not actually be calling me to be that. He could be calling me to be something different. Even though I’ve always dreamed of being a wife, ultimately He may not call me to fulfill that roll. I’m asking for grace in accepting that the Lord is fully in control, even when that brings me to my knees in emotions. 
Paul Enns said “Grace may be defined as the unmerited or undeserving favor of God of those who are under condemnation.” 
When it comes to dating and relationships, I have thought that I knew better than God. That the relationships I was in, or men I was waiting on, were the right fit at that moment. But the crazy thing is, I have never been pursued by men the way I’ve pursued them. The way that I want and deserve to be pursued. But the Lord pursues me daily! 
Hannah Kerr as a song right now where the lyrics make me feel infinitely better. 

“Every scar on my skin 

Is a beautiful reminder

Of a moment when I didn’t give in 

And I walked through fire
Cuz in the dark there is a light 

A truth that keeps on burning bright

Makes me brave to fight the fight

And shout the battle cry 
Don’t ever stop me I’m a warrior

When I fall down I get stronger

Faith is my shield your love is the armor

I’m a warrior”
I would rather be completely and wholly content with being alone than go down another path where I’m going to be questioning every day where we stand. Relationships shouldn’t be that confusing and complicated. They should be exciting, and fun! While I’m anxious for that next chapter, I’m trying really hard to enjoy each coming day and let God take me down the paths that He chooses to send me down. 

Let go and let God. No matter how many times I tell myself that, it’s easier said than done. 

Know Your Worth

It took me many many years to figure out my worth. I dated a lot of men and thought that they would be able to help me define it, but honestly it made it more challenging and made me feel like I was worth less, not more. I also dated a lot to fill whatever hole of loneliness that I needed patched.

Knowing your worth is a challenge. But once it’s found, the thought of losing it is unimaginable. I can’t imagine losing what I’ve won. I’m so proud to be where I am and proud to know what I’m worth.

Dating is a time in life when many of my girlfriends, like my old self, lose that. They think that it’s more important to have a significant other who maybe doesn’t respect them, or won’t commit after months is okay because they aren’t alone.

Girlfriend! You are worth more than that. Being single is a phenomenal time to learn about yourself and make that your prime investment. Take up a new skill, or learn to bake something besides slice and bake cookies. Find a foundation you’re passionate about and get involved. Redecorate your house or get a side job. But never forget that you don’t need a man.

I’m in a situation where I’m trying to date a guy long distance. Trying is the key word. Long distance isn’t for everyone and having to maneuver around that is challenging, honestly. I totally get it’s not for everyone and I don’t lose an ounce of respect if that ends up being the case in my situation. But please understand, after I cry for a second I’m going to get up, dust my butt off from falling down and I’m going to move forward. Because I’m worth more than settling for someone who can’t give me 100%, and girlfriend you deserve more too.

I know in my heart that there is someone out there who will be willing to, and will want to give me 110%. Someone who appreciates how I love people, my family, friends, strangers and the Lord. There is someone who will share my dream of raising a family, adoption and traveling the world. That man is out there. Heck, it could be the guy I’m getting to know and dating now, but until God reveals that to me, I have to continue trusting the process and moving forward.

While you’re trusting God and moving forward in your own relationship, try keeping these things in mind:
– Why isn’t he committing to you? Is it because its brand new and you’ve only known him for 3 weeks or does he have another excuse that doesn’t make sense anymore 8 months later?
– Do you actually have things in common? I have a girlfriend who isn’t even sure she likes the guy, but their intimacy level is really compatible . Make sure that YOU’RE there for the right reasons.
– Has he done something shady that you’ve chosen to ignore and look past?
– Has he ever told you you deserve better? I learned that if a man tells you this, you need to listen and trust him.

If you said yes to any of those things, I would take a step back and look at the relationship from a different perspective. Ending relationships suck. I know because I’ve ended almost all of the relationships I’ve been in and it’s really hard, but staying longer when in your gut you know it’s not right for you is going to make leaving later every harder.

You are loved. And you deserve everything you want in this world. Please don’t stand in your own way and be the reason why you don’t get them. ❤️

Perspective

While being in my mid 20s has been some of the greatest times of my life, its also the time when all of my friends are getting engaged, married and having babies…including my ex’s.

My first serious boyfriend ever got married this past weekend. He married a girl that I was incredibly close to in college. And it put me in this weird mood. Not because I wish it was me he was saying ‘I do’ to, because I don’t. I know that God used the relationship he and I had to teach me a lot, and grow in more ways than I probably am even aware of, but it was still weird. I tried explaining the feeling that was distracting me to my mom, but she just couldn’t relate.

I know a part of me is sad that I’m not at that season of my life yet, but still sad isn’t even the right word. I’m very slightly envious, because I’ve been wanting to be loved by someone who wants to spend the rest of their life with me. But then I think about how much I’ve changed in the last year and a half. I think about the things that I thought were important in a significant other, and how different those “absolutely must have” qualities have changed.

J and I remind each other regularly that we don’t need each other. While to some that may sound incredibly insensitive, to me its incredibly empowering. Its empowering to be able to look at the man I care about and with 100% honesty be able to tell him that I don’t need him. But that I CHOOSE to have him in my life. I choose him. He’s in my life because I want him there, not because I need him to provide for me. Or because i don’t know what life would be like alone. Or because I can’t live without him.

When the guy that just got married and I broke up, we’d been together for 4 years – 2 in high school and 2 in college and I literally didn’t know what life would be like without him. I hadn’t walked through life alone in so long that I didn’t know what to expect, our how to function. Id lost friendships because he became my world so I had to start from scratch. Granted, I was 16 when we started dating, so I really didn’t know what I was doing, but it made starting over even more challenging. I had to establish a baseline for the woman that I wanted to be and grow from there. I had to recreate the tribe of people that surrounded me and occupied my time, and I had to figure out what it was that I wanted. I had the freedom to decide for myself what I was going to do with my future, as well as what I wanted to spend my free time doing and even simpler, where I was going to eat. I didn’t have to take into consideration anyone else’s feelings but my own and it was terrifying and exhilarating.

Now I look at where I stand, and its incredibly empowering to be able to look back at the growth that’s occurred. To be able to honestly and truly say, but also believe, that I don’t need a man in my life. I’ve proven to myself that I am capable of giving myself the most amazing life all on my own. That I can provide for myself and my dog. That I can have friendships all over the world and successfully make them important pieces of my life despite the distance between us. I’ve found hobbies and grown as a Christian woman and daughter. And I’ve managed two jobs and developed a relationship with an incredible Christian man, all while never once losing who I am.

Take a step back and look into yourself for a second. Do you depend on your significant other or spouse for everything in your life? Financially, emotionally, spiritually, physically? I challenge you to take some time to focus on yourself. YOU are the most important person in your life. And I think that is something that we regularly forget. Everyone needs a reminder, and i’m happy to be yours.

With all my love,

kristi

The whole point of life

The majority of my closest friends live an airplane ride distance away, and of those incredible women, some read my blog to stay up to date with me and what’s happening in my life. 
This weekend I was back in the DC area for one of these beautiful woman’s bachelorette parties and she’d mentioned that I hadn’t blogged in weeks. It’s funny how the majority of the times when I’ve blogged I’ve been hurting, frustrated or processing something. I blog to cope, un whined and let go of something. I rarely blog when I’m happy. 

My most recent post was about how i was giving up dating. What I managed to leave out, what that I was giving up dating UNLESS I got to date the one man I truly wanted right then. I didn’t want to date for the sake of dating. For the free meals and exciting activities around the city. I wanted to date because I was in search of the man id spend my life with. I’ve dated for fun before and it’s a great time for a little while, but also so exhausting. At one point I was juggling dates with 3,4 or 5 different guys a week, but in my head it was dating to meet people not find someone to settle down with. My intentions were purely to meet people while being new in this big city. Then I met J. 

While J was newly out of a very serious relationship when we met in January, on Tinder none the less, I remember telling my best friend Hannah the very next day that he was everything id been looking for. Even though the timing was off, I knew that I wanted to continue getting to know him as a friend, because you never know what can happen. 

My life has done a full 180 in the last 15 months. Not only has my life changed, but I’ve changed. The way I carry myself and see the world. The way I set goals and make plans. The way I treat my friendships and my relationship with Christ. My life is different in more ways than I possibly could describe here, but they have all been for the better. I’ve learned patience and a better understanding of compassion. I’ve learned to give without receiving and to love because Christ loved us. I’ve learned that prayer works and that God changes lives. I’ve learned that liquor will never be my friend, and been reminded that running is good for the soul. I’ve figured out how to stretch a dollar and make cheap easy meals with chicken. Ive learned to stand on my own two feet and follow my dreams. I’ve learned to love myself for who I am, and how to be who I truly am and not who I thought people needed me to be. 

Back to J. He is everything I’ve asked God for, and everything I’ve been praying for my entire life, as well as everything I didn’t know was possible. I’m not going to say he’s the one, because I’m still not sure (it’s only been a few months and he’s still healing), but if he’s not, he’s taught me so much about what I deserve. If it doesn’t work out, I’ve learned what’s possible in a partner, spouse and best friend. I’ve learned patience with healing. I’ve realized that the ring or last name change mean nothing, because we are already spending our lives together. And that is literally the whole point of this crazy thing we call life. To find someone to share your life with and who helps you love every second of it. 

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t see us on the right track towards that future for us. I certainly see it headed in a serious direction. One wonderful thing about our relationship is our ability to communicate. I have never been in a relationship where our communication is so strong. He knows that I see this going somewhere serious, knowing that he’s not quite ready, which is okay. I regularly remind him that I’m not going anywhere and that he’s worth the wait. I’ve never been the woman to wait on a man. With all of my past relationships, I’ve been the one to say that I wanted it to go in a specific direction and they have agreed, So it’s gone there, or they haven’t and I’ve moved on. Whether that was making us exclusive, putting a title on it or saying I love you, I’ve made the move first. With J, I have allowed myself to stay slightly distant, while allowing him to heal at his speed without any added pressure from me. I have never been a patient woman, but with him it’s easy. I also have never felt so sure that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be, or so led to be where I am. What he doesn’t realize, is that I’ve prayed for him specifically every time I’ve gotten in my car since March 1st. I’ve prayed for his heart, his healing, clarity for his future and his goals, his family, his career and traveling, his relationship with God and us.

Making it a commitment to God to pray for J every time I get in the car has made my relationship with God stronger. Not because I’m seeing prayers answered, which I do think I am very slowly, but because I’m in constant communication with the Lord. I already was the woman I wanted to be but my relationship with Christ was lacking communication, passion and fire. Whether this relationship heads to something more serious or not, my life will have forever been changed by the lessons I’ve learned and the personal growth I’ve experienced. 

Keep your eyes open to the unexpected blessings that are thrown your way. Rather than trying to make the timing or the person work right now, like we tend to do, allow them to play out the way they’re supposed to. Gods blessings in our life are better than we ever could have imagined.