Life right now has my time and routine in a strange new normal. I have been working on some behind the scenes work which is why my public posts recently have been few and far between. New blessings have entered my life and I’m doing my best to catch up to life even though there are moments in quarantine that feel like slow motion.
I have had moments of working through extreme loss. In those moments I have allowed Jesus to come and heal those areas. In a parallel moment I have also been embracing extreme blessings. These blessings are beyond compare and I cannot wait to share the many dreams that are coming true this year! (Stay tuned in the coming weeks for some announcements)
Life is overwhelming me currently. There are moments of heartbreak but I become so overwhelmed by Love. These are the moments when I try to catch my breathe only to start crying with gratefulness and awe.
God is so good! He is so caring… So loving!
I am continually overwhelmed by Love.
The aroma of homemade banana bread fills my home. It brings back memories of my Mom. I sing and dance in my kitchen as I whip up my own recipe. My eyes get misty as I remember her. As much as my Mom taught me how to follow recipes we never really stuck to it much.
I remember how we would get distracted talking or letting someone in our home in the middle of baking. When this happened it usually resulted with us forgetting an ingredient. I still laugh about the time we forgot to put sugar into our pumpkin pie. I tried pouring sugar over every bite but it still tasted awful.
I can laugh at these memories. I look back fondly on those moments where I know my Mom poured all of her love into me. It has caused me to reflect and ponder the legacy I am leaving behind. Will people remember my love?
As Easter approaches I miss her. When I see dandelions in full bloom I pick them and place them in a small vase because as a child I knew my Mom would put them on display. My Mom was able to recognize my gift of “weeds” as a treasure.
If my Mom loved me like this then how much greater does Jesus? I am in awe of this truth. He sees my weeds and makes it beautiful. He turns my mourning into joy. He waters a beautiful garden with every tear. He is faithful.
As I bake in my kitchen in my beautiful home, a tear may fall but a tender smile remains knowing the gift my Mom was. Not all Mom’s are able to show a small portion of Gods heart towards their children. I realize this precious gift that was given to me was intended for me to also give away.
I hope to leave a legacy of love.
Recently I have been pondering about life and those that love well (as well as those that do not love at all).
My thoughts are this: someone who loves much has known much hurt. Someone who loves deeply has often experienced much loss. It may not be the same for everyone but generally it seems to be the case.
On the same note anyone without a proper understanding of who Jesus (Love) is can turn into bitter, pain inflicters. Life can be really rough. If one does not know how much that God loves them; if they do not know that He is good, that He has not been to blame, then one often sees yucky, ugly, venomous behaviors towards themselves and others (remember this when you are treated poorly by someone, betrayed and ignored).
Too many times people blame God for circumstances in their life when it was either due to the sins of others or their own.
When loss comes, when things have been stolen from you, when you have been betrayed you still have a choice. How will you respond? Will you love more, deeper, and wider? Will you ensure that no one will ever be hurt by you the way others have hurt you?
If you died tomorrow who would you need to reconcile with? If you are waiting for someone to put in any effort towards reconcilation and you keep waiting, who would you need to forgive? For many it could be combinations of all these plus some.
My prayer is to love better than I did yesterday. The losses in my life have made more room for love because that is what I chose.
What will you choose?
When it comes down to the end, love is what matters. Love wins. Love lasts for eternity.
Even if no one were to ever love you truly as God intended, you still have a choice. In the end there will be no excuses because no one else is to blame for the choices you make.
So…I will choose love no matter how much someone hurts me. I will forgive as my family is slandered, ignored & hurt. I will cling to God and His promises in the thick of battle. By faith I will believe that miracles are happening.
I cling to hope.
Because of God and His love I won’t give up on you.
Do you ever wonder if your love is breaking through to your stepkids?
Are you in a situation where the other parent is not easy to work with? Is life often like a rollercoaster due to the parental alienation tactics that brainwash each child that you love?
Do not give up. Do not stop loving your kids.
Through the years my husband and I have learned some simple things that have helped our daughter have a “place of her own”. What is unique about her is that she has three homes rather than just one or two. It has been crucial to try to find something for her that is stable, safe & her own “home”. I will share a few tricks we have learned & maybe it will help someone get creative for their current situation.
Our kids deserve stability, safety & love. Stepmom, if you are not doing your part to help then you are joining the “problem”. Do not allow the stereotypical label of “Stepmom” or the vile actions from the other side validate your wrong reactions. Respond instead in love & extend mercy.
I strongly believe that my role as a Stepmom is to help facilitate the best relationship that my daughter can have with her Dad. On a similar note I believe I am to encourage all parental roles (in our case it would be bio-mom & grandma/grandpa) to work together for the good of our daughter. This means no trash talking anyone, and never ever taking out your frustration on your child or spouse from the unfair, illegal actions being done from the other side. At the end of the day if it feels you have bitten off your tongue you’ve done well (so pat yourself on the back… Yay).
I’ve also learned that there are appropriate times & ways to speak truth in love. For example, if a child has been misbehaving and the other side keeps making statements about how bad their child is, insinuating it is your husbands fault, I believe it is okay to say how good of a kid and Daddy they are. A child may misbehave but that does not make them bad nor does it necessarily mean one parent is to blame.
Create special traditions that are not dictated by specific dates. This year we do not get our daughter for Thanksgiving & it also lands on our weekend, which BM will not allow to be made up. So we plan our own Thanksgiving & stick to our traditional meal that is special to us. The times you share should not be dictated by having special dates on the actual day. It can always be done differently and creatively. This is a fact you’ll have to get used to. Greive it as you need to but do not get hung up on it.
Give your child something that can be shared amongst all households. This will be the equivalent of “home” for your child. This could be a backpack, a stuffed animal or a small bag with items. Whatever it is this will be & can be the one stable thing that they can carry back & forth that will not change for them. You will find this provides a “safety” feature that often is not felt in each home.
Never give up. Never give in. Keep loving. Keep hoping. Keep showing up and following through.
Your impact is great.
There seems to be a health craze lately about cleanses for our bodies. I am not discounting the health benefits from a cleanse. It made me think more about our hearts. Our hearts need a cleanse more than our bodies. After all in the end that is what matters the most.
I’m tired of olive branches being extended out only for them to be cut off. I’m tired of verbal abuse, guilt trips, manipulation and blame cast upon the innocent. I’m fed up with toxic words spoken over those I love, and over our nation. Lies. All these lies will crumble revealing the truth of hearts involved.
When all is exposed what will your heart reveal? Will there be toxic ooze? Will vile & rotting flesh reveal a broken heart that chose to blame cast and tear down others? Or will your heart reveal purity, love, gentleness, joy, and beauty?
Everyone has a choice.
“But Kara you don’t know how hard my life has been!”
Hog wash! I’ve been through hell but my God saved me and has continued to turn the ashes into something incredibly beautiful. I’ve experienced my deepest sorrows and deepest pains being touched by my healer. His love and his joy have set me free from not only the fires of hell but he has touched the scars from the battle on my way back up.
He is not done with me yet.
He certainly has not forgotten about you nor is he finished with you. He took your pain to the grave after dying on the cross so that you wouldn’t have to carry it. Just as he rose you have a choice to choose the same destiny.
A heart cleanse. Get rid of toxic thinking, toxic words & toxic relationships.
Stop casting blame.
I have to be honest for a moment. There are so many things that I want to write about but I am hesitant to because there are some things better kept quiet for this season. Eventually there will be a time when I can write about all sorts of triumphs & victories after mighty battles. If you sense that I am being vague, it is to honor certain people I hold dear as well as protect those that are innocent. Our words can cause so much pain even if the truth is being told. I want to write words that speak life, and encourage readers in times of great struggles yet address great difficulties at the right time.
In church today I realized how much my mind is changing. Getting rid of toxic thoughts and surrounding myself with non-toxic people have led me to a place of such joy & freedom. I still have a lot of work to do but I can honestly say that I have noticed a change in my life. Praise is on my lips even amidst trials. Truth is in the front of my mind rather than lies. Because I know whose I am and He is good & mighty & powerfully loving, not wanting any sin to taint me, or someone to mess with me, I am able to rest. No matter what happens I rest without fear of tomorrow.
Life can be hard but my joy does not depend on my circumstances. My joy comes from the One that never changes. He is always faithful, is always good & never gives up on me. He is my constant one. He is the only one I need to look to for my worth. He is always there when I am alone. He understands every tear & speaks life into my identity so that I can slay the enemy once my feet hit the ground every morning.
Grace is extended during imperfect moments when my emotions are on overload & pain is expressed outwardly. Every time I invite him into the mess, healing occurs. A new level of confidence grows and new levels of joy flood my soul after failure or heartache is turned to victory.
I felt compelled to declare this truth today. We have been walking our daughter through some difficult things. Her sweet heart has been holding onto guilt for things completely out of her control.
The more that lies are said and hurtful things are done I can see how pointless it all is. Do you want to know why?
Because love wins.
As long as I choose Jesus, forgiveness & love, nothing can compare to Him. I have started saying, “I forgive you” out loud because I want love to reign in my heart. Ever since I have started to do this I have literally seen a shift occur. Truth surfaces & a confidence in Jesus & who I am deepens.
Dear ones, when life hurts due to the actions & words of others choose love.
Mother’s Day is coming up & in my network of Step Mom’s I have seen posts communicating both dread & of blessings. For those that call themselves childless Step Mom’s, as in they are a Step parent only & have no biological children, it is a day filled with a bit of grief. We live in a difficult culture of double standards, disrespect & harsh stereotypes. Most of the time I hear the same thing over & over again from my fellow Step Mom network, Mother’s Day is hard. It is hard for any blended family.
You are seen, you are known. Everything that you do matters more than you will ever know.
Too often we can place expectations on a specific day & have it end in disappointment. This year I advise my fellow Step Mom’s to realize their important worth while releasing their step kids from responding a certain way. Perhaps this year you can give a card to your step kids to tell them how special they are. Any way that we can give our kids permission to love every family member even if they are not ready to love you in return quite yet is a way to win the day.
Through it all, how you choose to love is what matters the most. Even if you feel overlooked, or under appreciated know that you are known. Your love is being written on your kids heart whether they show any love back to you in return. They will remember how you made them feel. They will remember your embrace, your words, & how you treated their biological parents.
Lies are falling to the floor. Like drops of rain lies hit the ground with a gentle splash. I stomp over every single one. Joy rolls out from deep within me.
Laughter fills my belly. New wrinkles appear on my face from joy filling up my face.
My new declaration has been,
“Thank you Lord for the lies that are crumbling and falling to the ground. Thank you for filling the gaps with your truth.”
Everyday I say this declaration. I say it even if nothing has occurred. I say it when I feel defeated or lonely. I say it after having conquered and won. I say it believing every word.
This journey is like dancing in the rain and sleet. It is not an easy task but it is a joyful one.
I know who my God is. He is mighty. He is powerful. He breathes life into my lungs. He is joy. He is love. I would not trade this life with him for anything else. Freedom feels good; it feels like the wind against my face running in fields of wildflowers. The sweet scent drifting up from the petals reaching towards the son fill my lungs and heal deep wounds that once made it hard to breathe. Now I breathe holy fire as if nothing had ever happened.
God is good.
He is my one-and-only.
(Hannah Hope Photography)
Last week I tore some scar tissue in my wrist from an injury dating back to middle school. I heard a pop and had immediate pain. Like many times in the past where I had inflamed the same injury I instantly was worried. I soon realized that this pain was different and minor soreness occurred. I now have better movement and range of motion than I have ever had in years.
When God is allowed into our lives deeper and deeper, he starts to break up our scar tissue.
Scar tissue is an amazing thing as it is our body’s way of repairing and protecting the damaged area. Sometimes it can build up too much and we need it to be worked out in order for proper blood flow to return to the area and life can return back as it should be.
Our hearts, minds, and souls are very much the same. We do things to repair and protect ourselves when we have been hurt. But too often we can either run or see it as a bad thing when our inner scar tissue begins to break up and be worked out. It feels uncomfortable. It can be extremely painful at the time. It leaves us feeling vulnerable. Sometimes it can even feel too intrusive. This is a good thing!
I have seen too many people in my life run from these moments. Just when God is getting to the root of the cause of so much of our pain, we run. Just when God is getting to the root of our sin issue, we run. No one really likes pain but when there is pain with a purpose, a purpose to bring healing and life back so that we can be free, that is pain well worth experiencing.
Too many times I have seen people decide to run away from this process when the purpose is to bring them into a greater level of freedom and joy.
I will be blunt honest on here this time. I am tired of seeing so many people who were once on fire with passion for God slowly fade into the background when things got too intense inside of them and when the painful process of working out scar tissue didn’t feel good. It got too uncomfortable for them.
What is the point of having a relationship with a loving, all knowing, faithful God when we are only willing to give him our scraps or a piece of our heart? When he desires more of us, some just sit back allowing themselves to turn into an apathetic Sunday or once a month Christian. If my husband did that to me, we would have major issues. I would know that he had lost interest in loving me and might even be hiding something from me. I am no longer friends with people who have treated me in similar ways because there was no longer a healthy relationship that was growing.
God knows all of our junk. He knows all of our secrets. He knows that what we go to often creates more agony and pain. His ways are always best because he is good. He is love.
Let him work through the scar tissue.
It is worth it.
Freedom. Overflowing joy. Love reigns where fear once had a stronghold. Addictions are gone. Trauma is healed. Life in Christ is a life lived from victory!