I was going through a box full of memories and came across this photo. I don’t remember how old I was but I felt feelings of sadness as I looked. You may ask, why?
When I look at this photo I see a girl who lived life fiercely. I wish I had been kinder to her growing up. I wish I had known that it was okay to not be perfect. As you can tell in this photo one sleeve is puffy while the other is not. This is most likely due to me playing too rough in a dress. I wish I could’ve told her that it was okay to be all girly and school the boys on the playground… That the rips and tears of the lace and ruffles was only a sign of joy and freedom. You can be a girl and still be strong and fierce and even a bit muddy and sweaty.
I wish I could’ve told her that it was okay for people to see her cry… It was okay that she didn’t know how to protect herself but that she had a great, big God that looked out for her and saved her from unimaginable horrors unknown at the time. I wish I could tell her that she had every power and authority given to her over fear and that the night had no hold on her.
But this all is looking back. I have had to walk a path of forgiveness unknown to many and the most healing act was forgiving myself… Loving the girl I was and the woman I have become.
God has done mighty things within me. He has helped me break free from fear, sorrow and chains intended to shut me up and keep me down.
What do you need to break free from?
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.
It seems hard to be adventurous when we are told to stay home… So we took to the road and grabbed some lunch. We live in such a beautiful area! I am thankful for the rain that makes it all so green. Have you ever noticed all the different shades of green? God could have chosen just one color but He made so many!
Have you also noticed how the trees bloom? Even as life has slowed it seems to have happened overnight. There is so much beauty all around us. The budding, coming to life, rebirth is happening all around us right now.
Birds sing such happy tunes. It is like surround sound song birds and chirps in my backyard. I could sit back there for hours. I need to figure out how to set up a writing station with power outside as well as get a hammock for writing breaks and naps… Or just to lay outside reading. This is truly one of my dreams come true. It may be one part of my adventure… The part where the entire world slows down for a moment.
Until life and freedoms restored, I will bask in the miracles happening around me. This is only part of the adventure!
In my previous post, God’s Steady Heartbeat, 2020 , I wanted to go into further detail about one paragraph:
“Let us not give up what has yet to happen in 2019. Let us enjoy our favorite holiday beverage (coffee anyone?), sit back and see what God will do. As we pray, as we go to the front lines of intercession, the Lord has made a table amidst it all for us. He has done this for us to learn to enjoy and walk in the victory that is ours even if we have yet to see it.”
Finding enjoyment in our darkest hour or our darkest season is not something that happens on its own. There can be moments of such extreme pain and heartache that we often turn to God and ask, “Why must suffering occur?” Nothing about the struggle and pain makes any sense when you are in the thick of it sometimes.
Several months ago a situation intensified so much I thought my family might not survive it. It felt so painful, intense and the people who were supposed to help this situation allowed continued injustices to occur. Nothing made sense (it still doesn’t).
The lessons I have learned through this journey have been priceless. Here are a few of the ones I continue to learn from:
1.) Let Go Of Control
There is very little we are often in control of anyway. The circumstances and people in it are often not following your lead. Forgive, let go and praise. God already knows the details and letting go reveals your trust in him.
(Scriptures to look up: 1 Peter 5:7, Jeremiah 29:11, Philippians 4:6)
2.) Respond With Praise
What we are in control of is our response to our circumstances and others. We can either fight it or embrace the truths of God and praise him through it. The enemy cannot touch you when you have your praise on. Praise embraces heaven and pulls it down. Eventually Earth must be moved by Heaven so keep praising even if tears keep streaming down your face (and snot running out your nose). Battles aren’t pretty.
(Scriptures to look up: Jeremiah 20:13, Psalm 75:1, Psalm 99, Psalm 100)
This can look different for everyone but the basic truth is being able to knock worry out and lean back into Gods big arms. Let God love you. Be still.
This is hard to do amidst a battle because it feels wrong to stop when all around you swords are clanking and the wounded are crying out. In God’s kingdom, battles are won differently. He fights for you which is why learning to let go of control is a crucial step in being able to rest and declare victory.
(Scriptures to look up: Matthew 11:28-30, Psalm 4:8, Psalm 37:7, Philippians 4:6-7)
4.) Declare Your Victory
It does not matter how dark, how bleak or how intense life is. Nothing, absolutely nothing can change truth. When you know that God is a loving, powerful, dead raising, promise keeping, miracle working God, then let your voice be heard!
(Scriptures to look up: Deuteronomy 20:4, John 16:33, Romans 8:31-39)
Dear reader, grab a cup of hot coffee and sit back and rest.
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.
Heart Made Whole is such a treasure of a book. If you do not want to have open-heart surgery with your inner being then I would advise you to pass this one on by. But if you want to begin a journey where you start to turn your unhealed pain into your greatest strength, read Heart Made Whole. With Christa’s raw openness about her own journey combined with the truth in Gods word, our precious Healer uses the power of His love in our lives as we witness Christa’s testimony unfold. If we are ready to run to God rather than someone or something else to help with the pain you will finally be ready for your heart to begin healing.
Maybe you have already been on this journey and think that you do not need to read a book about it. Can I tell you that at first I thought the same thing? I was surprised to find that this book was like pouring gasoline onto my own heart healing. Because Christa was so open and wrote in such a way that spoke to my artistic and visual heart, I related to her story. I had many “aha” moments and sweet revelations in my own personal journey of healing. For this reason I took my time reading the book as I allowed God to reveal deep things in my heart that He longs to restore and strengthen.
Besides my own personal opinion that this book is by far one of my favorites it has other great assets to it as well. To end each chapter, Christa has written “personal workbook sections” that allow the reader to apply the journey of healing into their lives. Heart Made Whole would be an excellent book for small groups, ladies groups, and recovery programs. Christa is not afraid to get into the nitty gritty details and dig deep which challenges each of us as readers to allow God into every area of our heart. When we do that, each of us finds exactly what our hearts have longed for. Healing. Wholeness. To find a safe place in Gods arms to be exactly who he designed us to be.
Heart Made Whole: Turning Your Unhealed Pain Into Your Greatest Strength.
I received this book for free from booklookbloggers.com and these opinions are my own.
As year two rolls around things are different in many ways. There are some days where the ache is very deep, especially when I think of the holidays and unreconciled relationships. I have processed through this difficult onslaught of deep(er) emotions this time around and I realized something.
This time last year I was numb. There was so much that I was feeling, and struggling with that I had no time to process the deeper emotions that I was feeling. Looking back, I did the best that I could considering the circumstances that occurred after my Mom’s passing. Now I am working through much more. I am working through what holidays are now and it makes my sadness feel huge in the short times that it hits.
The sadness seems to grow depending on the day the closer we get to Thanksgiving and Christmas. The sadness seems to grow as relationships go uncared for. I am mourning multiple things. Unreconciled issues only make it worse.
Hope. There is always hope. I know that the grieving takes time. Relationships take time too. In those moments when the grief hits like a ton of bricks God is there to carry the load. I am so thankful for a loving Father who takes care of my heart. I am thankful for grace and mercy. I am thankful for a God who brings to light the darkest places of our heart in order for us to heal and reveal to us what our part of the reconciliation process is. I am thankful for forgiveness. I am thankful God desires us to be full of his joy. I am thankful Holy Spirit is my comforter.
If the numbness is wearing off for you trust that God knows exactly what you need. He does not want you to stay numb. He wants to pump you full of his joy in the process!
You are beautiful when the numbness is wearing off.
WordPress just announced to me that it is my one-year anniversary since starting to blog on their site. As I reflect on the year where I decided to not allow silence to dictate my life, and instead use the gift of writing God has given me, I see how silence would have been deadly. The enemy tried to steal my voice once. I have the choice to use my voice several different ways. Writing is one of those ways.
When I decided to open myself up and allow others to be a part of my journey of grieving, I never knew the onslaught that would occur. As I wrote it made some people very upset. Still to this day, when I write as God leads, fearlessly writing truth, it upsets and irritates people. I understand that not everyone is going to agree with what I say nor does everyone believe that God works the way that I profess. Despite the venomous words, the attack on my integrity and faith, and the rejection, I have chosen to not be silenced.
I once allowed silence and the fear of not pleasing certain people dictate my every move. That life was horrible. I was caged in. But I was like a songbird longing to sing and take flight. It took several years for God to show me that he had unlocked the cage and it was my choice to get up and walk out of it. He helped me to pick up his sword of truth and take back from the enemy what he had stolen. Ever since that day, God has been bringing me into places of renewed freedom and victory.
By choosing God daily and choosing to use my voice so many other people have been encouraged. Thank you dear readers for letting me know that my journey written out has helped you. Thank you for letting me know that I was not alone. Thank you to those who desired to bless me rather than curse me.
We all have choices to make. I have seen how bitterness causes such destruction. My heart aches for you that have chosen this path. Love will always be waiting with open arms to welcome you back when you so choose it.
In the meantime, be brave dear readers. Do not let fear of what others may think silence you sharing your story. Your story is powerful. Your story is important. You matter so much more than you may ever fully realize.
You can choose to allow God to make something beautiful out of your messy life. After all, the dirty grave did not bother him at all. He is ready to resurrect the dead in your life.
Choose Him. Choose beauty.
Two worlds collided over Memorial Day weekend. It was a weekend that was full of many different emotions: heartache, pain, sorrow, yet full of joy for our Father. It is so hard to describe exactly every little feeling. It all felt so surreal.
It is most difficult to process two worlds that do not make sense quite yet. One full of memories of what once was, and the other that is now. The sorrow is ever present. It is a constant friend or foe depending on your perspective. Yet, there is joy, there is hope knowing that God is our strength. Life is bittersweet.
Our Mom was a most extraordinary woman. She loved us in such a way that no woman ever has. There was no doubt in each of our minds that she cared for every single one of us. She made sacrifices for us. She gave her life for others. It is this love from her that makes the void feel so deep. We can all be grateful that we had a taste of heaven through her in our lives.
Now, as our Father, whom we have only known with our Mom embarks on this new beginning it seems so strange to see him with anyone else other than our Mom. He loves each of us enough to want us to be a part of this new journey. It is a foreign way of living when it seems like all those happy memories of someone so dear to you feels as if it all is slipping away to be forgotten forever. Yet, I know that is not what is happening.
It is all these feelings that pollute being rational. I have learned to be slow to action during this time of grieving. To be perfectly honest, my husband has received the worst of these struggles within me. He has been so gracious as I battle through every emotion, rational or not. I am thankful I am not alone. He has learned to bring me coffee in bed (this is a nice perk!). For those of you who know me well, you can laugh knowing how amazing I think this is. I wish I liked mornings better.
Many have asked me how I was able to officiate the wedding for my Dad and Step Mom. To put it quite simply, Love. I knew from the beginning that this was God. It was more than evident to me that God brought my Dad and his new wife together and they gave me the greatest honor to be able to officiate it for them. I was able to talk through the tears because God gave me the strength I needed. God is strong in the broken places.
I also feel like I need to explain the tears. Some people thought I was just sad. Other people thought I was simply happy. It was both for me. Two worlds collided in that moment and I was overwhelmed with grief, and joy all in one setting. It was a definite and more solid ending to what our family once was and who my Dad used to be. But it was also a beginning to a new joyous journey with an added gift of a wonderful woman of God whose love and care for our journey up to this point has been rather remarkable.
My tears also represented a huge miracle for my husband and I personally. We saved the flower girl spot for our daughter J, for our wedding (for those of you who do not know, I am a Step Mom to a beautiful girl). When this did not happen because of unfair actions from the other party, it was hard for both of us. J was able to be a flower girl for my Dad’s wedding. I was crying because it was truly a miracle that she was there. I also felt like this was something that Mom would have wanted and prayed for herself.
God was showering us blessings in multiple ways. These realizations came upon me, wave after wave within the ceremony itself. I found myself shaking as emotion after emotion flooded my heart. And the tears just fell. It was beautiful.
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”