Looking Behind & Ahead (2015 Edition)

God, Just Life and Stuff

What are you doing right now?

Are you working?

How are you doing?

These are a few of the all too familiar questions I’ve been asked recently. I’ve become aware that people do not know what has gone on in my life the last few months. Honestly, my people-pleasing personality would rather nobody know how I’ve been lately, but honesty and vulnerability are so vital.

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A while back, not long after graduation, I asked God to break my heart for what breaks his. I knew that was a serious prayer, but I didn’t realize how weighty that request truly was. Over the last few months I’ve gotten a glimpse, and I quickly learned that is a dangerous prayer to pray.

God answered my prayer and made me more vulnerable, emotional and raw than I have ever been. I have learned so much about ministry, communication and the lack of control I have. I have struggled with depression and anxiety to a degree that I haven’t felt since 14-year-old me faced a harsh home life and subsequent divorce. I have learned much about myself and how I don’t have it together (at all).

Most importantly, I learned that I don’t have the power to fix things, including myself. I have felt the weight of things that are far out of my control. Dealing with this been a very VERY difficult thing for this type-A-my-calendar-is-perfectly-color-coded-and-I-can-solve-all-the-problems organizer to learn. I have seen how small I am, and how I really must lean on God for everything.

Needless to say, my pride and longing to succeed have continuously taken beatings. When I felt called to step away from my job nearly three months ago, I began to feel more insecure than ever before. Me, the overachiever, stepping away from a job, moving back in with my mother and being unemployed? Cue the dramatic screams!

In all seriousness, stepping off my pedestal and away from my job was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I am still terribly insecure, because I have always found a large piece of my identity in the quality of my work and in what job I hold. God is taking my idols from me. It hurts, but I asked for it, and I know He will use it for His good. Still, easier said than acted upon.

Thankfully, God has never left me during tis hard season. In fact, He has been so SO gracious as to show me glimpses of His grace through those around me. I am grateful for glimpses of His unconditional love that have come through my mom being my personal therapist and opening her door to me, my friends’ prayers and encouraging words, my sister making me junk food, people allowing me to couch surf, and an incredible guy who holds my hand during anxiety attacks and meltdowns. Without these people, I don’t know how I would have made it to this point. God gives us what we need to make it through difficult seasons, and what incredible support he has given me.

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So what now?

I’m currently on the job hunt, searching for jobs far and wide anywhere in the Southeast. The application and interviewing process is humbling, nerve wracking and not fun. Needless to say, my anxiety has not helped the affair. Even though I beat myself up about being a wreck, I know God always uses broken people (thanks RUF@UGA) and He has a perfect plan.

While I apply for jobs, I write feature articles on unconventional topics for local publications and do desk work for my mom. They are not glamorous positions, and I have been very humbled through them. After putting my pride aside, I have become grateful that God has provided ways for me to make money and build my portfolio.

My anxiety is still at an all-time worse. All too often I have difficulty breathing, sleeping and finding energy. However, God has used this time to draw me closer to him. I have spent significantly more time in the Word and in prayer as I have felt I had nothing else. I’ve been convicted of how I am so intentional only because I’m in a dark place, but I’m praying that my new habits will stick for years to come. I recently bought a new Bible, and began finding new ways to be more intentional with my bible reading and studying (if you are curious about #illustratedfaith as seen above, let’s talk about it! It’s amazing!). I haven’t made any concrete New Year’s resolutions, but I do plan on digging further into the Bible more than in any year past.

The latter half of 2015 has been the most difficult season of my adult life. However, I am excited to see what 2016 has in store. I have much to look forward to, including finding a new job, moving to a new place, strengthening relationships with old friends, meeting new friends, and becoming stronger because of the past few months.

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“Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave it with regret? There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

– C.S. Lewis

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ode to Summer Music

Just Life and Stuff

Several events have inspired me to write this post. Firstly….

I GOT TICKETS TO GO SEE MUMFORD AND SOOOONNS.

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My favorite band of all time! I got the special “email invite,” (since apparently I’m a big enough fan to get an invite or something like that) and bought a few tickets for my friends and I to go in September. I’m a little excited.

SO ANYWAYS, I’ve really gotten into digging up new music. Specifically, folk/indie/rock music, which I adore. So I thought I would share my newer discoveries on here.

1. The Oh Hellos

I got hooked on the Oh Hellos last semester, and they are one of my all-time favorites. If you listen to “Through the Deep, Dark Valley” from start to finish, it tells an intricate story full of metaphors and allusions. They are similar to Of Monsters and Men and their lead male and female vocalists are phenomenal.

Listen: Second Child, Restless Child

2. The Doodads and Don’ts

I can’t get enough of Riverbed and War. They remind me of the Head and the Heart. This band has a pretty small following (note how hipster I am right now) but has some pretty powerful lyrics and strings. Plus, I’m all about those male harmonies.

Listen: Riverbed

3. Josh Garrels

I really started listening to Josh last winter, and he is awesome. He has a very unique sound. His music is very chill, I played it while studying for last semester’s tests. Look up the lyrics to Farther Along. Woah.

Listen: Farther Along

4. Casey Abrams

I vaguely remember him from Idol, but it wasn’t until a few months ago that I listened to his album. His voice is crazy different and I love it. His songs remind me of summer.

Listen: Ghosts

5. The Rend Collective Experiment

Gareth Gilkeson has a voice similar to Bear Rinehart of NEEDTOBREATHE (also one of my favorites) and their sound is a mix between the Oh Hellos and Mumford.

Listen: Come On My Soul

Of course, I have to include something from my favorite band ever: Mumford.

Happy Listening!

K

Baby You’re a Fiiiirework.

Just Life and Stuff, Relating Publicly

I was a little sad this year because yesterday was the first July Fourth in about five years that I haven’t spent the day with my best friend’s family at their lake house. While I missed swimming/boating/pigging out with my friends and second family, spending the Fourth at camp was pretty amazing. Somebody had bought a few hundred dollars worth of fireworks for us to shoot over the lake.Image

They were absolutely stunning. The teen girls at camp were screaming and loving it. Actually, I was screaming and loving it too, along with my fellow staff members.

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Today is our last full day of summer camp. I’m sad to see the kids go, but I cannot wait to celebrate a successful summer with the staff this weekend. I’d say it’s been a pretty great six weeks of camp.

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As of Friday at 4:00 PM, I’ve been in existence for two decades. I still feel about four years younger, so I guess it’s the mindset that counts.

To be honest, the last week of work was rough. I had a stomach bug, both of my chacos broke, I had a massive headache, we lost all power for eight hours at camp, and I had the most embarrassing moment of my life. However, I am deciding to view the beginning of my third decade as a fresh start. July is going to be more laid back for me (hopefully) and I get to travel and get ready to move into my new house.

Although work has been pretty taxing lately, I still see that God is good and He is at work. I can see lives being changed because of camp, and if that’s not motivation, I don’t know what is. The next step of my job is to reach out to donors and potential supporters through publications, and I’m looking forward to this new PR side of my position.

On another note, my family got a new PUPPY! Her name is Nala and she is a baby yellow lab. I am madly in love.

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Also, one very excellent part of my birthday was my beautiful, scrumptious, perfect, delicious, fabulous CAKE.

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This masterpiece (was) a gift from my best friend from camp and my sweet bosses. It was a red velvet cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory, one of my all time favorite restaurants on the planet. I can honestly say that this sucker was the best birthday cake I’ve ever tasted. And I’ve had a lot of cake.

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I want to upload some more pictures for this post, but honestly, I’m just too pooped at the moment. My flickr page is updated though!

– K

God, Just Life and Stuff, Relating Publicly

R-E-S-P-E-C-T y’all

Just Life and Stuff

I am disappointed with American citizens tonight.

I am not upset that Obama won. I wasn’t a huge fan of either candidate; both men have good and not-so-good views. I am upset, however, about how people have handled this.

I know tension about politics has gone on for centuries, but tonight I witnessed attacks on social media, degrading comments about the candidates, and complaints about the ignorance of people (usually those of whom belong to the opposite party).

What’s happening? We were made to love one another, and we must RESPECT our leaders. Although I may not agree with our president, I do agree with Romans 13, in that we should respect and honor our leaders.

Even if you disregard the Bible, thousands of people in history have dedicated their lives to achieving equal rights and freedom. We should at least honor these men and women by addressing others (including our leaders) with respect and dignity. Political views DO NOT make people less or greater than others.

Say a prayer for our leaders tonight, and thank God that we have the freedom to choose who they are. We’re forgetting how amazing our country is..

-K