the search in the dark.

I think so many of us struggle with identity. We are constantly reaching around in front of us in the dark. We desire to grasp onto anything that will give us a sense of what our identity should lie in.

Maybe my identity lies in my job? The clothes I wear? My dreams and passions? My creativity? How many friends I possess?

We search and search with no light in front of us.
Then a voice cries out,

“Have you forgotten, dear child, that I AM THE LIGHT!
I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” john 12:46

Jobs, friends, and dreams are good things. They are blessings from God.
But our identity cannot lie in them because they are ultimately fleeting.

We need to ask for the light. We need to be so content when things in this world fade away.
Spoiler Alert
They will all fade away.

…for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
Phillipians 4:11

the science of secrets.

I remember signing up for my first Seventeen Magazine subscription.
Upon opening my first “adult” magazine, I began being spoon fed celebrity gossip. I felt incredibly cool at school when I could tell you who Britney Spears was dating, how ugly Drew Barrymore’s dress was, and what skin-care products Jennifer Anniston used.

The spoon feeding became a full on appetite.
People around me became subjects of a horrid spider web of gossip.
I was trapped and entangled inside of it.
I am grateful that The Lord has intervened in my life since then and shown me just how destructive gossip can be.
Gossip still exists among Christians.
Gossip is a really sneaky tool the enemy uses. It’s so easy to let things slip out of our mouths without meditating on what we are about to say. Rude, hurtful things about others that do not build anyone up.

When we gossip, we try to make less of others so we can make more of ourselves. But the reality of it is, we make less of others, ourselves, and God.

No one wins when we gossip except the enemy.

Let’s quit feeding gossip!
Let’s build up people with our words instead of tearing them down.

Proverbs 31:26
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

Proverbs 20:19
Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets;
therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Ephesians 4:29
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

the paradox of doubt.

We have faith in God.
And yet, we sometimes doubt Him.

We want physical evidence of The Ark of the Covenant.
We want to see the remains of Noah’s Ark.
We want scientific proof of everything in the Bible.
We want Him to answer prayers the way we want them answered.

We desire the tangible.

We want to see Him, hear Him, and touch Him.

But only through faith is He tangible.

How can I doubt when I see the darkness He pulled me out of?
How can I doubt when I DO see Him answer prayers?
How can I doubt when I see good and evil at work in this world?
How can I doubt when He heals people, visits people in dreams, keeps His promises, saves people from the muck and the mire, LOVES people, speaks to people, weeps with people, and extends the beautiful gifts of forgiveness and mercy to people?

I cannot doubt.

I refuse for any evolutionist to tell me that I am simply mass made up of cells with no purpose.

I. Have. Purpose.

My purpose is to live fiercely for the God of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

I will have faith in that which I cannot see.

2 Corinthians 4:18
…as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

The enemy will sneak in doubt every now and then but I am the daughter of a God who will lovingly lead me back to His truths. A God who will graciously walk alongside me in my faith and not by my sight.

stretch marks.

A letter to my future self:

Kendra,
Do you remember that feeling? When you held that pregnancy test in your hands? For five long minutes you felt utterly afraid that you might be informed that you hold human life inside of you. You and your husband were not ready for this. And yet, when you read the negative result you sobbed. You sobbed because you were worried. What if you were unable to have children? What if you could never be exhausted at night because your newborn was crying? What if you never had sippy cups lying around the house or stretch marks? No nurseries, no strollers, no bath time. What if you had to hold back tears every time you pass baby clothes in Target?
You were worried.

I’m writing to you so you remember. I do not know whether you will ever have stretch marks or not. I pray you do. I pray every night that you do.
But if you don’t, I pray that you remember who your God is. He is the God of Hannah and Sarah who had broken hearts because they could not have stretch marks for a while. He is the God that we put all our hope in. He is the God that has a beautiful plan that we cannot even comprehend! He is for us. He is the God that cries with us in our pain and affliction. He is with us.

I’m writing to you so you remember. If you do get those stretch marks, remember those around you who cannot. Remember that they share in those tears that you once cried. Hug them. Cry with them. Pray with them. Remember the orphans who are praying for a mother like you. You can be a mother with or without stretch marks.

I ultimately hope that your heart is where the real stretch marks are. I pray your heart is filled to the brim with trust and contentment in The Lord. I pray He stretches and molds you. I pray that you remember that you are HIS child and He loves you. He is good and He loves you.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

i’m not on the pursuit of happiness. [but i'll still blast your song in the car, Kid Cudi].

I am not on the pursuit of happiness simply because it is fleeting. I am aware that happiness exists and I feel this emotion quite often. It’s a great feeling. But it is fleeting.

You cannot tell me that when I lose a parent or a spouse that I will be happy. You cannot tell me that when I lose my job that I will be happy.
You cannot tell me that if I have a miscarriage that I will be happy.

I can’t pursue it. I refuse to.

Let me provide you with a minuscule statistic. The word happy is found (on my ESV bible app) in the Bible 8 times.
8
Out of how many words? A lot.

Let me point you to another word that I am fervently in pursuit of.
Joy.
Which shows up 179 times + rejoice 156 times which = 335 times? I’ll have some of that, please!
Let’s take a gander, shall we?

James 1:2
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds…

Romans 5:3
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance…

You can have joy while you are suffering.
You can have joy while you are happy!
You can have joy while you are in a state of melancholy.
You can have joy while you are apathetic.
You can have joy while you are experiencing the loss of a loved one.
You can have joy while you eat the best macaroni and cheese you’ve ever had.

Joy can run concurrently with the emotions we have been gifted.

Joy is a contentment in fully trusting The Lord.
Whether you are in a season of suffering or happiness, you can have joy in knowing The Lord is good and sovereign.

I’m on the pursuit of God because He pursues me and woos me by offering me joy!

colorblind.

I am the child of parents affected by racial wars.
I have a mother who could not ride in the same train car as my father.
I have a father who could not be seen holding the soft hands of the woman he loved in public.
I have beautifully mixed blood as a product of their love.
While my parents were not in the thick of the racial wars in America, they are incredibly familiar with Apartheid.

Today I stumbled upon the LIFE Magazine archives of photographs of the Ku Klux Klan and I felt compelled to write.

The tears will not cease.

How can ANY race ever believe they are superior to another?
How can any race worship the same God and not worship together?
How can any race not look into the eyes of another that GOD Himself knit together and see that a heart and soul lie behind them?

Laws make us equals.
But some hearts still view themselves as higher.

How can anyone profess the name of Jesus and still hold hate and resentment in their hearts towards the beautiful souls he created?

Lord, make us colorblind!
Let us celebrate uniqueness of skin but never discriminate.
Let us only see each other as brothers and sisters in your name.

I urge you all
to
remove the
white gown
with cut out holes
&
pointed hat
Off. Of. Your.
HEART.

1 John 2:9
Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.

Romans 2:11
For God shows no partiality.

the lost art of friendship.

My entire life I have considered myself to be a social butterfly. I always had a plethora of friends, er, acquaintances might be the more appropriate term.

My weekends were full of laughter with girlfriends. And yet, after fun-filled nights with acquaintances, I would end up crying to my {now} husband about how I had no friends. I would divulge my deepest feelings about how lonely I was.

Wonky, right?

The Lord has retrospectively taught me two things through this.

First off, I felt lonely because none of these acquaintances I spent most of my time with didn’t know Jesus. They didn’t know my deepest heart. They couldn’t rejoice in my victories as a new believer. They weren’t capable of encouraging my soul towards Christ, challenging me, and praying with me because they didn’t know Him!

Furthermore, I was neglecting the women in my life that WOULD encourage me. I failed to be intentional with my time with them. I wouldn’t call them. Wouldn’t hang out with them. I would occasionally text back when I felt like it.

Of course I was lonely!

The Lord has sweetly been walking with me through this ever since that revelation. He has called all believers to fellowship with one another. He has called us to care for our brothers and sisters so that we can show the world a love unlike any other. He has called us to be vulnerable and open with each other so that healing and restoration can take place. We are designed to be in community with like minded believers. He has called me to text my friends back and care for them deep in my heart!

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

My close friendships are now rooted in Him so that I can be encouraged by my friends to go out and show Christ to my “acquaintances”. Loneliness has a much more difficult time seeping in when I have Christ-centered souls surrounding my own.

I am grateful for you, friends and acquaintances. And I am incredibly sorry that I have not been a better friend in the past.

freedom to fail.

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As a woman, I’m confident that many of you have read Proverbs 31. A proverbial list of characteristics of a good wife.

At a glance, I honestly felt a little overwhelmed.

I thought, “Um. Okay. So I have to do all these things and then God will love me and my husband will love me and great, let’s go ahead and give it a whirl! I can open my hand to the poor. I can rise while it is yet night. I can provide food for my household. I got this.”

Just picture a black-and-white television housewife circa 1950. That was me for about a month. A clean house. Dinner on the table. Coffee made in the morning. And out the door with a kiss.

Exhausting.

The Lord swiftly {and sweetly} showed me how imperfect I am. At how none of those things matter if I am not looking to God as my foundation.

Let’s look back at this list of characteristics of an excellent wife.
The title of this proverb in and of itself tells me how much I need Jesus.
“A woman who fears The Lord”
While her deeds are good, they are meaningless if she is not seeking God.

The Lord needs to come first. The Lord gets my attention. And only by the love of The Lord can I serve my husband. And only by the grace of The Lord can I see that in serving my husband, I am serving Christ! The first desire of my heart has to be to serve The Lord.

I thank God that I can never be the perfect “Proverbs 31 woman” {as so many call her}. Because I will never be perfect.

This list of characteristics reminded me of the many laws given throughout the bible. This list reminded me that God gave us laws to show us that we can never keep them all. Laws to show us how imperfect we are. Laws to show us that we need the sweet blood of Jesus to cover our sins.

I am thankful that I have the freedom to fail under His blood {not a license to fail}.
I am thankful that Christ is perfect so that I do not have to be {even though I desire to be like Christ and try to be every day}.
I am thankful for unwashed dishes in the sink every now and then.
I am thankful for the days I don’t have dinner on the table.
I am thankful for a husband that does not ever expect me to be a black-and-white housewife circa 1950.

I am thankful for the unending grace and mercies of Jesus.
I am thankful for Jesus.

{un}comfortable.

I have been wrestling with The Lord about what He wants me to do in this season that I’m in. Our conversations have looked a little like this:

“God, what is my calling at this moment?”

“Write”

“That can’t be it. People don’t care to read my thoughts. So what do you really want me to do?”

“Write”

“I think you meant to start photography, interior design, or anything that can be on Pinterest, God.”

“Nope. Write.”

Yet, here I am. Posting this with the thought that absolutely no one will stumble upon this. I feel quite uncomfortable writing this first blog post. But sometimes The Lord does unbelievably edifying things through our discomfort. I trust Him.

I am hoping to find comfort in the uncomfortable.

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