Author Archives: kristilowe

About kristilowe

A wife, mother, daughter. Lover of homes, helper to those who need one. Licensed realtor in Texas, based out of Lubbock.

When waiting is the last thing you want to do…

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April

I never thought I would say this, but I learned something from a giraffe this week.

April the Giraffe has become an internet sensation since the impending birth of her calf began being broadcast LIVE back in February. The whole thing started because Animal Adventure Park wanted to give viewers access to the live birth of her baby. Buzz surrounded the whole thing, millions tuned in to catch a glimpse.

Until it didn’t happen.

Days turned into weeks.

As I write this, sweet April is still very, very pregnant. Even one of the zookeepers commented yesterday, “we can’t believe she’s still pregnant”!

Public outcry has been less than kind. Speculation has mounted and cynics have voiced their disdain. Some have called it a hoax, a publicity stunt, while others have pushed the Animal Adventure Park to induce labor and give her Pitocin (I’m not even sure you can give animals Pitocin?!).

As for April? She’s cool as a cucumber. She has a gentle demeanor, isn’t aggressive with her keepers, and has yet to stomp her feet or roll on the ground yelling, “GET THIS THING OUT OF ME!!!!” (I mean, seriously, I’m pretty sure that’s what I’d be doing if I were 15 months pregnant.)

April continues to wait. We continue to watch.

And I wonder, how many of us are like April? How many of us are waiting on something?  We are expectantly hoping “it” happens to us soon, or that “it” is just around the corner.

Your “it” is probably different than mine.  “It” might be a job, spouse, baby, healing, or an answer to a prayer. “It” could be anything your hope holds that hasn’t happened yet.

One of the hardest things to walk through is when your “it” doesn’t happen when you (and the rest of the world) think it should.

When John and I were dating, it became pretty obvious that we were heading toward marriage. And let’s be honest, I was MORE than ready to be engaged. “It” had not happened yet, and for the love, what was wrong with me?! I was fascinated with other women’s wedding rings, and dreamed of wearing one of my own. I remember looking at my barren left ring finger with shame, because, hello, I had the best guy ever and I wanted to start life with him RIGHT THEN. And I needed a ring, STAT. I was also 99% sure I was going to die if I had to see one more person get engaged, or go to one more bridal shower. “It”, as it seemed, kept happening to everyone…but me.

We all have our “it”. That thing we are waiting on, the answer to our prayer. Sometimes the prayers are private, other times, the public eye speculates while you wait.

Like April. The very pregnant giraffe.

As I mentioned above, I was CONVINCED I would die if John and I didn’t get engaged. As the months wore on, the Lord began to stir something inside us.

I needed to prepare to become a wife. I wasn’t ready. John needed to prepare to become the leader of our home. And THANKFULLY, in the Lord’s lavish, ohmygoshchildpleaselistentome love, He held John from proposing (Oh I love that story too…remind me to tell you about that sometime!) until we were fully prepared to enter into the covenant of marriage.

{Side note – the judgment from other people during that season was the WORST. In a time when I was struggling to understand why I was being made to wait, and looking to Jesus while He prepared me to become a wife – people around me were a lot like April the Giraffe’s critics. Be kind to those in those seasons of waiting. Your words can hurt or encourage. Please, choose to breathe life into the weary bones of a Waiter.}

Often the waiting is actually the preparing…and if so, how much do we miss by trying to run full speed ahead past it?

I cringe thinking of sweet April the Giraffe and her little one, if those caretakers try to force a labor that is not due.

Often, as it turns out, waiting is part of “it”. It’s as important, if not MORE, than the “it” itself. And if I might be so bold, HOW we wait indicates the depth of our trust. I’m going to say that one more time, because I don’t want us to miss it – How we wait is a direct correlation of our faith in God.

Graham Cooke posted this on Twitter earlier this week, “Faithfulness is about being consistent, constant, unceasing, firm in your promise, loyal, reliable, unwavering and trustworthy.”

Faithfulness in the waiting.

Because if what we are longing for is a God-given desire, it will come to pass. He knows our hearts, he knows our deepest needs. He loves us like crazy. He isn’t ignoring us. In the waiting, we get to see the fullness of HIS time, HIS plan, HIS agenda.

Waiting isn’t about tapping our foot, huffing and puffing (cough, cough, Kristi Lowe). It’s learning how to live in the space and grace of the “not yet”. It’s learning to smile when the rest of the world seems to be passing you by, waving as they go.

It’s like the pregnant giraffe, who, just like everyone else in the world, wants to see that precious baby make it’s entrance.

Until then, we wait with grace.

 

Photo credit: Animal Adventure Park

 

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Twenty Years

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I stare at myself in the mirror.
A deep breath fills my lungs, pushes down anxiety bubbling just under the surface.

Twenty years older.
Twenty years since high school.
Twenty years before life would mature us, refine us, wreck us.

Seems like a lifetime ago.
{It kinda was.}

A reunion is coming.
As the thought of it hovers in the recesses of my mind, I deliberately push it back, avoiding an inevitable confrontation.

A quiet part of me doesn’t want to go.
{There. I said it.}

Can we just be real for a second? For some , our backsides are bigger (ahem, cough, cough). We’ve got muffin tops, pot bellies, an occasional limp and a wee-bit of a second chin. We failed to avoid our father’s receding hair lines, our Mother’s crow’s feet.

Maybe your figure is still as cute as it was in 1995 (I hate you. But whatevs.), yet the ghosts of your past weigh on you. Decisions you made play in your mind, and you just aren’t sure you want to see those people again.
{I hear ya loud and clear, people. I remember those things I wish I hadn’t done too.}

Or just maybe, life hasn’t turned out like you thought it would. A once promising career has failed, a marriage fell apart, or you’re flat broke. Maybe all three. Perhaps infertility wreaked havoc on you and you didn’t have the children you so desperately prayed for.

Heartbroken doesn’t begin to cover it. Embarrassment wells up like an ugly monster.
You don’t want to go because quite frankly, you don’t want to answer questions.

{Sweet friend, come as you are. We all have scars and wounds. Some of us just cover them better than others.}

The thing is, none of us are who we were twenty years ago. All have faced challenges and difficulty. Every single one of us of us have gained and lost.

We’ve gained children, spouses, education, careers. We’ve found a few wrinkles and gray hairs. Gained weight, wisdom, wealth…step-children, second wives, self-discipline. Some of us have found grace, mercy, forgiveness. Sobriety, softness of spirit, second chances.

Yes friends, we have gained much.

For all we have gained, much has been lost also. We’ve lost dear friends and family, mothers and brothers. We’ve wept at the brevity of life, and held fast to time with loved ones that would never be enough.  Some of us have lost jobs, money, and our minds. We have been up to our necks in debt, diapers and dirty laundry. We’ve been bruised, knocked down, wounded by curve balls we never saw coming.

The point is, a reunion isn’t a time for us to pretend we are who we used to be.
Because we aren’t.
And there is beauty in that.

There is beauty in the messiness of life. Beauty in the realness. I’d be willing to bet for some of us, our hearts are more tender than they ever were twenty years ago. Time has given us perspective, wisdom, discernment. And in the richness of this messy life- the chaos and sacrifices, and the wondering if I’m doing this thing with everything I’ve got, the quiet moments when we are overwhelmed with the Lord’s kindness toward us – that is where we find beauty.

We’ve lived life in these twenty years, you and me.
And you are more beautiful than you have ever been.
Don’t let anything tell you otherwise.

I wonder how the Lord has grown and stretched you.
Where He has taken you.
I can’t wait to see your face, your smile, hear your laughter.

It is decided.

Come too, friend.
You’ve been missed.

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As the sun rose on the first morning of this new year, in a quiet place, my heart held a word.
{Oh sweet Jesus, give me the words to share it as beautifully as you gave it.}

New years seem to highlight all we desire to change. We tend to seize the opportunity for a fresh start. And in the coming months, we struggle and strive (more often than not), often to no avail. We set out boldly, only to succumb to defeat. We crave clean-slates, second chances and fresh hope, but many times, end up deeper in despair.

Oh, it isn’t for lack of want.
No, sweet friend, I know too well the depth of desire for real change.

We desire the freedom to walk without the snares of life that seem to trip us up. We wrestle and wriggle and run from the places we struggle. It’s nothing new. We’ve been doing it for years. A good portion of us have already vowed that this is the year to lose the weight. Another portion of us have made the declaration of complete organization in the home. Still others speak words of resolution to stop using tobacco, overspending, to call mom more, yell at the kids less, and only eat out twice a month.

Most of us make it a couple of weeks, at best. Some of you may hammer it out…but few, very few of you are able to make a change on January 1st that sticks. So we spend the rest of the year in the rut we were in last year, and sometimes, the rut gets deeper and harder to get out of. But then, a new year comes…along with the feeling of hope. {I can do it this year. I can lose the weight. Be a better mom. Keep the laundry from spilling over the sides of the laundry basket, out the bathroom and into the hall…er, um, cough, cough…so I’ve heard that’s a struggle for some.}

And the cycle continues.

Oh, now don’t get me wrong. The desire for these things are real. We desperately want out of the ruts.
But in the middle of our desire for change, try as we may…we often fail.

Seems something is missing.
Something vital.

{Wholeness.}

We crave wholeness.
Wholeness is, at it’s root, freedom from strongholds.

Wholeness develops from a place of rest. Holy rest. Rest that comes from a ceasing of wrestling, wriggling and running (say that 3x’s fast!). Rest that comes from trusting that the One who allowed struggles and strongholds intends them for His glory AND your good.

{Psst…Sidebar: God doesn’t do something for His glory that isn’t for your good. What he allows, in His infinite wisdom may seem cruel, unjust or harsh, but is never, ever, random or without purpose. I believe that more than you know. One of the hardest, most painful seasons in our marriage was a miscarriage. I could weep over that little one now. I could not, for the life of me, understand WHY He would allow us to see a little life on a sonogram and then take it before we held it. Years later, after much time and healing, he has allowed countless conversations with younger women who are in the throes of similar pain. Will I hold that child in heaven someday? I fully believe, YES. And oh the joy that awaits me there! Do I understand now why that difficult season was allowed? To the best of my finite understanding, yes. All that to say, whatever it is that you are struggling with now is meant to bring Him glory AND good to you. I promise.}

Which brings me back to where we started.
New Year’s Resolutions.
Wholeness.

So, what if, instead of “resolutions”, we chose to focus on wholeness this year?
Where would we begin?

Jesus, sweet one.
Jesus.

Instead of loud proclamations and big words (Which I’ve been known to do on this silly blog..geez I’ve got a big mouth sometimes), what if we turned our attention to the only One who can really bring it about? Strongholds (anything that makes us feel overwhelmed, controlled or mastered) lose their power when we put Jesus in the middle. Take the WWR’s (wrestle/wriggle/run) places and put them at the foot of the Cross. A stronghold of fear doesn’t stand a chance in the face of the One who walked on water. A stronghold of self-control doesn’t stand a chance against the One who fasted 40 days and nights in the wilderness. The very same One who healed the blind man can heal you. The One that fed 5,000 can be trusted with your finances. It will take all the faith you have, but He won’t fail you.

If you choose to rest in Him and seek His wholeness this year, you won’t fail. I’m not implying that it won’t require active participation on your part, via prayer and studying the Word. But sister, I can tell you for certain that any area of your life you want to see changed forever must begin with Him. Oh dear one, as I would tell my own child – it is worth it! Giving up the reliance on ourselves to make changes and putting ourselves dab-smack at the foot of His holy robes will be the best, most rewarding change you could make! Sister in Christ, you are loved. He loves you more than you could possibly imagine. And He desires wholeness and freedom from strongholds for you. Trust Him with it, will you?

Ah yes, well, it is time for me to close….and, as always, I come to the end of a post the same way I do when it’s time to end a coffee-date with a friend. I’m awkward on a normal basis, so tying up the loose ends on a blog where I can’t see your face always leaves me a bit uncomfortable. Add in the retired school teacher in me, and I feel like I need to ramble on until I know for absolute sure you’ve got the message. So, to keep from more rambling, I leave you with a few homework questions. Nothing to turn in to me (grin), just things you might spend some time talking to the Lord about. I bet you will find the time quite worth it.

Blessings of wholeness and rest to you in this new year.
Much affection, Kristi

How are my New Year’s resolutions tied to my desire to be whole in You?
Where am I wrestling/wriggling/running?
What areas of my life do I need to give You control?
What portion of the Bible do you desire for me to study as we walk this year, Lord?
Would you give me a Bible verse to strengthen me?

Resolutions and Rest

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dead end alley

I heard Ne-No was a little hard on some of the Moms out there this week. Kids these days, I mean really. They will call you out, huh?!

{Truthfully, I’m still processing things about that post. It messed with me, even as I wrote it – mostly because I’m just as guilty as Ne-no’s mom – & I’m thankful the Lord opened my eyes to the issue. I hope you know it was just a creative way of expressing frustration with some parents using social media, without any consideration of the ones coming after us. It was not finger pointing toward anyone, and if anyone, a direct message to myself to really think before I put it out there. I feel a strong burden for protecting the younger generation, those who will never know life without social media.}

Speaking of the younger generation, can I just tell you what a delight it is to worship with and teach them each week at church? Good grief, they are such joy to me. I am continually amazed by their hearts for the Lord.

Yesterday was Sunday, simply a glorious first day of Autumn in our neck of the woods. As much as I love summer, and oh sister, do I love summer, I’m always thankful for that first crisp morning of fall.

Being Sunday, I taught those darling 4th & 5th graders during Sunday school time. I can tell you without a doubt, the Lord is raising up a mighty generation behind us. Those are some sharp cookies, people. They have a depth of understanding and a desire for His word that astounds me. The longer I teach these kids, the more I realize we need not underestimate this generation. They want the meat. They don’t just want the corny skits and coloring pages. These kids are facing challenges we did not face as young people. And I believe the Lord is equipping this generation with depth of insight to handle this broken world.

Ok, I digress.

So, yesterday I taught these (amazing) kids, and we were talking about having courage, and trusting God in the middle of a struggle. Referencing the passage from Numbers 13-14- Israel’s refusal to enter Canaan, the promised land – even though the Lord had told them with certainty it was theirs to possess. Although He had already told them it was theirs, they just had to go take it, they did not trust the Lord to really give it to them (they were afraid of the Canaanites, because they were bigger than the Israelites).

Wait a minute. Back up for a second, some of you may be lost…if you haven’t ever read this story…stop and do it now. Seriously, here’s the link. (We will wait for you. It is worth the five minutes, I promise, promise, promise!)

You back? Ok, good.

Do you know how many times I’ve been one of those stubborn Israelites, refusing to accept what God has promised in my life?

I spent too many years flailing. I hate that word, flailing. It just sounds weird when you say it out loud. And I wouldn’t use it, but it’s only appropriate in this case. I was that girl flailing around, drowning in two feet of water because I refused to stand up on the solid ground below my own feet.

Ever felt like that?

It’s a wonder John Lowe ever married me. Sister, I was some messed up when the Lord brought the two of us together. The Lord’s healing is whole, and complete, praise Jesus…but it took a long time for me to sense the healing work the Lord has done. I’m not proud of who I was, but I refuse to let the evil one shame me into thinking I’m not worthy of the forgiveness the Lord has mercifully given.  I love Luke 7:47, when Jesus says, “Therefore I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven…”

Thank you, Jesus.

In our messedupness (yep, I just made up a word there), do we believe God for the courage to face challenges? Do we believe God for the power to heal our brokenness? Do we trust Him when He says our sins are forgiven?

I asked the kids yesterday, and I think it bears asking you today…In what area(s) of your life is the Lord asking you to trust Him right now? Do we trust the Lord to deliver that which He has already promised us?

I don’t know about you, but I trust Him more when I stop to remember the places He brought me out of. I heard a pastor say recently, “We would doubt less if we remembered more.”

Before we close, I’ve gotta share a place in scripture that reminds me of that quote…I don’t quote from The Message much, but I couldn’t resist how this particular passage reads….

God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He’s set us up in the kingdom of the Son he loves so much, the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating. ~Colossians 1:13-14

Don’t you just love that?! I know, I know, you didn’t all come from physical dead-end alleys and dark dungeons (but you better believe there are some of us who did), yet there have been plenty of gut-wrenching, joy killing, life strangling issues He has rescued you and me from. Praise Jesus.

{Don’t even get me started on the “sins we were doomed to keep repeating.” That’ll just wreck my mascara totally, and I’ve gotta take Lucy the Wonderdog to the vet in a few minutes.}

Trust Him with whatever area of life you are needy, sister. He doesn’t mind needy. It’s where His glory shines the brightest.

He loves you so much.

~kristi

Dead End Alleys

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Dear Mom,

So, this may be a little awkward, but we’ve gotta talk.

Easy there…before you start jumping on the couch like Tom Cruise did on Oprah and hurt yourself…You’ve probably noticed I don’t talk to you much these days.

I don’t text you back, and I don’t call you enough. I know, I know, it “drives you crazy”. When we are together, I’m quiet. You always ask how my day was, but I don’t tell you (or better yet, I don’t tell you the truth).

See, Mom, here’s the deal.

I don’t trust you.

I know, that’s harsh.

{But I don’t.}

And I’m really not trying to be disrespectful here.

It’s just that I’ve realized that anything I tell you can (and most likely, will) end up on Facebook. Like the time I thought my English teacher was cute. Or when my stomach hurt, and you told 700 people you thought I was constipated.

Really?

Every time I share a picture with you, you filter the crap out of it and post it on “The Instagram” (why you add “The” to Instagram I’m still not sure).

And as if that isn’t bad enough, some of the kids at school started teasing me about the speech impediment I had as a child. How did they know about it?

Your blog.

Some punk found a link to it on your Facebook page and started reading the old blog entries…apparently you gave them a lot of material. They knew I sucked my thumb every night, even as a 4th grader, and I snuck into y’all’s bed when I got scared. Oh, and how about the time I wet my pants in 1st grade? I had even forgotten about that until they so kindly reminded me. Then there was the time I cried when I watched Finding Nemo. They had a field day with that one. They call me “Ne-no” in the locker room now (thanks to the speech impediment post).

There is no way it ever occurred to you that your blog posts would be read by adolescent kids on iPhones at a lunch table 10 years later.

But here we are. And now your sweet Ne-no’s whole childhood is lunch room fodder.

We discussed a word in Sunday school recently.

Discretion.

My teacher read the bible verse…

Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion. ~Proverbs 11:22

Mom, you are beautiful. I’ve always thought you were. I love that you take care of yourself, and that you dress like a lady. {Some of my friends’ moms dress like hookers. Please don’t go through some crisis and try that, ok? You’re cute like you are.}

But Mom, I’ve lost trust in you. I never know what you are going to share with other people.

Sometimes, I just want to be with you.

YOU.

Without the phone, the camera, The Instagram.

Moments just between you and me. Conversations that make me think. Memories not cheapened by “comments” and “likes”.

Do you think maybe we could get a cup of coffee and not tell everyone where we went? Could we laugh about a joke and not share it on Facebook? And sometimes, let’s take a selfie of you and me and…gasp!…just keep it to ourselves. Maybe you could set it as your home screen on your phone instead of your profile picture?

I need you in my life without feeling like I’m being exploited. I want to hear “I love you” from your mouth, not my Newsfeed. If you are proud of me, look me in the eyes and tell me. Don’t post some ridiculous sappy soliloquy and tag me in it. I need to be able to spill my day while you fix your amazing meatloaf and mashed potatoes without you posting a pic of the moment on The Instagram.

Have a little discretion, Mom.

I am learning how to navigate life by watching you. I need you to lead me with wisdom. And even when I roll my eyes, deep down, I want you to encourage me to live with integrity, draw healthy boundaries and teach me how to take care of myself. I want you to be a safe place I can come when I’m struggling, in the midst of figuring out who I am. I learn more from your quiet strength than any rant or blog post.

I love you Mom. Thanks for listening. And Mom, one more thing. I really meant the part about you being beautiful. The picture of the pig up at the top was Kristi’s idea, not mine.

Love, Ne-No

 

 

***Just a little creative writing this morning from the viewpoint of an adolescent (nothing I wrote was factual to my knowledge…any coincidences are just that.) Might we graciously consider our children before we post things on social media? Our words are public for all the world to see now, and in the future. -kristi

Dear Mom…

No words…

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In the past few months, I haven’t posted A. Single. Entry.

Oh. My. Word.

Or, actually, lack thereof.

Not for lack of trying. mind you…I sat here numerous times (9, to be exact) and tried to put my thoughts to virtual paper. I would get half-way, sometimes three-quarters of the way through a post, and not be able to pull it together.

It was maddening.

I mean, y’all know me. I’m not one to be short on words.

Like, ever.

I convinced myself it was summer…kids running everywhere, house messy, work demands, pool demands (girlfriend needs her sunshine, y’all), etc.

But something kept nagging at me. Something deep in me told me there was something wrong, something I wasn’t examining. I sensed myself withdrawing, pulling away from friends and family. It was if a perpetual darkness had settled over me. There was no life in my bones, and where I was usually upbeat and positive, there was an ache, a bitterness. I wasn’t sleeping…and the sleep that came was not restful. I was miserable.

And I could not, for the life of me, explain why.

I kept carving out time with the Lord each morning, but it fell flat. Lifeless. There was a disconnect somewhere, but in my brilliance, I never asked Him why.

Until Sunday.

This Sunday, a culmination of events brought me to my knees and face first before the Lord. I finally realized that for the past few months, I had kept Him at an arm’s length regarding a particular endeavor I had taken on. Furthermore, I had failed to ask Him for permission before I embarked on this particular project. Now don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t doing something illegal, or even inherently wrong, by the world’s standards. In fact, when I was asked to do it, it seemed only natural to say yes. 

But I made a decision to begin without seeking the Lord first.

{That was my first mistake.}

My second mistake, looking back, was realizing half way into it I had not asked Him for his blessing, and yet still continuing on in it.

{I am a genius, y’all. For reals.} Have you ever done that? Realized you might be on the wrong path, but figured it was better to just see it through than admit you had made a mistake?

It is an understatement to say it was wrought with stumble, miscommunication, road block, angst.

I kept going, certain it would eventually be fine…it was just a difficult season, I told myself.

{I can be so stubborn.}

And then there was Sunday.

I realized where the disconnect was. The blessed light finally came on and I saw where I had left Him behind…running, pushing my agenda, my plans.

Dang.

You remember those times when you got in trouble, and the last thing you wanted to do was face your Dad because you knew you’d really screwed it up this time?? Like the time you were 7 years old and you threw stuffed animals in your cousin’s brand new ceiling fan at his brand new house and knocked the brand new ceiling fan down?

It was one of those times.  

I sat before Him most of Sunday. I didn’t say much, I just sat.

And in it, He began to convict me that this was going to be one of those realllllly fun, humbling moments when I had to admit to other people that I had made a mistake. For whatever reason, He had not appointed me to be involved in the project, and it was time for me to bow out.

{Oh no, Lord. Please don’t make me admit I made a mistake to them. No. No. No. Can’t you just fix it and make it all ok, now that I’ve admitted to you that I was wrong?!}

The answer was a resounding “no”, even as I was asking begging Him.

Come Monday, I made one of my least favorite phone calls ever.

Afterward, I went back before the Lord, in a tangled mix of emotion. I was entirely relieved, but emotionally exhausted . And disgusted with myself that I hurt others in the process. I wish my disobedience had not affected them so.  

In the moments afterward, He brought a visual to me that I have probably told you in the past, but it bears repeating today. Making decisions is like being a gladiator, in an arena. You better dang well make sure the Lord has called you to fight the battle in the arena, and thoroughly equipped you for the battle, because, friend, if you step into an arena that the Lord has not called you to be in, you’re gonna get creamed. Pummeled. When we choose to put ourselves in a place that He has not called us to be, we are exposed, unprotected. When we make plans He did not intend for us, it’s not gonna be pretty. Running into this particular arena a few months ago left me without the protection of the Lord. No shelter, no blessing. And certainly not His presence.

The hardest part is realizing the damage that has been done. The effects of sin are not lost on me. The consequences are real. As glad as I am to have stepped back and chosen to be obedient, I am equally aware that other people and parts of my life have suffered as a result. I mentioned earlier that I felt miserable this summer. I withdrew inwardly more and more as the summer ebbed on. My sister in Christ ran by my house  yesterday. She could sense there was something not right, try as I did to pretend I was fine. Late yesterday afternoon she text me with life-giving kindness…”Are you really ok? How can I pray for you?”. Bless her, I text back and tearfully begged her to pray for this darkness to recede. 

When I woke up this morning, I sensed that it finally had.

We fool ourselves if we think our disobedience is limited to a particular area. We are crazy if we think we can hide the effects of sin from others. Oh, friend…quite the contrary. The sin, no matter the flavor, eats away at the life within us, stinks up the place and affects others in it’s wake. Left alone, it will suck the marrow of life right out of ya. It was sucking the life out of me, for sure.

As I sit here now, I realize I’ve made it to the end of this without walking away from this post. My prayer at the beginning of this was, “Lord, use this. Teach me and others through this.” May you seek His face today. May you take those decisions to Him before you choose the path. May His light be your life-blood. And may I, as I walk forward this day, never forget this season.

Many blessings to you, sweet friend.

kristi

Missy Franklin on Mondays

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This is Meredith, circa Summer 2005 (wasn’t she flippin’ adorable?!). She practically lived in that little blue pool that summer. In fact, I’d venture to guess my oldest child is part amphibious. She’s loved the water her whole life. That particular summer, when we would go to the ‘real’ pool, she would swim back and forth between John and I for as long as we would have it. For as long as I can remember, she has been the first kid in the pool and the last one out. She would swim so long her toes would be sore, and her fingers were little white prunes. So last summer, when Missy Franklin captured the world’s heart with her darling smile and swimming prowess during the Olympics, it came as no surprise that Meredith decided she wanted to be a competitive swimmer too.

The catch was, we were on vacation when the local swim club was going to hold tryouts, so we had made arrangements to tryout when we returned the next week.

Did I mention it was an Olympic year, and Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin had taken on a near cult-like following? Well, it was an Olympic year, and the Phelps/Franklin cult were flocking to the nearest swim teams in droves.

Yep, you can guess where this is going……

And…because of the OVERWHELMING turnout, the local swim team was busting at the seams, nearly tripling the size of their team overnight. They were forced to turn kids away because they simply could not handle one more swimmer.

So Meredith was not able to join the team. (Ok, before you get all defensive, hear this: the swim club takes VERY good care of their swimmers, and it was a matter of SAFETY that Meredith and others were turned away. Difficult to swallow, but important nonetheless.)

It was an understatement to say our little girl was crushed.
She cried. Oh my gosh, she cried.
I cried. Oh my gosh, I cried.

No swim team.
No swim meets.
No medals.

As a parent, I think the toughest thing you do is watch your kiddo go through something you can’t fix. In my head, I completely understood, totally agreed…I would never want any child’s safety compromised in a swimming pool. But in reality, I was beside myself. I’ve never seriously considered bribery until that week…I mean, I hate laundry, but I’d wash every towel in the joint and scrub the floors if they’d let her join. Or pool vacuumer…surely someone needed to vacuum that monstrous pool everyday. Anything. I’d have done anything.

But it just wasn’t to be.

A couple of weeks later, Meredith was still determined to be Missy Franklin, so we decided to let her take some private swim lessons. Not gonna lie, I’d have hired Missy Franklin herself if I could have. But Missy was busy being a superstar/high school senior/international role model, so we settled for weekly lessons with Miss Kaitlyn at the local YWCA.

Thank you Lord, for Miss Kaitlyn.

For months, the highlight of Meredith’s week was Monday from 4-5pm. Kaitlyn worked with Meredith on her strokes, refined her skills, taught her how to breathe, to flip turn.

Here’s the part that gets me.

Not once – not even ONCE, did our nine year old pout or cry that she wasn’t with her friends on the swim team, or getting to compete in the swim meets. After the initial shock wore off, she never uttered one single complaint.

{I wish I was more like her sometimes.}

She just kept taking those lessons with Miss Kaitlyn. Kept pretending she was Missy Franklin on Monday afternoons, waiting for the next tryout to roll around.

Might we all be so good at waiting.
{Heck, I’m competitive at the grocery store’s check out lines, not to mention real world issues. It’s a problem. I know.}

When things don’t go my way.
The repairman doesn’t show up when he said.
A house doesn’t sell as quickly as I thought it would.
Kids take their everlovin’ time getting their buns in the car.
The super cool mom you know at school dons her new wardrobe. (How she does it, I just don’t know. It’s awesome.)

Refuse bitterness. Fight envy.
Reject the temptation to pout, cry or throw a tantrum.

It’s hard sometimes…especially when we see others around us succeeding.
When it seems everyone else is on easy street.
When others are getting what we think we should.

In the waiting, might we allow the Lord to grow us.
Like Meredith on Mondays, her skills refined, arms strengthened, knowledge deepened.

It isn’t whether or not we have seasons of waiting. It’s what we choose to do with that time that matters.
For it is in the waiting that we grow the most.

Last month, the local swim team had open tryouts.
Meredith made the team.

Which brings me to this weekend.

After nearly ten months of waiting, our little girl, got in the water yesterday morning for her first swim meet. She swam two races, a 50m freestyle, and a 50m backstroke. {I would love to tell you she won the races, but she didn’t. It doesn’t matter.}

Y’all, I’ve never been so proud of our daughter in my life.

There was a sweetness in yesterday that I don’t know if I can put into words.
Because the waiting had not been tainted by bitterness or jealousy, there was pure joy in it.
I really tried to keep my composure, but I must confess, my heart was bursting on the inside.
Not because she made the team.
Not because of the time she posted.
But because I had watched her grow up in those ten months.
Because I saw overflowing joy in a young lady who had patiently persevered in the waiting.
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Needless to say, it was worth the wait.

God-shaped Hole

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“And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 (HCSB)

I’ve gotta tell ya, someone asked me the other day why I was doing this. You could tell she was interested, but seemed….embarrassed for me. (She doesn’t know me very well.)

Some of you may be asking the same.
In a nutshell, here’s why: There’s more to me than just this.
But this is the pit I’m in right now, and before I can move on to other things, the Lord is requiring me to deal with this.

Here’s the best part: I used to only apply the verse “peace that passes all understanding” to people who are in dire, complicated situations. But I read it again this morning, and I think it applies here.

See, I’ve exposed this to light. And when you expose the deep dark places, satan has no authority in it anymore. What was once a gripping, swirling, torturous place is calm and peaceful. Seriously, I’m really not joking here.

I am not struggling with overeating or not wanting to exercise. It used to consume me. I would vacillate between self-righteousness and self-loathing. And when I read that verse, it kinda smacked me upside the head…this peace within me is from the Lord, because I have set this before Him…and an overflow of peace is guarding my heart and mind during this process.

And as crazy as you think it sounds, I’m dead serious. I tried explaining it to John last night, but I’m not sure words can express the freedom I’ve found here. The best analogy I can give you is that there is a God-shaped hole in me, and I’ve quit trying to fill it with food. When I asked the Lord to come into this place WITH ME, He came with His mighty strength, and
an abundance of peace and clarity.

Blessings to you today, sweet friend.
kris

“I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.” (Psalm 143:6)

Day 10 (yesterday): walked 2 miles with kids at Walking Wednesday
Day 11: walked Lucy 2 miles. Did 30 pushups, 30 sit-ups, and 30 chair-squats.

Join me on this journey?
MyFitnessPal – kristiglowe

Rocky Balboa

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rocky

Fair warning, I’m about to step on some toes. I hope we can still be friends. Promise me you’ll read to the end. I think I can prove the claim I’d like to propose.

Diets don’t work.
(There, I’ve said it.)

The following is a list of “diets” I’ve tried (at least once). I lost weight with some of them, gained it all back with all of them. Some of them you may have heard of. Some may be unfamiliar. I’m not against them (except one that I question the real motives), but the point is, not one of them helped me achieve lasting weight loss.

Weight watchers.
Adkins.
Weigh Down Workshop.
Cabbage Soup Diet. (oh man that one was horrid)
Metabolic Research Center.
South Beach.
Paleo.
Advocare 24-day challenge.

I don’t think this is the entirety of the list, but I think you get the jist. I have, at one point or another, been actively following each of these plans. In the case of Weight Watchers, it’s more like 5 times (I secretly just wanna rock some hot pants like Jennifer Hudson). Grin.

{{Sidebar: The way I write tends to be a bit quirky…I write snippets, and save them as a draft, some become posts, some don’t. I wrote the above snippet last week, but didn’t finish it. This weekend, I had a nasty case of Vertigo. (For those unfamiliar with it, think roller coaster ride that doesn’t stop) I’ve never been so dizzy in my life. There were points where things that were totally stable looked like they were moving. It was a nightmare. I am much better today (thanks to some wonderful friends who knew how to get my inner ear back in balance!), still feeling a bit weak, but I think I’m going to be fine. I pray I don’t ever have to do that again, and you don’t either!}}

Ok, back to my point about the snippet I wrote – all those diets, plans, tricks, formulas – it was like a mental case of vertigo – they had me so dizzy I couldn’t think straight. I felt for years like I was spinning from one diet plan to the other. I would follow a plan for a couple of weeks, lose interest and quit. Then I’d get mad at myself again when something didn’t fit anymore, pick another plan, and “THIS TIME”, I’d stick with it. Only I wouldn’t.

I remember complaining about it to John a few months ago, and I told him how mad I was at myself (again). For the record, he is not one to get involved in the “Do these jeans make my butt look big?” trap discussion. (He’s such a brilliant man) But that day, as I was lamenting, he gently said, “It isn’t what you do about it when you’re mad. It’s what you decide to do when you aren’t feeling mad anymore.”

He was so right. I was allowing feelings to determine my course and emotion rule the moment. See, when I was mad, I was the best dieter in the world. I was on fire, like Sylvester Stallone in Rocky, running up the stairs, punching the world in the face. BOOM. Take that saddle bags!

But then I would wake up one morning, and suddenly, I wasn’t quite so mad. I wasn’t “feeling it.” So I’d skip the Rocky workout. I’d justify a few decisions, make a few compromises, and then before I knew it, I was back in my old habits, and that particular diet was a thing of the past. Until a shirt was too tight and then I’d start the cycle all over again.

VERTIGO.
spinning….
dizzy.

There has to come a point where we settle the matter, once and for all.
Diets, in and of themselves, do not work.

The only thing that will change your body and life is the decision that you will care for your body (no matter the plan you choose), and love yourself (no matter what a scale says). We have got to get off the lose-gain-lose-gain-lose-gain roller coaster. We need a shift in thinking – from “I have to do this so my body looks good” to “I want to take care of myself”.

Somehow two weeks ago, when I first posted about this, the light switch went on…it was a shift from the dizzying-mania of diet-jumping to stable, steady, consistent choices that benefit my body. By the grace of God, I got off the roller coaster. And just to give you some much needed grace, some of us have been riding the roller coaster for so long that when we get off, we’re gonna be a bit weak in the legs, still shaky. Don’t be afraid to ask the Lord for some courage and clarity here. He so graciously gives it. You are valuable and loved by God – adored, cherished, smiled upon, because of who you are IN HIM. He hates seeing you struggle. So take it to Him. Let Him love on you through this.

If you can, where you are, read this passage outloud. It has nourished me at this place I’m in. May you be blessed by it also.

Psalm 40
1 I waited patiently for the Lord,
and He turned to me and heard my cry for help.
2 He brought me up from a desolate[a] pit,
out of the muddy clay,
and set my feet on a rock,
making my steps secure.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the Lord.

4 How happy is the man
who has put his trust in the Lord
and has not turned to the proud
or to those who run after lies!
5 Lord my God, You have done many things—
Your wonderful works and Your plans for us;
none can compare with You.
If I were to report and speak of them,
they are more than can be told.

6 You do not delight in sacrifice and offering;
You open my ears to listen.[b]
You do not ask for a whole burnt offering or a sin offering.
7 Then I said, “See, I have come;
it is written about me in the volume of the scroll.
8 I delight to do Your will, my God;
Your instruction lives within me.”[c]

9 I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly;
see, I do not keep my mouth closed[d]—
as You know, Lord.
10 I did not hide Your righteousness in my heart;
I spoke about Your faithfulness and salvation;
I did not conceal Your constant love and truth
from the great assembly.

11 Lord, do not withhold Your compassion from me;
Your constant love and truth will always guard me.
12 For troubles without number have surrounded me;
my sins have overtaken me; I am unable to see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
and my courage leaves me.
13 Lord, be pleased to deliver me;
hurry to help me, Lord.

14 Let those who seek to take my life
be disgraced and confounded.
Let those who wish me harm
be driven back and humiliated.
15 Let those who say to me, “Aha, aha!”
be horrified because of their shame.

16 Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;
let those who love Your salvation continually say,
“The Lord is great!”
17 I am afflicted and needy;
the Lord thinks of me.
You are my helper and my deliverer;
my God, do not delay.”

He wants to bring us up from the desolate pit, and set us on a rock.
Let’s walk like we are loved.
Because we are.
kris

Day 12: Worked in my backyard like a crazy woman for nearly 1.5 hours.
Day 13: Demolished a storage shed in our back yard. Crowbars & sledgehammers, baby. It was an assault on my whole body for 3 hours.
Day 14: VERTIGO!! No workout.
Day 15: Still spinning…no workout.
Day 16: Today…A walk to the park with my sweet dog.

**As for the list of diets I’ve tried…I want to make a disclaimer…most of them are balanced approaches to weight-loss. I just don’t think they are the cure to the underlying problem some of us are struggling with. Until we decide we want to simply care for our bodies in a reasonable manner, it won’t matter what diet we choose. A weight-loss program in conjunction with a healthy mind-set is the only way it will work (long term).