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a date which will live in infamy

bruce_harbor

Where my history nerds at?

This title only works for today.

But the post is applicable all days. I think.

Today, December 7th, is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. A date in which we Americans recall the attack on Pearl Harbor during WWII. It was a dark day in our history. If you’ve ever seen the movie Pearl Harbor with Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett, think about the darkness in (parts) of that movie, and then don’t. Because that movie is so inaccurate, and it’s just a love story, and history smishtory.

I digress.

But.

As I was thinking about today – about remembering the darkness in our country’s past – I started thinking about days in my life that may live in infamy. I had specific seasons and time periods and events that came to my mind that I remember as dark, marked days that had a profound impact on my life and who I am today.

On December 8, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered one of the most famous speeches in our modern history. The ending, the call to action, is so desperately hopeful:

“Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger. With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph – so help us God.”

In my personal infamous days, I believe FDR’s words ring even truer. The enemy exists. There is no blinking at the fact that darkness is real and we are in grave danger. But with confidence in our risen Savior, with the unbounding grace and mercy of our Father, we have gained the inevitable triumph – in Jesus.

Praise God – He enters in and redeems. The victory is already ours.

Infamy doesn’t equal defeat.
Our dark days may have quite a blow on our souls.
But Jesus wins in the end. And I can press on, clinging to that truth.

 

(also, you’re welcome for the picture of Jennifer Garner in Pearl Harbor because she’s the only good thing about that movie and I bet you didn’t even know she was in it…)

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when it feels like no one shows up

when-it-feels-like

I wrote the following a couple weeks ago when I felt really naked and exposed and too full of shame and guilt to speak these words to anyone, so writing them just felt like the natural thing to do. Then I shoved them away. But they came back again in a couple different conversations, so, I have to share them now.

I still feel pretty naked and exposed at times, but God is teaching me that my shame is not something I can let the enemy have. I need to give Him my shame, and my guilt, and my exposure, and my nakedness. And in that, I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that He will receive all of it and all of me, and will sit with me in the fiery furnace.

It’s pretty short, but it’s pretty raw. And it was all I could bear at the time.

Read on:

Sometimes I get sad.
Sometimes I think I’m alone and unlovable and that no one really wants to be my friend.

That I’ve been found out. The real Kayla has finally stood up and she’s repulsive.

I’m feeling a little bit like that lately.
I’ve let my guard down and the enemy has snuck in through the back door. I kinda think he’s like a little mosquito that gets in right before the door shuts and you don’t even know he’s in the house until he’s bitten you 7 times and you start to itch a day later.

That’s how I feel right now.

I feel isolated. Unloved. Alone. Unworthy. And itchy.

I know these feelings are not feelings God delights in my feeling.
I know that God is good and that I am loved and worthy.

But I also feel like God is just kinda letting me lay my head on His holy shoulder and is weeping with me. He’s feeling these things just as I am.
I don’t think He’s telling me to just figure it out and get along with my life.

No.
He’s in the mire.
He’s holding me close, throbbing in pain right alongside me.

When it feels like no one else is showing up, the enemy is probably on the move.
When it feels like no one else is showing up, God is.
When it feels like no one else is showing up, it doesn’t matter – the King of Creation and Lover of my soul never leaves or forsakes me. He has already shown up and will not leave.

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psalm 14

psalm 14.png

I guess the best way to start doing something again is to just start doing it.

So.

Here we are.

Psalm 14.

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good.
The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.
They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.
Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the Lord?
There they are in great terror, for God is with the generation of the righteous.
You would same the plans of the poor, but the Lord is his refuge.
Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

I typed this psalm out then went and ate some goldfish, because I just really had to make sure what I’m about to say is what I’m supposed to say.

From my view of the world and the things happening around me/on social media, a lot of us like to take a passage like this and say, “HA! YES! See you FOOL!”

We like to point our fingers at those that are corrupt, doing abominable deeds.

But I can’t read through this whole dang thang and shake my finger at someone else. Because here it tells me that God looks down from heaven and all have turned aside.

We all say in our hearts, “there is no God.” We all say with our actions, “there is no God.” We all say with the way we bow our heads in despair over an election, “there is no God.”

We are all included in this. None of us do good.

So, as you go throughout the rest of this week, keep that in mind.

You and I are sinners in need of a great savior. And that savior has not and will never be the president of the United States. That savior has not and will never be the United States herself. [side note: why is a country always referred to in the feminine? If you have answers, please share.]

The only one great enough to save all of us is Jesus.

“Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!”

He did.
Let’s trust, with the deepest part of who we are, that His work is finished.

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one white girl’s thoughts on the last 48 hours

Make dreams come true

I drove past a police car yesterday morning on my way to work and started weeping. I started weeping as the faces of my black friends sped through my mind and the thought of them being pulled over by a police officer, wondering what would go through their minds.

If, when they get pulled over, their hearts start racing, hands start shaking, thoughts begin consuming them with wonderment of whether or not this will be the time it’s them.

The two times I’ve been pulled over, my biggest concern was if I would get a ticket or be able to talk my way out of one – not if I would lose my life or be assaulted by an officer performing a routine duty.

I was weeping thinking about seeing a news story with my friend’s name as the headline along with, “Another Black Man fatally shot by Police.”

For those of you that want to say, “Oh come on Kayla, don’t make this a race thing!”…well…it IS a race thing. In the past 48 hours, two black men have been shot to death by police officers that are not black.

And before your mind goes to, “We should know all of the facts before we start talking about this…”

No.

I won’t settle for that anymore. The only fact I need to know right now in order to weep the way I did yesterday morning is that 2 more human beings were killed by a bullet fired from the gun of a government official.

Close your eyes for a minute and picture yourself on your couch.
Your phone rings.
“Ma’am/Sir, we regret to inform you that your son/husband/friend/brother has been killed in an altercation with law enforcement…”

What’s your reaction?

Do you say to yourself, “Well, the officer must have felt threatened for his/her life, or they wouldn’t have done that,” or, “My loved one must have resisted arrest to the point of physical violence, or this would have never happened.”

Absolutely. Not.

You would have cried.
You would have wept so bitterly that your body shook and you went into a state of shock.
You would rush into mourning in ways you never have before.

At first, I wasn’t sure if I had the right to speak on this subject – to try to put myself in the shoes of another that I will never, and can never, fully empathize with. To enter into a story I will never fully understand.

But over the past 2 days – 2 years, really – I’ve ultimately decided that I cannot not speak about it.

To be silent, to me, is to pretend this kind of harm doesn’t exist. To be silent is to, in my mind, perpetuate the injustice that is so apparent in our society.

Now, please hear me – I AM NOT saying that all police are racists, have no compassion, and are not interested in serving their community in ways that put them at risk every single day. I AM NOT saying the officers who lost their lives in Dallas isn’t a heavy thing to bear today, and that we shouldn’t talk about it.

I AM NOT saying that all black people who get pulled over are 100% innocent in every instance throughout all time.

Officers losing their lives protecting a peaceful, black protest. Black men losing their lives by police brutality. This isn’t a day to pick sides. This is a day to mourn over sin and brokenness in our world, over lives lost because all we know to do is incite violence on one another. I am heart b.r.o.k.e.n. over each instance.

What I AM saying is that my heart is heavy for the black community.
My heart is heavy for fellow humans – humans that, because of the imago Dei, are inherently given value, worth, and dignity. Just because they are alive. Humans that should be cared for and fought for regardless of their skin color.
What I AM saying is that I can no longer pretend that this isn’t my problem. I have to feel something. I have to speak something. I have to enter in where it is uncomfortable.

And if you aren’t okay with that, feel free to unfollow/unfriend/delete me from your phone book. OR, better yet, let’s grab some food, coffee, or something and have a conversation about why these things are hard and why emotions are all over the spectrum when it comes to race relations in our country.

We are all hurting. On all sides.

And instead of throwing statistical rocks at one another, we need to have civilized conversations – recognizing that, unless we are walking in the skin or the uniform, we’ll never fully understand how deep the wounds run.

If you’re black, please take me with you. Take me into your life and your community. Help me to see your hurt. Help me to know your culture. Help me to understand what I don’t currently understand.

And if you’re a person in uniform, or closely tied to one, take me with you as well! I want to hear and know the stories behind the names. I want to understand why you wear the uniform you wear, and what in your life impacted you in such a way to put your life at risk every day.

And if you are going to comment or throw around #AllLivesMatter, I hope you’re the first one to step in when violence is being enacted on our black brothers and sisters. Because you’re right, all lives do matter, because all mankind is made in the image of God. But all lives can’t matter to you if black lives don’t matter to you.

And before you write me off thinking that liberal media has brainwashed me, know that they haven’t – but the Gospel of Jesus Christ HAS, and will continue to, change my heart. And if that heart change means that He is moving me to speak for those that won’t be listened to, then that’s what I’m going to do.

All that I’m asking you to do with this is think.
Think about what you would do if you received that phone call.
Put yourself in the passenger seat while your loved one is bleeding out next to you and your 4-year-old daughter is in the back of the car.

I’m sure over the next days, weeks, months that new information will surface, facts and evidence will be revealed, but for now, can we please put our fists down and just grieve? Can we mourn with those who are mourning? Can we agree that the loss of life is a hard thing to bear?

And can we figure out a way to talk with one another as if we’re all in this life thing together?

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why we all love Fixer Upper

Fixer Upper

You guys, I am in love. At least, I think that’s what this feeling is. I am head over heels about HGTV’s hit Fixer Upper. And I am even MORE over the moon about Chip & Joanna Gaines. Joanna wrote a blog recently about Chip’s breakfast and I almost started packing to go move in with them. That’s an acceptable thing to do with those you love, right?

I know I’m late to the game on the Chip & JoJo bandwagon, but I wanted to take a moment to list why I think we are all so in love with this couple in Waco, TX.

1 – They are adorable.

Seriously. Chip is just a dude’s dude and Joanna is so precious. They are a cute couple. From demo day to reveal, they are just cute. I want to watch them just to see how adorable they are going to be on the t.v. screen. AND THEIR KIDS!!! I mean, come on. No one should be allowed to produce offspring like they have. They are just too cute.

2 – They love each other.

Along with being adorable, Chip and Joanna love each other and it is evident throughout their lives. Sure, they say, “I love you!” but I’m never skeptical of it. I never think for a second that those words are simply spoken to keep appearances up. Chip supports his wife. Joanna adores her husband. They are playful and kind to one another. They encourage each other to do their best and are one another’s biggest cheerleaders. This is one of my favorite things about them. They don’t cut one another down or roll their eyes in disgust.

Now, I know they are on a television show and that reality t.v. is not reality, however, if a production company had any type of drama they could hype up, I think they would. And they don’t with Fixer Upper. There’s no need, because these two love each other. And that is good enough for us to keep watching! Because we want that! People love love, y’all!

3 – They love their kids.

Yes, they work hard. Yes, their kids have babysitters. But they are there for their kids. They cheer their kids on. They encourage the boys to be sweet to their sisters. They bring them in on their work and let them be apart of the cool things Mom and Dad are doing. Their kids aren’t some afterthought that are brought onto the screen so America can stand in awe at their perfect skin tone and adorable smiles.

4 – They redeem.

This is maybe my favorite reason why we all love Fixer Upper. If you’ve creeped long enough like I have, you know that Chip and Joanna love Jesus. You probably don’t know this just from the show, because they never come straight out and say, “Hey you guys, guess what, we love Jesus…” BUT they are doing something right under your nose, showing you they love Jesus.

They are active agents of redemption in this world.

I had a professor in college that spoke adamantly about how, as Christians, we shouldn’t work to create some random sub-par subculture. We should enter into the culture around us and redeem it. We should be agents of redemption in our respective worlds. And that’s what Chip and Jo are doing. They are redeeming.

They even say it at the beginning of their show! They take the worst house in the best neighborhood and make it their client’s dream home.

They take what is broken down and unlovely and make it beautiful to the point of tears for most of their clients.

They see beyond the surface into something that is valuable and deserving of love and turn it in to a masterpiece.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that every time I see a reveal, I think of this passage:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:12-21)

Chip & Joanna Gaines are living ambassadors of Christ, carrying out that which has been entrusted to them – the message of reconciliation and redemption.

I just really love this show and this family. Along with the rest of America.

Now, pardon me while I go search for some shiplap to build a table with.

 

*Image from hgtv.com

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