I probably need to start this back

I think I will be making a reappearance. :)

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As a parent…

I’ve said this before but parenting truly reveals how much we think we are in control and just how much we really are not.

I had something happen this past weekend that put the exclamation point on that statement.  I had been telling Luke & Jake what a great time we were gonna have on Sunday. First we’d go to the pool, then we’d come home & rest, and THEN they would get to come to work with me.  They are ALWAYS wanting to come to work with me and so I thought this was an incredible plan. Well, “we” did-until the “we” realized that I would be leaving them in Waumba Land and going to work upstairs. Now usually, they love Waumba, but tonight was different. The tears started as we pulled up and not just whimpering. I mean it was the snotty, drooling, screaming “I don’t want to go to church” “all the way through the parking lot, into the lobby, down the stairs, into their classroom, clinging to me until physically removed” kind of tears.  Jake happened to stop at the caterpillar outside of Waumba, but Luke went the entire way as described… Thankfully I had put on my staff name badge so I couldn’t hide and was able to REALLY stand out.

I was grateful for the sweet volunteer who was encouraging me as I was about to burst into tears in the hallway.  I was not grateful for the person who made the snide comment about what was happening well within my earshot as she was walking in with her two children.

I was upset. I was shaking and I felt like I was spinning. My feeling of being unable to hold it together was able to hold me until I could get alone. Now this is the time most folks assume I was about to lose it  because I was embarrassed by Luke’s actions. Or if I was describing this to someone, they would jump to the conclusion that I let Luke rule the roost or maybe they would assume Michael and I were not consistent & didn’t follow through on things. There would also be the crew that assumed that I was trying to control Luke and I was more worried about what people thought of me than him. And you know what-I was trying to figure out why I felt so out of sorts about it too. I mean it was really hard to bounce back and it wasn’t just my shot nerves. We had on ok rest of the night, but I was still a little off.  Monday morning I felt like God answered my prayers and gave me a little peek into what he feels when he looks at me. I desperately want Luke & Jake to be all that Luke & Jake were created to be. I want to raise them up in the way THEY should go, not the way I think they should go or wish they would go. I’m sure there is a part of me that cared about what people thought, but that’s called being a human being & it won’t be completely gone until I’m with Jesus. However, then I will be dead & I’m not wanting that just yet so for now, I’ll deal with it.  Ok, back to the topic at hand.

I just felt helpless. I felt helpless to make Luke feel better. I felt helpless to love him well. He didn’t have to be feeling this way, but there was no switch, no logic, no nothing that could stop it. I felt helpless in that I had to sit by and let him work it out even if he looked bad or silly in front of people. I was watching my sweet, precious little boy hurt as he was navigating emotions he didn’t know how to handle and I could do nothing. I didn’t WANT to do anything, it just bothered me to see him that way. It’s hard to walk confidently that you are doing the right thing when a stranger has to peel your child off your leg to get him in the room. Should I leave him? Does he feel abandoned? Is he someday going to be a Real Househusband of Atlanta and talking about his mom scarring him because she said he could go to work with her and instead he had to go learn about “Geejus”? Yes, it made me feel better that my dear friend Laura sent me texts & pictures that he was ok, but it was still just hard.

I would never try to put myself equal to God, but I did feel like this must be what he feels like when he watches me go through my day. He desires so much for me and it must be hard for him to watch me sin and experience the hardships that come with it. (Sin is just a short way of saying trying to get my needs met apart from him.) When I cling to things he never meant as promises and then I freak out because things don’t turn out the way I thought they would.

I’m an adult and Luke is 5. I don’t always know what is “normal” for a 5 year old to do, but I do know I desperately love this little boy and SOOO desire the best for him. I struggle with horrible communication skills as well as controlling my emotions and I am 37, so it is understandable that a 5 year old is not always going to know how to calm himself down. I’m learning that I serve a holy God whose life is in me. I may not know how to respond or what to do, but he does and can through me.  What could be better than that??

I’m sure this will not be the last time I have a night like this, but I think I have a different perspective. I hope my renewed mind will help me remember that he doesn’t need me to do anything but to stay calm, speak gently, and love him well.

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I’m praying…

Today I am praying for life to take root-literally.

I’m praying for these little guys to implant and start the influx of crazy hormones into their mom. Hormones that many of us take for granted, yet are life lines for women who yearn for them to take over their bodies.

I’m praying for the life that God is birthing in my heart to keep growing. I am talking true, free, breathing, moving, living life. Life in my heart and the hearts of my boys and my friends and my family.

I’m praying that women and men who don’t know how to TRULY be friends with people  would allow need to exude from their pores and risk being rejected.

I’m praying that the ability to love and be loved would override the ability to fight and protect and withdraw.

I’m praying that men who have been emasculated would know just how cool and amazing the women in their lives think they are.

I’m praying that the women who think they have to do everything and do it perfectly would know that they can say no and what they end up saying yes to doesn’t have to be perfect.

I’m praying for moms that are raising boys, that we would let them be boys that will become men and not what the world says they should be.

I’m praying for moms that are raising girls, that they would let them be girls that will become women and not what the world says they should be.

I’m praying that these boys know these girls are God’s princesses and that these girls know these boys are God’s sons. Each to be honored, treasured, and celebrated. NOT ridiculed, shamed, or abused.

I’m praying that people would be growing and learning how to walk in the amazing way God created them to be and not accepting anything less than what God has for them.

I’m praying for new friendships and relationships. I’m praying that I would see what God sees when I look at me. I’m praying that my heart would be healed from hurts I didn’t even know existed. I’m praying that my perfectionism and shame would be left at the foot of the cross.

I’m praying for the life that the man who hung on that cross died for me to experience. I’m praying for the hearts I interact with to know he died for them and their lives too-every part of them. I’m praying that the grace of my savior would breathe life into my relationships, my home, and my heart.

That’s all for this moment.

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Are you going to join him or miss him?

A big fat thank you to Shannon Scott for her amazing devotion during one of the mornings of Passion 2012. She is a true gift to this world and I am grateful for her wisdom and ways God specifically uses her to touch my heart. #loveher #holiness

Disclaimer-the heart of this blog was written on January 3rd as I was standing on the floor of one of the sessions at Passion 2012. The students were loading in and the session was about to start.

Well hello world.  My name is Kristen and it so great to be back with you.  Let me just tell you, I thought at this time last year, things were going to be a bit busy and then calm down and 2011 was going to be a “slow” year for the most part.  Well, that was the biggest “misread” I’ve ever known!  I’m gonna be honest-these last several months have been hard. They’ve been worth the effort and I am so grateful for each and every moment I’ve experienced. However, it doesn’t take away from the fact that they have been hard.
Really since October, I have been so busy that I don’t know what time it is or what day it is half the time. It feels like all I’ve said these last 3 months is I’m sorry, what day is it, or I’ve just been crazy busy. I mean, it’s been pathetic!!

As I was standing tonight looking around me, I realized I could have missed this. I could complain or focus on the stress, the constant to dos, other miscellaneous stressors, the demands of kids, husband, friends, family  etc. or I could squeeze every bit of the life contained in each moment I was given because good or bad, it’s soon gone. In 2 days, my life will go back to normalcy & I won’t care about the GA World Congress Center or the GA Dome. However it will matter how I experienced God. Did I intersect with him or did I miss him? His entire purpose is to bring glory to himself and if I insist on my self absorption, I will miss him.

Now fast forward to the week of January 15.  I am in the throes of an intense work week, a sick little boy, another little boy who is missing quality time with his mom because she has been hit or miss with him for the last 6 weeks, and a few other things. I mean, I am over it and I am done.  I must tell you, I live 90% of my life in my head. Most of you who know me would have no idea of the conversations I have and the struggles I have with myself in my head. If you think I am a spaz or mental case in real life, I’m not kidding, you don’t have a clue as to what goes on in my head.  But truly, I would have to say my biggest struggle is that I am petrified I’m gonna mess up-mess up in parenting, mess up in being a great wife, mess up as an employee, friend, daughter and sister. And when I mess up, I don’t have an ounce of grace for myself.   I have just recently learned the degree to which my perfectionism and subsequent lack of grace affects my life and it ain’t pretty. I’ve always thought of perfectionism as the girl who won’t leave the gym, admit she has ever had a zit or a bad day, and certainly has no cellulite. But I will share my struggle with ALL of these things-I even show people my cellulite by getting in a bathing suit!!! However, perfectionism is so much more than this and I’m seeing the depth that it runs through me. Trust me, I smell more posts addressing this in the upcoming months, but for now, I’m just skimming the topic.

Anywho, this week I’ve been brought face to face to the “squeezing every bit of life out of the moment” moment & I am brought to my knees with my duplicity. I mean I wasn’t squeezing every moment out of Tuesday or Wednesday-I was curled up in the corner just wanting the crying for daddy to stop. But while I’m curled in the corner, I am choking because I have heard I am supposed to enjoy these times because they will be over before I know it. I’m choking because the fear of somehow messing up is mixed with the feeling like I am holding the sand of my boys’ life in my hands and all it does is keep flowing through my fingers. But to be honest, it doesn’t come down to enjoying or not enjoying. No matter what is happening,  I still need to choose joy & love & patience & gentleness& kindness & faithfulness & self control. What this really reveals is the murky distrust in my heart. Do I really trust that God holds my little guys & despite me, he’s got their best in mind ? Do I really trust that my Heavenly Father delights in me even when I lose my patience and am an utter failure on the world & Christian world’s scorecard? Do I really trust that my best is good enough in the hands of my Jesus?  I do, I truly do.  And in the midst of this revelation to the depths of my soul & mind and my subsequent reeling, I am reminded God is going to do whatever it takes to bring the most glory to himself.  Am I going to intersect with him or am I going to miss him? I can rest in that. I can chill THE FREAK out and just giggle a little bit when Jake my 2 year old says he is going to just play one more game on the iPad and then put it up. What about you? In the midst of what God is doing to bring glory to himself in your life-are you going to join him or miss him?

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Because God, You’re Worth It

This was a guest post I was privileged to be allowed to do for an incredible company. lil’ light o’ mine is helping equip us moms by providing us tools. Creative tools to inspire us as we raise our kiddos to live a life worthy of their calling. Make sure to check them out…

The other night at dinner, we had my oldest son Luke say the prayer before dinner. I was expecting the “God our Father…” or “Our Father…”, I mean these are the ones I knew he knew and had heard before. Now one thing to note also is that we never “script” him either. We let him say what he will , how he will, and we truly don’t feel the need to tell him what he needs to say because we want him to develop the kind of relationship with Jesus that they just talk.

Well, the words that came out of Luke’s mouth just blew me away. “Dear God, thank you for my family, our food, and God, we love you, because you’re worth it. Amen” My heart melted. Are you kidding me, my four year old knowing that God is worth it. God is worth everything in our lives that we live for. For me as an adult, he’s worth my life, my money, my time, my love. For my four year old, God is worth everything, his fish sticks, his toys, his night night, his brother, his soccer ball, his daddy, his mommy, his hot pizza, his grapes. I just love how we as parents have the opportunity to cultivate and encourage our children to know that no matter what, God is worth it. Please Lord, equip me and guide me to always be able to show my boys that you are worth it. Worth our lives, worth our efforts, worth our everything.

If a four year old boy can know Christ is worth it, I can certainly live my live in a manner that shows I believe my Jesus is worth it. What are the things that you can be doing to live as though you believe Jesus is worth it?

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Holiness??

So, now we come to Passion2010.  I have had the amazing opportunity to serve college students that attend Passion Conferences for several years now, and EVERY SINGLE CONFERENCE ROCKS MY WORLD!!  Primarily it shows me who God is and who I am not.  Each one seems like there is a moment or several that he giggles and then says “Thanks for that creativity, but I’ll take it from here.”  I love every moment that I get to serve those students and as a team lead, there is one perk that I treasure.

Every morning, we gather and one of the Passion board members will take that time to encourage us and share something that God has brought to their minds or laid on their hearts.  Well, one of the mornings this past January, a board member stood up and started talking about holiness and how the inequities in our hearts could be limiting God’s power in our lives.  For some reason, I couldn’t get these words out of my head,  “Ask God what inequities are in your heart that are limiting his power in your life.” I mean, hard core could not shake it.  Then one of my dear friends tells me that I can be so condescending and “my way or the highway” in my delivery of information. Umm, what?!?!?!  Are you kidding me? I mean, I was only trying to help.  Just forget about the fact that I have absolutely heard this before-not a good feeling since the more times you hear the same message from different folks, chances are the common denominator is you.

Well, God kept pushing this and when I got home from Passion, I read Ephesians 4:29-30: Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Well, I knew for sure that if holiness & grieving the Holy Spirit was at stake, then I had to get rid of my coarse joking and unwholesome talk. God had other ideas… He actually must think my inappropriateness is funny, because he told me the REAL thing that was the problem was my anger, my bitterness, my incredible stronghold of self-protection. I had to get to the root of that, I had to find the root of the hurt and then allow God to heal it-to trust Him with my heart, to ask him to replace my heart of stone with a heart of flesh.

Yes, there were some folks that were REALLY mean to me growing up-I mean one girl made fun of the size of my nostrils in middle school (side note-really?!!?? that’s what you cared about???)   However, one huge thing in all of this is that I realized when my dad died, my number one fan who was the one person who never tried to change me was gone.  Something in me shut down when he died and until this year, I didn’t even realize that. I didn’t feel safe anymore and the only way I knew to deal with it was to shut down.  I didn’t consciously realize I had done this, I just had. (another sidenote-I’ve always prayed that I would grieve well & this was just one more instance of God answering my prayer.) However, God revealed my stronghold to me because God didn’t create me to live in an iron cage void of emotions and protecting my own heart. He created me to be vibrant, alive, joyful, fully present, full of life, full of love for others, and fully engaged with the blessings with which he had filled my life.

So back to holiness-my self protection was blocking God. My anger and bitterness of deeply rooted hurts were grieving him.  He used a 20 minute devotion this past January to start me on the path to figuring out how could I get to the holiness he has called me to. I can’t be holy if I’m bitter, angry, numb, task mastery, know it ally, and insistent on trusting myself more than I trust him.

I’m still working through all of this and continuing to pray for Jesus to be with me in this fight for my life.  Not me being literally alive, but rather me being ALL of who he created me to be, fully using the gifts and talents he has given me loving the friends and family he’s blessed me with & not giving Satan one bit of ammo to fire at me.

Ahhh, good times…

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Step it up

About a year ago, I had a really clear sense that God was calling me to step it up.  Not just in the “workout 5 times this week because you only did 4 times last week” kind of way, but rather in the “you’re gonna shed even more of the old Kristen and step up even more into the life I’ve called you to.”  However, I didn’t realize the extent of what this last year has brought about in me.  God truly has ripped away everything that was a source of stability and normality to my operating system.  I’m not just talking about the obvious things like my job, my friends, etc.  It’s things like insecurity, pride, knowitallness, self-sufficiency, self-protection, anger, discouragement, and even a big thing here-“bitter root expectancy.”  Let me tell you-seeing the depths of these things have been gut-wrenching & really hard.  It’s also really hard to realize that just because I have always been this way, doesn’t mean I’m supposed to stay this way.  God didn’t create me to live so self-sufficiently that I give my friends and family the impression that I don’t need them. God didn’t create me to be so insecure that I cared more about what people thought of me than what he thought about me. God did not gift me with an amazing husband and 2 beautiful little boys only for me to emasculate them & make them feel like they could never measure up just because I’m a know-it-all task master that can let efficiency and tasks get in the way of relationships. Now please hear me, I do a lot of things right-these are just the things being sloughed off & surrendered so that all of the fabulous things that God gifted me with could shine through his glory, not me & the junk that has accumulated in my heart.

The first one that he asked for was me to surrender my insecurity. It sounds weird to say that it is hard to not be insecure anymore.  I mean who wants to stay insecure. Well, in an odd sort of way, I think it is easier for us to stay the way we’ve been instead of fighting to change and be different.  I mean I’ve always gotten to hide behind being insecure.  I got to blame things on my insecurity, that was my identity with my friends, I got to OBSESS about things  that didn’t matter in order to avoid the things that did. It worked for me because I got to trust in me and my ability to make things right, people happy, and fix it if it was broken.  I didn’t really have to trust that God was with me and would protect me.  I was the boss and I like it that way. However, it wasn’t working for God anymore and he called me on it. I’m not perfect & the epitome of confidence just yet, but I’m getting there.  I’m not giving away my dignity nearly as much anymore & I’m daily surrendering my comfort zone so that I can experience life through his comfort zone for me. You can read more about this here as it was the start of this journey: http://kfranklin.wordpress.com/2010/09/08/my-persistent-insecurity/

Anywho, that’s all for now. I feel a bit spastic in my thoughts b/c I think so much of what has happened this year is so cool and there are so many things I want to get out of my brain. God has done a mighty work in me, my heart, my marriage, and my relationship with my boys and I so want him to get the glory for it.

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Look out, I may be back

Hellooo world.  I have been a bit under a rock lately with the changes that have hit in my life these last oh, 8 months.

God has been doing amazing things in my heart, my life, my family, but most of all, in my relationship with Him.  I’ll unpack my brain and heart in the next few weeks, but in the meantime, I’ve missed you people! :)

 

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Today, we remember Jay.

This is Jay Harrell.

In three weeks, I will be running my half-marathon in memory of Jay.  My race lies before me, all 13.1 miles with hopefully only a few hills.  As I think about running the race I have before me, I’m reminded of the scripture  of Hebrews 12:

1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

You see, we each have a race marked out for us here on earth and there are lots of things along our path that we have to fight through, rejoice in, all the while keeping our eyes on Jesus so that through everything, we don’t grow weary and lose heart. Jay Harrell fixed his eyes on his savior and ran an amazing race.

In Jay’s race, one of his “hills” was leukemia and it was a long hard fight for his family to run with him.  But they did it-loving, supporting, praying, all the while trusting their heavenly Father with the health of the man they loved so much.  God made Jay whole and complete 6 years ago, but his legacy lives on and he is still missed so much.  There are thousands of others who are still running their race and fighting for their lives, literally and we still need your help. My running and raising my support for Team in Training is the one way I can help in the fight.

You may be asking why run in memory of Jay specifically.  Well this is why:

You see, I love Rad, Emily, and Gressett more than words can truly express. They have been the hands and love of God so many times in our lives that I lost count. We have walked together through so many things in life and I know their friendship to us is a unique and treasured gift from God. Years ago,when Rad first told me about his brother, I even remembered praying for Jay and his family at one of my first meetings on staff with North Point Ministries.

Anywho, I care and desire to run in memory of Jay simply because he mattered to Rad and Em therefore he matters to me.

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A quick update and thank you

I wanted to take a quick moment to update you and to thank you for all of your love and support.  Your response to the request to support me as I run my half-marathon in honor of Brennan & Drew & in memory of Jay just blew me away.  I had about 3 days to raise my support and we did it! However, you didn’t stop there.  I also asked that you would join me in praying for Brennan and his family as they prepared for his 3rd bone marrow transplant.  Again, your thoughtfulness, prayerfulness and concern has been humbling.  As of right now, they are still waiting to see how the new cells are staking claim in Brennan’s body over the leukemia cells.  We are still waiting, still hoping, still praying.
If you haven’t done so already, you are still welcome to join me financially here: http://pages.teamintraining.org/ga/zoomaatl10/kfranklb12 .  Team in Training needs our help to continue the fight to find a cure for these cancers.
I would love for you to continue to pray for Brennan as his body is fighting and for his family as they wrestle and sit in the emotions they are experiencing. That they would be filled with hope and belief and peace.
One week ago, Brennan was given another chance to fight.  In one week, Jay’s family will be remembering their son, dad, husband, and brother who went to be with Jesus 6 years ago on October 15.  Please join me in praying for them as well.
Again, thank you for everything and I will continue to keep you posted as we get closer to November 6.
Kristen
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