I grew up in a home that was, in my opinion, fairly balanced. My mom brought us to church and encouraged us to grow in our faith and pursue our dreams. My dad taught us how to survive in the real world with logical thinking…and to also pursue our dreams. Really, we were sheltered; our parents protected us from having to learn anything before we were truly ready to handle it. We all have the basics: respect others, trust your gut, don’t take candy from strangers. Some other lessons were learned: things you’ll be grounded for, how to respond if someone disagrees with you, getting up after a fall (physical or metaphorical). I’d say they did pretty great. But for some of the millions of questions I’ve asked over the years or the snotty arguments I created for the lack of answers, it was always the same: Krystin, you’ll understand one day when you’re older. BARF! As a young (read: stubborn) girl, that’s the last thing you want to hear. Growing up doesn’t come with a manual, but I think if it did, this would be the chapter called: “Damnit, They Were All Right.”

I can remember a few choice moments where that stupid answer was given to me that in hindsight was the right answer to give.

When I moved to Tennessee, I was prepared to take over the world. I moved in with my mentor and thought I had officially made it because a 27-year-old Artist Manager for one of the biggest names in the local singer-songwriter circle was letting a 20-year-old move into her space. I, of course, was young and dumb – out until 2 and 3 in the morning getting nachos (which is smart at midnight…SARCASM), driving to love circle to admire a city that didn’t know we were the rulers of, throwing dance parties at each others houses with cakes for a treat…because nothing says dance party like cake. I begged and begged my mentor to come hang with me and all my friends, knowing that her presence would add to my own coolness. Repeatedly, she would turn me down. “Krystin, one day when you’re older and have a big girl job, you’ll understand the importance of your own bed and will appreciate solitude.”  Never!

Nope, she was right. Here I am, 27, with a big girl job that begins at 7:30 each day and rearranging my evenings to know what I can and can’t handle when I have to be up so early. I’m not saying I always say no to people when they call, I certainly don’t…especially if it’s someone I truly enjoy. But I do cut myself off and send myself home.

Way back when I was 14, I was a freshman in love (read: obsessed) with a senior boy. Seriously, it was bad. It’s not one of my better seasons in life and, deny it all I want, it’s still part of my story. I prided myself on being the youngest person to be a part of one of our teacher’s “Backyard Club” – a group of HS students that would all go hang out at her house. (There’s a lesson on appropriateness somewhere in there, but we’ll save that for a later time.) I’d go over and spend time at her house knowing this boy would show up and hoping he’d realize by getting to know me how perfect we were for each other. As a starter on the football team, I’d get him good luck gifts that made his lockergirl jealous. I remember one time while out purchasing gifts for this boy, my ever-supportive mother asked me if I wanted to really be doing all this for him. “YES!” She let me know her actual thoughts on the situation and gave me some “advice” on self-respect and what actual relationships look like. She followed the rolling of my eyes with a “Krystin, one day when you’re older, you’ll understand just what a gem you are and how you deserve to be treated.”  UGH!

…………she was right. That boy was a jerk and a royal one at that. It was pretty devastating to my ego and worse on my heart. I wish I could say he was the last jerk that I let into my world, but that would be a lie (one of those things I get grounded for). Let’s just not open the can of worms on emotionally unavailable boys I’ve fallen for since then and what that says about me. Ha! Suffice it to say it’s a lesson that I’m still learning – even to this day. People accept the love they think they deserve. That truth hurts just a little, right?

In June of 2004, I traveled with Young Life to Egmont, British Columbia, Canada for a week-long camp where I ended up truly meeting Jesus for the first time. Quick backstory, I’m a planner. I like to know the details before just jumping into things – at least for the most part. I had been dreaming of the University of Texas my whole life. It’s all I wanted. So here I am, in Canada, a singular week after receiving my HS diploma and I have a little conversation with Jesus about who’s better at making plans: me or Him. Duh. It’s me…wait…it’s not? Crap. It was there that my whole world flipped upside down and the dream I had always had for UT, which I was leaving for in just two short months, dissipated. So, I asked what should I do if my dreams don’t mean anything? “Krystin, one day when you’re older, you’ll understand that dreams can change.”  Blasphemy!

……………………………………………..I really do have a hard time admitting when I’m wrong, so doing it three times in one post is KILLING ME and, I digress. He was, and still is, right. See, if I’d gone to UT, I never would’ve come to Nashville. I wouldn’t have the friendships that I have today that are continuously shaping me into who I’m becoming. I’d never be able to tell you stories about getting a best friend out of Hootie and the Blowfish, or being on Kelly Clarkson’s guest list, or playing Dream Phone for hours on end because it’s the funniest thing you haven’t seen since you were ten. My life here isn’t perfect, but it’s perfect for me. So, I don’t mind admitting that I was wrong on this one.

If you’ve found yourself here for one reason or another and are just so sick of hearing someone tell you “one day when you’re older,” know you’re not alone. But know, that the journey of learning you were wrong is probably going to be one of the best times of your life. Embrace your mistakes, learn from them, and forge ahead ready to be wrong again. If nothing else, you’ll have some hilariously embarrassing stories about yourself for the future.

Hi.

Remember me? Boy, have I got a LOT to fill you in on…

Since we last spoke – almost a year ago – everything has changed. And oh, do I mean everything.

Let me just see if I can give a brief recap of this year, at least: January and February were pretty normal. There was a boy that showed up, but that was done quicker than it would take for me to type out the details. Lots of planning for my church’s move and preparing for my second trip to Haiti.

March 2nd, I left for Port-au-Prince, armed with a single duffle bag (be proud, mom and dad, even though I left an ENTIRE BAG OF TOOLS…) and an editing copy of my brave best friend’s book. Let me tell you, unless you have a duffle bag chock full of kleenex, it’s NEVER a good idea to read about someone else’s journey in Haiti, while you’re on the way to Haiti, remembering some of your fondest memories of Haiti. All. The. Tears. My heart was already a little more on edge this go ’round as we weren’t going back to the same place we’d been before; I wasn’t going to be reunited with my little Louventa and I wasn’t happy about that. But I was very fortunate to have one of my funniest friends – Jami – along for this trip. The safety of having someone who can make anything seem better or more fun or more calm or more whatever you need it to be was a gift. The trip went great. It didn’t end up being even remotely close to the same experience…it was infinitely better. We built a house for a BEAUTIFUL woman named Kazi, a single mother of 5 and a new grandmother.
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55 years old and she looks younger than I do. Day 1 she takes me by the hand, leads me into her tarp house, sits me in a chair and hands me the most precious little boy – Stephen.
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I told her I was taking him home. She couldn’t speak english, but I know she understood that because she shook her finger at me! Kazi welcomed us into her family as we built her a sturdy home. It was hard work, but being able to go back to my room each night with some amazing friends and read more of my brave best friend’s journey helped me lead this trip better than I could’ve on my own.

I came back from the third world to an unbelievably frantic world. We were less than two weeks away from our relocation as a church. Our normal workload, combined with all the details of moving, on top of not even being sure the building would be ready was an exhausting combination. Oh, and Easter Sunday was the very next week…no big. ::sarcasm should be noted:: It was the blind leading the blind and hoping no one would see how truly tired, drained, and ready for some sense of normalcy we all were. Sometimes, I think I’m still trying to catch up on that lack of sleep. Another boy showed up in the midst of the chaos and what a great distraction! It’s so freeing to have someone you don’t have to pretend around, someone you just enjoy.

In April, I went back to Disney World for the first time in almost 10 years. It was twice as magical as I remembered.
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I really am glad that I got to go to the happiest place on earth for a little while. I had no idea that my world was going to be flipped on it’s head upon my return.

My time at Cross Point came to an end. It wasn’t the most pleasant of experiences I’ve had in my life and that hurt is something I’m still processing through. But everything in life is seasonal and if we quit anytime our feelings were hurt or our character misjudged, we wouldn’t be where we are today, right? So, we keep moving forward.

So what’s new?

I moved into a stunning little house in East Nashville, thanks to my good friends the Joneses. Every day, I go home and just feel at peace. This house truly is my sanctuary.

I made the tough decision to close out the chapter I’d been in with the new boy. It’s never an easy choice when you’ve invested so much in one person. But I’m holding onto truth – which told me it wasn’t going anywhere and I really didn’t want it to. Scary what taking a step back and looking at a situation with your eyes open will actually reveal.

Last week, I began a new job at a Children’s Home here in Nashville. I’m excited at what we’ll be able to accomplish for this state and for the kids we care for. Being able to be in a role where I can truly see the reward of my investment, where I get to live out Mark 9:37, is such a delight. And then finding out that my dad is on the board of a similar organization back home and we can walk through this together? So great.

Newness. All around. So thankful.

If there’s one thing you don’t know about me (or maybe you do), it’s that I’m pretty stubborn. There are very few people who can get in the way of me when I’ve made up my mind about something. By very few, I mean Jesus and my dad.

Almost a year ago, I was sitting at Cross Point‘s downtown campus when Wes Howard announced that they would be going to Haiti. I was pretty excited. I remembered what I had learned about Haiti from the media – it had been devastated by a massive earthquake in 2010 and never fully recovered. I remember seeing all of the pictures. I knew people who went in to help. I prayed for the poor and powerless. And that was about it. Why? Because I had my own life and my own mission field to pursue – high school students. I also remember feeling like I should go. Then, of course, laughing.

The thing is, for as stubborn as I am, I am made in the image of God…and he can be just as persistent and relentless with what he wants. I started hearing more of the details of our partnership in Haiti and I was intrigued. Our pastor spoke on the importance of missions and my heart started beating faster. The high school girls I was working with began to put up walls and that, combined with an increasingly more busy schedule made it hard to continue ministry there. I had a pretty good argument with the Lord. And on the day that I moved the last of my stuff into the place I live right now – sitting in the middle of boxes and boxes of “stuff” – I gave up. I said yes. The girl who never wanted to go on a missions trip said yes.

I had no idea how much I needed it.

Fast forward to August 4th, 2012. I’m up far too early, grabbing my bags, and headed to the airport when one of my best friends starts playing and singing songs over me (she’s the best singer I know, so she could sing the annoying lambchop song and I would be totally fine about it). One of those is Take Heart by Hillsong United. And suddenly, this very stubborn and strong-willed girl is in a puddle of tears. I was terrified. I couldn’t breathe. I just kept thinking “what if a hurricane hits”…”what if we become prisoners to the country”…”what if I never see my family again”. Terrible thoughts, one after the other, over and over and over.

Then these words….

So take heart
Let His love lead us through the night
Hold on to hope
And take courage again

Peace.

We landed in Haiti. Driving around, I wasn’t shocked by what I saw. I knew what to expect. I was just fascinated…and glad to have made it. We stayed in Port au Prince the first night, got up and went to church, and made the 5 hour trek to our destination in the mountains in a town called SaintMichel-de-l’Attalaye. Our accommodations were far nicer than I expected, but still not like anything I was used to. Our food was great, our team got along well. There wasn’t much more we really could have hoped for. Monday the 6th was our first work day. I was on the morning work/afternoon play schedule. We set out bricks, poured mortar for about 3 rows and broke for lunch. After that, I was setting my stuff down when out of the corner of my eye, I realized there was someone waiting for me.

Her name is Louventa. She was my shadow for the rest of the week. Would not let go of my hand. And still hasn’t let go of my heart. She waited ever so patiently every day for us to finish lunch and would peek over the wall and say my name…which sounded like “creaseteen” from her surprisingly deep and raspy voice. She’s only 7 and has a stronger voice than I do. The minute I stood up for lunch, she would run to my side, brush the dust off my clothes, take my hand and lead me to play. We jumped rope, sang, did cartwheels, played chase, threw frisbees, drew pictures, and anything else we could dream up. The kids were more tiring than the work!

What I realized by the end of our time there was that the language barrier wasn’t such a barrier. Louventa would speak to me, and what I didn’t understand, she didn’t fault me for. She just held on to me tighter and showed me the way. And in that moment, I remembered what it means to be loved. Truly loved. I thought about the Father and how He tries to speak to me. I think about the times He invites me to dream and be adventurous with Him. I think about the times when I’m absolutely terrified, or weak, or I’m angry and I don’t understand…and He doesn’t fault me. He just holds me tighter and shows me the way.

I never wanted to go on a missions trip. Ever. I never thought I needed to. But the Father had to out-stubborn me and take me to one of the most broken countries in the world just so I could remember – really, truly remember – how much He loves me (and little Louventa). He orchestrated every event in my life to lead to this point so that a broken, confused, stubborn girl could realize her worth and how much everything counts. I will never be able to fix Haiti. No one person could. But I can love. I can be a light. I can hold a hand and pour mortar and jump rope until I can’t feel my legs anymore if it means little Louventa (or any other child) can understand that she is loved – furiously and unconditionally loved.

The words still echo in my mind…

All our troubles, And all our tears, God our hope – He has overcome

All our failure, And all our fear, God our love – He has overcome

All our heartache, And all our pain, God our healer – He has overcome

All our burdens, And all our shame, God our freedom – He has overcome

God our justice, God our grace, God our freedom – He has overcome

God our refuge, God our strength, God is with us – He has overcome!

I know what you’re thinking. It’s been a minute.

In all fairness, I never said I’d be any good at this – and you can see that in the 30 day challenge that took me almost half a year to complete. But I will also say that I’ve wanted to put this out there for so long and have never had the courage to do so. Until now.

I just got off the phone with my amazing best friend. It was one of our semi-annual phone catch up dates (because I’m a horrible friend and am terrible at picking up the phone to call anyone…but at least I’m aware of it, right?). I always feel like she finds me right in the middle of my i’m-completely-overwhelmed-and-everything-is-458723984502978-times-more-dramatic-because-of-it moments, which I’m super sorry for but I also know she’d tell me to stop apologizing about it. I shared with her, as I always do, the truth of where I’m at. The truth is 2011 was a difficult year for me. I feel like I learned more, did more, saw more than I ever dreamed imaginable, but I did every bit of it fighting, kicking, and screaming. I’m finally feeling like I’m settling in and growing at my job – finding rest in the confidence and calling God has on me there – but now my personal life is falling apart. Almost like as soon as the sky stopped falling and all seemed right that now the bottom is falling out and there’s nothing I can do to stop it.

After all of this…and quite a bit of my being emotional – which she is a saint to be able to dissect what I’m saying through the tears – Rachel responds by telling me a quote from Jon Acuff. That’s always what you want to hear. Christian satire when you’re feeling most vulnerable. Great. I half expected him to show up in my room with some sort of Jesus juke about how my life really isn’t all that bad, to which I’d agree…and would probably also laugh at. But instead of a joke, she shared something that hit me like a brick.

     We expect that God will only teach us lessons through our sufferings.

Whoa.

In that, I’m reminded of how extremely painful, yet beautiful sharing the journey of brokenness can be. I’m not good at vulnerability. In the moments when I feel weak, I run. I find a place where I can have my moment in complete solitude, then come back out ready for the next because, as always, the show must go on. In the times that I want to learn and grow and cultivate new friendships, I convince myself that I have enough friends and don’t need to invest with any others – knowing good and well that my bests are in Colorado, Texas, Florida and one has decided to walk away, which opens up wounds I can’t even begin to explain. And heaven forbid I’m shown any interest from a boy, I inevitably search for something wrong in him that I can then use to separate myself from him because I know if he got any closer, he’d see how unbelievably imperfect I am and would beat me to the punch of walking away.

I feel like I’ve been standing on the edge for the past few months. Looking across to what’s ahead – my goals, my dreams, my future – just knowing that there’s no way to get there. The longer I stand here, the bigger the chasm becomes until it’s just me in a constant state of being simply stuck. All of these are situations of being stuck I completely do to myself. Do I believe that God can use our suffering to teach us lessons? Yes. Do I think that’s the only place he does this? Absolutely not. I see his love for me with every sunset. I hear him speak words of life over me through the closest of friends, and even perfect strangers. I feel his hand of guidance during any time spent with my boss, co-workers and mentors. I make the lessons difficult. Not him.

2012 is going to be a year of refinement. A time to really see all the imperfections in my heart and life and a time to get rid of them. I know that it’s impossible to do alone, but this is still a work in progress.

So there it is. My honest confession that I’m not okay. I’m not fine. I am, indeed, broken.

…but Your love never fails…

Earlier this week, I read a great blog from Chad Missildine. In it, he dissected what he thought was the biggest mistake that single people make. (It’s being discontent, for the record.) I have to say that I agree. But since reading that, I’ve realized that we could take it one step further. So, I want to take a minute to unearth what single girls are doing wrong.

As girls – like it or not (and I don’t) – we analyze. There’s a step-by-step thought process to what we wear, who we’re spending time with, what we eat – and don’t forget the ‘why’ for all of this – and on and on and on. Relationships are a whole different story. Personally, my tendency is to assume the worst and really sabotage my friendships and relationships because I don’t feel like I deserve them (Lies). As I was thinking about a recent friendationship (you can have that one…it’s free), I realized something huge for me. Ladies and gentlemen, pay attention. I’m about to let you in on the big secret. Here we go…

Girls often confuse convenience with love.

Whoa…I know. Pump. Those. Brakes. Let’s dig in.

Tara-Leigh Cobble, a friend of mine and very talented writer, in her book
Here’s to Hindsight
had this to say:

“In my experience, the inherent problem with male-female friendships is this: girls tend to fall for familiarity, and guys tend to fall for mystery. As the girl gets to know her guy friend better and learns about his character, he becomes more and more attractive to her; meanwhile she becomes less mysterious and intriguing to him, and she slowly sinks into the quicksand of ‘Just-Friends Land’.”

Pretty smart, right? That about sums it up for me. I think we often get mixed up in thinking that just because there’s someone who cares for us that’s frequently around that there should be some sort of romanticism there. Definitely not the case. We need to stop settling for just “what’s around.” The amount of stories I’ve heard about girls (though I’ve seen guys do this, too) saying and doing whatever necessary to keep a relationship that they know is NEVER going to work, if they’re being honest, moving forward is appalling. We weren’t made for just okay. Especially not when God has our best interest at heart.

Yes, I believe there comes a point where discontentment is the issue. Our parents’ society set us up to believe that there is a formula for our lives: we go to school, then college, get a job, get married, start a family, keep working, spoil some grandkids, retire, the end. For so many years, I’ve been shooting for “what’s next” on the list of things to do in my life. The problem is our generation is waiting longer and longer to get married. It’s a conflict of interest; I’m not ready to even THINK about marriage, but I feel unfulfilled – like I’m missing out on something by being 25 and only casually dating.

I’ve lost count of how many times my friends and I have sat around talking about our guys friends and the thought “I just can’t read if he’s interested or not” comes in to play. Why do we feel the need to complicate these things? If the other person is interested, they’re going to let you know. It’s time to stop worrying about it and just enjoy each other. I know I’d rather just kick back and watch the game with my boys than wonder which one may or may not “like me”. No one likes confusion and games (and we’re getting a liiiiiiittle too old for them), so let’s just agree to stop playing them. Let’s enjoy this season of learning, growth, and independence and remember that, at the end of the day, what’s gonna happen will happen. Besides, the other secret is this: there’s no rush.

Just sayin’.

My friendwhomihaveknownforwaytoolongtonotcallhersister Becky came over early (okay, it was like 11) today. We painted our nails, talked about boys, hopped in a car and drove down the highway listening to country music. We ate at a Texas original restaurant and shopped til we couldn’t anymore. Then we got back in the car, talked about boys a little more, made onnnnnnnne little stop at Nordstrom, and then the sun set.

After a mildly frustrating arrival at home, I decided to go to Target. A song came on a mix cd I found that I hadn’t heard since high school during the drive. It reminded me of a much simpler time and a person who I feel like I sometimes lose sight of. It made me miss getting in trouble with Mackenzie. It brought back the very distinct sound of laughter that follows hours of scarf jump-roping. In that moment, I became hyper aware of who I am today. The problem – in my opinion – with my society is that we can be anyone we want on social media. We can support a cause without giving them a single penny or second of our time, we can criticize government and injustice without getting out of bed, and we can boost our own ego sitting alone in a coffee shop. I’m guilty of it, too. And honestly, this wasn’t the point I wanted to make. What I’m really trying to say – or ask, rather – is who the hell are you, anyway?

The one thing I can always remember my dad telling me growing up was to never act like I’m better than where I came from. Any of my friends here in Nashville will tell you that I LOVE my hometown. And love it, I do. But more than a city, I loved who I was there. I was bare feet running through my neighborhood. I was jeans and a tshirt for as far back as I can remember. I was the sound of loud (go figure) laughter with a friend into the wee hours of the morning. I was the middle child of a middle class family whose love was never not shown.

I believe that, in leaving home, you have to branch out of your original story. You add chapters and new characters come into the picture. But, I never want to forget the worst trouble I ever got into throwing a party with Mackenzie. I can’t imagine not sitting in Anessa’s bedroom telling her bedtime stories. I don’t know who I’d be without Sarah, or Marci, or Mallory. I never want there to be a time when my heart doesn’t explode with joy at the sound of my dad’s laugh or hearing my mom sing. And for that reason, I am so glad that I get to have a little piece of home here in Becky. Having someone who knows not only who I am, but who I’ve been and who I always will be, is the most comforting thing. I love her here for those times when a single look says a million words that only someone you’ve known since you were seven could understand.

Little sister, I am grateful for you more than you know. I am so proud to see you fully come into your own. I love getting to share this adventure with you. And I had the best day with you today.

I can remember being a little girl and playing outside for as long as possible. I remember running through the neighborhood – with bare feet, of course – climbing trees, tossing a football, jumping on trampolines. I dreaded that time when the street lights came on because I knew my mom would be coming out on the front porch to call us inside. I would always try to hide from her or would just whine and complain with every step to the front door. I don’t want to go in! I want to keep playing! But I’m fine out here! I can still see! I know what I’m doing! I’m okay on my own! I can handle this! Let me do it!

It wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that I’ve seen God the exact same way this past year. He’s been stepping out on the porch and calling me to him. The funny thing is, I’ve been scared to give him all of me; to fully step into his goodness. Why? Your answer is as good as mine…but it’s just that fear of stepping out in the unknown. Who wouldn’t be scared to leave home without a job to go chase after her life? Who wouldn’t be terrified to join up with the most solid team of people who know each other so well and have to not only be the new kid, but the young kid? Who wouldn’t rather hide when you make a huge mistake and have to regroup?

The painful beauty in all of this is that, with each time he’s called me to the porch, I’ve grown. I’ve learned to trust people in a whole new way. I’ve learned just who I am and what I’m capable of. I’ve learned (the hard way) that I can’t do everything, and I can’t do it alone.

A year ago, I wrote out the job I thought I wanted. God is still far more gracious to me than I deserve. And it just so happens that today is a pretty big day for me. Today marks my first year of serving with the staff that I now call family at Cross Point. A year of trials. A year of errors. A year of successes. A year of laughter…of tears…of misses…of fears…of happiness. A year of growth. I’m not dumb enough to believe that it hasn’t been all perfect, it never will be. But it’s been all good. There is beauty in messing up so bad that you have to have others pick you up. That kind of growth can’t be done alone. I am so fortunate that this day was a Tuesday where I got to see each member of my family and truly realize what a difference – not even a year makes – what a DAY makes. These people have changed my heart and my world and I am so thankful that they’ve allowed me in to their lives. I can’t imagine doing life without them, and I hope I never have to.

Tonight, we’re having our 2nd Worship Night here at the Nashville Campus. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than spending some time glorifying the one who freely gives it all for us and who has blessed me so much more than I deserve.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and dreaming. For most people, this is a very exciting process. For me? It takes a minute. Everything is internal. If there’s something on my mind, I can guarantee you I’m playing out the scenario and every possible option/outcome that may or may not happen just to prepare myself before I’ll allow anyone else to be a part of the decision…and usually, at that point, the decision has already been made.

I do realize the problem in that is we were created to be relational. Part of relationships is allowing people to see the parts of yourself that aren’t perfect. I’m not saying that I want or need to broadcast every bit of my life to everyone, but I think it’s only healthy to allow people to walk through life with you in an intimate way. I’ve got a bad habit of allowing people in to my life who will say and do things to make me feel good, but won’t call me out when I need it. Clearly, I can handle the rest on my own. (That was sarcasm, just incase you missed it.) I’m so fortunate that God has plopped some pretty influential women (mostly northerners, go figure) in my life who not only encourage me, but push me to be the best version of myself possible – and in that, it’s time that I get back to what’s on my heart: high school students.

If you’ve read this blog at all, you’ve probably caught on to the fact that I was abused as a child. It’s not a secret, but for the longest time I lived like it was. That pain, that damage caused me to do things that I regret and created a skewed and septic self-image that sometimes still is hard not to believe. But God, with all of his humor, has given me influence over High School students for years. It’s so funny to me that while I was one of them, I knew no one could ever know who I truly was and what I’d been through because I would end up having to eat lunch in the bathroom because of the shame. Yet now, the pain, the hurt, the confusion are all tools to show that God can take the ugliest and most disgusting things about ourselves and use them to show others how He can restore, renew and revive a life! It wasn’t until opening up to my girls in my parents’ living room two Christmases ago that I was truly able to be free…and let them know that they are not alone or solely defined by what has happened to them.

Recently at Cross Point, we introduced a song to our congregation. These are the words that consistently echo in my head:

He lavishes such love upon us. He calls us now His sons and daughters. He’s reaching out…

We each have a story. We each have a history. I’m not going to say that I would have ever asked for mine, but I also can’t imagine where I’d be without it. To be able to be used for good despite what has happened to me is the most overwhelming gift I could have ever received. I am so grateful.

I’m not easily intimidated. There are very few things that truly catch me off guard. I would say there are plenty of things I’m pretty confident about. That being said, it’s time for a little confession that may be a little shocking to you: I’m the most insecure person I know.

Just this week, I found myself very offended at not being included in what I’ve heard was an event no one should ever miss. I didn’t know how to respond to the countless pictures, videos, tweets and facebook posts that I couldn’t help but look at. But the more I looked, the more my heart broke…and the more I convinced myself that these people didn’t want me around. Two days later, a good buddy accused me of being “weird as hell”. I tried to laugh it off, but he was spot on.

Lately, I’ve noticed myself pushing people away. It’s not something I want to do, but if I feel like people are letting go, I try to beat them to the punch so I’m not the one left shattered on the floor. The problem is, that’s only hurting me in the end. See, somewhere along the line, I choose to agree with the lie that I’m never going to be enough; good enough, strong enough, pretty enough. It’s a crippling disease, this fear stuff. It’s costed me friendships, caused me countless heart breaks and has affected the way I work and the way the people I work with view me. When you don’t believe in yourself, it’s pretty difficult for anyone else to believe in you.

Every day is a battle in my mind, and most days it feels as if I’m losing the war. What I do know is that I can’t go on functioning this way.

I’m so thankful for the fact that His mercies aren’t just new in the mornings, but that they’re new even now. And now is the time for change. Now is the time that I tell my good friend insecurity that he’s over stayed his welcome. Now is the time to have a victory. The plans are rolling out and I’m excited for the chance to prove my worth…not to anyone else but myself.

when there’s nothing to believe in, I believe in you
forget the past and let My hand in yours be the proof
though the strong could be my company, you’re the one I choose
so, remember, I believe in you

I know it feels like every eye is watching you
waiting for you to fall, expecting you to lose
but I see victory, so all you have to do
is remember, I believe in you

there will come a day when Love will lift you out of here
there will come a day when Love will bring the truth
there will come a day when Love will free you from your fear
and you’ll remember: I believe in you

I believe even when I see you crying
I believe – let Me dream for you
when nothing comes from trying
remember: I believe in you

It’s time to get out of my own head voice for a minute.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I serve on staff at a pretty rockin’ church here in Nashville called Cross Point. I love so much about this place – the raw community, the desire to serve, the tough lessons I learn each week – but I am consistently standing in awe of the team I’m surrounded by. This summer will be no exception.

Our Senior Pastor, Pete Wilson is going to be traveling for most of the month of July. This left our team with a huge opportunity to create a summer series that would be both fun and something to really drive home conversation. Thus, our Creative Arts team came up with Summer Slam.

The whole premiss of this series is allowing our communicators to share scriptures that leave them with more questions than answers; things that they’re wrestling with. They’re inviting us in to their story and I couldn’t be more excited.

I love any time that we get to hear from our Bellevue Campus Pastor – Justin Davis and Nashville Campus Pastor – Blake Bergstrom. The wisdom and life that pours out of these two is just unreal. In this series, we’ll also get to hear from a couple of fresh faces: our Dickson Campus Pastor – Willy Maxwell and our new North Campus Pastor – Brent Hodge. But what I love about this series even more is that we won’t just be hearing from our pastoral staff. We’re bringing in a couple of our attenders to share their hearts and thoughts, which takes it to another level.

Carlos Whittaker is a worship leader and serves with our music team here at Cross Point. He’s quickly becoming one of my favorite people because of his heart. He’s an advocate for worship, adoption and authenticity. I’ve never met someone with so much drive and passion who also lives out and backs up everything he’s saying. I count myself very fortunate to know him and call him friend.

Jon Acuff is an author and blogger working at Dave Ramsey. I’ve followed Stuff Christians Like, a satire blog of his, for a few years now. His humor is so relatable. I can vividly remember where I was when I first read my most favorite of his posts, Thinking You’re Naked. I giggled at the title, but by the time I got to the bottom of the page was practically in tears. He has a natural gift for speaking the truth, whether he would agree or not.

Check out this promo video…it’s pretty awesome:

It’s going to be a great summer at Cross Point. I’m excited for the opportunity to learn and grow more and to really come in to a place of leadership that I know I’m capable of. So thankful He’s not finished with me yet.

little birdy told me…

Recurring Thoughts

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