Faith · Family · Lifestyle · Me & My Little Life

Sweet Songs for My Sweet One

I love to have Pandora playing my favorite Christian mood music during our morning quite play time. I feel something in me come alive when good, sweet music is filling the rooms of my home. It seems to bring a peace and an extra invitation from my heart & home to Jesus saying “Please come in, you are SO very welcome here in these moments, and always.” 

My favorite stations on days when my soul is quiet and in need of rest, sweetness and grace are from the voices of Bethany Dillon, JJ Heller, Audrey Assad, Ellie Holcomb, Allie Rogers, & Jillian Edwards with a little bit of Kari Jobe & Nichole Nordeman.

This song piece from Bethany Dillon has marked the last 18 months of having my sweet girl. I feel my insides tighten saying “hold on to this moment, let this be your heart song for this season.”

This will forever be my song to Emily. Take a listen and be blessed.  I hope you sing this over you’re sweet one in some of your quiet moments.

Disclaimer: There may be tears.

TheBestSong (1)

Faith · Lifestyle

Journey to Joy: Finding Joy Through Insecurities

Journey to Joy_ Part 2

So my first Journey to Joy Blog post a while back was a little lengthy, but worth the read for any of you ladies who need a boost of encouragement and feel that you’ve kinda been in a funk. That was me. That girl, randomly on given days or weeks, and can still be me at times. Let’s face it, we’re women. Our lives are constantly moving and changing. Our emotions, thoughts, and circumstances can sometimes have a hard time staying wrapped up in a nice pretty bow, and that’s ok. We know we’ll catch our footing and get it together eventually.

But what about the times when our lives feel like more than just a temporary funk? Those low moods and emotions linger in our hearts, becoming all too comfortable. They’ve worn out their welcome, but it takes too much effort to get them to leave. Before you know it, they’ve moved in and are a part of your everyday coming and going.

Maybe your job makes you completely miserable, but there’s no way to keep your family finances in tact for even a month if you quit. Or on that same note, you feel stuck where you’re at, but you feel that your heart is longing for something else to allow you to flourish in your giftedness. I’m sure most of you can relate with having an emotional heartache of some form. You’re either aching from loss of a loved one, dealing with deep pain caused by a relationship, or hurting with empathy for someone else who is suffering. Through all these times and trials we have prayed. Because that’s what we’re supposed to do. That is a key principle of our beliefs as Christians. We pray. And we hope for what is not seen. And we have faith that God will be faithful. And we believe. But if I asked for a show of hands of all the Jesus loving, God-fearing, faithful worshippers, who ever felt like their prayers– their deep, heartfelt, passionate, glorifying prayers– had fallen on deaf ears, we’d most likely be at least a little surprised as we look around and think “I wonder what she’s raising her hand for…”.

Seemingly oversimplified, I’m willing to bet that if you think of your struggles, they can fit into one or more of these categories. Insecurity. Weariness. Sorrow. They often times morph into the next one the longer they spend feeding off of our lack of actively fighting against them.

At the risk of sounding oversimplified a second time, here is our hope of being able to live through these sometimes overwhelming life circumstances. It’s Jesus.

Christmas is my absolute, 100% favorite time of year. I love everything about it. I love the festivities, the lights, decorations, the Christmas cookies, the excitement on every child’s face. I love time with family and friends, eating huge delicious meals in celebration of the season. I love Church programs, and theater productions of Annie, the Nutcracker, and Miracle on 34th Street. Speaking of…I loooooove Christmas movies! Christmas romance novels, Christmas music, Christmas shopping, Christmas presents. I love drinking eggnog, and hot chocolate, and buying the giant bins of popcorn with golden retrievers on them. I love Christmas parties, Christmas lights that you can drive through in the park, and all of the charities that are doing good. It’s a time when I feel more bonded to my family. I feel that the days are a little easier because there is some kind of magic in the air.

And every year, it never fails. With a mix of all of these wonderful things, the Lord grabs my heart, and gives me a glimpse of the true Joy that has, and always will come from Him. Every year around this time, though it is happy, and busy, for me it is also a time where I naturally slow down, and spend some extra time with my Savior. The one who this whole season was originally about. The one who is the source of all joy.  

Because part of all the hype about Christmas is that we know, come December 31st, it officially ends. If we know something is only temporary, we indulge as much as we can. But just as overindulging on those Christmas sugar cookies will give us a sugar high, then a tummy ache, if our Joy of Christmas is in vain, come January, those cold days leave our hearts insecure, weary, and sometimes filled with sorrow that we were able to temporarily mask with the holiday busyness.

Once the season is over, here comes our moody little frienemies, out of the woodworks. Today, we’ll take a closer look at insecurity.

About 6 years ago I read a book by Beth Moore, called So Long Insecurity and it left me stunned, changed, and encouraged. It permanently altered my perspective of myself and understanding of others. It gave me that “ah-ha moment” as Oprah would say. That was the season that I realized that SO much of my ebbing and flowing feelings and emotions were because of insecurity from a drastically unaware inward focus on myself.

“As long as we live, our self-absorption and our insecurity will walk together, holding hands and swinging them back and forth like two little girls on their way to a pretend playground they can never find. Human nature dictates that most often we will be as insecure as we are self-absorbed. The best possible way to keep from getting sucked into the superficial narcissistic mentality that money, possessions, and sensuality can satisfy and secure us is to deliberately give ourselves to something much greater…[Christ] showed us that giving, rather than getting, is the means to receiving…to find yourself, your true self, you must lose yourself in something larger.”

-Beth Moore, So Long Insecurity

This is one of those books that I think EVERY woman should read, and as I’m typing this, I’m thinking I will start reading it again this week! We all have insecurities, they look different in every person. But the questions we should ask ourselves are these—Are your insecurities keeping you from your true purpose? God’s pure and perfect will for your life? Do you act out in ways that you look back and think, “What am I, a teenage girl?” Are you kept silent and stuck by fear, by insecurity? I was. And I still am sometimes. But I’m choosing every day to choose joy, to trust Jesus with my mess, to allow my life to revolve less around selfishness and more about giving my full self to glorifying the Lord.

 

When we continue to live in our insecurities, they are the gateway to our deeper emotional struggles. Insecurity keeps you from living in the glory that God has meant for your life, the strengths and gifts he’s given you, like a present to be opened, used, and shown off, for his glory.

But the enemy loves for us to prime our hearts in insecurity. The perfect setting for him to come in and paint his lies on the walls of our souls. If we belong to Jesus, the devil cannot have our lives, but he sure can sneak in and occupy our attention to keep it on ourselves and off of Jesus.

In this day and age of credit cards, social media, and humble brags, it’s just the truth that we all have insecurities about something. We all have doubts about fully being who God really intended us to be. We want to walk in the freedom and glory that he has intended for us, but just can’t quite seem to slow down, to make time, or to clear a space in our messy, complicated lives to fully see his heart in our every day. Like anything that we’ve made a fixture in our life, there is not a quick fix to insecurity. But there is a quick start guide!

Stop comparing yourself and declutter your life mentally and emotionally. Detach from things or people that are simply making you feel less than, and are stealing you away from the Lord instead of bringing you closer. Maybe it’s a commitment you made to make someone happy, Maybe it’s Instagram, maybe a friend, or even a romantic relationship! Remember that you actually do have a choice of many things that occupy your life. You can’t choose your circumstances, but take a moment to think about the daily things you CAN choose to prioritize.

You also have full control of what you see on your social media feeds. “Feed” yourself with positivity and encouragement.

For me, my biggest comparison issue, was comparing myself to the version of myself that I knew I could be, but wasn’t. Does that make sense? Not living up to your own expectations of yourself. Give those to the Lord to guide you, to get you there, or to actually show you his better version that he has for you.

John 14:27—Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  

 

Actually spend time in God’s Word and live by HIS words instead of self generated, filtered, and coveted words of praise by others.

Romans 10:17—…Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. 
Hebrews 4:12—For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. 

 

Get serious about prayer! Like any human relationship, even if someone knows how you feel about something, you cannot build a closer relationship with them unless you actually TALK to them. The best friendships and healthiest relationships are built by deep intimate, safe, and loving conversations. If you have never really had a deep relationship with Jesus, just start talking to him. He wants your heart, your affection, your deepest hurts. He wants to show you love, grace, hope…joy.

2 Chronicles 7:14—Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.
Ephesians 1:18—I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people 

 

I can’t help but compare our lives to the original Christmas Bible story. There was no room for him in the inn. Our Savior. Our King. No one made him a priority guest. No one really stopped their lives to observe the miracle. Yet he was born. Yet he saved the world. Yet he STILL is saving souls, not just for eternity, but for us to live fully and abundantly here in this life.

Please join me in your own life, to take the time this Christmas season to really stop, and make room for Jesus. Give him your insecurities, your heartache, you dreams. Place your hope in him and realize the true Joy that comes from the grace and love we receive from him. True joy from Jesus doesn’t fade when the twinkling lights come down at the end of December (Or mid-January for some of us). It doesn’t disappear when you are done striving for that New Year’s resolution.

Whether you are a devout Christian walking through the different seasons of faith, or you aren’t a Christian at all, this is the perfect time to make room for Him in your life and start your journey to a joy you have never known before.

Merry Christmas!

Be blessed, live loved.

Xoxo,

Krystle

 

I’d love to hear from you! Leave comments here or on Facebook to connect and encourage one another.

 

Faith

Journey to Joy One Piece SwimsuitsJourney to Joy

Part 1: One Piece Swimsuits & An Extra Cup of Coffee

The other morning during Emily’s nap time, I waisted an hour and a half, an HOUR AND A HALF, browsing and clicking through one piece swimsuits worn by women who don’t necessarily “need” to wear one piece swimsuits. Surely you know what I mean. (We are going on a beach vacation in October and thought I’d see what I was workin’ with by trying on my bikinis from pre-pregnancy summers past. It was a tragedy to say the least.)

I came to as the sweet little whimper I’m accustomed to hearing was faintly palpitating through the baby monitor.  Instant feelings of heaviness and finality washed over me as I emptied my online carts, closed all browsers, and flipped my laptop closed with slight aggression. With a deep sigh and a couple of heavy blinks, I regrouped and vulnerably let the heaviness marinate. The doubts and disappointments of having to buy a collection of one piece swimsuits because, even after 14 moths of birthing a baby, I’m still not, and fear that I never will be in shape enough to wear a bikini confidently again.  I got up and made my way across the room, only to catch my reflection in the mirror. I paused and examined myself long enough to confirm the negativity that was already pouring into my heart and mind.  “Pasty, splotchy skin, brassy, tangled, split end hair that is long overdo for some t.l.c.”—A pretty fall far from where I used to be.

Wow! What a pity party I was throwing.

I could have chose that moment at 10 a.m. to literally let my day and self image be ruined. I could have continued to allow Satan the freedom of wrecking me emotionally.

But I REFUSED! And you need to refuse, too!

Jesus tells us that “The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy.” John 10:10

Did you see how he used the word only? Like literally, those are the sole purposes of Satan. Everything that he does is centered around stealing, killing, and destroying. The first priority of the enemy’s plan of our downfall is to steal. And trust me, he will find something to get his sticky little fingers on. For me it ALWAYS, always, always starts with my emotions. Within those emotions, the first thing that is snatched by the hands of the thief is my joy.

Joy- a feeling of great pleasure or happiness.

I am a sensitive, emotional, deep feeling, deep thinking person. If I am stuck in a funk, it is usually because I have allowed my thoughts and emotions agree with the lies of Satan. For the longest time I would just allow myself to feel the sad, empty, hopelessness that was being fueled to my emotions. But with continuous pursuit of wisdom and truth, I realized yet another time, that I am in control of my mind, my emotions. I am not ruled by the swayings of Satan. My heart is filled with the love, faith, and joy that comes from Jesus. With that truth declared over me and you, we have power to resist the whispers of his lies.

Even on days of doubt. Even on the days where we actually, honestly, do agree with the negativity. We have to make the conscious decision to choose joy in those moments. We have to choose to stop the slippery slope of negative self talk and surrender our thoughts and emotions to the Lord. He will fill our hearts and minds with hope, encouragement, a renewed spirit, a renewed mindset, and anything else that your specific heart is longing for. He can provide it…in infinite amounts.

Colossians 3 really speaks to this truth.

Colossians 3:1-2 Since you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.

A couple of earthly things that I have been setting my mind to:

  • Low self esteem from comparison. Even if the comparison is to myself.
  • Fear of failure of being able to accomplish what I think will make me feel accomplished (keeping my house clean an organized, being a great wife, making the extra time to exercise more)

Paul, the author of the book of Colossians, instructs us to “put to death whatever belongs to our earthly nature.” Get rid of those thoughts, those self imposed expectations, because essentially we are making those things an idol in our hearts. You’re thinking, “ok, woah! Let’s not go that far,” but yes! That is truly what we are doing when, for example we spend an unnecessary hour and a half looking at swimsuits, while actually, doing more self loathing than shopping. We are making our insecurities an idol in our hearts, and we are called to SO much more than that!

Paul gives us a list of things of our earthly nature that we need to really evaluate and get rid of! (You can’t move forward if you still have a pile of deep rooted sin) Then Colossians 3 takes a beautiful refreshing turn at verse 12.

Colossians 3:12-14 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them together in perfect unity.

The way this is written, it’s directing us on how to act in relation with others. But I simply can’t keep from reading this and applying it within myself! Yes, let’s possess these characteristics and have them overflow out of us toward other. But let’s apply these inwardly first and just see what comes alive in our hearts. What if I had a little more compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience toward myself? What if you did? I wish I could be sitting face to face, having an actual conversation with you to ask if anyone else needs to forgive yourself? Anyone have grievances against yourself? Anyone else sighing in relief that we have the freedom in Christ to not only ask Jesus for forgiveness and new life, but to also have the power to forgive ourselves of our personal frustrations, our failures, our missed opportunities, our mistakes? ME! Right here! Hand raised.

Continuing to apply this passage to ourselves for this particular discussion, verse 14 really just gets me doing a little shoulder and head bobbing dance to the tune of Justin Bieber. “Baby you should go and love yourself…bahdabumbum bahdabum bahdabumbum bahdabum…”

Colossians 3:15-17 gives us that last bit of complete encouragement. The icing on the cake. The hands raised moment. The final burst of joy that makes me want to do cartwheels out the front door.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

YES! Let’s clear out all the junk in our hearts and minds, and really allow the peace of Christ to rule completely within us. Spend time in true prayer and in the word and let it cover every part of our being.

“And be thankful”— This time of year, it’s on the forefront of our minds with cutesie signs saying “thankful, grateful, blessed.” But let’s really live that! Instead of me being in a mental tizzy over these dadgum one piece swimsuits, I could easily make a whole entire list of things I’m thankful for that are completely relevant to this same specific event.

I am thankful to be able to shop for one-piece swimsuits because…

  • We are blessed enough to take an all inclusive vacation to one of our favorite, beautiful, happy places! In October! (That actually is enough right there!)
  •  I will feel comfortable and not self conscious over my body and will have more freedom to eat extra breakfast burritos and churros.
  •  Even in my fittest days I was always a little self conscious in a bikini anyway. This just allows me to actually relax and enjoy myself instead of thinking of my appearance the whole time.
  •  As I look in the mirror through a different mental lens, my body really doesn’t look near as bad as I made it out to be. I am thankful for the more recent weight loss I’ve had naturally due to eliminating some stress from my life.
  • I have the most precious baby girl in the world who is the greatest joy I have experienced on earth! I would forever take that along with a life of one-pieces over my previous vain ideals expectations.

Ok, I could seriously go on all day, but I’ll stop there because you get the picture. There is always something we can be thankful for within our circumstances.

I love seeing the word “richly” in this verse, because I am a dessert junky. I like to think of a tres leches cake, and how it is just completely saturated with that liquid gold of sweetened condensed milk (which growing up I only knew it as Eagle Brand Milk…another East Texas story for another time). It is richly saturated with it’s goodness. I want my heart to be that richly consumed with the word of Christ. Can I get an amen?

 

Lastly, the declaration we are sent off with is to do everything “in word or deed” in the name of Jesus! So for me, these areas that might continue to be a stumbling block for me, I’m just going to be saying “Ok Lord, I will not allow this negative self image, words of doubt, or fears of failure to rule over me. I want your peace to consume my heart. I want everything I do to be a reflection of you and your love and grace in my life. I’m giving these things over to you. Give me the wisdom, the resolute, the motivation, and the grace to make changes in the areas of my life that will allow me to be confident and joyful within myself and to ultimately glorify you!”

So back to my scene of aggressively closed laptop and baby waking up—I could have allowed all that hopelessness over something SO unimportant to truly consume me that entire day, and even trickle into other days. I could have done that. In the past I would have done that. I would have even carried out my insecurities in further unhealthy ways and justify them as healthy, or “what I need to do.” But the Lord is continuing to work on me and change me. That morning I took an extra moment to call out to Jesus, to dwell richly in his words of truth, grace, and love. I chose joy in that moment. 

I then decided to get an extra cup of coffee just for a little boost…and that definitely sealed the deal 😉

Jesus & Coffee—the cure for the common funk.

Be blessed, live loved, choose joy.

Xoxo,

Krystle