The silent scream that slapped me into now

A two year old almost drowned… right in front of me, today.

She wasn’t my own; nor was I looking after her. But she was still right in front of me- in my direct line of eyesight.

I could have- should have– seen it. I could have- should have– caught it. But I didn’t….

Her mom did, thankfully in time.

As her mother gasped, I looked down. I could see her there, sitting under the water, paralyzed and unable to move. Her eyes were bug-eyed wide and open- staring back at me.

They had a desperate plea about them, silently screaming “Help me. Do you see me?!”

But I didn’t.

I had no idea a child was drowning right in front of me- less than a foot away.

I’ve held this notion for a while now – that we hear danger and accidents as they happen. That if anything should happen to my daughter, I’d be aware of it, because I’d hear it.

But today proved otherwise. 

It happened in an instance- in silence and I was completely unaware.

So was her mother, for a time.

I couldn’t shake the thought all day. I tried not to personalize the experience – to make it about me– but the whole thing spoke clear:

Kailey, wake up. Be alert. Things happen in an instant and if you’re not paying attention – if you’re distracted by your phone or even your thoughts- you’ll miss it.

All love begins with the act of paying attention. Stay here. Remain in the present moment.

I’ve watched social experiment videos, where people stage child abductions … many times, right in front of their parents eyes. I’ve read blog posts about children who drown or run into traffic… many times, right in front of their parents eyes.

And I’ve judged.

I’ve made sweeping assumptions about what kind of parents they were or how they were choosing to spent their time, rather than watching their children. [insert exaggerated huffing sounds of disapproval]

Then today, I was that person! 

I wasn’t on my phone. I wasn’t even having a conversation. There was no multi-tasking happening! I was sitting quietly on a pool step, observing my thoughts, when I failed to see a child drowning- right in front of my eyes.

It was far too easy and quick.

Evil may have had it’s way with her, but praise God, it didn’t. Her mom caught it in time. She is safe and very much OK.

But the fact remains: her story could have ended differently- perhaps, in just a few more seconds.

I’m one week into a four week sabbatical – a break from all work – plus, a digital detox. And so far, I’ve realized how often I’m tempted to pick up my phone; to numb out and distract. Without my phone, I see too, how tempting it is to numb out and distract- to instead, choose my day dreams and my thoughts, rather than my present moment… especially when I’m angry, worried, in shame or simply bored with what’s in front of me.

Time and again I’ve caught myself.

This present moment thing is harder than I thought!

But I want it- I want to make a habit of it….not only for joy’s sake, but for prevention’s sake, as today taught me.

It’s not my responsibility to save every child. I also can’t protect my own from everything. But it is my job to be responsible – to do what I can, to hedge her from protection. And that includes being present: not just with my hands. Not just with my eyes, but with my thoughts and my attention.

My intention, this present moment. 

Lord, Help me.

 

 

When you’re defeated and desperately want to quit

 

I took this photo going into my counsellors office last year.

I felt hopeless and desperately wanted to give up and call it quits. I thought things would never change. Settling felt easier.

Then I walked in and settled on the couch.

In her own words, She said something like this- and friend, it changed everything…

Courage isn’t found in comfort, strength isn’t build in easy places. Both are cultivated in messy, hard soil, which if you persevere, become holy ground: anointed and set apart with purpose and great intent.

They lead us to transformation.

Don’t give up.

Don’t short change yourself because it feels easier.

Push through.

New life is waiting on the other side.

I decided right then and there, that whatever had come to me, had to go through God.

And therefor, it came FOR GOOD.

And I don’t say that lightly- I say that from the most suckered punched part of my heart-made-whole.

What the enemy meant for evil, God used for good: to bring a newness of life and transformation, I never could have imagined– or seen then! It would take months, until I caught a glimpse.

But for the time being, her words were a gift of hope – what I needed to carry on and push through to the other side.

Today, they’re my gift to you.

Carry on, Warrior.

#justkeepswimming #thedifferenceayearmakes #littlebylittle #newlifeiscoming

My graduation… from Counselling

I could hardly keep from smiling as I read the post – the words I had typed in bravery over two years prior – confessing my inability to handle death, pain and grief. And I’m sure God was chuckling along with me. Not making fun of me, but in a playful “I told you so” sort of way.

Because I’ve never shied away from praying scary prayers; the bold ones that take courage to even muster out loud and leave you shaking in your boots hoping God chooses NOT to answer them! And I had done just that. As I carried my child in womb, I begged God to heal me from my greatest fear: death, pain and grief.

They kept me from loving well:

……running away when people needed me to run to them

…. Distant when others needed me close

…..Going when someone needed me to stay, to sit and to listen

 

But the reality is, we can only give away what we have first been given ourselves.

And in this case, I couldn’t love well in the midst of hardship, having never dealt with my own pain from my brothers death.

IMG_0080IMG_0081IMG_0079

It was a pain I hadn’t touched in twenty one years, preferring to gloss over and pretend like everything was fine.

So that’s exactly what I would do with others.

Avoid the subject all together. Never ask specifics. Pretend like everything was fine.

And while it wasn’t a true reflection of my heart, it communicated disinterest, ill concern, a “could care less” attitude and a cold lack of compassion.

 

It wasn’t until I gave birth to my daughter, that the trauma came full circle and the band-aid was ripped off, leaving my wounds wide open for cleaning.

DSC_0189

God used a traumatic child birth experience and 9 weeks of darkness to show me I needed to heal, once and for all.

“Burying the hurt, wounds, and scars of your heart and soul does not make them go away. You cannot eat them away, drink them away, ignore them or hide them in your work or relationships. Eventually, they re-emerge (often with habits that are harder to heal than the wounds themselves).” – Jo Saxton 

 

Oh, was this my reality!

While I’d come a long way in my healing journey, I’d relied almost entirely on my own strength; every self-help book read, philosophy learnt and self-discipline method mastered. But still I was wounded and what I’d done was merely bandaged up the hurt and learnt to cope for a while, until it re-appeared again. (Many times looking different than before, tricking me into thinking this new habit and my unresolved pain were not related.)

DSC_0115

With 6 months of counselling behind me and victory on my side, I now stare at the page of things I’ve overcome-  the things I had run to for countless years to mask the hurt and pain.

Like any addiction. These were mine:

 

Now here I am on the other side, a completely different woman.

(Thanks to the Grace of God, much prayer, an incredible counsellor and hours upon hours of self -reflection and the hard work of change.)

DSC_0129

While I could write a book about all that I’ve learnt and discovered on my road to healing, my most profound revelations are this:

  • The pain of our pasts never leaves us until we deal with it, no matter how old we get or how great we get at “coping”  (A good sign you’re coping rather than healed: the issue continues to resurface throughout your life unexpectedly)

  • We either walk inside our story and own it (the hardest, ugliest and messy parts too!) or stand outside it and hustle for our worthiness. – Brene Brown

  • It is our weaknesses not our strengths that connect us with others and it’s in our willingness to be vulnerable that others are drawn to us and a deeper bond/ relationship is formed

  • Your mess will become your message if you give yourself the gift of healing

  • God can and will use you to bring others hope and help set them on the path to freedom, victory and healing… (and that has brought forth the most AMAZING sense of purpose and meaning I’ve encounter in life yet.)

  • The dark looses its scary factor when you embrace it, even when it’s uncomfortable.

DSC_0306

Because once you can sit in your dark cave and not run from it, you can sit with others in theirs and be ok with it…..

You can love them well in their broken and messy moments, when they need most to know they’re not alone.

 

Note:  I do not believe we ever “arrive” or that healing and freedom means we will never have to work or consciously choose to fight the temptation to fall back into old patterns. Instead, that those things that used to hold us hostage and control our thoughts and actions, no longer have the same paralyzing grip on our life.

 

————

Please don’t go through this alone! If you have never shared your hurt with someone, please start there by confiding in someone you trust. If you have no one, please email me at hello@kaileymichelle.com.

And secondly, I would strongly suggest you reach out to a counsellor and invest in yourself there, even if only for one session. I invested in 6 months of weekly  counselling with FREE TO BE COUNSELLING, and it was the catalyst and accountability I needed.

 

The Princess and Her Prince

Dear sweet fifteen year old Kailey,

I know you’re trying and it feels likes you’re failing  miserably, despite the pretty picture you paint and what it looks like on the outside.

I know you’re trying desperately to do the right thing and make people proud, because that’s what good people do who make something of themselves and you’re determined to do just that and more!

I know you’re striving to win the praise and recognition of those around you, no matter how impossibly difficult it feels most days to keep everyone happy-  the popular girls, your teachers, your parents, your friends, your family, your boyfriend and the list goes on…

I know you’re determined to be strong and fake it ’till you make it; to mask the hurt, act the part, appear smarter than your years or to simply fit in and not let the world in on your fragile emotional heart, that feels everything far too deeply.

Screen Shot 2013-12-04 at 1.36.48 PM

Photo by FRESH photos

I know you want to see yourself for something other than what they call you and the titles that people place upon you, looking down every path and possibility that presents itself.

I know you’re struggling to make sense of it all and understand why, despite “following all the rules” of this life and what you know of how to “do it right,” bad things still happen, people don’t like you, you feel pain and no rolodex of accomplishments or accumulation of things makes you truly content or  happy – lasting joy is what you want.

I know you want to know why life doesn’t seem fair…. where’s the life you’ve pictured in your head and feel privileged to have? But, here’s the thing:

This world is broken and despite what the everyone tells you, there’s only one thing that’ll fix it….

There will come a day when it all makes sense and you finally feel at home -in this world, in your body, in your purpose, in life’s meaning. And it all starts the day you meet the man of your dreams.

Screen Shot 2013-12-04 at 1.34.21 PM

Photo by The Nickersons

He’s tall, dark and handsome, the exact opposite of who you thought you’d fall in love with. He’s the gentlest, most sweet and loving man you’ll ever meet. And he’ll adore you like no other, exactly as you are, unconditionally. He’ll heal your hurts, your wounds and comfort you like no other. He’ll treat you like the princess that you are and give you gifts that set your heart on fire. He’ll help you discover your true self, your passions and show you a life full of joy, forgiveness and contentment. But it’ll look so different, yet more beautiful, than the fairytale you’re longing for.

He’s the author of your storybook and it ends in happily ever after! The ends already been written.

So you can stop trying; stop striving to write the perfect story and be the perfect heroin! You don’t need to be; He’s already got you covered.

You see, this man will be the answer to your every need, worry, and question. He’ll be your confidence, your strength, your guide, your companion, your rock. He’ll save you the hurt, the chaos and worry, if you’ll just let him…

So look around you at all the clues and the people in your life that point you to him. They’re there and they’re not so hard to find if you just stop to look!

It’s like a real life scavenger hunt that leads you to the prince. His name is Jesus and He’s what you’ve been searching for

 

 

A hint of who you might be

Lately, my minds been whirling with new heart discoveries, a shift in my thinking and focus and the realities of feeling a new season of life approaching.

Truth be told, Dave and I have been sensing this change for a bit now- the soft, steady push into a new and unknown stage of life. We feel as if we’ve left the young adult stage and suddenly entered adult-ville. And the reality of the unknown is, it can be scary.

What do I know of Holy

No longer do your decisions affect only tomorrow or the next year. But in their place are ramifications on your future and the future of your one- day children. The decisions we make today, have the potential to guide and shape the course of our lives in very distinct ways.

While in the midst of my busiest season of work, we’ve been given opportunity after opportunity to put our faith to action and lean on God, with full force and might. Resisting temptation. Weeding out the “lesser good options” in an effort to stay focused on what matters most. And most unnerving [for me anyway] is multiple new opportunities – big choices that effect our home life and our professional lives, for potentially the next 10-20 years.

The reality is i’m scared and anxious. We and I alone, have made choices in the past that were not God’s will and without fail, God revealed each time, we’d taken paths not meant for us. We’d gone into territory and ventures, he had not anointed us for. We’ve learnt our lesson and vowed to do everything we can, in trust, prayer and faith, to move only where we feel God is calling us. But here’s the thing… it requires  trust, patience and faith- fulling leaning on God and not our own abilities, foresight and judgement.

God has made is vastly clear,  this year in particular, that even when I think I “get it”, and see what he’s doing, I’m always slightly off course and never see the picture crystal clear. Why? Because his plans are always SO MUCH better than I could ever conjure up on my own- they’re more joyful than I can usually anticipate- and in reality, they most times cause me anxiety as I anticpate all “I need to do” and “is expected of me.”  **Yes. I’m laughing with you at my ridiculous “I got this God” ways!!

See my problem.. I’m still learning to let go.

But the beauty in that reality is that with each finger I lift, and slowly release the grip of my control, I see God more clearly. His glory shines brighter and His power magnifies.

Yesterday, the words of a song I’ve listened to a million times, pierced my heart as if I heard them for the very first time…

I made You promises a thousand times
I tried to hear from Heaven, But I talked the whole time
I think I made You too small. I never feared You at all!
If You touched my face would I know You? Looked into my eyes could I behold You?

I guess I thought that I had figured You out
I knew all the stories and I learned to talk about How You were mighty to save
Those were only empty words on a page

Then I caught a glimpse of who You might be
The slightest hint of You brought me down to my knees

-Addison Road | What do I know of Holy

And before I knew it, I was drowning in tears of repentance for my self-reliance, yet again. For putting him in a Box and thinking his ways were not mysterious. For thinking my relationship was alright when half the time I talk WAY TOO much and then run off to “do another thing or make a decision!” I must be getting close to the “end of myself,” no?!

I have far from discovered what it truly means to fear you, my father. But I will not focus on where I need to go, but rejoice in how far I’ve come, because of you and your patient refining.  You will surely complete the work you have started, in me….

photo

PS: To remind  us how good, merciful and trustworthy our God is, Dave and I started a thanksgiving cup.  Each time God answers our prayers, whether it’s little or big, we write it down and full the cup. In times of doubt, uncertainty and overwhelm, we can come back and see just how much God loves us and cares around every little thing that concerns us! Nothing is too big or too small to bring to God.

“You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. ” Psalm 23:5

Afflict the Comfortable

Screen Shot 2013-08-15 at 9.55.50 PM

I’ve been reading  Jen Hatmaker‘s 7: an experimental mutiny against excess. And to say it’s moved me, would be lie. Because “moved” is a far cry from the gnawing, unsettling and somewhat disturbing feeling I’m left with each time I open and close a chapter. It only intensifies as I read on.

“7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence.

Food. Clothes. Spending. Media. Possessions. Waste. Stress. They would spend thirty days on each topic, boiling it down to the number seven. Only eat seven foods, wear seven articles of clothing, and spend money in seven places. Eliminate use of seven media types, give away seven things each day for one month, adopt seven green habits, and observe “seven sacred pauses.” 

You see, I’ve come a long way from the Chanel wearing, compulsive shopping, dining out every night girl that I once was. I moved from the big city to a small ocean village and adjusted by hobbies from wining, shopping and dining to running, reading and cooking [at home]. We reigned in our spending [thanks to the life changing ways of Financial Peace University] and learned to live within our means. We tithe. we donate. We contribute to outreach ministry groups within our church and are vocal about our faith in every facet of our lives, both personally and professional. To be frank, I thought we were doing well… heck, dare I say it, “our part!”

But as I’ve turned the pages and resonated with the “Jen of 10 years ago,” as she puts it, I’ve shuttered… that Jen , [paraphrased] “drove around nice neighbourhoods coveting the perfectly manicured landscaping,  four car garages and beautifully groomed owners – labelled neighbours as “messy and irresponsible” rather than “widow in distress,”- had to be awesome and hated to be ordinary- failed to forget that God is the ONLY authority- despised defeat and struggled to admit she didn’t know everything- saw value in influence and reputation more than breaking bread with the homeless and giving away the shoes off her feet.”….. and the list goes on.

Ouch. Thats me. 

Oh dear Lord, forgive me. I have so, so far to go….

 

“Comfort the afflicted. Afflict the comfortable.”

 

My husband’s been wanting to get this saying tattooed on his arm for a while. I was so proud of him when he told me his desire to do this. I imagined my Jesus loving husband challenging complacent Christians to grow up in their faith and start making Jesus known in their areas of influence, both in word and deed. [A side note here: Dave and I struggle with understanding how people can keep their love of Jesus and their faith to themselves, if they truly understand destiny’s are at stake and genuinely want to see their friends and loved ones joyful and “found” rather than running the rat race of life lost in a shuffle of “be more. do more. acquire more!” ] Then on the flip side, I imagined him [Dave, my husband] with his arms stretch around a brother, desperately struggling to find hope, purpose and “the answer” to his EVERY question and struggle.

But if I’m honest with myself, [and you, like God calls me to admit my sins to my brothers and sisters] I would divulge that I really didn’t see myself in this equation or the quote pertaining to me. I neither saw myself as afflicted, nor would I dare to admit comfortable… that was until I started reading 7.

Which brings me full circle to the gnawing, unsettled and somewhat disturbing feeling challenging me in ways I’m not quite clear of yet. But what I am certain of is change- action on the part of this “over consuming, abundant living, Christian in box, on top the hill looking down. ”

“So, what’s the payoff from living a deeply reduced life? It’s the discovery of a greatly increased God—a call toward Christ-like simplicity and generosity that transcends social experiment to become a radically better existence.”

Lord lead me to action. Help me to change. Give me what I need  to live a deeply reduced life and to do it with joy. I want more of you and less of me…. and all my stuff!

 

Victory takes time

Loving others doesn’t come naturally to me.

Ask me to pump their tires, empower them to reach their dreams [heck, even help equipt them with what they need!],  see their strengths, and I’m all over it, like a wet rag to a spill. Perhaps it was my mom, always telling me to reach for the moon, because even if I miss, I’ll still land among the stars.

ed195075cbcaf7db620141e602cd364d

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.  ~ Romans 12:5-8

But the other stuff, like – reaching out those hurting , embracing difficult people with a smile on my face and a gentle demeanour, taking onus in giving or acting when someone shares their struggles and needs, giving of my “me time” to someone else, who perhaps needs it more- the washing people’s feet stuff- doesn’t innately come to me. it’s a daily battle- a conscious decision to pray for my eyes to be open to opportunities to love others, for my heart to be humbled in servanthood and that God would create in me a new earnest way of being- of living and loving without thinking. Because truth is I’m selfish and proud by nature.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. ~ James 2:14-17

I stumble on a daily basis and while most days, I’m quick to ask for forgiveness, asking God to give me what I need to love others and do it with joy,  there’s other weeks where I let my selfish ways slip. And before I know it, I’m overwhelmed, anxious and grumpier than a bear woke from his slumber. Guilt sets in and instead of falling to my knees, I press on thinking the problem is others and life’s circumstances. I know full well it’s not and the problem’s me. But every once in a while, It “feels good” to let my flesh win.

But like any sin, whether its the aftermath of gorging on a pint of ice cream or holding a grudge against a friend or family member who’s hurt me, the “justified feelings of good” wear thin quickly. And the more we grow in our faith, the clearer we see Gods face and hear his voice, the faster the luster fades.

You have never been tempted to sin in any different way than other people. God is faithful. He will not allow you to be tempted more than you can take. But when you are tempted, He will make a way for you to keep from falling into sin. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:13

For me, that realization is beautiful. It’s a clear, measurable reality that proves how good, loving and PATIENT our father is. He promises to finish the work he’s started in us.

So rather than letting Satan have those moments- [those days and even weeks]- rather than feeling bad about ourselves or allowing thoughts like, “and you call yourself a Christian?! God could never use a person who’s like that! You’re a hypocrite.”  I pray we would instead see God’s grace and favour. That we would hold on to his promises and know with all certainly we are loved and made clean.

We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.  For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. ~ Romans 3: 22-25

Because Truth be told, we’ve all come a LONG way and everyone struggles in one way or another. All sin is equal. We may not be where we need to be, but thank the good Lord we’re not were we used to be! Like climbing a mountain, some things, especially the ones worth conquering, take time!

Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD’ ” and you forgave the guilt of my sin Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. ~ Psalm 32:5, James 5:16, 1 John 1:9, Romans 8:1

My Journey with Food

The truth is I’ve struggled with food my whole life. It’s been a love hate relationship I navigated liked stormy seas, either barely treading water or sinking miserably. I spent more years of my childhood than I can count on one hand staring at my body in the mirror, analyzing it’s every curve and cupping my waste between my two hands to ensure my fingers touched. Nearly 30 hours a week in a body suit didn’t help [once piece dance garment].

I can hardly remember conversations from my teen years, muffled and stolen by the obsessive calorie counting that controlled my every thought. Over and over I’d list off the food I’d eaten, counting every morsel that passed my lips.

fc1fcf07be8d481cb4a789d7b2ca0c65

It got so bad, that I could convince myself I’d eaten a cake by simply staring at it long enough. By my late teens, I stopped perspiring and would get sent out of dance class for not working hard enough. “If I wasn’t sweating, how could I be giving it my all?” My teacher would protest. My attitude didn’t help much. I was permanently moody from the hunger pains I learnt to praise- markers for a day of neglecting food, well done.

There were points in my life where I’d come back from the deep end and realize how deadly and scary my obsession had become. A period of time would pass, where I’d allow myself to eat more normally and enjoy food as my family and friends did. But soon enough I’d reach a tipping point, where I couldn’t face my naked self in the mirror and I’d be back on the roller coaster of unhealthy eating habits. Binge and Fast; the premise of my journey with food for nearly 15 years.

As my relationship with God matured and he began to refine me [more like do an overhaul] , he showed me quickly how deeply engrained my obsession with food and vanity had become. A lie had been planted by Satan many years ago and over time, I had allowed it to become “truth”, even accepting Satan’s voice as my own. While many of the lies were surface things, such as believing I couldn’t be loved if I didn’t look a certain way or that I was much “bigger” than I truly was, the root of the lie was so much deeper. It preyed on the vary thing that kept me furthest from God for years: acceptance, my need for control and my desire to “have everything together and wrapped up pretty.”

I had come to believe that if I didn’t look perfect on the outside, people would begin to question my inside. They’d know I was weak. They’d know I was broken. They’d mock me. And no one would be my friend.

I viewed perfection as my credibility in all things.

I had come to the end of myself and knew that if anything was going to change, it would have to be God led and inspired. I’d already tried everything I could think of, from learning about nutrition, forming healthy eating and workout habits, going for counselling, reading every self help book I could get my hands on and owning up to it to family and friends. In essence, I tried everything I could try, but in my own strength. And none of it worked.

So I laid it at his feet, repented of my foolish and all consuming sin [allowing a silly thing like food to take priority and focus over God in my life] and prayed that he would heal me and restore me to full health. If there was anything he needed me to do, I’d do it. Just simply say the word, Holy Spirit, and I will jump.

The first leg of my recovery came from an encounter with Lisa Bevere and the transformational healing that took place through her book, “You are not what you weigh.” In it I discovered how I had allowed food to become an idol that I worshipped over God; that I trusted it and myself, more than I did Jesus. And so long as I tried to control the situation and find my identity and worth in it, I’d be in bondage. I was choosing to be in slavery, rather than accept the easy yoke of Christ! I experienced the power of true repentance and the healing that follows, as God opened my eyes, freed me from my obsessive thinking, changed the way I saw food and restored my digestive system back to health. [I had stopped producing electrolytes, my metabolism had slowed and I had developed gluten and dairy intolerance] It truly was a miracle, God orchestrated.

But like the onions that we are, God is never truly done. ‘Cause when one layers been shed, there’s another to be peeled, until we finally reach the core or the root of our problem.

I experienced months of new found joy and contentment with food before old habits crept in again. And with a few busy months behind me, including 2 weeks of travel, I found myself feeling sluggish, opting for chips and a second serving of ice cream, rather than a run and my go-to protein smoothie. I felt jailed by my cravings, unable to say no, with little motivation to eat clean or work out.

I prayed for guidance and felt the Holy Spirit nudge me towards a juice cleanse. Nothing serious; just a simple 3 day detox to rid myself of the cravings. This had nothing to do with loosing weight and my heart was entirely in the right place. I’ve learnt my lesson. I want to walk in obedience, turning from the things that steal my focus and attention from God.

Those three days were nothing short of war; a test of my faith and perseverance! I was permanently “hAngry,” my days were packed back to back with disappointing and frustrating meetings, my vehicle broke down, nearly leaving me stranded in the middle of the highway with no hazard lights and I had no energy to answer the incessant phone calls and texts from everyone who needed me [many of whom I love dearly and truly needed my prayers and support]. Every fibre in my being wanted to scream from the rooftops how terrible my days were treating me and drive through dairy queen to make myself feel better; but instead I chose to hang on, keep my nose in his word and give thanks.

And friends, I’m so glad I did. ‘Cause on the other side there was light and clarity.  I see now why Satan fought so hard to derail me in those 3 days.

You see, I discovered something; a root of ingratitude and poor return for the kindness and love that God has shown me. I’d become numb to some of the basic blessings that I should be giving thanks for every day, like food, water and shelter.

I’d taken for granted the feeling of being full, even despising it and abusing it’s gift – keeping me healthy and letting me know when my body needs fuel or has had enough. There are people every day, starving for just ONE morsel and here I was wishing away the feeling of being full because it meant bloating and uncomfortable jean buttons!

I didn’t appreciate that food is the fuel that allowed me to stay focused during the day, get to and do the things I needed to and be joyful all the while doing them! It gives me the energy to share Jesus with others, show compassion to those who are hurting, love until it’s uncomfortable and show mercy to difficult people.

Without fuel, I’m an empty, angry, defeated shell. How ever then, can I be a light and disciple without food?

Lord forgive me for not seeing this sooner and thank you for unveiling my eyes. Your blessings are abundant both profound and simple. Yet every one of them intentional, with purpose and a mission. May I never again take for granted the blessings of food, the fuel it provides and the community that is built enjoying it together. I praise you and worship you in Jesus’ name, Amen!

Social Media Free

1d4b757fc70363dc169cc5662bea7d50

Truth be told, I’ve never been a trend setter. I’ve always loved things long before they become cool or fancied them well after the entire world’s made it their own. Why? Who knows, but I’m ok that.
So keeping course with my usual self, I finally…. I mean finally “tested out” a social media free weekend. After all, I had to see what all the fuss was about!

Nah. Thats not fully truth.

I spent a good deal of time in therapy when I was a teen, learning to cope, manage and overcome my battle with anorexia, anxiety and every other derivative of OCD possible. Back then, before facebook, instagram, iphone and digital cameras that uploaded to social media, it wasn’t common for folks to take pictures of things other than people or events, unless they were a professional or an artist.

I lived constantly in the past and in the future, with no acknowledgment of the present or even my reality for that matter. One of my “prescribed medications” was a camera-  a good ol’ fashioned wined up disposable. Each week, I had to take photos of things that made me stop and look- something that caught my eye and brought me out of my “head” into reality, if even for a moment. Sometimes it was a stranger, a random finding, archetcture or simply nature. And after developing them and returning to my next session, photos in hand, we reviewed what it was- what emotion, sensation, feeling or longing is was, that tugged at my heart strings enough to make me stop.

Trust me. If you had been in my head, that was a feat of its own. But what I learnt so quickly was how much I had been missing! How beautiful life really was. How precious, meaningful, alive and story filled it was. I had been missing the opportunity to truly experience and live my own life- to write the chapters of my own adventure novel. I was too busy living the fictional one in my head.

The long and short of it is this. This simple lesson was the turning point in my recovery and to this day fuels my passion for taking photos; ordinary photos of simple, everyday moments that weave the beautiful story of my life – the ones I choose to celebrate.  Its how I honour God and thank him for the little things that truly set my heart on fire. [Hello..meet my instagram obsession that started LONG LONG ago before it became a community, journal or business tool. The fact that I have people to talk to in it now is just a bonus!]

So back to my point and social media free weekends. I saw no need for it. I wasn’t addicted to social media. I no longer have a problem with living online vs in real life. I simply crave taking photos on the weekend when I actually have time to enjoy my hobby and eagerly anticipate it all week long! And come off it… whats the point of taking a photo of nothing without posting it to a social media outlet, right 😉 Well not really, but thats what’s become of our society, simply by habit and social acceptance. And the fact of the matter is, I fell prey to it too…

So on a whim, I decided to give it a try. How hard could it be? Three days free of social media and posting of my much loved “moment in time” snap shots. But truth is, it was difficult. So many times I found myself picking up my phone, simply because I had two seconds I wasn’t doing anything! [Heaven forbid I have to wait for the elevator,  for my dog to go pee or even myself for that matter. Admit it. You do it too!] Quickly I realized how much time there really was in a day to do the things I really really love, but never seem to get around to- like reading, editing photos, baking, crafting, taking baths and sitting, just for the sake of it! I had more meaningly conversations than I could count on one hand and truly felt like I was 100% present to love those right in front of me. I heard God’s promptings more clearing and I spend more focused and uninterrupted time in my devotionals. Simply put, I was a better version of me and life was that much MORE beautiful. I still took photos, but I found going back to them later in the week allowed me to re-appreciate all over again, that precious moment in time. And this week? I feel more refreshed, renewed and focused on what matters  than ever! Ready to give my days to the Lord more joyfully and strive to make further progress on my 2013 vision.

While I will openly admit, I didn’t see a “need” for social media free weekends in my life, I’m 100% on board here forward! Thank you Lara for opening my eyes and yet again encouraging growth, and a life lived on purpose… one of love, experienced from the inside.

Confession, I’m even considering getting rid of cable! God’s working on me though. In time …

Carry me

8f5342d7442c3033bbef4f0c82650582

Truth. This weeks been hard. Really hard. Emotional, frustrating and uncertain. I feel a change stirring inside of me and its this unfamiliar sensation that has me confused.

There are moments when I feel so at peace, joyful and perfectly content. While others have left me unsettled with a dull, below the surface anxiety that quietly tightens my chest and boils deep down inside. In a moments notice, with only a glimpse of scripture, a lyric from a song or even someone’s instagram post,  I’m in tears, praying that God would reveal to me whats going on, why I’m feeling this way and asking that he would just carry me….carry me through.

Since January and in making my 2013 vision, I’ve worked hard at simplifying my life; striving for tunnel vision on the things that matter most, letting everything else just wash away. Saying No to many things, so I can say Yes to SO MUCH more-  the things that really set my heart on fire. Each day, I’ve prayed that God would work in me, refining my heart, my focus and my desires to match those of his….his will for my life. And like an onion, he continues to peel back the layers, revealing revelation after revelation in love.

Its hard work growing up and becoming the person you were meant to be. Especially when it means laying your hopes, desires, commitments, future, fears, doubts, control, weaknesses and everything in-between at the foot of Jesus. Cause what your left with is a raw, naked and vulnerable little girl. And That’s how I’ve felt this week.

Each day something would happen that would leave me realizing, yet again, I’m not in control of my life. Feeling helpless. No matter how hard I try, things will not always work out the first time. I can’t expect myself to know everything, especially before I’ve tried and failed first. I can’t fix life with a bandaid and if I want change, its going to come the hard way. If I want order and consistency, I must be persistent in working out the kinks…no matter how many tries it takes. And most of all, I need to accept that I’m not perfect [that’s right, I said it] and I never ever, ever, will be!

This week, my office has been a battlefield… of my mind, my heart and my will. I can’t keep up with who’s winning, or who it is that’s got the better of me in that moment.

Deep down I know this frustration is me fighting to letting go… of my old self, my old identity, my old desires and my pride. Allowing God to penetrate my heart and have full reign in my life. Cause truth is, I don’t want the same things I used to. Yet in acknowledging that, I can feel my ego fight back, wanting to stifle that thought and quickly!  I can hear the voice inside my head telling me I’m being ridiculous. That in letting go, I’m going to be nothing… unaccomplished, lowly, insignificant, boring and lazy. That I need to buckle up my boot straps and get back to work. Make money. Be somebody. Do something NOW… faster, harder… be more! Cause what you are, even now, is not enough.

These thoughts are not of God.  They’re Lies. All lies. Yet they sting like a double edged sword.

I’ve walked away from my desk more times than I can count to simply be in God’s word or sit in quiet. To try and stop the whirling of my mind and fluttering of emotions. For moments in the stillness it all stops and I can hear his quiet whisper…

“This too shall pass. Just be still and know. Hold on to my promises. I’m doing exactly what you asked me for and on the other side, you’ll thank me. Just trust, Kailey. Trust.”

So I’m trusting, knowing deep down he indeed, is working all things out for good. And soon clarity will be upon me. Wisdom and courage, too. ‘Cause his strength is make perfect in my weakness. I need only to surrender, reach out and grab on tight.

Hold on Kailey… cause joy comes in the morning!