Friday, February 22, 2019

Friend

It was strange seeing the marker board at the hospital yesterday. My name, phone number, and under 'relationship', the word, FRIEND.

Now, I understand the practicality of it. I'm his daughter's mom.  If something happens, I need to know. But the fact that this person who expends more energy hating me than doing any other thing has a sign in his room with the word "friend" next to my name was a good kind of weird. 

I prayed it was prophetic.

While I don't expect to ever be meeting him out for coffee and chatting about our day like I would with other friends, I can't help but want good things for him. 

Lauren adores him. If there is no other reason in the world, that one is enough. The joy she had when we both attended her musical last month and sat at the same table at an after-party was obvious. We even got pictures of the three of us.

There are plenty of other reasons, too. I believe God creates everyone with something to offer the world. What we do with what we've been given is our own choice. But, if you don't understand the loving nature of God and the grace He's given you, making the right choice can be difficult.

Hurt people hurt people. 

I wrote once about collateral damage in dealing with other people. I said, "you can't yell at a drowning man for splashing water on you while trying to figure out how to save himself.

Sometimes though, that drowning man has convinced himself that if he throws enough water on you, the ocean will be shallow enough for him to stand. 

I fought that water for years. It took a long time, but eventually I learned that as long as I'm in the boat, the water can't really hurt me. It's just water. 


The grace that taught me that, also taught me forgiveness.
Forgiveness is a powerful thing.

I hope someday he'll see what a friend I really am and how much love, compassion, and confidence in God's grace it takes to stand at the bedside of someone who viciously blames you for everything that is wrong with their life in new and shocking ways on a regular basis, and offer to pray for them.
For his sake and Lauren's both, I hope it happens soon.
I would very much love to one day not think twice about being referred to as his friend.


12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command. 15I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:12-15


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Fifteen dollars an hour

I've been arguing against raising minimum wage in Illinois for weeks. I've tried again and again to explain that this measure would be no more helpful than printing money to pay off national debts. I tried to explain it from all angles... and while it seems like most people understand and agree, nothing slowed down our governor's rush to sign the bill.

When I got the notification today that the news station was going live to watch the bill being signed in that moment, my heart sunk. For a split second, I even felt a little sick.

Then I heard it... that still small voice inside myself.  


"Why are you upset? Who is your provider? Do you think He didn't know this was going to happen? Do you think God is sitting there with His head in His hands trying to figure out what to do now that Pritzker ruined His plans to not only provide for you, but to prosper you?" 

Of course not!

I keep trying to imagine that and laugh. In fact, if God had made me an artist instead of a writer, that's the picture I'd be drawing for people right now... A Mosaic-Charlton Heston-looking-God, sitting on a big white and gray marble throne with his elbows on his knees and his face in his hands. And a caption that reads, "Dang it Pritzger… NOW what am I going to do!?!"


(I can't draw a straight line with a ruler... so I grabbed 
this Facepalming Jesus from the internet... 
because it makes me laugh just as much.)
It is silly, isn't it... the way we get so caught up in ourselves, forgetting what God has promised us? Forgetting who He is and who He says we are?

Don't get me wrong here... I don't know what's going to happen. I don't know if people will pay the rates I'll have to charge in the future. I don't know if my businesses will succeed or fail. 


There are a lot of things I don't know.

I do know that I will be okay, despite the fears that often overtake me. I do know God has promised to take care of me, regardless of what's going on in the world. I do know that sometimes even I'm surprised by how He does it, and that it often turns into an encouraging story of faith that I can share with others.

So, I'm going to thank God for all He has done and all He will do... and stop complaining about how this will impact small businesses, including mine. 

The time to fight to keep it from happening has passed. Now I'll shine on in spite of it.



Light shines in the darkness, and the 
darkness has not (and can not) overcome it.
John 1:5

For I know the plans I have for you
declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you 
and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 
Jeremiah 29:11

Overdue Lauren Update

I've been making excuses
for why I haven't written
When I know that really
there are none that matter...
I have another post to write, 
but I didn't want to skip 
over what happened in Minnesota. 

The long and short of it is that God answered my prayer. 

While it took me telling Him
that I would understand Who He is
"Even If"
to pull myself out from under

the paralyzing fear and depression,
It was the prayer I spoke 
in desperation that was answered. 

Please, God, just let this be a mistake.

That's what it was. 

The confused specialists in Minnesota 
couldn't understand why 
 I was making such a fuss. 
They had received the images, 
but not the report from the home doctor. 

When I pulled out my copy to read aloud
everything fell into place. 

"Excuse me, can I see that? I'm going to talk to another doctor for a minute."

And a few minutes later... 
     the most beautiful words I've ever heard...

"We have compared the previous images with this year and we don't see any differences. We will have our radiologist follow up to be sure, and give you a call... but we believe the original radiologist who made the report measured incorrectly."


And we'll follow up next year. 

God is good. <3

I've never been so happy to have spent $1000 on an unnecessary, stressful trip out of state. 


The most amazing thing
was realizing that
the answer I got
was one I begged for
in a hopeless moment
of waning faith.

He heard me anyway.


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Even if


The mouse hovered over the "Post" button for quite awhile, although I had already edited it several times. I battled with myself... 



I don't post this kind of drama anymore.
  - It's not drama. People will understand you really need them.
I know what I'm supposed to do.
  - Ask for help, even though you hate asking for help.
I tell other people what to do when they are slipping into depression like this. Why can't I just do it?
  - I don't know, but what you are doing isn't working.
God, please fix this... 


So much of the time Lauren is a typical 13yr old.
The thought of seeing a neurosurgeon and 
possible spinal surgery is scary. 
I love this kid
Between a scary diagnosis for my daughter and an unexpected break-up, I was crushed. 

It was Saturday morning and I had spent close to 18 hours in bed at that point. Sleeping, crying, begging God to just fix it all, bargaining with Him about Lauren, and sending Mike messages, trying to get him to talk to me, mostly to no avail. I had barely eaten in 3 days. I just wasn't hungry.

I kept telling myself to get up. 

Go take a shower and be a human and leave him alone. 

I sent him one more message that I was going to spend time praying and try to leave him alone. 
I managed once to get up. I walked into the living room and turned around and walked back to my room and got back in bed. 

It is cold out there. My room is warm. 

Tears started again and knew I needed to send that post. I needed prayer and encouragement. I needed support from people who knew I was struggling. 

Friends started commenting on my post. One after another told me they were praying for me. Some told me how much I had encouraged them in the past. Others posted encouraging comments or advice.

One posted a link to a video.
I scrolled past it a few times... then I clicked play. 



As the lyrics hit me, I alternated between sobbing and singing. 

"They say sometimes you win some
Sometimes you lose some
And right now, right now I'm losing bad
I've stood on this stage night after night
Reminding the broken it'll be alright
But right now, oh right now I just can't
It's easy to sing
When there's nothing to bring me down
But what will I say
When I'm held to the flame
Like I am right now..."
That was me. Minus the stage. I started singing it directly to God. 

Then, as I hit the chorus for the second time, I realized something...  

"I know You're able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don't
My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, I know the hurt
Would all go away if You'd just say the word
But even if You don't
My hope is You alone
It is well with my soul"
This was the first time I had said anything to God in the last few days besides begging Him to fix everything.
Instead of  Heal Lauren. Help me figure out what happened with Mike. Let the test's results be a mistake. Let the surgery not be needed. Make Mike talk to me.  

I said "But even if You don't, My hope is You alone. It is well with my soul."


And as I said those things out loud, I felt peace. And then, God told me exactly what I had needed to hear all along. And I knew instantly why I didn't hear it before... I hadn't been listening. I was demanding. I wasn't praising Him, thanking Him for all I have. I was throwing a temper tantrum because I wasn't getting what I wanted. He was there. He was listening the whole time. I just had to stop throwing a fit and listen. I couldn't hear His voice over my own.

I got up and took a shower. Still struggling, but determined not to give in and go back to bed. 

I told the kids to get ready we were going to go out to eat and see a movie. They all agreed on the same place to eat and the same movie... which told me God was already fighting for me. I mean, that was a miracle in itself!

We had a really great time. The movie was awesome. We all laughed and enjoyed each other's company. There were no tears the entire day. And, when we got home, instead of going back to bed, I went to work. It turned out to be a pretty good day. 

Before we left for the movie, I had sent Mike another message. While I didn't understand what happened, I realized that I had a few things to apologize for and I hoped he would talk to me before I left for Minnesota in a few days... 

When we met on Sunday, he said my whole tone had changed in that message. He read it, and knew he wanted to see me again.

We talked about a lot of things... baggage we hadn't acknowledged before and mistakes that were made and how we should have done things differently. Best of all, we decided that maybe it isn't over after all. Neither one of us is perfect, but we may still be perfect for each other. I'll keep you posted. ;-)


Tomorrow I am driving Lauren 14 hours round-trip to Minneapolis to talk to her neurosurgeon and figure out what our next steps are. I still believe Lauren could see a miracle. I still believe the surgeon could say she doesn't need surgery. I still believe God can heal her. But even if He doesn't do it when and where and how I want Him to... we are going to be okay. My hope is in Him alone. 





What are you struggling with today?

God's got you too. 
Stop fighting with Him and listen. 
He might be trying to give you 
 the answer you are begging for.
Are you sure you can hear His voice 
over your own?



We appreciate your prayers for Lauren.
You can keep up with her at 
Facebook.com/laurend1014






Sunday, August 5, 2018

Today matters

I posted this on Facebook this week and wanted to make sure I put it in the blog also.

Fear is a liar.
The fear that you
will never be more
than who you thought
you were back when
you did the things that
try to bring shame
is lying to you.
Don't listen.

You were meant
for so much more
than grievous struggle.
But if fear distracts you
with shame, loneliness,
frustration, and anger,
you won't be able to
focus on what
that more is.

You are not perfection
that was broken, needing
to be fixed or hidden away.
You are perfectly broken,
with an ability to touch others
with authenticity in a way
that nobody else can.
Be confident, know
you have purpose.

You were created to be seen, not hide.
You were created to lead, not follow.
You were designed to create, not copy.
You were created to live, not merely exist.

Don't let anything distract you from that...
not a moment or a whole lifetime of moments.
Today is a new day to live. Choose life.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Choosing to live


I'm not sure which moment in time it was that I decided I wanted to live, but I know I'll never go back to where I was before.

I just can't.

Don't get me wrong... I never wanted to die. The opposite of living isn't always dying... often it's merely existing.

I existed for a long time before I decided to live. It was the revelation of how good God actually is and what He really thinks of me and wants for me that made me unable to imagine living a life of "just getting by" any longer.

Now when I read God's promises of blessings and prosperity and an abundant life, I don't even have to think twice about how I should live. I know that's the life I want. It seems silly to know you can have more in life and to say "No thanks." Yet people do it every day.

Some people will read the words "prosperity" and "abundance" and get a little irritated, but it isn't about money. I know better. I don't care about money at all really as long as our needs are met... and He has promised to do that, so I'm not concerned there either.

I could probably write a whole blog post just about how and why I keep doing new things if it's not about the money, but I heard something today that explained it perfectly.

Honestly, I was taken aback by many of the things Erwin McManus said as I listened to The Last Arrow on audiobook. It wasn't because I disagreed at all. It was because he was putting into words the things I've been feeling and thinking over these last couple of years since I learned who I really am.

The book is about living the life God wants for you. It's about dying with your heart full and your quiver empty. It's about living with a sense of urgency and saving nothing for the next life.

At one point he told the story of giving money to a woman in a refugee camp. He was making a slightly different point than this, but it was this sentence within his point that got me: Sometimes you pray and sometimes you are the answer to someone else's prayer. A little jolt ran through me there.

YES. THAT.

I told God awhile ago that if He opened doors for me I would walk through them. I said I wanted to make a difference. I said I wanted to change someone's life... but that one sentence really explained it.

I want to be the answer to other people's prayers.

That's what I want. That's all I want.

If that means constantly stepping out in faith, doing things that don't make sense, or creating things for other people's benefit, so be it.

If you had asked me a few years ago about living like this, I would have faltered. I was scared of everything. Everything I did was to merely survive, to get by without messing up. I knew I was undeserving, incapable, and too broken to be of any use to anyone. Fear had ahold of me.

But I know now that fear is a liar.

I LOVE THIS QUOTE ABOUT FEAR:


Fear is like a leprosy that eats away at our souls. It will lead us to build fortresses that look like security and safety.
Fear convinces us that we have locked out the dangers that would befall us, all the while blinding us to the fact that it hasn't locked the world out at all.
Instead fear has trapped us inside itself. It was never a fortress. It was a prison.
Everything changes once you have stepped into life. Everything changes once you have experienced the goodness of God. Everything changes once you see how the universe is designed for abundance and not scarcity.
It not only changes the condition of your life. It changes you. 
- Erwin Raphael McManus, The Last Arrow

I know who I am and I know God's goodness... and it has changed me so much.


So even when I start to worry, even when fear tries to whisper those lies in my head about how much smarter it would be to play it safe, I will continue to live. I will continue to keep moving forward. I know I was designed to create...

Several times in the book McManus says we should live like our lives depend on it... and while I like that, I have to say that what I really want to do is live like someone else's life depends on it... because I believe it does. I don't know who and I don't know where. I may never know. I just know that as long as God keeps saying GO, I'll keep going... because I never know which decision I make that will be that answer.

I am preparing for a trip to Los Angeles right now.

I'll be there for two weeks, setting up a new business, serving the community, and spending some time with my family. Fear disguised as logic tells me I'm crazy to try or to take this kind of a risk right now. But ignoring a loud and clear GO, ignoring this opportunity to be an answer to someone's prayer, is not worth the imagined safety of staying at home.

I can't wait to see what He does there...


I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.
 Now choose life, so that you and your children may live. ~Deuteronomy 30:19

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Six years ago this week

This is the time of year where Facebook Memories reminds me daily of how far I've come.
Six years and a couple days ago I posted about just being thankful to have any roof over my head and to wake up someplace where I wasn't afraid of what anyone in the place I was living was going to do that day.

Of course, the new place the kids and I were living was a campground and I had no idea what was in store in the coming months. It was just day one.

Things got way worse before they got any better.
At one point I lost all hope that anything would change for us... And yet, here we are. 


Some days I'll see the status updates from back then and remember what really happened that day... because I was too ashamed to admit the truth to anyone. Other days I'll just wish I hadn't re-read it because that girl was a hot mess!

If I could have seen this far into the future back then, I would have laughed and told God He had the wrong girl... and I would have been right. I barely recognize that girl when I look in the mirror these days. (That's a good thing.)

I wasn't going to post this, then my 14yo randomly said to me, "Can you imagine if someone had told us about our lives now back when we moved into the camper? We would have laughed."

Laughed. Cried. Run and hid. We would have done something!

I don't know what all of my friends are struggling through right now... but know that if I could tell you now how much better your life will be when you just have a little faith... you would probably laugh at me too.

All I can say right now is just hang on... and keep your eyes open. God has a plan, but He won't force you into it. So, when God puts opportunities in front of you... take them.

And when you look behind you, don't beat yourself up over all the things that pulled you down. Grace and mercy have followed you for a reason. Look behind you and see them there, covering everything else and be thankful.

I know some of you are thinking, "Kindall, you've done what you've done because of YOU..." And you are partly right. I hear you... and I LOVE that so many people believe in me and are proud of me.

It is true that I saw opportunities and I took them. Work needed to be done and I worked my butt off. Parts of me were broken and I went and found the help that I needed to fix them.

But I didn't have the strength to do all of that myself... not until I understood what God really thought of me, that I could be secure in my belief that He ONLY wanted good for me. That He doesn't just care about eternity, but also my life while I'm here... that He wasn't just waiting for me to make a mistake so He could make an example of me. 


Some people have told me, "You're just blessed. Whatever you touch works out." Haha. Not quite. But when you look at the things that HAVE worked out and wonder why... know that God doesn't love me any more than He loves you. 

Good is coming.
Believe it and look for it.
Don't be scared. Just jump in.
Something amazing is about to happen. 


For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesian 2:10

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory!
Ephesians 3:20