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.


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.


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

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Collateral Damage

I spent a big part of my life angry.

I was
angry at people,
angry at God,
angry at the world,

angry in general.
I often had
a smile on my face,
and something nice to say.
But inside was
a ball of rage.

Hurt people hurt people
and I was good at it:
a cutting remark,
a passive-aggressive act,
and every once in awhile
a volcanic eruption of rage
that sent people running for cover.

Always followed by an apology
that may or may not have included
how justified I was anyway...
I was in perpetual victim mode,
and likely caused some
collateral damage myself.

It was the revelation
that people are just people
and that their thoughts
and their actions
don't define me,
that started me on the
path towards forgiveness.

The freedom that comes
with that forgiveness
is unlike anything else
I've ever experienced.

It also taught me
no matter what
was done to me
I was responsible
for my own reactions.

I used to think my story
was full of bad guys
who set out to destroy me:
People whose only goal
was to see how high
they could climb
while stomping on me.

I eventually came to realize
that the only bad guy
in my story is Satan.
Everyone else is just human.

When that realization sunk in,
the amount of grace I was able
to extend to others and myself,
grew exponentially.

My feelings were hurt this week.
And I asked myself
what was wrong with me.
And then I asked myself
what was wrong with them.
And then I remembered.

Both of the answers are the same.
We're just people. 

People trying our best
to keep our lives from
spinning out of control
while causing as little collateral damage as possible. 

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted,
forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels,
but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
1 Corinthians 13:1

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Designed to create

You won't see many blog posts out there on exhaustion from a first person perspective. Why? Because exhaustion sucks the creativity right out of the person who is dealing with it. It sucks the energy out of us too.

I haven't written because that's where I was. I'm out of it now and can write again. So, what happened? Was I doing more? Was I not taking care of myself? Was I just lazy?

I've learned a lot about myself in the last couple months and it has been an adventure. Looking back, I realized that it wasn't just the amount of stuff I was doing that caused the exhaustion. It was the type of stuff I was doing.

My business was good, but stagnant. The volunteer work I once loved had turned from creating light shows and scenes that set the tone of a church service to scheduling people and being in charge of processes. Lots of stuff like that. Boring.

I hired a business coach to try to figure out why I was burnt out and to get help. Actually, it was our first meeting, before I even hired her, that she showed me that I was designed to create... not manage. I suddenly felt free to explore other ideas for the first time ever... because I was doing what God designed me to do.

I had been going to live music shows and posting about them so other people could find them too... but I had been viewing it as a hobby I probably shouldn't take seriously. When I realized that I had confined myself to the boredom and burnout I had been dealing with, I decided to pursue something new... something that breathed new life into me.

Suddenly, it was a business. In 6 weeks I had over 500 followers (growing every day) and local bands and venues are working with me to get their shows promoted. Three months ago I was still too scared to walk into a music venue or a bar by myself. In fact, it was just about 3 months ago that some friends were late for karaoke and I sat in the car for 20 minutes until I was sure they were inside before even getting out of my car.

Two weekends ago I saw seven bands in seven venues in two nights, but kept to myself... not letting anyone know who I am. This weekend I saw 6 different bands and walked up and introduced myself between sets. People who know me, look at me and are amazed at the differences they see.

I've never lived outside of my comfort zone so consistently or so deliberately before. 

Some may see that and think, but what does that have to do with grace? Isn't this a blog about how God's grace changed your life? 

Yes, yes it is. 

And because I'm no longer living in fear of making the wrong choice or making God angry... I know who I am, who He created me to be. The world can put all the expectations on me they want. It doesn't bother me. I can focus on the thing He created me to do. CREATE. 

I've never felt more like I was made in His image than at this moment in my life.

Grace did that for me.

God created mankind in his own image. 
Gen 1:27

By grace you have been saved through faith.
Ephesian 2:8

I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, 
and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Hebrews 8:10b

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Cool Enough

I once told a guy I was dating
we were only still together
because he hadn't figured out
he was too cool for me yet.
It turns out I was wrong.
I'm way cooler than I thought.
And don't tell me it isn't cool
to say cool anymore.
If it isn't,
I'll just bring it back.
I'm cool enough to do that.


More than enough

Last week I laughingly told a couple of friends about a thought that had come to me, "I am the main character in every cheesy movie about a 55-year-old-plus divorcee or widow who went out to find herself...."

I've gained a deeper understanding of my faith. Dated a couple of wildly opposite guys. Figured out I can be happy and single at the same time. Changed my hair. Lost some weight. Started working out again. Traveled. Went paragliding. Found a love of live music. Started a really fun new hobby. And I even went to a paint night regardless of the fact that I can't draw a straight line with a ruler. The change has been gradual, and isn't finished... but I'm so much more confident in myself than I've ever been.

I laughed when I shared it,"All that is left is for me to accept being single for the rest of my life and find a retirement home that will let me move in and paint sunflowers all day."

It was mostly a joke. I wasn't retiring or painting or giving up on what I want for my future. I just thought it was funny. Mostly. But not completely. I didn't exactly like identifying with women 20+ years my age... even if they were just movie characters.

It's funny how one comment can change your mindset. One friend surprised me by saying, "Well, you're way ahead. I was much older before I had that kind of confidence."

Wait. What?

My perspective of my "main character" status changed instantly. I'm not old before my time. I've been blessed with wisdom and confidence that many woman struggle to receive. I'm not ready to retire. I'm ready to live.

I went to an amazing conference this weekend with 24,000 women from around the world. If I had gone last year, I would have sat in my seat and waited patiently for sessions to begin. I probably wouldn't have wandered around offering to take group pictures of women with their cell phones. I definitely wouldn't have had the nerve to take selfies with their phones in the process! (I hope finding those pictures of me made them laugh!)

In previous years I would have enjoyed praise and worship with Chris Tomlin, Michael W. Smith, and Cece Winans from my seat. This year I joined the pre-session dance party on Friday and then decided to join the women who were praising from right in front of the stage. It was a completely different worship experience. And guess what else... nobody thought I didn't belong up there with them.

A few months ago I was afraid to go to a bar alone, even to meet friends for karaoke or see a band. I couldn't bring myself walk up to order at a crowded bar, knowing people would know I didn't belong there. The anxiety I felt over these things was ridiculous.

I've gone to different places to see live bands several times now, and nobody has ever even given me a sideways look... much less questioned my right to be there. I've quickly come to realize that the thing that was most holding me back... was me.

All of those times I was afraid to step out because of what someone might think, I was telling myself that I wasn't good enough. I wasn't smart enough, cool enough, funny enough, pretty enough, didn't have enough rhythm... didn't have whatever it was that I thought others had. I wasn't enough.

Here's what I've had to ask myself: Who am I to think I'm not enough, when Someone already told me I am? God knows what I can do... so why should anyone else's opinion matter?

How about you? What situations do you find yourself in that you slowly back away from because you know you aren't enough to be there? Where do you not bother to give your input? How often do you see someone doing something and think, "That looks fun. I wish I could do that!"

Who are you to think you are not enough, when God already told you that you are?  

In Jeremiah 1:5, God told Jeremiah, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations."

God's words to Jeremiah tell us that God knew we were enough before we were even born. The things we perceive about ourselves have nothing to do with our ability to carry out the plans God has for us. Keep reading Jeremiah and apply what God tells him to your life. You'll see that even when you don't have confidence in you, God does.

God created you to do those good things you are afraid to do, but He won't make you do them. It's the enemy that feeds you the lies that make you shrink back and give up those things you were destined to do. Talk to that stranger. Write that book. Sing that song. Start that company. Volunteer for that position. Hug that person who looks sad. Speak up for that person who needs someone to have their back. Take some time to take care of yourself.

You'll still end up in Heaven if you don't ever learn this... but you'll enjoy your time on Earth a heck of a lot more if you do.

You are more than enough. 
You are awesome. 
You were created for this!