On Turning 26: A Birthday Post

As I sit in my apartment I began to think about the last 25 years of my life the first thing that came to mind was a basketball game. This 1st quarter I came out ready to play, energetic and optimistic about what I would I do! I knew I had the skill set to win thanks to parents who supported me and always made sure I wanted for nothing and my determination was at an all time high. The quarter started off great, I had all these dreams, goals and visions of what my life would be like and I was heading towards them with full force, I was winning, I was on fire and ready to take on the world. At some point during this quarter, my momentum started to give out, my energy level just wasn’t what it was in those first few minutes of the quarter, in my mind I was losing. Why did I think I was losing? I’m glad you asked. In my mind I had this idea of what the 1st quarter would be like. I would have attended my dream college, in this quarter I’d have a vibrant career and be able to travel the world, in this quarter I’d be married with at least one child, in this quarter I’d be all I ever saw myself being. But that wasn’t the case, this quarter had me questioning Why? What? When? Where? I questioned God, I ranted to Him (oh did I rant!) I called myself debating with Him and even at times thinking I knew what was better for my life as if He didn’t already know everything that would occur before I was even in my mothers womb back in 1989. I wasn’t feeling the way my life was going, people close to me knew this on a surface level, but underneath all of that I felt like a failure. I felt like I was letting everyone around me down and not living up to my potential and worst of all I felt like I had let myself down. I essentially just wanted to say forget everything and not put any effort into anything anymore. So here I was nearing the end of the first quarter with all the zeal I started with nowhere to be found.

But then a commercial to mark the momentary break in the game before the next quarter.

During the break I strengthened my relationship with God, I thought about my life and what I wanted and what God wanted for it and made vision boards, I built great friendships and met some amazing people. The break was a time for me to refocus, reflect on what made me lose my momentum and prepare myself to move forward! The break allowed me to learn about me and what makes me happy. I got amped again, but you want to know the difference this time? I wasn’t trying to do it all by myself! I had a coach (Holy Spirit) guiding me, counseling, me comforting me and showing me what my future would look like. I didn’t try and continue ordering my own steps but allow Him to order them. Then after I surrendered all, I was refreshed, refueled and ready to head back to the court! 

So as I prepare to lace my shoes back up, drink a cup of Gatorade and begin the 2nd quarter I’m excited! I’m excited because I know that even though everything won’t always be perfect and I don’t always have the answers or may not know what’s next, I’m confident that all things are working for my good! I’m looking forward to what this 2nd quarter will bring and I’m walking into it with happiness in my heart and a smile on my face! 
Happy 26th Birthday to Me! 
   
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Boring Faith Story?

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Can I be transparent? Whenever I hear other people’s testimonies about coming to Christ I am just in awe of their stories I would think to myself after hearing a powerful testimony “That was powerful, God really moved in their life”. Then I would begin to think about my spiritual journey and well- I thought it was quite boring. I felt like I didn’t have this elaborate story of change and transformation. I began to question whether or not I was really saved because I hadn’t had this dramatic event happen in my life. I thought “Am I really a Christian if something extreme hasn’t happened that made me turn to God?” I didn’t grow up in church, I had a pretty good upbringing with a great family, so what was it? How had God shown up in my life? Then God showed me. I ran across an old journal from when I was around 14 or 15 years old and what I found really surprised me.

I opened that journal where I used to write poems and it was riddled with the ups and downs of “love”, searching for identity and very low self esteem. I don’t know if I just never acknowledged that I had low self esteem or blocked it out of my memory but I was baffled by the things I had written and how hard I was on my self. I’m in my head talking back to the words I see, thinking “No babygirl, you are fearfully and wonderfully made” “Your identity is found in Christ not your looks, a boy,or what other people say about you” I was getting frustrated with this girl and then it hit me. Although there wasn’t a big event that initially made me come to into relationship with Him, my taking a step towards God allowed Him to develop my identity in Him step by step.

God rescued me from a life of feeling less than, the girl who wrote those poems could have went down a very different path, a lot of things could have hit her life and she may have allowed herself to be mistreated because of her lack of self esteem and who knows where she would be now.But GOD! He kept me, He covered me. When I submitted to Him and learned what it means to be in relationship with Him is where I learned who I was in Christ, step by step and day after day God wrapped His arms around me even when I tried to fight Him, when I submitted to Him I no longer worried about getting validation from the world, a guy or anyone else, I turned away from what I thought made me who I was and embraced the One who made me who I was.

All the while I was looking for an outward event that marked my transformation, but it was what God did and continues to do internally that shows me the transformation I’ve made. He helped me to see myself the way that He saw me. I could not imagine my life without Him being the center of it! I’m so grateful that He loves me, (despite all the reasons I don’t deserve it) so much that He met me right where I was and gently breathed life and identity into me!

I wanted to share this to encourage you. There may be some of you who feel like your story isn’t worth being told. NOT TRUE! Encounters and relationship with God vary amongst all of us. I think that’s the beauty of it all, God loves us all, but He knows us so well that He knows how He communicates and teaches me is going to different than how He does with you, but at the end of the day He loves us, and your story is important. So don’t be afraid to share it!

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Release Control

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Scenario:

Hanging out with my friends discussing dating, marriage, etc.

Janae: You will be married next year!

Me: (rolls eyes) To who? Where he at? Where am I meeting this man?

Janae: Dude why you always gotta know the logistics! Why can’t you just receive what I’m saying!? Just forget it!

Lol

My name is Kiara and I like to be in control! There I said it! For as long as I can remember I’ve liked being in control and having control over every situation. It’s not in a way that’s over bearing or manipulating, I just always like to be prepared and know what’s coming next!

As I’m getting older and having a semi quarter life crisis, I can sometimes get myself into a frenzy! Thoughts go through my mind like ‘Why am I not in a career’ ‘I have all these degress for what?’ ‘What is my current job doing to help me grow?’ ‘I haven’t traveled like I want to’, ‘Am I just living or am I alive?’ I could go on and on forever, I always need to know the answer to what is happening next, where will I be in a year, 5 years, 10 years but then I had to take a step back and tell myself “YOU AIN’T GOT THE ANSWERS KIARA!” (Kanye Shrug). But you know who does have the answers? My Heavenly Father! And boy am I glad that He does!

I am in the process of really learning to let go and allow His will to be done in my life. I know that He has a perfect plan for me and everything will work out for my good! Luke 12:25 is so spot on when it says Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?

Honestly, what is my worrying going to do? It’s not going to help me in understanding my purpose. All that it will do is push me further into a frenzy and push me away from God because I’m trying to take the reins and worrying will begin to have control over me.

It is important to always change your perspective…

God may have you working where you are because there is someone one there who doesn’t know Him and will come to know Him through you!

He may have you in this single season, because your future spouse is still being built and made whole!

There is always a reason to the season that you’re in so we must stop trying to take over and live in the moment God has placed us in, pray and ask Him what He wants you to learn from it, who He wants you to touch. It can’t do anything but grow, stretch and prepare you for the great things he has in store for your future. So I urge you to put your trust in Him, chill out and know that His plans are the best plans.

What are you still trying to control in your life that you need to give to God?

Stay Ready & You Won’t Have To Get Ready

 

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I’ve had a variety of jobs in different industries. Although these jobs were all different one thing was always consistent. I would walk into work one morning and all the supervisors or managers would be in panic mode. I would hear over and over “Corporate is coming!” No matter how many times I’ve watched this scenario play out, I always laugh because all of a sudden everyone wants to appear as if excellence is in the DNA of the company and that they’ve been prepared. This got me to thinking why do we wait until the moment something happens to prepare ourselves?

When you’re standing at the altar about to be married, you don’t automatically become a wife or husband in that moment, you should have been preparing before then by reading books on marriage, studying other married couples, living a life that a future husband or wife would be proud of.

When its time for you to graduate, you can’t just all of a sudden put some effort into your courses in the last month of school and expect to show up  and think you’re going to walk across that stage if you haven’t done so before then.

I’m not sure where this idea came from but I’ve heard it many times. If you were standing in an elevator and someone offered you your dream job would you be ready for it? Have you properly prepared for the life you desire? Or are you waiting until the last-minute to throw something together?

Should we only strive for excellence when people are around? The work and preparation we put in while in private will promote us and help us excel in public. Let’s not wait until the opportunity presents itself to be prepared and walk in excellence. Let’s strive to do this even when no one is watching so we stay ready and never have to worry about getting ready.

I love you and Jesus loves you more!

 

 

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Thoughts from Whitney Faeth

Guest Post by Whitney Faeth

  1. People question what you say about yourself…but they believe what you do with yourself.
  2. Who you are RIGHT now is who you will always be unless you change something RIGHT now.
  3. The best moments in life are often had when we shut down our minds and see life through the eyes of a uninhibited toddler.
  4. The best moments in life are often had when we shut the door, turn up the stereo and dance like we’re the star of a classic 80’s dance flick.
  5. Insecurity is often the root of friction between women. If we had a “BRO-CODE” for women with #1 being “ALWAYS offer another woman a compliment when her Swagg is on 10..”. the world would be a better place.

Submit To Him

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Submission. When many people hear or read that word they often have a negative thought in their mind, but I find it beautiful in the right context. When we submit to God we are letting go of our old viewpoint and our own agendas to come under His. We have full confidence that He will lead us in the right direction (Proverbs 3:5-6). Whether you’re a new believer or you’ve been walking with Christ for years submitting to God’s will is such an important part of your journey. Now, I won’t say that its easy because if we’re honest we often want to be in control of everything, at least I know that I do. But when you know that the Father wants nothing but good things for your life you will begin to realize how much your life changes.

Submitting to God now is also important for other areas in our lives. I hope to one day be married and when I get married, I must be willing to submit to my husband. On the flip side of that a man must be willing to submit to God before marriage so that he can properly lead His family and so that his wife is okay with submitting to him because he has submitted his life to the Lord. If I struggle with submitting to God and allowing Him to lead my life now, how can I think I will be able to do that in a marriage with a human man who is flawed and imperfect? Now, I’m not saying to submit so you can get married, but this just shows how submission now, helps us in other areas of our lives in the future.

-What is God asking you to submit to Him?

– What is keeping you from fully submitting to Him?

Make the decision today to give up your will for His perfect will (Romans 12:2)

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Romans 8:7

I love you and Jesus loves you more!

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A Nugget From “NeeNee”

Guest Post by Whitney Faeth

So, my 2-year old god-daughter just taught me the secret to success in life! Wanna know what it is?….Sure you do!

Find what you love…and give it everything you’ve got!

I know…pretty profound isn’t it. Sitting on thousands of dollars of debt that has accumulated over the past 10 years built solely on the idea that pursuing a college education would certainly point me in the right direction for lifelong security…I had to take a moment and ask myself, “Was it all worth it?” After working straight out of college, I still felt a void thinking daily, “There has to be something to all this education-talk than sitting behind this desk spending hours upon hours away from my family only to repeat it the next day.” Granted the work I was doing was meaningful and offered me the opportunity to build something I believed in…it still seemed to leave me searching for something I hadn’t quite recognized but knew existed.

So I stopped and rerouted my life in hopes of being better positioned to be a support to my family and pursue this mysterious tug. Thinking I could find it in a textbook, I re-enrolled in college 4 years after graduating to pursue a graduate degree with the support of family and friends. Half my classes done and BOOM there it was again. Though I was studying something I truly believed in…lack of fulfillment reared its taunting little head again. Back to square one-there has to be more! It just so happened the hubby was on a similar journey of self-discovery and included me as not only his life partner but business partner and things began to shift. At first I thought, “What in the world am I doing leading a group exercise class?” Then I started to like it…then love it. Something about motivating and encouraging people to be their best selves poured life into my reservoir. But fitness? Never would have thought in all my days that this was the direction my life would take. I’ve always been gifted in administration and have had a passion for youth but never understood WHY such a gap between the two.

After additional evaluation I realized it wasn’t about the exercise, it was about the people and seeing them invested in themselves even when things were difficult and the odds were against them. It was seeing people united and supportive of each other because of a common goal to achieve better health and be around for their families. It was the look of despair transformed into a confident look of victory after just 60 minutes of people really challenging themselves to push themselves beyond themselves. AH-HA! This is it, this is the reason I’m here. I spent years trying to categorize myself and fit my life into a specific industry that I never realized all this time a broader reason for my existence. Believers call it the spiritual gift of exhortation given as a gift by God for the body to accomplish Kingdom works in the earth (Romans 12:8, 1 Timothy 4:13). Its defined as an address or communication emphatically urging someone to do something. It ties everything together so clearly! My love for youth, my gift of administration and rejuvenating fitness experiences all afforded me the opportunity to exhort people whether verbally, administratively or physically I am most fulfilled helping others find their fulfillment.

My 2-year old god-daughter can’t quite pronounce my name so she calls me NeeNee. Yesterday she ran up to me while I was engaged in conversation and began to call out my name, “NeeNee, NeeNee, NeeNee!” While doing this she simultaneously giggled and moved back-and-forth, side-to-side in excitement. It absolutely melted my heart and I thought… “Wow” its amazing how communication whether through words or body language can completely shift someone’s world. Her pure unadulterated love for me, undoubtedly because of the love I show toward her prompted a response that made it all make sense. If I can do that for others in whatever avenue God leads me…and if I can do it well out of the purest place in my heart, the way my little princess did that for me I would most certainly count my life a success knowing it in fact was all worth it.

 

Whitney Faeth and her husband Travis are the owners of Cre8ive Life Fitness. They specialize in personal training, group exercise and wellness. To learn more visit http://www.cre8ivelifefitness.com/

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Adjust Your Perspective

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I am a Snapchat queen! I love that app! I think being able to record 10 second videos or photos that can be like a mini movie is awesome! I don’t know why I needed to tell you that, well I guess it sets up the back story! Just flow with me here! Anyhow, I woke up this morning and when I opened my eyes my glasses were laying next to me and I thought it looked cool against the polka dots on my pillowcase, so I opened Snapchat and took a picture, and then it made me think about our view or lens when we deal with things in our lives and how it’s often different from God’s view.

Your job is laying people off and you will be without a job. How do you react? Do you go into panic mode, wondering how you will provide for yourself?

Your doctor has informed you that you have a disease that is threatening your life? How do you react?

Well when that job loses YOU, put your hope in the Lord and know that He is your source and He will sustain you!

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

When the doctor tells you, you’re sick don’t claim defeat in that moment. Be proactive about whatever sickness you’re dealing with, gain knowledge about it and go to battle! He is a healer and He has the power to heal your body.

But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

We have to learn to look at the events that happen in our lives from God’s perspective. When everything seems out-of-order, go to His word, go to Him in prayer, worship and praise Him! Don’t allow the things of this world to rule your life and have the final verdict on your life! Get a new perspective and ask Him to show you things through His lens.

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Are You Looking For Him?

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Last year I was preparing for a trip to Chicago. I was so excited because I hadn’t been since I was in middle school and I was going with my sister, cousin and friends! Two days before the trip all of my excitiment was gone and I was panicking! Why?  Well, I paid for basically everything on my debit card and I was required to present the card at check in and I realized I lost my card!

When I realized my card was missing I was at work and I immediately stopped everything to step out of my office and figure this all out! I was out to eat the night before so I called the restaurant to see if I had left it. Nothing. I started to get anxious, I searched my purse at least 5 times and called home to see if someone saw it. I couldn’t focus at work, I knew the trip would be ruined if I couldn’t find it and finally my sister called and said she found it in my room and I could breathe easy and get on with the rest of my day.

This incident got me thinking, do we search for God like this? We all know that God is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient, but how often do we intentionally seek and search for Him in our everyday lives?

We lose alone time with God, we lose our time studying the Word but how often does missing these intimate moments make you stop what you’re doing? It often gets brushed to the side as something we can come back to later. After the incident with the card it convicted me to take a step back and look at how I sometimes get so busy and focused on other things that my alone time with the Lord gets overlooked. I don’t know about you but when I don’t spend time with the Lord my day is not as good. Small things irritate me, things go wrong, and its really chaotic at times! We get so focused on everything we have to do and everything we need, that we forget God. Matthew 6:33 tells us, But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. When we make God a priority FIRST and not an afterthought every thing you need will be added to your life!

How are you seeking the Lord today?

I love you, and Jesus loves you more!

 

 

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While They Can Still Smell Them…(Roses)

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Everyday we wake up, we go through our routines. We go to school, go to work, drive around hang out with friends, and more likely than not we receive text messages from friends. Often we are so busy and caught up in our day that we forget to respond to the person, or decide that a response can wait.

On Saturday October 1,2011 I received a text from a good friend of three years that read:

“ I really like you, I want to get to know you more and possibly pursue a relationship.”

We talked to each other often and saw each other throughout the week while at work or just on campus. I read this message and was surprised by it because this entire time I had no clue that he had felt this way, I needed time to think about how I wanted to respond to that because I had never really thought about it and I didn’t want to ruin a good friendship if things didn’t work out. Sunday passed, Monday passed, and on Tuesday October 4, 2011, I received a text message from my cousin that my friend suddenly died playing basketball at the campus recreation center. I thought “ No way, he just wrote me the other day and I saw him driving around campus in the security van. I went onto his facebook and saw all the wall post ‘R.I.P’ was plastered on his wall over and over again. Immediately my heart sunk to the floor, so many things ran through my head “How did he die?” “He was so young” “I never got to respond to him”.

That night as I tossed and turned in my bed I wrote him back, I knew he would never see it but I wrote him back to tell him exactly how I felt and I never really knew how much I cared about him until he wasn’t around anymore. During the first week after he passed I was a complete emotional wreck. It was hard going to work because that was the last place I saw him in person, and every time a campus security car rides into the parking lot near my job, I longed for him to step out of it and walk across the lot and into my office with a smile on his face.

He had such a kind spirit, he left a great impression with all those he came in contact with. I remember a particular post written about him that will stick with me forever “He was taken away from us by the very thing we all loved him for- an enlarged heart.”  He had such a great impact on my life and even though only for a short while I am glad to have known him, call him a friend and to have shared the memories that we did. There will never be a day that goes by that I won’t think of him.

I shared this particular story to encourage you not to wait until someone is gone before you express how you feel about them or what you think about them. If someone is a great friend, tell them. If you love someone, tell them. If you think someone is a great role model, tell them. If you think your parents are amazing, tell them. There is nothing wrong with being honest about what you feel. Don’t take advantage of the fact that someone is here and you have time to tell them this or that. Tell them right now, while they can still smell the roses.

For Shane 1990-2011

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