April 29, 2008

Picking Up the Pieces -- Part Two

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for your comments, emails and phone calls. As my friend put it, I was definitely in a “toxic loop.” Even though I know that my faith is strong, it still surprises me how quickly I can lose my way on the path of love and grace and follow the lies of the enemy. I am so thankful that God has put some amazing people in my life who help guide me back.

Yes, I did get back to sleep the other night (morning). But, when I woke up I immediately thought, “Oh, no! What have I done? I think I ‘put it out there’ a little too much this time!” Since I figured no one would have read my blog by 9:00 a.m. on a Saturday, I planned to delete the post and just pretend it never happened.

Unfortunately, I discovered it was too late. It turns out that there are alot of women awake early in the morning—women who had read my blog. Women who understood what I wrote and shared their own struggles. When I read your comments (you know who you are) tears streamed down my face. “Thank you, Lord!” I cried.

I think we need a virtual Bible study for those of us who find ourselves awake in the wee hours of the morning? I tell you, of all the times that we need encouragement it’s then. But since we seem to be awake at various times, scheduling might be a problem. (I believe there’s a germ of an idea here so don’t be surprised if it resurfaces in the future! )

Some people have asked why I would expose myself the way I did. Here's what I think: Since I believe that God has placed it on my heart to write in a public way, to share my experiences with and insights of Him, I need to be honest. To sugarcoat the tough times and end every story with a smiley face is hypocritical and misleading. Yes, God has done an amazing work in my life but I am a work in progress. I continually struggle with my selfish desires and independence. Forget a thorn. Sometimes it feels like I have a cactus in my side! If you’re looking for an even-keeled ride, you’re not going to get one here!

My hope is that by being open about the messiness in my life, maybe it will give you courage to confront the messiness in your own—and give it to the Lord. Because God can’t work with, “Me? I’m fine. It’s all good here.” Jesus didn’t die on the cross because we’re fine. He died because we desperately need a savior. But we’ve got to open the door, offer up our brokenness and let Him fix us.

In the past 48 hours I have seen God in some amazing ways. (Why do I need to bottom out before I “see?”) I’ve seen him in my unbelievable husband and children, in my friends and family, in Sunday's worship service and even in an amazing email I received from a stranger who stumbled upon my blog.

But one incident really stands out.

As I was eating lunch on Sunday, I glanced hopefully out the kitchen window at our bird feeders. I just bought new feeders two weeks ago and haven’t seen any birds on them yet. Not one stinking bird!

Then, my eye caught sight of a cardinal in the small tree next to the feeder. I watched him with anticipation. He flew to the feeder! Hooray! Our first visitor. Then, out of nowhere, a couple of SCBs (small chirpy birds) landed on the other feeders. Unbelievable!

Even though I'd like a menagerie of colorful winged visitors, I knew that if only these few birds appeared I would gladly fill the feeders for them. It would be enough.

And then I realized that God was using this scene to tell me something. As a writer I have been so anxious to reach a wide audience, to get published, to move to the next step. But, He impressed upon me, “Be patient with your writing. If you only feed a few, that is enough. Just feed them well.”

"Lord, with your help, I will do my best."

6 comments:

Katherine said...

Praise God!

God always provide encouragement for those who follow Him and use the talents that He's given them.

Blessings!
Katherine

mamma mia said...

"Because a lot of the time life really doesn’t make sense to me. It’s confusing. It’s discouraging. And it’s hard." I felt like I was hearing myself talk when I read this! (from part one). I have started this habit of writing down bible passages that really hit home with me on index cards so I went to my stash. And one I found with well worn edges from having looked at a lot was one from Matthew 11:28-30. "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
These words are a gracious invitation to anyone who is weary and overburdened - and that includes each of us at one time or another. I find comfort(and I hope you do too!) in the following explaination which I quote from one of my resources. "Many people today have no frame of reference for understanding the word "yoke" but the people listening to Jesus knew exactly what he was referring to. A yoke fit around the neck of an ox, and reins and a plow were attached to it. When the ox strained against the yoke he at the same time pulled the plow. The yoke represented backbreaking work for both ox and farmer. Jesus told us that his yoke is easy, but that seems contradictory - until we consider how young oxen were trained to plow. An inexperienced ox was yoked with a well-trained animal. Everywhere the more experienced and stronger ox went, the younger plodded along as well. it learned to plow, but without exerting much effort . The trained ox did all the real pulling. When we give our lives to Jesus, we are "yoked" together with him. He does the pulling and we follow and learn, thereby finding real joy and purpose and rest. It is only when we choose to tug in an opposite direction from him that the yoke becomes an irritant, and we chafe at the instruction that the Lord intends to use as a means to draw us closer to himself. "

Regarding your thoughts on questioning your abilities in both tennis and writing, all I can says is if these are your passions don't let anyone or anything cause you to question yourself. Those causing you to question yourself are only human and who of us can begin to understand their motives. Another well worn index card I have contains this quote from Colossians 3:23 " Whatever you do work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." I am reminded of the man in Chariots of Fire who ran with his head held high running for the Lord not for men. What a powerful demonstration he was of this passage.

Please keep writing..... and playing tennis!

Debbie said...

Kelli,

It’s a blessing to be on the other side and make some sense of the more difficult times we go through. Praise God He is using you in your strengths and your weaknesses.

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need”. Hebrews 4:16

Love, Deb

Jamie said...

Hi Kelli,

I'm sorry that it's taken me so long to tell you something. I'm not that great at writing but I want you to know that I find you to be such an inspiration, and in so many ways. You're such a great leader, as you lead our women's Bible study. And, above all, I really appreciate your honesty and love for Jesus. I just know he's smiling down on you right now. If all of us ladies can love you and accept you for who you are, then how much more will the Father and Son love and accept you! Please please don't ever give up writing and pursuing your dreams. I hope that this message helps. My mom and I just think you're wonderful and that you're a great leader. But, even leaders can become fatigued. So, that's when the troops come in and give you a hand. I hope you get some good rest tonight. By the way, I'm often up around 3 a.m. too! Now, isn't that funny??? Hmmm, maybe we should have an early a.m. Bible study. You can count me in:)

Love,
Lori

Kelly said...

I loved the part about the cardinal showing up first...I live in the Pacific NW and have never seen a cardinal in person but would love to..I think they are such beautiful birds. So that is a blessing for you to see one at your new feeder!
Thank you for your last few posts, I just read them via another blog link and I can so relate to how you feel..thank you for writing from your heart!
Blessings,
from another Kelly!

Patti Shene said...

Kelly, I work the late night shift two nights a week, so I know all about the 3:00 AM thing! LOL! If you decide to have that Bbile study, count me in! 3:00 AM is when I take my lunch break.

Great posts. I'd love to meet you. Your writing is so inspiring!