The Prayer I Will NEVER Pray Again

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I attempted to stand to my feet but fell to the floor as my knees buckled under the pressure. I grabbed frantically at anything in an attempt to steady myself, until everything suddenly came still.

I surrendered. Placing my head to the floor and holding my knees tight to my chest, I was convinced this was going to kill me

Hands clasped and gripping my heart, I sobbed knowing what no one else knew:

I had asked for this!

Weeks before my heart broke - before my marriage and sanity buckled under the pressure like that of my knees – my husband and I were asked to share our story, to divulge our most private heartache with hundreds and hundreds of complete strangers.

Though I cringed at the thought of how my voice quivers when I’m nervous, my husband knew I’d do it. No questions asked. Sharing our hurts and mistakes were always worth it to us if it meant others could avoid what we had endured early on in our marriage.

But almost as soon as we had raised a hand to volunteer and share with the “class,” the nightmares began.

Each night, I found myself tormented by the same horror…

The outline of my figure, standing high atop a hill, smiling uncomfortably and holding in my hands what I prepared to share on behalf of broken marriages, men chained to secret addictions and the women who stood tirelessly beside them.

Yet as I began to speak, I strained to make out the faces of the people I was speaking to. I searched the crowd for eyes to connect to, but there were none. Only countless faces marred beyond recognition with dirt and blood. I watched in terror as they inched their way along a vast field laden with barbed-wire, I watched as the daggers tore into their flesh, causing them to writhe and scream out in desperation.

I looked on as my most heartfelt words of encouragement echoed to the heavens… unheard by those struggling… seemingly unfit for their agony….

Startled, I would awaken to the most cold-hearted truth: I had forgotten

Though I bear my own scars from my time in the trenches, I had forgotten the misery and desperation that had engraved them into my existence. I had forgotten how it felt to be surrounded by darkness and affliction – and even more, how God had rescued me from it!

So I prayed a prayer I will NEVER pray again,

Remind me.

….and God would, in what seemed to be the cruelest of ways…

By forcing me to hunker down in the trenches. All. Over. Again. – thanks to heartbreaking confessions made on one bitterly cold night, admissions that callously ripped open the wounds of the past, leaving what was left of my heart mangled and gaping… and to my demise, I had asked for it! 

Just hours before I had struggled to find words on behalf of brokenhearted women and shattered marriages, and now I was one… When I begged God to remind me, I could have never imagined He would reply by placing me front-and-center to my own hopelessness set in barbed wire and complete desperation, all while equipping me to find words for those hurting if I so chose to write through the mess.

You see, this hopelessness I have found myself in, is quite literally an answer to prayer – and because it has cost me EVERYTHING – I will do whatever it takes to make sure I NEVER forget again!

If it means I have to publicly scream, question, and beg the Lord to deliver me with every last ounce of fight I have left, I can assure you I will never hesitate to make a scene….

If it means airing my heartache, my faithlessness, and my darkest nights, so that you can see the same loving and all-powerful God is available to you in your’s, than I welcome your curiosity, and even your judgement -

Because I made God a promise to write through the mess,

…and I will be damned if I forget!

* Follow my ‘Journey Through The Barbed Wire’ 

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Home Is…

Lord, through all the

generations

you have been our home!

~Psalm 90:1

Next month, David and I will celebrate our 7th year wedding anniversary!

In our almost 7 years of marriage, we’ve lived in 5 different homes, and in 4 different states.  It’s been a true whirlwind.  We’ve hardly had a ‘normal’ life at all, probably one that most counselors would warn is a recipe for disaster with all the moving, traveling and constant change facing us.  Even so, I’ve come to internalize this truth:

The Lord is our HOME.

Our first apartment was a mile from the Redondo Beach pier, in Torrance, California.  We had 600 square feet and a one car garage.  It was much bigger than my studio apartment (400 square feet) and I was in heaven having a home for us.  We unpacked all those wedding gifts and squished a queen sized bed into that tiny bedroom, only to have to move a short 10 months later.

We moved to Vancouver, Washington into a huge 2 bedroom apartment with two full bathrooms!  I met one of my best friends there, learned how to be married away from family, and we bought our first house together….

In Tualatin, Oregon.  We moved across the river to the hippy side, to the smallest in a beautiful neighborhood. We brought home our baby girl to this house, had birthdays and housewarmings and baby showers and movie nights and goodness, just lots and lots of fun in that house.  It will forever hold a special place in my heart.

Three years after buying that special house, we moved again.  This time clear across the country, to Caldwell New Jersey.  It was a year of learning how to be a stay at home mom, making new friends, experiencing a completely different culture and having my husband home more than I’d ever had before.  It was a beautiful yet hard and refining adjustment.  Then our landlord sold the house we rented, so we moved yet again…

To Lincoln Park, New Jersey.  This town is probably most known for the flooding that took place during Hurricanes Irene and Sandy.  We decided to take that risk, because how many hurricanes can Jersey take, really?! :)  I’m still crossing my fingers it won’t flood.  So far, so good.  Except for my car…  But that wasn’t even in our city!

As I look back, the landscape has changed so much.  The size, the culture– EVERYTHING is different about each place we’ve lived in.  But one thing has remained constant, and He has never changed and has provided, protected and proved himself faithful throughout every. single. move.  He will again, I’m sure of it.

I know we won’t live in Lincoln Park for much longer (remember my interesting landlord? Well, he’s gotten even more interesting and I’m not sure we can take it!).  I do know that no matter where we go, the Lord is our Home and He is perfect.

Have a wonderful weekend friends!  I’m off to play and keep my baby girl on a day off from work, and hopefully clean a little and bake this rainy day away too.  

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Babies Don’t Keep

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The foliage in New Jersey is beautiful in the fall.  It was beautiful in Oregon, not too apparent in southern California, but absolutely gorgeous here in the northeast!  The trees are just beginning to turn colors in the park down the street from my house.  Every morning Maya and I walk around the path three or four times to get our exercise in and for the fresh air– and take in the beauty.  I found something I love about this place!  Fall!

A few weeks ago I also started working from home.  With another winter coming up, I knew I’d need something for myself to keep me sane.  We decided I’d give it 90 days to see if it was a good fit for our family, and the jury’s still out.  It’s been two years since I’ve worked full time!  Working 40 hours in addition to being a wifey and mama is a lot.  It’s made me remember this:

Cleaning and scrubbing can wait ’til tomorrow

For babies grow up we’ve learned to our sorrow,

So quiet down cobwebs and dust go to sleep

I’m rocking my baby, and babies don’t keep.

Author: Unknown

Cheers to rocking our “babies” often. :)

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Play Today

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I hope my children look back on today

And see a mother (or father) who had time to play.

There will be years for cleaning and cooking (and working!)

For children grow up while we are not looking

~source

As the hustle bustle of the holiday season approaches, may we not forget to play!  If you don’t have children, play with your spouse.  If you don’t have a spouse, play with friends!  Stop…  Breathe…  Enjoy…

Play today.

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Weeping With Jesus

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Perched high on a balcony, taking in my last New York City sunset, I admitted to God what I could no longer hide: that in spite of everything I was eternally grateful for, I really was just so, so sad…

That in simply a mere year and a half of living on the East Coast – the place where God had so clearly led my family and me – I had seemingly lost everything I held most dear.

With tears streaming down my face, I watched as the setting sun painted majestic hues above the East River sky, and I questioned aloud if such beauty could ever be restored in my life…my home…my heart…or my marriage…

But it was then that I realized: God wept with me.

There’s a story told in the Gospel of John in which Mary and Martha lost something precious to them also – their brother, Lazarus.

In their desperation they had sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was sick and they needed Him to come. Yet upon hearing the news, Jesus did something surprising…

Nothing!

It says, …Although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed where he was…”

Though admittedly He loved them, Jesus did NOT rush to their rescue when they felt they needed Him the most!

And in doing so, He single-handedly allowed what Mary and Martha held most dear to be lost!

When Jesus finally did arrive, Mary was overwhelmed with emotion and fell to His feet saying, Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died…” Oddly enough, her words echoed much of my prayer overlooking the city that night:

…Lord, if you had only been here…my marriage wouldn’t have crumbled…my health wouldn’t have deteriorated…my life wouldn’t have imploded…

…Lord, if you had been here, maybe then I wouldn’t have lost EVERYTHING…

But then it goes on to say, “When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled within him, and he was deeply troubled…

then Jesus wept.” 

Understand this: Jesus didn’t weep because he was overwhelmed at the magnitude of what Mary and Martha were faced with. In fact, He knew with certainty that the story wouldn’t end there and that the plot would change dramatically once He entered the scene. (Which He proved, when just moments later, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead!)

Nor did Jesus weep worrying that His timing was off and that He should have come sooner…He knew devastating circumstances would come, and He allowed it!

Instead, Jesus wept because He saw their pain, and because He loved what was lost just as much as they did…

And though it may not feel like it at times, God sees the extent of the pain we are faced with today.

‘Deep anger wells within him…’  when He sees the broken promises you have endured, and the scars you bear from your heart being trampled on mercilessly.

‘He is deeply troubled…’  when your most sought-after plans derail, and everything you love has seemingly taken a nose-dive into a dark abyss, obliterating your every hope and dream upon impact.

…And it is then, that He weeps with us.

Not out of fear of what we are up against or because He’s worried He doesn’t have an elaborate plan in place to rescue us. Jesus weeps because He sees YOU.

He sees you falling at His feet like Mary, defeated and wailing at the thought of all that is lost. He watches as you writhe and question where He was when your heart broke, and whether His plan for your life can be trusted moving forward…

And just like in the story of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, ‘Although he loves us…’  there will be times where God stays where He is – even when we feel we need Him the most!

Times when it would seem He has let our most frantic and desperate calls go straight to voicemail. And other times where He allows us to take a few wobbly steps on our own, watching as we grasp at anything in an attempt to steady ourselves, only to have us fall to our face before sweeping us up in His sovereignty.

BUT – and you can mark my words – while Jesus may not arrive IMMEDIATELY, He will come to your rescue EVENTUALLY! And when He does, what God allowed to be taken, HE WILL RESTORE!

So until we are standing in awe of God’s deliverance and basking in the intricate way He has pieced our lives back together, rest assured knowing we do not weep alone…

We are weeping with Jesus.

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Something New

I am the Lord, who opened a way through the waters, making a dry path through the sea.  I called forth the mighty army of Egypt with all its chariots and horses.  I drew them beneath the waves, and they drowned, their lives snuffed out like a smoldering candlewick.

But forget all that– it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.  For I am about to do something new.

See, I have already begun!  Do you not see it?

I have made a pathway through the wilderness.  I will create rivers in the dry wasteland…

Yes, I will make rivers in the dry wasteland so my chosen people can be refreshed.”

~Isaiah 43:16-20

Perhaps, as this new season enfolds while the air gets chillier and the leaves reveal their splendid colors, perhaps the Lord is doing something new with us.  Maybe He is doing something brand new, not things of the past (Isaiah 48:6).  May we have the courage and the discipline to open our eyes wide and our attune our ears to hear where He is calling each of us.  And how different to each of us our calling is!  To one, the littles running around feet; to another the demands of the office; and yet another the care of an aging parent or a sick child.  Where everything is the same, there He is– may we look up and see where He is doing something new…  In us.

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in Him.  Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how  high, and how deep his love is.  May you experience the love of Christ though it is too great to understand.” ~Ephesians 3:17-19

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I’ll See You Just Now

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My roommate in college used to tell me all the time “I’ll see you just now!”

I’d be heading out to class and she’d call at me as I was leaving the room, “see you just now!”

At first I didn’t get it.  As one of us was leaving, she’d be saying we’d see each other “just now”.  It didn’t make sense to me, since we’d obviously be seeing each other later, not now.

She explained to me that in South Africa, this saying simply means “I’ll see you in a little while.”  I grew to love this expression.  I felt like “just now” was sooner than later, and it made me feel good.

This morning, one of my best friends in all of the world drove out of my driveway on her way to South Carolina.  Maya and I watched on the porch as they packed up the last few items from their overnight bags and refilled cups with juice.  As I tried to keep the sobs from coming (which came in full force, as soon as they pulled away!), I thought to myself…

I’ll see you just now.

Today, “just now” doesn’t seem sooner than later.  It feels like a long time away, even though we’re planning to see each other around Thanksgiving sometime.  It’s never easy to say goodbye to people you love, people that have shared lifetimes of ups and downs and everything in between.  It’s not easy, but…  God willing, I’ll see you just now.

These two little girls squealed and screamed with glee as they painted each other with “chalk tattoos”, dumped out every toy we owned onto the bedroom floor, shared trains surprisingly well, and ran through sprinklers with pure joy on their faces.  As they were leaving, Maya held me tight and said “I’m sad, mama.”  I squeezed her back just as tight.

“It’s okay baby girl.  We’ll see them just now.”

***I’m a little sad today, I may have sobbed on the bed after they left and my little girl might have consoled me with her ring pop as snot was dripping down my nose.  But in all honesty, I am more excited for them and am eagerly anticipating what God will continue to do as they wholeheartedly run towards Him and what He has planned for them there.  If you remember, keep Krista and her sweet little family in your prayers as they travel, and pray that I would be able to survive the upcoming winter without her. ;-)***

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