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When the Lord Directs

You may be wondering how I got here. How did it get to this point? How is a girl who 9 months ago was turning down any and all dating requests now ENGAGED? Sometimes I sit and wonder the same thing to be honest. Let me explain…

I always wanted to be married growing up. Always. If I had it my way, I would have been married right out of high school and would have had a house full of kids by the time I was 30. But the Lord had other plans. And at times I really struggled with that. I’ve always struggled with contentment and I wanted to be content in Christ but I also wanted to be married!

Fast forward to 2018. My health was finally doing a little better. I was on meds for the seizures and starting to do better. It was in that year that I suddenly realized my desire for marriage had left. That is the simplest way to put it. I don’t know whether it was hormone stuff from the medication, emotional issues, or simply a blessing from the Lord for that season but I had absolutely no desire to be married. I felt a peace I had never felt before. I was able to whole-heartedly rejoice with my friends who were getting into relationships because I felt no envy or jealousy! For the first time in my life, I truly felt content with singleness, even as I thought way into the future if that was what the Lord had for me.

I kept those thoughts mostly to myself. The church has a pretty high standard for girls. Most people think you are crazy if you aren’t actively looking for a husband. There were a few trusted friends, mentors, and family members that I told. Wouldn’t you know that from 2018-2020 I got asked out by more men that I ever have before? Every single time I would pray about it and every single time my answer was the same. I gently but confidently explained where the Lord had put my heart at the time and every single man understood. I’m still friends with all of them and I’m incredibly thankful for that.

On August 28, 2018 (do you know how much digging I had to do to find that date???), a man I didn’t know very well asked if I would like to go out with him. We had many mutual friends and we were both bloggers which was our connection. I prayed about it and declined but said I was always willing to have another friend. And we remained friends.

For almost two years, we enjoyed a robust friendship. A lot of our interests overlapped and he was easy to talk to. We both enjoyed talking about the Lord, what we were reading, praying for each other, movies we like, etc. While we had a lot in common, we had a lot of differences and liked to discuss both. Small stuff and big stuff. It was easy because I had made it clear that I was NOT interested and so that was out of the way.

In January of 2020, I started taking biblical counseling classes- a dream come true for me! One of the books on the reading list was Marriage Matters by Winston Smith. I thoroughly enjoyed that book. At the same time, it revealed heart issues that I wasn’t even aware of. I clearly remember one day reading the book and suddenly I started shaking all over and sobbing. I thought, “What in the world is wrong with me?? Why am I crying?!” I realized that the topic I was reading had been an issue of fear for me. I had such a strong fear about it that my body was reacting before my brain could even process the truth!

And suddenly it hit me. I’m afraid. I don’t want to get married because I’m afraid. This was new. I literally had no clue that was lying beneath the surface of my heart. (You ninny!) But with the realization came a strength. Not a quick fix to the fear but a knowledge that I’m a child of the One who calls out fear. The fear was still there but I knew it now and I could deal with it.

Suddenly, I wanted to be married. In the reading of one chapter of one book, my heart had changed.

I felt very different. No one could tell. I didn’t tell anyone for weeks because I was still praying, still processing. But I did do one thing. I started praying for God to bring a godly husband if that was his will.

A lot of people have asked me if I regret those two years where I said no to every date. I do not. Looking back, the Lord needed to work in my heart. He had weeds to pull and flowers to plant and I’m grateful for that. I’m also thankful for the contentment that I now know is possible in the Lord. Even after I felt like I could be married, I still felt content. It wasn’t like before where I had a subtle discontentment about singleness. I knew the Lord was enough either way.

As I was praying for a husband, one name continually popped into my head. You guessed it. Guy from 2018, Shawn. I kept pushing it out. Nope. We are good friends but I don’t want to marry him. No thanks, Lord. Too many differences between us.

One day in June of 2020 I got tired of the nagging name so I decided to make a mental list of qualities I would like to see in a husband. I know a lot of girls have these lists hanging around- I’m not one of them. So I sat in my prayer wardrobe making this list and like scales falling away I saw that Shawn hit all of them! What??? No! That’s not how this was supposed to work! Pretty sure the Lord heard my gasp that day.

I went to work feeling weird from this talk with Jesus. I decided I needed to do something about it. In case you don’t know, I’m a straightforward kind of person. You should know that before you read further. I messaged Shawn’s pastor. I had some questions about Shawn that were serious enough that I needed an outside opinion on. I knew and trusted his pastor and I knew his answer would be truthful and biblical. It was. And it was encouraging.

Next I messaged a mutual friend of ours and asked her opinion. She was also positive (okay, she’s been trying to set us up for years) and wanted to know WHY THE HECK I WAS ASKING.

And lastly, shaking all over and about to throw up, I sent a message to Shawn.

At this point, I don’t know what you are thinking. Am I a lunatic? Insane? Incredibly bold? Possibly all of those things but on June 19, 2020, I sent a text that was not like any text I had ever sent before. The conversation went like this:

Me: Hey can I ask you an insanely crazy question?

Shawn: YES

(I laughed despite myself because I knew he wasn’t expecting the question I was about to throw his way. He was used to my random questions, but not this one.)

Me: Okay, take it slowly. I had to think and pray about this a lot. Remember when we first met and you asked me out and I flatly declined? I had very specific reasons for that but what I didn’t know was that the Lord needed to work in my heart. There were a lot of weeds in there that I wasn’t even aware of and he has been good and faithful to remove them. It has hurt like crazy but I’m confident it has all been for my good. All that to say that if you are still interested, I would like to get to know you better. (Gosh that was hard and humbling and vulnerable and I didn’t like it at all!)

Yeah, I sent that last line too. I’ve always been completely open and honest with Shawn.

Shawn: Really??

I LAUGHED.

Shawn: That just made my day! Yes! Of course! I’ve been holding out and praying for you for two years.

What??? No. People don’t really do that, do they?? I was relieved and excited and at the same time I felt immediately calm. It was the weirdest thing. I actually had people question my excitement but I think they are confusing excitement with anxiety. And I didn’t feel anxious. I knew this person already. When we started dating, it felt like a seamless transition to me. People around me thought it was sudden and fast but it didn’t feel that way to us. We both felt sure and confident in pursuing Christ as we moved closer together. Suddenly I saw God’s hand everywhere in the past couple years.

I saw him as he had been working in Shawn’s heart and in my own to remove our sins and replace them with righteousness. I saw him preparing and preserving us for each other even though I was blind to it all. I saw that it had been the Lord that had driven our close friendship and I sat back in amazement.

How could I not have seen this sooner?? My best friend tried to tell me that my eyes lit up slightly while texting him and I told her, “Uh no. We are good friends. I just like talking to him. STOP making it something it’s not!” Do you think I’ve had to eat those words? Yeah.

And yet I’m truly just thankful. I’m thankful for those years of friendship. What a blessing! I would never, ever go back and have done it a different way. The Lord knew what he was doing and when he was doing it.

And so on October 20, 2020, my life changed for the better as I got to start calling someone my fianc√©. Shawn asked if I would be his wife and I believe my exact response was, “Yes! Finally.”

The Lord has done great things for me. Holy is his Name.

(Someday I’ll be back on here to explain our dating story because that’s also a story. But I think this post has been long enough. Also, does this excuse my lack of posting over the last few months?? I hope so. ūüôā )

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2020 in contentment, marriage

 

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Undone

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
    my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
    as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
    beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
    my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
    in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
    and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed,
    and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
    and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
    your right hand upholds me.
But those who seek to destroy my life
    shall go down into the depths of the earth;
they shall be given over to the power of the sword;
    they shall be a portion for jackals.
But the king shall rejoice in God;
    all who swear by him shall exult,
    for the mouths of liars will be stopped.
Psalm 63

You may be wondering why I have simply copied an entire Psalm here. Why this Psalm? What a weird way to start a post, Kimmy. The last two days have been rocky for me. But if you were to look at my life, you wouldn’t be able to tell because all of the rockiness has been happening on the inside. God has been hammering away at my heart and it’s not comfortable to say the least. Imagine with me for a moment a shelf full of idols. These idols have nametags like control, self-sufficiency, reputation, eloquence, pride, desires, knowledge, etc. God has been going along and one-by-one, tipping those idols off the shelf and breaking them into pieces. Some of them- I didn’t even know were in my heart!

Right now I feel lost and broken. My world has been turned upside down as the Lord has shown me my sin. I cried all through this morning’s sermon. The conviction was deep.

But more than that, I feel UNDONE. The lyrics to one of my favorite songs go like this:

I’m undone by the mercy of Jesus
I’m undone by the goodness of the Lord
I’m restored and made right
He got a hold of my life
I’ve got Jesus
How could I want more?
(Selah- I Got Saved)

With my idols and sin staring me down came an even stronger realization and image of our Savior. And accompanying the words of the Psalm- that his steadfast love is better than life, that I SO thirst for him, and that my soul clings to him– there was a resounding YES in my heart.

So I wept but I wept because of his great love! Because I realized that my sin was so deep but his love was deeper still. He knew it all and loved me enough to take down those idols.

UNDONE, people.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2020 in encouragment

 

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Because He Loves Me

Guys, I made a mistake. A few years ago, I was given a book. It was given as a thank-you gift to a group of volunteers that I’m blessed to be a part of. It was around Christmas time and I remember looking at it, and putting it on my bookshelf. And here’s where the mistake came in:

I DID NOT READ THAT BOOK. If you don’t know this about me, I don’t read many theology books written by women because sometimes I get tired of looking for good ones. (Some of you might identify with that and some of you might be outraged.) So when I saw that this book was written by a woman I pridefully placed it in the back of my mind and forgot about it. I should have known better. I should have known that the ladies that picked this book are some of the most biblically sound people I know. I should have read the book years ago. I didn’t though.

But God in his grace reminded me of that book a couple months back and I decided to give it a try. I have been blown away, people. There were some days I would be reading and it was all I could do to contain the love for Christ that I felt building inside me from reading this. This book is one of the most Christ-focused, convicting, and encouraging books I have ever read!

It’s Because He Loves Me by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick.

I can’t say enough good things about this book. I actually can’t think of anything negative to say, which is rare for me. I even included the Amazon link if you click that picture because, seriously, everyone should read it!

Over the next few posts, I want to share some of my favorite parts of the book but I think my absolute favorite thing about it was how entirely gospel-focused it is. Elyse starts out with the gospel and builds on that but always brings you back to the fact that Christ’s love displayed in the gospel should be the driving motivation for every single thing we do. I needed that reminder. Sometimes I get so caught up in trying to do what’s right that I ignore my motivations. A short quote from the book, “I believe that most Christians think fondly of Jesus, are sincerely grateful for salvation, and remember his name as a tagline when they pray, but they don’t see his work and life as something to contemplate every moment of every day. I have to admit that until fairly recently I, too, pursued godliness without much thought of him.”

And that’s just from the intro! This book left me with a greater awe of our Savior and love for him! I’m so excited to share that with you all.

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2019 in books

 

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Loving Christ’s Bride

Church can be a lonely place for some people. I would argue that church can be especially lonely for a single person. Even a simple thing like, “Where should I sit today?” is a stark reminder that you are by yourself in the huge sanctuary. (I just attach myself to a family ūüôā )

Sometimes though, I think we make it lonelier than it should be because we aren’t obeying God’s Word. Clear as mud? When I moved to Ohio and switched churches, it was kind of lonely. I’m by myself out here in a church where basically everyone else is related to someone else in the church. No kidding. And to be clear, I’m a faithful church-goer. Sundays and Wednesdays and small group. So what was missing? It hit me this week.

It seems to me that the trend in church talk is all about “connection” and being “plugged-in‚ÄĚ but there‚Äôs a lot of people that certainly don‚Äôt feel plugged-in. Churches want to make sure you are at service and in a small group. But not as much is said about serving. And I really think that is the key. THAT is how you get to know your church on a deep level. Maybe it’s not always fun but it’s worth it in so many ways!

Let me give you an example: I’m on the Outreach Committee at my church. It’s something I’m passionate about. If you’ve heard me talk about it recently though, you probably heard some complaining out of me. Why? We had a big event that we planned for last weekend. And we planned it in a very short amount of time so it took a lot of communication, most of which happens over text. I don’t have service at work so all of my texts come in as I drive home. Text after text after text. My record JUST FROM THE COMMITTEE is 49. It was a little bit overwhelming. Whine, Whine, Whine.

So the event came and it went really well, if I do say so myself! But looking back, do you want to know what the biggest blessing was? All that dang communication beforehand! I literally cannot believe I just said that! But seriously, THAT’S where I got to see the hearts of the people I was serving with, where I learned to love them more, and where our unity grew. And out of that grew a deeper love for the body of Christ and our Lord himself.

What a beautiful thing! What a blessing serving your church really is. So I would encourage you that if you are feeling a little lonely at church, yes, make sure you are going to service and small group. But also, SERVE.

You don’t want to miss out on it.

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2019 in church

 

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What Stirs Your Affections?

Earlier this year my Young Adult group went through Matt Chandler’s video study on Philippians, “To Live is Christ, to Die is Gain.” I have to say, I was SUPER excited to do it because I had already read the book and loved it and was ready to share that with my closest friends. Pluusss…I just love Matt Chandler…

There was a thought in the series that really struck me. Chandler is asking you to look at your life and think about what stirs your affections for Christ and causes you to passionately pursue Him. To be honest, I hadn’t really thought about it before. From the book:

“What is it that stirs you to know Him, to love Him, to worship Him? It will probably look different for a lot of people. It will have to involve the Scriptures, because that’s how God speaks to us. It will involve prayer, because that’s how we speak to God. It involves worship, but we have to remember that worship is bigger and more expansive than singing songs in church. What is it that incorporates the Word and prayer and ultimately builds your heart in worship?” pg.98

He goes through several things that build his love for Christ and let me just say, I’m pretty sure he and I are kindred spirits. Most of the stuff on his list is on mine too. But I wanted to share with you a couple things that stir up my affections for Christ. I want to be clear that these aren’t just things I like in the way that I love cozy blankets but they are things that actually cause me to love and worship Christ more than I already do.

The first would definitely be early mornings. There is just something about waking up early and watching the sun come up as you do your devotions. There is a quiet beauty during that time that makes my heart whisper thankful prayers to the Lord.

Secondly, listening to others who are passionate about their faith. Being in the presence (or, ummm, screen) of someone who SO obviously loves Christ and is excited to share about Him and what he has done encourages me to love Him and serve Him better!

Thirdly, SNOW. I’m already prepared for some negative feedback on this one. I don’t know what it is about snow but it makes me giddy. I literally start giggling like a little girl and laugh (out loud) with joy when it snows. That God would create something so unique, soft, and beautiful is just amazing to me and I love it! It adds a beauty and quietness to winter.

The last one is probably weird. Music. Worship music, yes! Singing praise songs by myself or, even better, with my brothers and sisters in Christ is a beautiful thing! But it doesn’t even have to be that. Have you ever listened to movie scores before? Like from awesome, epic movies? There is something so moving and incredible about them that causes me to worship God. I thought at first it was because I was relating it to what I knew was happening at that point in the movie but I’ve listened to scores from movies I’ve never seen and it can still happen. Classical music can have the same effect. The pure beauty of music itself screams out glory for the Creator!

The book also addresses things that can steal your affections for Christ but I want to talk about that in my next post (whenever that comes.)

What about you? What are some things that make you love and rejoice more in our Savior? What stirs your affections for Him?

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2018 in books

 

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Devotion Lessons at 1AM

This post is going to take some backstory explaining.  Please bear with me.

I live in an apartment at the farm. ¬†It is right above the office (very convenient) and it is behind a big room that is used for barn dances and is rented out to groups as a meeting room (not so convenient). ¬†Usually it’s not a problem…sometimes there are noisy groups in there but they usually leave before I am ready to sleep.

Two days ago, in my morning devotions I read this verse that hit me hard. (Yes, this connects…wait for it.)

“Remind them¬†to be submissive to rulers and authorities,¬†to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, ¬†to speak evil of no one,¬†to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and¬†to show perfect courtesy toward all people.”

Titus 3:1-2

Hmmm….really convicting verse, huh? ¬†I pondered it for a while. ¬†Submissive, okay….be obedient, got it…..ready for every good work….hmmm. ¬† I thought about that one for a while. ¬†But the part that hit me is the very last section: ¬†‘to show perfect courtesy toward all people.’ ¬†WHAT does that mean? ¬†What is¬†perfect courtesy anyway? ¬†I’ve heard a lot about ‘common’ courtesy but what does perfect courtesy look like?

I then proceeded to show that verse to the other office ladies and we thought about it together. ¬†We put it up around the office. ¬†But I was still undecided….what is perfect courtesy? ¬†So I did what I do every time I need to clarify the meaning of something. I looked courtesy up in Webster’s 1828 Dictionary.

COURTESY, n.

1. Elegance or politeness of manners; especially, politeness connected with kindness; civility; complaisance; as, the gentleman shows great courtesy to strangers; he treats his friends with great courtesy.

 

2. An act of civility or respect; an act of kindness or favor performed with politeness.

 

Wow.  I have to do THAT perfectly?  I would say that common courtesy does not have to have kindness associated with it.  I mean, you can be courteous without being kind sometimes.

Now, you may be wondering what all this has to do with my apartment being by the meeting room. ¬†I’ll tell you.

 

Yesterday, a church group came in that has that room rented.  They are all from Kenya and have never been here before. My first premonitions came when I used the restroom in the middle of the day and I could hear them very clearly from there.  My second concern came when I found out they have that room rented for three days.

After work yesterday, I went up to my room and I have to pass through that meeting room to get there. ¬†They were up there whooping and hollering, moaning and walking around in big circles in the room. ¬†And they all stared at me as I passed through….kind of awkward moment. ¬†I then proceeded to go back downstairs and ask one of my bosses if I could borrow his back stairway key for a couple days. After I explained, he quickly handed it over.

That group was in that room last night until 1AM. ¬†Singing, moaning, hollering. ¬†I lay in my bed thinking all sorts of awful thoughts about them. ¬†And then, (of course it had to happen) I remembered the verse that I’ve been thinking about for a couple days now. ¬†And it wasn’t the perfect courtesy part that hit me this time…it was the ‘toward all people’ part. I am called, I am¬†commanded by my Lord and Savior to show love and courtesy toward every one I meet. Including the hard people on the phone, the stiff workers at Walmart, and the incompetent phone service technicians. ¬†Including that church from Kenya.

Now, you may ask why I am writing this post at 7AM in the morning after such a rough night.  Well, I decided not to go to the YMCA this morning to work out because I wanted to get some more sleep. Your next question may be, AGAIN why are you writing this?

That church group is back in…7AM this morning and all I hear is music and singing that I don’t understand.

Lord, please help me today to show your love and perfect courtesy toward these people.

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2013 in witness

 

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5 Things Posts

Over the next few days, or so, I’m going to be doing a series of posts that I’m calling 5 Things. Each post will list 5 things that I love about one of my family members.¬† It’s so easy to focus on the negative things that we see in those we live with and to never realize the things we really love about them.¬†¬†I think it’s important to remember that we are all sinners and to only look at another’s sins is arrogance.¬† We all need Christ’s saving grace.

Hopefully, the first one will be up tomorrow.

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2013 in Five Things

 

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Valentine’s Day

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We don’t really do valentines.¬† I kind of think that it’s really a holiday for married folk ūüôā¬† Our homeschool group does an exchange and we always just write, “Thanks for being my friend” on our valentines. None of that silly, “Be mine” or “You’re my sweetheart” you find on some valentines.

With all that being said, Valentine’s Day is a BIG deal around here. Every year, we do a surprise Valentine’s Day Dinner for our parents. It’s not usually on Valentine’s Day because of the time we need for it, so it’s on the Saturday closest. This year it’s Feb. 16.

We plan this all year long and every year has a different, surprise theme. We’ve done Fancy Restaurant, ¬†Chinese, Hawaiian, American Retro Diner, French.¬† This is our sixth year doing this!

Some Highlights of the past:

Fancy: Our first year!¬† Banana splits for dessert! Now that I think of it- that’s really not fancy at all.

Chinese: We made paper lanterns out of construction paper and hung big Christmas lights on the ceiling and put the lanterns over them. Awesome.

Hawaiian:  We all wore floral and I found a free, online Hawaiian radio station to play music for it.  We also got a coconut for decoration but when we opened it- it smelled AWFUL!

Retro Diner: We painted a box to look like a juke box and created a CD of oldies love songs. They got to pick songs to play from a list.

French: We made ratatouille from the movie and it was delicious and beautiful!

This year: Still a secret! We’ve had the theme picked out since summer and it is our most involved one yet.¬† I can’t say any more because my intelligent mother might deduce what we’re doing.

That Saturday, Mom and Dad already know they usually have to leave mid-morning and we tell them what time they are allowed to come home. It’s usually about 5PM, although the Diner year we did do it for lunch. This year will be the usual- dinner.

We really try to include everyone in the preparation. Bethany knows it’s always been her job to greet them at the door and help take their coats. David has a¬†job to do¬†but he usually ends up sitting with Mom and Dad to get food off of them!¬† Rebecca has a big job this year and we all help with food.

It’s a lot of work but we all love it and can’t wait!

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2013 in holiday

 

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