Shattered Perceptions

I’ve been a Christian since I was 19. I wasn’t always the greatest Christian, but I’m getting better by the grace of God and His grace alone. I mean, yes, the Holy Spirit is an aide in this process, but when I pray, I pray to God to help with being obedient. And then sometimes I still do what I want. But like I said, I’m getting better one moment at a time…jez-timms-207948-unsplash

There have been three times in my life that my perception on Christianity has been shattered. The first time I was around 20 or 21 when I left the traditionally black church I grew up in and started going to a nondenominational church. It was more than a culture shock, it was a faith shock! The church I grew up in had all kinds of rules and traditions that later on in life I realized either had nothing to do with how Jesus did things or stemmed from slavery. I mean the sermons were doctrinally sound, but everything else made church a drag and I didn’t like going. Not only that, I watched how people who made a big deal about being in church on Sundays lived their lives during the week. Now, I’m not perfect, but one thing that has always irritated me is a person telling me what I should be doing while they are doing the exact opposite. I grew up in a church that always talked about what you shouldn’t be doing if you’re a Christian. Crazy enough, when I started going to this nondenominational church, everything I was told I shouldn’t do, I saw these Christians doing. Pastors had tattoos and were preaching with an ESV Bible and had their sermon notes on iPads and MacBooks. Pastors aren’t supposed to be able to afford those things. I made friends with people who drank beer and ate pizza before getting into deep discussions about Jesus. The foyer has a kiosk where you could get coffee, water, soda, snacks, and the sanctuary had stadium seating with cup holders. People who didn’t even know me would greet me and genuinely ask if I needed prayer for anything. Granted, this was new to me and a bit off putting, but I quickly got used to it. For the first time in my life, I was able to use the word authentic in the same sentence as Christian faith. I saw an authentic faith lived out by people who weren’t afraid to share their story and were even less afraid to share the love of Christ. This church introduced me to grace and helped me get over legalism. This church made me excited about Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. I felt like I was in a community where I could be myself and thrive. And I did!

shelby-miller-640804-unsplashMy second shattered perception came when I started dating my husband. Let’s just say I was a little mad at God on this one in the beginning because what I told Him I wanted in my husband and who he brought me were polar opposites. I wanted a God-fearing man who would lead the family in Bible studies and prayers and would attend church every Sunday. What I got instead was a man who said, “I’m an Atheist.” Big red flags, must push him away. Now, seeing as how he’s my husband, I failed at getting rid of him. Once people realized I was a Christian dating a non-Christian people started putting their biblical two cents in. They said God wouldn’t have something like this for me or they just couldn’t understand or live their life like that. Well, to start, people are really good at putting God in a box, myself included. We’re also good at assuming everything we go through is solely about us. But a few things have happened since my relationship with my husband began. I got a personal taste of how Christians behave that put a bad taste in my husband’s mouth and left him with some deep seeded issues to work through. Issues he’s had for more than half his life. I got a reality check from him of how I came across as a Christian and his words broke my heart because where I thought I was doing a bang up job of representing Jesus to the world, I was failing miserably. Only, he was willing to call me out where other people kept encouraging me. And lastly, the man who once said, “I’m an Atheist,” is no longer in that realm of thinking. No, he’s still not a Christian, but he’s asking questions, he’s open to having conversations, and he’s not hesitant about hanging around other Christians. There is a night and day difference in his thought process about a lot of things. And that has nothing to do with me. After almost ruining the relationship a number of times, I just put everything in God’s hands, like I should have done from the very start. My husband has never made a big deal about me blessing our food before we eat and when I kneel beside our daughter’s bed to say bedtime prayers, he’s right there next to me. I don’t know what God has in store for my marriage, but I like where it’s going because we have both grown. I’m way more aware of how I come across as a Christian. And my husband is realizing not all Christians are terrible. And an even bigger lesson is the opinion of man will never and can never trump the will of God.

My third shattered perception has come from a Christian I’ve never met, but I’ve read his books. His name is Bob Goff. He’s all about whimsy and love. And I like that. He just talks about how we’re to love like Jesus loved. He strips it down to the bare minimum of what Christians are supposed to do and that’s love like Jesus. And I like that he doesn’t sugar coat it either. Let’s face it: people are difficult, mean, rude, crazy, and some make you just want to punch them in the face. But Jesus wouldn’t do that. Jesus would embrace them. Jesus would share a meal with them. Jesus would be with them. I don’t do things like that. If you annoy me, I’m keeping you at a distance. If you’re different from me, I’m keeping you at a distance. Basically, the more I read Bob Goff’s books, the more I get the message, “Hey Krystal, you’re doing this Jesus thing all wrong. You’re called to love the person where they are and for who they are. Let God take care of the rest.” I want to be a more whimsical Christian. Well, just a more whimsical person in general. I want to be more loving like Jesus. I want to be less structured with my faith and let things flow naturally. If I don’t go to church, then I missed that Sunday. It doesn’t make me any more or less of a Christian and Jesus doesn’t love me any more or less. Actually, He can’t love me less. He literally died for my sins, so if that isn’t the ultimate declaration of love, I don’t know what is. What I do know is, once again, a pivotal change is taking place in my life and I look forward to where it’s going to take me because it’s going to force to be more dependent on Jesus and way less dependent on myself.gift-habeshaw-453482-unsplash

My faith will never look like the next person’s faith. Because I am not the next person. I am unique in who God created me to be. I’m caring less about how people think I should live my life and becoming more concerned with what God has for me. I’m less concerned about making sure my two-year-old looks like a million dollars before heading anywhere and more concerned with her knowing just how loved she is and how much more loved she will be as each day passes. I’m becoming less concerned with my apartment being in shambles and more concerned with figuring out ways to invite people over and just let them be part of my family’s lives and my family be a part of theirs. None of this will be done overnight. I have to get through this second pregnancy before I can really tackle the things I want. But in the meantime, I can plan and prepare through lots of prayer. I’ve got this. I’ve got all of this because my life is in the hands of God and He’s never failed me or steered me wrong yet.

 

New Leafs in Marriage

Marriage is definitely a daily challenge. Not a hard challenge, but a daily one. The challenge for me is to love my husband more than I did the day before. The challenge for me is to know more about him than than I did the day before.

Marriage is also hard work. It’s a good hard work, but I’m learning it’s hard work. You don’t just say “I Do!” and then start deciding what you will do and won’t do. That won’t make for a productive marriage. At least, that’s what I’m learning.

I love my husband, otherwise, he wouldn’t be my husband. And while I say there’s nothing (legal) I wouldn’t do for my husband, I quickly do a mental run through of things I probably wouldn’t do. I Heading into my third year of marriage, I want to start changing that mindset. My husband is always going above and beyond for me and our daughter because that’s how he’s wired. I don’t mind going above and beyond, the mood just has to fit me. It’s time to start rewiring that part of my mind.

I don’t view marriage as a contract. I view it as a covenant. I have to remember that and I have to act accordingly. Most of the time I don’t do something, it’s not because I can’t, it’s because I don’t want to. That’s not fair to my husband. And I’m not saying he doesn’t have those kinds of days, but he has them far less often than I do.

 

Mother of Imperfection

Oh, if there is one thing motherhood has taught me very quickly is that failure is inevitable! And in learning that failure is inevitable, it’s freed me up to learn as I go and it’s teaching my daughter, that yes, sometimes her mother sucks, but her mother loves her very much! I honestly don’t know why the thought of  “getting it right” ever went through my head. Now, I’m obviously not going to fail in the department of my child’s well-being, but sometimes I’ll forget to let her food cool off a little longer before giving it to her. Apparently, when she was a crawler, I dropped her once not realizing it while I putting her down, but that’s according to my husband, and she showed no indication of having been dropped, so the jury is still out on that one.

Failing has also taught me to roll with the punches. Learn from the mistakes and don’t make them again. How I respond to those mistakes is what makes me stronger and draws me closer to my daughter. Once I accidentally made her bath water too hot and I beat myself up over it for hours. I was distraught enough that my husband had to run the bath again because I didn’t trust myself. I’m passed that fear now, but my daughter never got mad at me. She wasn’t looking at me like, “You savage, you tried to burn me with the water.” No, she splished and splashed in the bathtub, fought us while we dried her off and got her dressed, cuddled with us during storytime, and kissed us good night before bed. Where I saw myself as a failure, my daughter just still saw the mommy she loved very much. So, I don’t beat myself up over the mishaps. I make sure they don’t happen again, I remember my child loves me, and remember that I’m not a terrible person.

I have no intentions of screwing my children up to the point they cannot be functioning adults. I have to remember that’s not what’s happen when I fall short of my expectations. My daughter knows she’s loved and taken care of and she’s one of the happiest babies I’ve encountered in my life, so I thank God for that! And when my son gets here in December, he’ll learn along the way just how much he’s loved and taken care even though his mother is going to make a whole new set of mistakes with him.

I’m not a perfect person. Only perfect person I know of is Jesus Christ. I will not get everything in this life right, I’m not supposed to. And I’m thankful I’ve learned this two years into being a mother because it frees me up to remember I’m still loved even when I make mistakes!

 

Broken Image

She never felt beautiful

She never liked her reflection

She never felt she had anything to offer

She simply never felt good enough

A broken image of beauty

Drowning in the opinions of others

Shattered by doubt

Struggling to see the beauty that she already is

He never felt handsome

He never liked his reflection

He never felt he had anything to offer

He simply never felt good enough

A broken image of beauty

Drowning in the opinions of others

Shattered by doubt

Struggling to see the beauty that he already is

Fearfully and wonderfully made

Is how we’ve all been created

God made no mistakes when He created us

But the world’s voice has been made louder than God’s

And the heartbreaking results is a broken image of beauty

©2014 All Rights Reserved

Spent the Entire Day (A Poem)

I spent the entire day
With this one sheet of paper
In my hand
I sat around all day
Writin’ and scratching out words
Because I wanted everything to fit
Like the pieces of a puzzle
I spent the entire day
Trying to express how I feel
For you and how my feelings
Will never change
I sat around all day
Thinking of what it is
That I haven’t said to you
That needs to be said
That you need to hear
I spent the entire day
With you on my mind
One sheet of paper in my hand
One heart with much to share
With one love
That I want to last forever
I spent all day on that

©2007 All Rights Reserved.

Oh, Valentine’s Day

So, I don’t like Valentine’s Day. I find it to be a commercialized day of romance where the prices on everything is raised 600%. My husband knew how I felt about Valentine’s Day when we disliked each other and where single. To his surprise, my opinion of the day didn’t change when our relationship status did. He knows I won’t pressure him to do anything for me on February 14 and he won’t pressure me.

But then there’s February 15! That’s the real Valentine’s Day! There’s no ignoring chocolates and teddy bears at a discounted price. Logically speaking, it doesn’t make sense to get something you want at full price when it’ll be on sale at a definitive time. And if it’s not still available once the sale start, then it wasn’t meant to be!

I’m not a flowers and cards kind of lady. I’m not a diamond ring kind of girl (I accidentally threw away a silicone ring at work once). But chocolate, oh hell yeah! And it’s on sale, so more can be bought! My husband understands that February 15 is the day to get stuff.

Now, let me finish here: if you celebrate and love Valentine’s Day, good for you! Enjoy your day and do your thing! Just because I personally don’t care for the day doesn’t mean I’m going to side eye people who do! To each their own! Enjoy the day!

I’ll Move On

This following poem was written in my junior year of high school. I am horribly embarrassed by it, but whatevs…it is what it is!

 

When it’s over and done 

When there’s nothing no more 

I’ll gladly move on 

Escort myself to the door 

 

It’s gon’ be over and done 

Sooner than you think 

I’ll move on 

Quicker than you can blink 

 

I’m tired of these games 

You’ll never ever learn 

You keep playin’ with fire 

And now we’re about to burn 

 

I’ll move on 

I won’t think nothing of it 

I’m finally free 

And yeah I love it 

 

I got a life to live 

No more time to you will I give 

I’ll move on 

I need a man, you still a kid 

 

©2005 All Rights Reserved