I’m MOVING!

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Hey All, 

As my blog traffic grows so has my need for more options on my blog! This is a GOOD thing! 

The result is that myWHOLEstorycontinued is MOVING to: http://mywholestorycontinued.blogspot.com/

Please excuse my mess as I get everything set up and going but be sure to follow me from there and share with your friends! Lots of new things coming like being able to link YOUR blog, freebies, giveaways and MORE! 

Im SUPER excited because God is clearly using me in ways that I NEVER expected and glory to Him for it all! 

See you at Blogger!

Kim 

 

When It Hurts the Most

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“Without sharing details, I will simply say that I didn’t have a chance.”

During the last months of my mom’s life I was alone a lot. My mom was confined to the hospital and my dad worked out of town. On the weekends he would come home from his job but go to the hospital then return to his work on Sunday nights until the next Friday. I wish I knew where my family was but honestly, the only thing I can remember is that they weren’t around. Those who did visit only wanted to moan to me about how bad of a person my dad was. I knew he had problems, they knew he had problems but a thirteen year old kid was not the person they should have been complaining to so I preferred to be alone. My favorite aunt on my Dad’s side drove often to see us on the weekends but for the most part I got myself to and from school and took care of the house until my dad came back the following week. There were people in the apartment complex where we lived that I could have called upon in a true emergency but I was on the path to becoming self-sufficient.

I wish I could put into words how lonesome those days were. I envied my friends who had their parents, even just one who cared about them. I envied not having to watch a parent deteriorate. I envied being able to spend time with people, go places, experience anything but isolation. By this point I had accepted that my mom was going to die. It was just a matter of time and had accepted that was my life; Insecurity, isolation, dread.

I spent a lot of time walking back then. We lived in a not-so-nice area of town but I never went far and just walked in large circles around a nearby nursing home to think. No one ever questioned where I went, what I was doing or why I spent so much time away from home. It was the closest to being on my own as I could have been. It was also bitter sweet. Yes I was alone but at the same time no one was yelling at me. No one was putting me down. No one was telling me I was worthless. No one was abusing me. No one was griping about my dad or how bad he was or how he never treated my mom right. No one was talking to me about death and cancer. It was the only peace I had known.

Eventually, I began to get a little braver. I walked a little further and stayed out a little later. Finally, one night I had walked the further than I had ever been. Not far enough away to be lost but far enough that I was in an area I had before only seen from a school bus window. It began to get dark and before I realized, it was pitch black. I was making my way back home but had at least a mile left to go. I pulled my jean jacket a little tighter because it was getting cool as a light blue, early 80’s model 2-door Monte Carlo pulled up beside me with two men inside. The passenger rolled down his window to ask for directions to a place that I didn’t know. They pulled ahead of me a couple of yards, stopped and the passenger opened his door and got out in front of me. I started to take a step to the right and realized the driver was already out of the car and around the front. Without sharing details, I will simply say that I didn’t have a chance. I can’t remember if I screamed and I can barely remember the struggle but that night I was raped.

It took over twenty years for me to tell a sole and until this posting only a handful of people knew that it ever happened. It was never reported. My parents never knew and for over two decades I have had a death grip on the shame that night brought me. If only. If only I had stayed home. If only I hadn’t walked so far. If only I had paid more attention. If only I took notice that it was getting dark. If only I had been more observant. If only. At the time I didn’t see the point of telling my mom. She was dying, why burden her with something stupid I had done? And the single reason I never told my dad; the two men were black.

Growing up in Arkansas, even in the late 20th century, to have told my dad that I had been raped by two men of color would have meant that he would have disowned me without question. Im not proud of that, it’s simply the way he was and as much as I was starting to hate my dad by then, in some sick, twisted way I was still trying to win his acceptance and I wasn’t willing to risk losing any chance I had of him being able to love me by telling him of something that he would have said was my fault anyway.  So instead I closed off.

It’s been so long since that happened and to this day I am ashamed when I feel tension because I can’t be alone in a room with a man of color. It took years to be able to walk down the street and not cross to the other side when approached by a man of another race. I once became physically sick when a friend suggested that she would “hook me up with chocolate.” I had nightmares. Built up anxiety and emotions that it took a very long time to explain to myself. The worst part for me was that I didn’t want to be racist. I didn’t have hate for anyone and I didn’t WANT to be that way. I didn’t WANT others to think of me like that but it seemed that because of what happened my brain had flipped that switch and I didn’t know how to turn it off.

I saw different counselors and a couple of therapists. I shared this with a few very close friends but nothing ever got better. Talking about it DIDN’T help. Therapy didn’t come close and I wasn’t about to medicate. At last, I did the only thing left to do. I turned it over to God.  I was reminded that “in just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.—Psalm 37:11. I wasn’t seeking justice or revenge. I simply wanted the peace that God was offering. The best part was realizing that I didn’t have to wait for Jesus to come back in order to have it!  He was not only offering peace but His word said that I didn’t need to give “getting revenge” a second thought because He had that covered too. My focus was on becoming WHOLE; making my WHOLE story come to light so that I could heal once and for all.

I wish I could testify that my path is complete and my journey is over and that I have achieved reaching my ultimate goal of restoration but the truth is, I don’t want to reach an end. By reaching an end of our chain of growth it means that we have reached the highest level attainable and there is nothing further beyond that point. THAT’S not what I want. I want the long and winding journey with peaks and valleys to increase my growth in Christ. I want to be challenged. I want to be tested and strengthened with every day presenting new opportunities to be closer to Him. I want MY story…my WHOLE story to ALWAYS be continued and in doing so continually nurture my relationship with Jesus Christ.

If you’re wishing the trials would stop, the pain would end or the hammer on the anvil would let up…stop for a moment and remember that in everything; EVERYTHING there is a purpose and when the crashing blows of life hurt the hardest; it’s because He’s strengthening the most.

A Time to Love

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I have a friend whose mom is dying. Another friend is in the fight of her life against cancer. I look at trials in my own life as means to strengthen my faith. I see them as opportunities to improve on myself and my character and my walk with Christ. However, when it comes to watching someone else go through life altering events, I never quite know what to say. Part of me wants to run to them and preach God’s word. I want to quote scripture and ask if they have Jesus. The other part just wants to love them.
While it’s true that we ALL need Jesus, I think a mistake that many Christians make in attempts to witness is choosing to sermonize at the wrong times. When I was thirteen and my mom was dying of cancer, I didn’t need to hear what a loving God we have. I didn’t need to hear that everything happens for a reason and I sure didn’t need to be reminded that if she weren’t saved then she would be spending eternity in hell. That was NOT the time for it. I didn’t need to hear that people were praying for me either. It didn’t matter if they were praying for me or not. This loving God that they wanted me to accept had seemed to of forgotten me my entire life (at least I thought so at the time) and then He had the audacity to take my mom away from me. Without realizing it, well intending Christians were helping to push me away from God because with every word they shared it hardened my heart.
Now as an adult when facing others with similar situations, I lose my ability to formulate the right words to share. I am always eager to let them know of the peace that I have about life; I want them to know Jesus because I want them to have the comfort of a loving God to turn to. Unfortunately, I always find that I’ve waited too late to witness. I should have been talking to them about Christ before the adversity began.
When I was a kid, after I found out that my mom had cancer, I entered some dark times. Fear, doubt, uncertainty, worthlessness were parts of my daily life. I never shared the details as they were happening but thankfully God placed people in my life that never had to know the details. They loved me anyway. By the time I entered Jr High School my life was so far beyond dysfunctional that I had no concept of what a normal life was. I rejected anyone who tried to tell me about Jesus. I pushed them away with a vengeance because there was no way God loved ME.
I thought of running away; thinking that just getting out of the home I was in would fix things but more so, I thought of taking my own life. More than once I contemplated just ending it all. At one point I went so far as to write the note that I would leave behind. Not because I was ready to carry out the deed but because, like now, I needed an outlet of writing for all of the things on my heart. By the time I was in 8th grade my world was bleak. I was miserable at home with my dad. My mom was dead. I was barely getting by in school. I was overweight with no direction and felt completely lost and alone. I hated my life, I hated myself; what was there to live for?
Looking back, I had a handful of friends. None that I completely shared my life with but some who knew more than others about what I was going through. One in particular always told me that God loved me and when she knew I wasn’t listening would simply resolve to love me. I never understood how much she cared about me until one morning at school she handed me something that I had never had before. She handed me something that would one day change my life. She handed me something that no one else had ever cared enough to give me…she handed me a bible.
Inside was a message from her reminding me of Christ’s love for me as well as hers. She told me to use my bible and use it “wisely.” She wasn’t shoving God at me. She wasn’t force feeding His word to me. She wasn’t condemning me to hell for not knowing Him in my greatest time of need. She simply loved me and doing so led her to share Him with me. I think she knew that day that she handed it to me that I was not ready to listen. I wasn’t seeking Him and closed the door to most anyone who presented Him to me. I do, however, think that she knew she was planting a seed that day and while it took months for me to open that bible, but when I finally did it changed me.
A few days ago my husband told me that I needed a new bible. I protested that MY bible was just fine. It’s been written in, highlighted more than my freshman biology book and the spine is almost completely shredded, the lettering is all but completely gone and it has paint scars from one of my daughter’s first Sunday school projects but I continue to use it every day. Why? Because the day that my friend handed it to me at school it saved my life. Not because I was ready to know what was in it but simply because I needed to know SOMEONE, ANYONE cared and she did. Those days passed and are long gone but some 20 years later, I still hold on to that bible to remind me of what I have been delivered from.


If you are going through a trial now, if you are facing obstacles that have no end or perhaps an inevitable end that you know will be painful. I don’t want to preach that you need Jesus but I do want to tell you that He’s there waiting for you when you’re ready and He can and will help you through whatever you’re facing. No pain is too deep for Him, no problem too big and He loves you with an ever-lasting love. Jeremiah 31:3 And if you’re a Christian with someone in your life that is facing difficulty maybe this is just your time to love them and let God demonstrate His love through you.
Ephesians 4:2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,

Recipe for Faith

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There are few products that I am loyal to. However, I love to cook and when it comes to cooking I love Pampered Chef. Recently I decided to sign up with the company but not because I wanted a business. Honestly, it was for purely selfish motives. As much as I like to cook; I also like to be cheap and signing on as a consultant would allow me to get products that I wanted at a discount! So I ordered my starter kit and was on my way. It didn’t take long before I realized that others wanted to purchase from my web site and earn hostess bonuses by hosting shows. I hadn’t thought of this aspect of being a consultant! I wasn’t prepared for it and wasn’t sure how to revamp my plan with the company. The extra money would be nice but my utmost concern was how to use this opportunity to glorify God. It didn’t take long before I had my answer.

Within days my friend Faith posted on a social network that she would be re-entering treatments for the cancer that she has been battling for awhile. A little bit about Faith: she is, by far, one of the strongest women that I have ever known. Her strength, passion for life and love of Jesus is so incredibly inspiring that as soon as I read her news I knew I had to do something for her and her fight against cancer. The result was that, once I heard God telling me to trust Him that He would continue to take care of our family financially; I could give up any profits from my new little business to bless others. So that’s what I decided to do. To kick off my little project; for the entire month of May 2012 any profits I would normally earn from any party or order will go to the American Cancer Society in honor of my friend and sister in Christ, Faith.

I started brainstorming and decided that if “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” then a new recipe inspired by using Pampered Chef’s Smokey Applewood Rub had to be just spicy enough to scare away that mean ol’ cancer! This is the result!

Smokey Applewood Rub is designed for grilling but we just moved into a new house after living abroad for awhile and simple haven’t bought a grill yet. I decided to use the oven, a cookie sheet and two small cooling racks that I would normally use for cookies. I simply placed the cooking racks next to each other on the cookie sheet (so that the cookie sheet could catch any drippings). Then while preheating the oven to 350 I took five boneless, skinless chicken thighs and rinsed them well then laid them on the cooling racks like I would a grill. I sprinkled each with the Smokey Applewood Rub then placed the whole set up in the oven on a center rack for about 10 minutes. Then with my tongs I flipped them over, sprinkled the second side and placed them back in the oven to finish oven grilling.

Meanwhile, I sliced 4 small red delicious apples into thin slices and placed in a small sauté pan with a dollop (2-3 tbs) of butter, 1/8c sugar and several good shakes of the Smokey Applewood Rub. I turned the heat to a low simmer and allowed the butter to melt and stirred occasionally to combine all the flavors. Once my chicken was done in the oven I decided to add a little sear by heating up a cast iron flat pan on the stovetop. Once it was good and hot I placed all the thighs on it for a minute or two, then flipped them to sear the other side as well. I then placed them on my serving dish and added my sautéed apple topping. The result was a hit! The slightly spicy chicken was so good with the sweet flavor of the apples and the family loved it!

If this is a recipe you would like to try, stop by my Pampered Chef website and Get cookin with Kim!

http://pamperedchef.biz/getcookinwithkim

That’s where you will find the Pampered Chef Smokey Applewood Rub and remember everything I would make from your purchase during the month of May will go to the American Cancer Society in honor of Faith.

Proverbs 3:27 
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.

I’m a Liar! Trust Me!

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When I was in the first grade ALL the popular kids seemed to be on either a baseball or softball team. I never was though. My parents were never the ‘involved’ type. The only time I was signed up for an extracurricular activity in grade school was a brief stint with a scouting troop which lasted about three meetings (I still have one of the projects I made at one of the meetings; realizing now how much it meant to me then). So as kids at school bragged about their teams, their practices and their games I was left wishing that I could be a part of it all. So I decided I would be. I told people that I was on a made up team with a made up coach which practiced at a made up location and we could win whenever I wanted! I could even score a winning run! Every afternoon I would grab my brother’s bat, glove and ball and even tell my parents I was going to practice (funny that they never questioned exactly where I was going).  Basically I would hide out behind the apartment buildings where we lived and talk to myself for an hour or so every day until it got dark then I would go back home. When I got tired of doing this, I went home one day and thought I could get a little sympathy by announcing “I’ve been kicked off the team!” It didn’t work. No one was outraged at my mistreatment so my imaginary coach wouldn’t get an earful from my upset parent. Probably a good thing; not sure how I would have explained that one if I had been forced to. Regardless, the point is that I knew how to lie.

From very early I learned that lying can fix things. Lying could get me out of trouble, out of doing things I didn’t want to do, explaining why I didn’t do things I was supposed to do and could even make me appear more important than I was. Lying could explain away bruises, torn clothes, why I couldn’t attend a party or go over to a friend’s house. Later, lying explained missing alcohol from my parent’s liquor cabinet, it got me out of paying bills, owning up to responsibilities, being to school on time, being to school at all, quitting jobs, explaining the loss of a job.  Mostly lying could keep me from looking stupid.

Nearly every day of my life until I was about fourteen, I was told in one fashion or another that I was stupid. The result was to protect myself in any way possible; including lying. I wanted people to like me and was afraid that if they thought I was stupid, like others in my life did, they wouldn’t accept me. So if they thought I had more than I did, had traveled more, knew certain people, experienced certain things then they would simply like me.  If I played the victim they would feel sorry for me and it would excuse my ignorance. Eventually I just wanted to be the person that I had set out to be but the only way that I knew how to do that was to lie.

Lying is deceptive in more ways than one. Certainly there are the obvious repercussions; hurting others, losing trust but it also forces us to deceive ourselves into thinking that it will have positive long term effects. While all of my lies may never have been discovered, the guilt of having told them has been punishing in and of itself.

“The LORD hates every liar, but He is the friend of all who can be trusted.” Proverbs 12:22

The Lord HATES me?? I had already suspected this because of the life I had been given but there it was in black and white. I lied. The Lord hates liars. Conclusion: God hates me! It was almost unbearable. I didn’t know what to do. I was saved but confused on how to ‘fix’ what I had done.

“Honesty can keep you safe, but if you can’t be trusted, you trap yourself.” Proverbs 11:6

Trapped. That’s exactly what I felt. I was embarrassed by the truth of my life and embarrassed that I had lied to anyone; which meant almost everyone.

“If we admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all.” 1 John 1:9

That’s it? All I had to do was confess to Him and He would forgive me? I had done that. Every time I lied, the guilt would inevitably debilitate me and I would confess. So why did I still FEEL guilty? Why did I still FEEL like a loser? It’s hard to accept forgiveness. It’s hard to accept that whatever we’ve done that has pained us for so long, plagued our thoughts, burdened our heart could just be written off and…forgiven. It’s also difficult to accept unconditional love especially if you’ve never experienced it but that’s what the Bible tells us to do. Once we are forgiven, that’s it. The deed has been erased and we can let go of it. We don’t have to hold on to the hurt, the worry, weight of it. Jesus reaches out and says “Let go. I’ve got this.” We don’t have to keep going back asking for forgiveness over and over. We don’t have to bring it up again next week or fear that He’s keeping a tally. We are FORGIVEN. God doesn’t want us to be chained to our sins after we’ve turned them over to Christ. There may be consequences in our lives because of our lies but according to what God tells us (and I don’t dare call God a liar) “the Lord, our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against Him.” Daniel 9:9

I have to stop and say “Thank you Lord for your love and mercy; thank you for sending your Son, Jesus Christ to bear the punishment for my sins; my lies. Thank you for your Word that assures me that I should never rely on my feelings to equate forgiveness; that you have that taken care of the moment I release it to you. In Jesus Christ – Amen.”

Are you holding on to sin? Are you struggling with not FEELING forgiven? Are you hanging on and punishing yourself for something that you’ve done? Don’t play a tug of war. Jesus is right there, holding out His nail scared hands saying “let me have this.” It’s up to you to release it to Him.

Lord, Please Don’t Call Us

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“In that moment my husband and I both looked at each other with this knowing expression. At that instant we both knew that if called, we would go.” – KJ

After spending more than a year overseas our family is so thankful to be back in the United States. One of the things that we missed the most while living abroad was having a home church so when we returned, we were thrilled to find one that we easily fit into and are able to worship at. This morning, at our weekly service, our Pastor shared his vision for where the church will be headed in the coming years. Just a few days earlier in the week I gave my husband a list of places that I thought I wanted to visit for mission work (all were said in more of a flippant manner rather than a tone of seriousness). However, this morning as Pastor started discussing a plan for missions sponsored by our church he started naming places that he would like to see the church outreach to. My heart started to beat. Not in excitement but of almost dread. I could hardly shake the thought “Lord, please don’t call us. Please DON’T call us.” In that moment my husband and I both looked at each other with this knowing expression. At that instant we both knew that if called, we would go. It sent fear and anticipation through my body. For years I have lived by Isaiah 6:8 “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Except this time, I knew He might actually send ME and I wanted to scream “Oh noooooo!”  Then I thought “How long would He send us?”

“Until the cities lie ruined
and without inhabitant,
until the houses are left deserted
and the fields ruined and ravaged,
12 until the Lord has sent everyone far away
and the land is utterly forsaken.
13 And though a tenth remains in the land,
it will again be laid waste.
But as the terebinth and oak
leave stumps when they are cut down,
so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.”

Really God? REALLY?? Basically you’re telling me that if you send us somewhere, you’ll decide where and we’ll stay until you tell us otherwise. This was not very comforting. I took a deep breath and realized that I was getting WAY ahead of myself. I had to remind myself that if God decides to use us, He’s going to not only use in a way that will glorify Him but also prepare us to do so and will equip us for the task ahead. Plus, He may not call us at all.

I have to admit that surrendering to a calling is not always easy; even when the calling may be something simple. A few years ago my daughter decided that she wanted to give soccer a try with a newly formed church league. I signed her up then waited for a call from the coach to know when practices would start. A week went by, then two then it was nearing the first game of the season but we still didn’t know who our team was. I called the church office and was told “Well, we have this one team for your daughter but we don’t have a coach.” I felt a sense of disappointment because I knew that meant that my daughter and five other kids wouldn’t be able to play ball for the summer. I said “I wish I knew something about soccer.” The secretary said “No experience required.”

It was as if God was taking away all of my excuses “And” she said “YOU set the practice times for when works best for you and the rest of the team.” Umm okay, this is giving me NO option to back out. I still reluctantly agreed though because I still knew NOTHING of the game except that players weren’t supposed to use their hands as they kicked a ball up and down a field. Still, having never played a soccer game or even seen a game other than occasional highlights on TV, I signed on to coach the team. Although saying “yes” was easy, I knew the job wouldn’t be. It meant no other plans for the following two months because of practice and game times. It meant dealing with parents, kids that I wasn’t used to, other teams, other coaches and more responsibility including the responsibility of actually teaching these kids something about the game that they wanted to play. Oh and did I mention that I was also responsible for leading their devotionals every week in hopes of teaching them more about Christ?

To most this may not sound like much. At the time, I was reeling from a bout of depression, had just begun working fulltime, we lived in a new town with new people and were building new lives and let us not forget, from a previous posting when I announced that, I was the fat kid. Yeah, the fat kid was now coaching soccer. THAT would facilitate confidence from players and parents. I was scared; about as scared as I was this morning at the thought of heading off to a third world country to witness to a people group whom I didn’t have the foggiest about. I had to step out on faith that if God called me to fulfill this role that He would also show me what I needed to do and how to do it. I spent the summer learning to play soccer via YouTube. Learning new self disciplines that I hadn’t been accustomed to, adapting to schedule changes and turning to God for continued strength. In the end, “my” kids pulled off a 5-0 season, built friendships that continued well after the season ended and taught me that some of God’s greatest challenges come in the smallest forms and can teach us so much. That summer, without a doubt, was one of the most difficult yet rewarding times of my life. Just as I know a mission trip would be.

It may not be easy to reply “Here am I, Lord.” When He asks “Whom shall I send?” But I can guarantee it’s worth the answer and remember when He calls you, He is also saying “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:19

Have you been called by Christ? Please feel free to share your story. 

Is He calling you now? Take a deep breath…the answer He is looking for is “Here am I.”


Planning for Failure

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“I was handed a diploma folder with nothing but a blank piece of paper inside.”

I had plans. Growing up I had plans for myself that would remove me from the situation that I was in. I had plans that would lead me to be thin, beautiful and successful. My plans would make people wish that they hadn’t treated me the way they did. My plans would make my parents proud to call me their daughter. My siblings would be excited to introduce me to their friends. All the people who made fun of me would eat their words with a side dish of jealousy and I would show em all.

That’s right. MY plans would make me into something. Something special that would wow them all!

Funny thing about plans, if God says “That’s not what I want for you” then it doesn’t matter how much ‘planning’ you’ve done, how many hours of preparation you’ve had or what goals you’ve set; it ain’t gonna happen. That’s what happened to my plans.

All my life I had been put down. The result is that my body and spirit were equally broken and bruised. I may have hid it to an extent but if anyone looked at me they would be able to see that I was hurting. How? Because by the time I was in the 6th grade I easily weighed 200 pounds. I was definitely ‘the fat kid.’ I had been made fun of relentlessly from the day I started school. I warded off questions like “Why are you so big? How come you get TWO milks with lunch? What’s wrong with you?” Then there were the names. Oh the names. All of which I could handle but the worst part of being the fat kid was the isolation. I tried to be friends with everyone, in every setting because I convinced myself that if I had a lot of friends then no one would get tired of having to put up with me hanging around. I would bounce from one click to another in fear that no one really wanted me with them. My parents didn’t want me. Why would anyone else?

It was hard to find where I fit in and eventually always felt like an outsider but my plans would change all of that. Every summer I would plan a diet because to wow them all when I went back to school in the fall would be awesome! Then I planned to go to college. I planned to go to law school. A THIN LAWYER! Whew! THAT would show em! I would win all the best cases, fight for the underdog, get my name in the paper, write a few books and retire young. Oh yeah, my plans were good.

Yet every fall I would return to school still as the fat kid. Depression, the death of my mom, the uncertainty of my dad, other losses and a tragedy or two were easy excuses to eat and that’s just what I did. They were also excuses to never do my best in school. I think people always assumed I did well in class because I was considered “one of the smart kids.” The truth was that I barely scraped by. I hid report cards, forged my dad’s signature like a pro and fell deeper and deeper into what felt like a bottomless pit. I got away with a lot back then. I knew people pitied me. Teachers would never push me, my dad had given up on me and truth was that I had given up on myself long before. So much so that I failed my senior English class. For those that I went to high school with who may be reading this and finding this out for the first time; you read that right. The night that we walked across that stage at Blakemore Field, even though they announced my name as a future attendee of the University of Arkansas with grants and scholarships, I was handed a diploma folder with nothing but a blank piece of paper inside. Now a couple weeks later I did enroll in a correspondence course, made a B and had my real diploma by the end of the summer but on the night I was supposed to have had it, I knew that MY plans were never going to facilitate. I was then not only the fat kid but I was the fat kid with no diploma and no future.

I had been saved at that point but had lost my guidance from the early days as a Christian with Ms Betty, Ms Barbara and the others at the little church where I had attended. No, I was on my own now and God may have been around but I was running from Him with everything that was in me. Even now, some twenty years later it’s hard to put into words just how lost I was. Not lost as in unsaved but lost as in no direction and so far from God that I couldn’t hear anything He had to say to me.

It’s taken all of this time since for me to let go of regret for what I had seen as my failures. The truth is that the  thing I failed to do was listen to Christ. It doesn’t matter what plans we make for ourselves, they will never come to pass if they aren’t what He has in store for us. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV) It’s still hard to let go of them though, it’s been hard to accept that because of health issues (that I never knew about ) my weight will never be that of a ‘normal’ person but the lessons that I have learned because of my weight are endless. The ability to talk to others about their struggle is irreplaceable and the acceptance of others who haven’t quite met their potential either is only because Ive been there. Through the grace of God everything I have learned in life is exactly what He needed me to know. It saddens me at times that it has taken my entire lifetime to figure that out.

Now as I type, I realize that none of MY plans have manifested but His have. MY plans never included an amazing husband and daughter. I surely never planned to live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet (the island of Oahu, Hawaii), I never planned to have an ocean view of His waters, I never planned to have an incredible home church where I could actively serve, I never planned to paint as a way to glorify God, I never planned to write on a website about all of my faults and flaws for the world to see. Certainly never planned to tell anyone I flunked senior English under a teacher whose name I can no longer even remember. These weren’t MY plans. These were His and you know, as I sit here typing, finding myself comfortable in my own skin, listening to the crickets outside, the calm breezes coming in off the water and feeling the peace of God around me I have to admit…I like His plans a LOT better than mine.

He has plans for you too. Are you ready to surrender to them? Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” (NIV)