A Letter To Michael

I know I already gave birth to you.

I know your birth was too soon. Since Dec 18th I know that I will get to hold you in my arms someday.

This weekend would have been the time I would have brought you into this world and cradled you close. Your due date was July 15th (give or take a few, I am sure). I would have counted every finger and toe. I would have kissed your cheeks. I would have marvelled at every movement and sound from you.

But my arms are empty and Heaven seems too far away today.

Your birth had a purpose that I am still waiting for. I know the purpose and the blessing that comes with it.

Life as I know it now is full of much more hope because of you. I love deeper, bigger and wider.

You are loved and I know that you know this the best out of anyone because you reside with Love now.

Happy “unofficial” birthday dear one!

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Warrior

Dear heart, arise and lift your head up.

Do you have the courage to face the day even amidst your darkest hour? When the battle is thick and a cloud of darkness is all you can see surrounding you, will you choose to be brave and press on?

The Lord, like a fierce lion is in pursuit. He sees you and your eyes lock. In His eyes you see victory and a love so fierce that fills your soul to continue pressing on through each assailant. In that instant, a light bursts forth ahead piercing the darkness.

Mighty God, the Lion of Judah, smashes every assailant in your path. He leads you to victory. His roar makes the whole earth tremble. Justice has just been dealt. Laughter echoes into the valleys. The waters and bubbling brooks dance with joy.

He lifts you up. You stand triumphant looking upon your enemies, every foe has been laid low. New breath fills your lungs.

Every ounce of blood and every fallen tear has been worth the journey to get here.

His roar brings victory. His breath restores life. His laughter scatters the rest of your enemies.

He has made you victorious!

Facing Victory

When one waits for a miracle to come to pass in what direction does that individual stand?

One stands facing towards victory no matter what opposition may come.

It can be too easy to dwell on the current circumstances where it can seem like nothing is changing. At some point it may even feel as if one has moved backwards rather than forward.

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If this is where you are, stand facing victory.

This means you choose hope. On the days where it is hard to keep going, you expect victory to come whether there is anything significant to suggest otherwise. You get to choose to look at life through the lens of faith.

Stand facing victory.

Expect victory.

Do not look back (unless it is a joyful reflection). Do not dwell on that which does not increase your hope.

Victory is coming.

Victory is something the enemy can never touch unless you decide to hand it over to him (#can’ttouchthis).

Victory is here.

The Choice I Make

There is something very powerful when we can make the decision to choose hope. I truly believe that hope is often a choice much like love is. There are many mountains in our lives. Much of what we face look impossible through our eyes. But if we choose hope, we choose to look at life through the eyes of God.

Mountains bow at His name. Kingdoms fall. Circumstances miraculously & supernaturally at lightning speed, change! Darkness flees. Healing floods hearts, minds & bodies. Death and the grave are defeated. Life is birthed out of nowhere.

I choose hope!

Celebrate Michael

Let me introduce you to someone so precious. He was a miracle. He was a gift.

The first part of November I was having strange symptoms. At first I thought my body was responding to an amazing but extremely busy season of ministry & was protesting. I had also been battling colds for a month & a half. There was a strange fatigue that had settled in my body. So time went on & I remember feeling “pregnant”. I cast it aside as wishful thinking.

It had been impossible for me to conceive. I had already had a previous miscarriage that did not last past the first month early on in our marriage in 2011. I had already grieved through not being able to give birth to one of my own flesh. Hope was on the horizon to foster or adopt and continue loving my daughter (SD). I was content. 

In November a pregnancy test confirmed what was once deemed impossible. Our world was turning upside down and landed a bit lopsided in the most precious and beautiful way. 

I told my husband that I was battling against fear and could only believe life. I felt like I had already lost too much to handle any alternative. Every day I placed my hands on my belly and declared life. I prayed for every organ, for every tissue formation, ten toes, ten fingers and that all would go smoothly. At night I wept with thankfulness because of this beautiful miracle. I fell asleep embracing my baby and told him how much he was loved. The journey felt like a dream.

We had talked in detail about how we wanted to tell the good news and when to do it. Even though I wanted to shout and celebrate his life right away we both agreed that telling family in person would be the best way. 

(Week 6 pregnancy picture)

Week 6 went by and I was so sick & tired. I was so happy because it was the only way that I knew that he was doing well. Week 7, and 8 slipped by without any issues. By week 9 I was able to get into the Dr. and all my test results came back without any signs of complications. He was really coming! He was really real! By this time my belly was starting to grow & I felt pregnant for real for the first time.

Week 10 was the week we were going to tell our daughter & begin the journey to family for Christmas. Our daughter was beyond excited. She was already making plans. She was the best big sister ever!

The next day she could hardly contain her excitement as we were going to tell my husbands parents. Tears, smiles, hugs and congratulations were in order after breaking the good news. But a couple hours later I started to have slight cramping and instead of getting better my heart & body went on a journey I never thought it could handle.

The details into that night are too much for me to write out. The ER visit was horrific. What I was going through was unstoppable medically speaking and those working there did not acknowledge my sons life. With that perspective I know why I was treated as if what I was going through was not a big deal. 

Instead of a proper burial my baby is swimming in sewage because he was flushed down the toilet in the ER. Losing life and not being able to control what your body is doing is horrifying. 

Because of our miracle I have this need for people to know our son. He was important. He was not a blob of cells. His heart beat like yours and like mine. God still did a miracle in my body to be able to conceive and carry for 10 weeks. Those weeks I will cherish for the rest of my life. Our son helped my faith to grow. Impossible is fading out of my life. God is good and He never changes. 

Please meet our son. 

(Drawing by artist Brynna Hosszu)

His name is Michael which means, “Who is like God?”. It is a name passed down in my husbands family. When I give birth to my rainbow baby, Michael will be their middle name just like his Daddy and in remembrance of his big brother who prepared the way.

Michael you were and continue to be loved. It was a fun adventure while we had you with us, tiny as you were! 

Here are some of my favorite memories with you:

(We didn’t even know that we were a family of 4 during these fun moments in October)

(My first big ministry event knowing you were growing in my belly. It was a miracle I didn’t faint on stage due to sickness & fatigue. I remember telling you, “Okay baby, time to go worship God together! Let’s slay the enemy!” Photo Cred: Austin Groskopf, @agroskopf33)

(Family Thanksgiving 2017 two weeks early)

(Together for Thanksgiving at Long Beach)

(Our last full day together at Heritage Kids Family Christmas)

(This was our announcement photo. I bought 4 large stockings expecting your first Christmas with us would have been in 2018)

Enjoy time with Jesus & with my Mom sweet child. 

We love you Michael! 

Do It Again

2018 is on the horizon and I have many things on my mind. I have spent 2017 forgiving many, loving fiercely and surrendering my soul to my mighty God. There are many questions I have and many prayers I’m waiting for the Lord to answer. 

He has done great things for my heart, my soul & for my family. He has delivered me from pain & healed my body. He has set me free.

My biggest question going into 2018 is, “Will you do it again?” 

Every day for the past week and a half I have asked God this question. I have wept and I have spent hours into the night interceding for my family. There is so much on my heart that I cannot give up hope believing will happen. 

I have spent my time watching the boxing scene in Rocky where he did not win that battle but he put up one good fight & remained standing. This is 2017. 

2018 will be the year I see God do it again. I will go back in that boxing ring and win! It will be my year full of laughter & joy. 

I have listened to this song every day for the past week and a half. It has been my anthem. God is good. He is faithful. ⬇

“Do It Again” Elevation Worship

A Step Mom Post

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I literally have three different Step Mom posts in my draft folders. There are several reasons for this. My fellow Step Mom friends will understand that the role we choose to take on is full of rejection, back stabbing and hard holy work as we love and cherish our kids. Sometimes we struggle with our roles because it can change depending on what our child needs at the time and what family gathering we might be at.

To begin I want to talk about honor. Too often honor gets dumped out as things get messy sharing kids back and forth between homes. Our daughter has three and you can just begin to imagine how difficult that is. Ever since the day I officially had the privilege to start my Step Mom role I wanted to make sure that my daughter’s Bio Mom was respected and honored. This can often feel difficult when it is not reciprocated. I have walked through a constant grieving process as I have honored her Mom and Grandma’s role. I would be quiet at mutual gatherings, stand back and watch rather than introduce myself, and go without hugging my daughter.

I would be careful with every word and every action because I feared any backlash upon my husband and daughter. Fear kept me from being fully myself. But I am so sick of this. I am sick of believing lies about myself.

I used to believe the lie that I made things worse. It seemed like the more I loved her, and supported her Daddy, the more both of them would receive backlash. For that reason, I hid in the shadows and remained quiet. But I felt like I was the big elephant in the room no matter what I did.

We are not welcome and our daughter continues to pay tremendously just because we are in her life.

I used to cringe at the thought of knowing that by showing any love for her in person would end poorly for her later. It made me want to stop anything just to protect her from the verbal and emotional abuse later. But why would I choose to not love when she so desperately needed it? Which one was better for her to go without? Why would I choose both lack of love on my end as well as the other end?

So I choose to love no matter what. I pray and weep knowing what she often faces for our love but at least she knows love. At least she knows the difference. I hope one day, ashes will fall and she will rise victoriously courageous knowing who she is and that she is deeply loved even if other people show her and tell her the opposite. I hope that what she remembers is that we chose her. I hope she remembers love, the unconditional love that remained through every trial, heartache, and joy.

Yes, daughter, you are chosen. You have been fought for. You are loved. You have been made victorious!

freedom birds

I Failed At Coming Up With A Good Title. Creative Writing Here.

Here is a little piece of creative writing that I have been working on. This is the kind of writing that I absolutely love to do. Enjoy!


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I walked down the rocky path full of colors of grey and brown. I descended from a mountain high up where home base was to welcome me back from a raging battle. There was no rest to greet me, no genuine camaraderie among those I called friends. Instead a hug turned into a stab in my back.

As I descended I came upon an old friend. The building was old yet it somehow resonated with something new that I could not place a word for. Silence rang through the thick, dense fog while smoke rose up from the remaining ashes of what once was a place full of laughter. An ache settled in my heart as if the bleeding wound I desperately needed to get care for resided deep within the slow beat of my heart. A crow made me aware that death was within walking distance from the ashes and as I looked up he was there as if to mock my presence.

With a deep breath that sent piercing pain through my ribs I gathered what strength was left within me and quickened my pace to enter the doors of an old sanctuary. Hoping it would shelter me from the rage of the one hunting me I sank into the shadows gasping for fresh air. Intently I listened for any sound that would alert me that I needed to flee. All I could hear was the blood pulsing through my body. I began to pray.

Nothing stirred. Even the crow seemed to be silenced. As if on cue a chill ran down my spine. At first all I saw was a glint of silver but I did not know whether it was from a sword or the edge of armor. He knew where I was. This was no longer my home. Somehow I needed to find my way to safety. As I slowly stepped deeper into a hallway it revealed his location around the corner. Our eyes locked and for an instant I saw who he really was. No amount of armor, or lie could keep it hidden.

As I began to turn from him he yelled, “You cannot run from me. You will belong to me just like all the others.” Hatred and rage engulfed him in flames of furry. He laughed as I walked from him into another hallway. It was there that I saw the others he was talking about. There they were on the right and the left. Some were friends, others were family, and all were moaning and in awful pain. Some were bleeding so much I knew there was nothing that I could do to save them.

Tears streamed down my face for I loved each one so much. The darkness seemed to hone in upon me as I looked down. A moan from deep within me filled the space for there were no words for this pain. As I passed each one they seemed to be tormented within their own mind. Not one acknowledged that I was there. I fell to my knees and bent over in pain. How was I going to make it to safety? Blood soon was pouring down my arm into my hand. Hope within me was dwindling. The air was so thick with death.

Closing my eyes I sought the Lord for strength and for some hope of a way out. As I opened my eyes there shone a light revealing a path out. Behind me arose a strong and mighty warrior. From him I heard, “Kara, you are strong. This man is lying to you. Do not look to the right or to the left. Keep your eyes on the light. The light is truth. Get up and keep walking.”

With everything within me I stood back up looking directly into the light. Each step was painful. I felt so tired but hope was pumping through my veins. Every time I faltered a bit I heard, “Keep walking. You can do this. You are strong.” And each time I slightly turned my head to the side he said, “Keep looking towards the light. Pay no attention to these lies.”


I keep walking…

(To be continued)

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Storms

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On the days where words are stuck inside and the sky is raging black, I tend to feel like I am in a haze. When we had some epic storms recently I found myself searching the sky with excitement and awe. I learned to enjoy thunder and lightning storms after I reached an age where I could see the beauty and strength of God in them rather than feeling struck by fear.


During these storms it struck me that I should have the same perspective during real storms as I do with the storms of life. I should change my focus from struggling to see the sun break through, to waiting in sweet anticipation to see the next powerful act from God within the storm. You see, there has been a storm raging for quite some time now. I have had moments where I felt desperate for a break. Part of my struggle has come from having the wrong perspective at times.


Having the wrong perspective is much like when I was a child. Thunder and lightning scared me. It was the loud noises, the darkness of the sky and the bright flash that comes out of nowhere that could kill you if struck by it, that brought about my fear. But the older that I got, I actually came to yearn for these storms. It made me feel closer to God. He is beautiful, loving and powerful all wrapped together in one. Thunder and lightning storms seem to reveal who God is to me. These storms are symbolic that God could destroy me because of my sin, yet he chooses me and desires to be in a love relationship with me. I am thankful beyond words that he sent his only son Jesus to take care of all my sins so that we could be in a relationship (John 3:16).


Currently, I am choosing to look at this storm as a divine opportunity to see God do some powerful acts, however dark that it may be, no matter how fierce the winds, nor how much rain pelts against my skin. My trust is in God. He is trustworthy.


Dear Reader, if you are facing some storms take heart. There is a God who loves and cares for you. If you are too tired to walk, he will carry you. No matter what happens remain steadfast in his love. When things get the darkest, it is God’s greatest moment to reveal how furiously he loves you. Do not give up. I can tell you now that you do not want to miss out on what he will do amidst the storm.

2015: Not Losing Hope

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As usual, a new year brings about reflection and resolutions. I found myself annoyed while I was on social media on New Years Eve. I was annoyed because so many mark a new year to change without really ever doing anything differently. I was annoyed because 2015 would mark the year, my first year, without my Mom in it.


I was also annoyed because I lacked any vision for what 2015 would hold. This is not in itself a bad thing. For me it has been the first time that I have not known what direction God will be taking us as a family. Through this God has been teaching me that it is okay to not always see a glimmer of what is to come (although he often shows us what steps to take). He cares more about the day to day and at times the hour-by-hour trust in him more.


I have always been the one to dream these big impossible dreams that could only be explained by God orchestrating them. There came a time in my life though that I realized my own selfishness. Too often our culture, as well as our human nature, is so inwardly focused, that we do not even realize that we expect God to fit into our life, our dreams and our expectations without really ever changing. We think that a magic prayer or even remaining stagnant, proclaiming that we follow God, is good enough. News flash. If you claim to follow Jesus Christ good fruit will be evident in your life. This means joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, love and self control will grow more and more a part of who you are on a consistent basis (look at Galatians 5:22-23). It does not mean that you can speak all of the right words and get into heaven, while all the evidence in your life dishonors God.


We tend to be a selfish nation and humankind tends to be inward focused. We can make self a god. Instead what needs to take place is to allow God to have complete control over every aspect of our lives. We must allow him to ravage our hearts with his holy love. We must allow him to change and transform us. This is the only way that any lasting change will ever occur.


He has much bigger plans for us than we could ever come up with on our own. When we choose him everyday, life will often look so much different than you ever expected, in a good way. When I realize my selfish tendencies it helps me to surrender to God daily. This dying of self can be painful at times. The death of my Mom greatly shed light on several things in my own life. Habits, thinking processes and even how I communicated and dealt with my emotions were all things God brought to my attention. It was not that I had been doing anything wrong but these things needed refining in me. And I am so thankful!


I am thankful I listened to him in those moments because I would not be here today sharing this blog. My fear of being fully myself around others is slowly melting away. Too often I let the worries of ministry, family members, friends, and even strangers keep me from being fully honest in my writing. There was always this desire in me to speak the truth but I often let the opinions of others keep me from writing them out. God is so gracious to us in moments like these. He is so patient.


He knows what is best every time. His timing is also perfect. Usually, the dreams and plans we thought we would have, take a much different turn because he wants more for us than we ever could do for ourselves. He loves us so much that he uses everything along our journey to get us to the place we wanted to be all along. That place is directly in his will, having gone on a miraculous, love consuming journey filled with sorrow and joy. All of the things in this life, the heartache and the pain are all worth it when you realize that the best place is in full surrender, laying your life into Gods hands. Because once you do that a whole new world is opened up to you. It is beyond description. In giving up of yourself, dying to your selfish ways, you gain everything.


I see many holding on to other things. People gravitate to sex, money, food, fads, and even double lives. The death of my Mom has shown me this more. I have seen how some choose to hold on when letting go is actually much healthier. This is a process for each of us in life. Too often we try to hold onto our life when the greatest freedom and joy is in letting go and bowing before God. We are not promised tomorrow. We do not deserve the grace God gives us everyday. We do not deserve such patience when our sin splatters over everyone in our lives. And if you think you are good at hiding it, or justifying it, think again. The foolish ones never know how evident it is to those around them. And all of us have been foolish in our lives. We were just too prideful to take a serious look at ourselves at the time. We thought that by controlling our own lives, we could achieve everything we ever wanted or at least be able to hide our own sinful, dark secrets.


But one thing that I never fully connected until many years ago, is that dying to self means that you must be willing to give up everything in your life, even what you considered good and maybe even godly. This includes your dreams. Too often I would hold onto certain dreams and expectations of how my life would go because I assumed that I did not need to give these up as well. This reality came crashing down on me when I married my husband. Marrying Jeremy was a huge dream come true! It was not my original dream of what I thought getting married would look like. In fact, I ate a lot of my own words because I never realized the power of God unifying two hearts together after a complete transformation had taken place in both of our hearts. For this I am thankful.


But I never knew that marrying Jeremy would mean that I would lose one of the most precious relationships to me. I never realized that others would hate Gods truth and unifying love between two hearts so much in my life. I never realized until after several years of going without this relationship that I tried to hold onto the dream that this person was going to be my confidant, and best friend for life. See, my dream looked a lot different than it has actually been like. Even though this lack of relationship still breaks me to pieces, and I cry often about it, I would not trade the life that God has given me. Because I know and trust that God loves me and loves to reconcile relationships every day, I have hope that the dream I let go for this relationship (yet fought to keep for so long), will one day be so much better than I ever thought possible, because instead of my dream, it will be Gods dream for us. In the waiting I still get to enjoy love and joy in its fullest measure because I chose God and he gave me one amazing husband!


I have to apply this hope to so many other dreams in my life. And it is with this that I choose to begin the year 2015: Never losing hope for the desires that God has placed in my heart, knowing that one day, everything will come together so much better than I ever imagined, despite the pain and heartache along the way. This is how I begin 2015.


Thank you God for 2014. Thank you for loving me so much that you desire me to change and grow and thrive even though it can be excruciating at times. Please continue to give me the strength I need to continue on without giving up hope. Thank you for the joy you give everyday when I choose you.