On Being a Chaplain

Yesterday I received some amazing news. In the mail I received my ordination certificate and badge as a Senior Chaplain. So excited! Over the past several years, I have spent hundreds of hours studying trauma and how to care for people who have experienced trauma. (FYI…nearly ALL of us have experienced trauma.) I have been in classes around abuse, suicide prevention, coaching, body trauma, self care…anything I could attend to help me process my own story and help others process theirs. The challenge was trying to figure out how to tie all these pieces together! Then God brought me into a Chaplain program.

When I first started going down the road of becoming a chaplain, I wasn’t really sure what they did. Boy was I supposed to find the wide variety of tasks and focuses for chaplains! Depending on which branch (police, fire, military, community support, medical, etc) you choose, you can do anything from marriage counseling to serving a death notification. The range of work is really quite wide. For me, I chose community support because that is where my heart lands. I do volunteer work in our local homeless community and am wanting to expand my work. Being a community support chaplain is the best fit.

Jesus has placed an Isaiah 61 call on my life. I know that my call is to help bring healing to people by binding up the brokenhearted and showing those held captive that there is freedom! Being a chaplain allows me to do this in a way that is not specific to any one denomination and that is better for how I believe. It allows me to represent the God of Bible in a way that crosses denominational lines and that makes my heart soar! I get to simply love people with the love of Jesus while their lives are in turmoil because of a traumatic event happening now, or because of a traumatic event that happened in the past and they are now engaging the pain.

When I was sitting in the chaplain training, feeling overwhelmed at the scope of the work and wondering why I was even there, God whispered into my ear, “This is what I have created you to do. This is how you follow me now.” I’ll tell you what, I started crying in my seat. I have been asking God for years to show me what I’m supposed to do in life and each time I ask, He just says “follow me”. So, with no big vision other than the cross in front of me, I have followed Jesus to the best of my ability. I fail, I fall and I get back up. In one moment in that classroom, I saw all of these seemingly random pieces come together into the call on my life. Beautiful! I understood that God needed me to not focus in the task and instead focus on the Cross first, then He would give me the task. He really does have a good and perfect plan (Jeremiah 29:11).

So, now I pray a different prayer: Holy Spirit, guide me and show me how to use this ordination well to bring Your healing and Your glory to the world around me. I don’t dream of a big stage, I dream of helping people engage their story, mitigate the long term effects of trauma, and find freedom. I feel honored and humbled that this is my call.

Shalom,

Chaplain Kellyann

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Sliding

I don’t know about you, but I find that most people don’t jump into depression, we slide. We can be going along just fine and something happens to knock us off course a little. We recover and feel back to “normal” because we don’t notice the small step backward. A few more bumps and a few more steps backwards and then it becomes clear that we aren’t functioning as usual at all. The sky is a little darker, the clouds a little thicker and when we look around, we see that we have been sliding into depression.

Now, I realize that there are lots of people who can get knocked down over and over and never find it hard to get up. Their biology has something in it that makes depression a non-issue. They aren’t luckier or more blessed, they are just different. They process differently and they have their own way that life’s toll creates impact. I’m not one of those people. My biology craves addiction, walks closely with anxiety, and when I’m not paying attention well enough, slides into depression. That’s where I am now, in depression. Over the years I’ve learned lots of tools for myself as I’ve learned tools to help others, so I’m well aware of the triggers for myself. That said, even the most aware people lose awareness sometimes.

I woke up the other morning after sleeping around 11 hours and instead of feeling great and well-rested, I felt good but still tired. I usually wake up excited for the day to start! What got me curious was the lack of excitement at getting up, not the extra sleep. I’ve been battling a virus so I know my body needed some extra sleep. So I started praying and looking back over the past few months.

It didn’t take long to see what has happened and how the slide occurred. I didn’t move to NYC as planned. Slide. I took a demotion and pay cut at work for a few months. Slide. A very close friend died suddenly. Slide. My daughter in all her budding adulthood glory got herself a job and is more independent. Slide. I got a new job where I work from home. Slide. Before my new job I had to get some financial help to cover bills. Slide. I’m realizing that in less than two years my daughter will launch brilliantly well and I will be the most alone I’ve ever been. Slide.

Not everything that brought the sliding could be labeled negative. It’s important to know that sometimes the positive things in life bring a slide into depression. That can happen when things change and it is just simply a by product of life. What’s important is to stay self aware so that I can monitor myself.

So now that I know, now that I’m waking up less excited, I need to enter a space of increased self care. I’m in a new recovery group. I’m making plans to get out of the house more. I’m praying for God to help me learn how to live well alone. I’m staying far away from self-judgment and clinging to self-acceptance. I’m naming those things that I’ve been keeping under wraps. Basically, I’m moving with more intention and a spirit of healing so that I start to climb out of the depression better equipped and more authentic. There are things to learn here and I don’t want to miss them. Just because I’m a caregiver by nature doesn’t mean I never need care. I’m not weak, I’m human.

I’m praying that we all are able to see when we are sliding into and operating out of depression or whatever is less than optimal from our natural state. No judgment, just acceptance.

Shalom,

KA

Careful with Your Impact

Impact: to have a strong effect on someone or something. We all have an ability to impact the world around us. Are you being careful with your impact?

As I was leaving home one morning, I looked down to see this sweet little snail. It was slowing making its way across the step and I’m surprised it caught my eye. And actually, what first caught my attention was the screeching of a nearby crow excited for breakfast. In the moment that I sensed danger for my snail friend, I impacted its life by picking it up and moving it to what I considered safety. Here’s the problem: I made an impact based on a judgment and not a Truth.

Initially, my heart felt all warm and fuzzy because I had heroically rode into the situation and placed the snail into a safer space. Ahhh, good for me, I lived out the desired of doing no harm. The truth is, however, I did do harm! Staying focused on the snail, I’m certain I terrorized it by picking it up. Seriously, I’m probably 1,000 times larger than the snail! The entire process of moving it likely sent waves of terror throughout its system. And, while the immediate need for rescue may have been met, I don’t know what I don’t know, meaning, perhaps where I placed it was actually of greater risk because I wasn’t exactly doing a study in the ecosystem to determine the risk of the resting space. For the crow, I took away breakfast with no consideration for him/her at all. If crows are known to remember when someone is kind to them (which they are by the way), then I can presume this one will remember me as unkind. I placed greater value on the life of the snail. So, for someone trying to do no harm, I blew it!

Now, do I think I should hold shame over my misguided, albeit love-intended, intrusion into the relationship between the snail and the crow? No. I do, however, want to see the larger application. Many of us go about with a desire to fix people and situations and, while so lovely at its core, we simply must be sure we understand all that is at play in the situation and strive to do no harm for all involved. We will always have the potential for doing harm and, wouldn’t it be great if we could mitigate the amount of harm by being more intentional with how we make an impact.

Things aren’t as black-and-white as they seem. There is truth (small t) and Truth (capital T) and sometimes our understanding of the truth gets in the way of us seeing the Truth and we move in haste making a negative impact where at the very least, we could have made no impact. You see, there was a natural course, a natural order to the relationship between the snail and the crow and I interfered. My best move would have been to do nothing and, knowing me, pray for the snail to make it to safety and for the crow to find breakfast elsewhere. I made a judgment in which one life had more value and then, impacted both lives. Not out of malice, out of ignorance.

I see this playing out on so many levels in our world right now and it is heartbreaking. We are devastating people because they are different and we’ve placed an arbitrary value on them that is less than the Truth. We’ve stepped into their ecosystem and laid waste to all involved and we have done great harm. So, for my part, I’m learning to do nothing until I am able to determine the best path for me that is most honoring to all involved. I’m learning to listen more and speak less. I’m learning to hold both failure and success equally, and lightly, because the Truth is they both have value.

Jesus told us to go, and as we are going, show people what it looks like to follow Him so that they may desire to follow Him also. That’s impact by being, not action, and we must move with intention and care. So, the question today is, are you being careful with your impact?

Shalom,

KA

As Good As Dead

I don’t remember everything about yesterday, but I remember the grain of the panelling in my bedroom from 35 years ago the night I sat in there, terrified, believing I was as good as dead.

My step-dad was a convicted killer. He served 10 years prison for manslaughter before he met my mom. My mom was not emotional stable and she loved weaving his story into her story. His story made people shake their heads with wonder and that brought her great delight. Together, they were a powder keg with a lit fuse and you just sat back to watch for when it would blow. Both alcoholics, both deeply damaged and both unable to cope well with life, I got front row seats to their insanity in my early teens.

For the most part, his violent outbursts were directed at objects, not us. The dishes, walls and doors took the brunt of his fists and, they were often demolished in the wake of his anger. I learned quickly to stay silent, sneak out of the door and run. I also learned quickly that my mother would pack us up over and over again, only to stay when he would plead and promise to never be that violent again. He would be “good” for a few days and then the verbal abuse would start again and then, the rage. I believed my mom when she said he would never touch me until the night I couldn’t believe her anymore.

Let me start off by saying, he never did lay a hand on me. He yelled at me and terrified me, but he never did touch me. On the night I’m talking about, we had been at a BBQ for the day. We were having fun hanging out as families in the hills of northern Pennsylvania. As with most get togethers like this, adults drank all day long. At some point, my stepdad and a few other guys disappeared for a while. When they came back to the group, it was dark and we all started heading home. I was 14 years old and during the ride home, he started telling my mom it was time for me to learn to drive. He had decided that night, in the backwoods, was the perfect setting and so he was going to pull over so that he could teach me how to drive. My heart was racing and my stomach was clenched tight. The last thing in the world I wanted to do in that moment was be in the front seat with him. And I certainly didn’t want to learn to drive. They argued and yelled about me. He called me a baby and too protected, she called him a name and told him to stop. I can still see the headlights lighting the gravel road ahead of us.

When we got home, the fight started again. We lived in a single-wide trailer so their fights were never secret. He was always unpredictable but that night felt different. It was like he turned from his usual rage to pure evil. He was darker than ever before and I was terrified. I sat in my room hearing them fight about me. My heart was beating so loudly in my head, I was certain he would hear it so I put my pillow over my chest and hugged it tightly. You see, I wasn’t able to do my normal, I couldn’t sneak out and run this time. I was trapped.

Then, it suddenly got quiet. This wasn’t a “whew, it’s over” quiet. This was an eye-of-the storm quiet. I stared at the panelling so hard I memorized the grain pattern. The next thing I heard was him talking to our dog, Pepper. “Hey girl, you want to go get hung?” I remember that I stopped breathing for a moment because I couldn’t trust what I thought I heard. Then he said it again, “Hey Pepper, I think it’s time you get hung. The garage door will work.” My mom was silent as he kept talking about hanging the dog. I was frozen. Then he asked, “Where is Kelly?” I was as good as dead, I was certain. My mind raced with pictures of being hung next to Pepper up at the garage. I could barely breathe and I didn’t dare cry or make a single sound because I didn’t want him to hear me.

He started walking around and then the yelling started again. I couldn’t tell if he was headed my way or what exactly was happening. At some point, I don’t know when, he walked past my room, down the hall and went to bed. My mom came into my room and the only thing she said was, “Wait about 15 more minutes before you leave so that he’s asleep.” I didn’t know how to process that information back then and honestly, I still don’t. I blacked out at that point and don’t remember anything until the next morning.

When I saw my stepdad the next day, he apologized for scaring me and told me that he and the guys had gone to smoke pot at the party and pot just made him “unpredictable”. I remember staring at him in disbelief and saying “ok”, and walking off. I couldn’t risk making him mad again so I just simply acknowledged the apology.

Domestic violence is devastating to all involved. I spent decades bottling up my story around my experiences and that only made me drink to escape the memories and the pain. Now I know, based on what I know about trauma and his story, that he was also a victim of domestic violence in his family so he was acting the only way he knew how without any tools to help him do better. The same is exactly true of my mom. They lived their lives devastated by their own trauma and enflicting more pain on themselves and the people around them. Through lots of therapy and learning, I can now bless them both and see how God was ever present and always protecting me. I could certainly wish for a different story but honestly, I see so much value in mine and so much ability to help people that I truly just thank God that He has brought so much healing and peace and, that He allows me opportunity to help others stuck in violence and trauma.

Engaging our stories is hard work and, if I’m being honest, it hurts like hell. It’s also beautiful when you allow yourself to enter the process. God will meet you in your story, I promise. He’s already in all of it, you can trust Him.

If you need resources or referrals to get help, message me. If you are caught in domestic abuse and need help to exit, message me. If you are the abuser and want to stop, message me. I will give you contacts to help you.

Shalom,

KA

No Blank Beginning

Today’s blog post is a little different. I do alot of research and learning about trauma and how it affects our lives. Part of that is the trauma we inherit. This is an excerpt from some writings I’ve been doing about my own story.

People are not actually born to a blank page or clean slate. We are born as a chapter into someone else’s story. Lots of other stories, actually. Parents, grandparents, siblings, all family members and close friends, when we are born, now have a new chapter with our name. Our chapter one comes with a foreword that is the weaving together of all those stories; all their traumas and joys are the foundation of our story. We don’t get to choose our foundation, we get to navigate through it and are then shaped by the navigation. Childhood is a season of testing for trust. Which characters in our story bring so much trauma they are unsafe, and which allow us to explore our own desires outside of the predetermined. It is only in adulthood when we are offered the invitation to make our stories our own. Rewrite the words spoken to us that brought damage, and, repeat the words that brought light. It is in adulthood where, if we are willing, we become the person we were created to be from the beginning. Some people accept this invitation early on and the are named rebellious and hard to deal with, even though their hearts are pure. Some people accept this invitation later and are named as having a mid-life crisis and “losing it”, even though their hearts are also pure. And some, more than I would wish, decide to never find their own story outside of the predetermined. They aren’t sure enough of themselves because for many, the trauma is so deep it is actually cherished and letting it go would dismantle their being. They live in fear that if they allow this dismantling, no one will be there to help rebuild.

Grief

I don’t do grief well. It’s not that I don’t cry, I cry at lots of things. It’s not that I don’t miss people and things that die and end. It’s that I don’t feel like I deserve to grieve. My pain isn’t enough to merit grief. I quickly say things like , “ya, but at least I wasn’t…” or “suck it up, you can’t change it so move on” or my favorite “get over it”.

Here’s the deal, no one ever gave me permission to grieve and because of that, I decided that I wasn’t worthy of grief. No one modeled grief for me either, so that means the people in my formative years didn’t let themselves grieve. What is a natural part of a healthy life, grief, was instead seen as weakness and/or simply unnecessary. And to compound the message I was receiving from my friends and family, society was sending me the same message in sayings like “big girls don’t cry”.

I’m betting most of us don’t lament, don’t grieve a loss well. And by well I mean, allow the feelings to surface, be felt, be named, be blessed and be released. Grief is powerful and if you don’t allow yourself to feel it as it is needed, it will wreck you in lots of different ways. Your body and spirit deserve to grieve every bit as much as they deserve to feel joy. Grief isn’t a tool of the enemy, it is a gift from a God in heaven who understands exactly what grief feels like and, who wants us to be healthy and full-spectrum emotional beings. Grief is part of the spectrum.

Grief is a reaction to loss. You can’t blow off loss, skip past it like it doesn’t matter. Whatever you lost does matter! That thing, goal, dream, person, relationship, whatever, holds value and when it/they go away or the dynamic changes, there is grief. Don’t shy away from that pain, you need it. You need it to be healthy. You need it to live authentically. You need grief to live.

Allowing yourself to grieve doesn’t take away from the places you are thankful. Grief isn’t mutually exclusive to all other emotions, it is its own. It deserves your time and attention. It deserves your curiosity and your love. It deserves your acknowledgement and your prayer.

Tonight I’m grieving. I’m grieving loss from 42 years ago up to loss from 42 days ago. I’m accepting the holy and sacred invitation to grieve the losses of my life because up until now, I’ve been too judgmental to be able. That inability is stopping me from releasing trauma that I want to release. It’s stopping me from entering deeper into who God is leading me to be and I’m finally able to say yes to experiencing the pain.

Grief won’t stay forever. It has a sacred purpose and I want that purpose to be fulfilled. I’m praying you allow unexplored and unexpressed grief to find its way into your attention. God will use it to bring healing if you allow Him.

Shalom,

KA

God’s Plan

The past few mornings, I’ve been going out for walks. I’m a huge morning person and with the hot weather, mornings are just so lovely. I also have the privilege of living in a lake-front city so it’s a 10 minute drive to beautiful parks and walkways along the lake’s edge. Typically I get up early and head for my chair, my bible and my journal. I love studying God’s word but lately, I’ve felt an invitation to experience God in a different way. More with my heart and less with my head. So, I plug in praise music, walk for a little bit and then sit on a dock and just bask in God’s glory. I pray. I praise. I cry. I allow the Holy Spirit to reach into dark places where I’ve held myself underground for too long.

Since hearing God ask me to let Him hold my dream of moving to New York for a little bit longer, I’ve been feeling a little lost. When you let go of one dream, you either scramble to fill your hands with something else or you stand there, hands at your side feeling a little dumbfounded. I was the latter, feeling a bit like a failure. Actually, feeling ALOT like a failure. Why would God ask for this dream back unless He knew I wasn’t ready and what’s wrong with me that I’m not ready. I follow God as well as I am able, is this a punishment?

As I’ve been processing my life and journey with God over the past several days, searching for my failure. Where did I go wrong so that God felt like I wasn’t able to handle the dream He’s given me? Where was my mistake? I must have done, or not done, something really important and I have some type of penance to pay. It’s amazing how the negative words spoken over us in our past plant little seeds that sprout up when we least expect them to and we get a bit sucked into lies. Or at least that happens to me. I can recite all of the good things said about me and discount each and every one because I give more power to the negative. Even when the negative is a flat out lie, I still weight it too heavily. I know I’m not alone in this dilemma of self worth.

This morning, I was praying and asking God for just a glimpse of His plan so that I could know I wasn’t to blame for the present situation. My God…My God…boy did He show up!! Within seconds as I stared out over the water, I could see the timeline of the past several years and how God has commissioned me to love people who are hurting and neglected and I didn’t see it at the time. This present situation isn’t punishment, it’s calling. It’s holy. It’s sacred. Most of all, it’s His plan for me! So let me show you what God showed me.

* 2014 God invited me to take a huge leap of faith and leave a very successful and well payed corporate job for nothing. No new job, just life and ministry. If I hadn’t followed this invitation, I wouldn’t have found my call as a pastor and shepherd of people who feel marginalized by society.

* 2015 God invited me deeper into ministry with and for the homeless community around my home. From sitting on the Board of a tent city to handing out thousands of cans of tuna fish on the streets of Seattle, I fell completely in love with people who are “the least of these”. If hadn’t done this ministry, I wouldn’t have fully accepted my calling to love people.

*2016 God invited me to set the homeless ministry aside for a little bit and go back to a corporate job. Much less pay and much less influence. More dependence on God and more focus on building relationships. Through my time in that job, a little over 2 years, I got to walk with people who lost parents and spouses and needed permission to grieve; people who struggled to feel valued in life and needed someone to say “I see you, tell me your dreams; people who struggled with anxiety and addiction and needed to know they are not alone. It wasn’t just a job, it was a daily ministry and I fell in love with the people who worked for me. If I hadn’t taken this job, I wouldn’t have gotten hands on practice pastoring people.

*2017 God invited me to apply for a ministry training program in New York City. Through this application process, God broke chains of fear. Fear of my past. Fear of elevators. Fear of flying. Fear of not being good enough. He also spoke a promise over me that there is a day coming when all of the decades of loving NYC will mean I live there and love those people. If I hadn’t applied for this training, I wouldn’t have known how much I love NYC and I would still live in fear. God broke more chains during this process than I can type out.

And now, now God is inviting me to go back to the people I love and minister to them with greater strength in Christ. Greater faith in my Redeemer. Greater love for all people. Greater desire to lead and love. At this point, I have a contract job that pays less than we need and affords me the ability to work from home. It’s only for a few more weeks and I don’t know what comes next. And, based on all that God is showing me, all I need to know is that God will make a way when I choose to accept His invitation to life and freedom.

My life’s call is Isaiah 61:1-3: brining good news to the poor, binding up the broken-hearted, proclaiming freedom to all who feel captive, comfort the mourning and declare through all of it that the Lord is good and lovely. All I want to do is follow God well, just follow Jesus. It’s a glorious adventure and I have people to love for heaven.

If you feel off track, pray. You may find you are exactly ON track and you just couldn’t see it.

Shalom,

KA

Help Me in my Unbelief

This day is a raw day for me. I fully believed we would be adapting to our new lives in New York City today and instead, I’m sitting in my apartment across the country from where I long to be, trying to find my way. The gap between what I know to be true and how my truth today feels is a gaping hole right now and while I do fully believe God is doing something new, I’m just going to be honest, I’m hurting.

I know God is faithful and that He has never and will never fail me. I know His promises are Rock solid. I know He has all of my needs met before I even know I have the need. I know He loves me. I also know He has invited me to a path that not everyone walks on and right now, it’s jagged and hurting my feet and legs. I’m tired and I’m building faith that I know doesn’t make any earthly sense and yet, I don’t see any other way to live.

I’m feeling a little bit like Job who said, “Yet though He slay me, I will trust in Him.” (Job 13:15) God planted a seed, started to sprout that seed and then asked me to give the sprouting seed back to Him. So I did, tearfully hearing Him say “I have something better for you, trust me.”

Here’s the deal though, that triggers my story and the truth of that is…I don’t want to process this pain right now. I didn’t get to have the parents married longer than I’ve been alive. I didn’t get to have the financially stable childhood. I didn’t get to have “no abuse” as a label. I didn’t get to have “never had a drink, touch a cigarette or taken a drug” as a banner. I could go on and on and now, I’m battling with feeling like it’s all a punishment. Like I’m not worthy of a good and pretty story. The enemy is desperate for me to give up my faith and though right this moment I am hanging on by my fingernails, I’m still hanging on. I refuse to accept I’m being punished. I refuse to accept that I never get a beautiful story. I refuse to allow the Dark father of lies any more peace than I’ve already given up today.

Today is a new day in a new season. Today is that 16th day in my year of Jubilee and I would rather be slayed by Jesus than give up my faith in His redemption and grace in my life. So yes, I’m struggling right now but guess what, it won’t last. My Father will continue to tell me “well done. Beloved. I am always with you.” And I will strain to say to Satan, “Get behind me.”

It’s time to just be honest, this day is hard. I’m praying for shalom over you and over me. I’m praying that we will start declaring what we know to be true even when it doesn’t feel like it’s true. God is for us and no one and no weapon will take us down unless we abdicate our place and our faith. I may be in tears now but I will still sing joy and praise for my Redeemer who has me.

Shalom,

KA

Fully Convinced

Do you ever feel like you have no idea what God has promised for you or what exactly He’s calling you to do? Boy, I sure hope I’m not alone!

When I cross paths with someone who is locked into their calling and heart’s greatest desire, I have to admit I get a little jealous. You know the person I’m talking about, the one who played pretend firefighter when they were 3 years old and now, at age 30, they are living out that dream and life just seems perfectly in place! I love for them that their dream came true, but it gives me a little twinge of pain because I’ve somehow decided that I’m not as good as they are because that isn’t my story. Do you ever feel that way?

Or I look at people like Abraham and Sarah. Their heart’s desire was to have children, it didn’t look like it would ever happen yet God steps in and say “Yes” over their lives and the dream is fulfilled. The longing in their hearts to have children was their dream and clearly was their calling and, they stayed believing that though it seemed impossible, it would happen. And actually, Sarah doubted it would happen for a time and it still happened! That’s God! And when I read this story, my heart feels a little down because I can relate to the challenge of waiting. I’m elated the dream came true, I just don’t fully understand the timing and I’m once again being asked to wait and trust.

I feel a bit like a simpleton this morning because I didn’t dream of being anything particular as a kid and I don’t have large dreams. My dream life is just following Jesus and loving as many people as I can along the way. I dream of living in New York City, writing books, painting, building community and speaking at churches now and then. I dream of reaching out to the disenfranchised, the homeless, the single parent, the addicted, and just simply loving them. And as I sit hear with tears in my eyes, I just feel like it’s a lame dream life and I should want something grander. And the simple truth is, I want simple.

I’ve asked God for a grander call for years and He always, always goes back to “just follow me”. So, as I start a new season of different work today, nearly begging God for some insight into what to pursue, He again invites me to just follow Him. He knows what He’s bringing my way, I just need to be paying attention. He’s got all of the bases covered and needs met, I just need to stay focused on Him. I also need to stop judging myself. Just because I don’t dream of being a pastor of a megachurch, or a famous author, doesn’t mean my dream holds less value. We all have our own unique calling and it is very personal.

I don’t know what dreams, callings or plans you feel God has for you, but today I feel the invitation for us all to stay fully convinced that God is able to bring it all to pass in His perfect timing. If you aren’t sure what God is calling you to, ask for clarity and wisdom. Look at your dreams and I bet you’ll find a clue.

Shalom,

KA

Being Known

I sometimes struggle with feeling like I hold no true value to anyone. Actually, the truth is I feel like that much more often than I really want to admit. I have a list of reasons why I believe I feel unremarkable and unworthy and all of them have to with other people who have spoken some word to me that planted a dark seed. All of the comments over the course of mostly childhood, but sometimes my adulthood, have come from people who don’t know me well and don’t make much effort to know me.

I can tell myself all day long that it’s their issue, not mine. And, at the end of the day that doesn’t help me much, even though it is the truth. I can try not to “own” their emotions in their words and not take on more of their darkness. I’ve spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars learning really solid skills to help me, and they do, but I actually want healing.

Jeremiah 29:11 is a verse lots of people quote. This morning it has new meaning for me. God can only know the plans He has for me if He actually knows me! God is not about cookie cutters, just look around the next time you’re at the mall. He is clearly all about individuality and character and physical traits that make us different from each other. So wouldn’t it stand to reason that a God who created such rich diversity in our outward appearances would also create rich diversity inward in His plans for us? And further, wouldn’t He need to actually know us personally to know what plans make sense for us? Of course!!

I need to feel known. My story holds so much power to me and for me that I share it whenever possible. I do that for a couple primary reasons: for you to know me and for you to know who God is to me. If I feel known, I inherently feel heard and seen. This may not be true for you. You may value being seen or heard most. In the end, we all have a gap in our hearts and souls that I believe only God can fill. He is the one who hears our dreams and cries, prayers and pains that we don’t dare share with anyone else. He is the one who sees us balled up in bed crying or standing in the sun smiling. He is the one who is always with us, always paying attention and always seeking us out. He is the one who truly knows me and I need to find my ultimate value and worth in that truth. God has been in the dark places with me and, He has never left me alone. He and I have secrets I will likely never tell another soul and I trust Him implicitly because He knows me and I know Him.

You hold so much value. If you don’t feel like it, will you please let me know so that I can pray for you and ask God to show you your value. You don’t have to give me any details, just simply post “pray” in the comments and I’ll pray. Your emptiness does get smaller as God fills it up with His love, grace, peace and mercy.

Shalom,

KA