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God’s Painful Grace

There was a time when I believed God’s grace to be something that was always comforting, always miraculous, always a blissfully joyful thing to experience. And it IS all of those things, but not always. Yes, God’s grace has brought me to thankful tears. God’s grace has brought relief and happiness to my heart. God’s grace has overwhelmed me as a loving force that cannot quite be put into words, where I’ve simply felt waves of love washing over me.

But, recently, as I have reflected on some very pivotal moments in my life, I’ve come to also notice a pattern of what I’ll call “painful grace”. This often comes in the form of shattered dreams, a broken heart, a lost job and the like. And it’s not until you’ve come completely out of the situation and (significant) time has passed, and the heart is open for lessons to be gleaned from the experience, that you realize that it was God’s grace at work in those difficult moments also.

At the time, we can rarely see it as grace, because we’re in the throes of pain and disappointment. We’re grieving, lamenting, mourning. It’s difficult to see clearly when we’re in the middle of grappling with the “why” and “how” of our agonizing experiences. But, in hindsight, we can see God’s hand of grace in those very situations.

Later, after the fact, we see that God’s grace in our losing that job was that He was moving us out of our comfort zone, or perhaps removing us from a place with no growth opportunity, or maybe removing us from a toxic work environment so that we could move onto the next opportunity that He had for us. If we’d not have been ‘moved’ from that position, we might have remained in a place of stagnancy and/or missed out on the next chapter God had for us for career growth and change.

After the fact, we see that God’s grace in that failed relationship was Him moving us out of an unhealthy situation, or saving us from a lifetime commitment with a toxic person, or saving us from a situation were we’d have been ill-matched or not truly valued.  However, by His grace, He ‘moved’ us out of that situation so that we could be free to move into a place of self-growth and healing, and/or into a place of preparation for a better future relationship.

After the fact, we can see that God’s grace in that failed business or shattered dream was Him repositioning us. He was re-routing us to an even greater purpose and more fulfilling dream. That ‘failure’ caused us to rethink life, upgrade our perspective, and brainstorm a new, more innovative plan or idea than we would’ve thought of if we’d have not experienced that failure. I once heard Bishop TD Jakes saying something to the effect of – ‘what if our failures are really our gateways to the next phase of our purpose?!’ [paraphrased]

Ohhh, God’s painful grace! We do not readily embrace it. We fight it. We even hate it, because at the time it does not seem like grace… It only feels like pain. But, if our hand is in God’s hand, shouldn’t we trust Him to lead us through this process? To refine us? To grow us? Even if at times His grace is painful?

©2019 Life Together with Kay Dee, “God’s Painful Grace”

photo credit: morguefile.com

Life

Life is multifaceted.
We juggle wants and needs, responsibility and desires, practicality and extravagance,
and everything in between.
We give large parts of ourselves to different things at different times.
It’s easy to feel like life is a constant struggle for balance.
Many times we tend to feel as though we’re wasting our time with mundane responsibilities,
often feeling trapped by them.
But, BEAUTY is not only found in the things that spark joy and passion in us.
Beauty can also be found in the daily grind, in the fulfilling of our duties, in the handling of our responsibilities.
We show up. We work hard. We provide for families. We care for loved ones.
There is honor in that. And we must include it in the totality of who we are.
Our lives ebb and flow, twist and turn, are unbalanced and balanced again.
We have seasons where certain things take up more space in our lives than others.
Sometimes things we want to do or be are delayed due to these life circumstances.

But, that doesn’t mean that we can never have those things or dreams that spark joy in us?
We absolutely can! But we must be mindful of the full picture. The fruition of things is often seasonal and the timing is rarely in our control.

Life is not one thing OR another. It is the summation of all things together. So, when we look at life, we should not define it by just ONE thing, aspect or season only.

Maybe life is less about “settling for mediocrity” or resigning ourselves to our “lot in life”.
Likewise, maybe it’s less about being fulfilled only if we have everything we want.
Instead, maybe it’s more about embracing the WHOLE experience, in all its many facets.
Maybe it’s about redefining our expectations of what life “should be” and embracing ALL of what it is.
Maybe it’s about recognizing and respecting the season we’re in, and flowing WITH it, not against it.

@i.am.kaydee
©2019 Life Together with Kay Dee “Life” by Kay Dee

Quiet Moments

I often like to simply lie awake in bed in the mornings. I lie there in the quiet gathering my thoughts, allowing my conscious mind to fully awaken. I review any dreams that have occurred during the night to see if there was anything of note, or if I should simply file that dream in my mental trash can (to be forgotten). I review anything that bothered me from the night before, to assess if it’s still weighing on me, or if a good night’s sleep has somehow lessened its impact and caused my perspective to shift. I talk to God in order to lay out any concerns and/or requests for the day. I take time to listen (and sometimes read my daily devotional app on my phone). I try to get God’s direction/guidance for my day ahead. I pray for those things or people especially on my heart. And I sometimes also think about dreams and goals (short or long-term, depending on the day). This may sound like a lot but usually doesn’t take very long. The more time I have, say if I wake up early OR have more time (if I’m on vacation for example) the more time I will dedicate to this. The quiet mornings before everyone & everything stirs, are essential for daily balance for me. Unfortunately, sometimes I miss this due to waking up last minute to a blaring alarm and having to get up in a rush. But usually I can fit at least five minutes of thoughtful meditation and prayer in. We need these quiet moments of ‘mental breathing’ to give us balance.

@i.am.kaydee

Blog – iamkaydee1.wordpress.com

Podcast – anchor.fm/kay-dee7

2018 Dec 26

Why Do You Worry?

Why Do You Worry?

by Kay Dee

My mind often goes there… It spirals to that place of a million thoughts happening seemingly simultaneously. I tend to worry. I want to blame it on genetics. My mom worries a lot. I might be predisposed to it. But, it’s something I’ve had to learn to manage. When things are out of control in our lives, we tend to like to control as much as we can. For instance, if you’ve experienced trauma at a young age (or at any age really), one way to cope is to control as much as possible going forward so that you prevent yourself from experiencing further trauma. The only problem with that is that there is so much in this life that is outside of our control. And when we cannot control all of the variables of life, it tends to breed anxiousness.

One definition of anxiety is: a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. [google]

I tend to get anxious about uncertain outcomes. I want to control the outcome so that it will be a pleasant or happy one. Why do I want happy outcomes? Who doesn’t? But, for me, it is likely because I experienced traumas as a child and as a young adult. These series of events affected me deeply and it took a lot of time to recover from them. Trying to control as much as I could was a safety net for me. It made me feel secure. It made me feel like I could determine how things would progress. Most importantly, it made me feel that I could protect myself from hurt. Unfortunately, it didn’t. Life happened anyway. I had to learn that being anxious for things that hadn’t happened or might not happen only succeeded in making me feel terrible. And I had to learn that there was no possible way to control all outcomes. It was better to learn to enjoy what life had/has to offer and to learn ways to manage my anxious feelings should they arise.

To be honest, it’s something I consistently work on. I don’t have all of the solutions. Different things work for different people. One of the things that helps me is using basic MINDFULNESS techniques. Another thing that helps is reminding myself of TRUE statements to replace/counteract the anxious or fearful statements that arise in my thinking. For me, prayer also helps. My faith is an integral part of who I am, and reminding myself of the truth of scripture and of God’s love helps me to refocus my thinking. During prayer, the statement that frequently comes to mind is “Why do you worry?”. It’s as if God is reminding me that He is in control and I needn’t worry. I have his guidance and peace to accompany me throughout my daily life. This helps.

For some folks, anxiety can be debilitating and more focused, professional treatment may be needed, including counseling/therapy, psychotherapy, medication. There is no shame in any of this. Life is stressful at times and depending on what we’ve been through, what we’re going through currently, and how we have learned to manage and cope with life stresses and events thus far, this will determine how we handle when difficult things arise. You may need more help at certain times than at others. That’s perfectly okay. Love yourself and do right by yourself. You’re the only you that you’ve got. Be kind to yourself and learn to recognize and address your needs. You’re worth it!

Blessings!

LISTEN TO MY PODCAST at anchor.fm/kay-dee7 for more encouragement!

Mindfulness Info HERE

©2018 Life Together with Kay Dee, “Why Do You Worry?”

Ode To Parenting

Parenting by Kay Dee (@i.am.kaydee)

Parenting is never boring! It’s the adventure that keeps on giving (even sometimes when you wish it wouldn’t. Lol.)  And if we’re receptive (have open hearts) we can learn so much from the experience.

Children, no matter the age, have this uncanny way of causing us to face ourselves…a humbling experience I assure you. They also have the ability to draw out of us a love so deep and so strong that the intensity of that love often surprises us.

Although there are a multitude of resources available on the subject of parenting, there is no one-size-fits-all formula for being the perfect parent. You will make mistakes. It’s just a fact. But, you will also do many things right. You will learn many lessons as a parent, so, be open to the process.  In parenting, you will learn to rediscover through your child’s eyes the innocence, the awe and the wonder of this world. You’ll also find that there are often times you have to:  eat our own words, apologize, be firm (though you may want to do the opposite), let go (as they grow), be supportive (even when you don’t agree), and spend thankless hours cooking, cleaning, driving (chauffeuring), nursing sickness, consoling hurt feelings or broken hearts, and so much more.  You will at times be too hard on your kids, and at times too soft (enabling).  It takes a while to find a balance.  Don’t be too hard on yourself.  At times, you will be underappreciated and overly stressed. You’ll wonder how you will make it through certain situations, but, hang in there.  Remember this is a marathon, not a sprint.

In their teen years, you may wonder what ‘alien being’ snatched your little love muffin and replaced them with a ‘meany-pants’ that you may often want to run and tackle for being mouthy or attitudinal. In these years you will re-learn what it is to love them unconditionally.  They will need that love (even if they act like they don’t). I promise your love muffin will return…but it will take some time, so, hunker down and gather reinforcements (i.e. other parents who can relate, fun hobbies to reduce stress, counseling, etc.) as you weather the teen years.  If you are fortunate enough to have an uncommonly pleasant teen, count your blessings and know that is not the norm. Lol. Teen years are an onslaught of hormones they’re trying to figure out how to manage, plus they’re learning how to assert their independence.  This is the season when much negotiating will go on.  Stand firm on some things, be more lenient on others.  Pick your battles.  Slowly begin to allow them to be independent people to begin to prepare them for young adulthood.

Lastly, sometimes there will be hurt or offense or misunderstanding between you and your children during this parenting journey.  But, there will also be opportunities to mend fences, apologize, talk, heal.  Take those opportunities! Do not let them pass by.  Your children will need you differently at different phases of their lives, but, they still need you.  Here’s to parenthood.  Much love!

~ Kay Dee

copyright 2018, ‘Ode to Parenting’ by Kay Dee for Life Together with Kaydee / and @i.am.kaydee IG

images: pixabay

When Healing Takes Longer Than Expected

Waking up on a Sunday morning, my mind is full of EVERYTHING including the weird but persistent dreams I had last night.  One of the subjects of my dream was a former love interest … perhaps the phrase ‘love interest’ is not completely accurate.  He was a former potential love interest… there, that’s better.  I had to qualify it. Though I have moved on with life as normal, and time has passed, this particular person has been particularly hard to just ‘get over’.

To be fair, I rarely just ‘get over’ anything. I’m a person of process. It takes me time to work/think things through.  I am also a person who feels deeply, cares deeply and loves deeply.  However, due to prior life situations, disappointments and hurts,  I have learned over the years to temper my feelings.  I try not to allow myself to invest so quickly in anyone because, unfortunately, there are a fair amount of people in this world who will take advantage of (abuse/misuse) a loving heart.  So, I have learned to hold back.  I’ve learned to be watchful, wise and careful.  I’ve learned to see signs of those who would try to use me for their own selfish desires instead of caring for my heart.  There have been one or two who have slipped through the cracks of the security filters I have put in place, but, for the most part my system has served me well and protected me from harm.

However, this one person was not like that.  He was unlike most I had encountered in that we ‘vibed’ intellectually, culturally and conversationally.  He was/is a gentleman. (Why is that so freaking rare these days? I digress). We had similar senses of humor.  We seemed to understand one another well.  And he was/is a very kind and genuine individual.  However, we were at two different places in life and therefore reaching for two distinctly different outcomes.  It ended amicably.  However, I hadn’t realized how much I had allowed myself to hope in this situation.  I hadn’t realized that my heart had begun to become attached, to feel, to care….until it was over.  No one knew of my pain and disappointment, save a few close and trusted friends.  And at a certain point, I even stopped talking to my friends about it because I felt like I was grieving over it for too long.

Being single at this stage in life is particularly challenging.  I’m divorced and a single mom of teens and young adults.  Put on top of that being a Christian woman of deep faith and high standards.  Finding a quality man is not easy anyway, but, it’s especially not easy when you want to find a good, godly, stand-up individual who you actually gel well with.  This particular person met some of those key characteristics and thus, made him appealing.  A cut above the rest.  This was new for me.  The majority of prior prospects… hmm… okay ‘prospects’ is too strong a word.  The majority of prior ‘suitors’?  Nah, let’s just say the majority of prior dudes who’ve tried to talk to me have been only interested in something very shallow, which was always met by me with a polite “no thanks” in some form or another.

So, when you actually find someone that is fitting some of those key things you seek, your inner hope alarm goes off, “Ding, ding ding! We have encountered a potential candidate here!”  Problem is, I got ahead of myself in a major way.  I thought I was being careful and cautious (and I was, outwardly), but internally, I was riding the wave of excitement at having met someone who seemed pretty compatible.  I was leading with emotions instead of wisdom and patience.  However, soon enough, the differences in other key areas began to surface and it became evident to both of us that it was best to part ways as friends. Still, it wasn’t easy.  However, it was done respectfully and peaceably, for which I am thankful.

So what have I learned through this healing process?  I always say if you learn something then you haven’t truly lost.  As I look back on this particular situation with this person, I see places where I should have been more careful with managing my feelings.  I should have paid closer attention to particular conversations where clear messages were being expressed.  I also see places where I compromised within myself where I should not have. I also was gifted with the following gems: I learned that there are good men in this world who are kind, supportive, funny and who will like you just as you are.  I learned that two good people may not be ideal for each other (for whatever reason) and that that is completely okay.  So, you see I’ve learned plenty.  I am thankful that even though the healing process has been slow, at least it has been actually progressing / moving forward and I can really see how far I have come.

For those of you who are secretly trying to figure out who this was and when it happened…that is not important.  Suffice it to say it was in the past.  But, I wanted to share my experience in hopes of being a blessing to someone else.  Much love, much peace.

Kay Dee

My Battle With Success

Haven’t been on here in awhile.  Apologies. My life has been quite full. Being a mom never stops, it just changes a bit as your children grow older. I’ve had some transition on my job. Social life …ahh, I make my own social life. If I didn’t, I’d just be sitting at home bored or depressed. So, I go and I do things ON PURPOSE. Sometimes it’s exhausting, but, it fills my need for social activity and includes some things I enjoy. Dating…ha! Next subject. And dreams… I’m working to fulfill some of them.

I didn’t grow up in the church, but, I have spent a fair amount of my adult life in church because I became serious about my faith as a young adult and I continue on my journey to this day. I used to be married to someone who was heavily involved in church life and I saw all kinds of inner workings that left me a bit jaded and I’ve been working on healing from that. That said, I did receive some good teaching (and some not-so-good). I have heard multiple preached messages on using your “gifts and talents” for God.  In the church world, the whole “gifts and talents” thing took on a life of its own, and for lack of a better term, was ‘trending’ heavily for a while. Everyone was trying to find out their “gifts” so they could be successful in church and in life in general.

But, what is success? I have had to grapple with my own definition of success over the years. Of course, I was taught, mostly subconsciously, that success equaled monetary wealth. That is what everyone seemed to be striving for. I remember feeling somehow “lower than” or “less than” when I would go over someone’s really nice and fancy house. They’d have all of the amenities anyone could dream of. They’d have all of the games and toys that my kids wanted, but, I couldn’t afford to buy them. I have lived in rental properties for the majority of my adult life. I sometimes still battle with this feeling of inadequacy to be completely honest. But, is “success” only comprised of monetary wealth and the acquiring of things?

Success can be other things as well. It means different things to different people. I have had to figure out what it means to me. And I am still figuring it out as I explore my gifts. It seems I am gifted in areas that don’t naturally or easily produce income. And it still seems that part of my definition of success is related to money.

Let me give you background.  Having become a single parent due to divorce was one of the most difficult things I have had to endure and push through and conquer. It has strengthened me in ways I didn’t realize. But, can I tell you?? It’s been excruciating at the same time. I have wanted to give my children so much that I could not afford. I have felt so guilty about that for so long. And I am still trying to figure out how to be financially successful (in addition to my full-time job) to provide the very best way I can. You don’t know how many tears I have shed over the years out of sheer frustration over money.  That brought me to a point where I wanted to figure out a successful “side hustle” (side job or business). A few years ago, I did manage to stumble upon a niche side business that was well received, but only brought in minimal (and sporadic) income. It was enough to reinvest back into the business. Or sometimes after a drought, a random sale would come through at just the right time when I needed a little extra cash. But, beyond this, it did not flourish, so, after a few years of trying, I shut it all down.

Recently, I’ve decided to pursue things I am actually passionate about. I thought to myself “THIS will surely bring about eventual success because these are things I love.”  I told myself that growth will be slow and it will take time, but, it will eventually reach and help others and eventually pay off. However, I find myself impatient with the process. I have been wanting some form of success for so long, that I feel burned out from continuous trying and little return on my efforts. When I do create what I believe is meaningful / useful / helpful content, I only receive minimal feedback and I become discouraged. Still, I press on. I remind myself that at least this  time I am doing it from my heart instead of out of desperation.  Still, the internal struggle remains. Still, I wonder when will I “break through” to a place of reaching many and not simply a few. I want to be wise. I want to help others. Yet, I also want to be able to use these gifts to make things better for my family and myself financially at some point.

I think along with this, I feel the frustration of yearssssss of waiting for some other things to come to fruition; waiting for years’ worth of prayers to be answered; waiting for long-nurtured dreams to come true. It’s an accumulated frustration which doesn’t pair well with the process of beginning new things.  New things take an enduring patience which is something I must continue to work on. New ventures take lots of tweaking and trial and error.  New things mean you may fail as much as you succeed.  I know I have to hang in there and diligently move forward. The temptation is to look at how far I have to go instead of how far I’ve already come.  I remind myself daily that I will get there. I have always had BIG dreams in my heart and want to reach many souls. Still, I remind myself to  be thankful for the souls I currently do reach; and for the things I do currently have; and for the success I have already obtained over the years, though not easily seen with the naked eye.  Lord, help me to focus on the positive as you continue to grow my patience.  Thank you for teaching me needed lessons along the way to my personal success…whatever that looks like.

Thanks for reading.
ALSO…please find & subscribe to my podcast called “Life Together with Kay Dee“.
‘We are not meant to do life alone. We are meant to do life together in community (even online ones).’
Blessings.

~ Kay Dee