Faith, Growth, Trust…help!

I haven’t been blogging regularly because I’ve been busy with everything else.  I’m trying to get some ideas off of the ground and establish some things so that they can grow. It’s hard work.  But, in the process, I’ve neglected my writing.

I’ve also been somewhat inwardly hesitant to share my faith, although I press forward and make myself do it anyway.  This society, for all of its shouts of “intolerance!” seems to be intolerant of Christianity. But, I get it.  Christianity has not had many stellar moments over the last several years.  Church organizations are run by people.  People are flawed.  And Christianity in the Western world has a past that is not anything to brag about.  It’s been used for manipulative purposes.  It’s been used to control.   It’s been used to oppress.  It’s been used to condemn.  None of these were the original intent.  We “the collective church” have not been good at leading with love.  But, I think there is hope.  There is a remnant, a faction if you will of believers who are rejecting all of the pomp and circumstance, the lack of authenticity and the pious arrogance of what the church has come to be known for and is instead seeking to take off the mask, get real, and get messy in seeking truth and in loving people, all people.

With that being said, I’ll be sharing more about my faith, knowing some will not want to hear about it.  But, to not share it would be to reject an essential part of who I am.  This is part of my truth and I seek to be authentically me.   I hope that some will relate to it, even if they don’t ascribe to the faith part of it.

God is calling me to a new level of trust.  This is a big deal for me because trusting God was a really difficult road for me.  As a child, I trusted God with the innocence of a child.  As I grew, I experienced a major betrayal of trust in my teens and it scarred me.  Trusting God was not something I was able to do for awhile because I was angry and bitter.  Thankfully, my love for God and my faith in God, though at times weak and small, never died.  God can work with ‘just a little’.  Over the years, I’ve worked hard at trusting God and the hard work has paid off.  Now, He’s calling me higher and it’s not all rainbows and puppies, let me tell you.  This new level of trust is also hard work.  It’s exposing all of my ‘yuck’ in the process.  Sometimes we get to a place where we think we’ve got a pretty good grasp on things.  We feel good about the level of maturity we’ve reached and how far we’ve come.  But, then God calls us to a new level of growth.  The growth process is not comfortable.  It’s work, it’s ‘sweat’, it’s humility and acknowledging we still have a ways to go, and it’s admitting you’re not as ‘together’ as you thought you were.  But, the rewards of growth in God’s hands are immeasurable.  I’m looking forward to seeing all of the new things God will do!

For any of you who are like me, and God is calling you to new / higher levels, keep trusting Him.  Keep allowing God to work on you:  to work some things out of you, as well as work some things into you.  He will help you!  And remember to have awesome brothers and sisters in the faith to link arms with you, so that you can keep one another lifted up along the way.

Much love, much peace.

~ Kay Dee

©2020 I AM KAYDEE, “Faith, Growth, Trust…help!”

The Audacity to Love Yourself

I love myself.

This is a declaration I must make on a consistent basis.  For so long, I didn’t love myself.  I experienced some traumatic family situations when I was young.  These life events dramatically altered how I saw myself.  I thought something must be wrong with me, or else these things wouldn’t have happened. This is often how children process trauma.  No matter how many times my folks would tell me it wasn’t my fault, and it wasn’t anyone’s fault, it was too late.   My brain already processed it as partially my fault. Without realizing it, I began to see myself as less-than-worthy.  I sought out attention as a teenager and young adult to try to “prove” to myself that I was good enough.  Relationship after relationship, trying to “make them see” how valuable I was.  I didn’t realize that I first had to learn to love ME in order to be whole enough to love others and to receive love in a healthy way.

Am I there yet?  Yes and no.  Yes, I do love myself and it’s taken so much work to get to the place where I could say it and mean it.  But, no, I’m not always good at it.  Some days I have to purposely declare it and purposely remind myself that I am worthy.

Faith Component:  For me, God is central to me loving myself.  He created me and loves me with a love so overwhelming that I cannot fully comprehend it.  And I experience God’s love in such tremendous and often unexpected ways, that I cannot deny it, nor would I want to.

Today, if you do not feel loved, or don’t love yourself, I want to remind you of how special you are. You are most certainly meant to be here.  You have purpose.  You are incredible.  I know sometimes days are not easy, but, please know that you matter.  Your existence is not pointless.  You have a lot to give, even if you cannot see it at the moment.  Know that I am at least one person, one voice here to remind you of your worthiness!  You are in my thoughts and prayers today.

If you feel you need more support than just reading a blog post, please visit my Resources Page to find extra help in the way of counseling or crisis support.  Sending oodles of love your way!

Blessings,

~ Kay Dee

©2019 I AM KAYDEE, “The Audacity to Love Yourself”

Photo credit: pixabay.com

Finding a Unicorn – Dating in your 30’s and Beyond

Let’s face it, dating these days is all kinds of strange. Whenever this topic comes up in discussion, I keep telling people that the culture has shifted.  It’s a “hook-up culture” encompassing all ages. Not many want a committed monogamous relationship anymore.  It’s sad.

I should have started by saying that I know a lot of women in their 30’s and beyond, who are phenomenal single women, myself included.  We have good jobs, some of us are amazing single moms, some of us are amazing non-moms, professional, gifted, stable, can hold an intelligent conversation, have varied interests, aren’t crazy, the list goes on.  The main things we have in common are how phenomenal we are, and our single status.  This is not for lack of trying.  Oh no.  We try.  We date.  And we come across insane amounts of foolishness in the process.  It’s hard out here in these proverbial streets.

It used to be when folks got to be of a certain age, they would want to “settle down”.  This has become an outdated notion to many.  Career comes first.  Or maybe they tried at love early on, and had a failed long-term relationship (with or without kids) and they’re not looking for another.  But, I submit to you that there are still plenty of us out here who would like to find a compatible life partner.  I know this post isn’t speaking to everybody, but, I’m just telling you what I know.

For me personally, add on top of this, wanting to find a guy who shares my faith.  Honey, it’s like trying to find a doggone unicorn.  You’d think, “Oh just find a guy in church.”  My answer… “Hahahahahahahaha….ha….ha….hahaha…HA!”  Unfortunately, many churches are geared only toward these 3 main ministries:  Married Couples, Children/Teens and YOUNG Singles.  That’s it.  Not middle aged or older singles.  Not divorced singles. Not widowed singles.  So there ya go.  And if by chance we do meet a church guy that we want to go out with, they have commitment issues too, or also just want to play games and waste time. We have stories, but, I will spare you them.

So, what to do?  Try dating sites/apps?  We try them.  Intermittently.  They suck.

I have unofficially decided that maybe it’s just U.S. culture and I need to leave the country? Can’t be sure of this, though.  I need to discuss more with my international friends.  Anyway, this a rant for rant’s sake.  I welcome Commiseration or Solutions only.  Blessings!

Kay Dee

©2019, I AM KAYDEE “Finding a Unicorn – Dating in your 30’s and Beyond”

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

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