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

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

Forgiving Yourself.

IMG_5092Forgiving Yourself.

Today, as I sat in church listening to the message many thoughts ran through my mind. It wasn’t your typical sermon for Mother’s Day (which was kind of a relief in some ways). It touched on how God allows both joys and sorrows in our lives. And in particular, how it seems we learn the most from sorrows (or difficult situations). It’s true. Whenever we go through joyous events, we’re not really thinking, “what am I learning from this?” We are just reveling in whatever amazing thing is happening. But, when we experience the tough stuff, we go through the full gamut of emotions and thoughts. We ask “Why?” And it also causes us to be more reflective.

In reflecting on these things, my thoughts turned to some tough situations I have gotten myself into over the years. As much as we all want to believe we pretty much have life “together”, there are times when we lack judgment or experience or good sense. There are times when we’ve thrown caution to the wind and acted on a whim and it’s come back to bite us in the rear end.

As someone with perfectionistic tendencies, I’ve often beat myself up over these kinds of mistakes. Also, I’d falsely think, “There’s no way God is happy with me. No way he really loves me after this (whatever the mistake was).” It took a long time for me to realize that God loves me regardless. He may not be happy with all of my choices, but, his love never ends. His grace never ends. And he forgives when I ask sincerely. I’m sooo thankful for that!

Then there’s the topic of forgiving other people. That’s reeeeally rough to do sometimes. Especially when you know they don’t deserve it. But, I’ve learned that forgiveness is more for MY heart, than for their benefit. I forgive so that I can live free from bitterness and anger.

The last thing, yet possibly one of the biggest hindrances to our overall well being is self-forgiveness or lack thereof. ‘Can I or will I forgive myself?’ Can I forgive myself for messing up? Being human and flawed? Lacking judgment in that instance? For saying that thing? Or doing that thing? I think forgiving ourselves can be one of the most challenging things to do, especially if we hold ourselves to a high standard, and if other key people in our lives do, too.

But, forgiving yourself is part of loving yourself. It’s part of healing. [This is not the same as excusing repeat bad behavior. If you know you have a pattern of doing something wrong or harmful to yourself or others, then you should seek out professional help.] But, if in the normal course of life, you make mistakes here and there, or you really mess from time to time, then it’s imperative that you forgive yourself. Love yourself enough to do yourself that favor. On this journey of life, we’re all learning and growing and hopefully trying to be better people all the time. We do have to remember that we are flawed but as long as were trying to learn and grow and be the best we can be, then we’re on the right track.

©Kay Dee Speaks “Forgiving Yourself.”

photo credit: google pics and here

The Sun and The Son

The sun shining on my face through the window right now.
That always reminds me of what God once said to me:
“The sun always shines on you” or more aptly…
“The SON always shines on you”.

Years ago I went for a hike in a local park. It must’ve been autumn because I remember the air was crisp and I was wearing a jacket. There were various trails to follow, some more off-the-beaten-path than others. I took one of those less followed trails and got quite lost. At first, all was pleasant. It was a beautiful day. I breathed in the fresh air and loved looking at the sky and the trees. It was cleansing and refreshing. I sometimes like taking nature walks to have my prayer and reflection time with God. At some point, I began to realize I’d gone too far. I tried to remember which way I came from but nothing looked familiar. I walked one way, then changed direction and walked another for quite a while. I walked through muddy areas and tough areas to traverse. The further I went, I wondered how in the world I’d ever get back to civilization. I didn’t see any paved paths anymore. I continued to walk over leaves, sticks, rocks, up and down small hills. I must have been out there for a couple of hours because it started to get dark and that really ‘freaked me out’. I hadn’t seen any other people on the path in quite a while by that point.

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The more lost I realized I was, the more scared I became, and the more I prayed for God to help me. As I continued to walk, trying to find my way back to a path that was paved, the sun broke through the clouds and warmed my face and my heart. At that moment, I heard God say, “The sun (or really ‘The Son”) always shines upon you.” I knew then I’d be okay, even though I still felt afraid.

Even though sometimes we lose our way, God has not lost us. He is watching over us. He will care for us and guide us back to where we belong. Though sometimes the path is rough, unsure, unpaved, unsteady, muddy or messy, He is there to help us through it, and help us find our way to safety and peace in His presence.

Not long after my encounter with God, I found a lovely couple who was walking the trails, and they helped me back to a main path, and let me use their phone to contact my family to pick me up.

It was quite the experience, but, I will not forget those lessons I learned that day. So, every time the sun shines on my face, I think about how God is present with me and I’m thankful for the SON.

© 2015 KD Corner “The Sun and The Son”

images courtesy of morguefile.com and Google images via wallippo.com

Moments of Clarity – Karate Kid Lessons

Do you ever have those “moments of clarity”, when all of a sudden you “get” (understand) at least partially why your life is going a certain way (and that way is usually in complete contrast to your desires)?

Yeah, me too.
I personally think God allows us these mini “a-ha” moments so that we don’t lose heart altogether. Like for me, recently, through a series of events (including my personal prayer time, etc.) I was clearer on certain things. I said to my self, “Ohhhhhh!!! Yeah! I get it.” And then I was super happy because I felt like I “had a clue” for once.

The problem with this…at least for people like me, is this — We want to put these revelatory moments on “continuous play” all day, every day.  However, these moments of revelation serve their purpose to enlighten and then they are done. Now, armed with this new knowledge, you have to move forward in the drudgery of daily life operating on such knowledge until the next “a-ha” moment. I don’t know about you, but, sometimes I’d like an ‘IV drip’ of that euphoric feeling [and no, not by anything artificial or illegal]. I just wish you could feel that natural excitement of having learned or realized something new…on a continuous basis.  But, that’s not life, is it? Much of life is just plain old …plain. Or maybe better words would be – uneventful, normal, status quo. It’s just life.

Not always fun.
But it’s reality.

Many times I remind others that your seasons of “waiting” are training ground for learning many lessons that will prepare you for the next season of your life (whatever that may be). It’s hard when we don’t see the point of the lessons. If you’re an old school movie buff, take the ORIGINAL Karate Kid movie. The main character Daniel wanted to learn karate because he was being bullied. He found out the maintenance man at his apartment complex (Mr. Miyagi) knew karate because he came to Daniel’s rescue when Daniel was being jumped by a group of kids one night. After this incident, Mr. Miyagi took Daniel to confront the bullies at the local dojo and tried to make peace. This request was flatly rejected by the sensei.  Therefore Mr. Miyagi came up with ‘plan B’.  He offered that Daniel would enter a tournament to compete against the students who beat him up, in a fair environment.  The proposition was that the bullying would cease so that Daniel could train. This was agreed to.

Mr. Miyagi then began to “train” Daniel at his house by way of making him do certain chores on his property. But, Daniel had to do the chores in a certain manner, with particular movements. Daniel didn’t see the point of all of this. He got fed up after a few days. His shoulder was hurting and he was exhausted. He decided to confront Mr. Miyagi about it and then he intended to quit. He quite disrespectfully told off Mr. Miyagi and complained that he was supposed to be learning karate instead of cleaning his property.  Mr. Miyagi got Daniel’s attention by healing the shoulder on the spot.  Daniel was dumbfounded.  Mr. Miyagi proceeded to tell Daniel “…Show me ‘wax on, wax off'”, “show me ‘paint the fence'”. The specific movements Mr. Miyagi taught Daniel while working, were in fact karate movements to Daniel’s amazement. You saw the “lights go on” for Daniel.

In this process of continued training, he teaches Daniel that karate is not about beating people up, it’s about discipline and respect among other things.

What “pointless”, mundane, every day chores or duties are you handling at this present time in your life and you don’t see the purpose for them? Like Daniel, you even get angry and yell, “I can’t do this anymore. I quit!” And you try to find an alternative route that ends up being more messy or harmful than helpful. However, these seasons have a purpose. The skills you are learning now may seem extremely useless. But, as you move forward, and are allowed bits of revelation along the way, things will become clearer, and they will come together at the right time.  For example, you will see how organizing those luncheons will teach you about organizing larger events. Or perhaps you will see how managing that small group of diverse personalities will help you to manage an more expansive and more diverse group of people later on.

You are working toward your goal, but, the fruition of that goal may not yet be possible because you haven’t yet acquired all of the necessary skills, tools and knowledge to step into that new season of your life. My friends, God will move you into that season at the right time. He knows when, where and how to bring it all together. If you don’t believe in God, that’s fine. But the principle remains. Your periods of waiting have purpose even if you do not yet see what that purpose is. They are preparing you for greater good and if you do not learn these lessons now, how will you then function fully in the place where God is leading you, or where you are supposed to be?

For Christians, trust God knowing there is a purpose in this waiting season.
For non-Christians, still, remember this process has a purpose in order for you to get where you need to be.

I would be remiss if I didn’t post the “wax on, wax off” clip.  Enjoy! And BE ENCOURAGED!

“Not everything is as seem…” – Mr. Miyagi

karate

© KD Corner 2014 “Moments of Clarity – Karate Kid Lessons”

When Life Is Quiet

 

daisy ladybug

When Life is Quiet by KD

When life is quiet
And the phone doesn’t ring
It may feel as if the birds do not sing
Remember you’re not alone

When life is quiet
By your own design
You’ve purposely left some things behind
Remember you’re not alone

When life is quiet
And friends let you down
You look, but they are not to be found
Remember you’re not alone

For in the quiet of life
We learn to hear again
We learn to see again
We remember the sound of our own voice
We remember who we are
We become re-focused
We cry tears long held in
We release burdens long weighing us down
We heal

©2014 KD Corner / KD “When Life Is Quiet”

Grace and Love

Hi Everyone! Gosh, I know it’s been a long time since I’ve blogged about anything on here.
I’ve honestly been in a place where I haven’t had the inclination to write. Does that ever happen to you?

Today I want to talk about God’s love and grace. I realize everyone is not a Christian who reads this. That’s totally okay. We are all unique. We have so many choices in life. If you choose not to read this, that’s cool. If you choose to go ahead and read it, that’s cool too.

I’ve been in a place where I’m trusting God for a lot of things. I’ve been praying for many things and waiting for answers to some things; the right timing for others; the fruition of promises for yet others.

It’s not an easy place to be. The road of life is full of things to trip you up, lessen your faith, sidetrack or distract you.

It’s then we must really dig in and stay rooted and grounded in God. We must read His word (Bible), study, pray, be in fellowship with other believers to strengthen our faith.

If we slip up at all, thank God he is gracious and kind and loving beyond our wildest imaginations. He will restore us to right relationship with himself. He’s awesome like that.

Today at church the message was about being “all in” for God. But what caught my attention was when he was talking about the patriarch Abraham. It says that God called him “friend”. Does that mean he (Abraham) was perfect? Nope! Not by far. But his heart was inclined to God and he trusted and believed in God.

That reminds me of what it says that “Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart.” Whew! I’m so glad about that.

Think about King David. He was called “a man after God’s own heart”, but did he screw up at all? Uh, yep! Big time. But, his heart was for God and when he messed up he always repented wholeheartedly and he was restored into right relationship with God.

Be encouraged today. If you’ve done anything you’re ashamed of or if you’ve totally screwed up in some way… there is a loving Lord who longs for you to come to him. This also has to do with Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. He died that we might have new life.

Come to him and trust him today.
I want you to know how much you’re loved.

And if you’re steadily walking this road called ‘life’ and you’re trusting God but you’re tired waiting for certain things… be encouraged. We’re all in this together. And God is faithful. Always.

Blessings to you.

©2014 KD Corner “Grace & Love”