Life is not fair. I think that is my motto.

I say it more than I probably should.

But, I believe it wholeheartedly.

I let it consume for a while. I have told God every day how unfair it was.

I said it was unfair when I couldn’t find a job after graduation.

It was unfair when it took a few months to get pregnant with Hannah and then I thought I was going to miscarry.

It was unfair when I was so sick that I was hospitalized when I was pregnant with her.

It was unfair that she had a skin condition.

It was unfair when we were swamped with medical bills.

It was unfair when I was so sick again with my second pregnancy.

It was unfair when they told me something was wrong with Sadie’s brain.

It was unfair that she had to go to the NICU.

It was unfair that I thought I was going to lose her.

It was unfair every night I had to leave her at the hospital.

It was unfair that she had to struggle so much.

I probably could go on all day. I’m not proud of this, of my perspective.

I think in some ways I was right. The things I had to go through weren’t always fair. But by what comparison? Who ever told me life was fair?

I am a follow the rules type of person. When I followed the rules by trying to live my life by God’s standards I got angry when things were still hard, or when things didn’t work out in my favor.  We are taught that when you follow the rules you don’t have to face the consequences of breaking them. In life though, that’s just not true.

Bad things happen to everyone. Sometimes they are a result of our decisions and sometimes they just happen.

There are two sides to the idea that life isn’t fair.

What if life was fair? Would that be any better?

What if you had to face the consequences for everything you do or say? What if nothing was ever forgiven, if you were caught in every white lie, if you had a punishment for every time you lost your cool.

If life was fair, God wouldn’t have sent his Son to die for our sins. He didn’t HAVE to. He is a gracious God that loves us. Because of Jesus we have forgiveness for all our sins, the little ones that no one else sees and the big ones that we have to accept consequences for.

Thank God, life isn’t fair!

I don’t think it’s bad to have the motto that life isn’t fair. As long as you can keep the perspective that you are on the receiving end of life being unfair instead of being a victim of it.  It has taken me 27 years and a lot of tears to be thankful that life isn’t fair.

Do you believe life isn’t fair because of all the bad things that happen to you? Or do you believe that life isn’t fair because you don’t have to repay all the debts that you owe?

 

 

Today is my birthday!

And in honor of my birthday, I’d like to tell you about the woman that gave me life, my Momma.

I know her pregnancy with me was not an easy one. I made her pretty sick, she only gained a few pounds and I weighed almost 10. But then I showed her how much I appreciated her by being the best baby ever. 😉 Seriously though, thank you Momma for giving me life. Happy BIRTHday to you too!

My parents both worked so hard when my sisters and I were little. They made sure we always had food on the table, a roof over our heads and clothes on our backs. They sacrificed for us. I remember that my mom would hardly ever buy clothes for herself when we were growing up. Maybe one or two things here and there, but she always made sure we had what we needed first.

We didn’t always get along through the years. We had a tendency to butt heads when I became a teenager. I think it’s because we are more alike than either of us might want to admit.

When I was a senior in high school (and for a couple years after that) I gave her at least thousand gray hairs. I know she spent many nights praying for me and worrying about me. I was a good kid that tasted a little freedom and went too far. I know because of my momma I was able to step away from that and get back to the life I wanted.

Then, I met an amazing guy and got married. Not long after that I had my first baby. It was a hard pregnancy, and my mom was about the only one that could somewhat understand what I was going through. They say you don’t truly appreciate your parents until you become a parent yourself, and I believe that 100%. You can’t imagine the things your parent’s went through to raise you until you experience it yourself.

My second pregnancy was as hard as the first. When I was hospitalized my momma came to sit with me as much as she could. When I didn’t think I could make it another day she encouraged me to stay strong.

My beautiful baby girl #2 was born and I needed my momma in a way I never had before. There were moments when I literally couldn’t see past my own nose. I remember one of those days when I was crying in the NICU that she told me I needed to be strong for my baby girl. It is a beautiful picture when you think about it. A mother being strong for her daughter helping her be strong for her own daughter. And in the days since my sweet baby came home from the hospital my mom has been the one I call when I’m overwhelmed. The moments I cry and say life isn’t fair she reminds me that it isn’t supposed to be but that we are still blessed.

Momma, I love you. I would be lost without you. You have always been there for me and as an adult I know you still are anytime I need anything. Brent and I owe you so much for helping us through those first weeks with Sadie Grace. Truly, you were a lifesaver. I hope you always know you are loved and treasured by my family.kristal2fbproverbs31

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come. 
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Proverbs 31:25-31

Right now I don’t have a writing plan. I write what’s on my heart and mind. Today, what’s on my heart is hard to write about.

I’m sure most of you have heard about the terrible tragedy that happened to a Charlotte family over Memorial Day weekend. The family was in a car accident.  They lost their young son immediately. The mom was pregnant, delivered and then lost their baby. Both parents survived.

If you live in Charlotte you can’t get away from the story right now. The father is a worship leader at one of the large churches here. It’s a tragedy that breaks your heart when you hear it.

I can’t help but think of my two babies and what I would do if I were faced with the unimaginable.

Life is truly fleeting. If that momma knew that would be the last time she buckled her baby boy in his carseat she would have gotten to taken it all in, given him extra kisses.

Truthfully though, most people don’t know when they or a loved one will pass away.  We aren’t promised our next breath.

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:14

In the grand scheme of things our lives are just tiny blips on God’s radar.

But, he cares about each one of us. What an amazing God we serve!

What are you going to do with this vapor of a life?

Will you live your life for yourself, living by your own rules, working to get you and your family ahead of the next, filling up your pockets, chasing after accolades.

Or will you make your life count for eternity? Will you spread the good news, will you love others unconditionally, will you challenge others and yourself to grow, let God fill your heart and mind, work to become more Christlike.

What will your life mean to God at the end of it?

If we knew it was going to be the last chance we had, we would make it count. Right? If you knew tomorrow was your last chance to do something for God you would probably try to do something big, get his attention, make him proud.

You have this moment right now. The time and opportunities in front of you. Don’t wait until the end of your life to wish you would have done something that counted. Don’t take for granted the moments you have to serve and work for God.

If God is calling you or begging you to do something that might seem a little crazy, take that leap of faith and do it.

If you are called to stay home with your children but find yourself getting frustrated easily, remember this is your work God has called you to. These hard days won’t last forever. You are doing a great thing.

If your days are long and your work is hard, keep working for the Lord. Everything you do is for him anyway.

We only get this one chance, this one life. Will you make a difference? Will you wish you would have had that one more chance to do something for God?

You know those annoying kids that always ask, “Why?” You give them an answer, they ask why, you give another answer and you get another why.  That was me.  And still is to a certain point.  I have learned through the years to keep my 1 million why’s to myself.

But, I still think about a lot of things and have many deep, sometimes overwhelming questions. There is so much that I want to know about God, but don’t understand. For a while my questions kept me from fully believing.  I let my need for answers outweigh my faith and relationship with Christ.

I finally came up with this idea that takes away a little of the anxiety about my unanswered questions. You may think I’m being funny but I believe my theory, I have to so that my faith can grow.  I believe that when I get to heaven, after I’m done with my first turn of thanking and praising Jesus and God, that I will be taken to a big movie theater type room where I will watch everything from the beginning of time until the day I died.  Answers to all the questions I had but never got answers for, the reasons why things happened the way they did, how God was able to do the things he did. All those questions that kept me up at night.

You might have several reasons why God wouldn’t do that, and that’s ok. But like I said, that’s what helps me deal with my heavy questions that can’t be answered on Earth.

There are still things that trip me up and make me think really hard.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8

That’s one of those verses that make my mind spin.

I am not the same as I was yesterday. I’m older, learned something new, something yesterday changed me in some way. This happens every day. It happens for everyone.  There is no one on Earth that is the same as they were yesterday. It’s not possible.

This idea is so hard for me to understand. God doesn’t change. He is not affected by the happenings of this world.  He doesn’t love us any more or any less regardless of what we do.  We can’t make him go away, we can’t change him.  That is a relief in some ways, but in other ways it feels a little cold.

But, if God was able to be affected by the decisions of humans he wouldn’t be able to survive. He would be crushed with sadness, anger, resentment, frustration. I do think God feels these emotions towards his creation but he knows the outcome. He knew how it would end before he created it.  Does he always like it? No, I couldn’t imagine that he does. He has the benefit of not needing to ask all these questions that consume us.

I think by not giving us the answers or the understanding of the complexities of this world he is saving us from a lot of heartache and maybe even more questions. He is protecting us.

When I can step away from the questions I have about how God and Jesus can always have been and will forever be the same and unchanged, I can see and appreciate the beauty of our creator. I can appreciate that he gave me the ability to ask the questions that are hard but even more the ability to accept that I will not have answers in this life.  What an amazing, mysterious, omnipotent God we serve! Thank God, he is the same yesterday, today and forever!

Have you ever looked around the room and visibly seen the joy on the faces of those around you?  Have you ever felt like the only one in the room that didn’t have joy?

I’ve been there. Many times.

I have seen beautiful people, filled with joy and envied them.  I have watched families go through tragedies and still manage to have joy.

And then, I’ve thought there was something wrong with me because I wasn’t always a fluttering bird full of joy.

I thought that God created other people for joy, but not me.  And when I heard “the joy of the Lord” at church it felt so foreign.

I don’t tend to have favorites.  I don’t have a favorite sports team, a favorite book, a favorite song, a favorite band, a favorite outfit. I just don’t. I have a lot of things I like, but in most things I don’t pick a favorite and run towards that full of enthusiasm. I’m cautious, inquisitive, look at the big picture, realistic. I always thought my problem with joy stemmed from those personality traits.

When my daughter Sadie spent 7 weeks in the NICU, I found it even harder to have joy.  I was thankful that she was going to come home with me but there was so much more to it. So many unknowns, so many obstacles to overcome. I was angry for her. When I thought about the feeding tube in her stomach, the therapy sessions every week, the delays, the abnormalities, joy was the last thing that came to mind.

I lived in a world of fog for several months. Trying to be happy on the outside while the storm raged inside of me.  Everyone told me how happy I should be that all things considered she was doing so well. I was grateful, but not joyful. I spent her first year telling God how unfair he was.

Around her first birthday, something clicked in my heart. She’s here with us. Yes, what we went through with her was traumatic. I can choose to let my heart wallow in the trauma and keep reliving it, or I can choose joy.

All the people I’ve ever seen that had joy weren’t made in a way that made them more prone to embrace joy. They have made the decision to choose joy.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

I have learned the truth in this verse. My spirit was crushed and it made me an unhappy, miserable person. Choosing joy has made me feel better in so many ways. I can look at life with a clearer lens. Is every minute of every day a joyful one? No. There will always be difficult times and difficult situations.

When I’m frustrated, I’m choosing joy.  When I’m discouraged, I’m choosing joy.  When I’m sad, I’m choosing joy. When life is out of my control, I’m choosing joy. When things are going well, I’m choosing joy. When I’m happy, I’m choosing joy.

God wants us to be joyful.

We are able to have joy because of him. If you try to shut him out, you’re also shutting out the joy that he offers, along with so many other things.

I bought a necklace with a charm that says choose joy. I wear it as my reminder to choose joy in all circumstances. Are you choosing joy? What is your reminder if you have one?