When God Slaps You in the Face

I feel so angry. Disappointed. Let down by God. I debated sharing this because I knew other Christians, or just people in general, would compare my pain to others. Tell me to get over it. But, I quickly realized that I shouldn’t care too much about people who try to minimize one person’s pain by comparing it to another. And, I should care more about authenticity and be honest about the real disappointments, and questions, of my faith than with keeping up with a “my life is perfect” image that everyone tries to paint on social media. So, here it goes.

I feel like God slapped me in my face and just left me this week. I know those are big words, but that’s exactly how I feel right now. Every time I’ve thought about God in the past week I’ve become angry and pushed any thought of Him from my mind. My Bible has remained closed and my Bible app has remained unopened. Because I feel mad and I feel hurt. And if God is as big as I think He is, He can take it.

My entire life I have desired financial security (I see your eye rolls now). I grew up around really poor people. People who had to work three jobs to make ends meet; women who bounced around from boyfriend to boyfriend just to have a place to stay; people’s whose trailers were literally falling apart but they couldn’t afford to get it fixed. The desire for financial security has consumed me. Just about every choice I’ve made since I was sixteen years old was governed by the desire to never experience poverty again. I went to college, I got four degrees, I worked five jobs during my senior year of college, I chose a law school that I thought could get me a big job. And now I feel like all of my planning, all of my work, was for absolutely nothing.

This summer I worked as a summer associate at one of the largest firms in the country. I loved my work. I loved the challenge of my assignments. I loved my co-workers. And I loved the financial security that came with the job. I thought I was set. When I found out the firm wouldn’t be able to hire me, I didn’t worry. I had done everything right during law school: I got decent grades (not the top, but above average) and I joined all of the clubs and honor societies I was supposed to. 400 job applications and hundreds of rejection letters later I was feeling hopeless. Then, I got an interview for my dream job. Literally, my exact dream job. I went through three rounds of interviews and fell more in love with the firm. Thank you, God…I thought…this is perfect, now I see why I didn’t get those other jobs.  Everyone I knew thought I had the job in the bag. Needless to say, I was shocked when I got the unpersonalized rejection letter. How could you do this to me? I prayed. Because that’s the tough thing: I believe God can do absolutely anything. So He chose not to open this door. He heard me beg, and He closed it anyway. He chose to hurt me and to rip away a dream I had been chasing my whole life.

I know the verses about God’s provision. I know the verses about God being a good God and Him only desiring good things. I have seen things that I thought were awful work for my good. But, I don’t see this one getting fixed. And y’all, I am just so angry with Him. I had been working towards this for YEARS, ya-ears. And now all of my dreams (at least for the next five years) look radically different. Things I wanted to do, ministries I wanted to support, are no longer possible. And now, the fear of living in poverty is consuming my almost every waking moment.

So, I had this weird thing happen. On Thursday night after Bible study, one of my friends took me out for dinner. On our walk back to the subway station from the group he asked me how my week was. I started crying, then sobbing, as I told him about the job. I knew my friend was facing big, life-altering challenges of his own and I wrongly assumed he would tell me, “It’s just a job” and compare my struggle to what he was going through. But he didn’t. Instead, he listened. And he brought me into this subway shop, bought me a panini, and told me, “Tell me how you feel.” I started off slow telling him I was angry, and he kept saying, “but is that really how you feel?” And each time he asked that, and listened, I took off the protective shield and the rule you have “growing up Christian” that you don’t complain about your own problems because there is “some starving child in Africa who has it worse.” Amiright? This guy sat there for two hours and let me cry and tell him how mad at God I was, how let down I was, and all of the big fears of my life. Did I feel better after the two hours? Honestly, not really. My problems weren’t fixed. No divine lightning bolt was sent. But, in those two hours, I felt known. I felt heard. I felt listened to in my worst moment. And y’all, that’s powerful.

This isn’t meant to be some happy, warm and fuzzy, post. It’s supposed to be real. I hope you’ve never had your life’s dream crushed. I hope you’ve never felt utterly let down by God. But I know you have. To you, me not getting this job (or any job) may not seem like a big deal to you. But it’s a huge deal to me. It’s my life’s dream. Just like you’ve had big let downs, whether that be a failed relationship, infertility, infidelity, or an unexpected death of a loved one.

But, what I had hoped to share, and encourage you to do, is not to compare your pain to that of another. Your pain is real. It’s valid. It’s painful. Everyone hurts for different things. When someone trusts us with their hurt, we should never, ever compare it to someone else. Ever. Hurt cries out to hurt. And we are told to weep with those who weep.

So, I’m not concluding by saying God did some miracle. To be brutally honest, I’m still very angry. I know my God is a big God, and I know he can take my anger. I’m not a theologian or a minister, but I wanted to let you know, that if you’re angry, if you’ve been let down like I have, you’re not alone.

xoxo
Krista

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When You’re the Bully

I felt so dirty. Ashamed. Embarrassed. Not myself. “You have no idea how you may have just affected that man,” a voice in my head whispered. “Now go back there and apologize.”

I was in Wal-Mart quickly pushing my cart filled with overpriced school supplies trying to keep up with the Olympic speed walking pace of my Gramma. I had been up for nearly 40 hours and just looked and felt gross. To top it off, my stress and anxiety levels were so high that my resting heart rate had elevated to 112bpm, close to where it sat during finals week the previous spring.

I had just arrived back from Finland and had planned to spend the week before law school classes resumed focusing on my small business. I had seriously under estimated the time it would take to complete my pre-class reading and was frantically trying to figure out how to complete my first Moot Court and Journal assignments. To top it off, I was a nervous wreck because I had yet to secure a summer associate position for next summer and was worrying all of my career dreams had crashed and burned. I. Was. A. Complete. Mess.

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Literally how I looked. But with less cute clothes. And blond hair. 

 

A thumb drive pushed me over the edge and the bubbly red head Wal-Mart associate became the unlucky soul to absorb the wrath of my anger. All I wanted was a thumb drive. I thought that was a simple request. But I was wrong. When the thumb drive wouldn’t slide off the hanger, I realized it had one of those anti-left protections that required associate help. After glancing at the length of the line, I tried to rip the cardboard box to slide it off but was met with the “don’t you dare do that, Krista Ann (middle-name-you’re-in-trouble-level)” glare from my grandmother. I rolled my eyes and waited five minutes while the associate asked every customer in front of me for what seemed like their life story. So when it was my turn, and he asked me how my day was, I snapped. I became grouchy. The associate was taken back by my tone. And, I continued to snap at him the entire time he tried to assist me, before finally yelling, “This is completely ridiculous!” When he told me I had to pay for the thumb drive at the counter but could not pay for any of my other items.

As I walked away, the dirty feeling set in. I worked for almost three years as a cashier, and I knew how mean customers could be. I was just the rude customer I had always vowed I would never be. Immediately the shame began to set in. I wanted to check out and leave and not have to face the way I had made the man feel. But I couldn’t do it, I knew God wanted more from me.

“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”~ James 1:19

So, I went back. I stared at the floor as I waited in line, embarrassed to have the associate look at me. When it was finally my turn, I took in a deep breath and said, “I am so very sorry for the way I just treated you. It was unacceptable. I took out my anger and stress on you when you were just trying to do your job and help me. I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?” I felt the eyes of the customers behind me burn against the back of my head. The man’s mouth opened in surprise.

“You’re only the second customer to ever apologize to me in my ten years here,” he said solemnly. “I appreciate it. Thank you.” And with a smile and nod, I walked away feeling a little less dirty but relieved that I had done the right thing.

“Ain’t that somethin’?”

“Well ain’t that somethin’?” I heard the customer behind me say as I walked by. I was reminded that our interactions don’t only affect the person we interact with, but also those who watch. I know as a society we often view those in service careers as “below us,” but I had always been taught that any job done with integrity was an honorable job worthy of respect. That man was my equal, and I had treated him harshly, and I needed to apologize.

“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:29

Our Words Are Powerful

Our words are powerful. We need to use our words to encourage one another, and I had used my words to belittle a man who was probably looked down upon by others all the time. It was important that I go back and apologize to him, and replace the words that I had wrongly used in my own selfish fit of frustration and anger to hurt him, to instead restore some of that dignity. And who knows? Maybe the customers watching behind me thought of individuals they need to apologize to, too.

words have power

Words Are A Reflection of the Heart

“Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45. Our words reflect what’s on our insides. By being mean to that man, I was dumping the anger and frustration from my inside, regarding the craziness of my life, onto him. This was unacceptable. It’s important that we realize our words don’t just happen. They come from somewhere. They come from our heart. If we’re being nasty, it’s because we have something going on on the inside that needs to be addressed.

Who have you been short with today? Rude? Belittled? Bullied? Gossiped about? Our words have the power to build up and destroy, and if we’re being mean, it’s the result of something not-too-beautiful going on on the inside. We need to recognize that, apologize, and fix it. Not only does this force us to fix the root cause of our hurtful words, it restores dignity to those we belittled, and shines as a light for others.

As always, if I can encourage or pray for you in any way, let me know.

xoxo

Krista

God Loves Lawyers (Part 2): Your Mission Field & General Life Update

Hello blog readers (all 13 of you followers) and anyone who happens to find this page!

General Life Update

It’s been nearly two months since I have posted and so much has happened: I moved to New York City (haven’t been hit crossing the cross walk…yet…), began law school (and survived my first cold call!), started a business (Summer Storm Fashions, check it out!), and started attending a Presbyterian Church (where they use REAL WINE during communion…Did you know that was a thing? Me neither…). Needless to say, life has been crazy and hectic and exhilarating and <insert exciting synonym here>

Color coding has been a huge blessing for me and has helped me stay sane these past few weeks!

I run an eBay upthrifting business where I sell name brands at a discount. Check out my store here:

http://www.ebay.com/usr/summerstorm*2010

 

New City, New Church

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I’m so blessed to be able to live with such beautiful, kind, intelligent housemates!

New York City is much different than Arkansas, to say the least: the social mannerisms are different (no ma’ams here), the lingos are different, morals are different…everything is just different. It’s been overwhelming lonely at times, but I’m thankful to have gotten involved with an awesome study group and connected with a stellar church community that shares my desire to put my faith into action and my belief that Christ calls us to serve the least of these. Some of you may have heard of the church before, it’s Redeemer Presbyterian, and was founded by Tim Keller. If you ever get a chance to check out his books, please do. For the first time in my life I’m attending a church where it’s the norm to have a master degree. Every person I’ve met at Redeemer so far is in a graduate program or already has a doctorate. It’s just much different than what I’m used to: the discussions are different, the views are different. However, I’ve really enjoyed having great American writers and classical philosophers added to our sermons. Do these philosophers thoughts have equal weight as the Bible? ABSOLUTELY NOT! But, I believe God gave us brains to think and I think we can learn a lot. These experience coincide with Part 2 of my series: God Loves Lawyers.

As Jesus was walking along, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him. Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?” When Jesus heard this, He said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor–sick people do.” Then He added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: “I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices. For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”~Matthew 9:9-13

You Don’t Need to Give Up Your Non-Christian Friends

My first day at a clinic! I work at the FLAG clinic where I help clients obtain information about how to stop the foreclosure process on their home. I love it. Do I look like a lawyer at all?

In my last post I explained that God does not requires us to give up our “worldly” God given talents when we become a Christian. Instead, we need to stop using those talents to serve sinful purposes and instead use them to serve Godly purposes. In this post I’m going to talk about how Matthew not only followed Christ, but brought Christ, quite literally, to people who may not have met him any other way.

In the second part of Matthew’s account above, Matthew brings Jesus, literally, to dinner at a tax collectors house. Now, keep in mind that these men were not your average accountants. These men were forcing Jews to pay high taxes to the government that was 1) invading their land 2) oppressing them and 3) torturing their people. Would Jews want to pay taxes to these people? No. Not only that, but tax collectors would charge extra to pocket money for themselves.  Imagine then how despised the tax collectors were!

It says that “Matthew invited Jesus and His disciples into his home, along with other tax collectors and disreputable sinners.” This verse is SO IMPORTANT, y’all. If, when Matthew became a Christian, he began to act like he was better than his fellow tax collects, turned his nose in the air and refused to associate with his previous co-workers they probably would not have come to dinner. Therefore, we can deduce from the text that Matthew was still associating with them in some way, or, that he hadn’t done anything to cause them to not want to associate him anymore.

This is such a large implication for our own lives. When we become Christians we’re not called to reject all of our non-Christian friends. Sure, if being around them always involves sinning we can’t do that. But we can’t reject them as people. We can set appropriate boundaries that tell our friends and neighbors that we love them, we just won’t participate in activities X Y or Z. This does not mean you can’t hang out with them in other contexts. We may be the only Christians they know, and the only “Matthew” in their life: someone that can bring Christ to them.

Be a Matthew

It’s important to keep your Christian friends, too! I’m so thankful for these Godly friends of mine back at my church in Arkansas!

I only know two other Christians here at my law school, and my entering class is 350. Sure, there’s probably more, but not a lot. The non-believers I’m living with and interacting with are watching. I have the opportunity to love them, live out my faith, and share the gospel with them. Don’t just be friends with people to evangelize them! They’ll know what you’re trying to do and you will considered unauthentic. Instead, seek out people with common interests. If they’re already a Christian, awesome, encourage each other! If not, don’t brush these people off! Continue to build a friendship with them because you have common interests and share the gospel along the way.

Who are the Pharisees in Your Life

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This is one of my favorite pictures of “Jesus” (it’s from the passion of the Christ film)…it’s important to remember that Christ’s gift of forgiveness is for EVERYONE! And you’re part of telling them about it!

Jesus was criticized A LOT by the pharisees (religious leaders). Here, he was criticized for associating with sinners. No doubt, if you make an effort to be friends with non-Christians you’ll most likely be criticized, I know I am! You can, as I said, set appropriate boundaries. Now, if being friends with someone continually puts you in a situation where you’re tempted or sin (say your friends want to do drugs or have sex with you, and do not respect your wishes not do participate) that’s a problem. They’re not being a good friend to YOU. Friendship never requires you to be a doormate, if you’re in a “friendship” that is asking this of you, it’s abusive and unhealthy.

 

How have you been a “Matthew” to the people God has placed in your life? How can you be a “Matthew” in the future?

As always, if I can be praying for YOU or encourage YOU in anyway, comment or connect with me on social media.

xoxo

Krista

 

Women Rule the World, And Destroy Each Other While Doing It

I was notified that today is my “Blog-Aversary.” Therefore, I thought it was fitting to post about something that I’ve been thinking about for several months: girl wars. Prior to doing my senior research project on perceptions of working mothers, I had thought only “mommy wars” existed. However, it is not only moms that fight with each other about what moms should and should not do, it’s all women.

senior presentation

Presenting My Senior Presentation

Mommy Wars

I grew up in a conservative faith background, in arguably the most progressive state (Vermont), in a family where the women “wore the pants.” I had my fair experience witnessing women, in person and on Facebook, tear each other apart for working or staying home. Stay-At-Home Moms (SAHM) argued that working mothers—regardless of if the woman was working by choice or because her family needed the extra income—were unloving and neglecting their children, while working mothers argued that SAHMs were ungrateful for all of the work women had done during the past century for gender equality. Both NOT true. The gloves really came off when a homeschooling SAHM went to bat against a working mother whose chose to send her children to public school.

My Experience

All of the women in my large extended family worked at a business or worked from home. My mom and grandma, and many of my extended family members, were at every single concert/meet/game I played within driving distance from PreK-12th grade. They asked me about my life, I was able to tell they deeply cared, and I was never able to empathize with the argument that because women in my family worked I was unloved or neglected.

However, as I became friends with more conservative families my sophomore year of high school, I heard the “other side.” Every Christian friend I had grew up with a SAHM. Even after they graduated, their mother chose to stay home. I made the BIG MISTAKE of asking one of their moms (we were close, so I didn’t think it would be terribly awkward), “What do you DO all day?” Only to receive the stink eye, a thorough lecture, and a large serving of humble pie. Do not ever ask a SAHM that. Ever. Nope. Never.

As I became close to these more traditional families, I realized I was “suppose” to be a SAHM. I listened to sermons at various places about how a woman was suppose to be a help-mate, how she was designed to care for her children, and how the majority of problems with our youth come from a MOTHER not being home. I came to understand that it was my duty as a woman designed by God, and (hopefully) a future wife and mother, to be a stay at home mother.

However, I’ve always enjoyed school. Always. I feel God has gifted me academically, and thoroughly enjoy reading research journals. During high school I completed the first two years of nursing school because I planned to enter an accelerated nursing program. I thought nursing could be my happy medium, as I could keep my license and maybe work part time when my future children were in school.

I didn’t begin to realize that maybe I wasn’t DESTINED to be a SAHM until my high school graduation. I received multiple academic awards, and was told about the bright future I had. And I hated it, because with each compliment  I thought, “It would be nice to continue school, too bad I’m going to be stuck home.”

DISCLAIMER: I don’t feel women who CHOSE to say home are uneducated (many SAHMs are super smart) or that they’re any less. But for ME I felt obligated and awful.

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Scholarship Announcement in the Newspaper

 

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My dad, me, my younger brother at Senior Awards Night

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I arrived at college, I had extra room in my schedule, and took classes that interested me. I realized I was gifted in, and really enjoyed, law and debating. After several tearful meetings with my academic advisor, I realized I should aim to go to law school. As I worked in sexual assault advocacy, and observed the work done by attorneys, for the first time in my life I really felt my calling, and God telling me, “This is what you’re suppose to do, Kris.”

To my disappointment, this “Divine Affirmation” if you will, provided little comfort. As I still felt like I was being a “bad” Christian. Yes, I was single and marriage and motherhood were no where close, but as a planner, it still stressed me out.

“How Can You Do That?”

When I began posting more about my law school application journey this past Spring, I was honestly quite shocked at the push back I received from many Christian women. “Why are you going to spend all that time and money when you’re just going to have kids?” Was a frequent question. Surprisingly, the only flack I received was from women. I think I’ve read more blogs about being a working mother than any single woman my age, because I wanted to have a good response to these questions.

brooklyn acceptance

This is my letter of intent that I sent to say I would be attending Brooklyn Law School in New York City this fall. I received some pretty heated/unkind comments.

Woman Wars

mommy wars

I took a Gender Studies class (yes, at a Christian University by an Obama-supporting liberal, chew on that) my junior year and I became more aware of the many struggles that face working mothers. I thought about this material quite often, and when it came time to chose a topic for my senior research project on perceptions of working mothers.

My Research

My project consisted of three scenarios: Karen, Jenny, and Mollie. These scenarios were split between nearly 200 participants. Karen was a mom who took maternity leave and then returned to work, Mollie became a stay at home mom, and Jenny chose to go back to work a few weeks after giving birth.

My original hypothesis was that a recipient would be less supportive of a woman working if a) They had a stay at home mom or b) Their mother did not possess a college degree or higher. This was not supportive, instead, I found that the ONLY CONSISTENT factors of approval/disapproval were religion and gender. Christians overwhelming did not support women working, and men were more in favor of women working. Not what I expected at all.

We Need to Stop the Fighting

Ladies, we must stop fighting. I firmly believe that SAHMs and working moms deeply love their children, and have made their career decisions with their family’s best interest at heart. So here are my questions:

  1. Why does it matter to YOU if another woman works or stays home?
  2. Why would her decision change how you treat her.

God has given everyone special gifts and talents. And I believe some of these talents (like law, for me) can really be best used outside of the home. Does this make me less Christian? Less loving? NO!

As Christians we need to support everyone woman’s right to pursue the talents God has given her, even if her decisions are different than the ones we would make for ourself.

Additionally, we must always be kind, encouraging and and respectful of one another. ALWAYS. As women, and Christians, we have enough against us. The last thing we need is internal division over how we pursue ministry callings.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Eph. 4:23

So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.1 Thess. 5:11

Be kind, be smart, be fierce.

xoxo

Krista