30 for 30

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Thirty arrives on Friday.

It’s here.  

These thirty years, they have not gone according to plan. At least, not according to my plan. My plan did not include tears, addictions, struggles, divorce, or any of the painful things that have molded my heart. My plan was boring. My plan was safe. God’s plan was better. A bit more heart wrenching and sorrowful than I would have wanted, but more joyful than I could have planned for myself.

These thirty years have been rich, joyful, and sanctifying. These thirty years have seen miracles, some of which I don’t go a hour without remembering. These thirty years, God has been working. He has been making beautiful things out of dust, and it has been good. I pray my next 30 years teach me more of what this 30 has. I pray the next 30 makes my heart even more beautiful and gracious and soft.

I was thinking about what I have learned, both silly and real, in these 30 years, and I thought, well, let’s make a list. Lists can be fun.

30 for 30:

1. Pet chickens usually don’t “run away”, they usually get eaten by the dog, even if your mom tells you differently. (RIP Peepers, you are missed)

2. You can, in fact, wear black and khaki together. 

3. Eyebrows are not your enemy, there’s no need to tweeze yourself bald.

4. Running shoes need to fit well. 

5. Kids with Autism are pretty dang interesting and fun.

6. There’s always a function to behavior, and it usually has to do with reinforcement.

7. Working out in the morning is a great idea. 

8. Pinterest is not evil. It is, in fact, handy. 

9. There’s nothing quite as fun as being an Aunt. (“What? You want more candy while listening to this super loud music and jumping on the bed? OK!!!!!!”)

10. Jumping off is the scariest part. Just do it. Both metaphorically and actually. Just jump. God will catch you.

11. Bravery is not the absence of fear, but the going on in spite of it. 

12. Wear shorts under your skirts.

13. When someone crosses your mind or is put on your heart, listen. And let them know they matter.

14. Laying your burdens down at the feet of Jesus, and leaving them there, is most difficult, yet most freeing. 

15. Most helpful thing in recovery? Just do the next right thing.

16. God uses the most awful messes to bring restoration and redemption. Whatever the crap is, He will use it.

17. Trust your gut. It’s usually correct.

18. Always check to make sure you don’t have “backfat” in strapless dresses, or back lumps around your undergarments.

19. Karaoke is a great way to learn which of your friends listen to the same awful music you do. (TLC #noscrubs)

20. Go to bed early, and get up early. It’s good for you. Get your eight hours. 

21. Coconut oil is fabulous tanning lotion, hair conditioner, moisturizer, and really brings out the flavor of sweet potatoes.

22. Being gracious to yourself is the best way to guarantee recovery. 

23. It’s ok to screw up, it’s ok to be a mess, it’s ok to not be perfect.

24. It’s not ok to hurt someone and then blame them for it. Own your crap. 

25. Lying is never ever worth it. 

26. God does what is best for His children, and sometimes His best looks like our worst. But sometimes, it doesn’t.

27. Stop and enjoy times of laughter. Like, actually stop, look around, and remember the moment.

28. Hanson is amazing. And don’t be ashamed that you love ‘N Sync, Katy Perry, or Rihanna. It’s ok to have songs that you like because they are ridiculous. Just like what you like, and be cool with that.

29. Always remember to encourage others, remind them of the good you see in them, and look them in the eye when you do it. And when people do it to you, listen. Listen and Accept.

30. God keeps His Promises. Always. Always. Always. 

 

Here’s to 30! Cheers! 

p.s. anyone know of an excellent wrinkle cream to use? Seriously. It’s getting bad over here.

Merciful Heartbreak

Seven years ago this month, I walked down the aisle to marry a man whom I loved and cared for. I was terrified. I was excited. I was not ready. I was not all in. I had no legitimate doubts, he looked good on paper, we got along, we loved each other, he was very gracious and forgiving to me for my sins, but deep in my heart, I knew it wasn’t forever. 

I never thought it would be divorce, but I knew we wouldn’t grow old together. Maybe one of us would pass away, but never divorce. I held part of my heart back because of that. I never fully let him in. I was a scared child. I was 22, I was in college, I didn’t know who I was, what I was, and I didn’t fully trust that I would be loved should the worst parts come out.

I didn’t love my heart, I didn’t love who I was, so how could anyone else? I hid myself away. So did he, and we drifted apart, although we got along and enjoyed time together. We enjoyed our travels and living abroad, but our conversations were not the depth they could have been had one or both us risked our whole hearts.

I lived in shame. Shame of not being who I was supposed to be. I wasn’t a good wife, I was moody, struggled often, and controlling. I was ashamed because I wasn’t happy in my marriage. I felt trapped.

And then, he left. And I was devastated, heartbroken, desperate for answers, angry, and hurting. However, I was not surprised. After I unearthed secrets and lies, I came to realize that neither one of us was truly ourselves with each other.

In counseling one day, we discussed over and over again the betrayal and lies and devastation. And my counselor said to me “You know, when he left, it was probably the most merciful thing he could have done. He gave you a gift”.

I had never thought of that. He gave me a gift. He was merciful in leaving, letting me struggle and nearly drown. He knew it wasn’t best, he knew it wasn’t right, and divorce never pleases God, but I am certain that what was meant for evil, God used for good.

When he walked out the door that September day, I started becoming who I am. I started realizing that I don’t really love beer that much, but I love sports. I started to think that maybe dark hair was better on me, and going to bed early was beneficial. I realized that I want tomatoes on my salad, and I don’t want to listen to that music. Maybe running to Jay-Z or Justin Beiber is ok, more than ok, maybe it was my preference.

I’ll turn 30 this month, and I am far from arriving (if we ever actually arrive) at the destination of “finished product”, I still struggle to know if I truly like something or do I like it because I want to please you, or do I like it because you hate it. I am still becoming Kacy. I am still becoming brave. I am still learning to let go of perfectionism and procrastination (which are one in the same). I’m slowly becoming a woman who will sit in her anxiety rather than control others to make it go away. I’m learning to speak kind words when I want to spew venom (I struggle with this often, ask Collin.) I’m learning to love my heart, who God made me to be. That I’m ok. I’m loveable, desired, and cherished by God.

And I am convinced that sending me on the journey of becoming was the best gift my ex-husband ever gave me. And I want to inspire others to become fully themselves. I want the journey to wholeness for those I love to be one of joy, not sorrow. I want the catalyst to be less painful than mine. I want to know that in becoming myself, God used me to help someone else break out of their shell.

Break free.

Take advantage of the gifts others give, even the ones covered in thorns. The beginning of the journey to who you are in Christ often comes at the hand of another. It is often easier to blame than grow. Easier to run than challenge. Easier to pretend you did nothing wrong.

It’s easier to drown and hide and pretend. It’s easier to be the victim.

It’s not worth it, and I’m thankful everyday for that merciful heartbreak that launched my journey of becoming whole. Just as Joseph told his brothers “What you meant for evil, God used for good”. God will use it.

Yes, and amen.