WHEN THINGS GET TOUGH: how I’m getting through the hard times

I feel like that title is a little misleading. I guess you could say I feel that way because when I mention the word hard in the title it should actually read “really hard like can’t get outta the bed and you feel like you’re dying and you’ve lost it all…hard”. The past year was pretty rough for me.

It's been a year since I've written anything not related to my book. (which is set for a February release, BTW-hooray!) The blog and biz have gone through tremendous ups and down and our personal lives saw more change in 2017-18 than I even have room here to mention. I had so many plans for what I wanted to do with the blog, with life, with my family, with my husband, with friends and then it seemed life had it’s way with me. Admittedly, for a while, I wasn’t sure I’d survive it. From health issues to what I’d dub as nearly depression, I’ve survived my fair share of ups and downs that have done their best to kill me. By the grace of God, I stand. I press. I keep moving forward. Not out of obligation or responsibility but because I made a decision a long time ago that there is really just no other way to live.

I've questioned a lot over the year. "Have I lost my touch?" "What am I supposed to be doing right now?" "Is blogging still something that's meant for me or am I done?"

When it comes to my creativity I've learned over the years that life circumstances play a major role in just how inspired I may be on any given day or even from month-to-month. I've also learned to ride the wave because typically, when the tide of creativity goes out, it tends to come right back in if you ride it long enough.

I took some time to rest. Okay, so maybe I was forced into it but I digress. Sometimes forced rest is just what we need which is why I guess it has to be forced. I'd like to think God has a way of reminding us of what we need. Albeit gently, He relentlessly and passionately gives us just what we need to ensure we are just where we need to be when we need to be there. 

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Sometimes I'd like to arrive faster. I'm sure I'm not alone in that. Most of us live our lives searching for the meaning of life and running after what we believe to be our purpose. 

I'd say this past year looked less like a search and more like a peace in knowing that my purpose, regardless of what it may look like or how I may be fulfilling it, is and always will be found in Him. In an effort to not sound like a motivational speaker or a “got it all together” guru, I’d like to couple the aforementioned truth with, well, more truth. Knowing that your purpose is found in Him and KNOWING your purpose is found in Him are two completely different things and sometimes (read: 99.9% of the time) easier said than actually done.

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I'm not sure what life looks like for you right now but if you're reading this and nodding your head as you scroll, this is for you. I'd like to offer you bit of encouragement as I ride this wave of certain uncertainty and take hold of hope right along with you: you're gonna make it through. I will go even further to say that not only will we make it through, friend, but we will choose to thrive in this season of the

uncertainty in what we see. 

The one thing that will remain is the hope that we have in a Creator who relentlessly pursues us and captures us daily with His grace, His mercy, His love and His peace and in only the way He can, guide us in the uneasy and our unsteady waves of life. 

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proverbs 3:5-6

trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths. 

This verse may or may not be familiar to you but it's one that guides me in and out of days that become weeks and weeks that become months of what quickly transform to the equivalent of the Israelites roaming for 40 years. And while I've never felt lost for that long, I'm human and I lean toward emotional responses so, for me, that means that sometimes months feel 40 years. Just me? 

If you're a little like me, keep reading. Below you'll find a few ways I've found to help me thrive and grow when things seem as stagnant as ever in my own life. 

 

1. KEEP YOUR PEOPLE CLOSE. 

I listed this one first 'cause, for me, it's the most important. And don't get me wrong, I love people. But that's not why it's first either. As I've gotten older, I have found that my social circles get smaller and smaller and the smaller those circles become, the more introverted I become. I love my alone time even in the best of seasons and when things get tough, I want to be alone even more. This is not the time to retreat to yourself and your favorite playlists for quiet time. Granted, those times are important but there is a difference between occasional alone time and avoiding relationships, conversations and people altogether. Keep the close ones closer. The ones you can trust will be the ones that will help pull you out of the miry clay and help propel you into a your thriving season. 

 

2. DO WHAT YOU LOVE. 

One of the easiest things for me to do when I am having a hard time is to stop doing what I love. In my life it looks like what you're looking at right now: writing. This essentially equates to  anything creative in my life. One thing I have found, however, is that many times creating is just the thing that brings me out of my funk or lull and helps me feel the closest to MY creator. What does creating look like for you? What do you love? What are you passionate about or what moves you? KEEP. ON. DOING. THAT. Fight for it with all that's in you. You have been created to create. Whether it's words of encouragement and building the lives of others as a speaker or whether it's actually creating something tangible that you can see or touch, there is nothing more real than connecting with your purpose and what you have been created to do and being reminded that you have purpose than when you are walking in that with full confidence. 

 

3. GIVE IT TIME. 

Be patient with yourself. I'm a recovering perfectionist. I mean, I know I say that like it's some diagnosis that my doc gave me. It's not. And, to be honest, I don't love saying it but for the sake of this story and for helping you understand why this is so important, it's a label I will use. What I've been completely convicted by in using this term is the freedom that comes when I realize that I don't have to be perfect because I am forever in the process of being perfected by God. It frees me up to be just who I am and that, in and of itself, is a thought simple enough to set the world free. Ideally. Unfortunately hearing that and actually acting on it are two completely separate things. I know. Trust me. When we remember that we don't need to be perfect and that life isn't, nor will it ever be perfect, we release waves of freedom and allow God to work in us in His time instead of our own. If I'm honest, many times, this mindset is what lands me in this crazy circle of confusion where I am left trying to understand how I got there in the first place. Most of the time, it's because I attempted to take matters into my own hands or decided God wasn't moving FAST enough. ("Meh, it's ok God. You've done a good job *insert proverbial pat on the head* but I've got this now. Thanks.") 

Give it time. Keep your people close. Do what you love. Watch God move in your life and heart in ways you'd never imagined. You've got a friend in me. Come back here for virtual hugs as often as you'd like. Guaranteed, most days, I’ll be in need of one too.

 

XO,

Kennesha

A YEAR OF OCTOBERS

So, yesterday I was driving along, minding my business when all of a sudden I realized that it was October 1. Now, I know that fall officially began a couple of weeks ago but for some reason, in my mind, it's really not fall until I see change in the seasons. The trees begin to fade into beautiful hues of red and golden browns and yellows and the temps truly begin. Around here, that's usually right around October. 

As I thought about all the things that come along with the adventures of fall, I thought to myself, "Wait, why is October called 'October'?" Knowing that 'oct' means eight, I was baffled by the thought of the tenth month of the year having the name of the eighth. After parking, I  decided to do a little online research. 

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Turns out that years ago (like a bazillion years ago) the Julian calendar actually held October as the 8th month but when we switched over to the Gregorian calendar (the one we all use today), the month kept it's original name but changed its place. In the back of my brain amidst the cobwebs I'm sure I learned this somewhere but it was a fun refresher for the nerd in me. 

It became more and more apparent to me that this whole thought process was more the leading of the Holy Spirit and less me. 

As I continued 'thinking' I remembered that in relation to the biblical representation of numbers, 8 holds a pretty significant meaning. It's the number that represents resurrection, regeneration, a commencement and new beginning. 

 

SIDENOTE: 

Sliding in here to say please don't get freaked out. I am no numerologist and don't believe that numbers hold any strange power. I do, however, believe that God created them and over and over again in scripture we can find God's use of them to show and put on display how infinitely powerful and awesome He is. Just  the thought of it all makes my heart sing.

 

So, new beginnings...that was it! That's what He wanted me to think about and, of course, just be in awe of just how awesome He is to us and how good He is but we can talk about the details of that in another post. 

I was reminded in that moment that God is not just in our moments or certain seasons of life but that He is in it all. He IS the beginning and seeing as how yesterday was October 1, well it was essentially the beginning of the beginning. You know, with October being the eighth month and eight representing the beginning and it being the first day of the month of beginnings. Confused yet? It's okay. I will clear things up in just a bit. 

Simply put, we look at seasons with our human eyes and can appreciate them all for what each of them bring visually a lot of the time. With each season we have hope, we lose things, life becomes more full, we see the beauty in things we never really saw before, etc. But God, He is in them all. He is in every season-the beginning and end of them all. Literally and figuratively. Naturally and supernaturally.

John 1:1 says, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. 

He hasn't just been here or with us since the beginning it is WHO HE IS.  He is the God of NEW BEGINNINGS. The God of Octobers. The beginning of the beginning. He is in the details of it all and he really cares about it all. Every single moment, minute and second of our Octobers and pretty much our entire lives.

Months have gone by and I've struggled, ya'll. A lot. Mostly in my mind with feeling defeated, displaced and sometimes as hard as it is to admit-worthless. The days of summer seemed to pass by with little hope of catching my breath or finding purpose and meaning in many of the days. 

But, He is faithful. 

In this season of fall that we, with our human eyes many times, see as a season of dormancy and death, He is alive. He is doing a new thing. He is still breathing life into dreams and bringing visions, heart cries and passions to life in me and in you. 

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So, my question to you is this: Where are you? I mean, emotionally speaking. Where have you been? Have you been in a place that needs some life breathed into it? Have you been angry about some things that haven't come to pass or some prayers you prayed that you haven't seen answered? Or, are you on the other side? Are things going amazingly well for you and you couldn't possibly imagine them getting better? Either way, He will do more. 

 

 Isaiah 43:18-19 Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing! Not it springs up, do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." 

Truth is no matter what your season may look like whether you're in fall or winter or spring, He's at the beginning, middle and end of them all and He promises to make a way even when there seems to be none. Let's,together, look forward to a year full of Octobers.  A year of the end of some harder seasons and the beginning of others that will amaze us with His love for us and His infinite power, grace, mercy in our lives. 

XO,

Kennesha

 

 

 

SHE LAUGHS | THE IMPERFECTIONS

 photography |  tiarra sorte

photography | tiarra sorte

The thing is, I don't always. 

You know, laugh without fear of the future as the title suggests.

 

I worry. 

I doubt. 

I second guess. 

I compare my gifts, my talents, my desires. 

 

I wonder if I am good enough. 

Smart enough. 

If people like me enough. 

If they really genuinely care or love me enough to see my heart when I am not saying or doing what I should or what they expect from me...

I'd love to say that I am completely free of my human-ness. I am not. 

As a matter of fact if there was any power that I possess it's the power of being SUPER HUMAN. 

I am flawed. Imperfect. Needy, even. 

I am frequently late. 

I yell at my kids from time to time. 

I am impatient and sometimes not so kind. 

I promise I am going somewhere with all of this. Stick with me. 

 

2 Corinthians 12:9-11

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

All that stuff that I just listed above really doesn't matter much in comparison to the amazing power that comes in acknowledging God in it all. In the light of His glory, His grace, His infinite power and wisdom He takes all of my worries, my weaknesses and dims the light on them to magnify all of the wonderful gifts He has placed in me {and you}. And in that, there is power. 

Honestly, this summer has flown by for me. Most of the things I thought I would accomplish still lie waiting to be completed and let's not even talk about the schedule with my kids. Nope, we won't talk about that. Today. 

While most of my plans have fallen to the wayside, His plans have prevailed in my life and particularly in the area of His calling for me and the direction of RHB. 

This coming fall will hold many new ventures that I am so excited to share with you over the next few months. In these  new ventures we will delve into what true freedom looks like in a series that I've mentioned to you a few times here on the blog-SHE LAUGHS.  

Are you like me from time to time? 

Worried? Challenged? Fearful? 

Unsure of the future and what it holds or not so confident in your gifts? 

There is hope. 

His name is Jesus. 

He comes alongside you to remind you of who you are. He reminds you of what He has placed inside you and gives you all power to accomplish every good work in His name, for His glory. 

As an added bonus, along with His power, you get an extra dose and helping of peace, joy, strength, courage just because it's who HE is. 

Honest truth...I have no idea how all of this is gonna turn out in the next few months, in detail, but what I do know is that He promises it will be good. Super good. Like, for real. 

And that promise, well, it's the same for you, friends.

 

Ready to dive right in with each of you,

Kennesha