Saturday, September 25, 2010

Building Potential

You may have heard a saying once or twice along the lines of "When God closes a door, He opens a window". I am not sure this is always the case but I do encourage the optimistic viewpoint. What I do believe is going on more so is when one makes the choice to start or continue to follow the plan God has for the life they will notice that opportunities will come to them with little or not effort and things will start to fit perfectly. Following God's plan for your life feels even better and more refreshing than an early morning run, a shower after a long camping trip, a first kiss, or the first day of fall. As many of you, I have closed doors in my life, that allows for me to notice or take on the windows God has set up for me. 

Currently, I am doing my internship at Successful Pathways. A ministry under the organization of Youth for Christ (YFC of Rochester). I am the Mentor Liaison, which builds social and spiritual relationships with inner city youth who are either parenting, pregnant, or at risk for early parenting. I foster the relationship between the mentor/mentees by constant communication and hosting social events for them to enjoy and develop their relationship. Mostly, I have been doing lots of meetings, lots of networking, and a ton of phone calls. Successful Pathways also has a case management side which helps the clients with educational, financial, parenting, and everyday needs. So far I just love it.

The building in which we are located is One Favor Street, which just gets me every time. Come on' One FAVOR street-- hello?? The building use to be a host of different organizations. It was the Boys & Girls club and The Vineyard Church. It is a big building with cement walls and so much potential. There is a hard wood floor gym in which over over 400 young men play basketball every year. (this year is the first year for cheerleaders <3) Today was the first game day of the season and I was there giving tours to future donors. There were just dozens of little people running around, smiling, loving every minute of basketball and awaiting their free hot meal they get each time they come to a practice. I just loved it! I can't explain the joy it brought to my heart. The program director (while selling the program) explained what it was like for these boys to have a solid male figure in their life even if just for a basketball season. Then for this big guys to teach these kids the joy is it to follow Christ?!? AHHH LOOVEE IT!

While giving a tour to these people the words of my friend came back to me when I showed her around. She said the building had so much potential. And it does. It has so many offices, a full kitchen, a basketball court, a beautiful sanctuary, a snack bar, full parking lot, and the love of the Lord. You don't need much else that that! 

Tonight the place will be packed again with inner city youth (a little bit older this time) for the S.W.A.G Rally. (Salvation Works For All Generations). It is a youth led outreach that just tells it like it is. City life is tough, but God is tougher. 

The youth who head up that rally will hopefully be the youth that I will be soon leading in a small group focusing on encouraging them to take a leap of faith in their walk as a Christian. Revolving around the scripture "Let no one look down on you because you are young"-- they will be empowered in knowing God has already equipped them to influence their peers. I believe God brought me to this place to continue to build the potential the youth already had. And I am so excited! It is like I have arrived. Although I know we never stop growing or learning from the Lord, I am at a safe place. I can begin to ACTUALLY pour out all He has fulfilled me with. 

Outside of the internship I am busy with school work. I am hoping to learn as much as possible this year as it is my last year of formal schooling. Crazy, right?? I never feel like I have time. I reallyyyy don't understand how people do this with a job or a family. It is just crazy. I have to keep reminding myself that soon I will be out on the job hunt. My supervisor the other day gave me a business card holder, knowing that I would be meeting a lot of people and networking is key. Ah, networking. Even in the Christian realm it is an important thing. Again, you build your potential in the city with the more people know who you are. So far, I feel a little behind but maybe by the end of the year someone (important) will know who I am.
Well, anyways that is life thus far into the semester. Four weeks down, eleven to go. Then fifteen more altogether. A licensing exam and that's it-- I'll be an LMSW. Whoop Whoop. 

One last thing, don't think I have moved on from either Mercy Minsitries or TWLOHA  (To Write Love On Her Arms). I am still very involved in keeping these non-profits going, while at the saem time starting to dream about my starting my own someday <3 Check out these recent Mercy posts. (The last 4 girls were my girls) (24 girls Baptized!)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Because I Want to Say Goodnight

Tonight I find myself wondering if I made the wrong choice...
I miss him, dearly.
I am writing tonight on here so I don't text him and say goodnight.
It's not that I don't want to say it or feel he deserves to hear it but- it is no longer my place.
The whole single thing is not the problem, I enjoy the extra time, emotion and feeling of me-ness, but I miss him.

You probably wonder how long has it been. Well the last time I saw him was yesterday and the last time we talked was about 7 hours ago. Pathetic right? I know, but it's not the same. He's not mine anymore. And for as much as I still want him to be that, I don't. He deserves to be happy, really happy. He deserves someone who will be content with where he is at and where he wants to go-- not someone continually trying to make him and us better. He deserves someone who will just let him be. 

I don't know if it is because he has been such a big part of my life for three years or because besides a few high school friends he has been the longest friendship and especially longest relationship? Or is it because he could instantly make me laugh or call me out on being sad? Do I miss him because his kiss makes my heart stop or because I want to be kissed?

It does not take me long to remember that without him I may have never had enough courage to go to Tennessee and for that I am very grateful. But, he wasn't always perfect and there were times when I was dying to hear something and his silence would literally break my heart. But what about those times we drove around the countryside and just enjoyed each other?

If I allowed myself to continue to say goodnight to him my heart would never learn to live without him. I would never truly move on and I would never give him the opportunity to find someone better suited.

So tonight I will say goodnight in the simplest way I know possible, by prayers. It is my prayer that both of our hearts will be made whole by the God who created them. It is my prayer that both of our individual passions will begin to burn more brightly as we learn to take chances on our own and seek God's face for our individual future. I pray that god would use this relationship, the lessons we learned, and the people we impacted for the good of his kingdom and for the good our lives. And I pray, especially for tonight, that God would wrap his father arms around me and let me know I can do this, and with Him that I am never alone and never forgotten. I pray that God's love would overwhelm the two of us that heartache would cease and that joy would overflow. I pray for peaceful sleep and a pure heart to greatest the comforter known to man, God, my father.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Espresso Thoughts

Apparently every coffee shop in Rochester decided ice coffee is not good enough with just coffee with ice in it but instead decided to ice espresso shots and use that as a replacement... which is great you love a good buzz but I was perfectly content with  coffee being I don't know... coffee?!?!

So after my medium iced "coffee" today my hearts a little racy, my emotions are little off balance and my thought patterns are a little irrational. This is what my heart is feeling currently:

I am so ashamed that I did not make any contact with the oh-so-obvious homeless man hanging around the coffeeshop today. Who am I to be scared?? But he really could have stolen my things, I use to be so trusting but now working in the inner-city they tell me I have to err on the side of caution and I did... now I feel like a prick.

How is it that he is so comfortable being friends? The fact that he can completly turn off his hurting signifies one of two things; He really did fall out of love with me before we broke or he is a really good faker. I wish I knew which it was. I want him to miss me, yet I want him to go away-- I want him to say he can't live without me, yet I want him to go away. It actually is nice being friends... really nice.

I am learning how much of my life I run by my head instead of my heart. I use to be so careless, so free and reckless. I mean the results this is yielding are amazing and wisdom truly is knowing the right thing to do then actually doing it-- but I am honestly surprising myself in how often I follow through on these "right things"-- must be another miracle God is shining through me. I mean you really do have to be your heart's best friend. Hence the reason I am not in relationship anymore & the reason I can so easily write people off once they treat me wrong... I mean within reason.

In class I volunteered to do a "family statue" it is really cool therapy tactic. You position your family members at a position that signifies how you see their behaviors and actions towards each other. I am very self-aware and am comfortable with my families flaws and valuable qualities, so I volunteered--- however my professor being such a great clinician he called me out on.. well what I try to ignore but most of the time I don't really realize. I don't really connect, I don't... understand family-- I am so future focused, so "lets move on and get this done" that I think I leave them in the dust... I can see why my mother is hurt by my actions so often I mean... I really just want to move on. I take and take and yes I do give back but in most ways I am disconnected, I am on my own by my own choice... I don't know if this is healthy or not yet.. I just know its there and if you have been following for awhile you will see a pattern of my adolescent side hiding and fighting her way through life-- something God is still working on.

A positive thought though is how great my internship is... like really great. God has significantly answered ALL my prayers and stayed COMPLETELY faithful to his prophesies and had DOUBLY blessed me in my work. Which is such His character, how could He do anything different but love on me, spoil me, bless me when its the last thing I deserve. Thank you Lord, Thank you for just being YOU. 

Tomorrow is the big wedding... the big sha-bang, after this I plan on taking a serious break from the 'ex'. Need to form new habits, need to release him from my grasp of a social support, whether he cares about it or not. ... I'll leave you all with these lyrics from my new favorite band: NeedtoBreathe--

"I won’t be the circus that you’re the star in
I won’t leave you roses to watch them die
You won’t be the heartache that keeps me sleepless
You won’t be the songs that I can never write
I won’t be the fortress for you to hide in
I won’t be the first one you think to call
You won’t be the regrets that I can’t live with
He won’t be the last one to never have to lose it all
Cause I don’t want to stay, I don’t want to fall
I don’t want to have to see you leave me
I don’t want to take, I don’t want to lose it all
Maybe I’m a fake, maybe you’re a lie
Maybe our last chance died with last night
Cause I don’t want to stay I don’t want to fall in love
With you again
With you again"

See why I can't have espresso? haha. Most days I let the sun shine on my face and feel like one of the most blessed people in the world. I look forward to a future full of ministry and late nights with friends. I still spend two to three hours on the phone each day with great friends, like GREAT friends. I go to classes and learn things that I have been waiting years to really LEARN about. I am looked upon as an adult who is allowed to swipe her credit card for any plane ticket her heart desires, since now she can travel without permission (holler-- long story but basically the whole permission part of being a child is no longer necessary) Most days I find more reasons to love myself and the God who created me. And even more so I find new ways to heal the other ones He has made-- which ultimately blesses me more than them-- especially on days I have had espresso.

Much Love & Best wishes readers!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Being Allured

Alright folks, this blog is going to begin with a little bit of reading and then get real personal, real fast. Tonight I write from a deep longing, a sadness, something I have been writing about and feeling for years; The desire to be desired.

For those unfamiliar with the Bible-- The book of Hosea [[at least chapter 2]] is about God's feelings towards a very unfaithful Israel. Refers to 'her' as an adulteress one who is searching [[and finding]] her pleasures elsewhere, ignoring the one who actually gave her the blessings and using them to allure other lovers. So God gets all jealous and stuff and decided to cut her off from everything that tempted heart and left her craving more. Without these "void fillers" He hopes her eyes turn to Him where He will speak wonderful promises to her. This is how it plays out in scripture [[in parts]]:

“…She is not my wife, and I am not her husband. Let her remove the adulterous look from her face and the unfaithfulness from between her breasts. Otherwise I will strip her naked and make her as bare as on the day she was born; I will make her like a desert, turn her into a parched land, and slay her with thirst… She said, 'I will go after my lovers, who give me my food and my water, my wool and my linen, my oil and my drink.' Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way. She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, 'I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now.' She has not acknowledged that I was the one who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil, who lavished on her the silver and gold— which they used for Baal… [[[then he takes away everything from her that brought her false love, happiness, and celebration]]] …"Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope… "In that day," declares the LORD, you will call me 'my husband'; you will no longer call me 'my master.’…. I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the LORD…. I will show my love to the one I called 'Not my loved one. I will say to those called 'Not my people,' 'You are my people'; and they will say, 'You are my God.' "

Okay, so what's up Kerri?
What has you blogging at 9pm on a Saturday night?
Shouldn't you be out, doing something, anything? Well readers- funny you should ask.

[[[Tonight was awful]]]
Tonight was one of those nights you wish you would never left the house. Nothing terrible happened, nothing catabolic, just unfortunate circumstances that reminded me where exactly I have been getting my love from.

I won't go into a serious of events [[they really would not make sense anyway]] Just know that at the end of the night I was screaming at God, "REALLY?? Is this what you call alluring?? This just sucks and I just hurt!!!!" For years I have read Hosea and thought what a beautiful love story and a story of redemption and yes I knew there was a lesson to be learned but it apparently never hit me I had to learn THAT lesson.

He is stripping me. Every plan 'b' my heart can think of He is ruining. He has placed me in the desert and I am too mad to look up. I honestly just want to hear the words "you are so beautiful Kerri" and the worse part, I know it. I even KNOW my own insecurities. I know what it is I want, why I want it, and how I am searching for it in the wrong places. Yet.. I still search. I still crave... I still desire to be desired. 

If ironically ever fit in a story it was on my ride home tonight, when my CD continued my audiobook of 'Captivating'-- here it is the very thing I study, the very thing I have dedicated myself to teaching young girls for a career and I am still there. I am still asking "Do you find me captivating?" [[Girls PLEASE check out this book, not only will my blogs make more sense but the mysteries of your heart will be unveiled, I promise]]

I looked great tonight [[haha]] I really did and I went to the one place [[well one of the two, Heather will get this]] that I flourish in. I am not a girl who can pick someone up at a bar [[nor do I want to- but anyways]]. My personality works at coffeeshops. I can talk for hours over steamed drinks, with girls or guys-- but that is not the point, I did not want someone- I just wanted to hear something, "Wow Kerri- you are so pretty". THAT'S IT, that is a girl's heart- I promise 99.8% of the time that is all we want to hear.

God knows what I want to hear; He knows my heart, He sees my foolish attempts and He doesn't laugh at me but I believe He giggles a bit knowing I made the wrong choice. He knows when I get into my car I am going back to the desert-- where all my desires have been stripped. And like 65% of me is SO HAPPY that they are, I mean all I have to do is look up to God and ask Him to answer my question... but the other 35% hates it. I hate having to rely on a Man in the sky, I want hope even if it is false. Now this hate won't last and by the morning sun I will shake it off and thank God for His protection over my life--- but tonight I am aching. I am craving.

Even worse part? There are thousands of girls just like me. They will go home with [[or without]] someone. They will be leaving coffeeshops, bars, movies, parties, youth groups whatever and they will sad. They will be empty. They will be in that desert not knowing God is trying to allure them to drink the living water, not the salt water that leaves them even more parched. Thousands of us coming home wiping of our makeup, shaking our heads at our sad excuses of outfits [[either skimpy or not]] and calling it a night, refusing to let the real lover of our soul in. Tonight, we'd rather cry about the world than take a chance on faith.