New blooms. 

Gardening is very interesting to me. Mostly because I cannot do it. Very often, I kill any and all house plants and the ones in the yard? With the soil work and tilling (is that a thing?) that needs to be done? Lol. 

That’s funny. Those plants never stand a chance. I truly do not understand how it all works. How different soils foster better results for plants. It’s a mystery to me. Like it’s all soil, why does it matter?

For example, google told me that rose bush soil can affect pH so you have to add things to it to make it more basic or more acidic.

Lost already? Me too.

Long story long, there is this long list of things that must be in the soil to make them grow correctly. The texture has to be correct and of course they have to get the right amount of food and water. 

If not, you could have the most BEAUTIFUL roses that will never bloom or grow. The potential is there but they will never reach it because the soil is all wrong. 

You could be thinking okay I have some soil and water and sun, why isn’t this working? 

Because what works for other plants do not work for roses. Roses work better in different soil and while that can be frustrating to figure out, once you learn that, you will get new and beautiful blooms.

Sometimes we encounter people that we desperately want to grow with. We see their potential and we see how wonderful we could be together, whether that be in friendship or relationship but for some reason it just doesn’t work out.

For some reason we keep giving them second and third and fourth chances, and they keep hurting us. And sometimes it’s not even on purpose.

And I just got to thinking that maybe sometimes our blooms were not meant for some people’s soil.

People are much more complicated than flowers but when we look at like this, it’s an easier picture to understand. Not everything works out in some friendships and relationships and it’s not because anyone is bad, sometimes people just don’t work.

I tend to replant a lot. Even when the soil is rejecting it. I just want to believe in people enough that they can live up to who I think they are or who I think we could be together.

But it’s just not always true. And when your roses aren’t blooming, there isn’t something wrong with the roses, there’s something wrong with the soil. 

It’s okay to plant in a new place. It’s okay to get new soil. It’s okay to start over. And most of all, it’s okay to walk away.

Walking away doesn’t mean you’re mad or upset or even giving up, it just means the garden you were trying to plant isn’t meant for you. 

Maybe that soil is meant for someone else and that’s okay. 

Life is painful and losing people is hard. But being disappointed and bitter? That’s harder.

That pain of constantly being hurt by someone is never an easy burden to bear and sometimes you just gotta walk away. 

Love yourself enough to know that you’ll be okay, even if it’s just you. You’ll be okay without that relationship or that friendship or even that job. Love yourself enough to let yourself bloom. 

Crissy 

Rose colored glasses.

My last blog post I wrote about having rose colored glasses.

No matter how many times I get hurt, I can’t stop wanting more or believing more out of people. I just keep thinking that I’m going to get something different.

You guys, I just want people to be good. I want the best for them and I want to be the person who shows them that.

Heartbreakingly, this isn’t always true. People will be who they are even if it isn’t the best that they should be and it sucks.

It sucks more when you are on the receiving end of this, when your heart is constantly being broken by people who don’t deserve it. But I think we can find a happy medium here. I think there is a way to look at the world as wonderful while also protecting that beautiful soul that lives in side you.

My sister told me once “can’t you just stop expecting these things out of people and let them prove their worth to you?” and I said, very defeated, “I just don’t know how.” I have no poker face, I show all my cards on the table, right away.

And there is beauty in kindness. There is worth and value in being someone who cares so genuinely about the people in his or her life. This is true for you and for me. We are not naive or stupid for loving with our heart on our sleeve. It’s okay to believe that people are genuinely good but there is also power in being a little choosy with our love.

It’s like this. You have fine china, right? Okay well I don’t. But my mom does. She has the prettiest china in the entire world. She’s kept it preserved for years and years. And for special occasions, she lets us use it. Something so beautiful shouldn’t be kept up in a china hutch forever. Beautiful things shouldn’t be hidden away, they should be enjoyed.

But imagine if my mom let us use the china when we were kids, we wouldn’t have seen the value in it and we probably would have broken it. My mom wanted to share her special treasures with us, and because she saw the value in them, she waited until we were old enough to see the value in them too before we could use them.

This is what we must do with ourselves. It’s okay to have beautiful things to share with the world and it’s okay to understand that they might get broken. What we must do with our souls that are full of love and life, is understand the value of them. We must see our worth and our truth. Once we do that, we will share those deepest and most beautiful parts of ourselves with only those who deserve them.

For me, it’s hard to not believe that every person has my best intentions in mind. I’m an optimistic, a hopeless romantic, and a lover. I truly believe in the goodness of people. And that’s okay. But every day I’m learning to only give my most beautiful and truest self to those who can see the value in me too.

 

Crissy

 

Double bag it.

I like wine. A lot. Usually I buy multiple bottles at once because while I like wine, I don’t love grocery stores and having to go inside a grocery store just for wine is annoying.

I work retail which means I work crazy hours with crazy people and wine is almost always something I need when I get off work. Anyways, you get my point.

Well every time I get wine, they double bag it. They do this because wine is in a glass bottle and it’s heavy and sometimes it could break the normal plastic grocery bag, so sometimes you gotta double bag it to make sure it doesn’t break.

Well sometimes life is like that too. Sometimes you gotta double bag it. And by it, I mean yourself.

Sometimes I get myself into situations I don’t mean to. I look through the world with rose colored glasses, if you’ve read my blogs that might surprise you because to be honest, I’ve been through some shit.

I’ve been hurt a lot but I can’t stop fighting for more. I can’t stop hoping for the best in people and I can’t stop believing that what people show is what they really are.

Unfortunately for me, this isn’t always true. Just because I want the best in people doesn’t mean that they can give it to me and just because I want to believe that people can be more, doesn’t meant that they will give me that.

I often tend to get my heart broken. By men who promise more and speak of better things. I believe that they will walk through with what they’ve said and that they’re actions will back up their words.

I want to believe that they will value me and find worth in my but that isn’t always true.

And that’s okay. People won’t always see how amazing you are, how lovely you are, and how much you matter.

It sucks but it’s okay.

You know why it’s okay?

Because my life is double bagged.

I’ve got the most incredible tribe. I will never be left as broken glass again. I will never fall through the cracks or fall apart ever again.

My tribe finds me and they save me. I’ve got multiple layers of people ready to save me at a moment’s notice and let me tell you there is no better joy.

We all make mistakes. We all trust people we shouldn’t. We all get hurt.

It sucks but it’s okay.

Find the people who wrap you up. Twice.

Just go ahead and double bag it.

I’m not really sure how I would have survived the past year without my tribe and I spend every day living in awe of them. Find your people and let them hold you.

Get you a tribe, it’s worth it.

Crissy

The sorry that you’ll never get.

Often times in life, people hurt us. They hurt us in such a way that sometimes we need our pain to be validated, we need them to know just how much they hurt us and often we want them to feel it too…or maybe even worse.

“Pain demands to be felt.” – John Green

We have to feel the pain caused by others, we have no choice but to endure it and work through it but most of the time people are pretty unaware of how badly they have hurt us because they are not us, simply said, they cannot feel what we feel.

If you read my blogs from late 2014-most of 2015, they were all pretty intense and mostly about healing. They all stem from one dude. This is the guy that all of my friends know about because he is the one that hurt me the most, I’ve never been hurt this way by a person before and I truly hope to never experience it again.

The worst part wasn’t him hurting me, it was that he hurt me and then left me in the dark. He never once acknowledged the pain that he caused in my life or even tried to apologize for it. He acted as if life was normal and went on to like my social media posts and view my snapchats as if we were good ole friends.

While I sat back heartbroken trying to put together what he broke.

He left me with scars that I didn’t know how to heal.

It’s sort of like if you get a cut or scrape, you know to put neosporin on it and put a band aid on it.

What if you don’t? It will leave a scar and the skin cannot grow back healthy.

Essentially he left me with these deep emotional wounds and no bandage. He left me open because I didn’t know how to close the door. We never had some fight or break up or even an acknowledgement of the time we spent together.

It started to feel like I made it all up in my head. Like really I was the author of my own demise and maybe I would never heal from it because I couldn’t get closure.

I cannot tell you how badly I just wanted him to say sorry, to fix it. I NEEDED that sorry to move on with my life. I felt so used by him, so thrown away, so meaningless. Healing after being broken like that was without a doubt the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

I had no closure, no ending, not even an understanding of what our time spent with each other was. This made processing through it and healing, so difficult.

Imagine cleaning up a stain in the bathroom but not knowing what the stain is, you’re not going to find the right products to clean it up, it’s going to take forever. Eventually you’ll get bleach and and it’ll be clean again but it’s gonna take some work and some elbow grease.

Now don’t hear me wrong, please don’t use bleach to clean up your personal life. It won’t work out.

But when we have to heal from someone who doesn’t want to admit they’re wrongdoing, it’s gonna take a lot. It’s gonna take strength, courage, and wisdom. You need to be strong enough to know that you are okay on your own, without the validation of another human; you need to have courage to move forward into new friendships and relationships even though it’s scary; and lastly, you need wisdom to learn from the situation for the future.

Pain is a sucky thing and it’s even suckier when people in our life cause it.

And while it demands to be felt, it doesn’t have to be felt forever.

Let yourself feel it though, be sad/mad/whatever. I want you to process through these emotions because the scars that people leave on us can and should teach us.

I’m sorry to you for this person who left you without explanation or apology. You deserve more and you deserve better. Whether it was a friend or a relationship, there is no fun way to heal from that. It always freakin sucks.

But I will be the first one to tell you, that the pain that I felt after this guy hurt me launched me into one of the best years of my life. Through that pain I found my voice, I found out who I was, and I began walking in my own truth. I found, maybe even created a newer and truer version of myself and I haven’t looked back since. 

I don’t thank him for anything but I’m sort of glad he’s an asshole (lol tell that to 2014 me) because had he been nice and warm and apologetic, I might have gotten myself manipulated by him again.

The wreckage that he left my life gave way for me to build a new story.

So go for it, tell a new story.

Crissy

Getting shit done in 2017. A how to.

So I haven’t posted to this blog in over a year. I’ve written in the past year but I just haven’t felt inspired to do so.

2016 was hard. It’s taken me a few weeks to fully grasp everything that was that year.

I know that time is relative and a number on a year doesn’t truly make a difference but for me, time and dates have always been something I’ve centered my life around.

I love birthdays, I look forward to trips, and I very specifically plan out my life when I can. So if a certain number of events have taken place in 365 days, I’m going to group them together. 

Last year had it’s ups and it’s downs and I’m ready to write through them. Now that they’re over I’m ready to understand them and heal and grow. Sometimes we have times in our life that don’t make any sense until much later. Okay…most times. 

Hard shit happens to us and with no explanation, everything crumbles. 

As humans, we put this pressure on ourselves to be happy all the time or strong or peaceful.

Well I call bullshit.

I call bullshit to pretending that everything is perfect when it’s not and to acting like I have it together when I don’t. That’s just dumb.

This year I’m making a promise to myself to be the most authentic version of myself, to pursue my goals and my dreams first, and to not have anyone in my life who doesn’t value me and my worth.

How do you do that? Find what you love, find who inspires you, find how to make yourself feel alive. 

I hope you all can make the same promise to yourself and take this journey with me.

2016 is hard. But good news, it’s gone. Forever. Let’s scratch it from the record and start fresh. 

Thanks for being here for the ride, I’m glad you’re with me. 

Crissy 

Falling apart.

“It takes ten times as long to put yourself back together as it does to fall apart.” ― Suzanne Collins

Sometimes the moments that break us can be pinpointed on a map, sometimes they are moments strung together to create one giant spiral downwards.

With me, it’s similar to a string of fires that eventually explode. Fire in the living room? We’ll put it out. Fire in the bathroom? We’ll put it out.

Then the house explodes. And everything comes crashing down. The lies I’ve been telling myself become clear and everything I thought I knew, was wrong.

I trusted him. I told him everything. He knew me.

We laughed. OH MY GOSH, did we laugh. All the time. Hours on the phone, waiting by the phone, or staring at the phone.

I just wanted him to know me. To care about me. To validate me.

And he did. He knew about my family, my past, my interest, my work. He knew it all.

He called me pretty and funny and wonderful and all of the things that I’ve always wanted to feel, I felt with him.

I trusted him.

And I knew him. His family, his past, his future, I knew it all.

And he made me laugh. All the time.

If I wasn’t talking to him, I was thinking about him. Checking all of his social media, you know just to see if he posted or if he was doing something.

I was addicted to this person. That I had never met. Social media apps are all the rage for meeting people these days.

It didn’t start out like that, though. He just followed me back and then messaged me and we were friends for a long time. Then the word date got thrown out there and I was hooked. Like a fish on a line. I took the bait.

And he made me laugh. All the time.

After a couple months of talking everyday, I decided that I had to meet this man. This man that knew a side of me that not many people knew. I just had to know if he was as wonderful in person.

And he was.

And he made me laugh. All the time.

That first night with him was a little nerve wracking and funny and awkward and wonderful. And his friends were wonderful. It was all wonderful.

When he called to hang out the next day, I leaped. Heart eyes emoji, for sure.

I spent the whole day with him and his friends. Drowning in laughter, whiskey, and board games. The afternoon turned to evening and I knew I wasn’t leaving until the sun came up. But everything would be okay because I trusted him.

And he made me laugh. All the time.

I was always the smart girl. I never dated. I never wasted time on guys that didn’t matter. I was the girl who everyone looked up to for staying so pure and being so good. But I wasn’t good or pure…it was just that no one ever wanted me. I never had the opportunity to say no. I always wanted it, but no man ever showed interest.

But he did. And he knew me. He knew my heart, my dreams, my worries, my fears…He knew all of it.

I just knew that he cared about me. Circumstance has our lives thousands of miles apart but I thought surely…all of this effort cannot be without waste, right? Who would call and text everyday if they didn’t want something more. He knew my heart. He wouldn’t hurt a girl like me.

And he made me laugh. All the time.

But he didn’t want anything more.

He said the words that I knew were there but I chose not to think.

“You are incredible. You are smart, funny, and so gorgeous but I don’t want a girlfriend right now.”

And in the pitch black while I stared at him and he was staring at the ceiling, I sheepishly responded, “Oh, I know!”

Brushing it off as if I too only wanted a warm body and not a warm soul.

I spent the whole next day with him and his friends. Pretending that everything was fine and that we would still be friends and nothing would change.

Once home, I learned that it was in fact, all a trick. The texts slowed down and the phone calls never came. He got what he wanted (or part of it, I guess) and he would go on to the next body.

Cause that’s all I was to him, a body, not a human.

He was so wonderful in so many ways that I chose to not see the parts of him that I knew would never work with us.

And he made me laugh. All the time.

I was so blinded by his words that I didn’t see his true character.

I gave him something that I’ll never get back.

My trust.

I trusted him. I trusted who he was and I trusted his words. Every single syllable he ever spoke to me sticks to my memory like honey. I trusted that he wouldn’t hurt me because he knew me.

I thought if he knew who I was, he wouldn’t treat me like all the other girls that had come before me. I thought if he knew that I was different, that I would be worth more to him.

I trusted him so much.

I have so many questions but honestly he’s answered all of them in his actions. My phone doesn’t light up with his name anymore. I probably won’t ever his voice again.

His silence speaks louder than any answer ever could.

I trusted him.

I trusted people. I trusted men. I trusted words.

He broke me. He made me want him and hate him all at the same time. He turned me into one of those stupid, idiotic girls that you see in movies.

He made me believe he cared. I trusted him.

I can’t ever imagine letting someone in again. That feels so foreign. The thought of butterflies and excitement and laughing. Laughing feels so foreign. Because now all I do is question. How could someone want my soul? How could someone want me for more than a warm body? How will I ever know if someone is being genuine again?

I hate that he’s made me question everything I ever knew about relationships.

I hate him.

The reason I hate him the most is that I gave him power over me. If he called me right now, I would answer. If he came to see me, I would open the door. I hate that I gave him power over my validation. I hate the person he made me.

And most of all, I hate myself for letting him do it. I knew what I was doing and I was okay with all of it because I trusted him.

And he made me laugh. All the time.

He made me so damn happy. And I hate him for it.

I’m writing this so fresh that I don’t know if I’ll ever post it. If I’ll ever be whole enough to tell the world that I’m not the girl I used to be. That I fell and I fell hard. That I’m falling apart.

I hope that one day, a new Crissy will exist. A stronger one. And that she will post this and she will be free.

And I hope that maybe the tears will have stopped.

For now though, this wound is still fresh. No new skin has formed and the blood has just barely clotted.

I cry everyday. Everyday I’m reminded that I chose to share myself with someone who saw me as a paper towel. Someone who used me once and threw me away. I’m reminded that I believed him and his lies and I REALLY thought that he was a nice guy.

I so wanted a relationship and to be validated that I traded myself in for a cheaper model. A cheaper version of myself that would put up with someone who would treat them like that. I cheated myself. He cheated me.

His words, His voice, His warmth, it was all a counterfeit trade in for what I deserve.

I hope that when I post this I know that. I hope that the Crissy who posts this essay never forgets what she’s worth. I hope that she’s never talked to him again and I really hope that she’s stopped checking his social media profiles.

I’m not there yet. I stalk and I cry and I wallow. I’m a mess. I’m a shell of a person I once was. I’m so numb and empty. I used to be so different. I used to be so strong.

I don’t know if I’ll ever post this but for now it feels good to write it out.

________________________________________________________________

A very long time ago I wrote this. I wrote this fresh in my pain because I was so hurt and I didn’t know any other way to heal but I wanted to remember this pain. I wanted to remember what it felt like to be broken after I had become whole.

I’m posting this today because I’m so proud and happy to say that the Crissy who wrote this is no more. The broken, sad, and empty Crissy that wrote this is a girl that I remember but not a girl that I know anymore. I am so happy to tell her that I don’t check his profiles, I’ve never spoken to him again, and I’ve remembered my worth.

I’m also posting this today for those of you that are fresh in your pain. Maybe you feel like you won’t be whole again or maybe you feel like you’ve never stop crying or maybe you just feel empty, I want you to know that a day will come that you will be strong again.

And not only will you be over this but you will be BETTER than you ever thought you could be.

You will wake up one day and all of the sudden you won’t cry that day, you won’t even feel the urge to talk to them that day, and most of all – you will feel whole all on your own one day. You will truly understand what it means to stand on your own two feet and not feel like you’re going to fall over.

The shell of the girl I was has cracked open and fallen off. I am free of her. While I remember that girl, I am not her anymore. I needed her though. I needed that pain to exist in my life to push me to who I could be now. So in these moments of weakness, welcome that pain into your life. Let yourself feel it. Pain is okay. It’s necessary.

You need to face that pain head on so you can figure out to heal from it. You can do this. It’s possible.

It might take a couple months, it might take a year, whatever, but it will happen. You got this.

I’m so happy to say that a new Crissy does exist, she is posting this because she is strong and she is free.

Thanks,

Crissy

The truth of happiness.

A lot of people my age seem to be going through the same thing. We all want to do what we love and usually what we are doing (for work) is not that thing.

Maybe you’re stuck going to school for something you hate or going to school without any direction or maybe you’ve already graduated and you’re working in a job that has nothing to do with your field.

There are a million different reasons for why you’re in this place. It could be money, pressure from your parents, or fear.

I think we’ve been told from a very young age what being “good enough” looks like. What the American dream is supposed to look like and how we need to prepare for the future. That has resulted in a lot of people being discontent in their situation and dreaming of a bigger, more beautiful world.

We over romanticize travel and love and happiness.

Travel is incredible, my favorite thing to do actually, love binds us in a way that words can’t, and happiness is my favorite kind of feeling.

But doing and feeling those things will not fulfill your life.

They will not make all your dreams come true and they will not solve all your problems. When you get back from Thailand, you might still have anxiety. When you break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend, you might still feel ugly and fat, shoot you might feel that when you’re with them. When the fleeting feeling of happiness fades, your depression may sneak back in.

Don’t get me wrong, I truly do value and adore travel, love, and happiness. But it seems like our generation wants all of those things but we don’t want to work for any of them.

We want to be SO HAPPY but we won’t take an actual steps towards that. If your job sucks, get a new one. If your relationship is hurting you, leave. If you hate where you live, move.

Life is not as complicated as we want to make it. But it is much harder than we want to believe.

5 years ago, I went to Kenya and it changed my life. And not in the cheesy way that I think most people will interpret that sentence. I didn’t come home and sell all of my belongings, I didn’t stop going to Starbucks, and I don’t even think my behavior was that different.

5 years ago, going to Kenya changed my life because it set on me on the trajectory that I am today. 5 years ago, I was 20, wide-eyed, and naive. I had no idea what God was going to do with my life and honestly I didn’t care. I didn’t have a worry in the world. If God would have told me to start One Love His Love 5 years ago, it simply wouldn’t have happened.

I didn’t have the money, ambition, or strength to do so. But you know what He did tell me to do? He told me to go back in 2011. And then to live there in 2012. And then to start building the rehab center in 2013. And then to start the non-profit in 2014. And then to lead a team that same year. And now this year, I go again.

My heart is ready and expectant and happy.

But every step has not been happy.

When I lived in Kenya and got malaria and I was 8,000 miles away from home, I was not happy.

When my Kenyan dad passed away just months after we started fundraising for the rehab center, I was not happy.

When someone else had a similar name as ours and wouldn’t release us to start our non-profit, I was not happy.

When I (and Shalee) spent a lot of money starting something that we didn’t know would get approved, I was not happy.

When I messed up the forms for one of our team members, I was not happy. When some of our own team members got sick on the trip, I was not happy.

When I came home feeling like a failure of a leader, I was not happy.

Emotions I have felt over the past couple of years: stressed, heartbroken, worried, unworthy, unloved, and definitely unhappy.

But when you go after what you love, you simply will not feel happy all the time. Constant happiness is a lie that we tell ourselves to make us feel worse about our own lives.

We just believe that if we were doing what someone else was doing, that we would be happy. But that’s crap. Your happiness is your truth. And being happy isn’t a determinant of success.

You should feel stressed and worried and unworthy and heartbroken. You know why? Because that means you have something to lose.

This thing, it means something to you and it could break you, so no, you shouldn’t feel like a giant ball of happiness all the time. The things you want to succeed take hard work. They take hustle, they take your whole life, and they take love. Nonstop love.

Our nonprofit is still SO baby, we are only a year and half old. We can’t even really walk yet. We are still comfortable crawling. Everyday. Towards this goal, this dream of a rehab center and a future for so many others. I would have it no other way.

And I’m SO glad I didn’t know that my life would be here 5 years ago. I’m so glad that God pushed me a little bit further each year and that he continues to do so. If you feel unfulfilled in your life, change it. Make little steps towards your dreams. But you’re going to have to work for them and not every day will be happy.

That’s kind of the point. You might have to work full time at an office job and do your side hustle in your free time. If that side hustle, that dream, is really your thing – the extra hours will be worth it. Jon Acuff says “work on your side hustle until it’s your only hustle.”

Believe in this dream and work at it until it’s yours. No, you won’t be a national geographic photographer tomorrow and you won’t win a grammy the day after that but maybe start now.

Maybe start believing in those dreams and believe in yourself. Believe in them so much that you put everything towards them.

Fight for something that would wreck you if you lost it, that’s how you can be sure that you’ll fight for it.

So the truth of happiness? How do we get there? Well it will probably include a lot of unhappiness, sacrifice, and most of all love. Truly loving your dreams and the people in your life isn’t always happy. It’s really hard. It’s a choice. Everyday. But it will be worth it. 

photo (2)

Love, Crissy

Back to Kenya & back to love.

10527328_10152535183024313_1545629942222855809_n

I’m trying to process the fact that it’s been a year since I was last in Kenya.

That this time last year, I had just come back from leading a team of 16 people.

But when I leave on Friday, I will be alone.

I am so excited, almost giddy nervous about what’s going to happen. I know that this year is going to be different because every single trip is.

God’s love is most evident in my life when I’m in Kenya. I know you shouldn’t say things like that and that I should be my best self even when I’m in America but that’s just not always true for me. That’s why I named the organization “One Love His Love” – because while I was there in 2014 by myself, I knew that’s what we were supposed to call it. That love is what drives us all, love is the cause of heartbreak and hope in the world and I wanted our organization to be one full of all the hope we could muster.

I like to hope that I represent God’s love well at home too but in Kenya…there is just something different.

I feel so at home there. I feel right when I’m there. And I’m past the honeymoon stage, I have been to Kenya 6 times & I lived there for 2 months. I know there are bad things and frustrating things and scary things in Kenya. But through it all, I seem to find myself most when I’m there. I serve better, I love better, and I learn so much more.

I’m crying writing this because this year has been so much. Some good and some bad but really just so much. I’ve learned so much about myself, about religion, and life. Maybe it was a quarter life crisis, maybe it was just a phase, maybe this, maybe that.

Whatever it was, I’m glad that it happened. This year taught me so much about myself and about other people. I learned how to love better because of the way that people loved me.

Kenya is not only going to be a working trip for me but also a resting one. I need to learn to rest and listen again. Listen to stories of addiction, of hope, and of love. I want to listen and learn and grow. All the time.

Unfortunately in America, I’m sometimes too busy to do that. Or maybe too prideful. I’m not sure.

I want to be the kind of person that invites people to tell their story. I want to always create a space for people to be free. I want to love so well that no one ever feels like their story or their heart is too much.

My hope for this trip is that I learn to love people better and that I continue to do that even when I’m home. My prayer is that my bleeding heart keeps bleeding. I don’t ever want to be bitter. I don’t ever want to run out of love. I know that may make me seem weak or something but I don’t care. I’d much rather be known for the way that I love people than anything else.

People who think differently from me, people who believe differently from me, and people who disagree with me. Gonna love ’em all till they can’t stand it anymore.

So that’s it. That’s my prayer. Love. And lots of it. I hope you’ll pray with me and for me on this trip. I think it’s gonna be a good.

105

Love,

Crissy

What we learn when we listen.

I once heard someone say “we are never the villain in our own story, but we probably are in someone else’s.”

I have thought about those words a lot since I first read them. Lately in every conversation I’ve been trying to not see someone else as a villain or as a “them.” I’ve tried to be on their side and see from their point of view an react accordingly. So quickly we tend to turn a person into an idea. Maybe an idea that we’re against and fuel all of our anger towards that person.

But a person isn’t an idea, a person is a human with feelings and a story.

If we start to hear their story, their heart, and their passion – we will learn so much more about them. We are so quick to dismiss others based on one part of their character and I feel like we are missing out a huge chunk of humanity by doing that.

My life lately has brought some really incredible people into my life. The majority of them think differently from me and follow completely different life paths than what I’ve chosen. But it’s been the most beautiful thing.

Because at the base of all human interaction is this need to belong. This need to feel that maybe someone else just understands us and can empathize with who we are.

We don’t need to be the same race or religion to understand one another. We just need to be gracious enough to get there.

Grace has probably been my biggest teacher. When I feel okay enough to say, “I’m not right and I don’t understand but I love you and I want to” – the situation instantly takes a turn towards a more humble interaction. When we can learn to coat our conversations in grace and love, we begin to walk towards each other in a more beautiful way.

To quote my absolute favorite human alive, Glennon Melton – “Confusion is okay. It’s just there are different types of confusion. There is a gentle, open, soft confusion- and then there is a hard, closed, militant confusion. Gentle confusion says. “Wow. I can’t even imagine. I wonder….”Militant confusion says. “EW. I can’t even IMAGINE. I reject….” Gentle confusion is the beginning of growth and peace. Militant confusion is the end of both.”

I don’t have to tell my friends that I’m Christian, they know. They don’t have to tell me they’re not, I know. We know that while we don’t agree on the origins of life, we agree on the truth of the current state of it.

Life is hard. People across all religions, cultures, and walks of life know that. It’s a fact. Bad things happen, hearts get broken, and nothing is fair. Listening to another person’s story doesn’t mean that yours isn’t true. Your truth is yours and their truth is theirs.

Listening to another person’s story gives them the okay to walk in that truth more.

My favorite quote of all time comes from Marianne Willamson –

“As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others.”

Often when someone comes to us with harsh words and feelings, we feel the need to fight, to defend, and to dismiss. But if for a moment we chose to stop and listen to what they were saying, to re-evaluate, and to be humble, we can learn so much more from them. Especially if this is a situation that you don’t agree with their evaluation of you, how much more room you will have to grow.

Listening rips fear to shreds. Listening to another person and validating their truth shows them that they are worthy. It shows them that they don’t have to be afraid of what is or what might be but they can have faith in what is. You are giving them faith in their story and you are opening up a free space for them to be honest.

Life is so hard. So many bad things exist and we cannot fix them all. But imagine how much better our story would be if we learned to listen more? If we became so humble that our need to be right was overridden by our need to be loving?

What a beautiful story we could tell and what a loving world we could create.

Thanks for listening,

Crissy

Your Samaritan moment.

“We’ll be known for our opinions, but remembered for our love.” Bob Goff

Today I am proud of many people on many of my social media timelines. While I know that sharing an article takes minimal effort, I think it can have a ripple effect. It can open up the doors for other to be honest and give people a space to be free.

This blog is going to be about Caitlyn Jenner. And before you feel angry with me or disagree with me, I just want a few minutes of your time. Just a few.

Step away for just one moment. Step away from this idea that we all must cheer on what we’re against all the time. Many people know what you’re against with you even telling them. Soften your heart, come off the defensive, and hear me out. Just step away for one moment.

Look at the world around you. I want you to picture Caitlyn Jenner is standing right in front of you. She’s tired, she’s sore, she’s broken – she’s spent many years believing she wasn’t the person she was meant to be. She explains to you the years of secrecy, the pain, and the need to just want to feel normal. I imagine tears are present now or maybe just a twinge in her voice.

She doesn’t ask you to understand, she knows that her truth is hers and not yours. That’s fair for both of you. But she just asks for a hug. She asks that you stop looking at her as a label, whatever that might be to you – transgender, sinner, whatever – and simply look at her as a person. She’s taken a beating lately in the media and she’s not trying to upset anyone. She’s just trying to be herself.

She doesn’t even ask for your support. She just asks that you be kind. That you love her the way Christ loves you. He met you in your brokenness and in your pain and she asks that you do the same for her.

I know that it’s easy to separate a person from a label. That you would so much rather look at Caitlyn as some misguided person that you don’t agree with but maybe for one moment you could look at her as a human, maybe even as a friend? Maybe you could listen to her tell her to story instead of trying to make one up for her.

In scripture we read, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them” – He created us in His image. He didn’t say He created some people in the image of Himself and some in the image of something or someone else.

And I know what you may be thinking, that God made Bruce in His image, not Caitlyn. But that seems inaccurate to me. Because Caitlyn was always there. She was always a part of Bruce’s story. Her soul is what was made in the image of God. We don’t reflect God in our arms or our legs or by wearing a dress or by wearing pants. People of all colors are made in the image of God so by focusing on the physical character of God (of which we have no evidence – for example, what color is God’s hair? Does He even have hair?), we miss out on what that passage is really saying. We reflect God when we are loving, respectful, compassionate, and creative. Do those things change now that Bruce is Caitlyn?

And you can argue that Caitlyn chose to be transgender and therefore was made in the image of God but then chose a life of sin. But you can’t really know, can you? And does her choosing sin suddenly un-make her in the image of God? When you have sinned, are you now unloved by Christ? Do you deserve to be treated with hate & judgement by those who don’t see themselves as sinful? Because even if someone doesn’t see themselves as sinful, we all are.

You are allowed to disagree with the LGBTQ community. That’s fair. That’s your opinion and your right. But disagreeing with someone is just that, disagreement. It doesn’t have to be a war or even a fight. Disagreement could lead to knowledge. We can learn so much about one another when we stop and listen to them.

And also know that I am not asking you to understand and support and cheer Caitlyn on. I am asking you to just wait. Just step back for a second and think about how you can look more like Christ. What is more Christ like? Deeming someone unworthy of living? Or showing them grace in love?

In the New Testament we go on to read of God’s unconditional love. The love that He says is the most important. He sees love as so important that He commands us to love our God with all our heart and then love our neighbor as yourself.

God commands that we love people in the way that we love ourselves. That doesn’t mean people who agree with us or people who are Christian or people who make sense to us.

It means everyone.

The story of the Good Samaritan is what this reminds me of.

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Luke 10:25-37 (NIV)

The Samaritans were a despised people in Biblical times. They worshipped multiple gods and didn’t act in accordance with Jewish law. For Christ to use a Samaritan to represent mercy in this moment is monumental. He wanted His followers to see something. That you don’t have to agree with someone to show them love, mercy, and kindness. He wanted to show them that even if there was someone that you despised because of your disagreement, that is still not a precedence for anything but LOVE.

How beautiful that Jesus could have just displayed a moment where the Samaritan was “nice” to this beaten man. But it was so much more than that. The Samaritan took care of him, fed him, and loved him. He had mercy on him where there was nothing for him to gain in that moment.

The one who had mercy on him. Go and do likewise.

If you are a Christian, this is your Samaritan moment. This is your moment to truly reflect Christ in the most humble way. To show the world that hate doesn’t have to win, that LOVE WINS. That we can walk alongside someone and hug them and take care of them – regardless of whether or not we agree with him.

What a more beautiful picture of Christ we could be.

Christ died loving the people who hated Him. What a moment. To have soldiers claiming you mean nothing and using your last breaths to fight for them.

I hope that if I died tomorrow, my last breaths would be spent fighting for love.

Thanks for reading,

Crissy