23 Reasons I am Getting Married at 23

 

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The last few weeks have felt like a whirlwind. Actually more like a dream come true and a fairy tale wrapped into one. In fact, I still feel like I am processing all that has happened since December 19th, the day Brett asked me to spend forever with him. I have wanted to write about my favorite guy and fiance for so long and especially since the engagement. I am beyond excited to start this new journey with my best friend and love of my life. There are many things I could write about him, in fact I could fill up multiple posts. However, today when I read an article about things one should try before or instead of getting married at twenty three, I thought it was time to write. This in no way is a slap in the face to that author. She has her own experience and I have mine. I am not naive and neither is Brett. We are not getting married because we decided to on a whim. This is a decision we have talked about, thought about, prayed about, and sought wise counsel about.I know that different people make decisons for different reasons based on what is best for them. However, when I started this blog I promised to be honest and share my story. So here we go. Maybe you are thinking about marriage, maybe you have been married for thirty years, maybe marriage is not even in your sights. Whatever your life, whatever your choice, this is not a recipe or an instruction manual on why you should or shouldn’t get married. It is simply one imperfect girl’s reasons for marrying at 23. In no particular order…here are the reasons I am marrying Brett Eric Stainsby on July 4th:

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1. Age doesn’t matter. Sure we would not have been mature years ago but  now we are both adults. I am 22 and Brett is 26. We will be 23 and 27 when we get married and we made this adult mature decison together.

2. He treats me with respect. More than just opening doors and pulling out chairs. Brett genuinely respects me as a person and as his future wife.

3. He is my best friend. He is who I never hold back anything from and in turn he never holds back from me.

4. He accepts my mess, flaws and all. He is willing to walk through the trenches with me, even if it is messy, tear ridden sometimes ugly journey.

5. He shares his mess with me and is not afraid to let me into his deepest darkest days.

6. He makes a choice everyday to love me and show me love, even when I am annoying, even when I am bratty, even when I am mean, even when I haven’t showered.

7. He shows me grace, grace for my mistakes, grace for my flaws, grace for my imperfections.

8. He constantly reminds me to show myself grace and models it for me.

9. He sacrifices for me. Whether it be big or small. The other day he quit on hold twelve of a great game of golf on a beautiful day to go to an event where he knew no one, just to be there for him.

10. He calls me out lovingly when I am wrong. He doesn’t let me get away with things I do wrong. However, he shows me grace for my mistakes and loves me despite them.

11. He loves Jesus big time. He loves Him way more than he loves me. He actively pursues his faith and leads me.

12. He makes me laugh. Whether it is dancing silly, using accents, or teasing me. When I am around him I cannot help but smile.

13. He makes life better. He makes my good days more amazing and my bad days sweeter.

14. He encourages me to tell my story, to share my life with others and he supports me in the process.

15. He is an amazing listener. I may give him a hard time for not remembering every little detail but he truly does listen, especially when it counts.

16. He tells me I am beautiful no matter what and he means it. The first time he told me he loved me, he told me no matter what I looked like, I was beautiful and he loved me.

17. He makes me feel like I am the only girl in the world. Ten supermodels could walk by him while we are having lunch and the man would not even glance up at them.

18. He loves my family and shows them more kindness, love and grace than anyone ever has.

19. He takes time for my friends and considers them his own. I have never seen anyone so loved and respected by my friends.

20. He is willing to do silly things with me. Last night he watched High School Musical 2 with me while I sang along to every song and he said it was the best night.

21. He has the kindest spirit. He would give the shirt off his back to anyone and he is always willing to help anyone in need.

22. He is genuine and down to earth. He couldn’t care less about the money someone makes or where they live. He loves people for their hearts and spirits not for their material worth.

23. He wants to do life with me and I want to do life with him…FOREVER! We are not taking this marriage lightly. We know that the commitment we are making is a life long one and we couldn’t be more excited.

So there you go. Those are the reasons that I am marrying my Brett. Some of you make look at them and scoff, others may relate. Whether I decide to one day travel to the Effiel Tower, Sky Dive, get a PhD or decide to some, all, or none of those things and many more I want to be there with him through it all. He is not perfect or a saint and neither am I. We are two hopelessly imperfect people, in need of grace who want to do life together. We don’t have life completely figured out and we never will but we want to do the “figuring out” of life with each other. He is who I want by my side. He is who I want to do life with. He is my one person.

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I hope that each of you are filled with as much joy as we are, whether you are married or not or whether you are 23 or not (Brett is not 🙂 ). I also hope you know that you can have the adventure of your life even if you are married or not!

And may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it!

❤ MK

What Family Is

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“This is what I know: we want to live in connected, honest community. We were created for relationship. We long to be invited into the vulnerable, family spaces in one another’s lives. But as desperately as we want this, at the same time we hate the idea of people seeing the mess in our own lives, both literally and figuratively.
Bad news, though: the system is rigged. If you only let people see the perfect parts of your life, you’ll never experience those transforming, extraordinary moments of friendship that we’re longing for, that we’ve been created for.”

I have rewritten and rewritten this post so many times my fingers are starting to hurt. I haven’t gotten past the introduction and I think it’s because I am afraid that if I do than the waterworks might start. I might have to be not only real, which includes being sad and a little heartbroken, but also overjoyed. How do you put into words when someone changes your life completely? How do you tell the story of a family that changed your life? How do you tell the story of people who mean the world to you? How do you not say goodbye and only see you soon?

We met over a year and half ago and within that time my life changed. I have never met a family that did real so well, that lived grace, that gave love unbounded. When we met I wasn’t ready to be real. I wasn’t ready to be honest and I certainly wasn’t ready to take off my mask. However, it didn’t take long because I found a family with these amazing people. I suddenly realized that I didn’t have to be perfect around them. They let me into the real messy, vulnerable, and honest, parts of their lives and because of that I let them into mine too. It is true what the quote above says, when we let people into the realness of our lives that when is the celebration of extraordinary friendship occurs, and that is what happened with us. We celebrated more than just birthdays and anniversaries we celebrated bravery, and realness. We celebrated disappointment and heartache because we knew it had a bigger plan in our lives and was temporary. Sometimes you meet people and you have no idea that they are about to change your lives. From the first time we met I knew this family was special. I saw the outward beauty in each of their faces but it wasn’t long before I saw the beauty in their hearts.

I have never been a real mom or aunt. I have never had more than one sibling. However, they let me have a small taste of it all. This year they let me try and they let me fail. I have learned what it means to have five more minutes of snuggle time because you can’t imagine putting them to bed just yet. I have learned what it means to say no because you have their best interest at heart. I have learned that nobody is going to die from a slightly burnt grilled cheese and sometimes even after the fourth time of rewriting the handwriting just doesn’t look better. I have learned that two desserts is just necessary on certain days. I have learned that some days call for multiple diet cokes. I have learned that in order to deal with problems that you have to be real with them. I have learned that there are people who get your struggles more than you ever imagined. I have learned more about different kinds of toys how much cooler they are then when I was little.  I have learned that building a fort is timeless and ageless. I have learned that sometimes Baby Einsteins is the only thing that works for a screaming child and that is okay! I have learned that we don’t get along perfectly everyday and some days are just hard. I have learned that we have to work at relationships. I have learned that a child’s intuition and wisdom is more brilliant and precious than any adults. I have learned what it means to love your family no matter what comes. I have learned that you say sorry when you don’t do things right. I have learned that prayer is essential and love should be freely given. I have learned that grace is vital. I have learned that none of us is perfect but that the mess can be beautiful.

I have watched three gorgeous kids grow up into the even bigger, wiser, and more faith filled individuals who inspire me daily. I have seen a mom and dad who love their kids more than anything and give more of that love and grace than I ever thought possible. I have gained a best friend who is like a sister and a big brother who would do anything to protect the people he loves. I gained another family, a family who welcomed me into the mess and all, who loved me despite me flaws, who told me it was okay to mess up, who celebrated over my victories big and small, who loved me when I was unlovable. There are no words to express the multitude of these gifts but I can say that I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. I wouldn’t be where I am in my faith, in my recovery, in my journey without my family.

Today we don’t say goodbye but only see you soon. Hundreds of miles will separate our physical homes but not the love in our hearts. When you become family with someone you don’t ever lose that. We may not share the same DNA or blood types but there is no doubt that God made us family. A year and half ago I couldn’t have imagined what life would be with them and today I cannot imagine a day without them. So my family, for all the way you have loved me for all the ways you have shown me this love and grace, for all the tangible and intangible gifts you have given me, for the faith you have inspired me with, for all the joy and happiness you have filled my life with, thank you will never be enough. Never will I drink another diet coke, see Disney Princesses,  jump on a trampoline, eat mint chocolate chip ice cream or a greek salad, play on a kindle, watch baby e, and not think of you. For all the tangible ways in which you have forever changed my life I will be forever grateful but for the million plus intangible ways, for all the lessons, prayers, love and grace, my heart is forever linked with yours. You have changed my life for good. I will never be the same because of you! I am beyond blessed because of my beautiful family and I always will be! This is NOT goodbye…this is see you soon…this is lots of airplane trips, car rides, skype and facetime, this is tons of messages and phone calls, pictures sent, and mail received but this is NEVER goodbye. You hold a spot in my heart that no one could ever take. We may not be with each other everyday but we will always be at heart because we will be forever family… May you ALWAYS remember…

I LOVE YOU to the moon and back (times infinity!),

❤ Your MK

Fairy Tales And Messiness

Brave Real Girls

Brave Real Girls

If you know me, than you know that I grew up loving fairy tales. I am a sucker for Prince Charming and a Happily Ever After. I get so swept up in the tales. From the time I was little, I longed for the fairy tale story that swept me away. I wanted the movie scene life where everything fell perfectly into place and the audience would weep with joy. That is what I wanted my life to be, a cheesy, romantic, everything is perfect in the end fairy tale and so when my life turned into anything other than that I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it…and that is  I when stopped living…

I didn’t know what else to do, so instead of accepting my less than perfect life I kept waiting for my big  fairy tale moment to happen and slowly days and years went by and it didn’t happen and I was frustrated. Each time a big moment happened such as making dance team, dating the ridiculously cute older boy in high school, getting into TCU, dating the ridiculously cute frat boy…and so on I thought maybe my fairy tale was about to begin. Sense a pattern? I didn’t know how to deal with the realness of life, the messiness, the hurt, the frustration, the anger, the disappointment. Instead, I hid behind a really pretty mask and kept waiting for my prince charming to sweep me away and in the process I hid. Ed was really great at helping me hide and as early on as I can remember that’s what I did, instead of dealing with life I hid my true self as I waited for my fairy tale.

For over a decade I did it…I hid. I hid my loneliness, I hid my sadness, I hid my fear. Instead, Ed “helped” me deal with it. I used food as a method to control the chaotic world around me. I used it to comfort me, I used it to tell me that everything was okay, I used it to tell me that I was worthy. It failed me and so did Ed…they failed me miserably. And that fairy tale I was looking for didn’t happen. I was so lost, so broken, so unworthy feeling that I didn’t know what to do…and then I found grace and when I found grace or really when grace found me, my life changed…

My life still isn’t anything close to a fairy tale and I definitely haven’t found a Prince Charming that has swept me off my feet but even on my worst days, I am more than okay with that. I am even happy with it because grace changed my life. Grace taught me that I was loved despite my imperfections. Grace taught me that being real was okay and being a mess was beautiful and by living my life by grace that I didn’t have to measure up to the world’s standards because I was loved despite the flaws I tried so hard to conceal.

Sometimes it is still tough to want to be real and live a grace filled life. Because being real is hard! It means really feeling things in your life, the beautiful and the ugly. It sometimes hurts and it sometimes isn’t fun. However, let me say it so much easier than living behind a mask. Life is hard enough as it is and as a person who lived behind a mask for too many years, it takes a lot of work to pretend you have it all together, ALL THE TIME. Once I accepted the fact that I desperately needed grace like I needed air not because I am perfect but because I am perfectly imperfect, that is when life became easier.

When we open up, when we are real, when we show love, when we give grace, this is when we are allowing people to be the very best versions of themselves. When we are real with each other we are allowing people to be their messy beautiful selves. The other day I heard someone say that they wished people would stop talking about the messes in their lives. Honestly, friends I cannot imagine anything more horrific. When we stop talking about the messes in our lives we stop being real. Sure there is beauty in life, there is wonder, and those things make life spectacular but the fact is those are things that are easy to talk about. Beautiful things are comfortable to talk about and they certainly don’t require effort. I love hearing about beautiful things and I am sure you do too. But honestly, what I love more is hearing about the beauty in the midst of the mess. The mess doesn’t have to consume us and make us hate life but what it helps us to do is embrace the realness of life.

My whole purpose in this blog and in continuing to write and share my journey with you friends, is because I am daily leaving perfection and learning grace. There are so many times I sit down to write and want to have the perfect post, with the perfect story and then I stop myself. I will never even be close to a perfect writer and my story is anything but perfect but I continue to write. I write to share my story and to point to the grace that has changed my life and I write in hopes that you too dear friends, share your story. That your victories, your triumphs, your struggles, your messiness may be used to help others with their own stories. My story is one of billions but only I can tell my story and only you can tell yours but believe me yours is worth telling! I hope this week that you sit back, decide to be real, embrace the messiness and throw away the fairy tale, because life is so much more beautiful and messy than a fairy tale could ever tell. And this week as you decide to be brave and embrace the messiness, may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it!

<3MK

 

Lessons from the Lunch Bunch

From one of our Lunch Bunch Sleepovers. We were definitely the cool kids in High School...

From one of our Lunch Bunch Sleepovers. We were definitely the cool kids in High School…

“Everybody has a home team: It’s the people you call when you get a flat tire or when something terrible happens. It’s the people who, near or far, know everything that’s wrong with you and love you anyways. These are the ones who tell you their secrets, who get themselves a glass of water without asking when they’re at your house. These are the people who cry when you cry. These are your people, your middle-of-the-night, no-matter-what people.”

High School Graduation with the Lunch Bunch

High School Graduation with the Lunch Bunch

There are certain people that know all about you, your deepest, darkest, scariest secrets. They have seen you at your saddest, happiest, craziest, funniest, meanest and they love you still. They have been with you through more up and downs than you can count and they never cease to stop holding your hand or drying your tears. These are the people that you don’t have to call when tragedy strikes because they are already there standing by your side. They are the ones who tell you when you are being absolutely ridiculous and laugh along with you. They bring light to your darkness and show you the silver lining in stormy clouds. These are your people and for me, my people will always be the Lunch Bunch.

Meg's Sixteenth Birthday with the Lunch Bunch

Meg’s Sixteenth Birthday with the Lunch Bunch

While I met each of them under different circumstances eleven years ago we all met collectively in the sixth grade. However, we didn’t form the Lunch Bunch until summer before sophomore year when “A Saved By the Bell” board game was bought and we had our first sleepover a few weeks before school started. Naturally, when we were given off campus lunch several weeks later and I had the option to bring friends home for lunch, I chose these three and there the Lunch Bunch was formed. During the next three years, we ate more lunches at my table, had more Youth and Government sleepovers, left out more boys from our lunch gathering, had more races, shared more boy stories, and ate more packs of Oreos and cookie dough than one can imagine. Sometimes it was the four of us and sometimes it was only one or two of us. While individually the three of them comprise my very best friends, together they are the Lunch Bunch.

Youth and Government with the Lunch Bunch

Youth and Government with the Lunch Bunch

This week each of us will graduate from three separate colleges (two of us from TCU at the SAME graduation 🙂 ) and so this is the perfect time to tell these three not only what they mean to me but to tell the world what extraordinary women I have as my very best friends. These three ladies are world changers. They bring light wherever they go. To me they are my best friends,  my secret keepers, my confidants, my soul sisters, my future bridesmaids and so much more but they are also three of the most extraordinary women you will ever meet. So here you are my friends, meet my Angie, Lexi, and Meghan or as I like to call them the Lunch Bunch…

My Angelita

My Angelita

My Angelita…she is the epitome of a best friend. She is one of the most genuine people you will ever meet. She is a natural beauty who radiates inside and out. We first became friends over her friendship necklace and later our friendship blossomed over boy talk.  So it is appropriate that she is my straight shooter when it comes to my relationships and boys. She tells it like it is out of love and while she may not think this, this is one of her best qualities and it is one I am forever grateful for. She has saved me from true heartache many of times and caught me before I made some ridiculous mistakes. She is the one I go to when I need real advice about life and she is never afraid to be real with me. She was one of the only ones that in my darkest days told me how much I needed help and that I had to get serious about it. She has held my hand through so much and she has cried with me when I was too hurt to continue on. She sees the best in me and truly brings out the best in me as well. She is the one who is not afraid to dream with me and continually assures me no dream is too small. She is the one who I go to for reassurance and she never ceases to provide it. Without her I would have been lost more times than I can count but because of her I have been able to make some of the very best decisons Together we can quote One Tree Hill and Gilmore Girls, we can sing just about an 90s pop song, we can laugh about high school crushes and silly mistakes, and have some of the best phone conversations I have ever had. We have been through over eleven years together of  both our youth groups, middle school classes, high school classes, youth and government, key club, student council, birthday parties, family parties, high school graduation night and so much more. She is the person that no matter how hard I try to not tell her something, I can’t not share with her. She knows my heart too well and  I can’t hold back from her and in turn she doesn’t hold back from me. She is the person I spent the night of my high school graduation with dreaming about our future college lives and so it is bittersweet to not spend this Saturday with her dreaming about our adult lives. She is a peacemaker, a world changer,  and one of the most accepting people I know. She has shown me more love and compassion than I deserve and she will always be one of my very best friends.

My Lexa Lou

My Lexa Lou

My Lexa Lou… she is my soul sister and my other half. She is the girl who walks into a room and all eyes turn to her. She radiates a beauty that shines inside and out. She is one of the most humble people I know. We met at the age of eleven at a girls assembly. I fell for this girl because she rocked some sassy overalls and from that moment on I knew we had to be friends. Lexa is the person that gets me without me even having to say a word. She knows me and she knows my heart. She has been my make up artist, my fashion guru, my go to about boy advice. She is smarter than she will ever admit to and I am literally in awe of her brilliance. She is the first person to my defense and as a result some boys still talk about the glares she gave when they broke my heart. She is person that knows what I am thinking before I say it and sometimes she says what I wanna say because she knows I won’t. Together we have watched more chick flicks, had more boy stories, passed more notes, listened to more country songs and drank more diet coke and chewed more ice than I can count. She is one of the funniest people I know. In the last year I have gotten to spend more time with her than I ever imagined and I will always cherish that time together. She is the person who is always supportive and encouraging me in every aspect of life. She is the person who introduced me to diet soda, who taught me how to put on make up, how to study for a test (with songs and dances), how to craft, and how to be a true friend. She is the person who is never afraid to be put in a new situation and make new friends. Because of her I have some of the best quotes you could ever imagine. She is the person I call when I have a crazy idea and she is the one to say let’s go for it. She is one of the first people I text when I need prayer knowing she gets it and relies on a faith bigger than us both. She is the one who can tell when I am hurting or something happened and I don’t want to tell anyone. She is the one I can ask about anything and guarantee she will tell me the answer and give her best advice. She is the girl I am not afraid to be my crazy self around because I know she loves me no matter how ridiculous I am. She is an encourager, a world changer and one of the most loving people I know. She has shown me more love and grace than I deserve and she will always be one of my very best friends.

My Meg

My Meg

My Meg…she is known as the third child of my family. She is the most loyal person I have ever met. She has a beauty that radiates from her sweet spirit inside and out. She is the person who has literally become family. She is the girl who has celebrated every holiday with me since we became friends. We met standing outside our 6th grade school both a mess of  straight across bangs and braces not quite straight from crooked teeth, and after a science fair project together the next year I knew she was the kind of friend I would be grateful to have by my side. She has a wittiness that no one can match. She is the girl that has some dance and rapping skills that I stand amazed at. She is the precious friend who has literally slept next to and woken up with me in the wee hours of the morning when I couldn’t sleep because of a broken heart. She is the only one allowed to call my daddy by his first name. She has become the best friend to my precious brother. She is the girl you want standing in your corner when the world is falling apart around you and the girl you want jumping up and down with you at the celebration of life. Together we have read more cheesy romance novels, baked more cookies, rapped more songs, been to more church events than I could ever count. She is the one best friend out of the Lunch Bunch who I will get to spend two graduations with, something I am forever grateful for. Without her by my side at TCU, I wouldn’t have made it through. She knows more family secrets and dynamics than anyone. This girl is one of the most hardworking individuals I have ever met. She has a creativity that blows me away every time I see it at work. I am amazed by the talents that this one lady holds. She has a servant’s heart and a gentleness few could ever match. She is the person who is already praying before I even ask. She gets grace better than almost anyone and gives it better than most as well. She has a heart that loves others and seeks peace. She is a giver, a world changer and one of the kindest people I know. She has shown me more love and more about true friendship than I deserve and she will always be one of my very best friends.

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My Lunch Bunch

To say I am proud to call these three gorgeous and truly amazing individuals and women my best friends is an understatement. I am more than beyond blessed with these three. I may call many people best friends but there is no doubt that these three are the real deal.  I have watched them grow the last eleven years and turn into the very best people I have ever met! Angelita, Lexa Lou and Meg, I am so proud of you for the women you are, the friends you have been and the world changers you are going to be. To all of you who don’t know these three, you should, they are the best ladies out there! To all of those out there who have shared these sisters, these daughters, these girlfriends, these friends with me, thank you I am so grateful for these three precious ladies. And to my Angelita, my Lexa Lou and my Meg thank you for blessing my life in more ways than you will ever know. You forever hold a piece of my heart. You are my home team, my family and my very best friends. I love you a million times over! Congratulations on your graduation and on all the world changing you are about to set out on and may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it!

<3MK

The Dark Side of Busyness

“Life is a collection of a million, billion moments, tiny little moments and choices, like a handful of luminous, glowing pearls. It takes so much time, and so much work, and those beads and moments are so small, and so much less fabulous and dramatic than the movies. But this is what I’m finding, in glimpses and flashes: this is it. This is it, in the best possible way. That thing I’m waiting for, that adventure, that move-score-worthy experience unfolding gracefully. This is it. Normal, daily life ticking by on our streets and sidewalks, in our houses and apartments, in our beds and at our dinner tables, in our dreams and prayers and fights and secrets – this pedestrian life is the most precious thing any of use will ever experience.”

I feel like I have barely taken a breath lately, as if my life is whizzing by and I barely have time to fall asleep at night before waking up and doing it all over again. One of my very best friends used to joke that I couldn’t even sit down and watch TV without multitasking. It seems as if these days if I take time to watch TV I am either trying to work on five different things or am thinking about all I need to do instead of watching TV. It is a constant battle for me to not just rust through my busyness and forget to live my life. Every moment of life is precious and in light of so much recently I am realizing just how precious it is…so I need to take a big deep breath sit back and enjoy the tiny moments, the everyday moments, the not so glamorous moments, and be grateful for them all… However, when I let busyness rule my life and don’t live it this is what happens…

Earlier this weekend I was on the phone with a dear friend. It took me several minutes in  the middle of our conversation to realize he had asked me a question and if I am being honest, I have no idea what our conversation was about. Not only, was I talking on the phone but I was also  filling out paperwork, looking up details needed on the computer and then I was still was trying to catch up with a dear friend. Sounds crazy-it was. The people in my life are so precious to me and I don’t want them to think I don’t care. Obviously I am imperfect and sometimes I don’t care for them well. However, I certainly don’t care for them well when my head is consumed with other details and I blatantly don’t focus on them…

Wednesday was my last RUF, with the people I love so much. All day I wanted to think about it, I wanted to dwell on my time with my community. I wanted to write them notes and reflect back. However, I crammed my day (and the days preceding) full so full that I missed breakfast with my best friend that morning because I slept through my alarm for the first time ever. I felt shaky all day because I was drinking too much caffeine just to stay energized. By the time I made it to RUF I was emotionally and physically exhausted…

This weekend I went shopping for the perfect graduation dress. I decided that in between babysitting, lunch plans, dinner plans and other things (within a thirty minute span) that I would try on dresses. I know myself and I know that sometimes shopping isn’t the best idea for me. If I am not in the right mood, am exhausted, if I am not in the right clothes it can go very poorly and poorly it went. I also know what styles I typically like and look good on but I was so consumed with all I had to do that I picked out dressed I would never wear and that I know wouldn’t look great on. I ended the shopping experience more frustrated and near tears. I heard Ed’s lies telling me how ugly and fat I was in the mirror. It was awful…

Looking at those three scenarios it is no wonder that I felt the way I did walking into and out of each. I know better than to do other things when I am on the phone with someone I care about. The other stuff was not crucial and it could wait. I know how much I love RUF and how important it is to me and once I walked in the door to my community my focus changed and I realized that I had to put all else aside. I know Ed lies to me when I am the most vulnerable, weak, exhausted, frustrated and preoccupied. I know that what he says are indeed lies and not to listen. But, when I am overwhelmed, I hear the voices because I am so consumed with getting everything else done around me and how I can’t, that I suddenly feel unworthy-hence Ed decides to step in and tell me what is wrong with me. Gratefully, I am far enough along in my recovery that I didn’t act on those feelings but they were there and I had to be conscious not to listen and take time to speak truth to myself.

The point is we all do it and I was reminded again this week how prone I am to seek glory from my busyness. The more busy I am the more important I feel and the more impact I feel I make. That couldn’t be further from the truth. When I my head is swarming with a million things, I don’t do any of them well or truly focus on those around me.  I have written before about the glorification of planning and it goes hand and hand with busyness. I think we all, myself included need a reminder to sit back and enjoy the moments of our life because they are passing all too quickly. And even more those of us who have struggled with Ed or other issues are so prone to the lies and the belief that we need those things when we are worn down. We have to be on guard not to step back into our old habits when life gets crazy. I am not immune to it and neither are you.

Even more, take a moment, take a deep breath and enjoy the life you are living even in the mundane moments. There is nothing great about busyness. It will all get done and I have to remind myself that indeed I don’t need to solve the world’s or my own problems in a day. When I look back at my week, my best moments were those where I was really present and where I was focused on the hear and now and was not consumed with where I was headed next or all I had to do. So my prayer this week is that I would sit back and enjoy more little, not exciting, everyday moments, moments that show me that indeed I am really living and that my friend is my prayer for you too. May you enjoy all the little moments this week, take a break from the busyness and be grateful for this life… and may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it!!

<3MK

Here are some pics from when I was really enjoying the everyday moments of my life…So much happier and fulfilling…

Watching my brother play at a staff/kids bball game for Hope Farm the place he loves.

Watching my brother play at a staff/kids bball game for Hope Farm the place he loves.

My last RUF with my people (the seniors and Kelly our intern).

My last RUF with my people (the seniors and Kelly our intern).

Fro Yo, Diet Coke Jokes, and Selfies with one of my dear friends

Fro Yo, Diet Coke Jokes, and Selfies with one of my dear friends

Ministry Team with one of my favorites.

Ministry Team with one of my favorites.

Karaoke with some pretty ladies

Karaoke with some pretty ladies

Batman and Robin: Real Life Superheros

Batman, Batgirl, and Robin Our first photo together taken nearly four years ago the day after we met.

Batman, Batgirl, and Robin
Our first photo together taken nearly four years ago the day after we met.

Col Col, MarMo, and Tripper Our most recent photo this past Sunday with our newest member Sweet Charlie. Four years later and all grown-up.

Col Col (Robin), MarMo, and Tripper (Batman)
Our most recent photo (four years after the top photo) with our newest member, Sweet Charlie.

“True friendship is a sacred, important thing, and it happens when we drop down into that deeper level of who we are, when we cross over into the broken, fragile parts of ourselves. We have to give something up in order to get friendship like that. We have to give up our need to be perceived as perfect. We have to give up our ability to control what people think of us. We have to overcome the fear that when they see the depths of who we are, they’ll leave. But what we give up is nothing in comparison to what this kind of friendship gives us. Friendship is about risk. Love is about risk. If we can control it and manage it and manufacture it, then it’s something else, but if it’s really love, really friendship, it’s a little scary around the edges.”

Sometimes you meet people and you know you are going to be friends forever. You share a smile and you realize you get each other. You look each other  in the eye and you just know that the other person gets you. After one conversation you realize that this is the kind of friendship people talk about and that you have found a forever friend. I have said it before but I truly am beyond blessed with wonderful friends and doubly so when it comes to my friendship with two of the most amazing men Trip and Collin or as I like to call them Batman and Robin. We met nearly four years ago, not yet college freshman, at a time where we were all trying to figure out who we were and what we would become as we entered the new chapter in our lives. The fact that we met, shared less than 24 hours together and then continued to talk until we were back together months later doesn’t shock me, for I think we knew that when we met, something special was born, a friendship that is everlasting…

I have so many wonderful friends many who I consider best friends and many who have gone through the journey of the last four years with me but when I think about the last four years of my life these two men come to the forefront of my mind. They were the first people I met on this journey and here they are four years later  still standing by my side. I think that the three of us would all say that  when we met when we were very different people and throughout the years, we have grown up together, we have become better versions of ourselves and we have loved and learned from each other while we  have grown. These two guys have seen every stage in the last four years of my life and have stuck by my side through thick and thin. So as I sat with them last weekend, reminiscing on the last four years I couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear at the memories I will forever cherish with them. Both of them is so special to me in their own way but together they hold a place in my heart that will be there forever. For those of you that don’t know them, this is Batman and Robin my real life super heroes:

Batman, Trip, Tripper, he is the guy who brings the laughter and the excitement to the group. He was my very first friend at TCU and to this day he is still one of my best friends. In the last four years, we have shared more meals and stories together than I could ever count. He was the first TCU friend who came to my house, who I went to dinner with, who met my parents, who went to church with me, who met my friends. He was there before the craziness of college started. He was the guy who texted me bible verses of encouragement. He made me feel safe about coming to TCU, knowing that someone had my back. He is the one guy who can make me laugh so hard I cry and who can tell it like it is to me and who I will actually listen to. We have been thorough heartache and pain together along with happiness and joy. He has cried with me when I was hurting and then dried up my tears. He has a heart as big as the world and a genuine love for people that few could ever come close to. He is the spontaneous one of the group, always causing us to have more fun than we could have ever imagine. He has taught me more about life in the last four years than he will ever know. He has saved the day more times than I can count and will always be my real live Batman and Superhero!

Robin, Collin, Col Col, is the heart of our group. While his superhero  status would imply he’s the sidekick there is nothing further from the truth. He is the one that started out quiet and who’s personality has grown into a guy who doesn’t know a stranger. He was a huge support  to me before we even started school, taking breaks during life guarding to hear about my life problems. He was the first friend that when I shared my struggle with him cried with me, not because he felt sorry for me but because  he cared so much about me that his heart broke when mine broke. He is the one that always points me back to the gospel and who encourages me to find the good amongst the wreckage. He is a soul that is wise beyond his years. He is the one who keeps us on track  and makes sure we know how much he cares. He holds a kindness and compassion for each and every person in this world and I truly don’t believe that there is a hateful bone in his body. He has taught me more about being real in the last four years than many learn in a life time. He is always ready to come to my rescue and for that he will always be my real live Robin and Superhero!

Together this band of superheros has had quite our share of adventures. Together we have spent late nights studying and talking, we have drank pots of coffee,  we have shared more hairstyles combined than any friends should, we have sang Usher and rapped Ludacris, we have been to Christmas plays, we have spent time with family, we have cheered for our Frogs, we have shared my birthday together every year, we have made late night DQ runs, we have danced at Billy Bobs. Together, we have shared broken hearts, we have shared family struggles, we have shared disappointment and hurt, we have shared failure. However, also together we have shared more joy than I could imagine, more laughs and inside jokes than I can recall, more insight to each others lives than many know, and more nights of fun than I could have imagined.  The point is I couldn’t do life without the two. They have become the best friends and guys imaginable and thank you could never suffice for the love and friendship they have and I know always will show me. As Robin says to Batman, “We had to trust each person to do their jobs. That’s what being partners is all about. Sometimes, counting on someone else is the only way you win.” That is us in a nutshell, constantly counting on one another and knowing that together, we always win!

To their families, their beautiful sweet ladies, and other friends, thank you for sharing these amazing guys with me, they have changed my world. And to my Tripper and Col Col, my Batman and Robin you are two of my very favorite people and grown to be two of the best men I have ever known, I am honored that I can call you my best friends. Know that my love for you is bigger than you will ever know! Thank you for walking into my life four years ago and never stepping out. You have changed my life for good!

And for all you out there who think that this kind of friendship is impossible, it is NOT and you deserve these amazing friends like Trip and Collin. Don’t be afraid to open and share your story and life with people, because who knows they could become your best friends and may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it!!

<3MK

I couldn’t resist sharing a few of my favorite photos from the past four years…like I said combined we have had more hairstyles than any friendship should… 🙂

End of Freshman year

End of Freshman year

Sophomore year at Billy Bobs

Sophomore year at Billy Bobs

End of Junior Year

End of Junior Year

Beginning of Senior Year

Beginning of Senior Year

 

Life that shall endless be

photo

Last night I was reminded of how truly blessed I am. Wednesday nights have been my favorite  for the past four years.  Each Wednesday night I walk through the doors and am greeted by a community of people who love me exactly as I am…flawed, messy, and in desperate need of grace. Four years ago, I walked through the doors and was scared because I knew no one in the room. However, I was greeted with warm smiles and people that enveloped me in and for the first time during college I felt at home. A peace washed over me like I had never felt before and I knew I had found the community I so longed to be a part of…and that community is RUF (Reformed University Fellowship)…

As I sat there last night it hit me that this was my last time to sit and hear my pastor preach as a student. I still have a few more large groups left. I still have a couple more ministry team meetings. I still have the Craw fish Boil. I still have Summer Conference…but then it ends. And that is where my heart breaks…my time as an RUF student has flown by and I can’t believe it. However, my heart is still filled with such overwhelming  joy because, yes technically my time as a part of the RUF ministry as a student ends, but my community within RUF doesn’t and it never will and for that I am grateful.

I have been involved in many ministries since I was young. They were all wonderful and I loved my time with each. However, there is something about this group, this community that changed my life. It was within this community that I learned that I was messy and broken and  that I was loved and given grace despite my messiness and brokenness. It was within this community that I took my mask off, that I became real. These were the people who loved me in spite of my flaws and poured into me when I needed it most.

I have been blessed many times with communities that I have been spent with a group of people. These communities were people I  came together with for worship and a lesson, who I had great bible studies with, who we planned events together, had parties together. However, many times I have found that this is where the community ended. We came together for church, bible study, and special events but often we didn’t do life together and this is exactly what I expected when I became a part of RUF. I expected to have a great once a week large group, a good bible study, and enjoy some fun events, be able to sing on the praise team, and then I would go back to my life and do it all again the next week. I was wrong.

What I found is RUF doesn’t live within the walls of the chapel or within the space of Wednesday night. The community of RUF is visible, late nights at Whataburger, during the Slurpee runs at 7-11, at early morning breakfast, during birthday and Christmas parties, in the midst of break ups and heartaches, at the pub, singing karaoke on a Saturday night,  and whenever and however we are together or sharing life. These are the people who have held my hands, who have dried my tears, who have reassured my fears, who have loved me when I felt unlovable, who have shown me grace, and who have always  pointed me back to the cross. They spoke truth when it was hard to hear and came to my rescue when they saw me in need. They have shown me more love and grace than I could have ever imagined and they have shown me what it means to be in true community.

Now let me spoil the secret for all of you people who are thinking that we are this group of church people who have our lives together, you see that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I am going to speak for the community and say that we are ALL  messy, broken people, in desperate need of grace. We have messed up together, hurt each other, made dumb decisions, had to apologize, felt unlovable, had a multitude of struggles and suffered brokenness in many different ways. We in no way are perfect people we are a mess and we need each other. The sole reason that we have been able to love each other and show each other grace, despite our own flawed hearts is because, we have been shown a scandalous and truly amazing grace that none of us deserve. Because of this grace we were given we have tried to show that to others. We have spent time learning to live out this grace, to serve others, to love others, and even when we have screwed up we were shown grace. We believe in and serve a God who is bigger than us, bigger than our mistakes, bigger than our flaws, and bigger than RUF.

So here I sit a little sad because my time with a ministry I love is coming to an end but grateful that I have been given the opportunity to experience a community that keeps the main thing the main thing and even more joyful because this community lasts forever. These dear people are some of my best friends (but really they are :)) and while we may all be headed to different jobs, states, even countries and continents, we share a connection that can never be broken, and a faith and understanding of grace that transcends state, country and continent lines. If you are reading this and have been a part of this community of RUF, thank you will never be enough but I am going to say it anyway. Thank you for your love, your grace, your humor, your laughter, your realness, your brokenness. Thank you for embracing my ribbons and bows, my boy troubles, my Disney princess love, my love for Diet Coke and my constant use of the word best friend. Thank you for making me eat when I needed to, refusing to let me run when I couldn’t stop, for helping me eat ice cream and drink milkshakes, for introducing me to Wayne,  for coming to parties at GG’s, for praying for my family, for loving my friends, for listening to me sob, for listening to my uncontrollable laughter, for letting me lead worship, for encouraging me with smiles from the pews as I sing, for loving me when I was unlovable, for telling it like it is, for clinging to the gospel, for keeping the main thing the main thing and for always pointing me back to Jesus and His grace, love, and mercy.  Each and every one of you have changed me for good. The world we live in is all too broken and messy but you have made this side of heaven beautiful with the community that you have shown me (and I am not the only one). I am grateful for each of your friendships and my love for each of you is bigger than you can imagine. I am beyond blessed by each of you and you hold a piece of my heart that will be there forever. For many of us our time in RUF is ending but know that our love and friendship is not.

And what about those of you who are reading this and aren’t a part of a community like this? What if you didn’t know such community exists? My first thought is that if you are entering college or are already a college student find the RUF group on your campus! Seriously, DO IT! However, I know this is not reality for many of you. You may be past college age or not there for many years. The good news is that there are other communities like this out there, communities of people that are real, who cling to the gospel, and show love and grace despite their flaws; find those people.  You won’t be sorry you did…we all need a community this side of heaven to help bear in our burdens and love us well. I promise you they are out there. My friend, there is hope and it starts with unimaginable grace from a God who loves and chose you despite your messiness, He picked you. It is lived out by the community of people who are devoted to loving Him and showing this grace and love to others. Look for those people and if your interested in RUF… go check it out @ http://www.ruf.org. 🙂 And my friend, ALWAYS REMEMBER…

YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH  it,

<3MK