photo

photo

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

grace.

Common theme lately?...

Grace...

I started reading a new book a few days ago (well, not new, but new to me because I just started reading it)... Ragamuffin Gospel written by Brennan Manning and it's absolutely been rocking my world.

So far (just a couple of chapters in) it has completely been about grace the HUGENESS and UNCONDITIONAL God that we serve and how HIS grace is divine and constant and truly a Holy gift from God.  It hit me pretty soon... my view of God's grace has been skewed for a while.

Up until this point, my view of grace has been kind of like a ping-pong game, if I'm being honest.  If I've been reading, seeking, serving, praying, loving, obeying, and all of the things that you do when you are a "good christian/person" then I'm on the good side of the ping-pong table and completely just basking in God's glory and grace.  During those times, I think more about spending eternity with God and I yearn for it more. Those are great days and I can remember a lot of them and how I felt... but it's kind of like a false sense of security... I feel like I'm earning it. I feel like the more I can do and the more I can TRY to think about God and nice/wonderful things, then the more security I have in getting to spend eternity with Jesus.

Then something happens (pretty quickly)... I become human and terrible... engulfed in my sin, unfocused, selfish, narcissistic, needy, and full of anxiety... and at that point... my view of grace sends me like a rocket to the other side of the ping-pong table. Back and forth between being saved by the Grace of my creator, and shunned to the pits of hell for my mistakes and shortcomings.  It's days like these that I become fearful of my God returning to save the Earth while looking in my eyes to tell me I can't come with Him.  I hate that side of the ping-pong table.

A friend of mine spoke in chapel last week about grace and this ping-pong game theory that a lot of people (like me at least) have adopted.  I hadn't ever put words with the way I viewed it, but I kept listening and it really hit me hard... so then I kept reading this book...

Everyday I feel like I keep learning more about my God and the Savior of the EARTH... It's like the lightbulb finally went off in my head to affirm that MY GOD SENT HIS SON AS THE SACRIFICE. For me. For ALL of mankind. So that I (keela. keela evans. me. the worst of all sinners.) could spend eternity with Him. Because He loves me? that much? no way. Can't be.

I just can't get over it right now.  I have sat here for years and claim that the almighty Lord of the earth is alive and that He saves... and I truly believe that! That He sent His son to cover our sin and that we are forgiven in His Holy and precious eyes.... but all along thinking that from day to day my desire for God to return and take us home was really just dependent on how much I had tried to earn it.  What a fool I am.  Who am I to think that anything I do or don't do can affect the love that comes from our Savior?! I can't get over it. Really. 

I only know the FEELING of grace at this point (because I can't touch heaven yet... but please don't judge me for saying that) from personal experiences, stories, and examples.

I know what grace is from my sweet Andrew... I know what it feels like to know I don't deserve his love but it's still unchanging (I know we aren't married yet, but we have gone through a LOT of learning about grace over the past few years).  

I know about grace from my parents and family...no matter how long it's been, how terrible I've acted, how many wrong things I've said... their love and encouragement still remains.  I think about the way that God is our FATHER... my dad? He couldn't stay mad/sad/frustrated at me for more than a day.. how much more grace can my HEAVENLY father love?! (I know there isn't a comparison and I know that God is so much huger and completely uncomprehendable but if the bible can compare a father's love... I will too... Maybe I'm paranoid. whatever.)

I know about grace from my Meredith... wow... if there is one person that knows my darkest of darkness and lowest of lows it is her. and she STILL wants to be my friend/mentor/kindred Spirit? She's taught me so much about grace. So much.

I guess right now I just can't believe that my God's grace is ACTUALLY really and unchanging. I can't believe that He would do that. That it DOESN'T depend on me... that the sins and thousands of flaws don't keep me from swimming in the sea of God's grace.  I believe in GOD and I (think) I always have... but I really do think that this may actually be one of the first times (I think I've been here before, but forgotten... good thing God forgives... get it? grace? pardon the pun) that it's actually been setting in. It's just crazy.

Maybe this was a soapbox... I didn't mean for it to be. but wow... I really just feel the presence of God and his grace all around me. It's crazy.  I can't wait to keep reading and learning and hearing and growing.  .. not because I'm trying to earn my ticket to heaven, but truly because this whole grace thing is actually unimaginable. 

Happy Tuesday :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

something different.

Sometimes I look around my life and see no consistency. Nothing jumping off any pages and nothing hitting me in the face to challenge or change or lead me somewhere else. Somedays just come and go (just being honest) and I don't really think intentionally about what I'm doing or where tomorrow may go (terrible I know... I'm sure no one else is like this but had to get it off my chest). There are some days, weeks, even months that things I hear and learn or talk about just don't seem to have much relevance. 

but SOMETIMES (probably more than I ever notice or try to notice or even let my head wrap around) it all just fits together.

(sidenote)-- I feel spoiled/blessed/overwhelmed by my life leading to where I now. Little tiny things that I thought would never matter have created the place that I am at now and small decisions have turned into life-changers. People I didn't know I'd ever meet, have become my best friends. Friends from high school have become my favorite mentors. Jobs have formed me into who I am. it's crazy. I tell people, often, that I feel way spoiled that I can look back and see the things that God has done. Ways that He has answered prayers in ways I never would have imagined.

All that being said... I think something big is coming. I have NO IDEA what it is... or even if anything will actually happen, but the past couple of weeks has been such a challenge and wonderfully convicting place of life. 

Donald Miller came on campus last week (which was absolutely awesome for 1,000 different reasons)... it was great to have a success. To have someone on campus that EVERYONE seemed to connect with. To have a week where I felt really good about what I do. It was awesome to just HEAR his perspective. To MEET (yes, I said that... I try to play it cool but if you know me at all, I'm a star-struck kind of person sooooo it takes everything in me not to burst into giddy laughter/tears every time I meet an awesome speaker like him.) him. To hear about his life and faith. He talks about storytelling (if you haven't read his books/listened to him speak... stop RIGHT NOW and go do all of those things) and how you CREATE your own story. How we all are walking around waiting for something to maybe happen to us, but how God calls us to live out a story in Him. We have a blank sheet of paper, and God walks with us as we create our story of life. It challenged me to want even more to live a good story.

So then... our church, Ethos, started a new series in Ezra/Nehemiah about a REVIVAL. Dave, our preacher/friend/mentor/awesome wonderful person that you should meet, spoke about how comfort is often our biggest enemy and how we find ourselves comfortable in the places we thought we'd never be (at least that is what I took from Sunday... hope I'm not butchering his point). Andrew and I got to take communion together (one of my favorite times of the week) and we just talked about getting OUT of our comfort zones and OUT of the things we know so well and just completely living and being REVIVED by Jesus. Letting HIM lead us and letting HIS life speak through ours. Letting God write our story, but trying to enjoy every part of it together with Him!

So in addition to both of those things falling within 3 days of each other, another thing keeps happening...

When you're in college, absolutely every single person you see/meet/talk to will ask you "what your plans are in the next phase."  If you are going to be a doctor, it's an easy answer. You're going to med school. If you are going to be a teacher. It's an easy (usually) answer and you become a teacher.  But if you have no idea, it's just a stressful question that is, and stays, annoying.  So... after college, if you have a job or a plan or whatever you have, people usually stop asking.  People know what you are doing and people just ask how you are, instead of how things are going to be (sorry if this doesn't make sense... it makes sense in my head).

But... the past few weeks... more people than EVER have been asking me what the next step is.  What are my dreams and goals and plans for "after" this phase, for "after" this job.  And my answer is... drumroll please... no idea :)

I know I want to be a wife to Andrew... and not just a wife/roommate/person you spend your time with.  I want to be a LOVING and committed and encouraging and confident and challenging and submissive (don't get carried away with that one, but respectfully submissive) and SINCERE wife to him.  I know I want to be a mom someday (sometimes I'm not sure I'll be good at that but that's another story for another day). I know I want to love on people in someway.  I know I'm where I'm at right now for SOME reason.

But I don't know what's next, how long I'll stay where I'm at, or how long it will be before God completely rips the rug out from underneath my comfort zone and sends me to Zimbabwe (I had to look up the spelling to that word).  I have no idea what's next but I think it's going to be something big and something different, at least I hope so.  I want to live a good story.  I want to be revived by the Spirit of Jesus every single day over again... because I truly don't think He would have brought me this far and shown me so many different things, just to let me waste my life away.

(disclaimer. if nothing happens and I stay at this place for 16 more years, that doesn't mean nothing happened... it means that God did even more here and I've gotten to be a part of it.)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

one day makes a difference.

one day.

that's all it takes to change things.

one day you're dating, the next you're counting down to tie the knot.
one day you're just two people, the next you are celebrating your family beginning.
one day you're going to college classes, the next you are freaking out with what to do with your life. 

things go from normal to crazy so fast, but on the flip side... one day can COMPLETELY change an attitude, a relationship, a family, and a workplace.

I get bitter sometimes (please don't stop being my friend after this terrible confession, promise I'm working on things). Bitter towards life, towards my job, honestly just bitter towards anything that isn't going the exact way I planned for that exact moment (Andrew reminds me of this when he may not respond the exact way I want him too). 

I don't usually make New Year's resolutions (well, I never have made one actually)... not because I don't think they are GREAT, I just don't ever make new goals for the new year (maybe I should... anyways...) but this year (all 5 days of it) i've completely made it an effort/priority to just make the days better.

Don't worry as much.

Don't be so negative or bitter towards things in my life.

Forgive quickly, let things GO even quicker.

I'm a pretty positive person in general but I have already felt my heart leap for more things and found myself engulfed by God's sovereign Spirit. What a blessing. It's nice to feel His arms around me and makes me want to RUN (not walk. not pass GO and collect any money) towards His life and plan for me. Makes me want to love my family better, encourage my sweet love Andrew more, spend more time with the people that encourage me to do bigger things. Makes me want to pour more into my work, and encourage the people I work with more.

Just taking one day to do these things can change everything.

one day. let just TOMORROW (or today, don't procrastinate) be different :)

Happy Thursday :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

home for the holidays (part 2)

It's kinda weird thinking that's it's actually 2012... I don't think the reality has really hit me. We had a chill New Year's Eve (ordering pizza, watching bowl games, and reading the Hunger Games... woopsie) so it doesn't really seem like a new year has even started!  Here is the rest of our Christmas trip in photos :) :)


THIS beautiful lady is my sweet Granny... I couldn't help but put some cute pictures of her sweet laugh. I can literally hear her cackling when I look at these.


My grandparents... Wow. How handsome and beautiful and so in love.  This was an extra special Christmas for me to get to watch them love each other.  So beyond so blessed and thankful to have them in my life.


Granny wanted us to take a few pictures of the Grandkids... :) :)


All of the Grandkids/Great-Grandkids/Grandson-in-laws with Granny and Grandad :) :)


Hope Andrew looks half this good in years to come.  Love him.



My sweet Sister, Baby Kyndall, me, and Grandad :) 


We left on the 26th to see Andrew's family in Flat Creek, TN!  We went over to Lynchburg and took the Jack Daniel's Tour too! 





This is Andrew's sweet Nannie (Jeannie's mom) with the sweet little babies that were there for Christmas :) It was SO cute with these two.


Sweet Barrett :)









Look at that stud :) Found this gem at the farm :)




Hope you had a wonderful holiday season! :) Happy Tuesday :)