Waiting for Your Crown

Hebrews 11:13-16

“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.”

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These last few weeks I have been conversing with a couple of my close girlfriends about this feeling of being “Strangers on Earth”. If we are all being real with each other, I think everyone has had this feeling before, in one way or another. However, how we digest this and reflect this understanding in our journey, is everything.

I know that the ones who have experienced this feeling of not belonging would agree that this is not a dull sense. It is a powerful, gripping on our hearts, which has the power derail our whole being if we do not view it in an eternal light. What the heck do I mean, right?

I’ll lay this out in my own life, in my own story and I pray that this will bless those of who can relate.

At a very young age I was saved. I was about 12 years old when I chose to be baptized and I vividly remember sitting outside of the horse trough that they used to baptize everyone that day, staring at the water. I was young but my spirit grasped what I had just committed my life to. At that young age, I knew that this decision was a blessing to me. But I also knew it was a very important mandate for me to serve God with my whole life, by serving others. It was giving up my life for His, because He laid down His life for mine. I understood that.

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In that time, when I read the Bible, scripture was as alive to me. Every single passaged breathed life into me. Each sentence quenched my young heart and soul and it overfilled from within me!  I didn’t have any trouble understanding the language of the King James Version and I really believe that The Holy Spirit honored how much I wanted to know and learn about God. I was excited to go into my room, shut the door, and dive into scripture.

It was in this passionate time of devotion that God gave me the vision that is as vivid to me today (Years down the road), as it was then. He called me to missions. Not to go on missions trips now and then, but to be a full time missionary. He gave me visions of holding sweet babies in my arms, and even faces of those that I would be in the presence of.

This was the tipping point. I was so excited! My heart of hearts ached to fulfill what God called on my life. I then started plugging into church, with one goal in mind. Then it came about. A missions trip to Uganda. I had a bleeding heart for Africa. And when they announced that this trip would take place, every cell in my flesh want to go. (You catch that? If not, press in) Everything was in motion; I attended all the meetings, I had sponsors lined up, my vaccination appointments were all scheduled. I even took on a Compassion International child in hopes that I would get to meet her while I was in Uganda! I couldn’t be more excited.

Then, Uganda was hit with violence in the midst of elections and a lot of political term oil was surfacing, which closed out our opportunity as a missions team to get there safely. And so, they cancelled the trip all together. I was devastated. If there was a better word for devastation I would choose it. Teenage girl hormones mixed with the feeling that God didn’t keep His promise to me, is never a good combination. In my immaturity as a woman, and as a believer, I allowed this event to seep bitterness into my heart. I felt very angry at the church, at God, and I ultimately felt like I lost my purpose in life.

 

God didn’t fulfill the vision He gave me in MY time, and when I wanted, so I felt like all hope was lost (Which is the furthest thing from the truth).

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Galatians 5:4-6

“You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”

At this point I was a junior in High School. It is in my senior year that I began on a long journey in which I moved significantly backwards in my faith. I started TRYING to fit in with the “In crowd,” something I could not have cared less about before. I went to parties, I started dabbling in sexual immorality, and in that time, the lie of self hatred was sewn into my heart. I never matched up to the “pretty girls” and guys overlooked me often as the sporty girl that was much more of a friend than anything else. I loved this element in my personality before, but now my eyes were off Christ and on trivial pursuits. This seed of self hatred was in fertile soil (Insecurity infested soil) and manifested into an addiction of cutting.

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When my parents marriage started getting rocky, (Which happened right before the beginning of my back sliding, and has continued until their final decision of deforce a few months back from now) I allowed that rockiness to propel this masacistic addiction forward. I allowed this lie to become me. I listen to music that went right along with the darkness I felt consuming me, and the friends I chose went from the “In crowd” to the “Outcast crowd”.

Stereotypical in description, but goes to prove that we are never alone in our sufferings, and that we are ALL searching. I left my love of competitive swimming ( I spent week night and weekend training and competing for the last 5 years until this point), and after that moment; with no vision of my future, and no dedication of being an athlete, the strings unraveled.

John 8:44

….[The Devil] “He was a killer from the very start. He couldn’t stand the truth because there wasn’t a shred of truth in him. When the Liar speaks, he makes it up out of his lying nature and fills the world with lies..”

Senior year arrived. It was time for me to move to college.

sea-sunset-sunny-beachI chose the furthest place from where I was. I felt like I could not breathe anymore. The only place I could picture was Hawaii. A Colorado Born girl, land locked the majority of my life; surrounded by paradise… yes, that is where I needed to go. I didn’t realize at the time but I was beyond blessed that God allowed this blip in time to take place. I still remember opening the acceptance letter for The Univeristy of Hawaii at Hilo. Freedom awaited me, I thought. But one thing was certain, Moving to Hawaii would change my whole existence, from the inside out.

In that freshman year of college, a love for hawaii deep rooted itself in my innermost being. The Aloha Spirit was tangible. Then once I began to surf, that was it. For the first time in a LONG time, I felt the Holy Spirit move in me. I have never felt more at home and connected to God than when I felt the Hilo rain kiss my back, as I looked out at Honuli’i, waiting for the next set to roll in.

(Even on bad days now, this is where I go in my mind)

There will never be another place I can call home. I knew that I would live here one day for good. However, only God knew the path that would lead me back.

During the beauty of discovering this love for Hawaii and the local people (Ordained by God no doubt), I was unknowingly slipping into a spiral of a life style that would proceed itself well into my young adult life. After this careless living took root, it wasn’t until I ended up in the hospital after seizures and alcohol poisoning that I felt the pull to return to Colorado. This pull shocked me. I did not EVER want to leave Hawaii again, but I knew I needed to get my head on strait.

1 Peter 5:10

“After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”  

This season was a LOOONG season of God tugging on my heart and me resisting. Through multiple unhealthy relationships with men, to completely compromising my virginity at the age of 22. I knew that this was my biggest compromise yet, I had hopes of keeping a man who’s heart was never truly invested in our relationship to begin with. Immediately after moment, I stood up, left the room and I felt a shift in me, stronger than anything I had ever felt before.

It was the Lord, calling to me. I was broken, I was searching. And He knew what I was looking for.

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I left that guy, I moved out of my parents home, I got a better job, and I started enjoying time alone with God in ways that I felt Him the most at that time (Which did not include church… yet.) I rock climbed in the Garden of the Gods often. I hiked alone frequently. I would drive through the mountains alone, and art flowed out of me in my little attic apartment. (Something I still do to meditate on The Lord)

Was I still lost? yes. Broken? Oh yes. So what changed me from where I was in this moment to the path that I am on today? (Which I still CONSTANTLY have to recenter) I’ll tell you.

An intimate and persistent Lord, and a Godly and steadfast mother. Through out all of this struggle I was going through, I had a mother who never stopped praying for me. She never judged me when I came home waisted and stoned. Yet, she also never met me with approval of what I was doing. She had the perfect amount of corrective love in her eyes, and often she didn’t have to say much to make me know in my spirit that my life style was not matching up to the life I was called to live. Without her prayers, I do not even want to think what may have happened in my life.

 

356802623_14aed693a8_oAfter that big shift in my being, I knew I needed to talk to the only one who would understand me. My mom and I met for coffee at her house. Something I looked forward to very much after moving out. She filled up my coffee mug and I spilled it all. The best part. She already knew. I didn’t realize how much of my pain I wore on my sleeve. I have no doubt that her mother’s intuition was also tuned into me each day I pretended to be ok.

In that moment she prayed with me. We prayed and I repented of having sex before marriage. She prayed for my husband, we prayed for my life after that moment. It was a big turning point in my life.

 

Revelation 17:14

“These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.”

I wish that I could say that from that moment I was sinless and found a Godly man and had a beautiful wedding and sweet babies and we lived happily ever after…. ok maybe I really don’t wish that ( I am too much of a free spirit to want the cookie cutter life). But I do wish I chose to allow the Father to take absolute control of my life from that moment. I had such a tight grip on my life that it was a daily effort to let go, inch by inch. As always, God was faithful and moved in my life, in big ways. Thinking about that love alone brings me to my knees today. I wasn’t even fully submerged in my faith, but He knew that I was headed there, and so He moved nonetheless. His faithfulness made me WANT to do and be better. HE called me out…. And urged me FORWARD.

God didn’t care that I still had a lot of sin in my life, He cared that I now acknowledged Him and was genuinely trying to change.

1 Corinthians 7:18-22

“… what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God. Each man must remain in that condition in which he was called. Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that. For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord’s freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ’s slave.”

After that morning with my mom, she told me that she really felt God telling her that I already knew my husband. That he was right under my nose in fact! I couldn’t image that to be true. And I was weirded out that she felt God told her that… (Still pretty immature in my walk, and gripping tightly remember)

I was still pretty secluded at that point in time. I needed to heal and collect the pieces.

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I was working at a local gym at that point in time and every shift I worked, like clock work this handsome local man from Oahu would greet me with his beautiful warm smile. His handsome face took me right back to feeling at home, with that warm Hawaiian sun on my skin. Him and I started talking more and more, and each time he returned home from The Islands he would bring me sweet gifts. He knew I loved Hawaii. (Soooo, I may have lied at first and said I was from Hawaii….. I know silly. And yes I confessed this to him shortly after I said it.) I really did feel from Hawaii in my heart though, and he seemed to really appreciate that about me. The important thing is that he became a friend to me in one of the darkest times in my life.

It really wasn’t long until we were in love. We also had a love rooted in respect for one another. We planned a trip back to Oahu to meet his family, and in that time we envisioned our life together. In the months that proceeded, we began planning our future. We didn’t know it at the time but the future was right around the corner for us.

In the next 8 months, we were engaged, pregnant (before marriage… I know, I know). Then we signed the papers to get married. There was no romantic ceremony, just a lot of morning sickness and then the news that my, now husband, was about to be stationed in Korea…. Without me…. For a year. (Did I forget to mention this local boy was in the military?… Shocked me too when we first met). I returned to Hawaii to bring this sweet baby girl into the world and start raising her… alone.

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In this time of being alone in pregnancy, and also of becoming a new mother; began my journey to letting go completely of my life and handing it over to Jesus.

He was so present in those times when I was beyond exhausted and had no one to pass my sweet baby to in the middle of the night. When I was lonely, scared, angry, Jesus was right there with me. I began going to church again, I had Godly girlfriends and I met my best friend, who though is thousands of miles from me, I love her as my own flesh and blood. God healed me while my husband was away. I returned the love I once had for Him and showed it to Him by devoting time to being in the word, to worshiping Him, to changing my life style, and to running hard after Him.

This eventually caught on to my husband. Once we were together, our love for God and His Word blossomed in our lives and in our marriage. Both of us started to WALK in Faith and LIVE it out together.

Now that our daughter is older, we are able to share this love with her also in a very real way. The two of us are as plain as white bread, we live pay check to pay check, and we trust in the Lord to fulfill the visions He promised to us. We are BIG dreamers together, and that is everything to me.

I recently read through a chapter in a book that is quickly becoming a favorite written by Donna Gaines called “Leaving Ordinary, Encountering God through extraordinary Prayer.”  As I read these words, it felt like my own.

“I sensed God calling me to ministry when I was twelve. I remember being in a worship service and having an overwhelming sense of God’s presence. I knew inwardly that God was calling me to surrender my future and commit to follow Him, much as Abraham did. At that moment, like no other moment before, I was aware that my life was not my own.”

This mirrors my experience when I was young. I was the most fulfilled when I realized that my life was not my own. When I lived a life surrendered, my call and purpose was clear. It wasn’t until MY vision for MY life wasn’t fulfilled in the timing that I expected that I took things in my own hands, and well…. You know the story.

Donna Gaines followed up this story with a question that moved my spirit,

“Have you ever thought that you ‘Missed God”? It may be that you haven’t missed Him but just missed His timing. It would be thirty years after that initial call before God would renew that call to missions.”

Even as I write this quote now, I feel the Holy Spirit wrap His arms around me and God whisper,

“Kiersten, you haven’t missed me, your time is coming.”

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So friends, if God has given you a vision recently, or 13 years ago, hold true that we serve a GOOD God, and He fulfills His promises.

You haven’t missed Him or His timing. He is waiting for you with big open arms…. So GO.

On of my most favorite Worship songs is “O Come to the Altar” by Elevation Worship. I think you’ll see why

“O Come To The Altar”

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Are you hurting and broken within

Overwhelmed by the weight of your sin

Jesus is calling

Have you come to the end of yourself

Do you thirst for a drink from the well

Jesus is calling

[Chorus:]

O come to the altar

The Father’s arms are open wide

Forgiveness was bought with

The precious blood of Jesus Christ

[Verse 2:]

Leave behind your regrets and mistakes

Come today there’s no reason to wait

Jesus is calling

Bring your sorrows and trade them for joy

From the ashes a new life is born

Jesus is calling

[Chorus x2:]

O come to the altar

The Father’s arms are open wide

Forgiveness was bought with

The precious blood of Jesus Christ

[Bridge x2:]

Oh what a Savior

Isn’t he wonderful

Sing alleluia, Christ is risen

Bow down before him

For he is Lord of all

Sing alleluia, Christ is risen

[Chorus x2:]

O come to the altar

The Father’s arms are open wide

Forgiveness was bought with

The precious blood of Jesus Christ

[Verse 3:]

Bear your cross as you wait for the crown

Tell the world of the treasure you’ve found

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This is the treasure that I found friends! And I cannot even try to hold it in my bursting seams! I want this joy for you! I want this freedom for you. I want this HOPE for you!

I pray that you join me and choose to live a life surrendered.

Things NEVER turn out how we envision. But thats why were on this ultimate adventure!

I encourage you to allow the Holy Spirit lead your way thought the twists, turns, pit stops, returns, and bumps.

We may think that things are all wrong, or were not in the right place.

But I assure you that you are on the path that will get you to the vision God placed in your heart long ago.

Hold fast to Him, you won’t be let down…. and nor will I.

Deuteronomy 7:9

“Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.”

 

Have Grit sweet ones,

kiersten

8 Comments

  1. Grandma on April 9, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    Moving and beautiful darlin….so utterly proud of you..may God’s Light always warm you and yours

    • essencefromhi on April 12, 2016 at 4:14 pm

      Thank you Grandma. Means so much you read this. Miss you terribly and think about you often!

  2. Alyssa on April 10, 2016 at 10:24 am

    This was so beautiful Kier ! ❤️❤️❤️ And so are you

    • essencefromhi on April 12, 2016 at 4:13 pm

      Thank you my sweet friend! Blessed that you took the time to read it!

  3. Deb Rusk on April 10, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Kiersten, that is beautiful. You are amazing. I am blessed to know you and your mom. Love you guys a lot.

    • essencefromhi on April 12, 2016 at 4:13 pm

      Thank you Debbie! Love you too!

  4. Heidi on April 13, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    It’s by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony that the enemy is overcome! I love hearing the stories of lives transformed by our loving Father and Creator. Thank you for sharing part of yours Kiersten. God isn’t finished with you yet and I stand anticipating goodness to flow to and through you in Christ Jesus. Truly a beautiful story of God’s redeeming love. Blessed to know you and I pray a deeper encounter with the One who saved you will be forever experienced. Run hard, Love well, and rest in His glorious presence. His grace is sufficient, His plans are perfect and His love never fails. Aloha sweet one.

    • essencefromhi on April 16, 2016 at 10:01 pm

      thank you my sweet friend!

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