Month: July 2017

Following Your Passion as a Teenager

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I, like any other person you talk to, have a passion. My passion is writing. One of my brothers has a passion for coding and other technical things I don’t understand. One of my sisters has a passion for music.

All three of us are teenagers. We follow our passions in the midst of teenage lives and I want to show you what that means.

Yes, everyone has a passion for something – children, adults, and teens alike. But I don’t know how to follow your passion as an adult, seeing as I am not one, nor have I ever been one. Also, I imagine not many children are on the internet, googling how to follow their passions. So let’s look at it from a teen’s perspective.

What is a passion?

A passion is something you love. What gives you a surge of joy when you think about it or satisfaction when you do it well? My sister can’t stop grinning when she leads worship without messing up any chords.

I also believe a passion is something that God gives to His children. He wants us to enjoy life in our own unique ways, so He gives us things that we especially enjoy over others. It is also something we use to glorify Him. He doesn’t want His children serving Him a certain way because they have to – He wants us to serve Him because we want to. So He gives us a passion for something that we can use to do just that.

School

School is often the most prominent aspect in the life of a teenager. I’m in the middle of high school and my classes take up a lot of time. Sometimes I hate that, but it’s where God has me, and, chances are, where He has you too.

In following your passion, it is crucial to work hard in school. Even though that guitar looks awfully enticing over there in the corner, your math homework needs proper attention. High school is meant to be preperation for college, where you can choose to study your passion for four or more years. No good thing comes from neglecting your schoolwork, so keep at it.

Health

Teens have the unrivaled advantage of youth. We are at a time in our lives where it’s relatively easy to be healthy. We have young bodies that are eager to give us energy and vitality in exchange for our taking care of them. So take care of yourself so that you can use that energy on your passion.

Spiritual and emotional health are also important. I don’t write very well if my heart isn’t taken care of. Spend time in your Bible and with other strong Christian friends. A social life can be good for you if it consists of the right people. We were created for community, so don’t hide in your room all the time, tinkering with your latest improvement to the light bulb.

Discipline

With school, soccer, piano, youth group, and who knows what else, teenagers have a lot of demands upon their time (though adults often laugh at the idea, it’s true). Following your passion is going to take discipline. You have to work hard at all of the other things in your life in order to even make time for what you want to do. And when you have that time, you must use it wisely. It is valuable and you are filling it with the pursuit of a desire God has given you. Don’t waste it.

Don’t give up!

Although it can be difficult to follow your passion as a teen, these are beautiful years that should be used for just such a thing. Even if it takes a lot of extra work on your part, invest in your passion. Do it to God’s glory and for His people. Pray that He will guide you and use you as you work.

Your passion isn’t just something to write about in a “what I did this summer” essay. It is something to cherish and nurture. Make it happen. Make it grow.

Kira

What’s your passion? How do you work to make it part of your life?

From the Archives: Conceal, Don’t Feel

The following post consistently held its position as one of my top five most popular posts ever since I originally published it. It was the first time I was this open and honest on my blog. Now presenting Conceal, Don’t Feel.

Originally published: 9/30/14


If you have ever heard the song from Frozen called “For the First Time in Forever” you might remember Elsa’s words in the moments before she is to be crowned Queen of Arendelle.

Don’t let them in

Don’t let them see

Be the good girl

You always have to be

Conceal

Don’t feel

Put on a show…

After I watched that movie for the first time, I honestly sang those words to myself over and over again – whenever something was wrong. I figured nobody wanted to hear my problems and I didn’t want to sound like I was complaining or end up boring people to death. But most of all, I didn’t want anyone to think I had any difficulties with life at all.

I recently went to a middle school retreat where the first Bible talk was exactly what I needed to hear. The theme that night was “Life as a Christian is hard.” The speaker first made this fact very clear, then went on to say that we often want our lives to look perfect to people outside of our immediate family or we want to make Christianity look appealing to nonbelievers and so we hide our problems. I realized this is me. Next, the pastor told us that it’s okay to admit we have problems and to talk about them with someone you trust. He repeated this note and assured us that it was in fact a good thing to do. That’s why God gave us friends. To share burdens – to be there for each other.

This hit me. Hard.

I had been hiding my problems for so long, trying to look good and be perfect to almost everyone I knew. It was wearing me down. I was on edge. I kept telling my sister that I had no one to talk to, when, really, I could have talked to her or plenty of other people. I was hiding it. Concealing. Not feeling. I made an actual effort to force my negative emotions down inside of me until they couldn’t show through any more to anyone outside my family.

Last November, my Grandpa died. It wasn’t easy on anyone. He died only a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, without any of us knowing whether or not he was a Christian. For months, I cried and scolded myself for this. I had had the perfect opportunity to testify for Jesus a few months before he died. And I hadn’t. I didn’t do it because I was scared. I didn’t want to be laughed at. I wanted to look perfect in a human’s eyes. So I continued to lose sleep over this until August. November to August I worried and prayed for him to be in heaven, but I was never sure he was. I never had any peace about it.

But at camp, in August, there was someone to talk to. I told her everything, tears pouring from my eyes. I hadn’t spoken about my Grandpa’s death to anyone since November. I had tried to avoid the subject entirely and got upset with my siblings when they talked about it. But, now, I was able to dump it all out. I drained those tears. I felt so much better. The lady I talked to pointed me to John 3:16, which may seem like a familiar verse and not really comforting, but it was.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Next, she told me to replace some of the words with my own name. Now it read:

For God so loved Kira that He gave His only begotten Son, that if Kira believes in Him she should not perish but have everlasting life.

That changed it a lot for me. It gave this often used verse a new meaning and it comforted me. Why? Because if God loved me enough to send His only Son to die for me, then He must have loved my Grandpa enough to die for him, too. And while I don’t know where my Grandpa is right now, I know that God gave him a choice too. God used who He wanted to use in my Grandpa’s life. And even if I didn’t outright say it, I hope that I lived for Jesus enough to make a difference for my Grandpa. I hope that he saw Christ through my actions – even if I wasn’t always perfect.

All that to say, after I talked about my Grandpa’s death for the first time in almost nine months, I felt much better. It was so much easier after I told someone what I was feeling. Now I feel much more at peace about it. It was doing me no good to try to “Conceal, Don’t feel.” It was only hurting me.

Now that I know that, hopefully it won’t be so hard to show people that I live a broken life in a broken world, just like everybody else. Hopefully it won’t be so hard to admit that I’m a sinner and that things hurt. It’s not easy to be a Christian. But sharing makes it easier.

Kira

When Failure Knocks You Down

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What does the word “failure” mean to you? A big red “F” on a paper. Losing an important game. Letting your friend down. I bet you’ve already failed today. I bet you overslept, or snapped at someone, or didn’t meet a goal.

Maybe you failed to eat that healthy breakfast you had planned or forgot to water the garden before you left. Or maybe it was something bigger, like not getting a job you wanted or having yet another project proposal rejected with a polite “thank you, but no thank you.”

There are as many ways to fail as there are people to fail. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them haunt you for weeks, even years, and some are forgotten in a few moments. Either way, failure is an unpleasant feeling. No one enjoys messing up, whether on a large scale or small. No one wants to be unsuccessful in their goals. It’s no fun, and something we’d all rather be rid of. For good.

But what if we never failed at anything? Where would you be right now if you had got that job or won that race or kept your GPA perfect? How would your life be different? Would you know the same people, live in the same town, enjoy the same things?

Probably not. You wouldn’t even be the same person you are now if not for failure.

Failure forces us to try something else, something new. It’s God’s way of saying, “nope, try again.” And is that really such a bad thing?

Everyone tells you that you learn more from failure than from success and they’re right. Think about it – when you exercise, you do things to muscle failure. Until you can’t do it any more. And then you’re stronger the next time and you can push farther before you fail again. If you didn’t go all the way to muscle failure, you wouldn’t improve as quickly. You’d stay at the same level.

More significantly, without failure, we wouldn’t need Jesus. Let that sink in. If we never messed up, we wouldn’t need a Savior.

When I think about living without Jesus, it makes me sad. He has made my life a thousand and one times better than it was before. But if I had never failed at anything, I wouldn’t need Him to do that. Yet, I still think that life wouldn’t be as good as the one I’ve got now.

Failing doesn’t mean the end of the road. It means pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep walking. Maybe God doesn’t want you to have whatever you were trying to get. Or maybe it means He wants you to try a little harder, or He wants to build up your character some more before you get there.

Let’s stop thinking about failure in a negative way. When we don’t succeed, we’re not put back at square one. No, we’ve gained knowledge and wisdom that helps us try something else. And maybe we’ll fail at that, too, but what will we do? We’ll get up, dust ourselves off, and keep walking.

Kira

From the Archives: Amazing Love

Presenting the first of my favorite posts from my previous blog: Amazing Love.

Originally published: 7/2/14


Foster care. It’s a pretty big part of my life. Here’s how it started and how it’s continued so far. It still hasn’t ended, thanks to God.

When I learned what a foster family was, and that we were going to become one, I was overjoyed. The prospect seemed so exciting – getting new brothers or sisters who came to live with you all the time. But my visions were not entirely realistic.

For those of you who don’t know the details of foster care, here’s a brief overview:

When a child enters into foster care, it is often because their parents are unable to care for them or are in an unstable situation. Less commonly, the child him/herself is the reason they have to leave their home. The child’s appointed social worker then calls a number of families to see if they can take care of the child. All of these families have gone through training to learn how best to care for the children, many of which come into their home with a broken past.

The social worker then chooses one of the willing and available families for the child to live with. They call that family again and ask when the child can arrive.

When the child and social worker get to the foster family’s house, the child usually has little more than the clothes on their back, so a shopping trip is necessary to buy clothes, toothbrush, etc. After the social worker leaves, daily life goes on from there. A court date is set for reevaluation of the child’s case and everyone tries to settle into a new routine.

This whole process is full of mixed emotions for every party involved. The parents will be taking care of someone they know extremely little about, the family’s children have to try to be accepting and loving to this new sibling, and the child in foster care has an entirely new situation to deal with in the midst of complications with their birth family.

We got our first placement when I was about 8 years old. I was so excited – I couldn’t wait to meet our new, if potentially temporary, siblings. When we got home that day, the children had already arrived. We were taking care of two brothers aged 3 years and 18 months. Our family had met these boys before because our friends had also taken care of them a while beforehand.

The next year or was filled to the brim with anxious court dates and different worries about visitations and the boys’ futures.

Finally, the boys were up for adoption. This doesn’t always happen. The boys could have gone to live with another family member or foster family, but they didn’t.

I hadn’t realized until now how much time and prayer my parents put into making the decision to adopt those boys, but they chose to do it. They are now part of our growing family: Brad and Eric, who are currently 8 and 6 years old.

But not all foster placements play out that way.

In August 2012, when I was 11, we received our second placement. This time it was a baby whose name I should not disclose as she still has not been adopted. We got her from the hospital when she was two days old and brought her home to love. She was a tiny baby then, and now, though she’s almost two, she’s still tiny.

We were blessed with the first four months of her life to play with her and take care of her – four very important months. We took her to appointments and fed her special formula all they way through to her court date. That was the day she left.

I’m pretty sure I can safely say that was just about the worst day of my life. We were crying all day, especially when Daddy left to take her to the waiting arms of her loving grandparents. No one wanted to give up this precious little girl who had become such a huge part of our family. We sobbed and sobbed. It was tragic. I personally was heartbroken.

About a month later, her grandparents called us, asking if we wanted to come see her. We were again overjoyed and filled with excitement. After the 10 minute or so visit, we were told we could come back and see her more.

The next month we got another phone call from her grandparents asking if we could babysit for a day. That day soon turned into an over night, then a week. We now get to see her all the time and “babysit” about one week out of two. We still love her immensely and pray for her to come to God as she gets older and for Him to put her in a safe place to stay where she will be well taken care of, whether we get to help with that care or not. As I write, she is dancing through the living room with complete excitement all the way from her spinning feet to her flung-out arms to her laughing smile. She is totally precious.

Believe it or not, there are ways that anyone can help those in the foster care system. One thing you can do is consider becoming a foster family. It seems that there are never enough. Another is to donate things like clothes, blankets, toiletries, or school supplies to your local Department of Social Services. The last and most important thing you can do is pray. Pray for the kids in foster care, for the foster families, and for the birth families of the kids in foster care. I have personally seen how God answers prayers about these kids. And His love is amazing.

Kira

P.S. In our county, another way to help out is to help wrap Christmas gifts for kids in foster care. It’s fun and a real blessing to many people.

Obligatory Introduction

As the host of a new blog, it is my duty to introduce to any who may happen to read it, Kira Writes. (If you want to hear about me, myself, and I, go to the About Me page)

I wrote on my previous blog (how He loves us) for three years before some research and some thinking led me to switch platforms. I am loath to leave behind three years of work. Three years of recording my life, my thoughts, my walk with God. It was time to move, but to ease the pain a bit, I’ll be bringing over a few of my favorite and most popular posts, one a week, for a little while.

As God has been changing me and my life, I felt it was time to start with something fresh – to shift my focus and purpose in writing. Despite my continual resistance to change, He has a way of convincing me that it’s good. So here we are.

In general, Kira Writes will be the home of my new posts, which range across a whole span of topics. I pray that it will prove itself helpful to its readers, challenging to its writer, and glorifying to God.

Welcome to Kira Writes.

Kira