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From the Archives: Reasons and Excuses

This is a more recent post written after a long stretch of not blogging. It is sort of an examination of why that was and why it was wrong, all coming around to God’s work in the lives of His people.

Originally published: 12/1/16


If I were so inclined, I could produce a plethora of reasons (insert: “excuses”) as to why I haven’t written anything in the past few (ahem, five) months.

Fortunately for you, I am not so inclined.

I will, however, state one reason (do not insert “excuse” here): I haven’t had anything to write about.

I’m completely serious. The author wannabe hasn’t had a single thing to write about in nearly five months now. Not counting, of course, a few e-mails and texts and things of that nature. Though I will admit I am abominably slow at replying to such things. Oh, and homework. Who could forget a lovely thing like that?

But I haven’t had anything to say on here, on this blog. As you likely know, I usually write things like fiction, anecdotes from my real life, and ways that God’s been working on me.

Ah, ways that God’s been working on me. Such a lovely thing to ponder… Wait a minute. If I haven’t had anything to say on any of those topics for almost half a year, does that mean He’s just stopped? I’m no longer growing? I’ve finally reached that point of perfection so long sought after?

I’m not going to insult your intelligence by trying to convince you of that. No one’s perfect, believe it or not, and I’m pretty sure it’s a safe bet to say you believe that.

So why the drought of words? If I haven’t become the epitome of all that is beautiful and pure in the world, why have I had nothing to say on the subject of anything lately? Has God given up on me? Is that it? He threw up His hands in disgust and left to work on some holier project?

Um, no.

I can tell you with 100% certainty that God hasn’t given up on me. If Jesus went all the way to the point of death on the cross for me while I was still as dead as a person can get in my sin, why would He stop molding me to His image now? The thing is, He wouldn’t.

So that brings me back to my original question. What happened to all the thoughts that I normally transform so eagerly into sentences to push out into the wide wide world to be read by people who aren’t me and my imaginary friends?

I’ll tell you what happened. It wasn’t that I didn’t have anything to say. Nope. Just ask my sister, I’ve been talking probably more than ever since the July of my last post. And we’ve already determined that God hasn’t stopped working on me. Quite the contrary actually – He’s been growing me in ways that make me beyond grateful and that I didn’t see coming.

So are you ready for the answer then? The reason behind the lack of typed verbiage? There are two of them actually and here they are:

1. I didn’t think any of it was good enough to say.

2. I didn’t think I could do justice to what I did want to say.

Can we just take one second to laugh really hard at reason number 1? Seriously, go ahead. I have.

I’ll explain that moment of laughter. If I claim to be a Bible believing, born again Christian (and I do), shouldn’t I be growing in my faith every single day and not taking five month breaks? Yes, I should and yes, I have been. So if, like I’ve said, God has been working in me this whole time, isn’t that part of my testimony or witness or whatever word you want to use? Yes, of course it is. My testimony doesn’t end with salvation. That’s more like the beginning. Finally, if that growth is part of my testimony, how can it possibly not be good enough to say? Am I really criticizing God on how He’s been using me and growing me and telling Him it’s not good enough to post on the internet? Let’s take another laughing break, only this one should be in disbelief and with lots of head shaking.

But that’s what I’ve been thinking. “Wow, I love all this growth and learning new stuff, but I don’t think anyone else would want to read about it. So I’ll just go read some other blog written by some interesting person.” Really? First off, who cares if anyone wants to read it? My popularity (or lack thereof) in this life has absolutely nothing to do with who I am. Nothing. At all. Second, if God loves me as His daughter and is taking the care to grow me in a way that is special to me, He deserves praise and glory for that. Right? I mean really, am I right? Yes! So how dare I think that I don’t have anything good enough to say! If God’s working in me and through me, I should never run out of things to say, regardless of who reads them.

On to reason/excuse number 2.

I didn’t think I could do justice to what I did want to say. So, yes. there were a few things that I thought I’d like to write about and post, but I didn’t think I could say them well enough. I mean, I’m a teenager, still working on my writing, growing my fancy-schmancy vocabulary and learning how to make things interesting and fit together. How could I possibly say what God wants me to say in the way He wants me to say it? It simply can’t be done.

I am really hoping right now that you read that last paragraph in the most sarcastic voice your brain could supply. If you didn’t, please go back and try again. I’ll wait.

Am I ever going to be perfect? Nope. So am I ever going to be able to perfectly show what God’s doing in my life? Nope again. Well, if I can’t do it perfectly, then why bother?

Turns out, I’m supposed to bother because God told me to bother. If I don’t praise the Lord, the stones will. And who wants to lose in praising God to a bunch of rocks? Um, not me.

No, I can’t write everything perfectly, no matter how hard I try. And I probably can’t do it justice. But the point is that I try. I give my absolute best for God and quit acting like I have to be any good by my own strength before He can use me. Guess what. He can use me now. He could use this imperfect post I’m typing viciously away at however He feels like it. And who am I to stop using the words He’s given me because I don’t think they’re good enough? No one, that’s who.

So there you have it. That’s why I haven’t been writing. Because I’m a sinner who doesn’t want to praise God for what He does for me.

Well, that’s going to change. In fact, it already has. Look at this, I’m writing about what God showed me recently right this very second! I love my God and I want other people to love Him too. I want to be used by Him to show other people how great and amazing He is. I’m not going to do it perfectly, but I still want to do it. What could possibly be better than to have a testimony and a witness used by God in someone else’s life? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

So maybe now you could go back to where I said not to insert “excuse” and go ahead and put it in there. Because there is no reason good enough to not give glory to God.

Kira

What has God been doing in your life lately? How have you given Him the glory for it?

From the Archives: Potamiaena’s Prayer

This post is a short story I wrote for a class a while ago. I still remember the story of Potamiaena above any of the others we read in Eusebius’s Church History. It’s my favorite.

Also, don’t forget to check out the giveaway in my last post – Edwin Brook: Dire Recompense. It’s only open for a couple more days.

Originially published: 9/24/15


This is a short-short story that I wrote as a project at the beginning of last school year. We were reading The Church History by Eusebius and we had to write a story about one of the many martyrs in the book. I chose a young woman named Potamiaena. Her story was only a page or two long, but I really liked it and wanted to spend more time thinking about it. So this is what I came up with . . .

* * *

Potamiaena stared up into the face of the judge, fear clouding her heart. She struggled to keep this same fear out of her voice and countenance. Her entire body ached, burned, and stung from the tortures she had already endured prior to this so-called trial. “I shall never worship your childish gods. They are invented only to provide something primitive and sinful for you to chase in ignorant hopes of fulfillment. I worship the one true God, the Creator of heaven and earth and His Son, Jesus Christ, now and forever!” Immediately, Potamiaena felt courage wash over her and she was now only faintly aware of the pain filling her body as she continued to stare at the judge, defiance on her face and in her stance.

The official’s look of shock and indignation rapidly evolved into one of anger and hatred. “Then you shall die! No one, not even a woman, can defy the gods and go unpunished!”

A soldier stepped forward to lead her away and Potamiaena willingly followed. As they made their way through the crowds to the road, he whispered her some comfort. “My name is Basilides. May I pray for you?” He began at Potamiaena’s nod of assent. “God, give this brave soul courage and faith through the end and keep Yourself at the forefront of her thoughts. Bring her to Yourself quickly and as painlessly as possible. In Your Son’s Name, Amen.”

Potamiaena whispered her thanks to the ground, so as not to endanger this kind young man.

Coldly, the crowd began jeering at her as she walked toward her imminent and torturous death. Basilides pushed the crowd away, driving them back and giving her room to walk, despite the oppressive nature of the bystanders. “Thank you for your kindness!” exclaimed Potamiaena, when they reached the place she was to die. She claimed one last glance at the single kind figure being swallowed by citizens of her former home. “I will ask the Lord for you and very soon I shall repay you for everything you have done on my behalf.”

With these faith-filled words, Potamiaena turned into the arena where she was to die. A tear slipped down her cheek, but she quickly brushed it away. Lord, she thought. Give me the strength to endure this for You. Help me to show them that I am not afraid to die for You. Let my death impact someone’s life. I look forward to seeing You soon. Oh, so soon. Potamiaena’s  prayer stayed in her heart through the last moments of her life. The thought calmed her from the fear of death and gave her a final smile at the thought of being martyred for her Savior.

Kira

Is there a martyr story that cuts right to your heart and gives you a stronger passion for Jesus?

From the Archives: Counted Worthy: A New Christian Novel With A Story Worth Reading

My first book review from this blog is a review I wrote two and a half years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed Counted Worthy, so I wanted to bring over my review. Come to think of it, I just might need to read this debut novel again…

Originally published: 12/19/14


  Leah E. Good is homeschooler, now homeschooling college. She wrote the book Counted Worthy and self-published after being fully funded by Kickstarter in just a few days. I have just recently finished reading Counted Worthy, and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a book of moderate length with a Christian theme that is not too overbearing and pretentious.

The main character, Heather Stone, is trying to do what’s right, but is faced with difficult decisions that have dire consequences again and again. She doesn’t want to repeat the past, yet she does want to follow God’s will for her life. This all weaves its way into an intriguing and fast-paced story that will suck you in right from the start.

I believe that Leah Good has written a wonderful book that should (and will) be read over and over again and I highly encourage doing so.

Every generation must discover its own storyweavers. Leah Good is one of ours and we are fortunate. Counted Worthy is a thrilling work of inspirational fiction that perfectly complements the message of Do Hard Things. Grab a copy for yourself, grab a copy for a friend, and help spread the word about this phenomenal debut. Counted Worthy belongs in the hands of every Christian teen and story lover in the country. It’s that good. –Brett Harris, bestselling author of Do Hard Things

The Author – Leah E. Good


I definitely believe Counted Worthy is worth reading and telling others about. I also believe that Leah has shown to the world that she is a hardworking and talented author and could be added to the list of Who I Look Up To. Since reading her blog and book, I have often thought, How cool is that? I would love to do just what she did! Also, random fact, her novel inspired me to start writing another story and this one I hope to follow through with (yeah, right, I know). I truly enjoyed this story and I hope anyone who gets the chance to read it enjoys it just as much.

Radical. Intense. Compelling. Leah Good’s dystopian novel, Counted Worthy, powerfully embodies the message that today’s young people need to hear: the Reason we have to die to self, pursue the impossible, and when all else fails, to stand. This is the message that has the potential to turn a generation of complacency into a generation of inspiration. –Melody van Achterberg, reader

 

You can find Leah on her blog, Leah’s Bookshelf. I highly encourage you to do so.

Kira

Do you have any favorite Christian books? What do you think helps make a book not preachy and obnoxious, but still gets the message across?

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

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.