The past few weeks have been a windfall of tiny miracles. So many that I sat back not sure if I should laugh, cry or do some awkward blend of both. [it’s not cute, but it’s honest]

Tears fall easily now. Mostly, I have just been in awe, as I have been so many times since this crazy adventure of KAIO  unfolded. Seeing the way you and your community are being used for a greater design….is just…a powerful thing to witness. It’s waking up to your life.

We’re walking in the wake of glory already determined.

To give context, I’ll back up about a decade and share what led to this profound sense of wonder I’ve been experiencing.

Meet Sue, she grew up in the church. Charismatic, holy spirit living, harvest party attending, mission trip serving, “us and them” environment Church was her center and was filled with good people.  She was every bit the dutiful and kind Christian girl, never rocking the boat and signing every contract of good behavior possible. (yes contracts in youth group are a real thing)  If there was a service, mission trip or youth event, she was there. If there was a trip her single mother couldn’t afford, she did whatever it took to be an active part. The fear of being seen as less than, or not wanted in the community such a profound weight that it caused her to not know how to fully own her story. To let people see the pieces, or the very broken young women that stood in the crowd worshiping among them.

Sue, feels like a lifetime ago. But she is me, and I am her. But I barely recognize that girl, and oh have I learned so much from her.

At seventeen my world fell apart, but that’s a story for another time. I’d love to sit with you over coffee and share it with you one day. [it has to be good coffee, though]

What’s most significant about that time is that it marks the abandonment of my faith. I threw up my hands in despair late one night walking the shore of Ft. Myers Beach, tears flowing, screaming at the sky, If this is what it means to love You, count me out. The brokenness of people, the very real disillusionment of the church and simply a broken heart caused me to storm away from the only constant I had ever known. But, what I couldn’t see and didn’t understand then was that I even had a constant.  

For seven years I was complacent to my Jesus.

Seven years of storming, searching and always knowing there was more. But, you see, I have this fiercely stubborn streak that has saved me many times. It also, for many years made it impossible for me to sit in the depths of my pain. To let light in, to love my pieces.

But 2 ½ years ago I experienced the greatest personal loss to date and it rocked me.

That great pain was a catalyst for the most honest journey of redemption. For when I encountered my deepest and darkest pain, something so much greater than my brokenness met me there.  

For seventeen years I grew up in the church,  and for the first time I had truly encountered Jesus.

It changed everything.

Sometimes I still struggle sitting in a church service, what was once so familiar now feels like a piece of clothing that doesn’t fit right, it’s ill fitting and uncomfortable. Some of the most precious people I know lead in churches, they serve and love them. I believe in God’s vision for the church and He has been so gracious to bring me into several church communities that have been so loving, authentic, and brave. But, still I believe there is much work to be done before those of us that claim the church as ours are truly living in the ways Jesus called us to. I want to be part of that restoration. To be love in real ways.   

In the past few years of falling in love with the one who I believe Created me, I continually stand in wonder.

Because I’ve come to realize there is no depth He will not go, no pain He cannot heal and no distance you can run that He will not be in pursuit of your heart.

That truth has changed my whole life.

There is something to be said for encountering  and surviving great pain.  Not only surviving —  but then coming back to life. What leaves me close to tears at even typing this, is that in coming back to life I have encountered the woman of whom I was always intended to be. [still figuring that out]

I look at the many journals I keep, the books that I am drawn to, the friends that have graced my life and  know this is only the beginning of a lifetime in pursuit of wonder. A life of courage and showing up. Of surrendering all of the ways I feel inadequate or broken and knowing I am always loved. Doesn’t mean it won’t be an active choice to not spiral into doubt or questions. When you learn great truth, it’s nearly impossible to allow yourself to not be moved.

Believing that I am beloved has set deep parts of my heart free.

It is that freedom that I hope my life evokes for others. Whether through sitting over coffee and hearing your story, or the dreams of your heart. Or digging into the raw and real struggle.

 I know you may not identify with this Jesus I love, and that’s ok. I get it. My truth is based in knowing that my life has been covered in grace and for me it was an encounter with the One who made me.

KAIO has thus far been a wild adventure of being really, really uncomfortable, discovering what courage means for me, and experiencing what saying yes can do.  It is this encounter with Jesus, and community that is obliterating every cynical thought I ever had about what’s possible. I am learning to just wake up everyday expecting the impossible. Because,  life really is that beautiful when you show up.

Oh my, am I ever so thankful for a continual windfall of tiny miracles.