Evidence of Grace

Evidence of Grace

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bonnie Opper. A Hero In my Eyes

In this busy season of life there is so many things we over look, right down to the very breath that we breath. There is so much left to do, so many gifts to get and stocking to stuff. However
today, as I sit here with my hair wet, still in my bathrobe, with only one hour until I am supposed to be to a Christmas party, I am taking the time to pause to remember Bonnie Opper. Bonnie went home to be with the Lord yesterday morning. There are so many things that "need" to be done but for a moment life pauses. I will pause to thank God for what I do have. For my family, my friends, and my Lord, that is what Christmas is all about right?

I can still remember Mrs. Opper trying to get thirty-some kids ready for a play at Teenworks. She would always bring us snacks, water bottles, and anything else we needed. She was always the first one there and one of the last ones to leave. She would get down and do the grime work, setting up before, and then cleaning up after. She was truly self-less. I remember all the times she would help Cassandra and I get ready for The Hiding Place, she was always encouraging to us and never missed a performance, or practice for that fact. You could count on her for anything.

After the first round of cancer I remember seeing her at a basketball game, she had her mask on and looked so tired but she was still there cheering Caleb on. I remember running over to give her a hug and she told me that she was so sick no one could touch her. I can tell you one thing, if I was that sick I would NOT be out, but she was wonder-woman, she was ALWAYS there. Nothing stopped her.

Her legacy will live on for years to come. It truly makes you stop and think about what you are leaving behind for those who follow you. Her legacy is one that we all should strive for, Mother, Wife, Friend, Helper, Encourager, Teacher, A self-less woman, Dependable, Comforting, and above all and Daughter of the King, A woman who loved her creator so much she couldn't help but keep it inside. It flowed out of her every day.

So today, when I got to this party, my hair will probably still be wet, my make up, only half done, and my spirit heavy, but I can tell you this, the worries about what gifts I still need or what to make for Christmas dinner has all melted away, and the real meaning of Christmas has hit me so much harder.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Faith in a Faithless World.

Why is it that every time I try to start this post I can't get the words to come out?

Why is it that we get butterflies from 3 ordinary words?

Why is it the thought of one person can make our heart leap for joy?

Why is it that even when we are dog tired, we will wait up for that one phone call?

Why is it that same person can turn around and break our heart in a million pieces?

And why is it that we will turn right around and set ourselves up for that same thing to happen, yet again?

As humans we are made to crave companionship. Think about it. That is our deepest desire, to be close in companionship with God, and with each other. It makes sense that, to us, nothing is as bad as being alone. Even if we are in a relationship that is abusive, un-equally yolked, or is simply something that is not in God's will for our life, all we want it that love, attention, and companionship. But if we could just learn to rely on GOD for ALL of our needs we know that we will be satisfied. it says in Proverbs 3:5&6,

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight."

But we find this simple things so complex. Why? Because we are only human, we have no trust in us, and we are materialistic. We want to be able to see, with our own eyes, what it is we put our trust in. In all actuality we are, modern-day, doubting Thomas'. We want to see it with our own eyes. We smiply have no faith.

So I am taking the challenge to trust God in this area of my life. Trusting him that I am not going to be alone emotionally, even if HIS will for me is to be along physically. I am trusting in Him to meet my needs so that I can, in return, help him to meet other's needs.

I am choosing to have faith in faithless world.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Canceling My Appointment with the World.

So lately I have been reminded how precious life is, we are but a vapor, here today and gone tomorrow. It makes me stop and think, think about what is it we will be remembered by. What will people say about us once we are gone? What legacy will we leave? And more importantly, what have I done to further the kingdom, or should I be trying ten times harder??

There is a girl I know who, just yesterday, decided to go through with an abortion she had scheduled for today. She found out she was pregnant and then decided to keep the baby after making the appointment, however she never canceled her appointment. Then, for whatever reason, she decided that she couldn't do this and was going to abort, I mean she already had the appointment, why not? Right?

Now, I am not sure if she really did or not because when I tried to call and tell her that I had heard of a family who would be interested in the baby if she would not abort and that I would help her with medical bills and what not she told me that she wanted nothing to do with me and was going to take me to court for harassment, thus I have not tried to contact her. I asked my sisters in Christ to join me in prayer last night and, if nothing else, that girl has been covered in prayer like none-other. So thank you so much to everyone who prayed.

But it makes me wonder, why is it that when we try to do the right thing it always blows up in our face? I believe it is because Satan wants to discourage us. You see, she made me feel guilty for telling people about her "situation" as she so vividly put it. She said she didn't want anything to do with our "prayer chains" or our "god" ....Well, I am going to continue to keep people posted on what little I know and pray ten times harder, because I have seen the power of prayer and from seeing a few text messages she sent my friend, I am not sure she went through with it today. I will continue to pray for her and doing what is right, and when the Devil slaps me in the face, with God's help, we will PUNCH him back...ten times harder.

You see, sometimes we make appointments with our own "Abortion Clinic" whether it be that friend we keep ties with just for the occasional night out on the town, the bottle of vodka we stash away "just incase", the extra credit card we just keep in our wallets for "mall emergencies", or even the tub of ice cream in the freezer outside saved for our next depression run. When what we really need to do is cancel our appointment all together, cancel our appointment with the world so that when things start to get tough we can't simply show up to a perviously made appointment, but instead, we have to really think about it before we even make an appointment. So I am going to try to cancel my appointment with the world, and instead make one with Jesus, because only he is the REAL solver of all our problems.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What do I know to be true?

Sometimes I wonder what it is that God is doing with my life? I mean we hear all the time to embrace the life we have, to be diligent in the things God gives us now and not worry about the future. But as I sit here on the first of the month with my bills all due today and my bank account hardly balancing out to what I owe, and the holidays just around the corner, it is hard to "just trust" that God will provide. The bottom line is this, my job's pay the bills and that is all. I don't' have wiggle room, I can hardly take a day off to schedule my state boards for Cosmetology school, and with the clock ticking away I feel the pressure growing.

As I try to take some time to reflect, I am reminded of the sweet words of my Pastor's Wife, who consoled me through High school, she always told me to go back to what I KNOW to be true about God. Is he Faithful? Yes! Is he true? Yes. Will he always provide for me? Yes. Will I ever be without? No. Does he love me? Yes. Am I secure in my status of being his princess? Yes. Do I need to know anything else? No.

After reflecting on this, my heart is a bit at ease. However there is always that burden of being an adult. I know that God will provide though. Also, I am trying to setting more realistic goals. I have decided that by this time next year I want to be living on my own and working full time in a salon. Besides working towards my goals I am now going to leave it all up to God.

Thanks for listening


Friday, November 26, 2010

Through the Eyes of a Child.

Hey there y'all! I hope you have all had a great time with your families and are full of yummy food! I thought I would do a little something different for this blog. Not everyone see's things through the same pair of eyes, there are many different ways that we experience things, especially the holidays! So for the next few minutes, sit back and remember what it was like when YOU were eleven and the world was only as big as you were tall.....

Hi I am Brooke but you can call me Brookie I love to read kenzi's (you all know her as kenna) blog. Any ways...I was just sitting with here and she was reading her last bolg post and i loved it and I thought, 'Well, it was all about ME!!!!!!!!! Maybe I should write a blog!' so here I go!

Well I thought about how much I love thanksgiving so I am going to say all the things I think were the best about my thanksgiving.
1.going to spend time with my family
2.knowing that i have my birthday in less then a mouth
3. and last but not least not going home until late tomorrow
thanks for listen to me!

I love you kenzi.

So there was Thanksgiving from an eleven year old's perspective. Sometimes I wish that I still could see through the eyes of a child. This year I tried to put those glasses back on and eat, without counting calories, ride golf carts, with my hair down, fall asleep on the couch WITH my shoes on, and watch football just because the dad's were. I think I succeeded! I was even told that I drooled while I slept.

I believe to say that this vacation was anything less that an adventure would be an inadequate statement. We have had a car over heat and were forced to leave it at Starbucks, played "Left, Right, Center" and gone through, over $200 combined, shopped till we drooped, had a few "situations" and lots of laughter! I am beyond blessed to have the TerKeurst's in my life and a wonderful place to spend the holidays!

Until next time,


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

All About Brookie

I love being pampered, and although I never like to spend the time, or money, on getting my nails done. I decided I needed them done this week because the holidays were fast approaching. However, just like everything else in my life, the week slipped by and my nails were still in need of some SERIOUS, T.L.C....I was sharing this with one of the girls that I have spent the last year and a half with, while we were putting up a Christmas Tree. She shared with me that she thought I was such a hard worker I deserved to get my nails done, and she was going to do them for me! Now this girl was not a friend from school, she doesn't do nails, and she isn't even 5 ft. tall yet. She is an eleven year old blond haired, blue eyes, sweet girl who "pampered" me tonight with her Homemade foot soak that was made out of bath crystals and tap water, all mixed together in a small rubbermaid storage bin. She was so proud of herself though, and what did i think might you ask? I was relaxed the second I sat down.

My little brooke had her room all set up for me with youtube glowing across my laptop screen as it light a dark room, playing "relaxing spa music" No joke, go check it out! It was quite calming. Any ways, she massaged my feet, and painted my nails for almost an hour. (of course afterwards I had to repay her with a manicure).

Now, as I type away with brooke sound asleep in the bed next to me I can't help but pray, pray that she keep that servants heart through out her life and that no one ever would burn her out on service. What a sweetie!

Well tomorrow morning comes early and at 8am we are rolling out the drive way on our way to FL! I am so excited to spend Thanksgiving with the TerKeurst's and to have found "family" in them while I am here in North Carolina and my family is in Michigan.

So, this year, I will be thankful for Brookie, the sweet, servant like, genuine, honest, loving girl that she is....the same girl that, right before she headed off to never land said, "Kenzie, Write a post about.....me!!!!!!!"

so here you go Brookie! I love you!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I miss the fire fly days...

I remember when I was a little girl watching the movie Peter Pan and wondering why, in the end, the Darling children never wanted to grow up? For when they were adults they could set their own bed time, keep Nanna in the house, and even jump on their beds whenever they pleased. Even as I grew into my teen years and Peter Pan became one of my top five favorite books I still couldn't wait to grow up. My mother used to tell me to never grow up and to always keep my innocence. I would always shrug my shoulder's and embrace every comment from people saying "Wow! You act way older than 13.(or 14 and so on)" I always wanted to be older.

As I came to my senior year the adrenaline began to kick in, I knew that being "adult" was the life I always wanted, making my own decisions, setting my own bed times, and going where I wanted when I wanted, I couldn't wait! I was all set up to attend Grace Bible College for Theater but my whimsical, adventurous side got the better of me and brought me to a small town 800 miles away from home, just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina called Waxhaw. It was the perfect place for me to start my new life, whatever that may be. There was only a handful of people I knew and those people were very dear to my heart, I had meet them through an amazing ministry my mom worked for called Proverbs31. I visited in the summer, still having no idea where I was going to live or what I was going to do. I retuned home for my opening of Grease The Musical and after we performed our last show I packed my stuff and the next week was up at 3am on a Friday morning eager to head out in this new phase of life. We drove 17 hours and eventually made it to Charlotte.

I decided to attend a Cosmetology school and spent one year of my life living with some amazing people. There were three different families I lived with, rent free might I add, and they were all amazing and I am so grateful to them!

However, It didn't take long for reality to sink in and although I would never admit it, I cried myself to sleep that first night, and many nights after. The next year was an adjustment, I had to begin paying for my own gas, school, food, and fun things. But it was NOTHING compared to my life now. I remember working so hard and being at school so much that I never truly spent time with the families I lived with. But they never seemed to mind my absence. They were great! The "school" chapter of my life came to a close and I was so excited, and even though I still have state boards to do I felt like a weight was off my shoulders, and now I could FINALLY make money!

But along with the end of school came the end of not paying for my own stuff since then I have taken on the responsibility of ALL my expenses, including, rent (which is still very cheap thanks to Holly Good), insurance, paying off my school, phone, my new car, and soon my health care, dental, and everything else. I have realized that I am now an adult, and the glamor of it is totally gone. I don't want to grow up any more. I want to go back to never land. Things were so much easier in my firefly catching days. I miss Peter Pan, and even Captain Hook wasn't that bad after all. I now am grateful for the times I had and feel as Taylor Swift put it so well in her song Never Grow up,

"Take pictures in your mind of your childhood room
Memorize what it sounded like when your dad get's home
Remember the footsteps, remember the words said
And all you're little brothers favorite songs
I just realized everything I had is someday gonna be gone

So, here I am in my new apartment
In a big city, they just dropped me off
It's so much colder than I thought it would be
So, I tucked myself in and turned my night light on
Wish I'd never grown up
I wish I'd never grown up"

Not only that, but my adventurous side is kicking in again, and I had let Satin get a foot hold on my thoughts. I felt convicted every time someone talked about missions or serving at a camp or homeless shelter for a week. I felt guilty and like I was not serving God. But I now see that we all have chapters in our lives and this chapter of mine, my serving is being diligent in the Word, and tithing, or taking a struggling teen out to coffee so she can vent about her High-school Drama! So I have decided to embrace where I am now. I love where I live and who I get to spend my times with! I know that God is stretching me and molding me today for what he has for me in the future. Until then, I will go to bed before 9, tuck myself in, turn on my nightlight, and drift off to never land where there are many adventures to be held.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Things don’t ever go according to plans, do they?

When we want our chicken to be grilled, it comes out fried.

We plan to go to the mall, and we get called to work instead.

You plan a lunch date, and your friend forgets.

You plan a long weekend with two of your best friends, and 8 inches of snow decides to fall and accidents surround you.

Let me explain.

About 3 weeks ago I received a text from my good friend Cameron. He told me that the last weekend in January was his weekend off and he and his fiancé, Chelsea, who I am also close with, wanted to meet me half-way between Charlotte and Nashville for a fun weekend get-away. What a perfect idea!

So, I checked with my school and my boss and began to work things out. We found a town, a hotel, fun things to do, and some movies to watch. Everything seemed to be going perfectly. Before we knew it, the weekend was here!

With bags packed and excitement in the air, I started my day. First, school. Second, work. Third, Cameron and Chelsea….here I come!

School went well and work was great. I packed my “girls” (aka. Lysa TerKeurst’s daughters, whom I was helping out with on Friday afternoon) for a weekend at the Great Wolfe Lodge with their dad. Then I hopped in my car, a half hour earlier than planned.

Things were looking good for me, and despite the fact that the weather man was calling for a “blizzard”, I ventured out. Me being a small-town, northern girl, I knew I could brave ANY storm. And I’d seen what southerners call a snow storm. I call it a ‘dusting’.

Well the snow began to spit. Nothing much, just a few flurries. As I made my way to the mountains, nothing was going to stop me.

The further I drove the worse it got. The treetops began to be feathered with white fluff, and the road became damp. I assumed that it would get better.

However, it didn’t.

About 30 minutes later, the trees were white, the ground was slick, and the southerners around me began to slip and slide and honestly, I began to laugh a little.

As traffic came to a crawl, things began to get worse. Soon we were stopped.

After sitting still for about 15 minutes, I got out of my car to see what was going on. About four cars in front of me, there was a jeep stuck in the snow. As these now-cold southerners sat in their warm new BMW’s, Mustangs, and Jaguars, I saw this one poor man who was struggling to get his SUV out of the ditch with the help of his passenger.

Being the northern girl that I am and observing their spinning wheels, I knew they were only making it worse by digging themselves into this ditch. I threw on my leather jacket, grabbed my fleece, and headed out to help. I rigged a little “Yankee traction” under the tires, taught them how to “rock” the vehicle and helped them out. I chuckled under my breath as I got back into my 1998 Buick.

We actually began to move again. However, it did not last long.

Suddenly things were dead. With 8 inches of snow around us and no sign of movement, people were getting impatient and finally emerging from their cars. There were so many accidents that the interstate and all exits were now completely closed until morning. Many were abandoning their cars to try to get to safety.

With my gas gauge almost to empty, I decided the best thing to do would be to abandon my car too and walk.

Walk with ALL of my belongings for the weekend to the nearest hotel. Mr. Scott (Chitwood–my southern dad) called and made reservations at a hotel at the next exit for me. (Thank God!)

So, I began my hike.

I met a girl on the way and we got to talking. But then as our fingers began to go numb on our nearly 3-mile walk and our chattering voices fell silent.

However, my thoughts piped up.

You see, in my head I was going over all of my many complaints: my feet were cold, I couldn’t feel my hands, my nose was running, my shoulder really hurt, I might not get to meet my friends, I was hungry. The usual self-centered ’I’ and ‘me’ statements.

But suddenly, I began to think about all of the things I was carrying.

My coach purse my parents got me for my 18th birthday; my MacBookPro laptop I bought with my graduation open house money; my Nikon camera; my clothes; my cell phone; my movies. And as I did, a picture popped into my whining and complaining mind.

I thought about all the people in Haiti.

They were in the same boat as me, only worse.

You see they don’t even have any of those nice things to carry.

They can’t walk a few miles to a waiting, warm bed.

They don’t have clean water.

They can’t even pay $10 for an over priced salad at the hotel restaurant.

I began to realize that I was blessed.

We are all blessed.

Even when things don’t go as we planned.

Even when we have to walk.

In the cold.

In a half-foot of snow.

For three miles.

Still, we are blessed.

To put an end to my story– a nice family who hardly spoke English gave both the girl I was walking with and me a ride the rest of the way to the hotel. I got checked in and am now waiting out the storm. They say it won’t be until Sunday that I can get my car and leave.

Right now, I am taking this time to be still; to pray; to think about how blessed I am and the way God works things out.

Things may not always go according to our plans, but they are always in line with God’s plans.