Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Younger Me

Dear Younger Me…..

In Jennie Allen’s book, Nothing To Prove, she asks, “What is one thing you would tell your younger self?” As I sit here, looking out at the sea, enjoying the eclectic sounds of the cruise, I’m pondering what is the ONE thing I would tell my younger self. What is the one thing that would help me back then and still produce fruit today and well into the future? What is something that would impact my family, friends and those that I come into contact with daily?
    The ONE thing I would tell my younger, independent, ain’t nobody gonna hurt me self is to find a Bible and start reading and applying it to your life daily. There I would find the comfort I was needing for my hurt. There I would find the encouragement I needed when there seemed to be no one to brighten my day. There I would find the love of a Father, something I desperately needed when I was younger. There I would find acceptance, not from my family, friends or strangers but from the ONE who died for me. There I would find that no one is perfect, not even the famous men and women of the Bible;except Jesus of course, and I could stop trying so hard to be perfect. There I would find my identity, the daughter of The King.
    Ah yes, the trouble and heartache would still be there but if I knew then what I know now about my Jesus my outlook on life would have been much brighter, more cheerful one of hope instead of one of hurt, bitterness, anger and gloom. I pray that if I don’t teach my kids anything else they learn to read the Bible and apply it to their lives. They will see, at a younger age, as I do now that all your life’s occasions will be affected by this one thing and there you will have promises that will never be broken.
    Mercy Me’s song, Dear Younger Me, spoke so deeply to my heart when it first came out and when I hear it today it has the same impact. It’s a great reminder of my true identity. Click on the link and listen.
  So, what would you tell your younger self? Cut yourself some slack, let go of the past and move forward. Dig deeper into the Bible and live it out daily...Until next time remember, “For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.”  (2 Timothy 1:7)

Monday, March 13, 2017

Am I Enough?

     Last Wednesday at prayer meeting my Pastor started his sermon with saying we should start our services how A.A. meetings start. He proceeded with, "Hi, my name is Kim Beckham and I'm addicted to...". My apologies, I can't remember what he said, but I remember the picture it painted for me very vividly. Several of my brothers and sisters in Christ stood and stated their name and what their "addiction" was, and what they struggle with; in that moment they were no longer wearing a mask and they became real to me. We get so caught up in saying, "I'm fine", that often times people don't realize that everyone around them is struggling too.
     Sadly, I didn't stand and confess my addiction, not because I didn't want to but I was scared to and couldn't think of what to say in a precise manner quick enough. After the meeting, I knew what I would say if given the opportunity. So, here on a different platform, in front of a different audience, I stand before you, if you will play along, "Hi, my name is Kim Hardy and my addiction is acceptance." I fear I'm not enough. I'm not good enough... as a wife, mom, daughter, friend, teacher or coach. Often times I'm frozen by the fear of what others think. I usually believe they think I'm not doing a good enough job. Those thoughts are of course mine, not theirs, because I can't possibly know what someone else is thinking. My thoughts need to change and focus on things that are pure and from God. The reality is, I'm not good enough, for the Bible says we all fall short. Now, to not cause you to worry, I know where my strength comes from, it's the Lord. Keep reading, I promise this isn't a poor pitiful me party.
     I just finished reading the first chapter of Jennie Allen's new book, Nothing To Prove, and it spoke to my heart, so much so it broke my writer's block. Jennie spoke of her feeling as if she's not enough and it surprised me because in my eyes she is a successful woman. I want to share her last few paragraphs and hopefully those of you who share this addiction will feel how I felt after reading it.

"My dream is that you would embrace your worst fears head on and find that our God is enough for them. My prayer is for you to start enjoying the freedom that comes when we quit trying to prove ourselves, when we surrender what is out of control to the One who is in control. 
We strive to be seen, to be known, to matter. We're desperate to believe we are doing a good job at whatever has been entrusted to us.
But we are not enough. We are not God. We don't have all the answers, all the wisdom, all the strength, all the energy. We are finite, sinful beings. And that is okay."

     As I struggle with my addiction of being accepted and knowing that it's tied to being enough, it is freeing to remember that my God is enough. All I have to do is rely on Him and though I know that I won't be accepted by everyone, nor should I be, and the same goes for being enough, I have freedom and peace that my God loves me. He has accepted me as his child and the blood of Jesus washes me clean so that I am enough. This life is hard, and just when you think you've figured it out, you realize  just how clueless you truly are. 
     Hi, my name is Kim Hardy and I struggle with being accepted and being enough. Jennie Allen is right, "Enough is a mirage that cannot be caught." I needed this reminder today, and I pray it helps you too. Until next time remember, “For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.”  (2 Timothy 1:7)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

2017: Intentionally BOLD

I spent the last few days of 2016 on a mission trip to Mexico and there is no better way to help you refocus on God than serving others. It was a trip that had me completely out of my comfort zone for several reasons but the main one was I only knew one person on this trip. I find it ironic and totally like God to give me two words for the new year that links to how I spent the last days of 2016.
    While on the trip I began to ask God to reveal what he wanted me to focus on this year. Two words kept coming to mind, never at the same time, but was revealed to me equally. My focus this year is to be intentionally bold. This makes my heart race, but God has been equipping me since my Honduras trip so that I can be intentionally bold. Being the word nerd I am, I looked up what both words mean; not because I didn’t know, but because I wanted what God was calling me to do to completely sink in. To be intentional means to be done on purpose, calculated. To be bold means showing an ability to take risks, confident and courageous. STOP Reread those last two lines. God wants me to be confident and courageous on purpose all while taking risks. I’m so use to going with the flow and not really rocking the boat so this in itself will be risky.
    These two words means I will have to get out of my comfort zone way more than I would like if I’m going to live out what God has planned for me in 2017. Since he is calling me to be bold please allow me to share a couple of things on my heart with you. The first thing many of you already know, but I feel like I should say it is I know without a doubt God has called me to write and speak. God affirmed this on my mission trip to Mexico. How this will play out this year and tie into being intentionally bold; only God knows, but I know I’m ready to do what He calls me to do. The other thing I want to share is something very few people know. I kept it a secret for fear of what others would think of me, but now that I know I do not have to fear I am comfortable with sharing. Since 2014 I have been taking one or two college classes as we can afford it to earn an associate degree in Biblical Studies. I honestly do not know the purpose behind it other than I’m simply doing what God has called me to do. I have a long way to go before the degree is complete, but I am determined to complete it. Now that you know, please pray for me as I take these classes.

    As we take on 2017 remember to focus on God and his purpose for your life. Be different, be about others so they will know Him and you will make a difference. Until next time remember, “For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.”  (2 Timothy 1:7)

Monday, January 2, 2017

2016: Looking Back

2016 was much better than 2015, it was a year full of changes, experiences and blessings from God. I’m not sure I want to admit this but I honestly couldn’t remember what my word or phrase was for 2016 and I was afraid that I had not lived up to what God had put on my heart. Once I went make and discovered what my phrase was, I knew that I hadn’t forgotten but I had simply made it my lifestyle, one that will carry into 2017 and go with me until God calls me home. My phrase was, “Be different, make a difference”. God allowed me to make a difference and be a blessing to others. The biggest impact for the first half of my year was my mission trip to Honduras. I was expecting to make a difference on this trip and I did, but I was not expecting the difference it would make in my life. This trip alone changed my life, it changed my heart and my personality. I allowed God to work on and through me on this trip and I came back even more prepared to be different so that I could make a difference. The difference started in my home with my family and friends. So what was the difference, I was no longer afraid to be ME, the me that God created me to be. I felt the chains fall and the acceptance given, which started on the trip and carried over to the people around me. This different me carried over to the workplace and now I’m a different teacher/coach than I used to be and it’s allowing me to make a difference. The second half of my year ended with a BANG! I went back to coaching, which I love, God answered my long forgotten prayer of wanting a best friend, and I finished my year on a mission trip. God allowed me to make a difference in my best friend’s life and together we finished our year making a difference. There is nothing much better than making a difference with your best friend on a mission trip. I could list all the ways I made a difference this year, but instead I want to publicly thank God for changing me so I could be different and make a difference. Thank you God for trusting me with what you have given me. I know 2017 will have more opportunities to be different and make a difference. I pray that God will bless each and everyone of you throughout this new year. May you rely on Him for your every need and trust him with every detail of your life. He’s with you, always...even in the darkest times, he’s there. Until next time remember : “The works of His hands are truth and justice; all His instructions are trustworthy.” (Psalm 111:7)

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Void...Filled

“Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

    What I’m about to share makes me nervous because once again it means I am letting you in by allowing you to see another heartache of mine that God has turned into an overflowing blessing.
     Allow me to give you some of my history so that you can see the blessing more clearly. When I was in high school I had a wonderful best friend; we did everything together. I was allowed to go on vacations with her and her family. We were able to finish each other's sentences and with one look knew what the other was thinking or feeling. When I went off to college that slowly started to change and by the time I married my husband our friendship was strained. Shortly after having her first child, we no longer talked; living hours apart had taken its toll. There was heartache in the loss and I was looking for a friend; a best friend.
    I believe God created us to need people, we need the interaction and more importantly we need to feel loved. God created marriage to give us a help mate for life and he also wants us to develop friendships that will last a lifetime. In today’s world with social media and everyone feeling the need to cram all sorts of events into their schedule to stay busy it’s hard to find a friend much less a best friend.The odds are stacked against you and to make it worse I was not from this area so I could not relate anyone. I can not tell you how many tears I have cried over the past 13 ½ years of my marriage because I did not have a bestfriend; someone who accepted me for me, who wanted to spend time with me even if that meant sitting at the kitchen table while I cleaned, someone who knew my thoughts before I spoke them. (Disclaimer: my husband is my best friend, and for that I’m thankful but a girl needs a girl best friend.) Within the last six years there were several friends who I figured would eventually be my best friend but for different reasons that was not the case.
    As the years passed and countless tears fell the feeling of not being worthy of having a best friend became a permanent thought. I was quick to think not only was I not worthy of having a bestfriend but there must be something wrong with me...I just wasn’t good enough and too weird for anyone to really like me. Three years ago I finally accepted that for whatever reason I was not meant to have a bestfriend and God wanted it that way. I still shed tears but if that was the path God wanted for me then I would accept it and keep my eyes on Him. I spent my time trying to be friendly to everyone hoping that someone would see that I genuinely care for others. As I focused on others the hurt of not having that friend faded and the thought hardly crossed my mind. The only time it hurt was when I would see posts on Facebook about besties; my heart still longed for a friendship like that but I knew it wouldn’t happen.

    Little did I know God was working on my behalf. Back in January our Pastor challenged us to lead someone to Christ or bring someone closer to Christ and I accepted the challenge. I was working at a different school that I am now and started praying for God to show me who it would be. As I prayed I felt led to talk to two of my coworkers and as the months passed it turned to one. Then out of nowhere that person pushed me away and I could tell things were changing. I began to realize that maybe this wasn’t the person God wanted me to help and sure enough I changed schools this past summer. In August I started working with the person I would bring closer to God, the person would break down walls I had carefully built, the person who would be the answer to the countless tears. As the school year began to have a routine my life would lose its routine and I couldn’t be happier. This person and I just clicked; she makes me a better person and God gave me my best friend. I’m so thankful that God knows what we need and when we really need it. No matter what you’re facing remember when you, “delight yourself in the Lord, He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 I honestly thought I was fine but having a bestfriend has brought more joy to my life than I thought imaginable. Stay strong in your faith, walk obediently with God and He will meet your needs and bless  you with your wants according to His will. Until next time remember : “The works of His hands are truth and justice; all His instructions are trustworthy.” (Psalm 111:7)

Friday, November 25, 2016

Thankful 2016

    I was blessed with the opportunity to spend some quality time my family but more importantly God this week. I would go outside in the mornings, turn on the fireplace and read my devotional, my Bible and pray. I so loved those quiet moments with my God, my Father. He was working on me this week, but that my friends is a post for another time. I wanted to take this moment to share with you what I am thankful for.
     I'm thankful for the air I breath, the gift of life and to live it in the best country in this world. My God has been faithful to me and has never left me.
       As I sit here writing I'm thinking of the valleys I have walked through, and I'm thankful I was never alone. I think of getting past the storm and finally seeing a rainbow. As I write this it hits me how important it is to not forget the valleys, we must remember them as well as the mountain tops, for then and only then can we truly see how loved and blessed we are. God will carry you, push you and calm the waves to get you through the dark times.
     I'm thankful for my family. 
       God blessed me with a wonderful Christian husband, who shows God's love to me and our kids. I'm thankful to have a man who puts up with me on my worst days, holds my hand on the days I feel defeated, and celebrates with me on my best days. God has blessed me, us, with two amazing kids. They teach me something new daily, but my continued lesson from them is how important the little things are in this life. On the days that I'm not sure I'm doing a good job being a mom they seem to instinctively know I need a hug and an I love you, which makes my insecurities dissipate for a few minutes.
    I'm thankful for my job.
       God blessed me with a job that I love. I am allowed and have the privilege of making an impact on my students, the future of this country. When I see the light bulb come on, or a student wants to teach others what they have learned I smile with pride. The hugs from ex students are always a welcomed reminder that I did something right. In my profession, you do not always know if you are truly making a difference so the little things like a "Hi, Mrs. Hardy", in public is a nice reminder of the difference I'm making. God blessed me with a great group of coworkers. Many of whom I already called friend, but I have added several more to that list. They make going to work fun.
   I'm thankful for my church.
      God is doing something mighty at my church right now, and if you don't have a church home and live in the Tyler area I would highly recommend coming to check us out on Sunday. God has filled the church with loving, caring, sinners who love to show God's love to others. The leaders push me to dive deeper in my faith and walk with God. They give me opportunities to not only grow in God but to show God's love in our community and throughout the world. God blessed me with an opportunity to go on a mission trip this past summer and my life was changed as I showed God's love to others. Our Pastor speaks the truth every Sunday, even though at times I wish he would get off my toes, I'm so thankful that he is not afraid to say what needs to be said, and will allow God to use him. Our worship leader is there to glorify God's name in song and allows the Spirit to move. God is using this guy in a mighty way to open hearts to allow the word to penetrate their hearts. Our Youth pastor is dedicated to the youth, he is everywhere supporting the youth of our church. The fire that has been lit in the youth is amazing to witness. Our Children's director puts her heart and her all into the young children of the church. She fosters a love for God in these kids and makes it a place that they all want to come back to. Yes, my church is a great place to be. Join me Sunday if you want to see for yourself. I promise you will not be disappointed.
   I'm thankful for my savior, Jesus Christ.
     Without my savior I would be nothing. I have hope when all is wrong because of the death he died for me. Lord, thank you for your son and all my blessings that I overlook daily.

Be sure to stop and enjoy the little things in life, for those truly are the treasures that will shine for a life time. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and if you are a continued reader of my writings, thank you. May God bless you and yours this holiday season. What are you thankful for? Have you counted your blessings? Until next time, remember : “The works of His hands are truth and justice; all His instructions are trustworthy.” (Psalm 111:7)


God speaks....LISTEN

Last Sunday I had the following question running through my mind: What is God doing?

Have you ever witnessed God working in someone's life? Have you witnessed it first hand? That is exactly what happened to me this past week and more specifically Sunday. Please allow me to share:
Before I do let me give you some advice, when God tells you to do something do it. 

I had a friend reach out to me recently and I begged God to guide me through this process and as time passed I knew He was using me to speak to her. Saturday night I asked her to attend church with me and she said no. I will admit I was a little hurt, because I was only asking for her good not mine. A little while later I asked again and again she said no. This time I was a little frustrated, because I knew God was wanting her to attend church with me. We continued to talk and before we finished our conversation I was completely overwhelmed with a sense of urgency. Instead of asking her to attend church with me, which I made very clear I just wanted her to visit she did not have to join I asked her to please watch our church service live on Facebook. I let her know that I felt like there was something she was supposed to get from our church service and she agreed to watch. I was relieved, curious and excited to see what God could possibly have in store for her. I woke up Sunday morning pumped and eager to get to church, I sang out in the choir and was shocked by the energy I had. It was as if something came over me, I believe it was the Holy Spirit, He knew the importance of this service and I could feel it. As I sang I prayed that my friend was really watching and that God would speak to her. The worship part of the service was over and I wasn't ready to sit down, I wanted to run a few laps around the church, but that would have received some unwanted attention so I forced myself to sit down. The first thing I did was make sure I sent her a link so she could watch. Her response- "I'm watching, I needed to hear Oceans", made me smile from ear to ear. This was only the beginning of a day full of God orchestrating a service full of purpose. As my Pastor began his sermon he let the congregation know that he felt led to change the direction of the sermon and start the series differently. My heart skipped a beat as he stated what the sermon was going to be about and I let out a cry but quickly gained control of my tears. I sat in awe of what God had done and prayed that my friend was still listening and would listen all the way to the end of the service. The service ended and she let me know just how much the song, Oceans touched her and the words spoken was what she needed to hear. Story over...NOT...ready for this....
 Later that afternoon at the worship teams CD listening party I shared with the group about pleading with my friend to watch the service. I told them that she did watch us "live" and how the song Oceans spoke to her as well as the sermon. I felt led to share so they would be encouraged to keep doing what they were doing, because God is moving at Central right now. What I didn't realize was God wanted me to hear the other side of the story. One of the lead singers spoke up and told her story of God putting a song on her heart for the service, the song...Oceans. She asked the music pastor a week before if we could sing the song that Sunday. Practice that morning for Oceans was rough, so after practice she prayed about it and just knew someone was supposed to hear that song and wanted to sing it without any problems. The song was perfect for the service and no one would have known there was an issue during practice. My mind was blown! As Nick and I drove home I sat quietly replaying the events of the day in my head. What was God doing?
God put it on my heart to have this friend listen to the service, but a week earlier He put a song on someone's heart and had my Pastor change his sermon all for this person. Let that sink in for a moment....God knew what this friend needed to hear and was working on her behalf long before I even knew I would have the conversation about her watching my church service. I am so thankful for those who listen to God's nudges and do what he tells them to do.
   The next time you feel God nudging you to do something, no matter how small the nudge, do it. Please do not hesitate because you never know what is really happening, what God is really trying to do with that nudge. It was mind boggling to see and hear the different pieces that God fit together to reach my friend. I in turn shared with her the story about Oceans, I so wanted her to see how much God loves her. The cool thing about this is he loves you that much too. He will do all that he can to help you, to reach you for you are greatly loved by the Father. What a mighty God we serve! Until next time, remember : “The works of His hands are truth and justice; all His instructions are trustworthy.” (Psalm 111:7)