Tiptoe


Even when you’re going through it,

You’re not going through it;

You’re tiptoeing around,

Careful not to step on

Your own thoughts, your own feelings. 

You don’t really want to talk about it;

You don’t really want to write about it.

You only want to think about, write about 

Nothing at all.

The nothingness that stares you in the face,

The nothingness that will never be nothing again,

The life that will never be the same.

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A Refuge For The Oppressed

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I wrote a song on my last album called, “Don’t Let Me Get Comfortable.” It’s one of those songs with a strong message that had to have come from up above because I was just a baby Christian at the time. Especially considering it’s something I’m still grappling with. It sounds like cake when the sun is out, but let a storm roll in and it’s hard not to run for shelter.

When I think of shelter, I normally think of the comfy couch in my living room. Even the seats in my mini-van aren’t that bad. But what if you had to endure the storm way past your limit in order to have the things you really wanted? Would you weather the storm or settle on whatever is closest just to get out of the rain? If you’re just looking to get out of the rain, you might settle for something like this…

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Does it make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? Does it bring you a sense of peace? I feel like I would be in even more danger in that shack than I would be outside of it. And isn’t that how it feels sometimes when we are in a hurry to find peace?

When we get tired and fed up with our current situation we will look for anything to make us feel better.

We decide to seek shelter in the world from things that don’t provide the comfort we are seeking. It may be food, drugs, sex, money, gambling… even relationships with people we know aren’t good for us. For me it’s food, sweets specifically and with everything I’m going through, it’s the last thing on earth I need. On that note, I’m just going to put these jellybeans aside.

The good news is that it is okay to seek comfort in stressful times, but it should come from God.

It is okay to come in out of the rain, but we have to be mindful of what’s really going on. We need to know in every given situation if we are choosing comfort provided by the Lord, or comfort provided by the world. Are we looking for a quick bandaid or true healing? We also have to make sure that our seeking comfort is not a way for us to escape the path He has set us on (which is what my song was about).

There are many verses in the bible that talk about comfort during trying times, especially in the Book of Psalms. Psalm 9:9 tells us that “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” Elsewhere in the Psalms, we learn that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (46:1). And then of course, there is Psalms 55:22 “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”

When we are in a rainy season, or even a season of waiting, it is easy to give in to temptation and mistake it for comfort. On the other hand, when we seek the arms of the Lord, there is never a guilt residue. There is never the thought of “I should have done this, or I shouldn’t have done that.” When we seek comfort from God, we truly receive peace, hope, comfort, and love. I pray these things find a way to your heart, whatever your season.

Miracle in the Making – Part 3

So, it turns out that I’m not going to make it in the radiologist business. I suppose that makes sense considering that I’ve never gone to school for such a thing and the only experience I’ve ever had doing such work was reading one set of ultrasound results. Oh, did I mention that they were my results? That’s right folks, I revealed in my last post that I crumbled under the weight of stress and impatience and tried to read my own ultrasound results so that  I could learn more about my fibroids. Thankfully, my recent trip to a gynecologist revealed more than just my unmentionables (sigh), and with that I can tell you that there is good news and bad news.

First, the bad news…

I do have fibroids but that’s not what has been causing me so much trouble these last few months. I can blame that on my actual reproductive system misbehaving instead of being the good girl I’ve always known her to be. I could go into details and give you all of the nitty gritty but out of respect for the gentleman reading this post, let’s just leave those specifics in the comments section ladies. BUT the good news is that there aren’t as many fibroids as I thought there were and they’re not as big (see, I told you I wouldn’t make a good radiologist). I was given medicine for the other issue the doctor found but it didn’t work so I guess I’ll be seeing him again. All in all, we’ve still got lots to dance about! **Intermission – let’s do the Carlton dance!** Okay, okay, I know you are probably breathing heavy like me right now after all of that dancing but let’s get back to the point…

I let fear get the best of me.

God was in control the whole time.

Fear is a funny thing that can drive you to do all kinds of things you wouldn’t do under normal circumstances. I let my fear make matters worse. Here I was, thinking that I needed surgery but God knew better. It took so long for me to relax about this situation because I was going through so many things and I admittedly was scared. Still, at least three weeks before my doctor’s appointment, I started hearing His whisper that I wouldn’t need surgery. I wanted to believe this so bad… but after such an ordeal, I didn’t know what to believe.

Trusting God is like climbing a ladder.

You have to look up lest you fall down.

I stayed on my fear ladder for quite some time, afraid to look up and afraid to fall down. God showed me that it was never a serious ordeal to begin with but I feel like I lost two months of my life while I stayed there in limbo. In the end, my faith recovered, but was it really worth stressing over? In hindsight, no. We will never have a complete picture in this life. We will always have to make decisions based on little information and big assumptions. That’s one of the reasons we need God on our side, to take some of the pressure off, and to help us see the miracles.

So wait, what is this miracle in the making then?

Simply put, the miracle is the result of faith when we do put our trust in God. It’s not just reassurance in the end that we have to look forward to but also God’s blessings because we dared to believe in Him. No matter what is going on in our lives, He has always had an escape plan ready to execute when times get tough. We just have to be willing to turn those corners with our eyes closed and know that we will come out safely on the other side. We might get this faith thing right  9 out of 10 times and feel like a champ, but then fall down once and still get bruised. Thankfully, God knows that we are not perfect and that we will trip up sometimes.

There is always room for more faith in our lives.

Thankfully, there is always room for more miracles in our lives too.


This is the last segment in the “Miracle in the Making” blog series. We encourage you to continue your own faith journey and challenge yourself to turn to God more than you do fear. For more information about Kristeen Nicole Gillooly, her music and her ministry, please visit http://www.kngmusicministry.com. You can also visit her artist website at http://www.kristeennicolegillooly.com. 

The Island of Compassion

Sometimes, I feel like I’m on an island and sometimes others can make me feel like I’m on one. Being an emotional person shouldn’t automatically put a person by themselves but oftentimes it does. I never thought that being compassionate would land me there too.

While I love my mother dearly, I rarely felt compassion from her. Same with my Dad and siblings. I’ve never dated someone that had the gift (including my husband). Is the world too consumed by other things? For my husband, he’s just more analytical. I don’t know what to make of others because while I understand we all have special gifts, sometimes mine feels more like a curse.

Being human, we have certain expectations. Yes, I know we shouldn’t but it’s natural. We want people to treat us the same say we treat them. So if I’m compassionate toward others, I expect that others will be compassionate toward me but more often than not, that just doesn’t happen in my circle. Am I alone?

Crying? You’re told to stop crying. Scared? You’re told to stop being scared. No matter how you’re feeling, you feel like you can’t get a break. You feel like no one understands you, and no one wants to. You feel like you have no support and you are always left alone to deal with this big, ugly and scary world. So what can you do?

Turn to Jesus. He was very compassionate and people didn’t understand Him either. He spent His days reaching out to those less fortunate, those that needed help. He was never hesitant to reach out the hand of compassion to help another. It’s the ultimate form of being a servant to God because it is the outward appearance of a selfless act of love.

We can also teach others how to be compassionate through our service. Just like Jesus received nothing in return from those He served, we have to remember that it can be a thankless job here on earth. Still, God sees your heart, He sees your struggles. He calls on us to use our gifts and those with the gift of compassion can’t seem to help using theirs. It can feel like a lonely island but we are never truly alone when we have Jesus in our life. Focus on Him in your time of need because man will fail you. Your spouse will fail you, your parents will fail you, your friends… everyone except Jesus.

Is Your Faith Upside Down?

Some things in life are easy to let go of compared to others. Sometimes, it seems too easy to put something in God’s hands. The problem is you never really know by looking at a problem how easy it will be to give up. Looking back at my mom’s passing, I would have thought that it would have been impossible to turn over. I surprised myself with the ease I put it in His hands. Similar thing with my job search and the fact that I am unemployed. From the time that I knew my job was at risk, through the process of finding out I was being laid off, and up until now while I’m stilling seeking employment, my faith has been surprisingly steadfast.

Then why is it that the smallest things sometimes take the greatest faith? 

It’s strange how the littlest things can seem insurmountable. Have you ever felt like your faith is upside down? Remember after the housing market crashed and so many people suddenly were upside down on their cars and homes? Maybe it would look something like this…

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In every moment, in every challenge, no matter how small or how big, we have to remember to give everything to God. But it can be so hard, can’t it? How do we let go of our feelings and dreams in the moment of our biggest (and sometimes our smallest) meltdowns? The hardest thing sometimes is just remembering the most obvious…

In your darkest moments, God is holding your hand. 

When you are determined to handle things yourself, God wants to do it for you. 

We are only human, and He knows this. He doesn’t fault us for forgetting but He feels privileged like a willing father to come to our aid at our most desperate times, when we are most vulnerable. Only His love and patience can truly save us from ourselves. When I first got saved, I even wrote a song about it. He was the ONLY ONE that could save me from myself, and still is. I’ll go ahead and share the acapella version of the song (Only You) with you so you can listen. When I am at my lowest, I sometimes find myself singing it to myself as a reminder. It’s amazing how God gives me a beautiful gift to encourage others but in doing so, also knows how much I need it sometimes myself.

 


For more information about Kristeen Nicole Gillooly, her music, and her ministry, please visit http://www.kngmusicministry.com. You can also visit her artist website at http://www.kristeennicolegillooly.com. 

Being Vulnerable

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I am one of those kinds of people that is not only sensitive but empathic. I shy away from anger and frustration when displayed by others because it is too much stress for my body. My shields at keeping other’s feelings out of my psyche are very poor so I have a hard time with strong feelings. On the other end of the spectrum, I react with love when someone opens their heart wide open for others to see. I am moved by vulnerability and want to bring broken souls to safety. My heart is compassionate, but even with this sometimes I can be easily overwhelmed with too much emotion. It’s the reason that catching up with current events is on the bottom of my list of things to do. Still, despite all of my compassion, I cannot claim it as mine alone. I know that it is Jesus working through me.

We can be angry with God when things don’t go our way. I remember being like that in my early twenties when my mom first stopped talking to me. I gave God ultimatums and told Him to show Himself to me. I was demanding, angry, and closed off from wanting to have a loving relationship with Him. I just wanted my mom back and if He was all powerful, then I would do what I had to do to get her to come back. Little did I know that I was going about it the wrong way.

It would take me another 15 years before I was ready to know God and have a loving relationship with Him. Coincidently, I also didn’t have a loving relationship with my mom during this time. We both made our mistakes, and I have learned a lot now that I am a parent. I approached my mom just as I did God with anger, and she did the same with me. We weren’t vulnerable with each other, opening our hearts and apologizing for the miscommunication and misunderstandings. I didn’t trust that she had my best interests in mind or that she wasn’t trying to hurt me. I’m sure she assumed that I didn’t care about her as well and that she meant nothing to me. Like my mom, I didn’t think God cared about me. I felt like He had left me out of His kingdom. I didn’t trust Him when it came to my misunderstandings and so He became just a nobody in my life. I had to learn how to live life without my mom and accept that she was never going to be part of my life. It was a lot easier for me to accept not having God in my life.

It wasn’t until I was vulnerable that I allowed Jesus to come into my heart. Over the 15 years, I had become a broken form of myself, still smiling but still carrying a hole in my heart. Standing on a street corner on the day I had finally committed to go to church after 10-12 years, I finally understood the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross. When I made it to church that day, I allowed myself to be vulnerable and just feel, caring nothing for the rest of the world. The tears that escaped me were years and years of pain flowing out of me so that God could replace it with peace. I surrendered for the first time in my life.

I can’t say that my mom magically came back into my life all of a sudden and my life was perfect but opening a door for Jesus to come in my life opened a window for my mom as well. It would take several months and a lot of surrendering. It took having no more expectations about what God’s plan was and saying more than I was sorry. It took a sincere understanding of what it means to be a mother, and the sacrifices one has to make for their children. It took realizing all of the times she loved me unconditionally. Perhaps we should all come to Jesus this way.

Below is the letter I wrote to my mom one year ago today. Perhaps, we all have written a letter like this to Jesus in our hearts. If you haven’t, and you need Jesus in your life, I pray that you will let down your guard and ask for His healing, and accept His unfailing love for you. It’s not too late. It’s never too late…

I failed you. In multiple ways. I lied. I didn’t listen. I didn’t even pay attention. I promised things that I didn’t follow through on. I consistently let you down regardless of the sacrifices you made for me. I put my own needs and feelings first. I simply did not understand.

I am playing stepmom now to a 2-year old and a 13-year old. These are not fun years. If anything, they repeatedly make me stop and think about what you went through with me. These kids don’t listen. They look me in the eye when I tell them not to do something, and they do it anyway. Spitefully. Eagerly. Lord, I pray I wasn’t this terrible. The teenager, Junior, lied to me about doing his homework. He stole my phone to find information about his girlfriend’s mom. He lost my trust instantly. The day he took my phone was the day I was to throw him a surprise birthday party at the skating rink that was going to cost me $200. I didn’t want to do it. I was so angry. We went through with it anyway because his father, Nicholas, didn’t want to let the other kids down. Two days later, Junior told us that the only fun he ever had is at his mom’s house. Talk about feeling rejected and disrespected. This kid is not grateful about anything. I automatically felt like giving up. I don’t want to do anything for this child. How am I supposed to keep forgiving him and keep loving him? How many times did you feel this way about me? How many times did you want to give up on me before you actually did?

I am quick to look at the fact that you are not in my life and want nothing to do with me because it hurts. But I never stopped to think how many times you forgave me, how many times you put on your suit of armor just to get through the day and try to keep loving me despite everything. I get it now, I really do.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry for all of the grief that I caused you. I am sorry for not appreciating you enough, for not understanding how I consistently failed you so many times, in so many situations.

The Lord has taken over my heart, and shown me the error of my ways. I see why I have not been forgiven, and I don’t know that I ever will be. That’s not the point. I don’t know that I have the right to ask you for forgiveness. God will take care of me, and I pray that He will continue to humble me and allow me to make up for those I have let down through service of some kind. I love you, I always have, but I know now that I was not a blessing to my parents as the Bible says I should have been.

I am not perfect. I don’t know if God can turn me into a daughter that would be a blessing to you. I ask nothing of you. I don’t even know if you will read this letter. All I can do right now is repent for the pain I have caused, and hope that God can help you heal from the pain. I am truly sorry.

Sincerely,

Kristeen

 


For more information about Kristeen Nicole Gillooly, her music, and her ministry, please visit http://www.kngmusicministry.com. You can also visit her artist website at http://www.kristeennicolegillooly.com. 

Cry Baby, Cry

I want to talk about crying, you know, that thing that makes other people uncomfortable? Why did God give our bodies this beautiful gift, and how can we learn to react with love instead of fear when someone close is in this emotional state? Read on…

Tears are a relief valve. They are the result of too much pressure in the system. Circumstances and situations may start off as an irritant, and unresolved can grow into frustration. Keep adding fuel to the fire and you wind up with an inferno in an enclosed space. The windows buckle under the high pressure and blow out. Remember the saying that “the eyes are the window to our soul?” It’s true, and stress literally goes out those windows too. Crying releases stress hormones and return us to a state of calm. Wait, so if it reduces stress then why don’t more people allow themselves to cry or even other people? Let’s call it a simple misunderstanding…um, on a societal scale.

Most people associate crying with a sign of weakness. It is tolerated at best when we are infants while our parents do everything in their power to get us to settle down. Funny, now that I think about it. Crying actually is settling our body down, but I digress… Really, at any age it is frowned upon. We set up “societal norms” that say men don’t cry and women do, but then we don’t even let women cry because we don’t want to deal with it. I don’t know about you but the women in my life are stressed and need to cry…

***BREAKING NEWS***

MEN NEED TO CRY TOO.

If more men cried, I think our society would start to change. Men would start to realize how much better they feel after crying, and those experiences would help them better cope with their girlfriends and wives that are crying.

I think we should have a crying party, one big societal cry at an inappropriate time because really… when is it ever a bad time to release stress in a healthy way? Let’s say goodbye to alcohol and to drugs. Ours is a society that abuses itself because running away from our feelings supposedly shows emotional strength. I don’t know about you but this doesn’t make sense to me.
Be strong in relieving stress. Stand with me and shed your tears proudly because afterwards we’ll hug and feel great. Don’t feel the need to cry? That’s ok too, but I might need to and I’m going to need you to be understanding and supportive of my crying now that you know how good it is for me. I thought so. Now, wasn’t that simple?