Wow, I just realized I have not updated my blog since last August, 2010!

Yes, life has continued with busy and creative work, awesome friends, a great family including my hilarious twin nephews, a fabulous new sister-in-law and two more new nephews (yes, my brother finally got married!) and my puppy Willow getting bigger and filling my days with energy and fun!

I tried a few new things last year and worked on a few projects but I am still not where I would like to be.

Lately I have come to realize…I am exactly where God wants me to be.

I need not fret and worry over what’s next or what I should decide or where should I go…only trust, Trust, TRUST that God has the best plans for me. If I complain or am saddened by where I wish I could be in my life, it’s like I’m telling God, “You don’t know what you’re doing. If I had your power I could do it better!!” BUT I now know and rest in the knowledge that God is in control and that He is preparing me for whatever lays ahead. He is making the pieces of my life’s puzzle come together in their own way so that the big picture will hold strong!

* * * *

With a strong forearm, the apron-clad blacksmith puts his tongs into the fire, grasps the heated metal, and places it on the anvil. His keen eye examines the glowing piece.
He sees what the tool is now and envisions what he wants it to be–sharper, flatter, wider, longer. With a clear picture in his mind, he begins to pound. His left hand still clutching the hot mass with the tongs, his right hand slams the two-pound sledge upon the moldable metal.
On the solid anvil, the smouldering iron is remolded.
The smith knows the type of instrument he wants. He knows the size. He knows the shape. He knows the strength.
Whang! Whang! The hammer slams. The shop rings with the noise, the air fills with smoke, and the softened metal responds.
But the response doesn’t come easily. It doesn’t come without discomfort. To melt down the old and recast it as new is a disrupting process. Yet the metal remains on the anvil, allowing the toolmaker to remove the scars, repair the cracks, refill the voids, and purge the impurities.
And with time, a change occurs: What was dull becomes sharpened, what was crooked becomes straight, what was weak becomes strong, and what was useless becomes valuable.
Then the blacksmith stops. He ceases his pounding and sets down his hammer. With a strong left arm, he lifts the tongs until the freshly molded metal is at eye level. In the still silence, he examines the smoking tool. The incandescent implement is rotated and examined for any marks or cracks.
There are none.
Now the smith enters the final stage of his task. He plunges the smouldering instrument into a nearby bucket of water. With a hiss and a rush of steam, the metal immediately begins to harden. The heat surrenders to the onslaught of cool water, and the pliable, soft mineral becomes an unbending useful tool.
On the solid anvil, the smouldering iron is remolded.
The smith knows the type of instrument he wants. He knows the size. He knows the shape. He knows the strength.
Whang! Whang! The hammer slams. The shop rings with the noise, the air fills with smoke, and the softened metal responds.
But the response doesn’t come easily. It doesn’t come without discomfort. To melt down the old and recast it as new is a disrupting process. Yet the metal remains on the anvil, allowing the toolmaker to remove the scars, repair the cracks, refill the voids, and purge the impurities.
And with time, a change occurs: What was dull becomes sharpened, what was crooked becomes straight, what was weak becomes strong, and what was useless becomes valuable.
Then the blacksmith stops. He ceases his pounding and sets down his hammer. With a strong left arm, he lifts the tongs until the freshly molded metal is at eye level. In the still silence, he examines the smoking tool. The incandescent implement is rotated and examined for any marks or cracks.
There are none.
Now the smith enters the final stage of his task. He plunges the smouldering instrument into a nearby bucket of water. With a hiss and a rush of steam, the metal immediately begins to harden. The heat surrenders to the onslaught of cool water, and the pliable, soft mineral becomes an unbending useful tool.

* * * *

Over the past couple of years I’ve gone through some lovely high moments as well as some very dark low points.

In those dark times, I feel like I am a piece of hard, unmoving metal that in order to mould and shape God has to plunge me into the searing hot fire so my molecules can be mended and curved and shaped by His hand. Those fiery times have been difficult and heart-wrenching. If you are close to me you may know about one or two of them, but like many of you, I go through many of those times on my own. I have the destructive tendency to let my feelings dig a deep well inside me, not letting them show, as they bury down and fill the empty pit of despair, sadness and depression. I often will put on my well-worn mask of denial and present myself as “fine” or “okay” to everyone around me but many times my days are filled with a tense and exhausting struggle with anger, bitterness and negativity.

Last fall, however, I had a moment of breaking during an evening out with my mom. I knew how I had been feeling and I had been in total denial that anyone around me could sense or feel it, too. She finally told me, very gently, what I already knew…I was not happy. I was not the Kirsten she knew and we both knew that something had to change. To have it said out loud and from someone else was awful. To know that my inside attitude had spilled over so strongly to my outer actions and moods made me feel repulsed at myself.

I could have blamed my unhappiness on any number of areas; my job, my loneliness, where I wished I would be at this age…yet, the only thing I could really blame any unhappiness on was my dwindling relationship with God and my totally lack of trust in Him to guide and provide for me.

Deep in the cracks of my charred heart I knew I had been holding God at arms-length for a long time. Yes, I knew all about what I should be doing and how I should be living. I was leading a “good” life, not committing any really visible atrocities or sins, but I was guilty of all those quiet, hidden sins; those that are a slap in face of God because the outside seems good and right and mostly holy, but the inside is dark and rotting and angry at everything. I knew I wasn’t living the way I should or could be living, I knew I was choosing to live in the murmuring world; the place where everything is a complaint, a sarcastic remark, or a depressed thought. Once I knew that I had put myself there, no one else, I knew that the only way back to an semblance of happiness and joy in my daily life was not to keep holding God away from me, but to let go and let Him surround me in His love and care. What I found out in this first step, was that letting go of habits and routines of how you are living is not as easy as it sounds. There is no giant switch to flip to convert directly from Pessimism to Optimism. (Oh, how I wish there was!) The first part of this journey was that feeling that my inner self was burning away. All that darkness and negativity that had built up now battled inside of me with my decision to let go and let some light in. I found my temper still short, my anger still itching to rear its head at any moment and the burning of bitterness like bile in my throat. I thought that the seething fire I felt inside of me was something to rebel against, to try and claw my way out of but now that I look back and I know that once I’d made the conscious decision to get out of my rut and draw closer to God, that fire and burning was God moulding and shaping me as I burned. I struggled every day but now I could turn to God for relief. Each time I chose to lean on Him, He hammered and shaped me, bit by bit, until that small part of me was starting to resemble a new creation.

I am still a nameless and unrecognizable lump of hard metal, and I still get jabbed into the fire from time to time, but now I look forward to the moments of deep relief and love when, after the fire and the hammering, God plunges me into the cold water to solidify and hold in the new habits and the new realizations. Those times are so refreshing and full of the joy of feeling closer to God and knowing that, with His help, I can do anything!

I also still have difficult days, when everything seems to make me angry or I’m in a foul mood, but more and more, I find myself catching my tongue before I say anything short or unkind and I remind myself to let go and let God help me through the day. Honestly, it’s a struggle, sometimes moment by moment! Yet, just like learning any new thing, riding a bike, playing an instrument, memorizing lines, the more you practice or rehearse the better you become. I hope to try my best to keep becoming a better version of me.

After these past few months of soul-searching and discovery of how to climb out of my dark place, I now see how much more happy I am. I feel lighter, more joyful and able to let go of most of little annoying things that used to get me down. I am finding more satisfaction in my job, I’m happier to help when someone asks instead of feeling put upon and annoyed. I feel less and less jealous when I look at someone else’s life and wish I was in their place. I remind myself to appreciate what I have, the time, the freedom and the ability to spend time with others on short notice because of my freedom.

I know that God will take care of me and I know that He is preparing me with every skill I learn and every relationship I go through. Preparing me for what, I don’t yet know, but one day I see where He’s taking me. Along the way I will enjoy learning and refining myself in His fire as He shapes me into the person He wants me to be.

* * * *

I have made a few new vows/resolutions/promises for this new year that I will definitely need God’s help with: to be more kind, to not dwell on the negative, to get moving and exercise regularly, to eat healthy and cut out all the regular junk, and to keep daily trusting God with my life.

There are many more things I know I need to improve upon but that is a good start. So far, I am doing well. A few friends are joining me at the gym and pool weekly for some great workouts and we are trying to be accountable and encourage each other to stay healthy. Now that I am trying to lean more on God, I’m finding it much easier to daily be more kind and respectful to those around me. As for trusting God, I find my thoughts wander so often to what I want and why I don’t have it, and like a scolding teacher I catch myself and rap my mental ruler on my desk to remind myself to give it over to God and let Him arrange things for me. It’s a struggle, but a good kind of struggle.

On a side note:
Sometimes I wonder how much we are supposed to do in preparing ourselves for what God has planned for us…I heard a similar question asked in a sermon by a guest speaker not too long ago and his answer was that not all of us heard a booming voice from a burning bush as Moses did. If you see a need, and are able, then fill it! If God has given you a skill or an ability to help someone, then help them. And if you are taking the wrong path, God usually has a way of letting you know, either through the advice of those around you whose wisdom you respect or through road blocks that cause you to turn to a different direction.


For example, if you need a job…don’t sit around at home and wait for your dream job to call you, get out there and apply and pray for God to place the right opportunity in front of you.

So at last I’ve returned to the wonderful world of blogging. I am going to try and keep updating about my goals and the status of my promises but I will also post some new photos of my family and events from the past few months and those to come.


Stay tuned for more from me to you!

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