The BP

Sometimes certain seasons of life seem like a home movie. You know the ones that are long and drawn out, where you were a baby and your parents filmed you because they had this new thing called a video camera but you didn’t do much and it wasn’t that exciting except then all of a sudden you are walking and everyone is so keyed up about it until you fell back on your but and suddenly not much is happening again except your parents voices still narrating the nothing happening. They are truly boring films, but sentimental nonetheless and totally worth watching and experiencing. That’s what living in the dorms this last year was like for me. I had my routine and I liked it. It was a sweet sentimental time full of laughter and wow moments punctuated by occasional hurt and anxiety and reality. It was fairly predictable but wonderful because of it. It was real life. I was talking last night to some friends and we were pondering how as humans we love routine and rhythm, and I am one of those people. I like the rhythm of home movies, the idea of familiarity with the occasional surprise.

May has been like a photograph.

There wasn’t time to make a movie. This month, each day was different. It was quick and bursting with new and different. It was a simple click and then it was over and documented. Sometimes when you take a quick picture it comes out terrible, but not this one, for this snapshot every setting was perfect. If life has an ISO setting, an f-stop, a lens to focus, then this month all the settings were perfect, and the picture was gorgeous. Life for the last four weeks have been crazy beautiful. There has been a wedding to plan, dance class nights with the love of my life, slow Sunday mornings at church, evenings spent with my family, and shopping dates with good friends.

Perhaps most special to me though, and most cherished, was my four weeks living in the bachelorette pad. I have had the privilege of living with three other incredible women, all of us getting ready to launch out into huge summers. I am getting married, Margaret is off to Nepal in a few days, last night Anneke left for Chicago to experience an internship of a lifetime, and Kimmy is steadily preparing her heart for Turkey, her home for the next two years. While the four weeks flew by I don’t think there was a single moment taken for granted, and the memories I made and the experiences I had left a deep mark on my soul in the best possible way.

Some of my favorites were: game nights (quelf and banana grams), tanning by the pool with very little sun screen and lots of tanning oil, dinners on the patio, movies with all of us curled of on the couch, high heels worn while brushing our teeth, shopping trips, line dancing, riding around town on the moped, long hours studying and reading side by side, random house quests both expected and unexpected, great conversation, four very shared closets, and lots of dreaming about the future.

These memories are so rich and so treasured, and I am saddened that it has all basically come to an end, but also so thankful and blessed and happy. God is good and life is good. Not always easy, sometimes a little boring, but not this month. This month has been a treasure.

The Bach Pad

Advertisements

What I Learned in Africa

and im still learning now…

I’m learning its ok to not be ok, it is a concept that has taken a seat in my soul, and I’m finally allowing it to rest on the couch instead of trying to show it the front door.

I’m learning to acknowledge jealousy, to recognize that I am made a certain way, and to strive to go against that way will only cause me to continually fall and scrape my knees.

I’m learning to love who Kayla is, and to accept Jesus loves Kayla. Because I know that its only when I can successfully do this I will be the proud owner if something that cannot be bought or sold.

I’m learning joy. And that joy can be resting my chin on my hand because I have no energy to hold it up on my own, while my shoulders throb from the heat of the days sun on my back, listening to a friend talk about life. Joy doesn’t have to be this indescribable elation that involves frolicking through meadows singing at the top of my lungs (it can be but lets be honest, how often does that really happen?), it can be (and I stole this phrase from my grandma) simple joys. A song, slashing my feet in a puddle after it rains, a piece of chocolate,a cup of tea, or a quite moment with crickets’ singing me to sleep.

I’m learning Jesus always provides me with the right relationships, right when I need them. And that he gives me a support system that many would envy. I am so lucky how provided for I am.

I’m learning that I like to go to bed at 9pm, and that’s ok! I have so many fun stories to share, but those can wait till tomorrow, So on that note. goodnight ❤

Ministry and Service reflection: Mexico Outreach

My first experience ever with Mexico Outreach was Thanksgiving of my freshman year. I was walking down cougar walk at freshman orientation, and a girl I knew who was a junior in college that I had grown up at church with called to me over to her. She was working at the Mexico Outreach booth trying to recruit for one of the trips. She slipped me a leadership application and told me she really wanted me to pray about considering applying to lead a team during the Thanksgiving trip. I’m pretty sure I didn’t pray about it, and just applied,  stoked about someone wanting me to lead something. This is one of the first and most important lessons I have learned over the last four years at APU: pray. Pray about something even if it seems like a perfect choice, because even though it seems great it could be exactly where God doesn’t want you. Looking back applying to lead was one of my best and worst decisions.

          The thanksgiving trip was terrible. I had so many really awful experiences: my team did not respect me, I was accused of something that I did not do by one of my team members (spending the night in a van with a boy), and was just generally cold and miserable. The experience was really crippling for me mentally, I seriously doubted my abilities and capabilities. The experience kept me from pursuing other opportunities the rest of that year large in part because of  the gritty resistance I faced on the trip. Looking back now there are so many things I wish I had taken advantage of in college that I did not because this experience was so bad.

            However, year two, I decided to try for a corrective experience and lead the same team again, this time it was much more successful (I had learned from my mistakes), but I still was not really leaning into God and his promise and plan for my life through purposeful prayer, I was doing it on my own. That is the second huge lesson that I have learned throughout college and my time in Mexico. Chances are if you look back and see serious regret, you probably were not walking in Gods will. This is not to say that I dont think being in Gods will is always easy, quite the opposite in fact. But I think in God ordained trials you can look back and see the hope, no just crushing regret. I have a lot of regret coming out of college that as I try and process and move past the bitterness of it all, I am learning that I need to wait patiently on the Lord to reveal opportunities He has for me, not try and rush to fill my time with something that looks appealing to me. If my path is God ordained, even if there is difficulty, there will not be major regret. Walking in the unforced rhythms of grace is not easy, and a lot of times in my life it looks a lot more like walking in my own forced path.

            The second thanksgiving trip caused me to decide to apply within the Mexico Outreach office for a job for my junior year, which I received. I have been, for the last two year, a Ministry Advisor of Camp Operations, and been down to Mexico about eleven times in the last two years. Every trip is unique in the adventure that it offers and the lessons that are learned. Throughout these last two years, I have loved working in the office. The people in there are my family, and I look forward to coming into work everyday. It is in these last wo years that I have really learned about true leadership. It may seem glamorous to get to stand up in front of others, to get the attention, and get to make big decisions. But really often time leadership is really about sacrificing for those who you are leading. Sacrificing your time, your resources, your energy, and staying behind to take out the trash for the Kingdom, when everyone else is going out and do the kingdoms work. I have discovered there is true Joy found in servant leadership, in persistant prayer, and in sacrifice. I think that mastering these concepts are far more important as a leader than getting attention. But man, attention sure is appealing.

            I arrive at the most recent trip I partook in, my last trip as an undergraduate here at Azusa Pacific University. My main role was “Director of Camp Operations”. What this actually means in the day-to-day grind is far from glamorous. I take out trash, lots of trash, with the help of a few others. Like, the trash of 1200 people who eat two meals a day at camp. I break down hundreds of boxes a day to be recycled, I help prepare and cook meals (I cracked a record two thousand eggs this year), I also do tons of little odd projects around camp that need to get done such as hanging lights, fixing the sound board, etc. I also get to help out the APU teams director deal with any conflict amongst the teams; thankfully there was an extremely minimal amount of that this year. Needless to say this is a leas than glamorous job with the reward being spending time with the people who work alongside of you. I would say this is the biggest lesson my time in Mexico outreach has taught me, life is about the people around you, not about the tasks you carry out. Yes, there is richness in doing tasks well for the kingdom, and accomplishing what needs to be done, but the real joy is what you learn in the people who are around you. That is what the highlight of this trip was. It was in Evan who always opened my car door for me no matter what we were doing, even if it was just a trash run. It was the jokes from Daniel, the wisdom of seventy-year old Walter, who was an eclectic mix of potter/arborist/farmer/world traveler, and it was the longs talks about marriage with the camp director on warm sunny afternoons followed by deeply needed prayer.

      It’s these precious moments I choose to remember and reflect on. As my four years with the program are wrapping up, I choose to take the lessons I have learned through trials and never forget them, but also not to dwell on the trials. I never thought I would spend so much of my time in college in Mexico, but I did, and I trust that there was a reason. That even though at times I was not in Gods will he met me where I was at and worked with me and walked with me. I am incredibly grateful for the friends I have made and the people whose lives I was able to touch. I know I was able to work to further the Kingdom here on earth, and that is invaluable.

       But above all, Mexico has taught me the single most important thing is this world is intimacy with my creator, found through reading scripture and heartfelt prayer. True honest deep prayers will be answered. God will meet you where you are at and He will scoop you up and teach you and love you. He will wipe away your regret and give you great hope in the things to come, he will slowly teach you about forgiving your neighbor, and will take you on journeys beyond your wildest dreams. All it takes to find this is a little bit of disciple to shut your eyes, quiet your heart, and be willing to be changed.

Coffee and Mexico

I’m sitting on my best friends couch tucked under a blanket with a giant mug of fresh brewed coffee (decaf of course) with half and half. I am content.

I love starting off my weeks slowly, because I know inevitably they will turn into sprints, and I have a feeling this week is no exception. After a ridiculously fun but draining weekend where the focus was on my upcoming nuptials, I am thoroughly enjoying a quiet morning of reflection on the upcoming. Next Saturday I leave to head down to Mexico with about three hundred other college students where I will lead the Camp Operations team. I cant wait to cook seven thousand pancakes every morning, take out countless bags of trash, have competitions to see who can throw those bags into the dump truck from the farthest location, take late afternoon naps in the sun, late nights worshiping with thirteen hundred other students, and snuggling into my sleeping bag after it all with some of my closest friends who I have had the privilege of working with for the last two years. I know that God has a special plan for me down there, and I am ready to show up available to be used by Him. This will be my fifteenth and last trip as an undergrad, and some of been really rough. But these trips have changed me, shaped me, and challenged me in ways that nothing else has in college, and I cannot wait to be down there again.

So whats going on until then? A trip to the DMV, a Spanish test, a paper that refuses to write itself, three chapels, an independent study meeting, a job interview,  pack up night for the trip, work, classes, homework, thank you notes form my bridal shower, and a carving for one of my class projects that needs to be finished up. Not to mention eating, sleeping, friends, family, fiance, and oh yeah-showering would probably be a good idea.

Seeing this list makes me wonder why I gave up caffeine-yes forever, not just for lent. I have been living on herbal tea and the occasional decaf beverage since early December, and I deeply believe it is the healthiest choice I have made all year. Not shooting my body up several times a day with stimulants has allowed me to pace myself throughout the day with out crashes, jitters, anxiety, and stomach ulcers. I start my mornings out alert, and end my days quietly. No caffeine has allowed me to attack weeks like this one coming up with a tad more grace.

So, thank you God for this quiet morning and continue to be present in my life today as I learn to walk in your unforced rhythms if grace.

lent begins march 9

Lent has been something practiced for thousands of years. Numerous cultures and nations express worship through lent in many different ways. Some give up food, some give up certain food products such as meat, others have given up time, or money; and over the years this richly held tradition has rooted itself into societies.

So why should we continue this tradition? It is not something necessarily biblical, there are no explicit scriptures demanding that we carry out this concept. But there is power in tradition. Just as a wedding ceremony as we know of it today isn’t not necessarily “biblical”, it is still a ritual that brings symbolism and meaning into the union of two people.

to me, there is power in the tradition that lent brings. to me lent is a time where I can step back, take a deep breath, and evaluate what controls me. I strive to create a space in my life for God’s presence to infiltrate where i tend not to let it,  to be a little more disciplined , and a lot more prayerful.