Pick a Fight & Take a Stand, Crazy Woman!

Who’s ready to RUMBLE?!

When we go ALL IN for God, Batterson tells us in his book, All In, that we are to Pick a Fight, but this is not in the usual sense where we start calling names and throwing punches.

Scrappy Doo with his signature battle cry, “Let me at ’em! Let me at ’em!” will not work for God.

Indeed, God wants something much bigger from us.

Instead, when we pick a fight, God wants us to get down on our knees and to pray fiercely, for we are picking a fight with Satan.

I really don’t like Satan.

In fact, I hate him.

Let me rephrase that: I mean, I loathe him mightily. (My mother did not like us to use the word hate when we were growing up, as if a more civilized word is ‘loathe.’ Ha!)

Satan is VERY threatened by me.

How do I know?

He has spent the past few weeks stirring things up everywhere that matter most to me.

This week, my All In book has gone missing. Funny, right?

I am supposed to be summarizing the book about Picking a Fight, Taking a Stand, and A Little Crazy. 

Because I do not want to misrepresent this book while summarizing, I am going to shift from completing the book summary to writing in my signature Karin-style.

In addition to the book now missing, my past few weeks have been filled with lots of physical pain from my fibromyalgia/Lyme inflammation, a new alarming health concern for my daughter, and significant attacks on my character.

This is reassuring!

Say what?!

It means I am up to something good for God. (Insert smiley face.)

I know this is the case because Satan rages like this and attacks me when I am gaining some traction and making some headway for God’s kingdom.

I have “been there and done that” when it comes to Satan and his vicious attacks.

You should have seen my life when I worked in the political arena.

Yeah, that is where A Little Crazy comes in for me.

It was a constant public attack in the local rag newspaper: one-sided garbage ruled the day, and it was only ever partially accurate.

So, in case you were wondering, I am an unsuccessful loser.

Don’t ever let me forget it!

Tons of fun!

I highly recommend public life if you would like to learn how to gain some muscle in experiencing personal attacks.

I was only one of 100+ victims through the years, but it was still personal and painful.

Yippee!

Whenever I would be contacted by the editor for a personal quote, I had the most amazing fun somehow finding a way to mention God to give Him all of the credit.

My friend Andrea and I loved keeping a running total to see if my God comments would make it into the paper.

We would text one another whenever I was under attack in the paper with the most recent running score: “God: 2, Satan: 3.”

Then, whenever my praise for God would get into the paper, the score would change in our text exchanges: “God: 5, Satan: 4. Woo hoo! Go, God!”

I can see the blessing in having been attacked publicly before because my muscles are so much stronger now when it comes to keeping Satan’s attacks from stopping me.

I have definitely picked a fight with Satan by starting my blog.

I don’t know if my inner strength is mixed with wisdom, or if my inner strength is mixed with reassurance that, “My Heavenly Father can kick your butt! Na na na boo boo! God: 1,000,000, Satan: 5.” Amen!

Either way, get over it, Satan.

Go back to hell where you belong.

I am not afraid of you.

My prayers are even more passionate and powerful now, and they make me stronger with every word I pray.

I will continue to pray without ceasing in order to be unstoppable on my mission for God.

I declare that with every breath I breathe in God’s mighty power and strength to overcome any vicious attack, and I breathe out any and all fear, dread, or disappointment.

Satan knows I am going to heaven because of my faith, but he wants to make it hell on earth for me.

The same is true for everyone who believes in and follows Jesus.

Hmm.

I am not frightened, because I am a warrior who has taken a stand–the Lord is on all sides protecting me and in my heart giving me courage.

Am I a little crazy?

My blog is about “My crazy life.”

It is kind of difficult to have a crazy life if you are not a little crazy…


 

 

 

Ready, Fire, Aim!

Ready.

Fire!

Aim.

Yep, that’s me.

“All Balls” is what my good friend Jeff calls me because I have a consistent track record of jumping before weighing the complete, rippling impact of some of my most abrupt decisions.

Have I ever regretted that?

Certainly, I have thought, “What was I thinking?!”

On the flip side, though, I learn by action.

It’s how I grow.

It is how I continue to strengthen my courage to take on bigger and bigger giants.

It’s how I feel alive.

Do I have fear in those moments?

Absolutely, but my faith in God is bigger than my fear.

God has had my back in way too many battles to let my fear keep me from charging full force into something that lights a fire inside of me.

I get bored very easily if I am not up to something new or something for which I have a ton of passion.

That is why reading is a good distraction for me; I don’t get into trouble when I escape to the world of books.

Not only do I love to read, but I also love, Love, LOVE books.

I have a library of books that takes up an entire wall of my house.

I can honestly say that I do not think I will ever purchase a digital book.

When I die, though, no library will want my books: I fold over pages, underline and asterisk meaningful passages and quotes, and fold them right in half at the binding to make them easier to hold in one hand.

Yes, I am a librarian’s worst nightmare.

A book murderer.

The book I am reading now is All In, by Mark Batterson.

I figure if I am ready to do what God calls me to do next, it would be best for me to know just what “All Balls is Going All In” entails.

The title of chapter one of All in is Pack Your Coffin.

Hmm…

This is going to be interesting…

“When did we start believing that God wants to send us to safe places to do easy things? That faithfulness is holding the fort? That playing it safe is safe? That there is any greater privilege than sacrifice? That radical is anything but normal?

Jesus didn’t die to keep us safe. He died to make us dangerous. Faithfulness is not holding the fort. It’s storming the gates of hell. The will of God is not an insurance plan. It’s a daring plan…

It’s time to quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. It’s time to go all in and all out for the All in AllPack your coffin!”

Does that frighten you?

Man, that is so inspiring to me!

What’s next?

“God will test your faith. And those tests won’t get any easier. They will get progressively harder as the stakes get higher. And those tests will undoubtedly revolve around what is most important to you…

So the question is this: What do you need to give up… What is getting between you and God? What feeds your ego? Where do you find your security outside of Christ?”

It is time for God to get all the glory.

Okay, I will admit it; I am wondering what more God could possibly want me to let go of.

This is making me somewhat uncomfortable…does my past year of illness count toward that?

Can we take small steps?

May I see the playbook?

God is good at letting me know when things should come to an end, but He does not like to tell me what is coming.

The Lord knows full well that most of the things my family has endured over the past few years we would not have chosen, nor would we have wished them upon an enemy.

Well, maybe a worst enemy, but not just any enemy.

Just kidding!

He likes to keep me present and nearby, so I am alert and conscious of every sign and signal He is giving.

I have become more patient and less forceful with this, namely because my adrenal insufficiency takes me from six (not ten) to zero in one, swift adrenaline rush.

What used to inspire my pit bull within to latch on for the good fight now gets weighed in my mind: “How much of my energy tank is THIS going to drain?”

I will continue to pray on this.

Next, Batterson says it is time to Burn the Ships!

This means that there can be no Plan B.

“But if we have the courage to burn the ships, God will part the river.”

What comes next?

Crash the Party!

“Jesus loved spiritual desperados.”

According to Dictionary.com, a desperado is: a bold, reckless criminal or outlaw, especially in the early days of the American West.

I don’t like that definition.

According to UrbanDictionary.com, a desperado (in summary) is: a law breaker.

The reason I like UrbanDictionary.com is because I like to try to keep up with the crazy slang kids use these days.

I also love the definition of Karin. (You will have to check that out for yourself!)

The Urban Dictionary definition is much more fitting in this circumstance according to Batterson’s examples:

Jesus loved that four friends climbed onto a building and cut a hole in the roof in order to have Him heal their friend.

He loved the bleeding woman who did not remain in seclusion due to her illness, but instead crawled through the streets to be healed by touching the hem of Jesus’ clothing.

He loved the woman who crashed the party of the Pharisees in order to anoint Him with her alabaster jar of perfume.

Jesus wants our repentance.

He wants our past, our present, and our future.

He wants it all.

He wants us to go ‘Holy Crazy’ by making a difficult decision, having a tough conversation, or by taking a crazy risk.

“Going all out for God always starts with one step of faith. It’s often the longest, hardest, and scariest step. But when we make a move that is motivated by God’s glory, it moves the heart and hand of God. There comes a moment in our lives when enough is enough. The pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change. We reject the status quo. We refuse to remain the same.”

Yes, I am ready, Lord.

In the next blog post, additional items we will look at when going All In for God are:

Picking a Fight
Taking a Stand
A Little Crazy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time to Blaze a Fiery Trail

On October 29, 2015, I was hospitalized for an adrenal crisis.

It was a long time in coming now that I know how to listen to my body and recognize the symptoms of adrenal fatigue.

I had burned my candle at both ends for far too long, and my body literally collapsed as if to say, “I’m out!” (Fade to black.)

My diagnosis of adrenal insufficiency came just fifteen days before my brother’s tragic death, so to say I ended 2015 as a hot mess is a gross understatement.

I was a flaming hot mess.

Over the next several months, I had umpteen visits to numerous doctors and specialists.

I received a fibromyalgia diagnosis, lack of consensus by several doctors on whether or not I had a mini-stroke, treatment for listeriosis from eating contaminated bagged lettuce, and confirmation of chronic Lyme (I was first diagnosed with Lyme in 2013).

I have been through the ringer a time or two this past year, and I have the scars to prove it.

I was heading for a full KO, or so I prayed.

I have begged God over a dozen times (sometimes in a given day) to let me die and to take me from my misery, but He either totally ignores me (and that is TOUGH to do), or He has a different plan for me.

As it has been the better part of a year since my initial collapse, I am settling on the fact that God has a different plan for me than an immediate departure.

Good news: I am no longer looking for a Thelma and Louise escape off a tall cliff.

Now that I have acquired some self-acceptance of my health issues, as well as a return-to-normal of most cognitive brain functioning, I am looking at life from a different vantage point.

Getting so close to daily glimpses of my possible demise caused a fresh, new perspective on life to be exposed, and a different me has now emerged.

Not a new and improved me, but a different me.

I am different from the inside out, like I have been shaken up like a puzzle in a box and put back together: I have all the same pieces, but they are in a different order.

The puzzle pieces could not go back the way they were inside of me; the pieces had to be re-organized.

Like un-birthing a baby (“Not a flippin’ chance that’s ever gonna happen, no way, no how!” says EVERY mother I know);

or un-molting a grasshopper;

or un-metamorphosing a butterfly or a frog;

I cannot go back to the way I was.

Now that my eyes are fully open, I am getting the most spectacular, awe-inspiring, breathtaking glimpses of what is possible and why I am really here.

I am on a mission, here to blaze a God-inspired, fiery trail, and nothing can keep me from fulfilling that commitment (except death, of course, but I am NOT afraid of death; Death and heaven are just a beautiful promise of what is to come).

In reflective moments like this, I realize that before I had this ongoing day-in and day-out brush with my mortality, I was alive-but-dead, going through the motions of life, existing but not living my life for the reasons God put me here.

How can I explain it?

It’s like I’ve been launched like a rocket, and my incredible speed and urgency prevents me from focusing on anything but the mission.

Like a two year-old, I now question the importance of everything that used to waste so much of my energy:

Why?
But why?
Why not?
How come?

And then, comical as it sounds, I burst into song, “Let It Go!”

Like a Disney princess, I spin and dance all around in my kitchen, or living room, or dining room, or shower, or bedroom, or wherever I happen to be when I realize I am getting pulled away by unimportant matters.

For those of you who know me, you absolutely get how ridiculous this looks, but you know better than to ask me if I care! (You already know that I don’t.)

Yes, even in the Jeep with the top removed, the doors off, and the volume turned all the way up, “Let it Go!” is on repeat, replaying over and over and over.

The more wind blowing through my hair the better!

So, what in the world do you want me to do for you, Lord?

Calm, laser-like focus is now my method, unlike the hysterical, frantic, anxious, super woman I once was, trying desperately to prove I can do 5,347 things at the same time.

It’s amazing how differently the world appears now that I have a one-track mind and no time to waste.

Opportunities cannot be missed.

My conversations are important.

Relationships are cherished and honored.

Actions are key.

Things that once consumed my precious time are now trivial; like white noise from a fan, I choose to block them out.

[Insert heavy sigh of relief.]

I have found that I have little to no patience with structures, rules, chains of command, people, or other ego-driven conversations that serve only to squelch, silence, sabotage, or stop me from staying God-focused.

I realize that I do not fit in (and, most likely, I never did), though I had tried to by wearing down my 90 degree angles of squareness to fit into the round holes of society and its norms.

“Wake up!” I want to scream at everyone, but then I remember my sweet, kind, loving, older brother pleading with me to “Wake up!” just months before he passed away, and I realize that people will wake up when it is their time to do so.

It is all part of God’s perfect plan.

So now that I am awake and focused on hearing my God-inspired mission, I need to ensure I use my spiritual gifts, talents, and passions.

Do you know what your spiritual gifts are?

If not, find out now. Don’t waste another moment.

God has a mission for each one of us to fulfill, and we are to use our God-given gifts, talents, and passions to do so.

This doesn’t mean we won’t face failure and disappointment, but He will walk with us, and guide us, and mold us, and love us through it all.

My dear friend, Beth, recently gave me a t-shirt.

The back of it reads, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come ALIVE!”

Don’t you just LOVE that?!

God, I am listening.

Tell me what is next.

Lord, I’m ready now!

Whose Life is this, Anyway?

Summoning Butterfly Strength

“If you cut (butterflies) out of their cocoons or help them out in any way, they will never fully develop the strength they need in their wings to be able to achieve takeoff. They have to struggle out in order to come into their own. Flight only comes after the fight.”
-Levi Lusko

I love to read.  Before my Lyme disease reached my brain, it was common for me to read three to four books at a time, switching between each book depending upon my mood.

Since I was a child, if I did not want to (in my best Mom voice) “Go play outside or downstairs (in the basement),” my mother would tell me, “Then go read a book.”

Reading is a great escape from reality.

When my Lyme was at its worst just a few months ago and I would try to escape the pain and anxiety by reading, I found I could not: I would look at the words on the page, but my brain could not process what I was seeing.

On better days, I was able to read the words on the page, yet my brain could not comprehend what I was reading.

Escaping into a book was impossible, and I felt trapped in the waking nightmare of my life.

The pain and anxiety took a stronghold, and my ability to cope came only by numbing the pain and panic with pain killers and anxiety medication.

Thankfully, I am now able to both read and comprehend again. YAY! This is an enormous victory as far as my sanity is concerned.

I just finished reading, and highly recommend, Levi Lusko’s Through the Eyes of a Lion: Facing Impossible Pain / Finding Incredible Power. The title is what hooked me, but I could not put the book down once I began to read it.

Lusko’s message evokes inspiration, hope, and peace in the trials of life, but what struck me right at the core was when he spoke of the butterfly, my favorite animal (or INSECT, as my ten year-old quickly points out to correct me).

What I like most is the cuteness of the caterpillar and the beauty of the butterfly, yet the true miracle occurs in the brown, hard, ugly shell of the cocoon.

The cocoon metamorphosis  is the time when the caterpillar is forced to be present and to remain still, for that is where and how God’s transformation takes place.

That struggle concept of the butterfly got me to thinking about my own battle with Lyme and how I keep wanting to avoid the pain with painkillers, escape the anxiety with medication, and beg God to take this horrible infection away from me…instead of seeing it as a gift from God, which only He can use to develop and transform me.

Funny how it took a struggling butterfly metaphor to get the gift in my illness.

Now I see that if God takes away my struggle, I will not develop to become the person He wants me to be.

The BEST thing for me to do right now is to simply be present and still and to wait and listen in obedience, knowing this struggle is serving a purpose.

His purpose.

God is strengthening me in this struggle, and I will emerge a beautiful, strong, healthy butterfly.

Lusko adds, “Suffering isn’t an OBSTACLE to being used by God. It is an OPPORTUNITY to be used like never before.”

A gift.  This ugly, brown, hard, shell experience is a gift!

My eyes are now opened, as I ask, “What opportunity is available to me only because of my personal suffering?”

“What gifts is He developing in me through this struggle?”

Lusko’s words are so powerful as I grasp hold of this new perspective when he proclaims, “You need to be actively on the lookout for every way you can redeem the hell you are put through by shining your light in the darkness…squeeze every drop out of your trial.

Let nothing be wasted.

None of your tears have fallen to the ground unseen.

God wants you to shine brightly…the only reason He has allowed you to be doubled over in grief is so He could pick you up and help you reach new levels of influence you could not reach otherwise.

God’s up to something!

He’s turning your mess into a message.

He’s turning your pain into a platform.

He’s turning your trial into your testimony.”

What’s my testimony?

What’s God’s calling on my life in amidst this struggle?

Whose Life is this, Anyway?

 

About Me

I am a mom, wife, and Christian, in reverse order.  About Me pages are so generic.

My favorite color: fuschia
My favorite animal: butterfly
Every other favorite of mine changes with my mood.

I am brassy, sassy, and classy, but not all at the same time; I like to shake it up a bit–it keeps people guessing.

I am not shy.  In fact, I am quite bold in most circumstances. Given my petite frame (5’2″), this can be very intimidating; hence, the nickname Pit Bull. Once I latch on, I don’t let go. Just ask my 6’4″ husband. We have been married twenty years now.  2-0.

I have three kids I am usually willing to claim as my own. Taking care of them gives me a good excuse as to why I need to color my silvering hair a deep eggplant color every five weeks. My hair looks dark brown indoors, but it turns a reddish purple in the sun. I love it.

I am serious, funny, smart, silly, raw, and real.  I love people. Sometimes I don’t know why, but I do. I am very trusting, but if you lie to me once I will waste no more time with you.

Integrity, authenticity, and genuine caring are three character traits that mean the world to me, and I hope that people think of me when they think of these words.

I love God, and although sometimes I yell at Him and ask, “Why me,” I still want to live my life honoring Him and Jesus.

Karin

Whose Life is This (Anyway)?

This blog is not to be confused with Whose Line is it, Anyway? because that nutty show is hilariously entertaining and never disappoints.

This blog is about my crazy life, which is not always hilariously entertaining and sometimes disappoints.

I am an almost 43 year-old wife, mother, Christian, and generally sick (as in NOT physically well health-wise) human being. 

Some might argue that I am not only sick physically, but that I also have a sick mind and a sick sense of humor. 

I will not contest this.

This is my story. 

Names may be changed to protect people, but not always. 

Some people don’t care if I use their names; in fact, they will want me to.

Be Forewarned
Yes, I do like to exaggerate when storytelling: it makes life funnier, so enjoy!

I never thought I would write a blog. 

Actually, as a Gen-Xer, I was an elementary school-aged kid who had to type READY and RUN on the keyboard of the computer. 

Then I would quickly push PLAY on the tape deck for the computer to take what kids these days would say “FOREVER” to display a green, blinking cursor on the screen.  

No red, yellow, blue, pink, or purple. 

No images, icons, logos, or scrolling graphics. 

Just a green square.

The Internet wasn’t even a thing until well after my first child was born and I had already finished my Bachelor’s degree. 

Writing was not EVER a passion or pastime of mine, but I will admit, with pride, that I got VERY good at it because of Ms. Beatrice Jones, my 10th grade English teacher. 

God rest her soul.

That woman would butcher a paper like a sadist, and she would smile wryly as she returned our papers to us with blood-red ink dripping from each page. 

Every student’s pride and joy we had toiled over for weeks became a pit bull’s play thing, ripped and shredded with her overwhelming pleasure. 

Please know, I have no ill-will for pit bulls.  More about that later.

To this day, I can still recite the 23 helping verbs she required us to memorize: am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been, have, has, had, do, does, did, shall, will, can, could, should, would, may, might, must. 

Yep, those 23 words will be burned on my brain until I die.

I can correct grammar in the best editors’ news articles, magazines, memorandums, and reports.  

It really has become a passive, yet sick, passion of mine (perhaps in
Ms. Jones’ honor), though not enough to become a 10th grade English teacher to destroy children’s self-esteem.

Also, teenagers are NOT my cup of tea.

 I have two of them. 

I speak from experience.

I digress…

So why am I writing a blog?

God told me to.  

He tells me to do lots of things (Most often, it’s “Hold your tongue.”), and I sometimes like to listen the first time to be obedient.  

As it relates to this blog, I know writing will somehow help me to heal, to keep my mind off of how sick I feel and how much pain I am in, to think about funny memories, to re-live good times, and to start to live again–from the passenger seat–with Him calling all the shots.

This is going to be tough for me.

I have always been the driver.  

Always.

My nickname is Pit Bull. 

Pit bulls get a bad rap–most of the time.  

Pit bulls mind their own business and get along just fine until they are triggered. 

What’s their trigger? 

The enemy. 

For me, the enemy is bullies.  

I love justice. 

I want good to always triumph over evil. 

I want the underdog to have his day. 

I want the bad guy to get caught.

If I had a super power, I would want to have the innate ability to catch the bad guy or girl; make him/her feel real, true remorse; and then have him/her repent and turn his/her life over to good. 

I would second that super power only to flying, but I think every super hero should be able to fly if he/she wants to.

I was raised in the late 70s and 80s, a time when only the winning team received a trophy or a ribbon.  

I was taught about the importance of personal excellence, integrity, honesty, helping others, and caring about people.

I was also taught ‘Life Isn’t Fair’ and ‘No One Owes You Anything.’  

Those two mottoes suck, but they are true. 

I have taught them to my children: I figure the sooner they learn these mottoes, the less disappointed they will be when life hands them lemons. 

Or rotten apples. 

Or poopy diapers. 

Or a ticket for a ride to a place they don’t want to go, but they find they are already on the moving train.

I did, for a time, believe that I could accomplish whatever I set my mind to just out of sheer will, confidence, and a lot of hard work.  

I also, for a time, believed that life was mine for the taking.  

What does that really mean, though?

Certainly, there are goals I set for myself and reached–some much more easily than others–but then life started to happen. 

Real life. 

Messy, uncontrollable, unforeseeable, sucker-punching, unfair, ugly life.

I am CERTAIN God will have me share much more about those real life experiences in upcoming posts, but let me have you wonder about them for just a bit.

Karin

 

 

What to Expect When You Are Expecting (Me to Post with Consistency and Humor)

I am looking to post once a week, so get ready for some ups and downs as I deal with my chronic Lyme issues. I try to laugh through the pain, but I promise nothing. I intend to use my blog to be raw and real and to say things that other people with chronic health issues or constant pain only think but dare not say for whatever reason.

Yep, real, raw thoughts. This will be interesting.