Monday, July 23, 2012

Finding My Place

My name is Karissa and I don't have a place.

This has been my identity for so long. When my friends graduate before me, I don't have a place. And when I move to a new town, I don't have a place. When I'm not the best choir director, I don't have a place. And when I sit by myself in church, I don't have a place.

In my mind, there should be a small place carved out specifically for me everywhere I go. So what happens when there's not? Meltdowns in the form of shutting down and becoming defensive.

I didn't even realize I felt this way. Not until recently. But once I did realize it, my whole world was flipped upside down.

When I don't have a place - I don't matter.
When I don't matter - I panic.
When I panic - My world falls apart.

Dramatic much? Funny you should mention it. That's been the name of my game for so long.

Just stick with me.

I am a strong, beautiful, confident woman. I know this. Strong, beautiful, confident women don't need a specific place everywhere because they make their own place, right? So now that I know who I am, I won't ever feel like I don't have a place, right?

Oh, if it were that easy.

But it's not. Which brings me to this story.

I've also recently decided (thanks to a strange chain of events involving Arkansas, Patrick Mead, and some really fantastic people in my life) that I want to know Jesus.

But Karissa, you've been a Christian for so long? You mean you don't know Jesus?

Correct. More on that in the future. Just roll with it for now.

In wanting to know Jesus, I have started reading the Gospels more than I ever have before. They're fascinating. So yesterday in class at church, when my good friend Dave starts asking questions about Jesus' life, I was answering every single one. I've been immersed in the Gospels for a week. (And I'm a fast reader.) I knew the answers for which he was looking.

Except one.

Dave - "Jesus told his disciples he was going to do what?"
Karissa - "Prepare a room for them."
Dave - "Right. Prepare a place for them."

And class went on. That would have been it, because I didn't even really catch what Dave had said. He agreed with me! But God has placed an amazing man in my life who opens my eyes to truths I can't even see.

So while Dave was going on with class, this wonderful man sitting beside me acted on God's behalf.

He nudged me.
I turned to him.

Me - "I know I'm answering all of them because I've been reading the Gospels."
Him - "Did you hear that?"
Me - "Huh?"
Him - "He went to prepare a place for them."

Oh. My. Word.

A place. Jesus is preparing a place. I don't have appropriate words to express what happened to my heart in this moment. We both found the verse. (He on his iPhone, I in my old-fashioned concordance.)

I flipped to John 14:2
"In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you."
 My heart was overwhelmed, as were my tear-filled eyes. I quickly dug for a pen in my over-crowded purse and began to underline words that were soothing a wound I didn't think could ever be healed.

He's preparing a place for me.

I have a place.
I have a place. 

It's only been a day. And I still hear the words that I don't have a place. But now they're echoed by something else.

Me - "I don't have a place."
Jesus - "You are wrong, sweet girl. I'm preparing one for you."

How comforting that while I'm getting to know Jesus, He already knows me. And knows the words I so desperately need to hear.

Did I mention that John 14 was already
prepared for my reading last night?

My name is Karissa and I have a place. 

Jam-Packed Summer

It is July 23. Which means school starts exactly one month from today.
One month!!
My summer has flown by and I think I've pretty much forgotten what it means to be a teacher. At least I have a month to figure that out. 
In the meantime, a quick, 17-picture recap on my busy summer. 

I went camping with some lovely ladies.
 Watched this guy eat a 3 lb burrito. 
We do some exciting things in Tulsa, lemme tell ya.
 Made new friends.
 Went to some weddings with 
my best friend and my super hot boyfriend.

 Dominated some karaoke. (Let's just say, Usher was involved.)
 Started Pathways Core Training. A brief explanation. Pathways is a life-training program that gives you the tools to create the life you've always wanted. It allows and encourages you to look at internal barriers that have been holding you back. It then helps you break down those barriers while giving you the tools to create a great life. 
It's been the hardest, best thing I've ever done. 
More to come on it in later posts I'm sure.
 Hung out with some beautiful ladies from the boyfriend's family.
 Saw some fireworks with my man.
 Reunited with one of my best friends!
 Celebrated Fourth of July with my family. 
(Check out the cake. My mom's pretty cool, huh?)
 Celebrated this guy's birthday.
 Worked at a summer camp all summer long.
 Went to Arkansas.
 More specifically, Harding.
 And took a photography class.
I'm sure there is so much I'm leaving out. It's been a tremendous, busy summer filled to the brim with friends, family, and love. It's been a summer of learning so much about myself and the people around me. It's been a summer of change. 
But I don't think I'd have it any other way.