2013 Lesson 1

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

This post may be slightly more emotional and personal than normal, but it’s an important one. You may know me better by the end, and that’s part of the lesson, allowing people to know the real me (and not just my blog readers but everyone!)

For the last few months I have felt like my life was on the precipice of change; I could feel it, though not define it, and I have been craving great adventure. Being forced to take a rest from fitness, from work, from life to just wait and heal, it caused a stir in my soul and I was (and am) ready to start taking bigger risks in my life, I need change because frankly I have been in a rut.

I didn’t intend on moving to Kansas City 4 years ago, it happened so quickly, overnight actually. I didn’t say goodbye to anyone in San Antonio, I came here with no plan and a heart full of anger, fear and regret. I came here to heal, to breathe and to fix the broken parts of my life. I chose a safe environment to do all of this, I came home. So much healing and change has happened in this time, and I have regained my sparkle. For this I am so thankful, and with my sparkle I have regained a lost part of Kelly: the adventurer, the fly by the seat of my pants decision maker, my impulsive passion for change has returned.

First let me say, I LOVE this part of my personality, and I have missed it. This trait has taken me on wonderful life changing adventures, my fearlessness has taken me to Europe (all by myself!), to India and on countless road trips across the USA! My ability to say “YES” took me to NYC where I performed in front of a sold out audience in SOHO, and gave me a wonderful life as an improvisor in Minneapolis. It took me to Austin, TX to attend culinary school where I graduated Summa Cum Laude and won an Iron Chef competition. My life has been shaped by this fearless sense of adventure and for that I have rich, beautiful memories of a life well lived. Then I said yes, impetuously, to a person I barely knew and the landscape of my life changed drastically. This yes had consequences that I could forsee, but chose to ignore, and this was the yes that ultimately forced me to flee to KC.

It has been a years long process to forgive and start trusting myself again, a journey that brought me to Jesus Christ, a walk that brought me to salvation. I am finding that through Christ I have the strength and fearlessness to do anything, with the caveat that I must be willing to surrender it all to him, I must trust him.

Now this is a tricky subject, because I thought that I had laid my burdens down. I thought I was fully committed, I thought I trusted God’s timing and his plan. I thought wrong. All this time, I’ve been toeing the line, loving the Lord, but not quite trusting that his plan for my life was the right plan, and that certainly my ideas about things, my wants and desires were still the compass I would use to make decisions. Not intentionally, but because, really who knows what’s best for my life, obviously, I do. If it’s in my head or my heart, then certainly it’s a fabulous idea and I should embrace it with gusto. I’ll pray about it, and then of course, because I am so infatuated by the thought, I’ll hear “GO FOR IT, O’BRIEN!” Discernment is not my strong suit, but it’s also something I am working on.

So, what happened you ask? After my surgery, during my recovery, I made the decision to finish healing in Texas. I drove down at the beginning December with the intention of spending the month with my nieces and nephew and my sister/bestie. Before making the trek I had some unrest, I considered relocating to San Antonio, mostly so I could see my sis’s kids more regularly and because, frankly  I love Texas and a change sounded so fun! However, at the behest of a wonderful friend, I spent an hour, quietly in my room, listening to the Lord and he told me with great clarity that moving was not the right choice, albeit it was A choice. So, I set out, knowing the decision was ultimately to return to KC, find a new job that was more emotionally and financially rewarding and to move forward in my fitness and my writing. In addition, I would continue crafting and selling my wares for extra income to keep my creative spirit nourished. I was settled and confident in this decision….and then I got impulsive.

A week ago Friday, I had decided to leave San Antonio, after already postponing my trip once before due to weather, illness and a fabulous trip to the zoo, I packed the car, loaded the pups, said my goodbyes and headed out. It was time, and although my heart ached, and tears streamed down my face, I knew I needed to leave. I stopped at the gas station for one final fill up, and it was there that my heart seized with grief. I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want to go back to KS. I wanted to stay right here in San Antonio, I wanted to get an apartment, transfer with my company and stay. So, with a sense of adventure and a smile, I decided that God was telling me to do it! I only live once, if this is what my heart wants than go for it, and I’ve got just enough money in the bank to do it. Time to fly, I told myself. Time to start living my life! Time for freedom, adventure, independence! Oh, and I was soaring! I turned around and set out to find an apartment, I called my boss and set up a job transfer. This was going to be awesome. Nevermind that I didn’t have any of my things, nevermind that I hadn’t said goodbye to any of my friends, details, I told myself.

Three apartment complexes told me they had no apartments available, it was getting late anyway so I headed back to my sister’s house and settled in for the night. We talked about the decision, the kids were so excited, I knew it was the right choice! I continued scouring the internet for a deal on a move in, surely someone would have a total move-in deal. I even called an apartment locator, but even he couldn’t find anything. Then I found the perfect solution! Just outside of town I found a rental cabin, fully furnished and cheaper than any apartment. The only catch, no bathroom, just communal showers and toilets in the unit that was available. I entertained the idea, and decided, yes I could make that work for a month, until I get settled. I needed this I told myself, everyone around me is moving forward, having babies, having successful careers, owning homes, getting married, and me, I’m in the same rut I’ve been in for four years. I need out, I need excitement. Halleluiah, I am moving to Texas! Details be darned! This will work!

Now, I can just imagine God, sitting on his throne, looking down at his Kelly, laughing. “Once she gets going, she really can make anything happen, and I am glad to see that sparkle in her once again. I am going to help her reign this spirit in, so it doesn’t destroy everything she is working toward. If only she could see what’s coming, I know she wouldn’t be so anxious to move to San Antonio, but we’ll give her today, this lesson she’s about to learn will change the course of her life. This is a lesson in trust, and knowing how little she trusts others, I know she hasn’t fully surrendered her life to me.”

The next morning I awoke early, before the sun. I laid in bed, my pup snuggled around my feet and I was washed with peace. This was a terrible idea. God has given me a beautiful life in Kansas. Incredible people who I love, and don’t want to flee from. He’s granted me a cushion and inspiration to take a risk to start my own business. If I move to San Antonio, despite the draw of the kids, I am going to be lonely, house poor and drift less. Not to mention, I really am ready to move forward with my career, not backwards. I wasn’t sad, or let down, it was in that quiet that I felt the gentle presence of God, loving me and giving me the discernment I so craved. It was one of the most defining moments of my life. I was telling myself: “Go Skydiving! What no parachute? Ah, you’ll be fine!!” God was telling me: “Go Skydiving! But since you’ve never been skydiving before, take a class, do a tandem jump! Ensure you have a back up parachute! And above all, enjoy the experience knowing that you are loved and trusting that this is part of the journey.”

I left San Antonio the next morning. I was sad to say goodbye, but my heart was completely at peace about the right decision. When I got into the car, I tuned to KLOVE and this was the song that was playing, it was the only time I cried:

I surrender my heart to you, my God. I trust you with my prayers, my hope and my dreams. I turn to you for nourishment, for guidance, for knowledge. You are my hope, my savior, and the love of my life. Without you I am nothing. For you I live. Thank you, thank you for this life, thank you for my struggles, my heart ache, my abundant blessings and above all thank you for Jesus, thank you for answering my prayer of redemption. Amen

Only God knows what’s next, and that is the great adventure. Life. I am living it, the way I am supposed to live it. It’s not about anyone else, it’s about me, and my journey with the Lord, and I will go wherever he wants me. This is the lesson, I cannot know the great path ahead, but I can share my heart with the Lord. I can trust him, and I can continue making choices that promote health and well-being in my daily life and I can do it all for his glory. And I shall.