I have spent a lot of time in prayer asking the Lord what all He wanted me to share on the blog. And all I keep feeling is that I need to start with sharing my whole story. But before I jump right in I felt like I needed to share some warnings about myself (I say warnings you might call them flaws)
1. I am an OPEN book!! biggest flaw ever… Can not help it I always have been and with much prayer not to be, I’m still am. Some might think this is great that I share so much, but others may think I am way too honest. I apologize now if I share more than you desire to know.
2. You can imagine that if I’m an open book that I probably talk too much. Yeap! I do that too. I just want you to know that I do not share my whole story because I think you want to know my life. I’m sharing it with you because it’s the best way for me to show you how the Lord has changed and shaped my life in ways I could have never done on my own. If I ever start to bore you (good chance I will), you can always do like I did in school…just read all the first sentences of each paragraph and hopefully you will get a slice of what I’m trying to share. LOL (don’t try that while reading the Bible, it doesn’t quiet work the same)
3. I am by NO means a writer!!! I write like I talk (a lil Texas twang) and grammar by far is my worst enemy. It fact I’m so bad with it my family says I have a language all to myself. They call it Kylie-ology. So if nothing else that should entertain you!
and last but not least
4. All my funny flaws aside I just want you to see Jesus through all this! Without Him I would have nothing to share.
January 20, 2001 I married my prince charming and we began a journey we would have never imagined! I was 20 and Brian was 22. We were totally head over heels in love and figured that was all we needed to know. We left that March and headed to Baseball City, Florida for Spring Training with the Kansas City Royals. Because the players didn’t get paid during that month we decided to rent a house with another married couple and two single guys (I had never meet any of them). Now starting your marriage living with others is probably not the typical dream of many, but in the world of minor league baseball it is very normal. The players make such little money you really have no other choice.
This early on in our marriage we were so blessed to have lived with this other young couple. They were our first example of what a Godly life looks like. Now it’s important for you to know that I grew up in church. I went to church on most Sunday’s and I prayed at night. But that’s it! I prayed out of fear that if I didn’t… what would or could happen. I never was taught how unconditional God’s love is and that I could know Him the way He knows me. I truly thought that church on Sunday’s and praying at nights (the nights I remembered to pray or when I really thought I needed something) was all I needed to know and do. And although Brian was always more discipline than me when it came to our church and prayer life I know he also thought that was all there is to it also.
So you can imagine that this couple waking up early to read their bibles got our attention. And not only did they read them their bibles, they were written all in and had notes flowing out of them. I always thought bibles were just a gift you got and you kept them in your house as some type of sign or protection. I seriously had no idea you read them. So I was intrigued to say the least, but pride would never let me ask why they did that or if they knew something I didn’t.
We loved this couple and had so much fun with them. A different kind of fun than with all our other friends. Instead of partying at bars we would just hang out and play games. I was amazed how faithful and bold they were about their faith at such a young age. And often I would tell God that maybe one day when I’m all grown up I will try to be more like them. This makes me crack up out loud as I type it!!!! Can you imagine God’s face as he heard that heart felt prayer. WOW!!!! Thank you God for being gracefully patient with me!
Ok so I started to notice that they probably did know something we didn’t. And I saw signs that they were probably on a much better track than us but I by no means was ready to walk their walk. Feeling good when I was with them was plenty enough for me. Then one day they invited us to a bible study that was being put on for all the teams around the area. We agreed to go. I mean why not we believed in God. But what probably really made us want to go was when they said all the big named guys helping put it together. Sad I know, but honestly I’m not ashamed because it got us there! See I have learned that God is always reaching to get everyones attention and most of the time we are too busy with life to see or hear (we call it gut feelings or Karma). I urge you not to wait to listen!!!
We enter the bible study. This was our first bible study to ever attend. So we really had no idea what to expect. They were handing out bibles to everyone who didn’t bring one or have one. So as you can guess I received my first bible! It was a new believers bible that was easy to read. When I sat done and opened it I was so pumped that it didn’t look like something out of Shakespeare.
It was in a small conference room filled with about 100 ball players, wives, and girlfriends. At the front of the room was a couple of guys sitting on tables starting to play their guitars and sing praise and worship songs. They sounded really good and it was super neat because I didn’t even realize praise songs could sound like that. I never heard that at church (clearly I never heard much at church, lol). And so many knew the words they were signing. They were clapping and raising their hands. Some were even crying happy tears. I was officially freaked out and wanted to run out of the room. Again my pride stepped in (who knew pride would help me) and wouldn’t let me run out. Finally all that signing stuff stopped and they started to lead the study. I don’t even remember what was said nor was I listening. I was trying to figure out why so many people know how to use the bible. How did they know how to flip to exactly what scriptures the leader was talking about? Why did so many people know this stuff and I never even had seen it? And why are they so excited?
I left more confused than anything. I wasn’t ready to say forget it that isn’t for me, but I still just didn’t get it. And it wasn’t until my fear consumed me to the point of knowing I couldn’t do this alone did I get it.
At the end of Spring Training we headed to Witchia, Kansas for the 2001 AA season. Because this was our first season together and I had no experience in finding a place to live I left all that up to Brian. He told me that a few of the players and coaches stay in some apartments that are in a gated community. He said they are cheap enough we can live on our own if you find a job pretty quick. This was sounding great! A safe gated community and I can finally have my own space to make our first home together.
Bubble busted!!!!! There is no words to describe how awful this place was when we drove up ((((( I wish I had a picture for you. But let me try and paint it for you. Those safety gates very rarely worked and if they did, it was probably because the rest of the town pitched in to keep all the scary people that lived with us in. I’m not over exaggerating!!! One week before we moved in they arrested two bothers living together there. They had been robbing and murdering people in the town. My sweet husband comforted me by saying “Kylie they didn’t murder anyone in the apartment complex.” REALLY!!!! So note to self just live next to criminals and you are safe.
So now you get how unsafe I felt. Let’s move on to how lovely it was. After parking your car we had to walk past two buildings to get to ours. Then we had to go through a door, walk door stairs, and all the way at the end of the hallway was our home awaiting us. If you are visualizing everything dark and brown you are right on! And the dark brown continued as we entered our apartment. We were down in the basement so our windows were about half a foot wide at the top of our ceilings and if the grass needed to be mowed we could not see anything through them. I’m not even going to begin to tell you what the thing they called a bathroom looked like and the rented furniture was so bad we made pallets on the living room floor to watch our very small 13″ TV. We couldn’t afford cable so we watched our season one Friends vhs over and over again. Good thing I love that show!
And remember that job I had to find? Well I was so lucky that the manager at the local Dillard’s loved baseball and he hired me to work selling children’s shoes forty hours a week. He was always great about letting me off the the nights Brian started the games. Crazy thing was I was making double what Brian made and some how some way we had what we needed. Nothing more, nothing less. I remember one time we found a twenty dollar bill in one of my jacket pockets and got so excited!!! We went to Subway for lunch and each got a footlong. Biggest smiles on our faces! (I still love Subway)
Now although I was spoiled with love growing up I did not grow up in a mansion by any means. And if fact looking back on my childhood this shouldn’t have been such a shock. It just wasn’t what my imaginary fairy tale of married life looked like. And remember that sweet couple we lived with back in Florida. Well they decided to move into this apartments too! Yeah I had a friend and even though she was rock solid in faith she too was finding no peace moving into her apartment. In fact she was in tears ready to pack up and head home. I’m sure through prayer she decided against leaving her husband.
The reason I wanted to share all that with you is because that apartment is how, when, and why I feel in love with Jesus!!!!! At my weakest He made me strong. Because I was immature, prideful, and bull headed I refused to admit defeat to anyone. Especially my husband. I felt like Brian had so much pressure on him to preform that I didn’t want him to think every time he left for an eight day rode trip I couldn’t handle it. I keep telling myself you made your decision to marry and support him and you have to just deal with it. And that’s when I all I knew to do was turn to Jesus. My usual prayers weren’t working, I needed more. And I was to stubborn to ask my friend for help. I started to think that maybe the bible had some answers. I opened my bible and found that in the front listed life issues and what scriptures could help me. Afraid? Yes! Worried? You bet! Anxious? Get me out of here!
I knew very little about the bible, but it didn’t matter I read every scripture that was tied to my feelings. And most of the time they lead me to Psalms!
“You, Lord, are the light that keeps me safe.” Psalm 27:1
The nights Brain was gone (which was half the month) some times reading His word wasn’t always enough. I would sleep holding my bible and my arms would still be wrapped tightly around it when I woke. My first scripture I ever memorized and said all day long was:
” For those who trust the Lord, find new strength.” Isaiah 40:31
My relationship with Jesus has grown so much since that time, BUT I have never felt His presence and healing power as much as I did those six months. In our deepest need we finally move out of His way and allow Him to work. And although I strive everyday to move out of His way, life always creeps in.
I feel like I should show you a picture of my first bible. I still never leave for a season without it!! I use to be addicted to buying shoes and purses. Now I have a slight problem with buying new bibles, lollll!!!! Seriously its kinda silly and even more silly is that I can’t let go of my first one that is falling apart and taped up.
Road map for life couldn’t have been more perfect on the cover for me! And I always used Brian’s baseball card as a bookmark because I use to think if it was in there then he was safe. Now I have his card and my kids pictures in my bible as a reminder to pray for them.
I know I shared a lot of info today. And I wish with all my heart I could tell you that I left Witcha that year on fire for the Lord shouting His glory from rooftops, but I can’t. (( That year was the start of something special but that’s it…just my start. I didn’t think I was worthy enough to share what He had done for me until I was ready to completely surrender my life to Him. I felt like until I was perfect I would only be a bad representative for the Lord. Here is what I learned through many more years of holding all this in: I will never be perfect! Only Jesus Christ was perfect! And I can strive to live by his example, but I’m human and only the Lord can make me into the perfect “me” he wants me to be! So yes I am perfect, on a good day I am a perfect MESS! But without Him I would just be a mess. Ask anyone who knows me they will totally agree with that!
I’ll spare you for now on the rest of the story and will continue to share more with each blog. But I hope that this small slice of my story brings you hope! If you too are just trying to figure this all out, I hope and pray you find what I found and even faster than I did! If you have faithfully been in a walk with our Lord I hope that you too realize the power you have to influence a lost soul just like I was. By just obeying and living your life that alines with your faith you can change a life. There may be people in your life that the only Jesus they will ever know is you. I believe the Lord has gifted us each with different ways to reach people. You may be able to reach someone who would never listen to me.
And here is the funny thing about the young amazing couple that planted seeds in our life all those years ago, they probably have no idea!!!!! I have sadly lost touch with her. And through twelve years our paths haven’t crossed again. I know one day I will be able to thank her for not being shy about her beliefs. (Their names are Jeremy and Larissa Affeldt-if you know of them please help me connect with her again) So this proves my point that you may have no idea how you can impact a life, but you will. How you impact them is yours to decide?
My prayer for today:
Father thank you for endless grace and forgiveness that you give us all even when we don’t deserve it. Please help us open our eyes to see what we need to see. Open our ears to hear what you desire us to hear. Give us a heart as big as yours so that we too have the power to show your grace and love to others. I pray all this in your Holy Son’s name Jesus Christ!
Side note: Remember I shared that at my first bible study that Spring Training there was a couple guys signing worship for us. If you listen to Christian music you will get a kick out of this. That was Third Day with us that night!!! I knew they were good, but geezzz what I would give to back track and sit in a small room and hear them again. Years later when I started to fall in love with Christian music and I realized who they were I just laughed at how little I knew and I still have so much to learn.