Christmas Presence

It’s finals week and I can barely remember what day it is. What time it is. I have 0 groceries and pretty sure I’ve spent more time at the library than I have at home. It’s been a blur of carrying my backpack to one library to another to a coffee shop, just to dump it on the floor and sleep for a bit before the next round. People ask me what I did last Friday and I stare at them blankly because, what is Friday? When was that? Who is that? Huh?

I had to say no to 5 Christmas parties this past weekend. I’ve had to say no to SO many things, so many people. I’m so ready to not have to respond with, “Can’t, I have to study” and “Ah, I’ll be at the library” or “Wish I could, but I have school!”. I’m so ready to sit with people and not be thinking about all the precious minutes of studying I’m missing out on. So ready to not pack up 4 different bags in the morning, with 3 different meals, and 2 additional layers. I’m ready for this semester to be done.

I’m in a new relationship, which is all sorts of wonderful, but also a bit all-encompassing. My already limited free time feels like it’s now in the negative category. Combine that with a crazy end of a semester and this little known time of year called The Holidays – I’ve had about 73 things to do in what feels like 30 seconds to do them and it’s been a bit overwhelming.

Life has just felt FULL. Too full. Which, after a year of hard, I’ll take full – but it’s so full I’ve had to say no to things, and I really hate saying no. I really hate being the MIA friend. I really hate being the person who shows up, sometimes. I’m used to being the one who remembers to text you on your first day of the new job, who checks in about something you told me about a month ago, who knows that one thing is happening a week from today. I usually remember small details and small dates and small celebrations.

And lately it’s taken all my energy to remember to put gas in my car.

I just want to be present. I want to go to the Christmas parties and I want to sit on the couch with friends and I want to feel like my brain is actually working. I want to text friends back, “Sure! How about Tuesday?” instead of “Oh man, life is so crazy, maybe let’s circle back in January??” I want to feel like I’m in the moment, instead of constantly, constantly catching up to the moment. Every conversation this month has felt like I arrived to it, mentally, 7 minutes late and out of breath. “Wait, who are we talking about? What happened? What day is it?

Christmas is so soon and let’s forget about all the presents I still need to buy – I just want some presence. I want to feel like I’m in the moment, this moment. I want to take a deep breath and let my mind settle a bit and just be. But I’m finding I’m trying to hold on to who I used to be and who I am now, in this season – and I can’t have both. I can’t be both. I can’t be Krysti in Seminary and also Krysti Not in Seminary. I can’t be Single Krysti and Krysti in a Relationship. I can’t be 2017 Krysti and also 2018 Krysti. I can’t do all the things, be all the people.

Advent is the season of expectation, of waiting. But this year, I’m learning that includes desire, as well. A deep longing, a wanting. For the next season, sure, but for presence. For rest. For sanity. I want to sleep for 17 hours. I want to sit on my couch. I want to take my time cooking a meal – not to pack up to go for the week, but just to enjoy in the moment. I want to see my friends and sit and have long, time-wasting conversations that fly by. I want all these things.


I’m so ready for this season to be over, and yet I can’t help but feel something deeply spiritual in this longing. In this season of advent I am oh-so-ready for the next season. I am ready for things to come, promises to be fulfilled, dreams that are only hopes at this point I am ready to see become reality. I am eagerly expectant and deeply longing; I am so very in the midst of the hoping.

We celebrate God showing up in a way humanity could have never fathomed. We celebrate the fact that longing and desire for a powerful king, a political messiah were met – in a baby born into the most common of families, in the most unlikely of places. God shows up. It just isn’t always how we expect, it isn’t always exactly what we were thinking. God’s heart for the world and for humanity were displayed – in ways no one saw coming.

I am studying the New Testament (for finals!) and read through the gospels and I see time and time again how no one expected Jesus. Not like that. Not like how God chose to answer the prayers of His people. Even after Jesus died, even after He rose from the dead – so much of the New Testament is letters explaining to people, again, Jesus is the Christ. He really was holy. He really was God’s delivered promise. You can trust this. You can trust Him.

And so I sit in the library and I try to pull myself off Instagram and I try to summon the energy to study a little bit longer. A little bit more. The new season, the next season, feels so close and yet still so far – it’s painful. But it feels holy. The waiting feels holy. The expectation, as frustrating and maddening and forever it feels – is holy, too.

I know I’ll finish finals and life won’t be as magical as I’m expecting. I know I won’t get to sleep for the next 17 hours and I know Christmas is bringing its own stress, its own crazy. I know that we can overhype things, when we’re waiting for them to begin. But I also know that God shows up, God meets us in the middle – in ways we can’t imagine. It’s not that He doesn’t answer prayers – it’s that He answers them in ways we could have never expected. Ways that, years from now, we still might question and still might doubt. Ways that we need people to remind us over and over again – you can trust this. You can trust Him.

In this season of advent, I want free time and space and s l o w. And yet it feels like I’m getting the exact opposite. And maybe that’s okay. Maybe the presence I’m deeply desiring is hidden in one of these 73 to-do items. Maybe answers I’m searching for have already shown up – I just haven’t recognized them yet. Maybe all of this longing has already been fulfilled, in places I’m stubbornly expecting political royalty when God sent me a child.

Maybe it’s a babe in a manger and maybe it’s finals week. Maybe it’s health or reconciliation, maybe it’s a big “yes” or a hard “no”. Maybe your season of advent is agonizingly long or maybe it’ll be over in a blink. It won’t always be the answer you’re hoping for, but it will always be Him. I’m sure of that.

Sunrise, Sunset & Staying for the Exhale

I spend a lot of my life waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I’ve realized this, lately. That whenever something good comes around, I’m just waiting for the bad to come with it. When there’s an exciting new beginning, I can almost see the bittersweet ending around the corner. I’m a firm believer in “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is” – except that, to me, any form of good seems too good. Any kind of happiness seems like it can’t possibly last. Any unexpected sweetness can’t be trusted.

Maybe it’s the result of getting sick as a teenager. Maybe it’s my reaction to certain life events. Maybe it’s part of being an Enneagram 5. Maybe it’s simply how I’m wired. In all honesty, it’s a probably a combination of all of the above and then some. I’m slow to trust people, but I’m even slower to trust life. Read More

Open Hands

I’ve learned when you start grad school in your mid-20s, everyone wants to know why. They want to know what’s next. They want to know your end goal.

Seminary is great and allbut what do you want to do when you graduate??

It’s the same thing when you’re a writer and suddenly find yourself networking with other writers and creatives. So, where are you headed? What are you working towards? What’s the dream?

Which are great questions and all. Except I have no idea. Read More

Soo, Why Seminary?

It was a Sunday afternoon, and I was getting ready to teach a workshop on breaking up in the Church.

The previous Thursday, I had a piece published on why the Church needs to start getting political.

On Monday, I was about to start seminary.

It was a whirlwind weekend, to be sure. A seemingly random assortment of events to all land on top of each other, 3 out of the blue things to be happening in my life. Except that, as I was reflecting on their randomness that Sunday afternoon, the Spirit whispered, “Haven’t you been paying attention?” Read More

When the Light at the End of the Tunnel Isn’t Close Enough

Sometimes I find myself at the super yogi yoga classes at my studio. They talk about your third eye and grounding stones and the different chakras of the body. When they talk about the throat chakra, they focus on stretching various parts of your neck. Sometimes they have us do things that “will massage your thyroid”.

When this happens, I usually laugh to myself. Thyroid. Ha. I don’t have one of those! This week, I started crying. Read More

I Don’t Have All the Answers

I’ve always found it strange the people most open to other points of view – most accepting of other religions, ideas, or world views – have never been Christians.

The people most likely to support tolerance, who preach acceptance in their everyday actions, haven’t been followers of Christ.

And yet the most divisive, judgmental, exclusive people I know all claim to be members of the Church. The ones who automatically deem a view wrong because it is different than their own apparently follow the same Jesus I do. The people who condemn freely and extend grace selectively apparently adhere to the same gospel as I.

Maybe you’ve had different experiences.

But this is what I know. Read More

Just a List of Complaints

If you thought this was a catchy click bait title that sneakily was something other than really, truly a list of complaints – I’m sorry. This is the maybe one time I am being 100% literal. (Note to everyone still yelling at me over Christian Men in Tank Tops: please Google “satire”, thank you.)

In church on Sunday we were talking about how to go from “hurt” to “hallelujah”; how we get from “horrible” to “hallelujah”. It was a beautiful, inspiring message that I’m not going to attempt to summarize because, dang. You had to be there. Lucky for you it’s 2017, and it will be online for your viewing pleasure soon (heyyyy

We were challenged with the idea of complaining – with confidence in Christ. As in, we need to be okay with complaining. We need to call it like it is, admit life isn’t always rainbow and sunshine. We need to bring honesty to God just as easily as we bring praises. Buuut we also need to do so with confidence in who Christ is. We need to complain knowing the fullness of the God we serve, the goodness He promises. Read More

Why Women Should Preach, as Explained by Wonder Woman

This post contains zero spoilers of the new Wonder Woman movie except that (totally non-spoiler) IT’S BEYOND WONDERFUL. You should go see it. Like, right now.

I know nothing about comics. I know nothing about DC versus Marvel. I have, maybe, seen half of the fifty super hero movies that have come out within the last ten years. Probably closer to five, but who’s counting? So maybe the new Wonder Woman movie broke all the rules or maybe everything I was blown away by is common knowledge – I wouldn’t know. All I do know is this: I loved it.

I loved the diversity I saw within the first five minutes. I loved the diversity I saw throughout the rest of the movie. I loved the clever one liners. I loved the subtle and not so subtle references to the ways men do things and the way Wonder Woman crashed right through those walls (literally and figuratively). I especially loved getting to see a woman save the day, seeing a woman in the leading role of an action movie, seeing a caring, compassionate, intelligent and gorgeous woman kick ass. Read More

Radical Generosity & Radical Exhaling

My yoga teacher was telling us about breath. How important it is, bla bla bla. When people (cough yoga teachers cough) talk about breathing, I tend to zone out. Yes, I’ve managed to learn that skill by now, thanks.

But I’ve been learning just how important proper breathing is. Just how important it is to exhale into some poses, inhale into others. How important it is to connect with your breath, to focus on your breath, to make sure you’re breathing into certain areas of your body.

She was talking about exhaling all your air out, for your body will naturally fill itself back up. This struck me in the way that simple facts that you should already know can be completely and utterly mind blowing. I don’t like to exhale everything out, I don’t like to go that deep. I don’t like to give it all up. I feel much more in control when I keep some, just a little, tucked away for safe keeping. I’m a planner! This in my in-case-of-emergency air.

But its only when we fully release, that we fully fill back up. Read More