drylands.

“Pursue me in the drylands.” is what I’ve heard God whisper over my soul this week.

It’s been full of weariness. Unease sets in with new vaccines and a new President in office. My heart has been weary of the future; of my mine, Our Nation’s and of my loved ones.

I haven’t turned towards Him when I should have, sitting in the drylands of this week, throwing a fit for myself instead of seeking His waters of redemption and surrender.

Drylands. That’s what these past few weeks have felt like. I personally struggle with the new vaccines and Our Nation’s new President’s ethics make me uneasy, but the Lord has a plan through this and no other earthly possession or thing will bring the kind of nourishment that my heart can find in Him.

With a homemade London fog tea in hand, Christmas lights hanging from the ceiling and sister hammy-down stripped pants with bee socks, I look back on last year.

My word was confidence. By the end of the year, I realized that my confidence of the unknown cannot come from solely me. My confidence has to be rooted in Him before I can gain any confidence in myself, if the other way around, it will lead to self-conceitedness and corruption.

There will always be seasons on Earth where the soil is drier than others, while other seasons will be wetter. No matter the climate, there is still nourishment and nutrients that can be found in the soil; bringing about new life.

I used to nanny 5 boys of a single dad in the Air Force for several years. This week, their new mom officially adopted them as her own. Not because of her and their dad’s marriage or out of obligation, but because from the deep parts of her heart, they are her boys. It was beautiful watching as the judge approved of the adoption and made the boys hers. These past few years for the sweet family has been a dry-land, but this week that dry-land turned into a plentiful field of redemption, love, tenderness and wholeness. Those boys gained an inspiring new mother. One who will love them and hold their hearts in her hands.

My word for this year is fulfillment. I’m already learning that what I had envisioned is different than what the Lord is trying to teach me. Already, He’s opened my eyes to areas that I have become numb. Areas that I would rather avoid, subjects I don’t talk through due to past pain, to ways I study His Word and don’t absorb what He’s laying out in-front of me. What I’m learning is, God’s a really patient teacher. Eager to always teach me new things, grow me, strengthen my headspace, encourage prayer, and yet, I don’t take the time to sit and listen to His teachings.

Fulfillment. Confidence. Drylands. In all of these facets, God is reminding me that my heart and emotions are valid in all seasons. Yet, in order to feel relieved and fully seen, known and treasured, I have to turn towards Him.

I’m not sure what the future holds for Our Nation, for the side effects with the vaccine, with our hearts through all the unrest and change of life’s pace. Friend, as I remind myself, may I also encourage you, to seek Our Father’s well of nourishment, grace and teachings. He is always willing to teach and hold you, may you have a beautiful rest of your day. Jesus loves you and so do I! I’ll leave you with one last question.. What does it look like to seek His fulfillment in the midst of your own drylands?

-Kyra Mariah

filled up & full.

Thanking Jesus as I wrap up fall semester of my Junior Year. Crazy to think I’ll be graduating in 2 years, December 2022, with TWO majors!!!! Can I get a hallelujah?!

As I stirred homemade soup in a big bowl on the stovetop, I started thinking back on this past semester. Filled to the brim, full of such vital ingredients and moments, that without the others, would make for it being bland. From moving into a house with three other girls and my dog, Kia, saying goodbyes to the Penley’s, Jon and I traveling to the Mayo Clinic for answers with him meeting my extended family, 19 credit hours, new job at a senior living center, CNA State Certified, weddings, a new church, and all the new friendships formed, it’s been filled to the brim. It’s been a beautiful picture of a tree growing, evolving and forming with fullness over time.

This semester has been full of newness and change, something that I’m learning I struggle quite a bit with. It’s been in the moments between all the newness and transitions that I’ve questioned my identity in the Lord as His daughter, doubting my confidence in the One who sees me in His eyes, and trying to hurriedly rush to the next to-do item on the list.

As I sat, on a cloudy afternoon, chai tea and homemade soup in hand, classical music in the background and completing schoolwork with my sister, Anna and roommate, McKensie, tears begin to rush in. It’s been a whirlwind of a semester, and even a year, yet the Lord has been so gracious in the way He loves. Showing me areas I need repentance, early morning devotions, walks to the Open Space with Mrs. Christy, dessert dates with the roommates, intentional times with family and framily (friends that are family) and befriending quietness.

I’ve been one to fill my schedule full, to the brim, and yet God has so tenderly taken away pieces of my schedule, and keeps asking me to draw nearer and nearer to Him instead. Taking Kia on walks, early morning devotionals and hot showers after a day have become the most intimate of times with my Savior.

It’s crazy to look back on who I was a year ago, the turmoil and season of grief I was facing head on, and yet to still be in a season of grief, knowing more confidently, that my Father delights in sitting with me.

As I enter into the Holiday Season, waiting to hear back on Jon’s health and gearing up for Spring semester with 22 credits, my prayer is that the quiet moments stay intimate and a priority.

Enjoy a morning with some hot tea, walking your dog in silence or begin repenting out-loud in the shower, as God’s love washes away your sins. He loves you friend, and so do I.

Friend, I pray in the midst of this roller coaster of a year, you are able to have intimate moments with Our Father. He who delighted in making you, wants to have a relationship with you too. That you would be filled with the patience to watch as God crafts a beautiful, full of life tree out of you and the life you are living!

-Kyra Mariah

lonesome & a wreck.

Since getting back from Florida, at the Mayo Clinic for Jon, then seeing my extended family for Thanksgiving, life has been a blurry painting of busyness and longing. With school coming to a close, my heart aches for the past, wishing to travel back in time, when hugging loved ones was not seen as a risk.

This time last year, my older brother, Kelvyn, was involved in a multiple rollover car accident. I remember where I was that day. Sitting on the couch watching “Princess and the Frog” after church with one of the kiddos whom I used to live with, hearing Kelv’s sobs over the phone as he cried out in agony, confused to what had happened. Walking into that room that day, seeing my brother’s broken body in bed, I thanked God for keeping him alive.

This year things are different. Kelv has since had neck surgery and fully healed from his injuries, and I now work at a Senior Living Center, where the day’s are full. Pulling long hours, with 3 face masks and full PPE some days, my bed seems to be a stranger for the time being. I remember the feeling of loneliness when I first got that phone call from Kelv. Wondering what had happened, who could I call; and then I think of my residents. Those unable to see their loved ones this Christmas due to potential outside exposure. Sitting in that hospital room with Kelv, tears of gratitude flooded down, as arms of comfort surrounded me from my sister, Anna, to Jon and his sweet mama, Mrs. Ehresman to Mrs. Christy and my parents to my younger brothers, Kaden and Blake.

This past week we had a resident test positive with the virus. I took care of her in full PPE, waiting until the ambulance came to transport her to a special facility designed to treat elderly positive patients. As I held her hands, with full PPE on, 3 masks, and double gloved, the look in her eyes reminded me of that day last year when Kelv said he was in the hospital, unsure of what had happened and had broken his back and neck in several places. Pure fear and terror. Staring into her eyes, I told her over and over that, “we love her and will see her soon.” Watching as she was loaded into the back of the ambulance, completely isolated and fearful of the unknown, I began to pray for peace and comfort to fill her heart. I cannot image how Kelv would’ve felt if no one could’ve been with him, having no one to hold his hand or perform the macarena on a chair at midnight.

With work hours building up and watching as those dear, beloved resident’s are lonesome in this Holiday Season, my heart aches for them. God created us to build community with one another; I struggle to see the fine line between inhumanity and safety when it comes to this virus, but as the days continue to be full, please be praying for those who are not allowed to hug their loved ones amidst this scary time. This year, I’m grateful Kelv’s still with us, and I get to hug him extra tight this Christmas. Growing up with him as my older brother and best friend has been a treasure, one that I will hold close to my heart. May this Christmas be one to look back on, and remember to cherish the time when you can still hug your loved ones.

-Kyra Mariah

cracks in the floorboards.

The Lord has recently been teaching me to take in the little moments and find life within them. More days have ended in despair and turmoil than in joy, yet the Lord has so clearly said, “keep pressing into me, for I am your refuge.”

I’ve found myself going through the motions recently, numb to the touch as I have neglected my Bible and have clung to earthly possessions instead.

One day, my counselor had me write out three lists, “what fills you up?”, “what drains you?” and “which is taking up more room in your house?” I felt punched in the gut, knowing this season of life has been more draining than filling. I forgot about the lists and remembered as I pulled into counseling the following week. Quickly filling them out and running in. With a mix of grace and truth, she told me to take a second look and to be really honest with myself.

That night I climbed into my shower, the place I feel closest to God and wept. Tears streaming down as I repented to my Father who has desperately wanted to hold me through these past months of trials.

In the early mornings, as the sun begins to rise above the tree line, Kia sits at the foot of the bed, watching peacefully, intricately and full of anticipation as the new day begins. Just like God does. Waiting for us to wake up, yearning for us to reach out and communicate whatever is on our hearts, patiently wanting to speak with us like He did with His disciples in the early mornings.

I’m grateful for a man who’s an example of life and joy. Through his health struggles and the grief in my life, he has remained rooted in God’s faithfulness. He’s reminded me to go dancing on the beach, watch the sunshine pour in through the window shades, and to start my mornings with sweatpants, duck socks & peppermint tea, knowing these are things that are soul-healing; taking note of the life that’s encapsulated. Taking note of the little moments and letting them fill up the pages in my journal, I began to notice more and more of God’s posture for me.

I’ll be honest, I’ve failed many days, even weeks with seeing the life within. Finding it easier to return to the numbness and not press into Him.

I’m learning it’s the cracks that God fills; nourishing each one of us in areas that truly fills our souls and drawing us up into His tender-powerful arms. Friend, you are seen, you are valued, and God wants to meet you in the cracks.

-Kyra Mariah

wildflowers.

There’s something about picking fresh wildflowers off the side of the road, that doesn’t compare to store-bought flowers. Something about imperfections and beauty being tied up together.

I’m finding more and more that when I draw near to My Father, my eyes are opened to the ways He has so intricately designed my heart. For my love of wildflowers, a warm cup of chai, an early morning sunrise, snuggles with Kia, and holding tight to sweet kiddos, all make my heart soar. It’s the little things.

Over the years, there have been some very challenging times, where there felt like no rain was in the future, and no growth was forming, but God took notice of those seasons, connected them to my love of wildflowers, and has been teaching me of the relationship between both. Resiliency. Bravery. Boldness. Beauty. Depth. Growth. Sustainability. Perseverance.

If I’m being completely honest, I can’t say all those traits are associated to myself. There have been more seasons of self doubt, failure, burn-out, depression, loneliness and abuse.

Yet, God has been doing what only He can do; opening my eyes to the meadow of my life that He Himself created.

Through seasons of drought, were no wildflowers are sprouted above the soil, it’s easy to believe that they are dead, no growth is in the air, and hopelessness has taken room, but God has been showing me how wildflowers are still alive. Wildflowers root systems are extremely long, causing for when dry seasons occur, they are still alive, digging their roots down even further to sustain them through the hard times. This is how I see ourselves if we put our faith in the Lord. Through digging roots into his comforting soil, we will get through the hard times.

God is such a good good Father. He sees the areas of our hearts that need tending to. Like a gardener, God sees the weeds of lies that have begun to take ahold of our thoughts, shaping our identity, and begins pulling them out, giving room for our true self to keep growing, digging deeper underneath and blooming on the surface.

So, this tattoo is a reminder. That there will be seasons of drought; where my flowers are wilted and I have nothing growing on the surface, but with roots rooted in Him, I will make it in this meadow of life. The flowers represent different aspects of my life, in the end, He has not forgotten me, and He has not forgotten you.

Remember friend, you are wild, wonderful & perfectly in process!!

-Kyra Mariah

life’s story book.

I wrote this back in August and was about to delete it, but God has pressed it onto my heart to share:

Not really sure where to begin this post.. as the past few months have felt like everyone has shared their own opinions whether or not in a graceful way.

The past months have felt like a heavy metal rock concert. Where everyone’s trying to yell their own opinions out into the world. Lots has surfaced on areas in which only Jesus’s redemption heals. So with all that said.. here’s a lil’ piece of my mind tonight..

I sit here with a heavy heart, watching as others are hurting, walking through dark caves and others are finding their flowered meadows.

I had a job interview back in May that turned out to be a dead end; or so I thought. Today I received an email from the lady re-offering the job, and my immediate reaction was, “Well God did say good things come to those who wait;” and it caught me in my tracks.

How many times do I truly stop and ask for God’s guidance, wait to hear what He has to say, and then praise Him when He comes through? What I’m learning is; God isn’t a big believer in quick fixes. He yearns for us to trust in Him while still walking through the darkness next to us. Through the turmoil and through the unrest it can be so easy to run to other options, find other facets or to simply give up and become disheartened with God’s timing not matching up to our own. I was so quick to believe this job was too “grown-up-ish” for me, yet God simply wanted me to rely on Him more when all other jobs fell through.

My heart goes to those who’s hearts are aching from the unrest and overwhelming unknowns that are filling their life story books.. but this is just a little small encouragement to remind you that just because the pages are unknown and full of unrest, God is still painting a beautiful story in your life, through you.

Page by page and piece by piece God is showing you the person He’s created you to be!! How crazy is that? So here’s a lil’ nugget of truth my little sister told me.. don’t make big decisions after 5pm. You can be so weighed down from the events, emotions and outcomes of the past day, that your judgement call may be off. This struck me real deep. How many times do I make decisions out of an emotional negative response rather than out of confidence and trust in the unknown? I am so quick to jump ahead, to dive out of the boat as it sails into the unknown waters, because I’m more confident in trying to figure out what’s next on my own, rather than sitting in the boat, sitting with peace and letting God show me what He has planned for my life, when He wants to show me.

So this is probably more so a lil’ reminder to myself than to you… but these are my last few words before signing off..

Stay in the boat. Even when you can see over the ledge and see what’s just below the surface, remember that there’s much more stuff deeper down that you can’t see. God created a boat to carry you for a reason.

Wait till the next morning to make a decision. When you make a decision in the moment, it’s choosing to decide what’s best through emotions rather than rational.

Lastly, remember that God loves to sit with you in the darkness. It may still feel scary, lonesome and heck, even fearful, but He has a shoulder to lean on and to whisper words of affirmation into your ears.

-Kyra Mariah

jammies & Christmas socks

Late this past Wednesday night, fresh out of the shower & in my Christmas jammies, I went grocery shopping. Jon was headed to bed after both of us had long days of classes, as this is our first week back to college with weird, crazy schedules. As I walked up and down the aisles, we talked on the phone. Nothing special about it, simply catching up on how our day’s were and what was on each other’s hearts. Hearing his voice after a long day, was a comforting thing. Like a cup of chai on a gloomy afternoon, or warm sheets fresh out of the dryer.

As I pulled up to my house, and started to say goodbye to Jon, there he was, standing on my front porch. A sense of shock flooded over, and as he offered to help carry in my groceries, tears filled my eyes. Full of relief, bewilderment and confusion. Through dating Jon, he’s opened my eyes to areas of my life I have forgotten to invite the Lord into, He who so desperately wants to be apart of the little moments of my day.

As I walked into the house, he topped the whole surprise off with flowers, a note, homemade goodies and was all dressed up.

My heart fluttered.

Since he was all dressed up, I threw my old prom dress on and we remade our senior prom experience. Slow dancing late at night with wet hair, no makeup and still wearing my Christmas socks. Dancing to Perfect by Ed Sheeran, simply being held by a guy who time and time again shows up after the long days. Tears began to flood down. And I felt God whisper, “Redemption, Kyra. This is what redemption looks like.”

Senior Prom April, 2018

Jon’s and my relationship hasn’t always been the easiest. We’re coming up on one year of dating, but our past is far longer. Having initially met in 6th grade to now, it’s crazy to think through all the years and memories we’ve experienced together. April of 12th grade, we went to senior prom together as friends. With mixed emotions and hurtful conversations beforehand, prom has been one of the hardest memories we share together. It’s painful to look back on and we try to avoid talking about such a hard and honestly, awkward night.

But Wednesday night was a picture of redemption. Putting the same dress back on, in Christmas socks, no makeup and holding tight to a guy who’s been constant through some of my toughest moments over the years.

What a picture of redemption.

It was in the unexpected late night dancing that I realized how much God truly cares about the little moments. The times when we could use an extra hug, a comforting text message, or in Jon’s and my case, a redo, another shot at a memory that has become painful to relive. For Jon and I, it was our Senior Prom experience. Wearing that dress again brought back all the butterflies. We weren’t dating at prom, but I can say my heart was in pursuit of his, the timing just wasn’t right.

After a long day, late grocery runs, and exhaustion, God was still in pursuit of my heart. How special and intimate. God cares about you, friend. He cares about your long days, when you need a comforting text, an extra tight hug or simply a redo. How amazing is that.

One year of dating, August, 2020

Have the courage to remake a painful memory, to wear Christmas socks and a prom dress. Go dance with those you love. God delights in the little parties we throw.

As you go throughout your day friend, my prayer is that you feel the intimacy and comfort that only comes from Our Heavenly Father when you draw near to Him.

-Kyra Mariah

writing in pen.

I’m learning what it looks like to not erase parts of my heart. Honestly, even writing that sentence, I want to go back and erase it. I struggle with vulnerability. Knowing when it’s safe to open up my tender, private heart.

I like to retreat, only sharing with a select few the ways that the Lord is growing and teaching me. I love things being organized, picture-perfect and trying my hardest in all facets. But somethings been weighing on my heart; lately I haven’t been completely honest and raw with y’all (the readers of these little posts), the way I had initially hoped.

Choosing to only post specific blogs out of fear that some wouldn’t be as impactful or have the wow factor. Rather, God’s showing me that He didn’t create me to be perfect. Ouch, that hurts even just typing it. Actually, He created me to share my brokenness with others, through talking or writing these posts.

As I go back and re-read some of my blog posts that I never published out of a crippling fear or worry that someone would hate it, I wish there would’ve been enough confidence to have posted those blogs; not caring what others thought; simply writing from my heart.

I started this blog to write down how the Lord has been working through my own life, how He has been growing and teaching me, and the possibility that it could resonate with one of my readers.

So I’m learning not to erase. To see the imperfections, as areas of growth. For redemption to take place and to not hold myself to such standards.

So I’m throwing out the pencils, taking up a pen and beginning to write with confidence; knowing that there will be hard seasons ahead that I will so wish to erase, but reminding myself that God created those seasons for specific lessons to be learned. There is such beauty in smeared ink; representing what the messiness of life itself is like. Full of mess-ups, hiccups and short-fallings, yet such strength and resillientcy.

This post is more so a personal reminder to myself, to keep writing with a pen and to see the beauty in the messiness.. but this is for anyone else who carries such a heavy burden of expecting perfection in their own life. It’s when you cry out to the Lord, He picks up your shattered heart and begins to mend it back together.

To the person reading this, may you feel the tenderness of the Lord through your broken tears. Here’s to messing writing, smeared ink and remembering that God created us for us to share in our brokenness, and draw near to Him for healing.

May your tattered hearts become mended, may your bruised souls be comforted, and may you have confidence to face the chaos of life head on, with a pen and paper in hand.

-Kyra Mariah