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

100 years

It was Kia May’s 100th year birthday party today. 14.5 years in human years. We celebrated with lots of dogs, treats, popsicles & tacos.

So much joy. So much excitement. So much love.

Had me thinking of the Father’s love for each one of us. He spends so much time meticulously creating us, and delights in creating us. How crazy.

I start to wonder how much of the time I limit God’s ability to be in a moment and only focus on how I’m feeling and how it serves me. So much of the time I neglect inviting God to the party of my life.

Kia May has been apart of my life since I was 8. Walking along through cross country moves, health injuries and countless hard days. She’s been a constant that I know will be there when I need to be comforted, to sit in the quietness or go on an early morning walk to clear my mind.

But as she gets older, and the questions of, “how much longer does she have,” and “will she make it to her next birthday” come to surface, it’s made me start to realize that I’m so quick to invite her into moments of my life, but so quick to shut God out.

He delights in you friend. He created YOU. The tears you cry, He feels them and the joy that radiates when you had an awesome day He feels as well. Read that all one more time. Let it soak in.

So amidst all the partying, for a dog who’s been steadfast amidst all the craziness of life that past 12 years, may this be a reminder that the Lord Himself wants to celebrate, to sit and to hold you through all the elements.

-Kyra Mariah

tie dye shirts & messy hair.

Life is a bit messy. Something I don’t like admitting or even letting my life become messy at all. Making sure the house is cleaned up and that my life is in order as much as possible. I view a dirty house as being irresponsible and lazy. Something I’m learning through being over-controlling, is that I’m not leaving much room for grace.

Over the past few months, it’s felt more like God has taken balloons filled with paint and splattered them all over my ‘white walls.’ The walls the I’ve spent so much time, stress, pressure and angst over keeping clean and perfect. He’s been showing me what areas of my life I’ve put too much pressure on and expected too much of others or myself.

The outward things like messy hair, unshaved legs, acne thriving and oversized colorful tie dye shirts have been my worst enemy the past few weeks. Quick to believe that because circumstances are sticky and difficult, job opportunities fell through the cracks and change is happening so quickly around right now, I am less of a person. So quick to be compliant and believe the lies of who I’m not. “Just because it’s been hard doesn’t mean that your not doing good. Doesn’t mean that your not good enough. Doesn’t mean God loves you any less. Doesn’t mean that people who love you look, at you differently and doesn’t mean that your a failure.” These were words my little sister, Anna, reminded me of, when my mind started to believe the lies that started creeping in.

I’ll be honest and admit that it’s not been easy beginning to see the good in the messy, acne thriving, legs unshaved, messy hair and oversized tie dye shirts that have filled up the past few weeks. Yet, it’s been important. Important to not always white-wash the circumstances that surround me.

God didn’t create this world to be black and white. Rather, to be messy and colorful. We’re all messy individuals who need God’s help cleaning up ourselves.

So to those who read this and relate to feeling like their walls have to be white, I challenge you to start painting in the colors, start seeing the messy as where life itself is full and plentiful.

You are loved and so treasured by our Heavenly King who loves painting with colors.

-Kyra Mariah

14th grade: ship in the waves

As I sit here watching the storm clouds roll in, I submit my last final for sophomore year of college and a wave of emotions washes over. It’s been a year of walking timidly, unsure for what’s next, and grieving such hardships for those close to me. It was a year full of grief, and am honestly still in the thick of it; yet the Lord provides. He pursues the runaways. This year was full of change, being stretched in many areas, seeing how true of a shelter God is for His ship-wrecked children and swimming into even deeper waters with the Lord.

I imagine each person being a ship in the waves. As a ship sails through the ocean called life, God uses waves to crash into the ship; stripping away the accessories, glamour, glitz, man-made idols, and false-identities that we so easily create or depend on to survive.

This year included a heavy fall semester of 22 credits, spring with 14 credits and so much more packed into the midst of it. I watched as both my boyfriend, Jon, older brother, Kelvyn, grandparents and mom handled health conditions. Kaden graduated High School, Wynter got married, and I found a group of girls who are sweethearts and pursue the Lord so faithfully, such an answer to prayer.

The storm clouds were a reminder that it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the current turmoil and darkness that’s engulfing this season of life; but when we can look past the darkness, the heaviness that this season holds, there is going to be such growth, colorfulness and refreshment after the storm.

It’s been a year that’s stretched me like Elastigirl from the Incredibles, made me see where my confidence was wrongly coming from and seeing that my worth is in Christ alone.

In the midst of hardships swirling around, I decided to have a physical change… so off went 11 inches of hair, briefly dyeing it hot pink and contemplating another ear piercing. I thought I was just trying for a fresh start, but was actually running away from being present to what the Lord was trying to teach me.

Thankfully no extra piercing occurred and the hair dye was only temporary… but it made me realize how much of the time it’s easier to swim to the shore, telling God I’m done with swimming in His unknown waters, then to brave the waters, and to trust that He’s swimming next to me.

I’ll be honest to admit that there have been moments through this past year I’ve wanted to jump ship and swim back to shore, telling God that the waves He’s having me swim through are too much, and I’m done with the uncertainty. Currently reading the Bible start to finish and I’m in Joshua right now. Crazy to see how much uncertainty occurs and yet, the Lord pursues.

It was in the chaos and grief of this past year, that the Lord pressed on my heart, a love for writing. So in all the craziness, I’ve decided to add on another year of undergrad to now double major in Exercise Science and Writing. No clue what this holds, but listening to God with this passion He’s given me.

This year felt like a swirling sea; and am learning that God loves me for the core of who I am. He strips away the false identities, the glitz and glam, for transformation and redemption to take place. Like a ship in a storm. He pursues all of us, even the runaways.

-Kyra Mariah

loving at a distance.

It’s in the unexpected distance, that we long for deeper connections. Something I’ve been thinking about, as we’re on week two of home-quarantine and I’m missing all of my people.

Last night started by my little brother, Kaden and dad showing up to my place unexpectedly asking to catch up, after weeks of them being gone overseas.

There’s a little piece of property behind the Penley’s home, called the Open Space. A place that I walk in the early Friday mornings with Mrs. Christy, and where I start/end my runs. It’s a place that brings so much joy and makes time with Jesus feel so intimate.

As we walked, you could hear the crisp dry grass crackle underneath our feet, listening to the excited birds chirp as the sunlight beamed upon us, before descending behind the mountains.

As the boys began to share of their recent travels to Kenya and Germany, a sense of longing for what’s to come and contentment wrapped together washed over.

The boys began to talk about cool surgeries, new projects to come at the Hospital, and to hear the excitement in both of my guys voices as they talked about their goals for the future.

Wishing I could just squeeze them and never let go, wishing I had traveled with them, and dreading Kaden about to graduate high school and move away.

But in this season, where it feels like fear, anxiety and worry loom overhead, like clouds on a sunny day, it has been hard to see the contentment in this season over the bitterness I have towards God.

It was in listening to Kaden talk, that I could see the restlessness in all of our hearts at this time of unknowingness and uncertainty.

My family is full of dreamer’s and gypsy’s. We find comfort in packing up, leaving town and dreaming past the sky’s limit. It’s something I’ve struggled with this over the years, seeing both sides to being so comfortable packing up, but also seeing the blessings that have come along the way. I’m seeing the goodness in belonging to a family of gypsy’s and dreamers; they don’t let disappointments cloud their sunny days, rather, seeing ways to still see the sun shining, even if it’s ever so faint behind the clouds.

While listening to the boys talk, I had a kairos (a moment where God’s trying to break in and teach you a lesson) that I don’t treasure the time I have with Jesus. I’m so quick to pick up my phone, or to find another distraction rather than to be present with Him. To sit in the presence with Jesus and with my brother and dad are transformational moments in life. Rather than trying to run and find something else to fill the space, to be content with the distance that separates us.

In this season, it can be so easy to point a finger at God and accuse Him of tormenting us, but by stepping back, we can see that God’s more than ever trying to reach out and pull us near; not punish, not torment, not scold us. Like a little child who runs to the arms of his parents after scraping his knees on the pavement, all God wants is to hold us tenderly, and heal our wounds.

So loving at a distance, simply seeing their handsome faces for a bit, full of elbow bumps, sunshine, heart talks, and waving goodbye, little moments with those who you love is truly treasurable.

Well, there are my thoughts late last night, seeing how God’s such a tender, personable God, and I’m so quick to pack up and run, ignoring Him through the lessons He’s trying to teach me. To sit, be present and be content in the slowness is what God’s teaching me right now, and though it’s hard to listen, it’s important.

Praying everyone stays safe and healthy out there. Have a great day!!
-Kyra Mariah