08292014_KristenStrong_sweptofffeet

Over our dinner of smoked brisket and collard greens, Faith turns to me with eyes smiling and says,

“Hey mama, tell us about the time when you actually. fell. for daddy.”

I swallow my bite of bacon-flavored collards and reply, “Oh, you mean the story of our first date?”

She exuberantly shakes her head and her hair bounces, “Yes, that’s it!”

I smile remembering this story of a favorite new beginning. Somehow I managed to catch the eye of a super good-lookin’ boy across the college campus, and now he stood at the bottom of my dorm’s front steps to pick me up for our first real date. He looked relaxed and cool leaning against the banister in his Levis and a t-shirt for a band I’d never heard (Rush). In an effort to return the same breezy vibe, I started down the steps with my eyes trained on his chocolate eyes rather than where I stepped.

And that’s when my foot slipped and I fell down, down, down the stairs in the most awkward tumble imaginable, lanky arms and legs in four different directions. After what seemed like an eternity, I mercifully stopped at the bottom, limbs in a splayed-out star pattern at the feet of Chocolate Eyes.

When I finish recounting this to the dinner crowd, Faith asks between giggles,

“So what did you DO then?”

I look at her grinning dad and answer, “Well, I looked up the stairs and thought about high-tailing it back to my dorm room. My tomato red face and I were horribly embarrassed. But then I looked toward your handsome dad and realized that would mean missing out on my date with him, so I just laughed it off. Your dad, being a gent and all, gave me a fresh start of sorts by offering his hand to help me up.”

I slide the last bite of pork around the barbecue sauce and add, “Yeah, it wasn’t how I meant to kick off our date…”

And Ethan finishes, “…but it makes for a great story!”

I nod in agreement while removing my plate from the table. The troupe follows suit and as dinner dishes clank in the sink, thoughts clank in my head about the different new beginnings our family has experienced. Sometimes a new beginning soars on wings of glorious success. Sometimes it takes off and crashes, leaving you flat out laid out. And when that happens, I want to tear out of there and scurry my red-faced self off to safety rather than shake the embarrassment off my skin and out of my hair.

20140829_KristenStrong_holdinghands

Tearing away tempts, but trying again trusts. 

I try again because I’m already hidden in Christ, so there’s no need to hide anywhere else.

I try again because God is the generous giver of fresh starts, and grabbing one means I accept that my rocky start is a bump in the story, not the end of it.

Trying again is knowing hope always moves toward the surface, anxious to comfort and hold you. 

So, for all those facing a new beginning this season – especially those whose new beginning took a tumble - I offer you this prayer from God’s heart to your own. May it remind you that even the most fledgling of starts can turn into your favorite stories.

Dear Heavenly Father,

I stepped out to make a place for myself, and I tripped up rather than took off. I feel embarrassed, nervous, worn out and just plain tried out. I know You understand, and because of You, this stumbling block to my new beginning is only a part of my story rather than the end of it.

Where would any of us be without Your daily (hourly?) offerings of fresh starts? A splayed-out mess at the bottom of the stairs, that’s where. Thank You for giving me a fresh start right here, right now. Thank You for showing me that walking in Your will is walking in success. Thank You for giving me a sure identity in You, not in outcomes.

When I contemplate retreating, let me retreat in Your love. When I think about running, let me run confidently forward in the abundant gifts You’ve tailor-made specifically for me. Give me the ability to see how my decisions today affect the story of my future. When I flip through the memory books of my life, may I see plenty evidence of taking Your hand and walking courageously in Your plans for me. Along the way, may I learn the art of taking myself less seriously. And thank You that no matter if I fly or fall, You make every story good.

And You end every story well.

In the name of Jesus, the One Who is head over heels in love with me,
Amen

By Kristen Strong of Chasing Blue Skies

comments:
share:

comments:

  1. 1

    Kristen,
    I love your writing and I love you…what a refresher this morning. I have just been through yet another episode of depression and anxiety and the Lord, faithful as He always is, is bringing me through and giving me a new beginning with waking up today. It may not be a perfect beginning, but it is still a fresh start. Lord, help me not to tear away, but to trust in You…
    With blessings, love and thanks,
    Bev

  2. 3

    Thank you I am starting a new job and of course I am not totally sure how it will work out.

  3. 5

    Kristen,
    I love this! Your first-date story offers courage to keep the focus off of myself and instead keep on moving into what God has for me in my story. I just love how he offers us fresh starts just when we think a door has closed. Thank you for these words today!

  4. 7

    “When I contemplate retreating, let me retreat in Your love.” I think I need our Aliza to do some of her fancy handwriting for me so I can keep this one forever :)

  5. 9
    Marilyn says:

    I feel as if I was being smothered and can breath again after this amazing read. Through your writing, you gave me some CPR that was much needed. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

  6. 11
    Joanne Peterson says:

    Oh My! I surely do get this. My 4 year old started 4k. His start was not so good the first two days, then we received a report of two full blown temper long tantrums in the same day on the third day. But the special teacher believed in him, stayed close for the next day, all day supporting the main teacher. I met her, and her compassion, love of my son, respect for us, and gentle ways made we want to cry in a good way. The fourth day when I met the special ed teacher reported to me it was a good day! Second, third, fourth chances…….for all of us.

    • 12

      Gifted, caring, and nurturing teachers are worth their weight in gold, aren’t they?!? I can’t sing their praises enough.

      Praying right now, Joanne, that those good days far outweigh the bad ones for your sweet boy. And yes – so thankful for fresh starts and second (third, fourth) chances. xo

  7. 13

    Amen.

    :)

  8. 14

    oh how i love this post! thank you for sharing such a beautiful truth! i’m starting out on my own new beginning & needed this as a reminder!! thank you! xo

  9. 16

    Thank you for these very timely words. They are so encouraging right now. I will retreat into love, gather my God’s strength like a cloak around me and head back out to face each moment surrounded by grace. God bless you.

  10. 17

    Dear Friend,
    And I call you friend because of what we share in Christ (salvation) I soo..needed these words today.
    Blessings

  11. 19

    Oooooo…such a good post! I needed to read this today! Thank you for sharing! :)

  12. 20

    Thank you so much for this very timely encouragement….I have been so angry and confused as to why God would allow me to speak and say things out of character for me…sometimes we do not get answers…it is hard when God allows us to fall on our face….I know I need to trust him for each day…thank goodness he can redeem my biggest failures…

  13. 21
    Patricia says:

    “Along the way, may I learn the art of taking myself less seriously.” I like that. Thank you.

  14. 22
    Jo Charter says:

    Thank you for rhe reminder. When we fall God is there to lend us a hand to help us get back up.

  15. 23

    Thank you! We moved in February and since then everything that could go wrong has. From not being able to find a house to buy, to my father, passing away, to the job that brought is here not working out. I have felt the life sucked out of me daily for a while. Now, I am at the point where we are dusting off our pants and straightening out the skirts and moving forward. As I pray all day I hear my head saying great things are going to happen. And as every day I am beginning to believe it.

    • 24
      Beth Williams says:

      Andrea,

      Prayers for you and your family. So sorry for the loss of your father. I pray God will surround with His perfect love. May you know His peace during this time of grief.

      I pray you find comfort, peace and contentment with your lives. May God give you a fresh new beginning for you to grasp.

      (((((Hugs)))))!

  16. 25
    Beth Williams says:

    Kristen,

    Love your writing and storytelling. Just admire how you talk about God giving us new beginnings. My hubby and I would love new beginnings this year or next. We have decent jobs, but I could use a fresh start in a different department/division or company. My hubby could use something with better hours.

    This paragraph speaks to me daily : “Tearing away tempts, but trying again trusts.” I try again because I’m already hidden in Christ, so there’s no need to hide anywhere else. I try again because God is the generous giver of fresh starts, and grabbing one means I accept that my rocky start is a bump in the story, not the end of it. Trying again is knowing hope always moves toward the surface, anxious to comfort and hold you.

    To often I feel like tearing away and chucking my job. I know that if I try again Christ will be glorified and allow hope to comfort me. I’m going to reach out and grab what ever God has in store for me!

    Blessings :)

  17. 26

    Thank you so much for this. God used it to speak right to my best friend’s and my heart. We had a bit of a rough start to the school year. I had strep which developed into laryngitis, and she had an abscess tooth of which the infection spread to her jaw and throat and was close to compromising her airway. She had emergency surgery and was in the hospital for a few days. All this in the second week of classes of our sophomore year of college. (And we are both voice majors, which makes throat and mouth problems even more problematic.) It was like God meant this article for us, and it gave us hope that there is still room for a beautiful new beginning.

leave a comment:

*