Wednesday, July 31, 2013

deep breath before the plunge

summer ministry in the texas panhandle is officially over. the last five day club has been held, the last thank you note has been dispatched, the last newsletter article been written. it's happy, on the one hand, because i no longer have to run around like a chicken with my head cut off, hoping i remembered everything for the day's club.

on the other hand
i'm really freaking bored
i want my kids back
why is there a month until good news clubs start
stahp it monthly calendars

i suppose that, for now, i get to see the un-glamorous side of ministry, the side that makes ministry visits and tries like mad to reach 100% of support and calls pastors.

have i ever mentioned that pastors intimidate me? they do. it's quite an interesting phenomenon, but i'm also having to get over it. maybe it's just that adults intimidate me. i don't know. but i've still got to get over it.

pray for me. 
i need lots of grace. 
and patience. 
and courage. 
and willpower. 
and nutella. 
mostly nutella.

along with all that, though, i know that it's only a matter of time before i get shoved back into being with kids all the time, because i have at least three good news clubs that need my teaching skills this fall. i'm excited. i won't have time to be bored, at least, and that's an incredibly good thing. my hate for boredom runs deep.

so i'm taking a deep breath before we have to run headlong into workshops and teaching and bible lessons and kids asking me crazy questions. because i love it, but it's tiring.

- Kyla Denae

Saturday, July 27, 2013

and a little child shall lead them

sometimes, i get really confused. i start worrying. like now, for instance. i was supposed to have quite a big chunk of my internship funds raised by now, the end of july. for those of you not in the loop, i'm working at child evangelism fellowship this summer as one of the local interns. it's been an adventure, and i'm having quite a bit of fun. it's fundraising is not my favorite thing. i don't think it's anybody's. and i'm stressing (just the tiniest bit) about that, though i'm giving it to god and letting him take care of it.

last week, i went to camp good news, which is a camp in oklahoma run by one of my teachers from cmi. i came home to some stuff that i'd not expected, stuff that's been in my family for a long while, but is beginning to manifest in new and exciting ways.

can you sense the sarcasm here
i hope so
i'm being really sarcastic
it's not exciting
it sucks
i hate drama

i came home to this, and i'm sitting here thinking, god, you said you were gonna take care of me this summer. you were very clear about how this internship was where i was supposed to be. i wanted to go to thailand, and you said no, god, and i know there was a reason, but i'm having a bit of trouble seeing it right about now. god, i'm confused. i don't know where i'm supposed to go. am i supposed to go finish out my internship down south, or am i supposed to stay in amarillo for another year. am i supposed to help do good news clubs or am i supposed to get a job and be a good little member of the workforce. am i supposed to buy a car and get my own place or buy a car and stay where i'm at or am i supposed to go hunting me a husband and hope you work it all out.

another thing i hate
it's full of all sorts of problems that my nine year old conception never did see
curse you unrealistic expectations about life

i could go on and on about my young adult angst, but it would bore you, so i shan't. to make a long story short, i'm confused and trying to figure out god's will in the midst of much weirdness. i'm in way over my head, and i just want out of most of it, and i'm unable to be.

at camp this past week, there was this little girl in the bible class i was teaching. on the second day at camp, she came to me and told me that she knew she'd believed in jesus, but she wasn't sure if she still was, because she'd done some wrong things and she didn't always feel that god was with her. one of my favorite promises in the bible is found in hebrews 13:5--it says, "for he has said, i will never leave you nor forsake you." it's a beautiful promise, full of truth and wonder and the awe-inspiring idea that out of all his creations, out of all the things there are to love, out of all the majesty and beauty that fills the universe, god chose to love me, to tear out a part of himself and sacrifice it, for me, and with that knowledge comes the idea that i'll never able to do anything that will drive god away from me.

so i shared that verse with jaylin. i told her what it means, what god has promised to us. and every day after that, i heard her repeating the promise. she told everyone she met. she put a marker in her bible at that verse and opened to it every chance she got. it was what she shared at testimony night. she made up a song with the words, so she could repeat to herself every chance she got the promise that "i will never leave you nor forsake you." to her, that was the most important thing of camp, the most important thing about god. the only important thing about god.

and so, as i sit here surrounded by a bunch of stuff i can't comprehend and can't see my way through, i am humbled by the faith of a little child. the faith that will accept something so earth-shattering as "god is never going to leave me ever" and translate it into a song and into a chant that is repeated to oneself over every meal and before every bedtime and to everybody i meet. i am left in awe at the sort of faith that can accept that so completely, and i know beyond a doubt that i want that faith, that that faith is something to be reached for.

so i'm going to reach for it. i'm going to trust that promise--that even when i can't see my way, even when everything's cloudy and weird and beyond my wisdom, god's got me. he will never leave me. he's sealed me in the palm of his hand. he's three hundred steps ahead of me, scouting out my life decades in advance. 

for he has said
i will never leave you nor forsake you
so we can confidently say
the lord is my helper
i will not fear
what can man do to me
hebrews 13:5-6, ESV

- Kyla Denae

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

i'm all growed up

About two years ago (or so, I'm hardly counting or anything), I posted this.

And I looked like this.

Frightening, I know. Well today, a two-year odyssey of pain, suffering, and rubberbands has come to an end. Mostly.

That's right. I am no longer an active part of the orthodontia industry, except so far as my retainers are concerned. Boo-yah.

- Kyla Denae

Sunday, July 14, 2013

bursting out of the bubble

In America, people very often get to thinking that there are certain things that are...'over'. We don't have to worry about deadly communicable diseases anymore, because we have modern medicine. We don't have to worry about getting to someplace quickly because we've got instant communication and cars. We don't have to worry about injustice, because there's ways to deal with it. We have police officers, and laws, and a military that can go enforce its will all around the world. Most of all, we most definitely dealt with slavery 160 years ago. 

we don't have to worry about that anymore. 
we're safe. 
surely that doesn't happen anymore.
this is the twenty-first century.

And, little by little, we climb back into our bubble of safety and comfort, where nothing ever goes wrong and, above all things, justice is done.

Yet that's so far from true. Statistics show that there are 27,000,000 people currently in slavery all around the world. 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year. Every six seconds, a child is sold for sex somewhere in the world. This industry, this market of people, is the third-largest global industry, just behind drugs and guns.

in other news, people just generally suck.
did you know that?
they do.

Recently, I discovered an organization, The Exodus Road, that is working to do something about this problem. They're not just talking. They're not just sending money--they're funding investigators who travel to hotbeds of trafficking activity and attempt to rescue as many as they can. Collectively, this team of investigators have 622 victim rescues to look back on, and they're looking forward to many more. Within the life of the organization itself, there have been 189 supported rescues.

I'm partnering with The Exodus Road as a blogger, to help spread the word about this amazing organization, and to raise awareness about this problem that still plagues the world. To learn more about The Exodus Road, you can visit their website here, or watch the video below. Or both. Both is good.

- Kyla Denae

Sunday, July 7, 2013

i like to know people's thoughts

I like knowing what people think about things. I like listening to them expound upon something that they're passionate about. Even if I don't quite agree with them, or if I have absolutely no interest in what they're talking about, I still like it. Because getting to share in that exchange of ideas, to have a second-hand sense of that passion...asdfjkl; I just love it.

One of the ways I think people can really effectively share their thoughts is through fiction, which is why I love to read fiction so much. Don't get me wrong, nonfiction is great, because it can give you a whole new view of certain works of fiction, and allow you to consider viewpoints that you hadn't before, but fiction--fiction will forever be a love of mine.

I love helping people with their fiction, too. I've read so much fiction that, at this point, I'm pretty familiar with the mechanics of it, and how certain genres tick. This means that I can help other budding authors hone their craft, because I know good writing. Not to toot my own horn. It's true.

Which is what I've been doing practically all day--writing reviews for teenage authors and a couple adults, and working on a beta read for a friend.

I suppose the entire point of this rambling post is to tell you that I'm wanting to get experience doing this, because I think I could actually, like, make a job of it. So if you're a writer and you need someone with an experienced eye to look over your novel--hit me up. Because I will do it. And then when you get published, I will list you on my resume. So yes.

- Kyla Denae

Monday, July 1, 2013

i am a child of the twenty first century

I hate phone calls.
I hate making them.
I hate taking them.
I hate having to sit with a phone pressed to my ear, saying words into a person's ear, without fully knowing whether that person is, in fact, at all willing to listen to me say those words, or whether they want me to stop, or whether their face is screwed up in disgust because ew this person is so stupid.

Perhaps you will say that you never think that about someone who you're talking to on the phone. Perhaps you're right. However, I still much prefer talking to people face-to-face. I prefer even more managing to never see people face-to-face at all, and instead texting them, or popping them a Facebook message, or otherwise avoiding the unfortunate necessity of actually speaking to them.

I am told this is not a good thing.

However, it is a perfectly logical thing. Let me explain. If I send someone a text, they have a multitude of options. They can ignore that text, deleting it and sending it out into the cosmos. I will simply assume the text got lost in cyberspace, and unless it was really important, probably won't even bother sending another. They could also answer this text at their leisure if they so desire. That text will stay on their phone as long as they want it to. It will still be there in six years when they finally get around to answering my appeal for funds! It will still be there, just as it was the day I sent it, awaiting the kind person's pleasure! I'm not bothering them! They have freedom to answer whenever they choose! Texts have the added bonus of not being interruptible. People's words get in the way of other people's words, and if we just cut out people's ability to butt into other people's words until said person's words are done, then said person won't get nervous!

In a phone call, it's very hard to just ignore it. If you hit 'ignore', the person is going to know you hit ignore, because the call will cut out. This leads to inevitable hurt feelings, because you can't just ignore a call from a potential donor, or from your best friend, or from your Great-aunt Beth without there being serious repercussions. And there's the issue of having to call back. If you miss someone or go to their answering machine--yeah, you can leave a message...but you're still going to have to call back. And then you will have to say words, and these words could be interrupted and that's just awkward for everybody.

How do people words
I don't understand

A Facebook message also has many good perks. It has all the bonuses that come with texting, with the added amazingness that is everyone uses Facebook. Don't have somebody's number? No problem! No need to go be a creeper and use to stalk them down. You just find them on your friends list (or, occasionally, on your friend's friends list) and shoot them a message! And Facebook even notifies them for you! And bugs them if they don't answer you!

Of course, I will forever prefer simply talking face-to-face with someone. Because then, at least, you know whether you're bothering them or not. Sometimes. Then there's the poker-faced people who you know are judging you in their minds.

You can feel it. Like this crashing wave of disapproval. And it hurts. But at least you can see them, and know.

As an intern for CEF, though, I've got to raise support. Which means finding ministry partners. Which means I have to make phone calls. Which means I must put aside my discomfort as a child of the twenty-first century who is way better at writing words than she is at speaking them.

But it hurts.

So, dear people of the world, let us consider turning away from this odd invention that is the telephone, and going entirely to text-based communication. Again. Life was so much more comfortable when you wouldn't know precisely what somebody thought of you for six months.

- Kyla Denae