Natalie

Natalie

The girls from youth group went to a conference every year. It was never too far away and usually just a day thing…maybe a one night stay not far from the church. This year, I was so excited because we were going to a girls conference where Natalie Grant was going to be singing. I loved her. Her voice was basically everything that I wanted mine to sound like! It was beautiful. She was effortless but powerful. She emoted and told stories in her music and I was always enthralled by the time she was through. I was so excited to get to see her lead.

When we got there, we all headed to stand in the long line where they would give us our lanyards and a bag. The bag was filled with all sorts of event materials; books from a couple of the speakers, a pamphlet with descriptions of everyone and a coupon for 5% off of Natalie’s latest album. We grabbed our stuff and headed to find a seat.

It was in a large arena and our crew eventually found seats about halfway down the bowl to the far stage left side. Not quite sure who picked such horrible seats, but I wasn’t going to make a big deal about it. Everyone would be up on the big screen anyway, and as long as I got a good view of Natalie, I didn’t care if I sat in the lobby!

After a little while,  the lights dimmed and the band got into place. I couldn’t make out the shadows that traipsed across the stage. Where was she?? All the guys grabbed their instruments and the lights started to swirl in mixtures of pink and purple. The band started playing a loud, energetic intro and then the lights on the stage went bright and Natalie came running onstage from stage right! YAY!! She looked awesome. She had so much energy, grabbed the mic and encouraged the crowd to stand to their feet and lift up praise together!  I jumped to my feet, excited to hear her every word.

The set was great. Couldn’t tell you what the songs actually were, but I could tell you that what showed through more than her incredible voice was her humble heart. I just respected her so much. I wanted to emulate her in just about every way. She was beautiful, talented, thin, loved the Lord, traveled with her husband… I mean her life was perfect!

After the set, a speaker came up and gave the first word of the night. It was so good and I was really enjoying my time. After another set with Natalie, the host of the conference came up to welcome and introduce the next speaker.

“Are you guys having a good time???!” The crowd let out a loud, very high pitched scream. “Well, we have a real treat for you now. Our next speaker is someone that we know you all love already. We are so honored to have her here with us this weekend. She’s one of the most requested worship leaders in the country and she has an amazing testimony that she wants to share with you girls. You’ve already seen her up here and I know she’s blessed you. Will you welcome back up here our next speaker, Natalie Grant!”

What?? I was so excited! Not only do we get to listen to her beautiful voice, worship under her leadership, but now she’s going to speak into our lives! This was awesome! I immediately got out my pamphlet from my bag, ready to take notes. I was clearly not alone in my excitement as the crowd went crazy.

Natalie told us all about how her career got started and slowly built traction until she became a very successful Christian artist. She told us how blessed she felt that God would use her love of music the way He had and how much she tried to live in every moment. She said she loved what she was doing, but that there was a lot of pressure. Not that she felt it was only put on her by the label, but from herself. She said she felt like she wasn’t physically what she should be and eventually she developed a problem with an eating disorder.  A pit developed in my stomach.  I told myself this was not the same thing that I was doing. I didn’t have an “eating disorder”! I just skipped meals every so often if I wanted to lose a few pounds. I just liked the feeling of knowing that I could lose weight if I wanted to. I could control it. It just felt good. People who have “eating disorders” are sad little skeletal girls with sunken cheeks and bones that stick out of their chests! Oh my goodness! Really?? How could she think she was anything but beautiful? Then, she looked at the crowd and went silent for a second.

“ …and I know there are some girls in here whose stomachs just flew into their throats. There are some girls who are trying to convince themselves that ‘that’s not me. I don’t have an eating disorder’ but are finding the earliest moment after a meal to slip away to a bathroom. Or start ‘just skipping a few meals’ when they want to lose a couple pounds and you think that this is no big deal! That it doesn’t mean anything! A lot of girls do it! It’s just an effective way to fit into that cute outfit. It’s not!! It is a tool that Satan uses to make you doubt the worth that was given to you by your heavenly father!! It is a means that will lead you to an end of lower self-esteem than when you started! Don’t buy the lie! Don’t want the ache of your stomach when you’ve gone without food. Don’t get so far that you start desiring the feeling of emptiness. You think that when your stomach is empty, your heart will be finally full, but that feeling of ‘thin’ will not fill the hole that God was designed to complete. Only He can make you feel whole and only His love will be sufficient for you no matter what that boy tells you. A boy may want you thin, but a man will want you WHOLE. Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t be satisfied with less than what God has for you. Choose to be done with the lie and live in the complete love and acceptance of your Father.”

I was bawling. Why was I bawling? Was that what I was doing? I never thought of myself as having an “eating disorder”. I mean, I could stop whenever I wanted. It didn’t control me. I controlled it! Then again, I had tried to not do it a few times and every time I said I was going to work out and eat healthy, I would always end up reverting to what I knew, what was easy, what felt good. How many times had I actually thrown up? Did I even know? Did I even remember each time? How many days had I gone without eating? I remember the feeling of not eating. I remember the first day would be hard. I would see my friends eating delicious foods and would want to join so badly, so typically I just avoided the scene altogether so I’d have no temptation. I could usually get by that day by looking forward to day three. Day two, my stomach would start to hurt and I’d usually get a headache. I’d just pop a pill to stop the pain and drink some water to get through. By day three, the hunger tended to subside and my stomach would start to make audible sounds of hunger. I would pretend to be embarrassed but I loved that sound. I loved the feeling of my stomach turning as it did it. It meant that it was working. It was affirmation. It was control. And on that day, I felt pretty.

When I was doing it well, I could start to see those bones in my chest by my neck. Those were my favorites. I’d love it when there would be a gap between my shirt and my skin at that area. I felt like I could walk the red carpet and not stick out like a sore thumb. The longer I went without food, the prettier I felt. The less I weighed the more in control I was.

Oh my stars. I had a problem. I never thought about it like this. I mean, I would always feel bad when I hid things or lied to my friends and family, but I just thought it was because I didn’t want to tell them how self-conscious I was…which was true. But the bigger truth was, this was wrong…this was a serious problem, a dangerous problem. And I knew they would make me stop. I knew that, once I told them, I couldn’t do it anymore. Once they knew, I lost the control. I could never be beautiful again. I had an eating problem. I fell apart right there in that arena.

Family Photo Shoot!

Family Photo Shoot!

Confession: We have never had professional pictures taken. It was not something that either of our families did growing up, so when I would get my friends family pictures in a Christmas card or something, I would always think “Either they are just really naturally that pretty or we need to get pictures taken!” Well, one of my friends just happens to be such a talented photographer. Her name is Chloe and she is launching into other areas of the business and asked if I would like to have a family photo shoot before we left…uhhh heck yeah I would!

 

She told us about a park or something with a lot of natural elements that she shoots at often. I told her I would trust her, but we’re not really “natury, park people”. She laughed and suggested downtown McKinney. It was so much fun!

I really was nervous that we were going to end up with portraits that looked like we went to JCPenney’s studio and posed with a boa or something (no hate JCP. I shop there. Just not so much with the decoupaged backdrops).  She, however, was brilliant. She brought things for us to do or games to play to help us have natural smiles and laughs. The kids were entertained and we got some great shots. Here are some of our favorites.

 

I am now a fan of family photos!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for Chloe for the amazing shoot! If you are in the Dallas area, contact her! Heck, fly her out! She’s worth it.

 

Love,

the Grizzards

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

A day in Dumbo, Brooklyn

A day in Dumbo, Brooklyn

Well, fall is officially here! Which means, we are in full coat, hat, and gloves full time now. I had a scare for a minute because I could not remember if I had a winter coat at all. Everyone around me kept telling me that it was freezing outside, so I scoured my closet and all of our remaining boxes to find something warm. I could’ve sworn I bought one last year, but could not find one. BUT we promised the girls this day in Brooklyn with friends, so I layered up, threw on my warmest leather bomber and headed out the door with the family.

We hopped on the F train to Dumbo for our fun afternoon! The girls were so excited! We were going to meet our friends, Laura Beth and Blake with their three kids (including their brand new baby girl that I was dying to hold) and as an added bonus, Laura Beth’s parents were going to be there. I understand that sentence may sound strange that I would be excited to see my friend’s parents at our playdate…let me explain… Laura Beth’s parents, “Miss Cathy and Mr. Jeff” have known me since the day I was born. It was a blessing to get to see them again. They are, by far, some of the kindest people on Earth and have been an encouragement to my whole family for 30 years…so yes… excited.

We have a few rituals on the train to keep the girls occupied on our commutes. One of them is Rock, Paper, Scissors and Jozlyn is the absolute Champ! Basically, undefeated. A gentleman on the train saw us playing and asked if he could see if he could beat her.

When I say, that this girl is outgoing… I ain’t playing! ha… and she won.

Once we got out, we walked along the East River until we saw the Carousel pop up over the trees. The kids went crazy!

 

Hi, Miss Cathy!!!

We took several trips on the Carousel and then headed to a nearby playground to let some kids get the last of their energy out. Luckily, it wasn’t as bad as I had expected, and I made it through the day just fine…sans winter coat….which I found hanging in my closet when I got home. Ha.

I think it’s fair to say we tuckered them out just fine. 

Next time you’re in New York, don’t overlook a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge to this beautiful park. I recently wrote about my first trek and it is not to be missed! It’s one of the best views of the city you’ll find. Thanks for checking in!

Love,

the Grizzards

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

FALLing in Love!

FALLing in Love!

I remember moving to Texas from Florida. I was so excited to start experiencing seasons and the colors of Dallas were beautiful. But nothing prepares you for the incredible fall weather in the northeast. We won’t discuss how quickly it turns to freezing temperatures where you end up looking like the Michelin Man had a baby with Olaf. For now, I am enjoying dressing my girls in FALL CLOTHES! Boots, scarves, and jackets! It is so fun.

However, even my little fashionistas will dirty a good outfit if they pass an all too tempting pile of leaves on their way home from school. I could either worry about having to do laundry or grab a camera… 🙂

 

 

 

a pink pea coat and a leather bomber are always ok!

 

 

 

 

# <3 NEW York

 

Love,

the Grizzards

Rainbow Room!

Rainbow Room!

 

New York has some pretty amazing experiences to offer! And we have been blessed to do some incredible things so far… however, something that has definitely been one of the coolest experiences IN MY LIFE is singing at the legendary Rainbow Room on top of Rockefeller Plaza. I could not believe that Jordan and I were not only going to sit in the room of this extravagant venue, but sing! What is my life right now?

Now, before it seems I am making this something bigger (for us) than it was… our good friend Quentin (and Broadway star of CATS and the upcoming ONCE ON THIS ISLAND) was invited to sing for an event here and asked us to sing a trio with him. It was his gig for sure…but who cares?? I got to sing in the Rainbow Room….with a Broadway star…. as a princess! We sang the trio from SHREK, so since I was singing Fiona, I think I can claim my tiara now. Although, technically, she was an ogre with an oversize bangle on her head, but WHATEVER! I was singing Sutton Foster. 🙂

This was such an amazing experience! If you get the chance, the Rainbow Room is open to the public, so go check it out when you’re in the city!

Now, people have been yelling that I haven’t posted video (and by “people” I mean my mother). There was no video taken at the venue as it was not allowed. Here is a clip of our rehearsal sans Quentin as SHREK. Thank you so much for your prayers!

 

We love you guys!

Love,

the Grizzards

SaveSave

A Reminder…

We have been so fortunate to be able to sing at some pretty cool places, with some pretty amazing people. At our last church, Jordan was able to write and record on a project called SONGS OF THE PEOPLE. Go get it on itunes if you haven’t heard it…so good. This was one of the tunes from that record. Jordan sang it this morning in a slightly different manner than we had done it before! ha.

I was struck by the pure nature of the song done this way. It occurred to me that some may feel that there is a song that they love, but they don’t have the resources to accomplish it; the orchestrations, the production equipment, or what have you. This piece was done (and beautifully done) with full band, choir, orchestra, and praise team behind it. Here it is done with one servant strumming a guitar, singing a reminder of God’s grace.

I am one that can put man-made restrictions on my praise sometimes. Praise God! He does not put such restrictions on how we praise Him.

 

 

THE CHAD THING….part two

THE CHAD THING….part two

We walked into Sunday the same as we always had. Usually, very mundane, run-of-the-mill…except we were holding hands. No one really noticed until our teacher gave us a quick double take and said, “hey are ya’ll together finally?”

We laughed and Chad said, “Yep. Took long enough, right?”

After we mingled and talked to everybody, we took our normal seats on the front row. This is great. This is exactly what everyone thought would happen. This is exciting. This is… awkward.  I loved this guy. I mean I really loved him. Chad was always like a brother to me, but we’d only been “dating”, “going out”, “boyfriend/girlfriend”…whatever you wanted to call it for two weeks and I could not shake this feeling of “weirdness”.

He did nothing wrong. He was kind and a gentleman. He was the same guy he’d always been to me, but we were trying to make “us” something it had never been. And the shape of the “Chad” and “Kayla” that we had always been was trying to fit into this mold that just refused to fit.

Maybe we just needed more time. Maybe if I gave it some more time then we would settle into this “relationship mold”. Maybe if I just waited and rode this thing out then I would lose the “Chad is my best friend” feeling and it would change into the other thing! The only problem was that I didn’t really want to. I missed the old mold. I missed my best friend. I missed our old relationship. I missed us being silly and goofy and not caring. I missed him. Ugh.

Great. The only guy that I actually had a crush on, outside of the heart-wrenching pain of Jordan, and I can’t even make that stick… with a guy I already loved (albeit in the wrong way, but still). I was truly pathetic and apparently destined to be alone forever.

I know Chad and I will survive this. I’m pretty sure, if I know him well, that he feels this way too, but I really wish it could be different. I wish I could love him the way I want to. If I did, I wouldn’t feel the pain of being in love with a man who didn’t want me.

 

Journal,

So funny story… the group hung out tonight. Chad and I decided to go separately since Kenz asked me to ride with her. As we were driving down the road she asked how things were going with Chad. Normally, I would’ve made some generic statement like “It’s good. It’s weird transitioning from ‘friends’ to ‘more’, but it’s good.” But with Kenzie this would not have flown. She knows me way too well. I sidetracked for a while, but it didn’t take long until all of my reservations came spewing out of my mouth like verbal vomit all over my poor best friend. She took it politely and quietly, allowing me to fully empty myself of all of my anxieties and frustrations. When I was finally done, I was almost crying and just said, “I just miss my best friend, Kenz.” She was quiet for a minute and said, “Kay, you guys HAVE to talk. He literally said the same thing to me yesterday.”

I was so relieved. Neither one of us would have to be hurt! Maybe we could even go back to how things were before! I know it may be weird for a bit, but maybe we can just forget this whole thing happened! We can be stupid and joke and be normal again! 

I can’t even say how excited I am. Here’s hoping I have myself and him back!

Prayers for my babies!

Prayers for my babies!

Guys, my babies are growing up. I cannot begin to tell you how hard that is. Of course, every mommy in the world knows the horror of this feeling. No one needs to try and explain to another mom the pain of seeing your babies developing into children/kids/middleschoolers/teenagers/ adults. Of course, there are perks to be sure. I feel like I’m going to look into all the faces of the moms on Jozlyn’s first day of school… yes, my daughter is going to school for the first time this year, and see an expression of equal parts heartbreak and elation; an inward struggle for a dominant emotion. I am thrilled to have some time to do adult things. I am excited to hopefully have conversations with “big people” who challenge my thinking and help me grow. But I am equally unnerved at the thought of my daughter being away from me for 8 hours a day. I mean, for the next 13 years of her life AT LEAST, someone else will have more time with her than I will. I will no longer be the one who has the best opportunity to develop her character, responses, intellect, and grace. That is a sobering thought.

When considering moving to NYC, of course, we THOUGHT about the day when Jozzy would go to school. We talked about the school systems and some options. We felt very strongly about putting our kids in public school. We want them to be a good influence in the community and thought it would be a great way to meet people outside the church. I still believe that. As much as I love Christian education, and believe me, I DO, I have definitely seen the effects of not allowing kids to develop a Christian worldview outside of the confines of the safe church. When we don’t expose our kids to things outside the church until we throw them out into the college world, we are begging for overwhelmed, blindsided and often times, ineffective Christians on college campuses…many of whom, leave the church once they’ve experienced this “new world”. This, of course, is not the case for everybody but is a large number. We didn’t want that for our babies.

However, when you’re in New York, that safety bubble is effectively burst! There is no “church world”. They are exposed to everything you can be exposed to simply by existing in this place, so we decided Christian school would be a great option. This is the only reason that I’m not having a nervous breakdown right now.

Jozlyn is so ready to be in school. She’s excited to go and I know she will thrive. I know every momma thinks their babies are brilliant…but mine really is…:). Maybe not “brilliant”, but she’s a very capable, smart little girl and I am excited what school will do for her. I’m excited for her to be able to be social and structured. I’m excited for her to experience new things. I’m excited to see who she will become. And I’m excited to get some one-on-one time with my little one.

The kids have coped by clinging to one another and I think the separation will help them gain some needed independence. I’m so glad they love each other, but right now, they tend to fall apart a bit when separated.

  • Pray that they will grow in comfort and confidence while here.

We are so excited about Jozzy’s school. I really want to tell you what school it is, but I’ve been on the internet too much and don’t want to say where they are going! ha. I’m that mom. But I will tell you it is an amazing place with fantastic leadership. They have shown love for our family and made us feel like our girls would be special to them, which I’m sure they do to each family, but I love them for it.

  • Pray for me as I send my big girl off for the first time.
  • Pray for logistics as we navigate how to try and get one kid to school in a completely different direction, on a completely different train than Jordan goes/takes to work and we still have one little one at home.
  • Pray that the Lord will open up opportunities for me to work.

You guys are the best! Thank you for lifting us up. We love you.

Love,

the Grizzards

What is Christlikeness??

What is Christlikeness??

How many times have we all heard the term “Christlike”? A million right? If you have been a believer trying to pursue spiritual growth, it is likely you have as well, but what does this term actually mean? What does being “like Christ” look like practically speaking? Is this characteristic even possible? Are we to pursue something that is actually not attainable to mere humans? After all, the attributes of Christ are powerful, sinless, humble, righteous, perfect, loving, and holy. I don’t know a single person who, even if they tried relentlessly could achieve this. So why would the Bible tell us to strive for something that can never actually be realized? Does it? This has been a question that the Lord has been dealing with me heavily on.

My pastor touched on this message tonight, and I loved it. Although, he would be the first to admit that this subject is far too exhaustive for one message. How can we discuss the idea of Christlikeness in one night? You can’t, but in all of my years of sitting under pretty amazing pastors, I’ve learned that the best messages are not those that pretend to give you all the answers. The best messages are those that leave you with a lot of questions; questions that you HAVE to go and wrestle with God to have answered.

I recently had someone I love very deeply warn me about the tendency I have to make my life revolve around the cerebral, particularly in my faith. He said it led to his “not really feeling anything, but doing things because he knew he should, not because he wanted to”. I tend to see things very black and white. I lead with my head and don’t understand those that feel things very deeply. In my immaturity, I looked down on the spiritual health of people who experience God differently than I do. God has wrecked me of that. I make decisions with pros and cons lists, with logic, and with a tendency toward arrogance. What killed me about this friend was that I understood this warning. I appreciated it because I know that in my flesh my faith can become all about right and wrong. It can become all about what I should DO instead of who I should BECOME. This loved one said that his life was so much better now that he is not bound by the “rigidity that comes with our faith”. The problem is, this is part of our faith. Absolutely it is.

God gave us the law in Exodus, and Jesus upheld it in His life. More than that he said,

 

 

So what is the first step to being Christlike? I believe, Scripture supports that it is obedience…and not just lawful doing what God says to do and not doing what He says not to do, but a submission to God’s authority. That means even if we disagree or don’t understand. Even if it makes absolutely no sense….like leaving the comfort of friends, family, an amazing church and going to someplace hard… obey…submit.

I recently did a post on David and what it means to be a man after God’s own heart. David understood this concept of obedience better than most. This is why he was given such an austere title that we all try to emulate thousands of years later.

But what about those times when we obey and we don’t get what we wanted or what we think we should? We all know the right answer….it’s all in God’s hands. But it sucks when it actually happens and often that answer is just painful when we’re in the middle of it. How do we deal with the disappointment? The best example of this is Jesus.

Remember the prayer in the Garden? Jesus prayed that God would take this cup from Him… and God didn’t. Jesus prayed for an outcome that didn’t come to pass, and that had to be disappointing, but the end of His prayer is paramount…” not my will, but thine be done”…OBEDIENCE- a submission to God’s authority; even if it’s painful…even if it costs us something. Something like comfort, position, entitlement, sex, authority, ministry, or a relationship.“ A submission to God’s authority” is the beginning to a life of Christ-likeness.

What happens when we show that kind of obedience? Go back to John 14:21

 


 

So when we obey God, He manifests Himself to us. What do we get when we obey through disappointment or pain or denial of self? We get intimacy with God. We cannot know God without understanding the HUMILITY of obedience.

But, there is something else we must strive for before we can say we are living lives striving for Christlikeness. “The greatest of these is love”. Christians have such a hard time with this. While straddling the line of grace and righteousness, some believers take a foot off of one or the other and lose their stability altogether. We MUST remain with feet planted firmly on BOTH. You do not have to relinquish your stance on righteousness to be full of grace, and you do not have to be full of judgment to be holy.

 

(Somewhat of a side note, but I feel it’s an important note: Obedience leads us to encounter God, and scripture teaches us that we CANNOT ENCOUNTER THE LIVING GOD AND REMAIN UNCHANGED (James 1:23). Anytime, someone has a genuine encounter with God, there is life change. If there is no change, there was no encounter. But this is a 

charge FOR BELIEVERS.)

Christians often use this as a club with which to bludgeon non-believers into moral and biblical obedience. It’s not going to work. Grace upon grace upon grace for those that have not yet encountered God. My mom used to say it this way, “you’ve got to expect lost people to act like lost people”, and we’ve got to stop being surprised when people who don’t believe in Jesus don’t act like Jesus… THAT’S WHAT WE’RE FOR. And crucifying them for their perceived immorality ain’t gonna do anything to advance the Kingdom. God is not surprised by the degradation. Jesus, after all, raised holy hell on those in the temple and showed mercy to the tax collectors and prostitutes. Judgement here on Earth is for believers to keep each other accountable in love. Grace, church, grace.

 

That’s the love piece, but we are to never forget the “righteous” piece…that’s the head part.

 

The law is still in effect. It is still important and still applicable. The law was the physical embodiment of God’s call to righteousness and humility for His people. He wanted them to strive for morality and to recognize that they could never attain perfection. It is because of this that we have Christ- the embodiment of the complete gospel; righteousness and love.

 

 

We cannot have just one or the other, or we do not have the faith. We can struggle with one or the other but show me a judgmental pharisee and I will show you an idolatrous pagan who worships the tool of the Bible more than the God of the Bible.

Show me a spineless, compromising heretic and I will show you someone who worships the creation of God more than the being of God. You must understand the need for both- righteousness and grace.  This, sadly, is what my friend didn’t quite understand. If you miss one, you miss God.

So what is it? What is the special formula to becoming Christlike? I believe that scripture supports the idea that to be like Christ, you must have a practicing life of obedience that leads to encountering God. This encounter compels us to a life of loving His children. “For those who love Christ, keep His commands”…and “the greatest of these is love”.

 

Would love your thoughts. Leave a comment.

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

 

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

A MONTH IN A MINUTE!

We have had an incredible September! I am so excited to kick off fall in New York! This place is magical.

 

Here’s a sneak peek into our first month of fall!

 

 

Love, the Grizzards

I'm Kayla. Mom of two, wife of one and new New York transplant. We're a family of four fumbling our way through our new normal in Manhattan! We're excited to learn as we go... we can't mess this up too bad, right? :)

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Instagram
  • Love these people and this place. Miss you all.
  • When there’s not enough hover boards for all cousins... you find a compromise.
  • Flights take it out of her.
  • Daddy makes every booboo better.
  • Dumbo carousel this morning!
  • 💋
  • ....aaaand I’m done! 😭
  • Fun times back in Dallas.
  • We had a blast in Little Rock with our sweet friend , Pastor Stephen Smith and their team. thank you guys for having us! Can’t wait to come back! Happy anniversary!
  • Cutest kid in the world !!
%d bloggers like this: