Browsed by
Author: kari

Laura

Laura

She inspires, breathing life into every encounter. Her truth is unapologetic. Always a teacher, with wisdom far beyond her years. Her colorful conversations are laden with laughter and overflowing with insight.

Feminist at heart. Expressive. Honest. Direct. Sassy. Brilliant.

Loved. Admired. Followed. Appreciated. Cherished. So very loved.

She told me that when we choose to be our real selves, it will attract some and repel others. She brings her entire self to the table; a rarity to be sure.

Her attentive and intentional ministry has changed the way I relate to people. Under her tutelage, I have learned how to take up space in my relationships without constantly placating the needs of others.

She is a cheerleader for all that endeavor to live genuinely. Her lessons remain. Her spirit and wisdom continue to resonate. Laura’s legacy lives on.

One tough pup

One tough pup

What it really looks like. Sleepless nights writhing in pain, moaning with the rhythms as they ebb and flow.

Options are few. Call doctor to leave desperate voicemail. Pain is extreme. Please assist. And then wait.

I watch my beloved husband groan in excruciating level 9 pain throughout the night. I hear his pleas to God for help. I grow angry.

Where are you God? Why does Eric have to suffer so? God reminds me that he suffered more for his beloved son Eric. He is with Eric in the suffering. Then I hear Eric talking to His Lord in between waves. Eric already knows of God’s faithfulness. Even in the midst of blinding pain.

And then after three days’ worth of substantial suffering, we get a hold of the surgeon. He prescribes more powerful pain killers. Only a matter of hours now.

It’s the good stuff, so I must drive to pick up the prescription. This cannot be called in. Finally got it in hand.

After a few episodes of projectile vomiting, we manage to get the serious pain killers in him. He is finally asleep, after nearly three days of pure endurance. My husband is one tough pup.

Anonymous

Anonymous

I have a solid friend that for now, feels comfortable posting anonymously. Her writing is poetical yet raw. She is kintsugi, the Japanese art form. Enjoy.

—————————————–

2016 has been the starkest and most difficult of my life. I’ve felt over and over again that I was being broken. Each time I’ve picked up the pieces and offered them to Christ. Held them up to Him the way a small child lifts a bouquet to his mother.

This has been a year of glueing and breaking again. The fragments have become smaller and smaller after each crushing. But I keep lifting them up to him, even as the shards fall through my fingers and to the ground.

This Christmas season has been filled with sorrow, hope, despair, desperation and desire. This year as I put up the tree and hung the ornaments, I wept.
The decorations on our trees tell my story – my history. And this year, as I hung up the handmade trinkets (a construction paper evergreen leaf with a picture of my daughter at age 3), the engraved silver heart (Our First Christmas Together, 2002), and the antique relic (Cardboard Captain Crunch, 1988) my heart was overwhelmed at God’s consistency and faithfulnesses.

Because despite my geographical location (this year Glendale, California), my age (34), my job satisfaction (higher than ever), or my image of myself (Jessica, brave and consistent: Jessica, a coward and erratic) each year, Christmas still comes.

Even in 2016.

Even as my world and family have been decimated by trauma and trial.
Even as the landscape of my marriage has evolved to reflect the Shadow of Death. Christmas, and Christ, is still coming. He’s also/in spite of all this/in addition to/because of still here with me in this mess.

He’s with me in the merriment too- when my heart swells as I wrap a gift: but I see him more clearly when my eyes are clouded with tears and my mind is clouded with shame.

Christmas is coming, and won’t be calm or silent. Mine will be messy, full of dust and joy and shredded paper and a fractured heart.

But it will be Christmas. The lights on my tree will illuminate the faces of my children, I will drink strong coffee with eggnog in a santa cup, they will wake too early, I will smile and pretend to be not tired.

And Christ will be in that crowded space and time. His peace will hold me together, his feathers wipe my tears.
Someday, he will end the exile of my heart, Immanuel.

Soon, he will bring peace, Shalom.
One day, he will restore my marriage or rescue my soul’s covenant, and provide a love that will embrace me.

Christmas is coming in my crisis.
Hope will bandage my bruises.
The day will be here soon.

So to all of you toiling in joy and sorrow, hurts seen and unseen, hearts broken and wholly redeemed:
Merry Christmas

His Pain

His Pain

His pain registers at a seven, sometimes as high as an eight. He hurts ALL the time. Relentless.

We don’t know why. We simply accept it as part of what God has called us to. Easier for me; so much easier. He can’t sleep because his pain wakes him. He powers through most days, engaged when he could easily call it quits. Commitment.

We’ve had a good run since our last major surgery. This time they cut him, give him a day to rest, and then flip him over for surgery number two. Two major surgeries in three days’ time. Stress.

Each time we go through this, we’re reminded how much we need God, and how much we love one another. As he prints out the passwords for me, just in case, I worry that this time will be the last. Reality.

Eric pushes through his pain in ways I cannot comprehend. When I have menstrual cramps, I can barely function. He is somehow coping with 7/8 pain levels, and still takes the time to stop and shake a homeless man’s hand on the street. Love.

Silence!

Silence!

July 28, 2013 Facebook post

Had the privilege of preaching on 1 Timothy 2:8-15 today….women must remain silent:-) Title was “Keep It in Context.” How I love being an ordained minister of The Salvation Army!

Check it out. I am just an ordinary woman, and God is allowing me to preach His word. The infamous verse about women remaining silent. Used by many a man as a weapon to silence the women in their lives.

This was my pericope throughout training school. Ironically taught by an oppressive character. Nothing is lost on God. He is always teaching.

Confession time. This scripture passage resonated with me because it was me. I loved the limelight. And for all the wrong reasons. Then this depression hit. And I wanted nothing to do with being in front of people. I would purposefully place everyone else on the church bulletin, so as to avoid having to be in front. I was petrified.

God has humbled the holy living heck out of me. I am unsure of myself in this world of helping others all the time. So I have to rely on God that much more.

As I stumble into middle age, I find myself not so concerned with my looks. I still clean up and present well, but I am less absorbed with compulsive fitness regimens. I mean to what end? My husband adores me. I walk nearly every day at least three miles. I eat when hungry. And am learning to stop when full. I am keeping my food down. My body is finding its equilibrium and place of normalcy. Apparently normal is gaining weight specifically in the tummy area. In addition to all this, I had my first two hot flashes at age 43. One thing aging does. It humbles you.

And then God asks me to reach down deeper. I am more than what I do. I am more than what I look like. I am a beloved daughter of The King. Yeah, yeah…what does that mean though? It means I am worth something simply because I exist.

Feces

Feces

August 4, 2014 Facebook post

5 minutes prior to the Holiness Meeting my husband Eric Rudd was mopping up feces…within an hour he was preaching the word of God…there is no job below a CO:)

Isn’t this what we paid the cleaning company to do? Holy cow, what is the world coming to? I grew up with a stay at home mom that still had a maid come in to clean once a week. Mother had it made. She had ample time to smoke her Virginia Slims while sipping on her cream liqueur. This was below us.

God is so funny, isn’t He? Eric has no problem cleaning up fecal matter. He doesn’t look forward to it, but it’s part of the job. Somehow Eric is able to make light of everything. His own coping system I suppose.

God continues to humble us. There is actually no job below us. This truth is presented to me on a regular basis. As a corps officer, all bets are off. I could be asked to literally do anything. This has taken some getting used to for this valley girl. God loves to stretch us far outside our comfort zones. The truth be told. I haven’t been comfortable since I met The Salvation Army.

They Are People

They Are People

September 18, 2014 Facebook post

God’s presence is upon me. A year of struggle. A square
peg in a round hole.

We had 40+ friends at devotions tonight. Our disciples served, listened, loved…in Jesus’ name.
Building relationship.

Learning their stories. Heartbreaking. Yet my heart overflows.

Today, I found true joy in our homeless ministry.

Submission+humility=joy

God was doing a miraculous thing in my life. I was looking into their eyes. I saw that they were people, just like me. Only their brokenness was also on the outside, whereas I wore mine internally.

I remember walking Third Street Promenade with my best friend. I had made sure she was dressed up and looking sharp. We were going to have some fun girl time. And then she started engaging with this homeless lady. I was like, what? Another person besides Eric that does this kind of thing? I wasn’t going to have anything to do with it. I acted appalled because I was frightened. Let me say that again. Sometimes when people are acting put off by all this, it’s because they are deeply afraid. My girlfriend turned me head on and told me that it was important to look into their eyes. They are people Kari. They are people.

Still afraid to fully engage. But giving it my best shot. And then the miracles begin. I make a new friend. I enjoy yet another conversation. I have the opportunity to talk about Jesus with someone. Jesus is ultimately glorified as one of his beloved is treated with dignity and respect. As I submit my will, and humble myself, God grants me His joy.

Gnarly Knife

Gnarly Knife

September 26, 2014 Facebook post

The hubby had a gnarly knife pulled on him last night at program. This is normal for an urban ministry right?

It began as a bible study. No one showed up except a few homeless. You see how I do that. Rather than rejoicing that some people showed up, I say no one. I devalue their worth. This is something I internally battle with every day.

The assailant was high. He had a BIG knife on him. And he was swiping it from side to side at my husband. It looked like a real life drama of West Side Story. Only the knife wasn’t rubber.

Eric and I sat in the house that night. He was a bit shaken up. Now, I was really beside myself. This couldn’t be happening? When I told my therapist, my non-believing licensed clinician with a specialty in eating disorders; she encouraged me to quit. She never really got the concept of the calling. All that to say, I was torn.

Then in conversation with a seasoned officer, she retold the story about how her husband contracted scabies when ministering to the homeless. And how someone at her first appointment got stabbed. Apparently, this wasn’t unheard of. What kind of life had I gotten myself pulled into? This all seemed a bit out of control. Firefighters run into danger. Common every day folks like myself do not. Who did God think he was enlisting here? Eric and I were not made for this kind of drama. We like to read books and drink coffee. You know, really adventurous stuff.

God was really pushing us to our limits. At least mine. He does that, doesn’t He? I am glad he did though. 13 months has passed since the knife incident, and God continues to push us. I am getting used to it. I call them growing pains. I recognize the pain as spiritual growth.

This has become the new normal. As abnormal as life may seem, it feels fine now. Oh, how one adjusts. We still call it all the circus, but it’s entertaining to be sure.

Weakness

Weakness

October 3, 2014 Facebook post

Thank you God in heaven for showing up in my weakness.

There are so many things about this appointment that I am deficient in. I am ill equipped with the ARC men, and running on empty with my homeless friends. Yet, I am seeing them as my flock. As deficient as I feel a times, I am now taking ownership of our congregation.

Still can’t function beyond a week. Still feel bound to this weight that continues to pull me down. At times it feels like a deep abyss. Other days I can see the light. Depression is tangible. Depression is real. It feels like being devoured by darkness.

Praise His holy name. He is my true source of love and hope. He is carrying me, and then holding my hand as I make my own way. I can feel myself healing through the power of the Holy Spirit.

I am functioning at 60% and relying completely on God. I now understand my own weakness. God took me out. He benched me from the game of busyness. I now understand that all I can do is a gift from God. And I am not a human doing. I am a human being.

Suburbanite

Suburbanite

October 26, 2014 Facebook post

We had a brigade out today; they really ministered to our souls. Thank you for your words of encouragement; truly a blessing.

Ever have one of those moments when someone says something to you and the comment illuminates truth for you? That’s just what this brigade of cadets did for us.

As we were making our way through a very tough transition, this brigade of cadets would show up with genuine enthusiasm and positive spirit. They loved that we had homeless. They loved that we had ARC guys. They loved the ministry all around us.

Through them, God was saying, “Look all around you Kari. The treasure trove of gems to love.” I began to see my flock in a different light.

There was a cadet with a four month old baby. She was holding her happy little chunk of joy while striking up a conversation with a homeless friend. Confession time. I was beside myself. Yet, The Lord shone through in that moment. This young mother was so at ease with her baby and new friend. I watched and learned.

Allow me to explain what it is like for a suburbanite valley girl like myself. We had paseos throughout our neighborhood. We walked from the bus stop to home unattended in kindergarten. It was safe and quiet. Not only did we have no homeless, we didn’t really know about their very existence.

Eric and I courted in Santa Monica 20 years ago. I was so in love, drowning in elation. I never saw the homeless. When you grow up being taught that they don’t exist, this becomes truth. I recall being in a book store chain, and Eric saw some friends. He introduced them to me. I walked straight away. They were homeless. I was appalled that Eric even knew these people, and by name. Until forced to see them, they did not exist. It’s fascinating what the psyche can do.

Why tell you this? Because not all people think like Salvationists. Not all Christians think to help others. I actually went to parochial elementary school. There is a learning curve to be considered. Stepping into this world of helping the helpless, loving the unloved, so on and so on…is really scary. When all you’ve known is the Reagan era of more, more, more for self, self, self; thinking to be there for others is quite a paradigm shift.

Here’s the thing. Now that I live for others, I myself am more fulfilled. It’s the wonderful secret, isn’t it? When we give out, we get back.