For The One Who Never Let Me Go

Family, Life, love, Marriage

This post is long overdue. There’s going to be a lot of happiness that you will read, but I’m also going to address some bad moments as well. I don’t like putting on a mask and only showing the “good” side of life. A lot of growth comes from the struggles.

So I hereby, finally, dedicate this post to the one who has been with me through it all – my amazing wife, Allissa.

My wife and I have been married 13 years this year, and I can honestly say in those years I have only spoken poorly of her maybe once or twice, and only to my own mother (who quickly set me straight). Therefore, I’m not going to start with this post. Don’t get me wrong, there are things that she does that drive me crazy at times, but never to the point that I would belittle her to others.

No, this post is going to be about how much of a patient and understanding person she can be, especially when I am being such an idiot. I’m going to discuss some things about my past that I am not proud of, but I am not that person anymore and I will never be that person again. Basically, I’m calling myself out on my past bs. So buckle up. There will be moments where things get bumpy, but the end result (where we are today) is beautiful.


I met this beautiful girl when I was 13 years old…

For those of you who don’t know me, most of my childhood I was this incredibly skinny, awkward (but adorable) kid. I was really active, could eat anything, and never gained a pound. Until I hit puberty entering middle school and I got fat. Like, really chunky.

But, and this may surprise some of you, I was incredibly social. I was friends with everyone! Mostly the girls (I mean, I was a 13 year old boy… duh!), but basically I got along with everyone. And I had silly crushes on a lot of the girls, too (better chances with a bigger selection, right?!). Little did she know (or maybe she did since she is a girl and they always seem to truly know) she was one of the girls I had a crush on.

We, of course, were fast friends. We shared a lot of the same friends and classes, too. But do you think anything came of any of that? Nope, that’s where the middle school story ends. Never dated, never admitted to liking one another (or rather I never told her, I doubt she liked me as I was an annoying overweight teenage boy). We ended up going to different high schools after that. I “chased” a lot of girls, but I’m pretty sure I’ve only ever had a handful of “girlfriends” in my life, and only one of which was actually serious. I was always in the friend zone. As someone recently so astutely pointed out, I’m really good at being there for other people and helping them through their rough times.


Anyways, our story jumps 4 years to 2006 when we finally got back into each others lives. Allissa had a serious relationship before me and had Maddi earlier in that year. I was off at Purdue having a grand ole time (not really) when this cute girl starts sending me messages on MySpace (yeah let’s throw it way back!). She reached out to me first and asked if I remembered her, and of course I did. She was really good friends with one of my close friends, so getting back in touch was pretty easy.

I wasn’t a very religious person at the time, but looking back she came into my life right when I needed her most. We started talking seriously early in my first semester. I think we were “unofficially” dating for awhile, but it all happened really quick after my grandparents passed away. My grandmother passing was one of blessing as she was in a great deal of pain and suffering from a long battle with cancer. My grandfather less than 2 weeks later was not so much. I was completely devastated as I was extremely close with him. Allissa was the one person that got me through it. She stayed up with me for hours on end and just listened as I cried.

We “officially” got together shortly after my grandfather passed away. A lot of people thought I was just filling a void. And, to be honest, I was. 13 days later we got engaged. Yes, you read that right. 13 days. About a month later I got Lis out of a very toxic environment with her family and she moved in with mine… while I was 4 hours away at Purdue.

She gave me a sense of purpose that I did not have at the time. In a few short months I became wanted. I became a father to a 7 month old. Real honest moment? I fell in love with the idea of being a dad and having a family before I actually fell in love with Allissa. There were things that both of us did that filled in the gaps for the other person. I don’t think either of us will deny that we likely were not in love when we got married only 8 short months after being engaged (so, less than 9 months from being together if you’re keeping track).

Insane, right?! 19 years old getting married and having a family after being together for such a short amount of time. Most of our families didn’t really agree with the expedited marriage, but my parents became grandparents and I think that’s what made them more okay with it.

And because of that, do you know what was missing? A whole lot of growing up!

We struggled for a long time in life. We were perfectly content with having very little money, not having any goals, and just getting by. Because that’s what we knew. We were broke. As in, dirt poor. We had jobs where often we wouldn’t get paid for weeks at a time.


Anyways, our relationship wasn’t the best. We fought a lot but we always put our children before everything else. It was always a good buffer for us having the kids to prioritize over fixing underlying issues. And that’s how it was for a long time.

When we first got together I was starting to shut out all my relationships while Allissa was the one with a lot of close friends, most of which did not like me. At all. Because she always chose me over them and I basically stole her away from them.

She quickly started to give away parts of herself that weren’t centered around me. Her close relationships, hobbies, etc.

It wasn’t until our 3rd child was about to be born that we started to take life seriously. I got my first “real” job right before he was born and that has since grown into the amazing career I am in now.

But this amazing woman has sacrificed so much of herself for me to be where I am today.


The rest of this post is probably just going to jump around a lot and seem random as I try to discuss some things. Sorry in advance!


I am just now in less than a month, finally going to be finishing college with my third degree. Which means I have spent a lot of time over the last 13 years taking classes and being away from my family. She gave up all of her social life to allow me to finish something I believed to be important for the future of our family.

She was the one at home, caring for our children. Cleaning the house. Scheduling appointments. Cooking meals. Exhausting herself for us.

We, jokingly, had a saying that she was the primary parent and I was the secondary parent. But it was 100% true. I had no clue what was going on with my kids. I was only focused on what I was working on.


Here’s some more brutal moments of honesty. I’ve had moments where I’ve been a pretty terrible husband. I’ve never physically touched my wife. The closest I’ve ever come to it is aggressively grabbing a cup from her hand that scared her. But emotionally I’ve done some serious damage. The next few things aren’t going to be easy to read, but I assure you they are definitely harder to write and admit.

I’ve had moments in my life that I was so sad, depressed and in pain that I wanted others around me to share in my misery. Unfortunately, I didn’t have anyone else in my life except Allissa so she got it all. I was extremely good at saying things in ways that would make her feel less than. Or not worthy.

She’s had a rough life, not filled with love, but full of abandonment. When the rest of the world made her feel that she wasn’t worth loving, her own mother, father and sisters, the one person who should have been there the whole time reminding her of how special she was made her feel like it was all to be believed.

I’ve told my wife on more than one occasion that I wasn’t as attracted to her because of her weight.

I’ve told her that I wasn’t sure if I still loved her.

I’ve told her that I’ve had lustful thoughts towards other women.

I’ve told her that she wasn’t enough, even when she was giving me everything she had.

A lot of the things I’ve said to her came from a place of pain and I didn’t truly mean them. Some of them I did really feel but never should have said. Do I like admitting these things? Not even a little bit. In fact, they make me cry even thinking about. Do I think I will be judged by the things I’ve said? Yeah, from some of you I will be. But that’s okay. It is my past, it is not my present or my future.


For the longest time, she found it easier for our life to just give me my way. I didn’t catch on to this for awhile (about 9 years of our marriage) but once I did I foolishly pushed that threshold as far as it would go. And let me tell you, it goes pretty far. This woman, who I was taking advantage of, would go to any lengths to keep me happy. We talked about doing things in our relationship that I’m ashamed to admit. Two positives that came from that situation: 1) we never actually did anything more than talk about those things, and 2) it made us both realize that we really did NOT want those things at ALL in our relationship. Regardless, a lot of damage came from that.

I wanted her to hurt like I hurt. Little did I know that she was in more pain than I ever could have imagined.

I broke her. After I had her cut so many people out of her life for continually hurting her, I turned around and did the same thing. I stole her safety that I am still to this day working on giving back. And I destroyed her trust in me. Because I made her change every part of who she was as a person just to turn around and tell her I didn’t like the person she had become.

Why? Because she became me. And I didn’t like it at all.

There were two of me when I didn’t even want there to be one.

Through all this pain I was causing her, I didn’t even know who I was. And, the idiot I was, I never communicated to her. I built everything up and stored it all in until one day I unleashed hell on her. Instead of opening up to her and letting her help me fix my own brokeness I let her believe it was all her fault. I pushed her so far away so I could peacefully walk away and end it all (literally). She eventually grew tired of me constantly putting everything on her that I ended up with an ultimatum. Which probably to this day was one of the best things she has ever done and a moment that I am more proud of her for than any other moment before or since.

I tore this woman apart. I put her in a situation where she could do no right no matter what she did or said. I made her give up parts of herself that she didn’t want to give up.

And yet, she loved me anyways.

When I get really upset I retreat into my own mind. I don’t yell, I don’t cry. I give this prolonged silent treatment and give the dirtiest facial expressions. Yeah, I know I’m real childish. But I also know it drives her insane.

And yet, she loved me anyways.


For long periods of our relationship, longer than I care to admit, I’ve treated this amazing woman like she was less than me. I made her believe that we were not equals, and that she was beneath me.

But let’s be honest. I wouldn’t be who I am today without her. She has been the only person in my life who has supported me every single step of the way. She has called me out on my bs and has given me insight on things that I was too blind to see on my own. In fact, I could have missed a major period of depression if I would have left my job years ago when she told me she didn’t trust my previous boss. Fortunately the situation has worked out well in the end, but it took a lot of pain to get here.

I literally would not be here today if it weren’t for her. She often thinks that I never actually went through with ending my own life, or leaving her, because of the kids. But, the truth is, it’s always been because of her.

She was the one person who I felt so comfortable crying to that I eventually thought I needed to stop showing so much emotion to her. I thought my emotions were wearing her down so I stopped showing them to her entirely.

She’s taught me to love myself even when I felt unlovable.

I took away a lot of the things that she did to make me a better person because I wanted to be miserable and I didn’t want to be a part of this world.

So, I’ve told her that I no longer want her to give me my way any longer. Her voice needs to match or be above my own. Me making my own choices and decisions leads to stupid consequences and a whole lot of pain. She is my better half that keeps me going.

She is finding her voice. I still push her when she struggles with her own feelings of self doubt, but I no longer try to make her into someone she is not. I’ve learned to be patient. I’ve learned to open myself up to her. She’s recently admitted that she has held stronger religious beliefs because of the things I’ve put her through. I wish I wouldn’t have stolen her voice so she would have been comfortable enough with me to share that. I strongly believe being Jesus followers earlier in our relationship would have avoided a lot of problems. But then again, I also believe these things happened for a reason.

As I know I will never be able to say it enough, I am so sorry for all the pain I have caused. For not being your unconditional support system. For breaking your trust. For making you question my feelings for you.


Neither of us grew up having great relationships in our lives to model our own marriage after. We never really had a sense of direction on how to approach situations. Now that we have people in our lives that encourage and foster our relationship growth, things have been really great for us.


This story is far from over, but I will bring you up to speed on where we are in the latest chapter of our lives.

Now, Allissa comes first in my life. And the biggest thing is, I now make sure she knows that. Some things I don’t necessarily agree on, but out of respect for her and for our marriage, I do them. I make an effort to make sure she feels loved. I’ve tossed out the silly notion of “secondary” parenting. I take her out on date nights when the time allows. I let her be the first person who reads these posts, because in all honesty it’s the first time she’s learning these things about me. I seek her feedback and opinion and give it more weight than I do my own. I listen to her gut instincts more often (not often, because I know sometimes it’s still coming from a place of doubt). I do not have lustful thoughts for others anymore, nor have I for a very long time. I encourage her. I support her.

We have built a beautiful life together. We have a bright future that we are working towards. We have a beautiful family. We have amazing friends that have become an extension of our family and have taught us what unconditional love for others is. We pray together. We dream together. We do life, together.

I am loving her unconditionally as she has always done for me.


This amazing woman has been so patient in my life and I’ve never understood why. I’ve treated her so poorly at times and yet she’s always loved me anyways. But I guess that’s what they really mean by unconditional love. Through the good times and the bad. And the times when your husband is just being a complete moron and jeopardizing the best thing in his life.

She does so much for this family, especially for me. She’s a natural caretaker. Food, home, children. Even after a long day she will often still ask me to lie in her lap and play with my hair.


When you see this amazing woman and wonder why she’s being so quiet, or is hesitant to let you in to her life, just know it’s because she has been put through a lot. She is still working on believing how special she truly is. Just know that once she lets you in, she’s giving a big part of herself to you. Be careful, she’s fragile. I would know. I’m the one who broke her and is still working daily on putting the pieces back together.

And please do not judge me on my past. I, again, confess these things so you will know how far I have come and will love me despite my faults and flaws for they have brought me to be the person I am today.


I met this beautiful girl when I was 13 years old… She would grow up and change my life forever for the better…


Dear God,

Thank You for blessing my life with this beautiful soul who tries to make my life better every single day. Who sacrifices so much of herself for others. Who has been torn down and broken so much, and yet still puts on a smile every day.

Thank You for never leaving her side throughout all the crap I put her through. For comforting her and giving her peace. For listening to her prayers when I didn’t even know she was praying.

Thank You for putting so much into her. She is an incredibly special and beautiful person.

Thank You for not letting our marriage end. I would be lost without her and do not want to think of a world without her in it. Whether people care to admit it or not, she leaves an impression on everyone she meets. She loves unconditionally, even through hesitation from prior experiences of pain.

I see Your love through her. I pray that You continue to bless her life and give her the voice, courage, wisdom and desire she truly wants in life. I know through You she will find it all.

Amen

I love you all!

Kyle

Andy Grammer – Don’t Give Up On Me

I will fight
I will fight for you
I always do until my heart
Is black and blueAnd I will stay
I will stay with you
We’ll make it to the other side
Like lovers doI’ll reach my hands out in the dark
And wait for yours to interlock
I’ll wait for you
I’ll wait for you’Cause I’m not givin’ up
I’m not givin’ up, givin’ up
No, not yet
Even when I’m down to my last breath
Even when they say there’s nothin’ left
So don’t give up onI’m not givin’ up
I’m not givin’ up, givin’ up
No, not me
Even when nobody else believes
I’m not goin’ down that easily
So don’t give up on meAnd I will hold
I’ll hold onto you
No matter what this world’ll throw
It won’t shake me looseI’ll reach my hands out in the dark
And wait for yours to interlock
I’ll wait for you
I’ll wait for you’Cause I’m not givin’ up
I’m not givin’ up, givin’ up
No, not yet
Even when I’m down to my last breath
Even when they say there’s nothin’ left
So don’t give up onI’m not givin’ up
I’m not givin’ up, givin’ up
No, not me
Even when nobody else believes
I’m not goin’ down that easily
So don’t give up on meWhoa, whoa
Whoa, whoa
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeahI will fight
I will fight for you
I always do until my heart
Is black and blue

Self Realization And Fighting Back

Family, God, Life, love, pain, Prayer

Today will be a short post, but one that I need to document so I have it to come back to when/if these feelings return.

I recently had some much needed conversations with a few pretty great people in my life. And in opening up about things that I didn’t know I was still keeping in, I realized that I can be a major hypocrite. I’ve learned that my words can be extremely powerful tools when used correctly. I’m really good at making others feel good. I can find the words that they need to hear pretty quickly.

But, I’ve noticed, I am terrible at taking my own advice.

I’ve been telling a loved one recently not to hide her joy from the world, regardless of other’s perceptions.

Helloooooo! Do you not listen to yourself when you speak, Kyle?

So I’ve made a decision…

I’m no longer going to turn my back and run from the fear. I am going to stand my ground and I am going to fight my fear head on. I have a lot of joy to give to this world, and I’m going to give it!

So I am going to be joining the children’s ministry at church once all of this craziness subsides. I can make a difference in these kids’ lives and help guide them to be fellow Jesus followers. And they bring so much happiness to my life, why would I want to run from that?

And I am going to go out of my way to compliment others whenever I can. I know where the intentions in my heart lie, and I know for a fact that having others speak positively of and to you is such an amazing feeling. We need more love in this world. I may be one small grain of sand, but last I checked a mustard seed could move a mountain.

And I am taking back the word beautiful.

We need to use this word more often and remind others of what it really means. It should be taken as a compliment and bring happiness to who it is shared with. When the world can often be an ugly place, it is a blessing to be reminded that you stand out against that and have so much value.

And I’m going to be mending relationships with some of those I have pushed away. I have a lot of love to give this world, and the people who saw the worst side of me deserve to see me at my best.

I have a lot of opportunities coming up for me over the next year. Instead of questioning if I could or should be taking them on, I am going to take them for what they are – blessings. I will use the opportunities to do so much good for as many people as I can.

I was given a second chance for a reason, and I am not going to waste it. I couldn’t have told you 18 months ago that life would have played out the way it has. I believe God is guiding me to do something greater in this world, even if that only begins here locally.

I am giving myself, fully, to God. I am letting go of the fear. Jesus loved unconditionally and faced His fears. If He were living my life, I know He would do as much good for the world while He could.

And that’s enough for me. I will no longer be a hypocrite. I will not hide my joy from this world any longer.

…if anything matters then everything matters. Because you are important, everything you do is important. Every time you forgive, the universe changes; every time you reach out and touch a heart or a life, the world changes; with every kindness and service, seen or unseen, my purposes are accomplished and nothing will be the same again.

William P. Young – The Shack

Dear God,

I finally get it. I do not know what it is exactly that I am supposed to be doing with this life, but I know that I will be doing it for You. I give myself to You, and will follow Your guidance.

I will make a difference in this world, not for myself but for You, in Your name. When I die, if I have no money to my name but have touched others hearts I will have lived a successful life. If no one remembers my name when I am gone, but even one person has a better relationship with You I will have lived a successful life. If when I am gone I have lived a life for You, and used your blessings and gifts to bring love and joy to others lives, then I will have lived a successful life.

Here I am, Lord, fully surrendered to Your love. I am ready to serve You and to serve others. I am above no one, and will love everyone unconditionally, for that is Your will. It’s time for me to no longer squander the blessings You have bestowed upon me. I will no longer hide behind fear.

I know there will be struggles along the way, so I ask that You please continue to protect me through them.

This evening I pray that you please lift the burdens that my loved ones are carrying. Please gently caress their heads as they sleep tonight and remove some of the heaviness on their hearts. Please wrap them with a warm embrace that I wish I could give them but am unable to. Let them feel Your love and mine through Your presence.

Please speak to those who are in immense pain and uncertainty during these trying times. I beg You to please hold tightly to those who are ready to meet You sooner than they are meant to. There is so much good that they can bring to this world, and although they may find it unbearable right now, I hope You will provide them clarity. Let the love and support that their loved ones have given them seep into their hearts and fill the void that has been created. They need You so much right now, especially when others cannot be there for them. They are such beautiful people that have a voice that needs to be heard. Please let Your words flow through them for many, many blessed years.

Please continue looking after those who are fighting this pandemic. It is not Your doing, but please let people know You are by their side through it all.

Please protect everyone, but especially those who are on the front lines of fighting this. They are putting their own lives on the line, and often potentially giving up their families, to be there for others. Your love is so evident in them.

Amen

As a reminder, you are beautiful. I love you!

With all my love!

Kyle

Addressing The Past To Cleanse My Heart And Bring Myself Closer To Jesus (Part Two)

anger, Family, Forgiveness, God, Jesus, Life, love, pain

I’ve got to be honest with you… after I shared my first post in this series last week I immediately had doubts. Fear of judgement overcame me pretty quickly. Why share these parts of my past that no longer reflect who I am?

This is part of my healing process. This is me learning to love myself. I have had so little self worth in the past that I didn’t feel I deserved to be a part of this world.

I thought writing this post would be easier than it actually is, wrongly assuming that many of these things I had already forgiven others and myself for. But the more I write and think about it, the more I realize that this is still a major part of my life that needs to get resolved. Because if it’s not, it’s going to eat away at all the progress I have made.

This week’s topic is about anger. Now, as you’re reading this you will find that a lot of my anger starts with moments of pain. Instead of communicating in the past when things bothered me I would keep everything bottled up and not address them. Do you know what happens when you don’t let things out? They multiply and get ugly very quickly. And eventually everything explodes, sometimes when you least expect it.

And it causes a whole lot of destruction in the process.

And that’s where a lot of my current anger still rests. In the fact that I was a tornado that ripped through a lot of people’s lives with no regard to the damage I was causing along the way.


For most of my life I have tried to be a good person and do the right things. I would avoid situations, places and people that could lead to bad decisions. I tried to be very cognizant about the friends I chose, especially in high school and college. But I have always had a serious sense of paranoia that despite all the good I was doing I could be accused of doing something that I didn’t do.

Do you know how difficult it is to live a life trying to ensure that everything is so perfect that you could never be blamed for something? It’s exhausting. Constantly trying to think 5 steps ahead of everyone else, playing what-if scenarios in your mind over and over again.

And do you know what is absolutely gut-wrenching? Doing everything right and still having your worst fears come true.


Now, I’m not a perfect person. In fact, I’ve done a lot of wrong in my life. I’ve cursed. I’ve stolen. I’ve lied. I’ve lusted. I’ve hurt a lot of people emotionally.

But there’s also a lot I’ve never done. I’ve never physically harmed someone. I’ve never cheated on anyone. I don’t even spank my children (we will get to that below). I try to make sure that the good I do outweighs the bad that sometimes comes from me.

But sometimes, it’s really hard to do good things when you live in a constant state of fear because of, often, the insecurities of others. And the feelings start as sadness and grow into anger.

So let’s get into this, shall we? Let’s talk about how words, and more specifically false accusations, can destroy a person.


I absolutely love being around children. And, for whatever reason, kids seem to love me. I can come down to their level and speak to them in a way that they can relate to. I can be silly and playful and act their age, not my own. Tea parties, dress up, sword fights, hide and seek, writing make believe stories, drawing pictures, painting your nails. These are some of the best things to do in life, period. It’s one of the reasons I was really good at my job when I did photography. Moms would call me the “Baby Whisperer” because of the way I could calm kids and make them happy. A child’s laugh and smile are truly just two of the greatest gifts to the world.

And I never had to think about the way I interacted with kids for the longest time until someone one day mentioned that I made them uncomfortable by the way I apparently looked at their children. And it absolutely destroyed my heart and ruined a part of my life. So now, anytime I am around people, because of one person, I am always fully aware of my behavior around everyone, not just children. I am always trying to make sure that I can never be in a position where someone can say something that is not true to who I am as a person.

Do you know how exhausting that is? I would love to be in a career where I could help children all day. In fact, if I could do things all over again I would 100% be a pediatric doctor. I often, still, think about going back to school for that, even at 32 and with 3 degrees already.

I’ve had people tell me how great I am with kids and how much they see that kids love being around me. And it’s always a great thing to hear. But it’s also very sad that I have to live in fear that someone, someday could manipulate a situation just to destroy my life. And it makes me extremely angry. Why? Because in this world we live in, the accusations don’t even have to be true to ruin someone’s life.

I just want to do good, but I can’t because of other people. My wife asked me how long it would be before I volunteered to help with the children’s ministry at church. Would I love to do that? Absolutely. But I live in fear of others words. I’m starting to let my guard down a lot more around family. It just makes my heart so full whenever the girls get so excited to see me, even if I just facetime them.


I also try to be very cautious about the way I discipline my children. I do not spank my children, but I also do not judge anyone who chooses to discipline in that way. To be fair, my kids probably deserve a good spanking every once in awhile for their behavior, just not from me. Again, because people wanted to throw words around without thinking of the consequences that would come from them, I will never discipline my children in that way. So instead, my next best option for discipline comes from empty threats of grounding and yelling. And, at times in the past, a lot of yelling.

My threats are empty because I don’t want to be perceived as a mean parent. Granted, yelling at my kids isn’t a whole lot better, but it’s just been the one thing that I haven’t been able to control when I get angry. When I say I yell at my kids, I don’t mean that I scream at them. More times than not, it’s just enough to get their attention, or be heard over their own yelling. You know, the “dad voice”.

But I have been angry that, again, I was falsely accused of doing something I have never done and would never do.


So let’s continue this trend of false accusations and the anger that comes along with them…

My trust for others, and my lack of friendship, stems from a fairly devastating accusation that ended an extremely close friendship.

I’ve been very honest with the fact that when I love, I love deeply. And I will give so much of myself, even with a friendship, for people I truly care about. I am that person that will show up at 3:00 in the morning. Or the one that will leave work in the middle of the day to come and give you a shoulder to cry on. I will be the person that will drive around town for hours in search of a hard to find item. I am the person that will give the shirt off my back, even though I am so uncomfortable with my own body.

I will ask for forgiveness for my lack of humbleness later, but when given the opportunity I can be a pretty incredible friend.

And I have a way of making people feel good. Like, really good. As in, if you’re having a really crappy day, I can more than likely tell you the things you need to hear to be in a much better place. I am an extremely kind person, especially out in public. Sometimes to the point where it annoys my wife (I will wait, for long periods of time, instead of interrupting someone out in public). I always tip on everything, because I always assume that if service wasn’t great then this person clearly must be fighting a battle I know nothing about.

But sometimes my kindness can be taken the wrong way. Sometimes people believe I have ulterior motives.

Let’s get one thing out of the way first. Fact, I do know how to flirt. But I can assure you, more times than not if you think I am flirting, I’m probably just being nice. Or just being playful. Even my wife sometimes thinks I flirt out in public.

But honestly, I genuinely just try to be a good person and make other people feel good. Do you know how sad it makes me that because of the world we are in I can’t tell people when they look nice? Or that I like their clothes? Or can’t mention it when they get a new perfume or cologne that smells good? Do you know how angry it makes me that I can’t compliment others? Do you know how frustrating it is that I can’t use the word “beautiful” to others other than my wife and kids? It’s stupid, because it is a word that should instantly bring a smile to someone’s face, but because people think there has to be some other connotation to the word I can’t tell them.

Anyways, apparently my kindness and willingness to be there for close friends was taken by others as more than just being a really good friend. People so wrongly assume that the opposite sex just can’t be friends with one another without there being something more.

And that particular situation just absolutely destroyed me. Sadness, depression and ultimately anger. Because all I ever wanted was to just have a really good friend. Someone that I could be there for and they could be there for me. But people had to ruin it by not seeing things for what they truly were.


And then more accusations of me being in situations that I’ve never even been in. Those ones ares the hardest to swallow because you hear one story and then it just keeps changing to outlandish claims that you eventually just get overwhelmed by. But the anger comes when people you thought you could trust start to believe them. And then completely pull out of your life as if something actually happened. And, again, the accusations are worse when they come from people that you thought you could trust.


That’s enough of the false accusations I’ve had to deal with. Let’s discuss other things that are still consuming me with anger…

How about thinking someone who was supposed to be a mentor to you for 6 years ends up not being who you thought they were and were actually using you all that time? Yeah, that would be from a previous work superior. Thankfully I had an amazing person come into my life and in less than 6 months fixed a lot of the damage that I didn’t even realize at first was caused. She eventually moved on, but I am blessed to still keep in touch with her to this day (and who may be reading this now).

Or how about your accomplishments being belittled to the point where your own siblings and uncle tell you that what you’ve done doesn’t even matter? This lead me to a point where I actually had a breaking point where I almost physically hurt one of my brothers. And if it weren’t for my dad being where he was in that instant and intervening, things could have gotten really bad. Not that other people’s opinions should matter, but when you have sacrificed so much to be where you are and other people treat it like it’s nothing, it really hurts.

Or losing all relationship with your siblings. That one hurts a lot and eventually lead to anger because I felt like I wasn’t good enough to be a part of their group. I remember early in my twenties the relationship I had with all of my siblings was great. We would hang out together all the time. They would spend the night and we would stay up until early into the morning playing games together. Or we would go to the movies. Or just play catch at my parent’s house. But now do you know when I hear from any of them? Aside from one who lives on the other side of the country, only when they need something. And I’ve been told it’s because they think I believe I am better than them, but all I truly want is to help them be better people. I have offered so many times to help them, and do you know how many times they’ve taken me up on it? Once. One time, ever, and they didn’t even actually do anything with it. I can be hard on them, but it’s only because I see the potential that they don’t see within themselves.

Another thing that really angers me? Is being punished for doing well in life. That we are held to a different standard than everyone else in the family because we are responsible. The fact that things will be taken from us to give to someone else who truly is not deserving. And I’m angry about the fact that my wife has to have such terrible memories about our wedding because she is the “other daughter”. I’m angry that she had to be continually slapped in the face last year at her own sister’s wedding and constantly reminded for months that her wedding wasn’t as important. I’m angry at all the work that I had to pay for last year from family that did the same thing for free to everyone else. It bothers me that something that was given to everyone else isn’t being offered to us just because I have a good job. It hurts to be treated worse for doing better. I’m angry at the fact that almost all of our family lives less than 10 minutes from our house but very rarely ever makes an effort to see us, but will drive over 2.5 hours multiple times a month to see other people. I’m angry at the fact that my wife was basically broken from being in a toxic work environment for so many years that she chose to walk away from flexibility with her children to be in a place where she was respected.

I get angry at the way that my oldest daughter constantly lies to us, even about the dumbest things. I have anger about the way my youngest children treat each other, knowing that if they just chose to love one another unconditionally that they would be so much happier.

I am angry for the fact that I almost lost my wife last year because I was stupid and thought I wanted things I definitely did not want. And that I hurt her by saying some pretty damaging things. And the fact that she lost a lot of trust in me because of it, sometimes still having unseen consequences.

I get angry at the fact that I let myself get so unhealthy that I was unable to even do anything active with my own children. And I still struggle with my body to this day. Do you know how frustrating it is to be so uncomfortable with yourself that you will avoid swimming, even around family, because I still see myself as 60 pounds heavier than I am.

And I get angry at the fact that I willingly chose to turn my back to God and think that I was in control of my own life.


As you can tell, I’ve got a lot of anger I still need to free myself from. I’m hoping that giving myself to Jesus entirely will remove this from my heart.

Dear God,

I realize I still struggle greatly with feelings of sadness and anger. I pray that You will guide me in seeking the forgiveness that I truly need to free myself from this pain.

Please help me in forgiving those who have stolen parts of me that I struggle with finding again.

All I want to do is bring joy to this world. I want to bring happiness to others. I want those around me to be filled with smiles and laughter.

I want to be the best husband, the best father, the best son, the best brother, the best friend, the best caretaker, etc. that I can be.

I know You have already forgiven me for all the wrong I have done. I hope You can help me with the pain and anger that I am trying work through.

I ask that You please continue to be patient with me.

Please forgive me for turning my back on You so many times, allowing myself to be consumed with all of this pain.

Amen

I love you all, with all my heart.

You are beautiful.

Kyle

Addressing The Past To Cleanse My Heart And Bring Myself Closer To Jesus (Part One)

Baptism, Forgiveness, God, Jesus, Life

On this path I am on to be a surrendered follower of Jesus I am learning to love unconditionally. Not only others, but also myself. How am I to seek forgiveness without addressing my sins and failures? I can’t just drop to my knees and yell out “Please forgive me for everything I have done!”. That just feels like I’m cheating. Like I haven’t worked to earn what I am asking for. But Jesus already knows everything I have done and everything I have thought. He has already forgiven me before I have even asked for forgiveness, right?! You’re absolutely correct.

So why am I doing this? I could just keep all these thoughts to myself and no one would ever know this part of my past. I could have a clean start. But I don’t want that. I want people to know that I am a broken person. That I am going through a lot of hard work to have this relationship with Jesus. It’s not necessary. He will accept me for the simple request of forgiveness, but I need to free myself of these thoughts and feelings and release the bonds. I need to address the demons so that I can have a clean start for me. I will be seeking to be re-baptized soon, so over the next few weeks (and possibly months) I am going to be working on a series to start addressing some (the list is long) of my faults and weaknesses. I want to free my heart of these burdens before I cleanse myself and start my life fully surrendered.

I will be pouring out my thoughts and feelings and trying to explain the context of the situations.

WARNING!

You probably are not going to like the things I have to share. I don’t like them. They hurt. A lot. But I can not pretend as if my past did not happen. I have to use them as learning opportunities to build a stronger relationship with Jesus.

So let’s dive right into this…


My wife and I are currently working on finalizing all of our “post-death” wishes. Setting up a living trust, making adjustments to life insurance policies, etc. Of course, in any normal conversation, this is going to bring up a lot of emotions and what-if scenarios.

We’ve all played the “What If?” game, right?! It’s absolutely terrible. This game is never played with positive outcomes! It’s always the worst case scenarios and just makes what you’re talking about so uncomfortable.

Here’s a scenario that brings up a lot of sad memories and where today’s topic comes from – “What if you get sick?”

Now, this has been a big component of a lot of relationships in my life. I watched my grandmother deteriorate from cancer in front of my eyes to the point that I felt peace when she finally passed away, knowing she was no longer suffering. I’ve watched my dad collapse walking across the house because of health issues. I watched my grandfather take cocktails of medications on a daily basis just to get through the day from COPD. I see people needing to carry around oxygen tanks just to be able to breathe and perform a necessary requirement to live.

I’ve seen children with scars that take up their entire chests from heart conditions and surgeries. I’ve seen children who literally are at risk of drowning in their sleep from cystic fibrosis. I’ve seen children who couldn’t even eat food on their own.

I’ve seen pain. I’ve seen suffering. I’ve seen death…


Here’s a story most of you probably don’t know about me, for reasons that will become evident soon. A few years ago I suffered unimaginably painful migraines. We’ve all had some before where we just want to lock ourselves in a dark room and sleep the day away. But mine were so bad that I wanted to gouge out my eyes because the sunlight hurt so bad (some days pressing on my eyes would make the pain subside, if only for a few moments). I would cause pain to other parts of my body to temporarily distract from my head.

It was intense. I went through so many different medications trying to find something that would work. Every single week the doctor was prescribing something new, and nothing ever seemed to do the trick. Eventually it lead to another round of severe depression.

Finally the doctors started to suspect something else was going on. So guess what comes next? Yup. The conversations of MRIs and CT scans to check for brain tumors. And here’s the part of the story that you guys aren’t going to like, because it makes me so sad to think about…

I hoped that there was something wrong with me. I hoped that they would get in there and say “Oh, well there it is!” and then turn around and tell me that I only had a year or so left to live.

I wanted that conversation to happen.

Obviously, as I sit here today, that conversion didn’t actually happen. God has bigger plans for me. Tests continually came back positive and the new medications kept coming. A medication finally did the trick after months of testing and I was placed on an anticonvulsant for a very long time until the pain finally subsided.

And guess what happened when that conversation didn’t happen? I was disappointed! I was sad that I wasn’t dying. I envied the people that I saw that were sick. Not for the pain that they were going through, but for the love that they received because of it. Because in those moments where people were at their lowest physically, they were at their strongest spiritually. And they were surrounded by loved ones.

And I didn’t believe that I had that.

What was wrong with me?!


I sat at my cousins funeral 6 years ago and saw the place filled with people that loved him so incredibly much. And it was in that moment that I realized I felt so alone in this world. But Kyle, your family should be enough, right?! Right. But that’s a forgiveness post for another day.

But thinking of my mortality just brought about sadness. And anger. And very conflicting feelings that just made me feel even more lost. I have a soft spot for sappy books and movies where the main protagonist dies in the end, more specifically from sickness. I would watch these movies and read these books and see how much good came as they approached the end of their lives. And I would long for that. But then I would turn around and think of my funeral if I were to pass and could only see maybe 10 people showing up, including my own family. So, I would want to be sick to be able to have an excuse to bring people closer to me, but I didn’t want to be sick because it would be a reminder of how alone I truly was? That’s not okay.

I’ve just recently come to the realization of how alone I really was for such a long time. I only have myself to blame, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

It’s, rightfully, hard for me to admit these things, especially knowing how incredibly selfish it is because people have to actually endure these horrible moments in their lives. And I’m so sorry if you think I am lessening the extremities of these situations.


But this is something that is no longer a part of who I am. My life is not my own to live.

One, I have a growing family that loves and wants me around.

Two, that is not the way Jesus lived His life! He gave His life for others, including me. Not for His own selfish desires! He gave the ultimate sacrifice so I could be stupid and free to think those terrible things in the first place.

Three, I am not here, living this life, to build a kingdom of my own. I am here to serve others and to make a difference.

My thoughts were incredibly selfish, upsetting, sad and not pure.

So today, I seek forgiveness. For my envy. For devaluing my life when it is not mine to do so. For believing that God’s plan for me was less than my own.

Today I am one step closer to loving myself unconditionally, for I have come to realize that Jesus is a part of who I am, and for Him to love me unconditionally I must do the same and live as if He were living my life for me.

Dear God,

I have lived my life for so long as a sinner. My sin has brought me no joy or happiness in life. It was not until I began to give my life to You that the skies began to clear and the light was shown on my life.

I ask for forgiveness from You today for treating my life as if it weren’t such an incredible gift from You, personally! Please forgive me for undervaluing my life and hoping for it to be shortened. I know You have been by my side through every transgression, protecting me from myself and not answering my prayers. Sometimes the greatest gift in life is unanswered prayers.

You have plans for my life that I can not even imagine and I will do everything that I can to share my gifts and blessings with others. I will serve others!

I am a sinner. Thank You for bearing my sins for me and for allowing me to be, for lack of better words, an idiot for such a long time.

I am a better person because of You, and I will continue to follow in Your footsteps and live my life as if You were living it for me. What a blessing it is to know that You are a part of who I am!

In Jesus’ name.

Amen.

I’m sorry for such a heavy post. I wish I could say that they get easier from here, but I know that that is not true. But on the bright side of all of this, we all already know how the story ends – with me living a fully surrendered life to Jesus and finding my way back to His Kingdom!

I love you all, so incredibly much!

Kyle

Happy Birthday! Now Go Out And Do Good!

Birthday, Family, Good, Jesus, Life, love

Today is officially my birthday and for the first time in a very long time it will be a joyous day. March 4th can no longer be a sad day, even if the world is falling apart around me because I now get to share this day with an incredibly special person! So, happy birthday beautiful girl! You are so very loved!

I loooove Winnie the Pooh… 🤷‍♂️

A weird thing happened over the last 10 days that hasn’t happened in a very long time… I haven’t had any feelings of insecurity or sadness. I have been filled with so much happiness and love in my life that it has started to spill over into the way I go about my days.

I’ve been reminded lately that the gifts I have been given are not mine. They are a blessing that I was given to share with the world, and to help others when I am able (and to sacrifice when I am unable).

Right now, at the point I am in with my life, the best thing I have found that I am able to do is to bring joy and happiness to others.

That’s crazy, right? Me, a person who has just so recently felt like they had no purpose in this world, now feels like they can make a difference in other people’s lives?


So how have I been doing this? Simple…

Do Good. If you don’t want to listen to me, take it from the brilliant Mr. Feeny:

That’s it!

Simple enough, right? If you go into a situation with a positive, helping attitude, it just makes all the difference. Headed into a tough situation? Do something to make it better. Talking to someone that has a negative disposition? Point out their positives.

There is positive in every single situation. Focus on those and multiply them. Bring them to the forefront of a conversation.

Be the person that others want to be around. That people will feel comfortable around and know that you will bring a smile to their face.

I will warn you, however, that we unfortunately live in a very harsh world. People are always skeptical of kindness. They believe there has to be an ulterior motive.

To that, I will remind you of the “Anyway” prayer attributed to Mother Teresa (originally written by Kent M. Smith):

So do it anyways. If you are doing things out of the pure nature, kindness and love of your heart, who cares what others think? Now, of course, be respectful of other people’s feelings and levels of comfort. But try to bring as much joy and love as you possibly can to this beautiful world we live in.


Stop living each day as if tomorrow is promised.

Tell your loved ones you love them.

Give people your time. It’s a rare and precious thing.

Make others feel welcomed.

If you have gifts, share them with others.

Build others up so they can go far in life.

Compliment people you do and do not know. Let someone know they are beautiful. Or that you like their clothing style. Or their haircut is nice. Or that they just made you smile.

Bring love, joy and happiness to everyone around you!


Can you imagine a world where we are all supporting one another and helping others achieve happiness and success? What a beautiful thing that would be!

I have been hurt in the past, but I don’t wish poorly of any of them in any capacity. I thank God for the learning opportunities and pray that he will watch over their lives.


Do Good. Live this every single day and watch how the world changes around you. You stop noticing the harshness and see wonder instead.

Let’s make today a great day.! I don’t need anything special for my birthday, but knowing that people are going out of their way to brighten others’ lives simply because I reminded them will bring a smile to my face.

So, I will get this “Do Good” movement started…

I love you. Yes, YOU! The person reading this. You are an absolutely beautiful soul! If knowing that brings a smile to your face then I am so glad to be able to share this life with you!

Today will be a day filled with love, joy and happiness!


Dear God.

Today I want to quickly thank You for blessing me with another year and for being patient as I found my way back to You.

Now that I’m out of the way, today I pray that You bless the lives of so many people! Give them comfort, and joy, and love and happiness. Let them feel Your presence!

Please protect my loved ones who have been under constant attack lately. Please allow them to stay focused and continue fighting to spread Your good word. Their hearts are aching and I pray that You will grant them peace and comfort.

I pray for the continued health, happiness and safety of others.

Today starts a new year of life and I am so excited to spend this year building my relationship with You!

Amen

With all of my love!

Kyle

How the Love of Two People Saved My Life

Community, Family, Life, love

Little bit of a dramatic way to start a post, right?

Hardly, especially once you truly understand how things have completely changed for me over the last 6 months.


This post is going to be all about Josh and Stacy. Two of the best, most sincere, beautiful people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. This post isn’t going to be about my wife or kids (that’s in the drafts for another day…).

Fair warning before I jump right into this, you’re walking into an emotional post. It’s going to get pretty sappy. I’ve cried. A lot. You might, too. We can ugly cry together. Let’s make this a bonding experience. I tried to break up all the sentiment with moments of humor throughout.

This has been in my drafts for weeks because I keep adding to it before I get around to hitting the publish button. It’s a long one, and honestly I could keep adding to it with each passing day. But at some point it’s got to get posted. The point of this post is to share with everyone how much of a difference a simple act of kindness and generosity can so significantly change another person’s world. I’m not trying to make anyone cry. I’m not trying to brag. I’m not trying to make you feel like your life would be better if you knew these two people (although, let’s be real, it absolutely would be).


In the past I’ve been pretty open about my periods of depression (see here…). I’ve dealt with anxiety, depression, panic attacks, sadness, etc., but I’ve never been truly lost. I couldn’t always process my way out of my feelings, but I always had a sense of self-awareness. For 31 years, that is until last year happened.

So there I was just making my way through life, lost, running on auto-pilot for most of the year.

Just some background. I’ve “known” Josh for about 3 years. He was Maddi’s cross country coach. Maddi would always have stories about him. How he would run practice really hard. How she preferred when one of the other coaches were training them for the day because he never took it easy on them. He pushed her. Every day. And cross country is the one thing she’s never quit. And I know it’s because he instilled the confidence in her she needed and pushed her to be better and to love something she was good at.

And then he became her teacher. And we heard stories about how “scary” he was. He was passionate about what he was teaching. Breaking rulers on the first day of class to “intimidate” his students. And then she would tell stories about his dad jokes. And she would talk about how her and her friends would spend their lunch working through life with his assistance.

I just assumed that it was just a silly school crush Maddi had on her teacher. Let’s be honest, we all went through that. But Maddi doesn’t really let many people in. She likes to keep to herself. This was someone she trusted and felt safe around.

And then my youngest, Benny, started kindergarten and was in the same class as Josh’ son. And they instantly became best friends. All Benny talked about was his new friend. All. The. Time. It was the cutest thing. For anyone who knows how far Benny has come (see here…) you will understand how amazing it was to see him take to someone socially so quickly. I didn’t know who this kid was, but I loved him for the change he was making in my own son’s life.

The boys would schedule their own play dates and my wife would coordinate everything with Stacy, who I really didn’t know at the time. I was just starting to let my guard down to Josh a little out of sheer respect for the impact he was making on Maddi’s life.


So this brings us to around August of this past year, where I was just floating through life. Benny was having his birthday party and really wanted his best friend to be there. The boys had had a few play dates at that point and the adults had often said over the prior few months that we should all just get together. It’s something you just instinctively say to be polite, right? “Let’s catch up sometime.” “It would be great to have you over for dinner.” So, we decided to invite their entire family for the birthday party.

That day changed everything.

Stacy and Allissa just clicked. They connected immediately. If you ask anyone who was at that party, they all assumed that those two had known each other for years. They had so much to talk about. I was still in a weird place where I was trying to be someone I wasn’t, but I think Josh saw that and he just made himself part of the party. Maybe he saw something I didn’t see at the time. Maybe he saw me screaming out for help. Maybe he just thought I was an alright person?

At the end of that day I told Allissa we needed to follow through and actually get together with them. These were genuinely nice people, like the ones we met in Ireland. You just don’t find that kind of kindness here. Or at least that’s what I told myself.

We would see them during cross country season, and Allissa and Stacy would get to know each other during the meets whenever she was there and I slowly started to get to know Stacy a bit. We didn’t actually schedule anything for about 2 months until we ran into each other for the school Trunk or Treating. We finally said enough was enough and made plans.

Our families got together for dinner for the first time a week later and immediately the kids were overjoyed. They ran off and the adults didn’t exist from that point on. Me being me, I was awkward. Of course. I was still in this mind set of staying guarded to protect myself. Because “everyone will hurt me”.

It went well, though. We played games together, we ate dinner, and we started to pull back my shell just a little.


Things escalated very quickly from that point. Next thing I know we are trick-or-treating together on Halloween. Dinners happened every few weeks or so. The kids were so excited and I was finally starting to realize that I could open myself up to these people. They made me want to by the way they accepted us.

And then we were invited to their New Years Eve party with their closest college friends. Talk about intimidating. But it ended up being amazing. Josh has a way of bringing people together and making them feel like they belong. I met some amazing people that evening that I can not wait to know better and be a bigger part of their lives and for them to be part of ours.

After that, dinner every few weeks became every week. And it was something I looked forward to. One of the highlights of every single one of my weeks. Mondays always seem so far away. We would talk, play games, eat, and just open up to one another. People have never been able to get me to do that before.

And these two people, who were absolutely destroying the walls I built up around myself, just kept showering me with unconditional love. They were giving me what I needed in my life without me realizing that I was missing it.


For anyone who has known me at any point in my life will know that I do not have a very good track record with friendships with other men. As in, aside from elementary school friends (who are no longer in my life), there has been no successful friendships at all. And I would even be as bold as to say that includes my siblings. I’ve always been able to relate better with women. Probably has a lot to do with fear of competing for dominance and proving masculinity.

I’m not getting into psychology today. I’m not talking about how it bothers me that people shame me for not caring about sports. Or that I’d rather stay in and watch a good Hallmark movie and get in touch with my feelings. Or whatever… someone asked, right?! Riiiiight…

So for Josh to come into my life and be someone I wanted to pour my heart out to, you should truly understand how meaningful that is. It’s never happened. As in… ever. And yet I can tell this man everything. And I usually do. Without a single fear of judgement! I could come to him and tell him I did something terrible and he would look at me, hug me, and ask what he can do to help. Granted, he would at some point tell me if I did something stupid, but that’s just something I love about him. That he will call me out on my crap.

And he makes me want to be a better person. In basically every aspect of my life. He is an absolutely amazing father. He is a fantastic husband. A huge extrovert and everyone absolutely loves being around him. Even Maddi loves him, and she has some people issues.

And he is a devoted Christ follower. His passion in the things he truly believes in is so incredibly inspiring. When he gets going on a topic that he is into, it’s amazing to see him go. It’s like watching a science experiment with a bunch of chain reactions going off all at once. It’s mesmerizing to be a part of. Sometimes chaotic, but it is something beautiful that you want to be a part of.

He never knew of my past, and yet he came to me with unconditional love in his heart and accepted me before I even knew what was going on. He made me a part of his family before I could make sense of what was happening. Josh introduced me, indirectly (but if you know him, more than likely intentionally with a long-game plan), to what unconditional love actually was. Before I met Josh and Stacy, I didn’t know. My heart was filled with pain, anger, bitterness and sadness. And it’s, mostly (about 95%), free from all of that now.

He didn’t see me as a project. He didn’t see me as someone that was broken (granted, I definitely was). He didn’t see me as someone who needed to be fixed. He didn’t even know my religious views. He just said “Hey, man. I love you”.

He told me once that the timing of me coming into his life happened for a reason. Oh boy, I hope he truly knows that the timing of him coming into my life was a moment of Heaven on Earth.

Josh has a way of seeing the bigger picture. He can see into people’s hearts and knows how to speak to them on an intimate, personal level. It’s a gift. And an amazing one at that.


Josh has a way of getting you energized. He’s the pep talk before a big game. Stacy, on the other hand, has a way of calming your soul. She’s like a bedtime story after a long day. When you’re with her the world just slows down, in the best way possible.

One of my absolute favorite things about Stacy is the way she hugs you. If you’ve ever been given a hug by her, you will know exactly what I’m about to say. If I am having a bad day, my mood is instantly lifted. If it’s a good day, it just gets even better. She doesn’t give you a hug like you’re a new acquaintance, quick and with a few pats on the back. She embraces you, squeezes, and holds you. A hug so tight that it just puts all the broken pieces back together again. It makes you feel like everything in the world will be okay, even if just for a few moments.

The best way I can describe it is you can feel the love of Jesus radiating from within her. It is a hug full of unconditional love and warmth. Odds are, knowing the person she is, she probably makes everyone feel this way. But you know what? I’m going to ignore that and just pretend that I’m special. ☺️


Stacy is a truly amazing caregiver. We have entrusted her with our kids at least 5/7 days of the week. And she loves them so much as if they are one of her own. Benny and Shai, who both have some social anxieties of their own that they are overcoming, tell us constantly about how much they just love her. I trust her with all of our lives, and I’ve told her time and time again when she has the kids that they are hers. Her rules, her discipline, her fun. And she doesn’t treat them any different, which I have so much respect for.

She shows up when the kids are sick, bringing them things to make their days special. She makes everyone around her feel so loved, whether it’s in the way she talks to you, or makes you feel included, or cooks you dinner, or bakes you desserts (she could definitely open her own bakery someday…. yum!).

Stacy has taught me to fully embrace my emotions. I don’t need to hide who I am, and she seems to have a way of sensing when something just isn’t right. If you need to cry, she will be right there and cry with you. It’s pretty impossible to be in the same room with her and not leave with a smile on your face. She just has that effect on others.


These two people brought me out of one of the darkest points in my life. When I was going through one of the toughest times they both came to my side, put their arms through mine, and asked to walk with me. I didn’t know at the time that they were helping me walk a path back to salvation, but I can tell you now I’m really not surprised. These two are living examples of what it means to be followers of Jesus.

I am blessed to be able to see Josh every weekday morning when I drop the kids off. And as I make sure to hug my kids and tell them I love them, I do the same with him. Why? Because he means that much to me.

Whenever we are all together, it’s something we all do. And it just brings so much joy to my life.

We have, on multiple occasions, been up into the early hours of the morning talking about all sorts of odds and ends. We lose track of time picking the kids up and talking for an hour. I don’t know about them, but it never seems to be enough. Sometimes with people I struggle to find things to talk about. It’s never happened with them. Not once. And we spend hours together every single week.


When I fully opened myself up to the two of them on where I was with my faith, I asked them how they were able to be such devoted Christ followers and compartmentalize that part of their lives and not have that be a big part of our friendship.

Oh how naive I was.

They weren’t compartmentalizing anything. What they didn’t do was try to build our relationship around something that we may or may not have been on the same page about. What they DID do was love me unconditionally. They were living their lives following the life of Jesus. They weren’t hiding anything. They were 100% being true to themselves. They didn’t care one bit about what I believed. They loved me anyways.

They loved me anyways!

I would do absolutely anything for their family. Any of them. And I know that they would do the same for mine. I trust them with everything I have. Literally everything. These are people I would genuinely give my life for.

Now our families have become one. We are not 5 of one, 6 of another. We come together as a family of 11. We have trips scheduled together. We have plans a year out from now. I am looking forward to my birthday for the first time in a very long time because of them. We laugh together. We cry together. We pray together. We break bread together. We joke around and tease each other. We have full on gif conversations. We have inside jokes (flowers, and freezers, and chica bread!). We create lifetime memories. Together.

We love one another and the world is a better place because of it.

They are helping me in my journey to be a better follower of Jesus. Never once telling me I should do things one way or another, but supporting me and loving me as I work through things. Giving me answers when I have questions. Giving me a shoulder to cry on when I’m having a bad day. Directing me to look at things from a different perspective to work through troubles. They speak to me on what they believe and it resonates with me on such a profound level because it just makes so much sense!


If you’ve made it this far, either you are the people this post was written about or you are just drawn to who these people are (which, you should be!). And if you are the people it was written about, you might be in tears now (Stacy, I’m sure you are since you tell me all the time I make you cry.). Sorry, not sorry! I needed to document this turning point in my life.

Josh and Stacy, you are truly disciples of Jesus. You both mean so incredibly much to me.

You are not my friends, you are my family.

Josh – I love you!

Stacy – I love you!

And I love your family, which I feel I can safely call an extension of my own. It just melts my heart to see how excited the girls get when they see me and run and give me lots of hugs (wonder where they get that from?!).

If I were not here tomorrow I am glad to know you will have these words to forever hold. To know that you made a difference in someone’s world. You saved a life – mine.

Dear God.

Is there more I can say to thank You for bringing these beautiful souls into my life? I asked for a message and You sure did deliver. Hand-picked, embellished with love, kindness, generosity, compassion. A special gift from God. And You chose me to be blessed with their presence? How great is Your love!

I pray that You love and protect them. Your love is so evident in the people they are, the things they do and the way they live their lives. You have given me a brother that will take me by my hand and show me how to live a better life and be a follower of Christ. Who doesn’t judge me but fosters my growth.

You have given me someone who has shown me that it is okay to cry. And to do it often! You have given me someone who has taught me to give myself to others. To accept people for who they are. To open my home to strangers. You have given me someone who has taught me the power of a hug, and the difference it can make on someone’s life.

You have given me love. You have given me guidance. You have given me inspiration.

You have blessed me with these people. I only hope that I can be the same blessing to others. I want to change the lives of others as these people have done for me.

I want to make a difference. I want to live a purposeful life. I want be a follower of Jesus and live a life as He did. I want to give all of myself to You.

Amen

With all the love in my heart!

Kyle

*Please feel free to follow my blog if you would like to receive email notifications whenever I post. You can subscribe down below or off to the right of this post. I try to post at least once a week, depending on what is currently going on in my life. Let me know below if you have any comments, questions or concerns. Hope everyone has a blessed day! YOU ARE LOVED!*

Lauren Daigle – Rescue

You are not hidden
There’s never been a moment
You were forgotten
You are not hopeless
Though you have been broken
Your innocence stolen

I hear you whisper underneath your breath
I hear your SOS, your SOS

I will send out an army
To find you in the middle of the darkest night
It’s true
I will rescue you

There is no distance
That cannot be covered
Over and over
You’re not defenseless
I’ll be your shelter
I’ll be your armor

I hear you whisper underneath your breath
I hear your SOS, your SOS

I will send out an army
To find you in the middle of the darkest night
It’s true
I will rescue you
I will never stop marching
To reach you in the middle of the hardest fight
It’s true
I will rescue you

I hear the whisper underneath your breath
I hear you whisper, you have nothing left

I will send out an army
To find you in the middle of the darkest night
It’s true
I will rescue you
I will never stop marching
To reach you in the middle of the hardest fight
It’s true
I will rescue you

Oh, I will rescue you

What’s In A Name? A Reminder of Where I Came From And Where I Want To Go

Community, Dinner, Family, God, Jesus, Life, love, Neighbor, religion

When I created this blog over 4 years ago I was in a place in my life where the only thing I wanted was solitude for my immediate family of 5. This blog was created to be about OUR little infinity. I had shut the rest of the world out and was focused on my wants. My needs.

But I’ve come to realize that “our” is a relative term. It does not have to be about my wife and I, or a family of 5. And I’m so glad that it is not that way! I am so grateful that I am no longer the person that I once was.

I’ve thought about going through the process of changing the blog name. I know the steps that need to be made to switch the domain name, how to change the authors, etc. But I don’t want to any longer. As I have mentioned in a post on my Facebook, my past is what has brought me to be where I am and the person I have become. And I want to embrace my past, the pain and all.


Let’s break this out and over-analyze, shall we?

Table For Five. Today, this means I am setting a hard limit on the number of people I let into my life. I am closing myself off from the world, putting up walls and telling others that if you don’t belong in my small group, you’ll never get to know me. The only people allowed to sit at my table are my wife and children.

That’s not who I want to be! Not anymore. Not ever again! As I’ve mentioned before, we are planning on moving before year end. One of the biggest reasons that I now want to move is because I do not physically have the space in my own home to be able to have people over. I want my new home to be a safe haven for others. I want it to be a second home to my loved ones. I want it to be open to my neighbors. I can promise you now that other people will have keys to my home. Where you don’t have to knock to enter. Where you will always be welcomed.

I want to be surrounded by loved ones every day. I want to share meals all the time.


One of my absolute favorite things that I get the privilege of doing is having dinner with my best friends and their family once a week. Every week, aside from times of sickness, we prioritize sitting down and breaking bread together.

And my favorite thing about it is that when we all sit down together there is not a division in families. If you ever watch us together, we do not separate. The adults do not sit apart from the children, spouses do not pair off and stay right by one another. We come together as one. And my heart is so full being able to speak to every single one of them individually as if we have known each other our entire lives.

And it’s something I want to be surrounded by. I want to just give so much love. I want to have plans every night of being with loved ones. I want to build relationships. I want to share the love of Jesus.

I don’t want a table for five. I want a table for fifty.


I am this new person now and all I want to do is just give my love to others. And it’s such a weird feeling to me because just a few months ago I was so closed off to the world. But now my eyes, and my heart, have been opened.

Love creates such beautiful transformations.


Our Little Infinity.

How naive I was to believe that my life, and the life my family had, was from my own doing. That I had a right to claim it as my own. To take possession of “our” little infinity.

Our little infinity is so much greater than I could have ever imagined. To have the love of God, to be a follower of Jesus. To be given eternal life. Oh how it just opens the doors to so much beauty and joy.

We have a life that has been blessed upon us, and we get the honor of sharing this with others. “Our” grows from five to a community of so many.

Our little infinity now means the life I get to share with my community for the time I am alive. And what an amazing thing that is.

I am brimming with love. And compassion. And joy. And happiness. Oh, my heart has never felt this way before and I never want it to change.


I’m eager to make this transition into our new home and begin sharing my life with those around me. Please fill my life with love. Let us share a meal together. Let’s go for a walk. Let’s cry together. Let’s pray together! Let’s just be together, with love in our hearts. It doesn’t have to be a special occasion.

And for those who already welcome me into their homes, you are a big reason why I strive to be a better person. I hope these meetings happen often as it is easily one of my favorite moments each week and something I look forward to.

My family of five is no longer. It has grown and I am so blessed.


“Dear God,

Oh how You have made Your presence known in my life! I see You all around me. I stop and notice the amazing things You have done in this world that we take for granted on a daily basis.

I recognize Your blessings and I cherish them!

My heart has been opened because You worked through others to bring me back to You. I see You in their eyes. I hear You in their voice. I feel You in their hugs.

Today I want to thank You for everything in my life. I know You are not responsible for the bad, but know You never left my side through them. You allowed me to try to do things on my own, and were always there to catch me when I fell. And You have forgiven me through them all.

How loving You are. That You would sacrifice so much to allow me be here, as significant and small as I have felt in the past.

I pray that You allow me to share my love with all those who are willing to accept it. I want to bring love and happiness to others lives, as You have done for me.

I pray to be blessed with a table for so many! That I can serve others and give them a place to rest their feet and their hearts. To give others a second home and a place to feel safe and loved.

I thank You again, as I will likely do every day, for bringing loved ones to my life. Those who make me be a better person. Who make me feel so incredibly welcomed.

I pray that You continue to be there for those who are in pain this evening, and that You may grant them peace and serenity.

I thank You for everything You have blessed my life with. You have given me so much and I am eager to give back in any way I can.

Thank You for opening my eyes and my heart.

Amen.


A fair warning before I end this post this evening, I am making an effort to express my feelings every chance I get. We are not promised tomorrow, and if today happened to be my last I don’t want anyone to ever question how I felt about them. So, I will tell you I love you. Often. Because love is such a beautiful thing, and just being told that you are loved, in my experience, just makes everything so perfect. And hugs are one of my new favorite things. Not little ones, though. Long, full embraces are the best. ☺️

So, with that said, I love you! If you are reading this post it is because you are someone I care about and wanted to be a part of my life.

Kyle

P.s. since I am letting more people in to my blog, please don’t forget to “follow” down below. Just put in your email address and verify it and you will get emails anytime I post!

The Value of Time

Family, Life, religion

For those of you who don’t know, I have been back in school part time, year round, for the last 5 years completing my third degree. I am officially, finally, in my last semester. As of today I have finished the 5th week of classes and have 87 days left until commencement!

This semester is the hardest yet. Not because of the source material, or the workload, but because I am wanting to give 100% of myself to this new path I am on, and yet I have this massive chapter that still has to come to an end.

It’s a reminder to me that sometimes in life, we have to be patient. While we really want to get to the end and cross that finish line, the journey there is often just as important. Sometimes, we just don’t get a choice.

The work, school, home, personal life balancing act this semester has been difficult. I’m only gone one night this semester for a class, and the other two classes are online. That one night, though, interferes with activities that I would rather commit myself to.

I’m not short on time. If you look at our Google Calendar you would think I was lying, but there is plenty of time to give to the things that matter most. Time is something I’ve been forced to be pretty good at divvying up. And I keep my schedule very flexible.

This semester comes with classes on Thursdays, gymnastics and guitar lessons on Wednesdays, month end closing every Friday on a 4-4-5 schedule. Exams thrown in there every once in awhile, too. It’s a lot, yes, but when the priorities come up, nothing else matters. I will always, always, always have time for my loved ones. And I will prioritize it.

Time is something that we often take for granted, though. It comes and goes so quickly that we don’t even pay attention to it. But it’s something that is so important. So I’ve made a point to not only prioritize MY time lately, but also prioritize others as well. While I would love to give all of my time to those that make me the happiest, I’ve realized that you have to set limits to ensure they have their time as well. We all have routines in our lives, and it is so important to keep to a set schedule and to respect others and their lives.

It’s respect. And I have a lot of respect for my loved ones. So it’s something I’m prioritizing. People give up their precious time to be there for me. I promise you, the first time I get a phone call at 2:30 in the morning, or in the middle of the work day, I will be there faster than you can imagine.

But this semester is making me long for a new routine. This year comes with a lot of change in all of our lives, and I’m so anxious to get through most of it and just be at the end result. Graduating, buying a new house, oldest starting high school (😪), etc. and I can’t wait until everything has settled and a new schedule is in place.

I am happiest when I am with my loved ones. And I can not wait for this semester to be over so I have more time to dedicate to the priorities in my life. Yes, the finished degree will be great and worth all the hard work, but having the freedom to do more, and to give more, is what I’m so excited about. I want to be able give more of my time to Jesus and live his words. To have more time to pray, and to read the Bible. To write. To spend time with my growing family. To be a bigger part of the community.

I know it is coming. I just have to be patient. In the mean time, I will keep recognizing my blessings and living a life with intentionality and priority. Especially when it comes to the relationships in my life.

Dear God.

Thank You for the love that You continue to show me on a daily basis. For the words that speak directly to my heart when I need them most. For my loved ones who will tell me the words I need to hear on a bad day. For the embraces that bring joy and happiness to my life.

I pray that You please look after my children and give them the kindness and patience to love one another unconditionally.

I pray that You look after my loved ones and keep them safe. Bring joy to their lives and let them see Your love in their days.

I pray that You continue to be by my wife’s side as she navigates all the changes in her life, including giving herself to You.

Please give me the wisdom to be a better husband, father and friend. I want to give all of myself to them, and ask nothing in return. I know I have asked a lot of all of them lately, but I pray they all know that I am so incredibly grateful for all they do. Please allow them to see the love I have for them, not only in my words, but through my actions.

Please continue to be there for all those who are in suffering today. Please look after those who have been carrying heavy hearts lately.

Lord, I beg of You to please give me the strength to carry these burdens for them. It breaks my heart to see sadness in the lives of others, and I pray I can take their pain for myself.

Please forgive me for my sins. For allowing fear and doubts to cloud my judgement. For being a failing husband by reacting instead of listening. For being a failing friend for unloading my emotions on others and not asking how they are doing themselves. I pray that others come before me. That my shoulder will be wet from their tears. For the warmth to warm others’ hearts when we hug as theirs do for mine. I pray that You guide me to be the BEST version of myself for all others, not for my benefit, but for theirs.

Lord, I pray that the needs of my family and friends are met long before my own.

I pray for more good days, but also thank You for the blessing of every day, even the ones I feel are bad. They allow me to seek You more and to learn and grow my faith.

I thank You for loving me even when I feel unlovable.

Amen

I promise to be better for all of you. And I will ALWAYS have time for others.

With so much LOVE!

Kyle

Today… I Am Not Okay

Life, religion

49325-Im-Not-Okay

Today, my heart is heavy.

Today, my insecurities are winning.

Today, I am consumed by doubt.

Today, I am reminded that the pain I have caused before will have lasting effects.

Today, I am reminded that sometimes trying just isn’t enough.

Today, I am living in fear.

Today, I am not okay…

Dear God,

Today, I need You more than I have in awhile. Lord, I need You to be there for me as I cry out to You and seek Your guidance. Please help me with trusting the path You have set me on. I feel I am making the right decisions. I feel I am directing my love to all the right places. I feel like I am doing what You have set out for me to do. But I also have fear that I am doing too much. I have changed so drastically that I have given people reason to doubt me.

My heart hurts so much today. I am trying so hard to be the person You want me to be. My heart has been broken so much that I am so fearful of losing my loved ones. I have found peace. I have found happiness. I have found love. And I don’t want to lose it. Please take away the fear, and the pain. Please mend my heart. It hurts so much…

Please don’t let me lose it.

Please…

Amen

Kyle

Edit:

Sometimes I just need to cry, and pray, and listen. This is the song that decided to play next for me this morning:

When he told you you’re not good enough
When he told you you’re not right
When he told you you’re not strong enough
To put up a good fight
When he told you you’re not worthy
When he told you you’re not loved
When he told you you’re not beautiful
That you’ll never be enough
Fear, he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
‘Cause fear he is a liar
When he told you were troubled
You’ll forever be alone
When he told you you should run away
You’ll never find a home
When he told you you were dirty
And you should be ashamed
When he told you you could be the one
That grace could never change
Fear he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
‘Cause fear he is a liar
Let Your fire fall and cast out all my fears
Let Your fire fall Your love is all I feel
Let Your fire fall and cast out all my fears
Let Your fire fall Your love is all I feel
Let Your fire fall and cast out all my fears
Let Your fire fall Your love is all I feel
Oh, let Your fire fall and cast out all my fears
Let Your fire fall Your love is all I feel
Oh, fear he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
‘Cause fear he is a liar
‘Cause fear he is a liar
– Zach Williams

Finding Peace In a World of Chaos

Family, Life, religion

save-image

I wander, aimlessly, in no given direction. There is no light to guide my way. Am I moving forward or am I going back? A cold chill rushes over me every few moments and my body aches. I rub my hands over my arms to bring them warmth, but there is no warmth coming from within. Flashes of light burst to my sides as if they were lightbulbs exploding. Hope overcomes me with each spark of light, but the hope quickly turns to fear as I descend back into pitch black nothingness…

I scream out in the darkness asking for help. Asking for someone to guide my way. There is no answer. There is never an answer. I drop to my knees and cry as I realize I am so alone in this world. I am so alone…

If someone were to ask me how I would describe the beginning of last year, those words above, my words, would be it.

For the majority of my life I believed I was wandering aimlessly through this crazy thing called life. No real direction. No real objective. No real purpose. I believed that I was in control of my life and that I was just going to keep doing more. To get more. To have… more.

More of what I thought I wanted in my life.

I eventually ended up in a place that many would call “success”. What did this success look like? I ended up in a dream job at 31 years old. In a position that many work an incredibly long time to get to. I had life figured out, and I was on a path to have more.

You want to know what came from my success? Sadness. A near end to my marriage. A loss of my identity.

But I am here to tell you that I am not successful. In fact, I would be as bold as to say that I have been a failure.

I thought success meant having more money, having more things, being enviable to others. You know what doesn’t truly matter in life? Money. It is such an evil thing and corrupts the mind of so many.

My world was chaos. I was so blinded in life that I missed so many good things around me.

Let me get back to my story…

I feel a gentle touch on my shoulder and am pulled off my knees. I turn in circles, swinging my arms to see who is by my side. There is no one, but the gentle pressure on my shoulder never lifts. Tears begin pouring down my face and I whisper in the darkness. Please. Please…

A dim light sparks far in the distance. I feel a touch on my other shoulder and one more on my back, gently pushing me forward. My body struggles to move, almost to the point of giving up. I stumble forward and nearly fall but something catches me before I hit the ground and lifts me back up. Another step forward, this one stronger than the last, but still feeling the pain. Another step.

I cry out in agony as my body aches. Another touch, this time on my heart. For the first time I can feel myself enveloped in warmth, enough to give me the strength to begin running towards the light.

I do not know how long it will take me to reach the light, but I do know that I am headed in the right direction.

And I do know that I never have to walk alone again…

Chaos – complete disorder and confusion. My life was the definition of chaos.

But out of chaos comes peace. It does not happen on its own, it happens with intentionality. It happens with purpose. It happens with priority.

It happens with love.

Not only love for God. Not only love for others, but love for yourself.

I have found peace in a world full of chaos, for I have decided to turn away from chaos and RUN the other direction. It is a distraction from what matters most in life.

And I have found peace in giving my life to Jesus, no longer living under the illusion that I am in control. I don’t want control. Look at the bad things that happened when I tried to do things on my own. And look at the amazing things that happened when I let go…

I have found that settling and being content are NOT bad things in life! They are blessings that allow you the flexibility to prioritize. I no longer want the next best thing. I’m not trying to maximize my career. I’m not concerned about how much money I have in my account.

I want a life filled with love. And I want to return that love tenfold. I want nothing from those around me, but I want to give to them everything I have, and everything I am.

I have found peace in my life because I have found purpose, something I have never had before.

My purpose is to give my life to Jesus, to love so much that I better the lives of those I come across, to raise my children to follow in His steps, to spread the love of God and to be an example to others that forgiveness is there when we are ready to ask for it.

I will be a husband who supports his wife, a father who is a role model for his children, a friend that becomes family. I will open my life to others and will open my door to my neighbors.

Peace and purpose are such a strange thing to me, but they feel so comforting.

Dear God,

Lord, I want to thank you for loving not only me, but loving those around me. For showing us what true love is and how to live a righteous life.

I ask that you forgive me for my failures as a husband, as a father, as a son, as a brother and as a friend.

I ask that you provide for others as you have provided for me.

I thank you for the blessing that today was. Although we struggle with navigating this new balance in life, priorities are shifting to allow the most important things to take the most time.

I ask for more time to give to my loved ones.

Please guide my wife as she works through all the changes in her life, and please give me the strength to serve her better.

Please look after my friends who are working through loss and look after those who are dealing with sickness.

Lord, I feel your blessings and recognize your love.

Amen

With LOVE.

Kyle