About walkinginhispathdestinationunknown

24. from the heart of Kansas just trying to walk in the path of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. adventure | barista | health nut | INFJ | art | probably getting lost somewhere

two years.

I’m sitting in my shop on the eve of our two year anniversary here at Broadway Market. Our cafe is closed, lights are turned off and the only light is streaming through our front window as the light is starting to fade as the sun sets on my little town. It’s a rare moment that I’m actually sitting at our front bar.  Pretending to be a customer with a cup of coffee beside me, computer in front of me.

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Pondering.

These two years have flown by. I’ve learned so much over these two years. I’m not the same person. I’ve learned a lot about life, people, coffee, running your own business, how to pretend to be a morning person- and most importantly about Jesus.

You see, two years ago I was an introverted girl, (slightly prideful),  living inside a shell. I thought I knew everything. (ha) I thought I knew how coffee was supposed to be, and that everyone would have to fall into the category of “coffee purest”.

I was about to be thrown into one of the most challenging things we’ve ever undertaken.

Looking back to that first week, and to where I am now I see nothing but the grace of God. I’m still trying to figure out how we even survived those first months. The learning curve was steep. Not only was it a coffee shop, but a restaurant and a floral business. I was putting in 90-100 hours a week those first few months. I was dying. My parents were dying. We lost weight, sleep was an afterthought. Surviving on coffee. I felt like I was suffocating. I didn’t know how to operate in my new role of being around people 24/7. I was drained. I wanted out. I wanted to escape to the mountains. Only I couldn’t. I was tied to this building. My mom cried all the time and my Dad didn’t know what to do with us. This dream felt like a nightmare at times. I was in love with coffee, not so much with having to talk to every single person that came in. I took every negative word to heart. every suggestion, every little bit of negativity felt like a personal stab at me-you see, I saw the cafe as a reflection of myself. Somehow though, we made it through the first few months, which quickly turned into a year, and without even blinking an eye two years have flown by. 

We have spent countless hours remolding and working on improving our space, had people put in countless hours just to make our shop as inviting as possible.

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As most people in the coffee industry quickly find out, it’s not always glamorous. You put your heart and soul into something with small monetary return for how much of yourself you put into it. It’s long hours, countless dishes, washing the same tables over and over, sweeping the floors for the hundredth time, it’s early mornings and late nights. It’s stressful- but even through all that, I’ve come to learn, it’s worth it.

Why? Because: people.

I don’t remember when it happened, but I asked the Lord to give me a love for this town. For the people that walk through our doors. He has. Oh my He has. I love this town. I love the fact that I can make someones day a little brighter after that first sip of coffee. I love watching community build over a cup of coffee as people meet in my shop.

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I love watching love blossom from that awkward first date to engagement photos taken here. I love seeing the community come around our own after tragedy hits. I can guarantee any barista who is passionate about their job, about coffee AND people will tell you they could put therapist down on their resume as well. I love it when my customers come in and share their heart.

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From the farmers that grow the coffee (for very little in return), to the roasters that put their heart and soul into the final product that finds it’s way into the barista’s hands-each step of the process is all for the end consumer. You.

I feel a great responsibility to put out a product that is worthy of that farmer and roasters time and effort put into those coffee beans that end up before me. I’m passionate about it. I love everything about coffee, the science, the method, the art. If you ever want to see my geeky side just ask me about coffee.

I’ve found some amazing friends within the coffee community. Friends that I couldn’t have made it through that first year without. Namely, Kiersten who not only roasts my coffee, but has been there through thick and thin praying me through and sending me scripture when I didn’t think I could take another step. Nick who taught me most of what I know, patiently teaching and guiding me. Never once being cocky, but a humble teacher. Nathan who pushed me relentlessly to step out and enter Latte Art Throwdowns (okay so it was more like yelling at me and threatening until I agreed) and giving me some of the best advice that first week of being open. I love each one of you and am so thankful for the part you have played. There are so many others who have stepped in and volunteered their time and energy into this place. I am humbled by it.

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I’ve learned how to be a customer again. Over the last two years I’ve had the chance to visit countless specialty coffee shops. Some of the best in the country. I’ve had people ask me why I, as someone who spends the majority of her time in a coffeehouse working, I would want to spend my two days off in other peoples shops. The answer is twofold: 1. I love coffee. I love walking into a shop and getting the chance to geek out with other roasters and barista’s over what’s getting them excited. I need to go, to remind me why I love coffee. 2. To remember what it means to be a customer. There is no better way to realize how your customer wants to be treated, than to take a step back and be on their side of the counter. As the barista, you have the chance to make or break that experience.

In these two years I’ve learned how to survive and thrive in this role. It means getting up earlier than needed to spend time with my savior, savoring my morning cup of coffee in total silence. I couldn’t make it a single day here without Him. I’ve grown thicker skin, how to get out of awkward situations, and the fact I have to embrace the fact I’m a klutz that has a bad habit of setting things on fire. However the echoing thought inside my head is this: He is faithful. He never leaves. He’s here with me. Every step. By my side. It’s His shop, not ours.

My parents. Wow. My parents. They have done nothing but help me pursue my dream and passion of coffee. I have watched them love and invest into the people of this town. They pour their hearts out daily, putting in long hours. There have been days I’m sure my parents were ready to drop me off in the middle of nowhere (I’m not always the easiest person to work with), but there is no one I would rather have had by my side the last two years. This wasn’t their dream, yet they have pursued it like it was. We’ve cried together, fought, laughed until there were tears running down our faces and made memories that will last a lifetime. I wish people could see how much they have put into making people feel loved. I hope that one day I am half the person they are.

As I once again look out the window, the sun has set on my little town. I am filled with love. I’ll be here again in less than 12 hours after being here for the last 13. A soft smile on my face. I can’t wait to see what this next year holds.

If you walk through the doors of our shop, I hope you walk out knowing you’re loved.

Here’s to year 3.

In him,

Tressa

 

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embrace: mountains

She looked into the distance- mountains. They loomed over the horizon.

This had to be it, the moment her desert was over. If she could just make it to the mountaintop, her problems would fade.

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Onward she pressed. Feeling the first bit of excitement start to grow. The mountains had always been her sanctuary. She felt safe there. Carefree. As she approached the mountain she saw a pack waiting for her. It was filled with all the hiking essentials she would need. Before she zipped it up she placed inside a burden she was carrying. It was heavy. She knew it was going to weigh her down….but it was her right to carry it. If she let it go she would never get any justice. They would never know about her hurt. No one cared about it like her. 

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“Let it go.”

It was His voice again. The voice that had been so close just miles before…..but as she chose to hold onto her burden- He suddenly seemed further away. A sudden longing for the close relationship they had shared started to unfurl deep within her soul. She quickly squashed it down. Later. I won’t let it go. Not yet at least. Once He gives me my mountaintop experience. Thats when I’ll let it go.

With each step towards the top of the mountain her pack became heavier and His voice further away. Because she was so focused on what was in her pack and reaching the top of the mountain, she started to miss out on the beauty around her. There was a rushing river to her left ahead it spilled over a cliff into a pounding waterfall. There were trees that seemed to reach up and dust the tips of the clouds to her right. Her pack got heavier and heavier. Still she pressed on. Stubbornly holding onto her pack.

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“Let it go my beloved.”

His voice pierced through again….No. She wouldn’t. It was her right! Until she got to the top she was going to continue to hold on. She wasn’t going to think about it anymore. Nothing was going to come between her and her mountaintop experience.

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What she wasn’t banking on, was snow. Lot’s of it. It was a warm sunny day. She didn’t even need a coat. She would be fine. She saw it starting to cover the path a ways up the mountain. She didn’t care. She was so focused on her goal. So focused on what she could get from it, she was missing out on the present. As she came to the snow she continued to forge through. She wasn’t prepared for snow, but she didn’t care. Her shoes were getting wet, still she didn’t care. Reaching the halfway point the snow was now to her knees.

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If she could just make it around this lake-maybe the snow wouldn’t be so bad….the further around the lake she went, instead of less snow, she found more of it. She continued to sink further into the snow. She was going to have to admit defeat. There was no way she could get through the pass to the top. Reluctantly she turned around. Her head hanging she slowly made her way down. What good was a mountain if she didn’t get to the top? She felt her anger burn. Used it as fuel to keep her going. She was tired, worn and hurting.

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Suddenly, she remembered her burden. Since she didn’t reach the top, maybe that meant she could keep it. Yes. She could hold onto it. Seek justice for herself. It was His fault she didn’t make it to the top where she told Him she would let it go. If He wouldn’t let her follow through with the plan-then she didn’t have to give it up.

“my beloved….stop. you’re only hurting yourself. Let it go.”

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her step faltered, righting herself she felt her resolve start to slip.

“Let me fight this for you.”

She was so tired…the idea of someone else fighting her battles, suddenly didn’t seem so bad.

Could it be that simple? Was the release she needed as simple as letting Him fight her battle for her? She was worn, bone weary tired. She couldn’t continue to carry the weight. Even if she wanted to fight for justice herself, it was taking too much life out of her. She decided she would leave it at the waterfall. That would be somewhere memorable to leave it. If she couldn’t reach the summit maybe she’d still get that “mountaintop experience”. Rounding the corner she could no longer see the waterfall that had been pounding the rocks below just hours before-the once rushing river was reduced to a trickling stream. She felt her anger surge again- Did He not want her to leave her burden behind? She would give it up, but only if He gave something first. Before she could stop to hear His voice again she took off again. Somehow her pack seemed to gain weight with every step. She was so tired. 

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“My beloved, give it to me. My yoke is easy, my burden is light.”

She stopped. She was too tired to go any further. Knowing what she needed to do. So there, at the base of the mountain she has so desperately wanted to be “her moment” at a still quiet stream she fell to her knees once again. She opened her pack found the burden that had grown in size and set it down into the stream. As the tears began to fall she called out to her Heavenly father. “You can have it Father-it’s yours. I can’t fight the battle I was never created to fight. I don’t want it anymore.”

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she slowly stood up….the weight finally gone. She felt her energy return. Lifting her pack it was once again light. Where the weight had been, was now filled with peace. A gentle smile started to return to her face. She felt the joy of her childhood return and build into a full spark that sent her on a run down the rest of the mountain. Her hurt was still there, but it was no longer a hurt she carried alone. 

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The last time I wrote it was a season of desert. In the back of my mind I was waiting for that next mountain top feeling. One that would pull me up out of that desert. Over the summer I knew that I was going to spend some time in Rocky Mountain National Park and I was hoping that would be my turning point of sorts. I feel at home in the mountains. I love and crave the raw beauty that is found there. The challenge, the feeling of wonder and sense of worship that is found in the sanctuary of the wild. I never feel so alive as when I am hiking through the rugged terrain. I cherish my moments there. I hoped that my trip into those mountains would mean the end of my desert.

My mountain top experience  was not as I expected. There was no high- no flashing lights or a loud revelation. No, my mountain top experience came at the foot of a mountain, it came when I stopped holding onto justice for myself. It came in surrender, in obedience. It came softly. It came with trusting the One who knew what was around the next corner. It came with embracing the situation for what it was, not for what I wanted it to be. Our muscle is not built in the beauty of the mountain top, no, rather it is built the struggle of the climb. When I look back throughout my life the moments that I thought I wasn’t going to make it another step- those are the moments that have shaped and defined me more than any mountaintop. There is beauty in our struggle. He wants to carry our burdens for us. To let them go into the hands of the only one who loves us perfectly. Over and over throughout the bible He tells His people to cast all of our cares onto Him- yet for some reason we like to stubbornly hold onto them ourself. Sweet friend, if there is a burden that is weighing on you so heavy you feel you can’t take one more step- Let it go.

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 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,  casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you 1 Peter 5:7

There is something humbling about admitting you can no longer do it on your own- but peace comes when we do. He cares for you sweet one. He want’s to carry it. He loves you.

Really.

Fully.

Perfectly.

Loves. You.

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In Him,

Tressa

These photos were taken in Rocky Mountain National Park & Yosemite National Park. Please do not use without permission.

embrace: desert

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She found herself standing in the middle of a desert. 

It was dry. Like her heart. 

The sea that had terrified her for so long, had become a sanctuary. She had gotten comfortable there.

Until, she found herself no longer keeping her eyes fixed on Him. The more she gained confidence in herself, she felt the water dry up around her. “See, I can do this on my own. I don’t actually HAVE to surrender everything.” Slowly but surely, the water began to leave. Then, she felt it.

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Oppressive. That was the only way to describe this heat. It sapped her joy.

Here she was. Stuck. Lost. Itchy.

In a desert.

Just like the Israelites……Only they had spent 40 years wandering around. She wasn’t going to take that long. She needed a plan. A way out, surely she could figure out what needed to be done. So, she began to walk. She wasn’t going to come up with a plan sitting still. Maybe, if she could find something to climb, she would be able to see well enough to find the way out of this desert. Feeling a surge of energy, now armed with a plan she set off in search of something high enough. After wandering around aimlessly and only finding the tall cacti that were somehow able to flourish in the desert air she felt her spirits deflate. There was no way she could climb the tall cactus in front of her. Back to walking she went, but the longer she walked the more she got turned around, the more lost she felt, and the more thirsty she became. Then the itching started. She felt like she was losing her mind. It began to spread over her arms. Hanging her head in embarrassment she felt herself slowing sink into the deep dark hole of depression. 

She wanted to get what the Israelites hadn’t…..she let the stories from Exodus dance across the screen of her mind. Miracle after miracle performed by God. Freedom, provision and safety. Yet, they chose to panic and complain. They had just been freed from their oppressor, and they wanted to go back, because in their slavery they found familiarity.

She began to feel her anger rise at their stupidity. How in the world could they want to go back to their bondage? The Lord had shown he could save them…He had shown He would provide. They wanted to go back? He gave them an oasis, and they wanted Egypt all over again. How could they be so stupid?

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“That’s you my beloved.”

It was the voice of her Savior once again. His voice. Piercing her to her very core. Slicing through the silence of her desert.

The very same God that had saved the Israelites, the very same God they complained against, had saved her…….. She realized that she was just like the Israelites complaining against him. 

Convicted she dropped down onto her knees into the hot sand.

“Do you trust me?

Do you love me?”

Those same words He had laid on her heart along the shore of an ocean, were once again uttered in the midst of a desert.

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“Therefore, behold, I will allure her,

    and bring her into the wilderness,
    and speak tenderly to her.
And there I will give her her vineyards
    and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth,
    as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt. Hosea 2:14-15

One of my very best friends gave me that scripture last fall. In many ways it was life changing for me. At the time I didn’t know how influential it was going to be in my very near future. It was given to me as I was in the middle of surrendering to the waves. A wilderness/desert weren’t exactly in mind since I was in the midst of what felt like an ocean. After my friend gave me the scripture he told me that the Lord was bringing me into a time of wilderness. Choosing to surrender and embrace the waves around me brought peace. I thought that I had finally found healing. It was here I found myself once again becoming confident in my own abilities. What I didn’t know at the time is the Lord was far from being finished in my refining process.

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Just a few weeks into 2016, my first blow came. One week later, another. There I was facing health issues, friendship and relationship problems arising around me. Those closest to me experiencing pain that took on many forms. I didn’t get it….this was supposed to be “my year”.

Oh how selfish it sounds looking back.

Repeatedly I felt the Lord pushing me to embrace the difficulties before me. To stop fighting and just accept it and make the most out of it. A constant surrender. I couldn’t do it on my own. That much was glaringly obvious.

As the months began to pass, more difficulties arose. I was no longer surprised and with each one I realized why the Lord had given me the word embrace. Along with the word embrace, desert/wilderness also kept popping up.

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Fast forward to the month of March. A single phone call was about to change our life. Within 24 hours I had booked a flight for my parents and I to California. A family emergency involving my Mom’s aunt. She was sick and no longer able to live alone. I could probably fill a small book with all the things that went wrong on that trip. Flight mixups, all nighters, hotel issues….the list goes on. Through it all the Lord provided. The night before we headed home we drove to the coast to spend the evening at the ocean. A storm had just moved through as we pulled up. The waves were rolling and smashing against the sand. Raw power. As I stood there I was reminded of the words of my savior. He wanted me, to walk out into the midst of that. Those powerful waves. I felt like life had come full circle. Running barefoot along the shore I felt freedom in the middle of all the chaos that was now our daily existence. “I trust you” I whispered. My voice barely heard above the waves.

We began the trek back to Kansas with my great aunt who is 88 years old. I told the Lord in no uncertain terms I wasn’t sure I liked this new reality. As we drove through the desert of California and then into Arizona, the Lord gave me a new word picture. A new season.

Desert.

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My heart felt at home in the desert. I felt a peace overtake me. I wasn’t sure what a desert season was going to hold, but I was able to see the beauty as we passed through.

Upon arriving back in Kansas we soon realized that life was going to be hard for the foreseeable future. I’m amazed at the strength of my Mom. She inspires me and I hope to be half of the woman she is one day.

Over the last several months I have been in the midst of a desert season. It’s been dry, difficult and hard. I haven’t been able to write-  I haven’t felt that wild free I experienced last December. I sit down to draw, nothing. I haven’t even had a passion for coffee. My eczema, thanks to the constant barrage of stress in my life was spreading. I’ve often felt like I’m going insane. I’ve given up gluten, refined sugar, most grains, dairy and eggs in an effort to beat it (more on that some other time). As the eczema has spread, I’ve struggled with my self worth. Putting too much of my worth on my outward appearance. Embarrassment, frustration and just wanting to give up have been at the forefront of my heart. Believing so many lies. That no one would ever love me until I had it all “under control”.  The worst part of all, I wasn’t even able to share the depth of the struggles and lies with those closest to me. I am seeing however there is freedom gained when we share our struggles with those who the Lord has placed around us. So many times I’ve sat in the middle of the floor and just cried over the heavy of it all. Honestly, even now thinking about clicking publish on this post is hard. It shows what I’ve tried to keep to myself.

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One of the great snares of the Christian worker is to make a fetish of his rare moments. When the Spirit of God gives you a time of inspiration and insight, you say — “Now I will always be like this for God.” No, you will not, God will take care you are not. Those times are the gift of God entirely. You cannot give them to yourself when you choose. If you say you will only be at your best, you become an intolerable drag on God; you will never do anything unless God keeps you consciously inspired. If you make a god of your best moments, you will find that God will fade out of your life and never come back until you do the duty that lies nearest, and have learned not to make a fetish of your rare moments. -Oswald Chambers

This quote hit home….in the midst of this desert I have often longed for that “mountaintop experience”. I’ve sat down to write more times than I can count, and yet nothing would come. These words have been simmering at the surface, but nothing I could do would bring them to boiling. The lack of inspiration and creativity have been frustrating. That quote has convicted me, in this time of desert, to just do the next right thing. To trust that the Lord will bring me out, all I have to do is trust and follow. I don’t need a plan or a map…..only to trust and do the next right thing. This desert won’t last forever, but I don’t want to wait anymore. I want to stay close to the source of the life giving water, I want joy in the midst of the choking heat. I. Want. To. Live.

Fully. Freely. Fearlessly.

Even when lost in the midst of a desert.

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Maybe you find yourself lost in the midst of a desert, don’t lose hope dear one. He will turn your valley of trouble into a door of Hope. Don’t miss out on what He has to teach you in your desert.

“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.”
Psalm 39:7

In Him, Tressa

 

 

 

embrace: waves

 

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She found herself standing on the shore. 

Facing the wide expanse of water. It went on for miles. Unable to see the end, it was all of her fears embodied. Going out into the midst of it would be pure insanity. She had to maintain control. 

“Come” He beckoned. 

“Come out into the waves.”

The voice of her Savior was strong and secure.

Oh, but her fears screamed loudly.

“Control.”

“Security.”

“Safety.”

The shore meant all those things…..didn’t they?

She wrestled. Wrestled with leaving the safety of the shore. 

The shore was comfortable. She was dying of thirst, but the water was too scary.

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But- out there in the midst of the waves stood her Savior

So, she compromised. Slowly dipping one toe gently in. Next, she let her whole foot sink into the sand below the water. “I know, Ill surrender to the water, but still stay close enough to the shore, so if it gets too scary I can always turn back” she said to herself. She felt her facade of strength slip into place. Then, She felt her heart quicken as she heard Him beckon again. The voice of her Savior. 

“Do you trust Me?

Do you love Me?

I want you. All of you. You can’t keep holding onto your control.”

Each word penetrated as the scales began to fall from her eyes.

Surrender was all or nothing. She couldn’t keep one foot on the shore AND surrender to Him. 

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Lifting her eyes she focused on His loving face out there in the midst of the waves. Slowly, but surely she put one foot in front of the other, further and further away from the shore. The water was higher now, up to her waist, stomach, shoulders. She felt her fears start to scream. Her eyes let go of his as the water reached her chin. This was pure insanity. She began to panic as she saw the waves swirling around her. Her breath came in gasps now, struggling to stay afloat.

“My beloved, look at me. ‘When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; Because you are precious in my eyes,
    and honored, and I love you, Fear not, for I am with you.'”

She turned her eyes towards Him. As soon as she locked eyes with His, she stopped struggling. Her breathing returned to normal.

She had lost control, but she was finally free.

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The “she” in this story is obviously me. It’s where I was last fall. Over and over again the Lord brought to mind the picture of an ocean in front of me. Over and over again He asked me to step out into the waves. To surrender. As I gave into the waves it was as if He was slowly cleansing me. Washing off my stains.

It was all a part of my becoming.

In the midst of those waves I began to find out who He was wanting me to become. It was a war of choosing surrender over giving into my fears. I was no longer able to hold onto the mask of the “girl who had it all together”. I was just as broken as the next person. I began to “lose control” and take on life with joy. New years eve night was spent with my parents and niece in a hotel room in Denver. Throughout the day as we drove through the mountains I felt Jesus gently nudging me to ask Ellie to jump on the bed with me. Me….a grown adult jumping on the bed. Like a 5 year old. Guess what? I did it. I embraced the joy only He gives with a childlike abandon. As cheesy as it sounds I found another part of myself I had shoved down so long.

That night as the new year was rung in, I sat alone in a dimly lit hotel room. My bible and journal spread out before me. Just listening to the words of my Jesus. I was trying to decide what my word for 2016 was going to be. I felt my phone vibrate. It was my mentor writing me back with a “Happy New Years” greeting of her own. We hadn’t talked in over a week. My week had been fraught with fears and lies. I didn’t want to admit it. Plus, I was doing so well I didn’t feel the need to bring it up. After a few texts she sent me this:

Truth? Here is this. Your scared you have to become something to be loved. Scared you have to stay a certain way to keep love… But what you crave like a wild fire all loose inside, is to be yourself. To be this wild peaceful, gloriously qwerky and so composed you. This adventurer that climbs mountains but savors being at home. You crave to be loved while you are free. We all do. We worry we have to pick one. Freedom or love. Like we can’t have both. But there is this… Jesus died to give us “free”. That same God carved out your DNA in your Mama’s belly… The belly I put my hand to so long ago. :). Carved out your beauty, your wild, your settled peaceful, your artistic hands, and loving heart…  This same Jesus loves you. Always, always loves. The jumping on the bed, burning syrup alone at the shop, or when you cry alone because you wonder if your unloveable. He never leaves. My Tressy, you can have both. You can be free and keep love. Know love. Taste it and hold it. Real love marries freedom. Always this epic Union. And when they meet in us all heaven breaks loose. This? It’s what we are meant for. To be the loved. To be the free. 
So what I have wanted to tell you all week… Is this… Let go. Free fall from the highest peak.. Will you become in this holy light…this be as He made you free…. Or will you set your soul on the path to keep love you always think is leaving. This horrid habit that grips our soul like claws and cuts us endlessly. I am 35 sis. 35 and just now realizing it. I can be wild free, crazy me…and still be loved. It’s ok. It’s ok!! This? This is life. Abundant and wildly amazing. This is Jesus. The savior who secured love and then turned around and broke our shackles. Freedom and love are intertwined by God’sdesign. It’s possible. Let that be your year… Go see for yourself. Jesus intends for you to have both. ❤️
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I began to cry. Somehow, she knew exactly what I needed to hear. That night I felt the Lord impress on my heart the word embrace. I just knew 2016 was going to be a year full of amazing things. 2015 had been oh so hard. Surely 2016 was going to be better. Easier.

Wrong again.

….to be continued.

rejection:

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Rejection.

It cuts deep.
Unanswered texts-
cancled plans-
distance—
it can take on many forms.
Hurting we respond with coldness,
anger.
Convincing ourselves we don’t need anyone.
So the walls go up.
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High.
They provide protection.
Keeping others from getting close.
Keeping hurt and rejection as far away as possible.
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But in a still quiet moment, I am reminded that I am not alone.
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I hear the voice of the father remind me “I my beloved was rejected- I knew what was to come- and yet I still chose the cross- I still chose you”
And slowly, but steady her walls begin to crumble.
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With love for others comes the possibility of pain.
But we are called to love anyway- even in spite of rejection.
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For He felt rejection first-
and yet He chose Love-
ever knowing we would reject him-
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Because of plans,
our busy lives….
How many times have I rejected spending time with Him because something else was pressing?
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Humbled I bow down-
Letting you tear down the walls I’ve so carefully built-
So I can love like You.
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You see, I’ve struggled a lot lately with feelings of rejection. Letting it lock my heart into a box. I felt led to read Isaiah 43 and I didn’t make it past the first two verses. As the words penetrated my heart I was overwhelmed by the Love God has for us. That it doesn’t really matter if people on this earth reject me. I’ve been redeemed by the creator.

He created me.

He formed me.

He tells me not to fear

For HE has redeemed me

He called ME by name

I am His.

He will not reject me.

When others fail, and they will,

He will be my anchor.

Unchanging.

My only constant one.

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I didn’t want to share this. It was too open. Too much of my heart left exposed. But Jesus has been working on my heart lately and convicting me to be real, open, vulnerable. Allowing Him to use whatever is happening in my life to glorify Him.

In Him,

Tressa

All photos were taken on my trip to Colorado this past month in the Rocky Mountain National Park.

{the journey. pt 2}

Hey all,

it took me a lot longer to get this post up than I expected. A case of technical difficulties and my parents accidentally taking my laptop were to blame.

 

if you haven’t gotten a chance to read {pt 1}, you should get caught up on that before continuing to read this post.

 

As I was saying in my first post, I was constantly relying of the Lord to help me get through every hour. I had finally surrendered to where he had me. That didn’t make it any easier, but I was finally relying on His strength alone. I couldn’t do it.

After two days of this, early one morning my Mom came and told me something that (I just didn’t know it yet) was about to change my life drastically. She came and whispered lest anyone should overhear it that Broadway Market was for sale.

WIHP bway2Side note: Broadway Market is a coffee house/deli/floral shop/gift shop in my hometown. It was opened by our Pastor and his wife before they retired. After owning it for 4-5 years they sold it to a young family who are currently the owners. It’s located inside the old Bulletin building. One this I love is the hardwood floors are in their original state. You can even find ink stains that haven’t been touched since they printed papers there.

WIHP bwayThis really didn’t pique my interest all that much until the next words quickly spilled out…… “Shannon (the current owner) just told me and he said we should buy it!”

Could we please pause here and mention the fact that my sweet Momma is a dreamer. She’s an optimist. I love this about her. On the other hand you’ve got me. A realist. Generally I burst her bubble with all the reasons it won’t work. It’s something I’m working on not doing as often.

WIHP corn A glimmer of hope, of excitement, a way out, began to unfurl deep in my soul. Was this God’s answer to my prayer? I stared at her hoping excited face and instead of my usual pin to her bubble I decided to leave this one up to my Dad. He’s the other realist of the family. This one I didn’t want to touch. Surely he’d bring everyone back down to earth and remind us of all the reasons it wouldn’t work. It was to far out there. No, this was wishful thinking.

WIHP TreeThe rest of the day I was in a war. A war between hope and excitement and my realist tendencies. For once the hope and excitement was winning out. I was still waiting to see what my Dad was going to say. Later that day Mom still hadn’t gotten a chance to ask him. I was anxious to see what he would say. Finally they got a chance to talk and later that afternoon my Mom once again came up to me. She told me she had finally gotten to talk with my dad. She was smiling so I knew it must have been good. I quickly asked what his response was? “He actually liked the idea and he didn’t say no!”

Okay, this, this was a shocker. I wasn’t expecting this. At all. I suddenly began to smile. I couldn’t help it. Could this really happen? Could this dream come true? I was overcome, by the most amazing sense of peace. My doubt began to melt away. I knew that if this was what God had for us He was going to come through in a big way. We didn’t have the money to buy a business, but my heavenly father owns it all.

WIHP pasture
As I began to think about it, Broadway Market was perfect for us. It would allow us to continue on our ministry to the college kids at SC, it had flowers and coffee which were my dream, it was the perfect outlet for my artist Momma. It was the culmination of all the gifts God has given us. Surely this was to good to be true.

WIHP flowers and coffeeI really love coffee and flowers.

Over the next several weeks we began to meet with the owners, to find out more and for them to get to know us better. They wanted to be sure that they were following God’s will in who they sold the Market to. We also started pursuing our financial aid options. Looking back it’s really amazing to me that I only doubted about it once. We still weren’t for sure as to whether they would want to sell it to us. That was the part that was a little nerve racking 🙂 Through it though I was filled with peace I still can’t explain. It was the peace given as only Jesus can give. The peace that passes all understanding.

WIHP doorAfter several weeks they had finally made a decision. They believed that God had chosen us to be the next owners of Broadway Market. They knew that He was going to provide a way for us to buy it. We started going into Broadway Market in the evening hours to get a feel for what would be required of us. I still remember that first evening of working there. I was so nervous. I began to feel a love for the place. I began to feel at home. I couldn’t stop smiling.

I knew deep down in my heart that Jesus was going to provide. I knew He was going to show up in a very real way.

Soon we were on the search for a new Coffee roaster. We wanted a fresh start as new owners. I knew I wanted something a little more local. Specifically Kansas City. KC was fast growing in the specialty coffee scene. This is in and of itself a blog post. I’ll go into greater depth about that in tomorrows post. If you follow me on instagram, twitter or you’re my friend on facebook, you probably know I love my coffee. This has been an absolute blast for me. I can’t wait to share all the amazing stories that God has put into our path.

Back to the whole financial side of things. It felt like we ran into brick wall, after brick wall. People would ask questions, “how are you going to do this?” was a question I heard too many times. My response was God was going to provide. I just knew it. If he didn’t, then the shop wasn’t for us. Time was ticking though. Everyday we were feeling the weight a little more. I knew God was going to come through. I have watched my parents put everyone first my whole life. They both loved and cared for their parent’s. I’ve never seen more humble servants. I’ve felt like it was finally their time to not only continue on, but do it through something they loved and wanted. They had been found faithful in little and I knew God would once again find them faithful in much.

Finally, my Mom asked my Dad if we could have a time of prayer. We all had been praying throughout the entire process, but we needed some time as a family to do that together. We asked that God would provide what we needed and that through it all HE alone would be glorified. Three days later we had our first option. It was 3xs greater than we had asked for. I can’t go into detail here, but let me tell you, It had Jesus written all over it. Fast forward two weeks later and an even more amazing offer came along. You guys, It’s all Jesus. There’s no way we could have done it on our own.

WIHP BarnI sit here, eight months later. A month away from seeing this dream come true. I can’t even begin to tell you what an adventure it’s been so far, and we haven’t even had our first day yet. I know whatever comes God is going to get us through. It’s taken us a lot longer to get to this point that we originally expected. As we went along the dream has grown and we want to make sure we do everything we are wanting to do right the first time. I’m not always the most patient person and it’s been hard not moving at a faster pace, but I see that going slow is the best way to go about this. I know these next 4 weeks are going to fly right before our eyes. Mom and I have had so many interior decorating decisions to make. We’ve been learning the art of compromise. 🙂 Trying to blend two different styles has been interesting to say the least. I can’t wait to see the finished product of all the hard work and decisions that have been made. I’m kinda done looking at paint chips, fabrics and pinterest pictures. I just want to start doing.

WIHP4thI love my hometown. It’s one of those idyllic small towns. We want to use Broadway Market as an outlet to minister to the people of Sterling. To serve. To continue on what the two previous owners have done.  They have been such a blessing to the community and we pray that we can continue carrying the torch.

 

To those of you in need of hope. Cry out to Jesus. He’s there waiting for you. He will provide for all your needs. That doesn’t mean He will answer them like you think He should, but know He’s so faithful. I often wondered why He placed me in my previous place of work. I didn’t understand it one bit. I was angry and frustrated. Looking back now I see He was preparing me for this next journey we are on. I encourage you to find your strength in Him like never before. He will not let you down.

Be thankful for the valleys.
That’s where you grow.

……to be continued.

In Him,

Tressa

 

{the journey. pt 1}

Many of you have commented on my abundance of coffee shop pictures over the last 5 months. I thought I’d finally get around to writing out the reason (besides the fact that yes, I love coffee) behind all of that. Most of you have probably heard the reason by now, but I don’t want to forget any minute of this journey, so I’m writing this as much for the curiosity of others as I am for myself. Since I can’t write short stories, I’m going to break it up into 3 parts over the next several days.

I’m sitting here ready to start writing what’s been on my heart the last month. I know where I want to start, yet I’m hung up on the title. It feels overused. And yet, I will leave it, because it describes perfectly my life the last 8 months. Actually, lets make that the last 4.5 years of my life. If you would have told my 18 year old self all that would happen in the 4 years ahead of me I probably wouldn’t have believed you. I’ve been in a reflecting mood over the last several weeks and trying to even begin to write what’s on my heart has been a work in progress. I’ve started and restarted this post countless times. I’ve written a page only to go back and delete the whole thing. If you are reading this, it means I finally pulled the trigger, stopped over thinking it and clicked publish.

You see, I find myself restless for adventure. I see it ahead on the horizon. Ready to find me at any moment. I have a bad case of wanderlust. I was born with a heart that is in a constant war between being thirsty to roam and explore the unknown and loving the comfortable, because I hate change. My life is a paradox, but the older I’ve gotten the more I see we weren’t meant to live a timid life. We were made for more. We are here for such a short time. I want to look back on my life and see that I went exactly where God wanted me. I don’t want to see a life spent in my comfort zone. I want to be the hands and feet of my Savior. I want to keep my eyes on Him, not caring if He asks me to take that step out onto the restless waves of life.

Over the last 4 years I have traveled to a distant country, journeyed thousands of miles across the states of my great country, seen beautiful mountains and rolling hills, and learned to see beauty in the simple. I’ve watched my sister get married and move away, learned many difficult lessons of trust. I’ve stared the sin of my pride in the face, I’ve dealt with depression, bitterness and great joy and lived through a broken heart.

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StSophia1 mountainriver WIHP

Through it all God has shown himself to me in a great way.
He. Is. Enough. Period.
He alone is worthy of my trust.

The last 4 years have been filled with hardship, and refining. I’d be lying to say I went along compliantly. The truth is I went kicking and screaming most of the time. He had to strip away things I had put my identity in. Things that weren’t Him. He’s shown me the areas I struggle with.

gunner WIHPBeing vulnerable is one of them.

It’s hard. Oh so hard.

For a myriad of reasons.
It allows people to see behind what I would normally want them to see.
It allows people to have a hold over me. To exploit.
For me to be found wanting. For me to be wrong.

On the other hand, it’s a good thing. A very good thing.

It allows me to love and be loved. To live.
For me to let you see a sinful and messed up girl, saved by the grace of God.
Because, it’s not about me. It’s about Jesus.

When we don’t let ourselves become vulnerable, it becomes all about us. Our image. Not about Jesus.

roses WIHP
A year ago I found myself in a valley. Things were going from bad to worse. I kept things would get better, yet month by month it seemed like it was getting harder. As I look back those were good months for me. I can see now, God was shaping me and molding me into what He wanted me to be for the next phase of my life. Fast forward to December of 2013. Things were still hard, I was starting to get it though. I was very unhappy with my job. I prayed over and over for a way out. I began to despise it. I still remember the week I had finally had it. I was done. So done. I felt like I was living weekend to weekend. Praying over and over for a way out.

trees WIHP
I remember exactly where I was when God finally got a hold of my heart to see that he was truly trustworthy.
That He wanted me.
My whole heart.

I had made it to the weekend. It was Sunday morning and I was ready for church. That Sunday a guy from the college in my local town got up to give his testimony before he left for his home country of Indonesia. I don’t remember his testimony word for word, but I do remember that part that took hold of my attention. He spoke of how he had passed up a great opportunity back in Indonesia. He didn’t take it because he knew that wasn’t what God wanted for him. Everyone thought he was crazy. Instead he took a job he wasn’t happy with. One he to was starting to despise. He asked God over and over why was this what he had for him? God finally got a hold of his heart and he was able to come to a place of surrender. He told God that he would work there for the rest of his life if that’s where he wanted him, but God was going to have to give him the strength to make it through. Soon after that commitment a far greater opportunity came along. One that brought him to the states for studies. It was far greater than the first opportunity and he saw that if he hadn’t said no to the first one, he wouldn’t have been able to be in a place to say yes to the second. He spoke of how God provided over and over for him.

 I sat there and listened to him with tears in my eyes. It was like he was talking directly to me. The next day it was back to work for me and I couldn’t get his testimony out of my head. I was almost in tears when I told God that if that’s where he wanted me for the rest of my life I would stay and work for His glory alone. I asked Him to give me strength because there was no way I could make it on my own. I began to depend on Him to make it through every hour. Over and over I had to surrender it over to Jesus.

Then something happened. Something beyond my wildest dreams. I didn’t see it coming, but God did.

soybeans WIHP

……to be continued.

In Him,
Tressa

{trust}

Trust.

What a small word. A small word that can mean so much. It can take years to build up, but seconds to lose.

Over this last year and a half, through all the trials and lessons I’ve learned the biggest has been lesson I’ve learned is,

trust.

That God is trustworthy. The only one in this life who is completely trustworthy. He will never let me down.

Ever.

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Does that mean I won’t have trials? No. Absolutely not. We should expect them. God uses the fires to strip away bondage and hurts we may not even know were there. Till less and less of our sinful brokenness shows, and more and more of His perfect love and righteousness are left shining. I’m an independent person. It took those times of hardship and stripping away till the only thing that was left was

Him. 

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It took that for me to surrender. To let go of the control I had been foolishly trying to hold.

And oh how beautiful letting go can be.
This lyric from a needtobreathe songs sums it up perfectly.

Your love is like radiant diamonds
Bursting inside us we cannot contain
Your love will surely come find us
Like blazing wild fires singing Your name

God of mercy sweet love of mine
I have surrendered to Your design
May this offering stretch across the skies
And these Halleluiahs be multiplied

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There is such peace in my surrender. I can’t even begin to explain it.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7″

He is God. He has a plan. A good and perfect one. One that is not meant to harm me, but give me hope and a future.

I. Trust. Him.

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In that, I’ve begun to fall in love with my Savior all over again. I want to be a runner. I want to run with abandon after my Jesus. I want to be called crazy for Him.

He. Is. Enough.

I can’t begin to tell you how fulfilling that is. He is filling up all the little holes in my heart.

My hope, my very identity is in Him and Him alone. No person on this earth can ever be that. If I let it be found in others, I would be let down over and over again. No matter how good our intentions are we are still broken and sinful people. Jesus alone is perfect. I want to care more about what my Jesus thinks about me, than what the people around me think.

I also want to love others with a Christlike love. I want to love, even when it hurts. Even when the love isn’t returned. Life is too short to do anything less than that. We have this one shot at life. I don’t want to mess it up.

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Tonight I encourage you to let go.

To take that scary and terrifying jump off the cliff of the unknown.

Stop your thinking and over analyzing.

Jump like a child jumping into the arms of their daddy.

Your heavenly Daddy will be there to catch you.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

He’s waiting.

With arms open wide.

Arms that were stretched wide in love. Nailed to a cross.

He did that for you.

He wants you. All of you. Completely.

In Him,

Tressa

{a glimpse}

IMG_63002I’d like to start this post off by saying I don’t want this to come across as a “woe is me” sob story. It’s not a post I really wanted to even write and share, (because, being vulnerable is hard) but the Lord has continued to lay it on my heart. I’m starting to see that when He wants me to do something instead of arguing, I should just go with what he says. I’d save myself a lot of time. Over 5 months ago I wrote a post called {little blessings}. (I encourage you to go and read it if you haven’t already before you continue on with this one) In it I talked about how God had taught me a lot over the first of 2013. That too often I let fear and worry rule my life. I finally came to the place of what I thought was complete surrender to him.

IMG_6288SPOILER ALERT: I hadn’t

“I want to stand before my Jesus with open hands, but to often I stand with clenched fists. Willing to trust him with most, but not willing to trust with everything. That’s what my actions far to often convey to Him.”

I wrote the above with the desire to do just that. To stand before my Jesus with open hands.

quailIMG_6290In that moment….

It was joy so pure. I was high on life, on love, and most importantly Jesus. I had chosen to live my life with hands wide open before him.
Then, it all came crashing down.
Heartbreak.
Pain that cuts deep.
Bewilderment.
Wondering why? Why me? I thought this is what you wanted from me Jesus? I finally came to the point I thought I had completely surrendered to you? An then, everything crashes down around me? Everything I loved was being taken from me. Or so it seemed to my broken human mind. It wasn’t the end of my story. Oh no, God wasn’t finished, but I was to hard headed to see. I became angry. I wanted to pull into myself, not let anyone in again. Satan tried to tell me people weren’t worth it. It wasn’t worth letting someone get close just so they could leave. It wasn’t worth it to pour into someone else’s life.
It wasn’t worth it to love. It cost too much. Cut too deeply.
He was wrong.

IMG_6298One of my friends who knew I was struggling gave me this verse. I read it as tears streamed down my face.

“Sing, barren woman,
you who never bore a child;
burst into song, shout for joy,
you who were never in labor;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
than of her who has a husband,”
says the Lord.
“Enlarge the place of your tent,
stretch your tent curtains wide,
  do not hold back;
lengthen your cords,
strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread out to the right and to the left;
your descendants will dispossess nations
and settle in their desolate cities.

“Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame.
Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.
You will forget the shame of your youth
and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.

For your Maker is your husband—
the Lord Almighty is his name—
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;
he is called the God of all the earth.
The Lord will call you back
as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit—
a wife who married young,
only to be rejected,” says your God.
“For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with deep compassion I will bring you back.
In a surge of anger
I hid my face from you for a moment,
but with everlasting kindness
I will have compassion on you,”
says the Lord your Redeemer.

Isaiah 54:1-8

It was like water on my dry and hurting heart.

IMG_6294IMG_6313Over and over it felt like he was stripping away all that was important to me.
Until, it was only He that remained.
You see, He wanted me completely. He wanted to see if I was truly willing to stand before him hands wide open. Down on my knees crying out for help only He can give. I can’t do this thing called life on my own. No matter how much I want to.
I. Need. Him.
Through all the pain He has became my joy.
He has became my love.
I’ve never tasted anything so pure or fulfilling.

IMG_6546 IMG_65455 months later I’ve still wondered why…But with that wondering, I came to the place where it was okay that I didn’t know. I don’t need to know everything, knowing that Jesus knows best was enough. I thought that chapter in my life was over and done with.

Then it happened.

A chance for forgiveness.

A chance to extend love.

Instead of anger.

Christ’s love.

A chance for grace.

A glimpse.

A glimpse behind the curtain of God’s master Plan.

Finally I’m at peace.

I’ve let go.

I see that He knows best. That this journey of life is full of never ending learning. Letting go isn’t something I’ll just do once and boom it’s good for life. No. It’s something I have to do over and over. There will always be heartbreak and pain around the corner. We live in a fallen world. I’ve come to the conclusion that no matter how many seasons of learning He takes us through, He isn’t finished with us. Until we see Him face to face there will always be something more He wants to teach us. It’s a process.
We don’t always get to see the master plan, often we’ll have to wait until we reach heaven to fully understand what He was doing. For now, I’m so thankful he let me see a small glimpse.

Please

Don’t ever, ever underestimate the power of forgiveness when done a great wrong. After all, hasn’t Christ forgiven us so much more?

In Him,

Tressa

{little blessings}

Wow. It’s been almost a year since I had my last post. SO much life has happened. I can’t even begin to write everything that has happened. I feel an overwhelming need to write. To pour out some of what is in my heart. My heart is full. I have learned much in this last year. I have learned a lot about other people and even more about myself. I haven’t liked everything I’ve learned. The Lord has revealed a lot and as hard as some of it has been I am thankful he has taken me through it and brought me to the other side. Life is a never ending lesson. One that won’t end until I am face to face with my savior. Life can get overwhelming. It can feel like a never ending ocean where we are tossed to and fro by its waves. There is so much evil in this world. So many things to be worried by. But take heart.

Take heart.

Our heavenly father has overcome this world.

He alone is over it all.

He has a plan.

Even when we can’t see it.

One of the things I’ve been seeing in myself is the fact I worry. I over think everything. I’m positive for everyone but myself. I think over what could go right, but more often I think of what could go wrong. I do that to prepare myself. To try and figure out how I can take control of the situation. Instead of simply trusting. Simply trusting my Father in heaven who sent his only Son to die for my sins.

He loves me.

That is so hard to even begin to wrap my arms around. He loves me, a sinner, and no matter what he asks me to walk through, He has promised to be by my side and never leave me. Ever. He never said this life would be easy. In fact he promised hardships and trials. This fallen world is full of them. I know though, without a shadow of a doubt he will be there holding me.

I want to stand before my Jesus with open hands, but to often I stand with clenched fists. Willing to trust him with most, but not willing to trust with everything. That’s what my actions far to often convey to Him.

I worry oh how I worry. My brain gets to over thinking every little thing to the point where it sucks out the joy in my life. It affects the relationships around me. Like I said earlier this is often a coping mechanism so as to not be disappointed when the bad things do come along. I’ve been battling against this over this last summer. I want to have my mind renewed by the Lord. I want to get my thinking right. I know worry is straight from the pit of hell. A tactic from the enemy, one used to take my mind of of Christ and onto the problem. This past week has been full of fears and worries, but something special happened just a few days ago. I was babysitting two very special kiddos and I once again noticed a journal lying on their kitchen counter. It’s been there every time I’ve watched their children. It’s a book of little blessings. Each with a number. Right now the book is filled with over 2500 blessings. Simple things. Big things. The woman writing the journal is someone who I admire and love very much. I am blessed over and over by her love for her family and most importantly her Love for her Savior. Later that night I came across a journal I’ve had for years. When I say years I’m talking close to 10. I’ve never used it. Always saving it for something special. I finally found something worth using it for. It is now a book for little blessings. I don’t want to miss out on a single blessing.

They are all around us. In the beauty of a Kansas sunset, in the joy of little kids giggles, watching my sister look at her man with eyes full of love, they are in the simple joy of the smell of freshly ground coffee, the simple beauty of wild flowers, the striking beauty of a creek flowing through the mountains, the love of my family and being cared for by someone special. They are there even in the midst of pain. I don’t want to focus on the negative anymore. I want to focus on His beauty. To fully revel in Christ and His Love.

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I know it’s something that may take a lifetime to work through, but I want to battle through it and live fully fulfilled in Christ. I want nothing more than to fall more and more in love with my Savior. I’m only 50 things in, but I feel a change a coming. Today was filled with more problems and worries of life, but after talking with Jesus, two very special friends and tonight writing in my book I can feel a change. My heart is filled with peace again. It’s filled with joy.

Because tonight I am choosing to trust. I’m choosing to find the joy. I’m choosing to find the blessings he has waiting for me.

So I encourage you, find the little blessings in life.

In Him,

Tressa