Audra Krell

On Purpose

Archive for the category “Purpose”

Giving Your Pinky Toe

Photo Courtesy @iStockphoto

Time for a much needed update. I’m 50% done with my accelerated nursing assistant program. It’s going very well, I even have an A, but the written final is in less than 48 hours. I’m thinking my mom is pretty proud, we didn’t see too many A’s in the formative college years.

It’s been a huge adjustment for our family; going to school eight hours a day and then doing ten chapters of homework and studying for quizzes most evenings. But each one of my men have largely contributed to making my dreams come true; my grateful heart is full.

We covered a huge textbook in 36 hours of class time. But it’s actually clicking for me. This is the way I think, medical terms make sense due to my love of words and writing, I read so much faster than I did 22 years ago and life experience has taught me much more than I would have realized, had I not gone back to school.

So naturally I reflected on all I’m thankful for this past Thursday. First I’m eternally grateful for each friend and family member God has blessed me with. I learn to love from each one and am a better person because of the people He chose to put in my life. Second, I’m grateful for opportunity. I cannot believe that I get to go to school. I sit in wonder every day at the golden chance to be educated in caring for all of God’s people.

The culture would have me believe I should sacrifice something to “pay back” all I’ve been given. But would I give my first born for this opportunity? Never.

What about my pinky toe? See some women are giving their pinky toes for the opportunity for their shoes to fit better. Seriously. Don’t they need them for balance? Do they have phantom limb pain (there’s my new medical training in action)?  Can she afford shoes after the medical bills hobble in? Is she offered a discount on pedicures for only having 8 toes?

Look at the picture above. Does she have pinky toes? We’ll never know.

Anyway, I don’t think God is calling me to give up something because I’m grateful. He isn’t looking to be repaid.

I do believe He wants me to express my thankful heart, but He’s just fine with this little piggy staying home.

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Author Susan Cottrell On Men

Today I have Susan Cottrell weighing in with an excerpt from her upcoming book. I’ve written before about how men need to have their heart question answered and Susan agrees. I’m grateful she has taken the time to share her thoughts and I highly recommend her new book.

Susan Cottrell is a writer, speaker and teacher. Married 25 years, she and Rob have five (nearly) grown children. Susan homeschooled for some twenty years… until she ran out of energy! She is set to release her newly expanded book: How Not to Lose Your Teen: Raising Kids who Love God and You Too. Her second book, The Marriage Renovation, is soon to be published. She loves to lead retreats and seminars, teaching women, couples and teens about the freedom for which Christ has set them free (Galatians 5:1). She loves to travel, watch old movies and eat chocolate. Contact her directly at FreedHearts.org.

The following excerpt is from Susan’s upcoming book: How Not to Lose Your Teen: Raising Kids who Love God and You Too.

Men and Boys

Men are more vulnerable than we realize, and I believe that inside every man is a little boy who needs to know he’s enough. Boys need to hear, regularly and authentically, that they have what it takes to be a man. Whether your son is an athlete, a pianist, a writer or anything else, he needs constant affirmation that God has equipped him fully as a man, and God will faithfully complete the good work He began in him (Philippians 1:6). Dads especially need to engage with their sons – affirming, including and accepting them as the person God designed them to be.

Mom’s job is to let their boys grow up, let them separate, encourage them to take risks and trust them to become men. Tell them you know they can do it. Hold the crown above their head and let them grow into it.

I failed at this when my family was at a rock-climbing wall at the fair. Our David, barely four, wanted to climb. I immediately decided $5 was too much to pay for him to climb two feet and then quit. I foolishly told Rob that Dave was too little and could not do it. He said, “I can do it, Mom.” Rob paid the money and David did climb – all the way to the top. And when he got down, he said, “See Mom? I knew I could do it.” Risking my son’s view of his manhood is not worth $5.

Not only do our boys need to believe they have what it takes to be men and to succeed, they also need to understand that their job is to love and protect the women in their lives – mothers, wives, sisters, daughters. They need to esteem girls, encourage them, treat them with dignity, and not use them for their own pleasure. If boys would treat the girls in their lives as they hope their future wives are being treated, what a sweet impact that would make in our culture. Dads can lead their boys this way, by their own example of kindness and respect.

I learned disdain for men growing up, from my father who was constantly disappointed in my brothers for not reaching his impossible standards. God had to break that old paradigm so His love could prevail. I had to surrender to Him, to let Him do His great healing work in me. But He did. It’s what He does best!

Thank you again Susan. These short paragraphs are packed with great thoughts on what every man needs.

Question: What have you done lately to help the men in your life believe they have what it takes?

Even WowWow is A Boy

Candi Card Williams

My sweet friend Candi had a wonderful response to my posts last week and her thoughts are too good to keep to myself. She’s an amazing mother to a beautiful 5-year-old boy and wife to a hard working and godly man, Tim. Hailing from Tampa, Florida, I’m so glad she got out of the humidity and now calls Scottsdale home. I also love how she calls me Ms. and always offers one of her southern hugs. I’m just better whenever I’m around her. 

Ok, Ms Audra!!

I am loving your new series!!!!

I have had to wipe back the tears at some points and then at others jump up and say “Preach it Sista!!”

You and I have a lot in common. I was raised by a single mother with 3 older sisters – no boys in my house.

Now, I am the only girl – even my cat WowWow is a boy – well he used to be . . .

I read your last article and thought how gracious God was to give you a great husband and THREE sons!! And how thankful I am for my Tim and Wesley (ok and WowWow).

I think it’s really cool that what the Enemy intended for evil, God will turn out for good. Follow me on this . . .

I can’t speak for you, but for me, the Enemy broke apart my home of origin, yet God in HIS wisdom gave me a son. My prayer is that the generational sin stops with me and Tim, and that we are now ushering in a new generation of blessing with our LITTLE MAN.

I see your family and read your posts – what the Enemy intended for evil, God is turning to good. You and your husband are ending generational sin and ushering in a new generation of THREE YOUNG MEN that love our Heavenly Father.

Praise be to Jesus!!!

Hugs and keep the posts coming!!!

Candi

Doesn’t she just crack you up? I love the line that “WowWow used to be a boy”….hysterical. And Candi, you can speak for me anytime sister. You are right on. I was deeply inspired by your words, and it brings tears to my eyes every time I think about being intentional about ending generational sin. That God would give us a chance to help raise boys who will be a blessing, who will help not harm, who will love not hate.

And just so you know, we’ve got your little girl in mind. We want to raise boys who are tough but tender when need be, real men who know how to love and respect a lady. We’re praying for a generation of blessed young women to rise up. Women who want to be co-creators the way God intended, women who want to walk worthy and walk beside a good man.

So what’s your story? Is God showing you a new way?

Men on a Mission

Photo Courtesy @Experience Missions Facebook Page

There were many men on the medical mission trip to Valladolid this past July. I watched average men be great and great men humble themselves in average ways. It is the joy though, that will never be forgotten. The very exercise of ministering delighted them and the team deeply.

In the United States it’s easy to mistakenly believe life is all about us. Upon arrival in the Yucatan however, we found our purpose through the lives of others, through the love and life of Jesus. We could only find ourselves when we looked through the lens of purpose as we served.

In my ever inquisitive “journalistic” nature, I spoke to several different men over the course of the trip, ages 18-70. Most of them love to read, but went further to say that they were in Mexico to live a remarkable story, not just to read about one.

In order to fully live, they did things that made them uncomfortable. They viewed and performed procedures in medical, built structures they never thought they were capable of and did jobs with materials which weren’t what they wanted or needed or were used to. They wore the same clothes and poured sweat, tears and love into the people of Valladolid. They lived out Matthew 25:36 and had compassion for those in prison.

In short, they lived a great story. They found themselves and it wasn’t a coincidence. They discovered who they are in the hard things that tested them, the moments and experiences that turned them upside down and inside out.

A lot of the men got their question answered. You know the one, the one we all wrestle with, “Am I good enough?” A resounding yes was the moment-by-moment response they encountered in the Yucatan.

And then they went home. For some the story ended. They closed the book on that short story with a silent prayer they’d be able to live it again someday. Some closed it and filed it under science fiction, believing it was a seven day fantasy where they got to be the hero who lives deep in their heart. Others filed their story under the travel section and put it away in their “Been there, got the T-shirt” drawer.

But a few came home and decided to live their new story, right here in the USA. It isn’t easy. The culture continues to tell them who they are and all that they will never be. Old labels haunt their every day and sometimes that pervasive darkness just won’t shake. And then they remember. The sure, strong voice of The Father telling them this is what they were designed for, this is who they are meant to be.

This is where the ladies come in. We can emasculate our men, join with culture in oppressing and marginalizing them. Or we can have compassion. We can affirm the hero they are, their strength and courage.

If we choose the latter, we change the world. There are millions of fatherless kids, desperate to live their true story. The men in your life can continue their mission and come alongside our boys, offering them hope and a different way.

Your love for your men, is the encouragement and acceptance they need to show someone else how to live and love well.

Feelings Don’t Define You

Photo Courtesy @iStockphoto

Whatever you feel today doesn’t mean you are.

If you feel sad, it doesn’t mean you are a sad person.
If you feel mad, you aren’t an angry person.
If you feel frazzled and out of control, you aren’t crazy.
If you feel discouraged, you aren’t a negative person.
If you feel empty, you aren’t alone.
If you feel unloved, you aren’t unloveable.
But…
If you feel loved (or even when you don’t), you are.

Everyday. Feelings and all.

Creator God loves you no matter what. Forever.

I’m My Own Trapper Keeper

Photo Courtesy @Google Images

I wanted the Trapper Keeper so bad. But even with three jobs, for three kids, my mom’s budget didn’t contain coin for a Trapper Keeper. I needed it because well, it was just so fresh. And the matching folders, those were totally awesome. I felt like such a Joanie without the blue rainbow Trapper Keeper. Of course everyone had one, but me.

The other reason I needed one is because Carry Murphey had one. The most popular girl in school who always had the best of everything. Finest boyfriend, greatest smile, silkiest hair, and like the best school supplies ever. Hello Kitty pencils, Bionic Woman book covers and her own subscription to Tiger Beat. It came right to her mailbox every month. That was major awesomeness, Major. Carry’s TK also seemed like a golden ticket. The girl never did any work,she just sat in class organizing the mother of all binders. My inner organizer called at a very young age as well. I just knew if I could arrange all my papers in color coded folders, I could avoid doing classwork too.

But it was not to be and I went all my formative years without one. Frankly, I’m not sure how I survived. Even when my parents got divorced, the Trapper Keeper was not a parting gift I could weasel out of my father. Believe me I tried. I ended up with a Pretty Changes Barbie though, and while there was nothing pretty about the changes in my life, it was somewhat of a consolation prize.

Then I grew up and had my own kids. Did the “my kids will have everything I didn’t” thing. When it came time for serious school supply shopping, I proudly led our 3rd grade son over to the Trapper Keeper section. Waving my hand across the shiny rows of TK’s, I encouraged him to pick whichever one he wanted. He simply stared. No stars in his eyes, no excitement, nothing.

“Our teacher said we’re not allowed to have those.”

What? I mentally shook my fist at the man. I mean what teacher in their right mind would shun the beautiful organization of the best notebook ever made? And then my son. Did he not want to be most popular? Most likely to succeed due to his organizational skills? Did he not want the silkiest hair ever?

“She didn’t mean it. Pick one out.” I did another large flourish with both hands this time. “You love yellow, get that one.”

“They said it takes us too long to get things out and they can’t stand the sound of 30 zippers zipping and unzipping all day.”

“What about the sound of 30 losers who can’t find their papers and are unable to get jobs someday?”

Now it was his turn to be incredulous. “What mommy?”

“Nothing,” I grumbled. I couldn’t believe it, my chance to live vicariously through my son was being slowly snuffed.

I turned to our 4 year old, hope brimming in my eyes once again. “What about you? You need a Trapper Keeper. Pick any one you want.” He just giggled and jammed his hand inside a bin of glue sticks, displacing several onto the floor.

We didn’t buy any TK’s that day or ever.

Admittedly our boys don’t have the silkiest hair, but they’ve got good heads on their shoulders. Maybe they’re not the most popular but they are surrounded by faithful friends and family. Organizational skills are on the rise and they’ve enjoyed many successes at early ages. And all without a Trapper Keeper.

And me? Well obviously I can be the Trapper Keeper of Bitterness. Through this writing however, I’ve realized that by the grace of God, we’re all going to be more than okay.

One year later I’m not sure I’m ready for him to go again.

Audra Krell

That’s my “I’ve got 85 more days with my boy and I’m wearing a foam finger” smile. That was May 24.

Today I more resemble the boy behind me, sort of a dumbfounded look saying “what’s going on here?” combined with Keegan’s look of “is this really happening?”

Alas, it really is happening. He’s leaving a week from today.

I’ve found, that breakdowns can really occur anywhere. I have no shame.

No one is immune. Even the pediatrician, as we are discussing one of my other sons, might be the unsuspecting victim of the ugly cry.

Even in church, as they honored Keegan in front of thousands of people on Sunday, I bawled. A friend thought of calling 911, as I was almost prone in the vicinity of pew 10. Woman down.

What about the customer service rep at Bed, Bath and Beyond when I lost one of my coupons…

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ICU

Our last day in the Centro Medico San Lucas hospital was the most difficult. We had few patients in post- op for hours and then the unit exploded. Suddenly there were several discharges, four new patients and an emergency trauma sitting in the waiting room. I’d heard about him all day. His injuries were extensive and he only spoke Mayan. Not a bit of Spanish.

The boy was 18, one year younger than our oldest son. He’d been in a horrible fight; someone hit him in the face repeatedly with a broken beer bottle. A local alley war changed the young man’s life forever. A split second decision left him with vision in only one eye and deep cuts which will certainly scar. He’s the victim of a drama with eternal consequences for all involved.

When he came to the PACU, his face bore the tracks of a hundred stitches. Some curved in the shape of a bottle, some random and jagged, the way angry glass carelessly claims it’s real estate. Surgical bandages covered his eye, his expression passive.

I expected terror and even rage, but the boy was somewhere deep inside himself, far away. My momma heart broke, for him and for everything that would be different now.

But it was his father who took my breath away. His father’s eyes that made me want to cry out in pain. His father spoke a little Spanish, but there aren’t enough words in the world, in any language, that I could speak to comfort him. As a parent, I grieved with him, worried over his internal heart injuries and wished I could literally infuse him with hope.

All I could do was use my eyes. We took gentle care of the boy and heaped grace and mercy on him in the form of blankets, water and pain meds. I smiled at his father at every turn, praying he could “hear” me.

I still pray he can hear me.

I see you brother. I’m standing with you. There is something much bigger than us here. God is with us and has plans for your son, plans to prosper and never fail him. Amen.

I’m an URN

Valladolid Team

We partnered with International Medical Assistance and served in Valladolid, Yucatan, MEXICO for one week.

One life-changing week.I’d heard the trip would change my life. Heard, but didn’t comprehend. I’m still struggling to write because so much happened. It’s time to jump in though.

I’m now an URN. An Unregistered Nurse in every US state and most in Mexico.

Caring for the patients in post-op for 10,11 and 12 hour days has left me burning with passion to answer God’s call. The call to care for all of His people in a deeper way. Being a part of something much bigger than myself has become my one desire.

I’m exploring all the options for going back to school to become a nurse. Maybe even a Registered Nurse if I’m lucky.

I’ve got to believe though, that after everything I was privileged to do and all the medical things I participated in, that in God’s economy, I’m registered. Seems a real fine place to start.

So, much more later. For now I’m asking God to reveal the path.

What about you? What do you when you are overwhelmed with the good choices of fully living?

On Distraction

For 26 hours I rode the roller coaster, eyes closed, hands in the air, nausea and all. I’m in the final stretch of preparations for our medical mission trip to Valladolid.

After feeling ill all week, I went to the doctor yesterday. I was frustrated that I had to go and sent a text to a couple of girlfriends regarding how distracted I was by my physical problems.

After talking for a bit, the Doc asked if I could be pregnant. I almost snorted. “Um, No.”

She raised her eyebrows, burrowing into my eyes.

“Really. No chance.” I assured her.

“I want you to take a test anyway.”

10 minutes later she opened the door and dropped a bomb or several. The test came back positive. And, I was having a miscarriage. And, if the pregnancy was ectopic, I would be having surgery. And, I wouldn’t be going on the mission trip.

The rickety car flew around the old wooden tracks faster and faster as the bottom fell. The ultrasound was scheduled for today and I made my way home. I felt lousy, was consumed with a need for answers and in shock. Collapsing in bed, I prayed for direction, healing and answers. Fever and chills ruled the tunnel of night and the car began another steep decent as daylight dawned.

Finally we bumped to a stop about 10:00 this morning. Blood work showed no pregnancy, ultrasound was great, no explanation for a host of unusual symptoms and a positive pregnancy test yesterday. I do have an infection, but that’s a different distraction which has nothing to with the original problems.

I’m baffled by the events of the last two days. I don’t have answers and I have more questions. But what I do know, is that God is good, He’s got this and He will lead me away from the tracks.

My job is to stay the course now. This isn’t about me and I won’t be distracted from serving the marginalized people of Valladolid. I value my health and I will take care of myself, however I won’t lose my ability to pay attention to what I’ve been called to do.

You can easily see what to pray for and as always, we deeply appreciate the power of standing tall together, on our knees.

What about you? Ever had a time of deep distraction from the things God was calling you to? What did you do?

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