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September 12, 2016

Once upon a time, I thought that I was going to be a ballerina.

Y’all for real. I never took more than a handful of dance classes in my life and my name should have been “Grace” because that’s how clumsy I am. I saw the movie Center Stage years and year and years ago and thought that I wanted to be a ballerina. I also thought, at one point, that I wanted to be a Spice Girl, despite being unable to carry a tune in a bucket. There was also the dream of being a Crime Scene Investigator, an English Teacher, a Pediatric Oncologist, a nurse, a political speech writer, and a therapist. All dreams and desires that were short lived and somewhat unlikely.

Don’t get me wrong, the schooling never scared me. About any of my dreams. Medical school? Nah. Not intimidated by that. Blood and guts and horrendous things that only live in many people’s nightmares? Nah. Not scared of that either. What all of these things lacked was passion. And over time, drive.

At any point in my life if you had asked me what I wanted to do, I’d have given you some kind of answer that involved a thriving career and a big fat paycheck. I’d drive a Tahoe (because for whatever reason, I have always wanted one), live in a two story home and have kids who never got dirty.

Now? Years later when people stop asking what you want to do and instead ask what do you do, my life looks nothing like I had planned. I run my own graphic design business (something that I never in a million years would have expected myself to do), we have a mid-size SUV-soon to be replaced with a minivan (yes…we’re gonna go there-albeit kicking and screaming), live in a modest single story home and have two little boys who could have invented the word “filthy.”

Needless to say, life looks nothing like I thought it would.

There are so many aspects of my life that I still struggle to let God have control of. I like control. I don’t like scary, uncomfortable things and the unknown makes me hyperventilate. It’s not surprising to me that I would end up marrying a military man (resulting in a whole lot of unknown alllllll the time), juggle a business that has up seasons and down ones, be called to adopt from a third world country, and raise a special needs son. Too much uncertainty makes me border-line panicky, while teaching me to wholeheartedly rely on God. 


I think one of the absolute hardest things about following God with my whole heart, is that lack of visual proof. Despite looking around day in and day out and seeing God’s handiwork, it is uber-hard to place all of my trust in a God that I can not physically touch. I’ve been reading and studying the story of Sarah in scripture and am constantly blown away by how much she and I have in common. If you’ve been around here for very long, then you might remember our almost 18 month battle with conceiving our son Jonah. During those long months when negative test after negative test appeared, it was God’s promise to her that kept me from losing it.

[bctt tweet=”It is hard to trust God with little things, but even harder to trust him with the giant ones. ” username=”@CourtneyKirklnd”]

It’s really hard to trust God with the little things in our lives…the day to day type things like paying the bills, how much to tithe on Sunday’s without pinching so much that you can’t get your Starbucks, which charity to donate to, etc. But it’s even harder to trust him with the big stuff like having a baby, adopting a child, dealing with a sick loved one or something much harder like death or sickness.

One of the hardest parts of this big prayer of “anything” unfolds for people all the time. What is your biggest fear? What is the worst thing that could happen to you? What is the one thing that you can’t bring yourself to let go of? For any mother, I think that is losing a child. Last year, I stood by helplessly as a very, very dear friend lost her unborn daughter at 38 weeks. I sat, hundreds of miles away from her-unable to be by her side, but feeling very much like I was sitting right there-as she delivered, lost, and buried her baby girl. Today, that grief is still so very real for her and her family.

As hard as it has to be, I’m learning, very slowly learning, that this life, these choices, these obstacles, aren’t mine. These events of the day to day that I can’t control? They aren’t for me to dictate and fit into my picture perfect bubble of life. This life-my life-was meant and is meant to draw attention and bring glory to God. That’s all.

That doesn’t mean it’s easy. Far from it. That doesn’t mean that I do it right all the time. Far from it. That doesn’t mean that I never doubt or question God. Far from it.

That just means that, even when times are hard and things get bad, that I cling to the hope that God is still God. And always will be.


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Courtney Kirkland is a Sacramento, California photography and design business. Since 2008, Courtney has passionately provided beautiful, meaningful documentary-style photography and intentional, high-quality design.  Value and celebrate the beautiful, messy, and uniquely-special moments of everyday living.