Retrospect shows how God was working for good all along.

Retrospect Is My New Best Friend

I’m a planner. I think things through. I’m not a fan of abrupt life changes. 

So I had to laugh at myself when one year ago, I resigned from my stable job, said goodbye to friends, packed a moving truck, and left Missouri to move back to Iowa. When I got to Iowa, I had a temporary political gig waiting for me. (Side note: this ended up being some of the most challenging work of my life and while I was very happy to say goodbye to it, I’m glad for the growth.) I didn’t even have housing lined up – good thing my parents like me enough to have me stay with them for a few weeks. 

All things considered, the entire move seemed like something I wouldn’t choose to do. But there have been a few times in my life where I have clearly felt the Lord guiding my choices, and in the weeks leading up to the move, His voice was clear: 

“You need to be near your family. You need to be closer to the friends you’ve known for years. You need to leave your comfort zone here.” 

I listened. Through the chaos of the move, the frustration of house hunting, the hard days of work, and the hours I spent on the road away from home for said work, I hoped that God had a purpose in me uprooting my life. 

Retrospect has become my new best friend because, without it, I wouldn’t be able to appreciate the goodness God displayed in guiding my steps. 

I had no way of knowing that God was going to provide a house that would be more of a home than my little apartment in the city. A home that would see more tears, more joy, and more fellowship than that apartment ever did. 

I had no way of knowing that a global pandemic would sweep the world. I didn’t know that my family members would be the only people I would meet with in-person for months and that doing that would have been impossible if I still lived out of state. 

I had no idea that I needed to be close to my family for the storms we would weather. From health issues to hardships, physical proximity allowed me to be there for my family in a way that texts and calls never could have replicated. 

I had no clue what wonderful work and opportunities God had lined up. That my rescue dachshund’s separation anxiety would lessen after he became best friends with my sister’s dog. I didn’t know that God had a church community lined up for me, one where I could grow deep roots of fellowship. 

What seemed like chaos and hardship at the time was God’s design for goodness in my life. Retrospect allows me to praise Him for that. His ways are not our ways. 

What has God done in your life that you can fully appreciate now? Take some time to reflect – He’s working for good even when we don’t fully see it.

Kelvey's book picks from quarter three of 2020.

The Quarterly Reading Roundup: 2020 Q3

2020 is somehow both crawling and flying by. I think I blinked and the last three months elapsed. But that means that it is time for my quarterly reading roundup! 

Here are my picks from quarter three of 2020: 

CRAZY RICH ASIANS TRILOGY BY KEVIN KWAN

I was skeptical before I started the first book in this trilogy, but they ended up being fantastic. Kwan transports you into a different culture, one that rattles all our American assumptions about the rich and powerful. Packed with cultural insight, witty commentary, plenty of detail, and eye-rolling dialogue, these fast-paced books are some of the best fiction I’ve read all year. 

ORTHODOXY BY G.K. CHESTERTON

I like the way Chesterton’s mind works. This beautiful, imaginative work paints Christianity in a way that makes the heart, mind, and soul run wild. Below is a quote I loved from the book, one that summarizes the grand perspective Chesterton held: 

“That a good man may have his back to the wall is no more than we knew already, but that God could have His back to the wall is a boast for all insurgents forever. Christianity is the only religion on earth that has felt that omnipotence made God incomplete. Christianity alone felt that God, to be wholly God, must have been a rebel as well as a king. Alone of all creeds, Christianity has added courage to the virtues of the Creator. For the only courage worth calling courage must necessarily mean that the soul passes a breaking point – and does not break.”

SEVEN WOMEN BY ERIC METAXAS 

Metaxas is one of my favorite biographers, and his Seven Women did not disappoint. These seven, chapter-length biographies cover everyone from Joan of Arc to Rosa Parks. I finished the book inspired and having learned a lot about these seven remarkable women. 

What is the best book you’ve read lately?

Resolutions and restrictions are for seasons, not a whole life.

You’re Not A Slave To Your Resolutions

When I was in college, I was determined to never drink a drop of alcohol. Now, I always have a bottle of red wine to crack open when friends come over and enjoy a great cocktail. 

What changed? Did I fail in my resolution?

The first answer? I did. The second? Both yes and no. 

I had very, very good reasons for not drinking back then, ones that I still respect and hold in high regard. Those were protective boundaries at the time. But as I got older, matured, became more disciplined, I didn’t need those same types of borders. While I still have strong restrictions on how often I drink, how much I can consume before cutting myself off, etc., I can now enjoy a glass of wine at a vineyard or a cocktail at a cool new bar with zero guilt. 

Some would look at this as failed resolve. But should we be slaves to the same set of restrictions and resolutions for our entire life? Or, should they grow and change as we do to fit each season? I think the latter. 

Another example is my high school resolution to never watch ‘R’ rated movies. (Note: Unless discussing something that explicitly is sinful, I veer away from the word ‘never’ now when discussing things I will or won’t do.) I still have guardrails on the entertainment I consume (largely governed by what it’s doing to my heart and relationship with Christ on any given day), but that boundary is no longer in place. After all, there are many good, teaching movies that are rated ‘R’ for their own reasons. (13 Hours? Passion of the Christ? Ring a bell?) 

And this is not just subtraction. I have ADDED resolutions and restrictions over the past years. I try my hardest to be off social media at least a day a week and try to keep my phone off for large portions of that day as well. I’ve learned over the years what technology does to me, and that “restriction” is a way of fighting back against it. 

When I became a vegetarian, I added a “restriction” against meat into my life. My life has been a cycle of added and subtracted resolutions and restrictions. Don’t hear what I’m not saying: Guardrails are good, necessary, and Biblical. We just need the right ones to fit each season. 

So I first look to Scripture and attempt to apply the guardrails it contains to my life. Then, where there is freedom in deciding, I try to make the decisions that best fit me in that season. Godly people have a lot of freedom, so lets not become slaves to rigid, never changing resolutions that were never even placed upon us.

What is America the other 364 days a year?

What Is America The Other 364 Days A Year?

American greatness is easy to grasp on Independence Day. Displays of fireworks watched among good company encourage nostalgia. You may think deeply of American roots on the 4th of July, but what is the country to you the other 364 days? Continue reading “What Is America The Other 364 Days A Year?”

Why philosophy wins over political partisanship every time.

Refusing To Be A Partisan Hack Is MUCH More Fun

Urban Dictionary is hilariously venerated by a culture that rarely uses the word venerated, but is nonetheless useful when defining phrases like ‘partisan hack’:

“Someone who cares more about supporting a particular party or ideology than supporting what is morally right, or factually true.” Continue reading “Refusing To Be A Partisan Hack Is MUCH More Fun”

Why it's okay to be absolutely hooked on a fictional story.

You’ll Get Hooked On The Story – And That’s Okay

Have you ever lived a day without actually living YOUR day?

And by that, I mean have you ever lived a day where you were so wrapped up in a story that it didn’t seem like you were actually in your own life? Continue reading “You’ll Get Hooked On The Story – And That’s Okay”

what to do when those dearest are distant.

what to do with a heart made of map dots

When I was a kid, sticking dots on a map to show where my people were was a simple task. Sure, there were the family members that lived a little further away from me than preferable, but most of my loved ones were clustered in the geographic circle I called home. Continue reading “what to do with a heart made of map dots”

Why America is the greatest experiment of innovation to ever exist.

America Is The Greatest Experiment

On this planet, any sort of innovation comes with risk. Risk is minimized by repeating the tried and true, but it takes boldness to try something brand new. Those types of experiments of innovation are the greatest risk of all, but also lead to the greatest success. Continue reading “America Is The Greatest Experiment”