Last weekend a family I have grown up with and considered a second family the majority of my life, lost their son in a tragic way. The details are still hard for me to comprehend, but you can read a little about the incident here. I’d just like to first and foremost ask for all your thoughts, prayers, and love to be sent to the Hallmans during this time. I know blogging about this is a little out of context to what I normally share, but I have the feeling that David’s life and death is going to have a significant impact of how I go about the rest of my journey here on Earth. He was such a bright and fun-loving kid, and I can’t even begin to understand why he was taken at a time like this. I know that everyone involved in the situation has come out of it stronger, more thoughtful, and more appreciative of life than ever before.
With this, I want to share a little part of myself that I’ve been keeping quiet about for the past couple years. This week has showed me the importance of saying what you feel when you have the time to do so, and it just seems right. Thanks for the courage David! This sounds all scandalous, but I promise you it’s not ;)
I grew up in a Christian household, going to Christian and Catholic schools until graduating high school, and I had considered myself agnostic throughout all of these experiences. When I was making wrong choices at home, I was punished by going to youth group Saturday afternoons — I never felt like I fit in with the kids there, and I honestly never really gave them a chance. When I went off to Iowa, faith was something that I rarely thought of. I had these years of my life to explore on my own terms, I made some good decisions, and I made even more wrong choices. All-in-all, these choices led me to Savannah to pursue my masters degree, and this is where I started to feel a pull towards exploring a Christian faith on my own for the first time. I met a good friend who opened up to me about her faith in a way that I never thought was possible for myself. She was a passionate, artistic, caring, and fun. There was a part of me that envied her ability to trust in God, go to church, and still live this amazingly fun life full of her personal passions on her own terms. My background made me feel like I had to be one way, or the other. I could be Christian, and follow all the rules, or be agnostic and live the way I wanted to. Meeting her, and becoming her friend sparked a new interest in faith that I have held inside of me for the past couple years. Those close to me knew I was exploring a relationship with Jesus more recently, but I still felt a little weird talking about this is general. It just didn’t seem like me, you know? I was still living my life the way I always had, breaking ‘rules’, and going on my own path — but suddenly, I had a little guidance. I had my faith to lean on a little more, to help me through some of the tough times, and to rejoice with me when things were working out. I always thought I needed to have someone to talk to about for all the little things going on in my life. With this new found faith in Jesus, I feel like He has been taking over, guiding me to where I was meant to be next.
I’m still the same old Kelsey, but I have a little more pep in my step, and I know that I have a wonderful support system behind me now. Serendipitously, I met Katie a couple months ago, and she has been re-inspiring me to live out my faith in an out-loud way. She does this so well, and is an inspiration to me in that sense. For the first time on my own accord, I went to church with her last Sunday. I’ve been struggling with feeling at home in a lot of ways in my life recently, and I can honestly say, I felt at home there that Sunday. Being back in my hometown this week, with so many close friends and family for the preceding events and funeral for David, was truly a lesson in life and faith in a way I can’t even begin to express. I’m so proud of how the Hallmans have been dealing with this tragedy, and how they have been leaning on their faith to make it through. It’s seriously inspiring, and I am forever changed by this experience. Even from the other side, David is using his gifts to share faith, love, and laughter. With these passing events, I thought it was about time to just throw this out there and be proud of my journey. Again, thank you for the courage David, love you buddy.
I’m so so sorry for the loss of your friend Kelsey and have been praying since I saw your post in IG. I’m so sorry for the family but their bravery is inspiring. It’s just difficult to continue during times like this. I’ve lost two friends (from church) this year already and it was a very difficult time processing the reality that is death. I’m no stranger to it but we just aren’t meant for goodbyes.
I LOVE what you’re saying about living your faith out-loud. I’ve been a regular church attendee for years and have been growing into my spirituality as an adult. I also attended Christian/Catholic schools all my life as well so I can definitely understand the “not fitting in” portion of youth classes. It really had less to do with our lives as Christians and just the fact that adolescence is hard no matter where we go. I’m glad you found Katie and that you’re living your faith out-loud.
Kelsey, I’m so sorry to hear about your friend. But I am so encouraged about your transparency about your faith – my testimony is very similar. I’ll be praying for you and for all of the people grieving the loss of David. Thank you for sharing!
@ Lauren — Thank you for your thoughts and prayers, it’s so appreciated by myself and everyone who knew and loved David. I’m glad I’m not alone on this journey! Best of luck to you as you go on yours :) xo
February 17th, 2014 at 1:31 PM
So proud of you, Kels! And grateful for your spiritual and religious journey as it’s helping me, too! I’m continuing to pray for you and the Hallmans. Love you
So sorry to hear about the loss. I feel for you all. It’s wonderful to hear about the wonderful things God is doing through David’s death though.
Moreover, I’ve found in my faith that loving Jesus isn’t about following all of the rules, going to church (though I love going these days) and going through the “motions.” It’s just about having a relationship with Him. I think of Him as my friend who I can talk through the little details with (as you put it), and the big ones too. What people think of as rules and restrictions are actually just God telling us, I designed you and know you better than yourself, if you follow these things you will be happier in life. He’s trying to help us out not just set a bunch of rules upon us. I’m talking about the guidance from the Bible itself though here. He loves us regardless of what we do and never expected us to be anywhere near perfect. That is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever known. The more I lean on Him in life the happier I become, and the more I turn away trying to make my own rules and way the unhappier I become. I’m not relying on the world to make me happy then as I’m relying more on God for that. I think that’s the way He intended as He just wants to love us and know us. He says He has a plan for all of us too so it makes sense to me! Beyond that, I still consider myself quite a work in progress having it no where near all figured out.
I’m not trying to push anything upon anyone else (not my style), but I’m always open for discussing it when opportunity arises. These were some of the things on my mind lately that seem to relate so well to what you’re saying. I thought I’d throw them out there! Praying for all those who knew David!
@ Sarah — Lady, thank you so much for stopping by and leaving these awesome words! You’re so right about this all, and it’s amazing to open up about something like this and get a response like yours to help us all out on our journeys :) I love what you say about Him letting us know the way to live to have a happier life — spot on. I’ve been struggling trying to let go of some things I thought made me a happier person, but in turn lead me further from God’s vision. It’s hard, but I’m trusting that He knows best :)
I love your attitude towards this all, thank you for this and for your prayers! xo
February 17th, 2014 at 3:46 PM
Kelsey, I can’t even begin to express how proud I am of you for just putting it out there! You are so inspiring, brave, talented, honest, open, Authentic, beautiful and a fabulous person! I am very honored to call you friend! I was so great to spend time with you even in the middle of all this pain and grief! Can’t wait to see you soon!
@ Ellise — Thank you! I didn’t know you read my blog! hah. It means a lot that you were able to read this and leave such an awesome comment. I loved being able to spend time with you this week as well, you made a hard time so much more comforting. I’ll see you again soon, I’m sure :) Big hugs!
So sorry for your loss, and will definitely be sending up prayers for your family and his family as it comes to mind this week.
I am, however, SO THANKFUL that you have Jesus to comfort and support you during this time. While the loss is still painful, the journey will be much easier to bare when you can give it to Him
So, so sorry to hear of your loss Kelsey. I can’t imagine what your family and his family and friends must be going through. Obviously taken way too soon, from the news article it sounds like he was a good man. Thoughts are with you and the Hallman family.
So sorry to hear of your loss, Kelsey – it is always difficult to make sense of loss, but especially when it is someone so young. It’s great that you’ve found comfort in a faith that speaks to you. If you’re ever interested, Anne Lamott writes some really incredible pieces about her faith in a totally relatable way. Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers, Grace (Eventually) and Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith are all great reads on the subject. Stay strong and keep your head up!
What a brave and beautiful post, Kelsey! It’s encouraging to read your honest reflections on faith and what God is doing in your heart! I am so sorry for your loss, and I’m continuing to pray for you, your family, and David’s family during this time. It sounds like he blessed all who knew him.
P.S. I’m so thankful that we met. :) You bless and inspire me! Glad we can live our faith out loud together! :)
I, too, struggle with this, having been raised by a Pentecostal and an Atheist. I am a more liberal Christian, I’d say… not such a rule follower, but not brave enough to completely disregard them. I recently read a book by Nadia Bolz-Weber called “Pastrix” and it reaffirmed my faith as messy and haphazard and totally valid, and I’d encourage you to read it.
I’m sorry for the loss of David. That is so tragic, but glad that he could leave you with something meaningful and beautiful.
@ Audrey — you’re incredibly right. Even through this week, I’ve been struggling to figure out where exactly I land on this faith spectrum. At least I have a little more gusto to help me through figuring it out this time :) That book sounds so interesting! I will have to put it on my ‘to read’ list — thank you for the suggestion, and thank you for your sympathy towards David.
Kelsey, I am so sorry to hear about your friend–what a tragic loss. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and his family and friends.
I think it is really wonderful that you have found strength in your faith. And I’m glad you found the courage to write about it on your blog; having done so myself before, I know how hard it can be to press publish on things like this.
@ Kristyn — thank you for your thoughts and prayers, they are very appreciated. Also, thank you for your support — it was crazy how nervous I was to post this. I even deleted the tweet that I sent out because I just thought it might be a little too much. I’m glad David and God gave me the strength to do so, and I feel like a weight has been lifted off in many ways. I hope you have a great weekend, and thank you for stopping by and leaving this note.
Kelsey, thank you so so much for sharing David’s story and living your faith out-loud. I have been praying for him and his loved ones (friends and family) since I saw your post on IG. I cannot even imagine how his family is feeling, and I pray that they can feel God’s comfort during this difficult time.
It wasn’t until my junior year of high school when I really understood my faith and realized it’s not really about our performance, but our connection and relationship with Christ. Thank you so much for posting this and sharing your heart! xo
I greatly admire your courage in sharing about your Faith in the Lord. Christians so often misguide people in how we are to love and live and this blog and these words are a testament to how we are normal and creative beings too! I will be praying for both you and your friends. Keep designing- such an inspiration! the Lord will use your work!
Kelsey, I have been a reader of your blog for a while but am new to commenting here! Just wanted to say thank you for documenting not only your creative but also personal ventures, and you sharing was awesome to hear. I love that you felt at home at church, that’s what church should feel like. I was excited reading your post! I look forward to hearing more of your projects and adventures with design and Jesus and life!
@ Jessica — Yay! I’m thankful that you commented :) And I’m so glad that you got excited over what I shared here — sometimes I feel like I can only really start to understand my own thoughts when I put them in this space. It’s so wonderful to hear that others are getting something out of my ramblings! Hah. Wishing you a wonderful weekend :)
I am very sorry for your loss. I just found your blog and I appreciate your honesty. I came from a very similar background where my father is a pastor and so I grew up only knowing life one way. I went out to live my life my way, and by the grace of God was able to hear Him calling me back a year ago. I have found something so pure and real in my relationship with Him that I would have never thought could be. Thanks for sharing your story. You are helping me share mine ;)
@ Jena — thank you for stopping by :) That’s awesome that you were able to rekindle your relationship with Jesus after being out on your own. I have a feeling this is a theme that many of us can relate to. Wishing you all the best as you share your journey!
Hey girl, I’m so sorry for your lose. I know from experience that losing loved ones can really shake us up, and sometimes send us down the right path through our pain. This is such an excited post for me to read. I’ve been quietly going down the same path when I started visiting a girlfriend’s church last August… with the intention of meeting a “good boy”. I have been going there ever since, now with much different intentions! It’s funny how God works in our lives and changes our hearts and perspectives. Living life has become so much more joyful and less stressful knowing that Jesus has my back and knowing how faithful He is in his love and care for me. I love you, girl, and I’m so excited for this new Jesus walk in both our lives!
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