Philippians 3:7-8: The Life I planned for; The Life I Didn’t get.

I’m one of those ‘have-to-have’ it all tucked away kind-of girls. I wish I weren’t; I hate that about myself, but I just am. I would bet I am one of the messiest organized people you have ever crossed paths with.

Starting an unexpected new season in my life, things have been a little more shaken up than normal and so have my nerves. I’ve looked through next month’s calendar 100 times, and will do it again.

Have any of y’all been just worn out by planning, twisting, forcing all the right pieces in what feels like a too small puzzle?

I had my life planned perfectly, even more calculated than the color coded blocks of my over-sized planner. I didn’t grow up the best. I never wanted for anything, but my home life certainly could have stood some major adjustments. Without details, I had planned a different life, something different than I had. I had this idea of what my perfect life would look like.

I would be married, cute house, cuter kids, lots of friends with also cute kids that would play on a well landscaped lawn on Saturdays when I had a day off from my perfect job. There would be a dog, okay two dogs, and basically always sunshine. Don’t ask me how the perfect grass got watered in this dream without rain because I haven’t thought that through.

“All things are full of exhaustion; a man can not complete it.  The eye is not satisfied with seeing nor the ear filled with hearing;  What has been is what will be and what has been done is what will be done….. and there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:8-9

I’m getting to the point, hang in there. Apply just a little context here, and we’re moving on.

Under the sun is a theme in this book of the bible, and has nothing to do with the weather. Under the sun means the world we can see; a materialistic world with no eternal perspective.

NOW, imagine me, sitting here, looking at this calendar book of mine with these colored up pages that represent little of what I had planned on.

In blue and red, I have marked my second husband’s work days. My first marriage failed. My new (because we just bought it) not new house needs unexpected repairs. While my kids are cute, they represent multiple colors on my book- all five of them, Dad’s house this day, mom’s house that one, a holiday here for this kid, oh and yay! Looks like we have them all for that one. Purple is the color of my daughter’s dance class.  Yellow is my step-daughters church program.

I have few friends in a not-so-new but certainly not home town, no baby play dates, and I feel like I have more jobs than I do socks right now. My dog is well… kind of perfect, but my lawn is full of leaves all from the storms that blow in when the sun hides.

Two completely different pictures, right?

But then there’s this:

“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I counted everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” Philippians 3:7-8

There was a time that I had what I wanted, what I had planned. I married a guy that gave me the parade proposal, had two beautiful children, built a home that even had good grass because, well, sod. All of my new town girls liked all my Instagram pictures and commented things on my Facebook posts, there was a potential for friendships and play dates. There was no dog, but there was more than that missing from the puzzle.

It was so sunny, y’all. I had that life under the sun and I was weary. Like the man in Ecclesiastes, I could not complete it, could not be satisfied. It was like I tried and tried to get this or do that and it was still so empty. And why? because it was so bright. It was a life full of things I could see for now, and one with none of the things I could feel forever.

Now I have absolutely no idea why the life I planned unraveled into the life I live in. I don’t. Maybe had I stepped out of a life in the sun and into the kingdom, things would have been different. That is not for me to say, but I know that girl with all of those big and bright plans was meant to be scorched by that heat that her own sun packed- and I am so so grateful she was burned down just as she was.

It’s one of those beauty from ashes kind-of thing. God often uses our brokenness to reveal His beauty.

And gosh is He beautiful, are His renovations beautiful.

You see, when I lost all of those things, I was left with the One person Ive always had but never knew. I came to Jesus because basically there was nothing else.

I would lose all over again, knowing what there was to gain in having nothing and everything all at the same time.

Paul said in Philippians 3 verses 7 and 8, look I count it all gone. I don’t even care. Everything else “under the sun” is garbage because EVERYTHING else is less when compared to the infinite value of Jesus.

Paul is right.

I love those red and navy dots. They provide for my family when they are present in those dated squares, and when they’re not that means I get to enjoy my husband wrapped up in bed with me if only for one night before the next red dot appears. I love all 100 of those little baby fingers and toes with every piece of me, together all at once or separate, on the holidays or not. My new-not new home will free up some time for me to pursue my passion for spreading the word and for that, me and my daughter danced in the rain that fell from my closet ceiling last week when it rained. I have very very few friends in my home-but-not home town, but they are literally some of the very best, and those leaves? I love them. Watching them fall to the ground, I am so full of hope because I know that, like me, those dead leaves will get a second chance and then a third and so on, to revive themselves when this season is over because with Jesus, you don’t run out of chances; you don’t run out of love.

Sunny days are beautiful. The things you can see are beautiful but trust me when I tell you with tears in my eyes that there is nothing absolutely nothing more precious than what you cannot see, but can always feel.

The question never concerns the presence of God. He is always there. The question is whether or not God matters.

The very biggest hugs,

Philippians 3:1-6: The Real Christian

“Furthermore, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.  Watch out for those dogs, those evil-doers, those mutilators of the flesh.  For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by His spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh- though I myself have reasons for such confidence.  If someone else has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more. circumcised on the eight day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, A Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee, as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.” Philippians 3:1-6

Trying not too get to historical, I want to quickly explain some history before we get to the meat of this. Paul is saying look, I’m reminding you because this is important. “Dogs” is a word the Jews would use for the gentiles.. Paul says be careful around these people..these evil doers. They think heaven is for the law abiding citizens and to get there.. if you’re not Jewish.. you first have to become a Jew before you can become a Christian. You have to be circumcised. Paul says this is mutilation. Skipping some words we will revisit, Paul said I’ll tell you why it’s wrong. If anybody has the right to think who they are and what they do will get you to heaven, it’s me guys. I am the circumcised stock of Israel. I’m family with the first king of Israel and I’m Hebrew. I was a Pharisee, the very best sect of people devoted to the law, an active fighter against Judaism, and by the law- I’m perfect. Now back to the middle.. even though who I am and what I do looks good by the books.. it means nothing.

The true circumcision is what we Christians are because we serve God by his spirit and not in our doings.

The real christian knows that external worship and good deeds that these people push in the church may be good things but they are not sanctifying things. Only through Jesus, because of Jesus, by Jesus in us, are we saved- not the things we do ourselves. As great as the law is, the new covenant says it’s nothing without faith.

The real christian rejoices in Christ, not in circumstances or situations but in the Lord. To abide in joy means you really believe God’s got this; He is in full control and that control is for your own good.. and we’re relieved that He’s in control because Lord knows we couldn’t do a good job on our own.

The real Christian has no confidence in the flesh. You don’t trust you to get you to heaven. Things aren’t good because you’ve been good. They’re good because JESUS is good and THAT’S a safe confidence to keep you warm at night.

Even after I was saved, after I had spent countless hours with Jesus, with His word, with Him in prayer, serving Him… there were times that I did not understand some things. Why am I having such a hard time? Why did you tell me to do this if you weren’t going to see it through? What happened to blessed is she who believed? Hello God, I believe… where’s my blessed. For a time I thought that kingdom work brought some kind of reward.. I was waiting and waiting and the package never showed up on my doorstep.

Blessings do not always come with bows.

The package did come… 2000 years ago.

God was testing my faith. Not for His knowledge, but for my own. I needed to see where I stood. Believing was the first step, but there was much more to do. I had to learn what it was like to be the real Christian, not the one that was dressed up in her new life with a mini ministry but the broken girl. The undressed, real, raw version.

There is boldness in broken. I had to learn confidence in Christ. I started looking for all of the things God was teaching me about myself as He pulled me through so many different seasons instead of asking Him why. I began to thank Him for new opportunities to trust Him differently as the color of those seasons changed. I learned to stand up in all my messy and just pour it all out there because even if it didn’t feel okay, it certainly was, because there is purpose in every single step, even those that throw you to the floor.

Y’all please please know that it is not who you are but what you are. It’s not what you’ve done or haven’t done, it’s what you do next, and it’s never what you do by yourself, but what He does with you that brings the bows.

Hugs and Tuesdays,

A Little Happy Just Because

Hey sweet friends!

Over the holiday I have been reflecting on all the things, wait for it, I’m thankful for. Around this time last year, I was in the deepest pit of, arguably, my life. I needed something more even though I had everything I had ever asked for. We had just moved into our beautiful home; I have a husband that adores me, that loves me even more for my very worst pieces, FIVE very beautiful, healthy babies that could not have blended easier to have been a mixed together family, and even a new puppy. All I was missing was a swing…

and something bigger.

I had always know of Jesus but it wasn’t until this dark season that He introduced himself in a way that was just undeniable.  This time last year on black Friday, I bought my oldest step-daughter and I a journaling bible. I enjoyed one-on-one time with this almost unrealistically sweet baby girl so much; I thought spending time coloring in our bibles together may one day do us both some good.

I colored four pages, and Jesus colored me.

I had not known Jesus at all, but suddenly I wanted to. More than anything did I want to know more.

As I sit here with literal tears and think about how that 20 dollar purchase changed my life I cant help but be overwhelmingly thankful. The absolute worst year of my life was preparing to kick off the best one because of four small pages.

img_1502

I have turned through every page this year, and cried over most of them.

I am so grateful for the constant encouragement and support of those that follow this little baby bite of Jesus. I want to share the love.

Here is a little download for y’all. It is all of my tips, tricks, and resources I’ve found over the last year and I hope that these adjustments in your quiet time with Jesus will bless your life as it has mine!

Digging Deeper

I love you all so big much!

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” Proverbs27:17

Happy Holidays,

img_0999-1

 

 

Philippians 2:16-30- Don’t carry the past

Lets read Philippians 2:16-30.

I want to focus on one part of this one part.

“I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you.  I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare.  For everyone looks out for their own interest , not those Jesus Christ.”  Philippians 2:19-21

I’m excited to send you Timothy. He’s a great guy, and I hope I’m as happy when he returns because I just know y’all have been good… but there really isn’t anybody better than this guy. He’s the real deal, something you don’t find much because unfortunately.. we as people only care about ourselves and our agenda.. and not what Jesus wants, not what Jesus says.

My husband and I were laying in the bed talking about the book of Jonah last night. Most people know that Jonah was ate by a whale, but alot of people do not know why. God spoke to Jonah and told Jonah to go to this people and tell them what Jesus told him to. These people were some of the toughest people around then, and instead of doing what Jesus said, Jonah literally walked in the opposite direction, loaded himself up on a boat, and skipped out, running away from everything God had asked of him.

I asked my husband how different did he think God’s communication with the old testament people was compared to His conversations with us? Like do you wonder how often does He ask something of us that we don’t know it? Or how often He asks something of us and we do hear?… but like Jonah, we keep walking.

How different would our lives be if we didn’t.

If we listened. If we heard. If we obeyed.

I can say with complete confidence that if I had lived a life of complete obedience, if I had heard, if I had listened to every word given to me by the Father that I most certainly would not be living the life I call home.

I’ve made mistakes. Wrong turns. I’ve ignored the truth and exchanged some of God’s guidance for my own plans, but we are a stubborn people. Like Jonah, we’re given instruction and we run in the opposite direction.

Jonah ran once, but I’ve spent my entire life running. I grew up in a broken home where a new town meant a new start and it wasn’t until recently that I have found even a new name carries the same old soul.

There are so many ways to get this one thing wrong.

Sometimes we can’t let go of the past; sometimes we forget too much of it.

Sometimes we try and run from our yesterdays; sometimes we let them run over us.

….and all of these are wrong.

Remember enough about yesterday to make sure it’s not tomorrow. Remember nothing else.

Jonah was scared, so Jonah chose Jonah. Jonah said ahhhh God probably not, I just think this will be better…because of his disobedience, he spent three days in the dark.

I’ve sat in the dark for some of my mistakes too, and even now in the sun, a cloud will interrupt a brighter forecast to remind me of my wrongs.

Jonah realized he had messed up and it wasn’t until Jonah accepted accountability that he was spat out. Then Jesus said now Jonah… go and do what I said.

Y’all this time Jonah picked up his feets and went. “okay Jesus… I’m on it.”

Sometimes you have to stumble through sin to step into purpose. Lord knows I would have never found the Lord had it not been for my error and His correction. Jonah was no different and  neither are you.

“Indeed we felt like we had received the sentence of death. but this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead” 2 Corinthians 1:9

When you felt like you were dying, God did that on purpose. That we might rely not on ourselves but on God.

Listen. Hear. Obey.

God says I have this thing for you to do.. your thing is different from my thing, but you have a purpose. God will reveal this to you and it will be scary. You will feel inadequate or unqualified and y’all, those kinds of feelings are not of God and you will never do wrong trying to do right by Jesus. Ever.

Paul said I’ve got this guy and you know why he is good? because he is not like every body else. Everybody else is running to themselves, and Timothy? He runs to Jesus.

Not like everybody else.

“Come out from them and be separate” 2 Corinthians 6:17

I think the thing I feared the most about being separate is it meant that I wouldn’t be the same. Now I look back on the person I was, how I hurt others- how I hurt myself, and I thank God I’m not.

If you run the first time, don’t carry those mistakes around, only take with you what it taught you. Jesus came to heal the wounded, not the well. It’s okay that you’re not okay. He came to save and salvage and He has something just for you. Don’t let old stuffs and scary feelings keep you from stepping into who you are meant to be, into who God says you are. Lay it down, come out and be separate. Don’t be swallowed by the fish, be obedient and be saved.

Father,

I know there are so many people carrying around things they should have laid down long ago. The very things we run from, we forget to take out of our bags before we leave and it just follows us around. God, I pray that you would make your voice heard and your will known. Give those that need it the courage to step out of what is father, and into what should be. Keep them separate, Lord. Keep them safe. Thank you, God, for the opportunity to trust you more, Thank you, God, for you.

Amen.

xoxo,

Katie

For the people who don’t deserve it

How many of you have that “ugh, just whatever” kind of person in your life? The overly-likeable, all-put together, fictitiously decorated with perfected smiles and great character- kind of person.

Yeah me, too.

Having one of my heart to hearts with a friend of  mine and I had to make a confession. I’m the literally the most un-judgemental, probably been there before, it’s fine, let’s fix this kind of person.. like ever… until I cross the path of someone that isn’t as good as they let on.. then I, admittingly, am judgemental to a fault.

How in God’s name does she have that many people fooled? 

How in the world is she one of the chosen ones in church on Sunday, and talking like that when the sun sets the same afternoon. 

You said who was going on a mission trip? Spits coffee, for what?

Whatever, sure they are. I’ve seen who she really is…

Y’all I’m so serious, I’ve done that. Don’t ask, yes, I’m embarrassed.

I’ve just finished reading the book of Jonah and Jesus was as on-time with this Old Testament prophecy in my life as that fish was in Jonah’s.

God taught Jonah a lesson about obeying Him and Jonah learned it, was passionate about it, couldn’t wait to share it with the people.

Me too.

Jonah sets out to do what God asked the first time, and He is successful. The people heard and understood; they came to God, was sorry, wanted to turn their lives around… and God said “great, okay. I changed my mind, I won’t destroy you after all.”

Jonah says wait? WHAT?

He’s mad at God. How can you do that. They don’t deserve those blessings. They don’t deserve Your mercy. What did they get ate by? Nothing. Forgive them, but for heavens sake make them sorry, make them earn it.

And here I am sitting “amen, Jonah preach. Lessons learned are lessons lived. That’s what Mama say.”
 

And so Jonah had another lesson to learn in chapter four. 

So did I.

God told Jonah that he had put time into these people, invested in these people, loved these people and He was entitled to do whatever He pleases with them… but Jonah had done nothing and earned nothing and what he had, it was given to Him by the same grace it was given to the others he was so upset over.

As people we like to belong, we want to fit.. but we also like to decide who doesn’t fit. She deserves grace, but she doesn’t. She deserves forgiveness but not that girl. 

Right then, I recognized that very same anger in myself- on a personal level, in an intimate way. When I look at my “ugh whatever” people and I see the Lord giving them favor and Blessings, I’m like Jonah.. wait, what?

You’re wasting that on someone that doesn’t deserve God, someone that doesn’t even care…

And then I remembered all the times I didn’t deserve it.. all the times I won’t.. 

Jonah 4:2 says I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, changing your mind on disaster.

Grace– a favor that is free and so good that it can not be earned

Mercy- a god that does not give us what we deserve

Slow to anger– a god that is patient with us as we stumble around who we want to be into who we are

Steadfast love- because it takes a love that constantly pours over us who consistently fall short

Changing his mind from disaster- bc he beat wreckage for us. Paid it in full, because our lives will forever be, even unknowingly, littered with sin and He loves us enough to clean up our messes, to clean up our hearts.

Jesus says Love for everybody, not just you. While this gift is only accepted by few, it was meant for many.


Hugs,

Am I Saved? Is this enough?

When I feed all of my babies, it’s like an assembly line.

A friend of mine laughed at me once at her son’s birthday party because I laid out five plates to travel down the snack line.

A stack a little of this, some of that, maybe more of that for that someone and less for another- depending on who they are.

I know what should be enough for them to be satisfied and so I give just that. The amount i think is right- just enough.

I’ve had many conversations with people over the last year about my faith. One friend in particular asked me, “… but I mean, what’s enough? I say my prayers and I believe in Jesus. I do, but your like Christian-Christian. I couldn’t do what you do.”

And y’all my heart broke.

She didn’t know my life before Jesus, she only new me today. I has so much to share.

I remember asking myself if I was doing enough for the Lord. I thought I was, but it’s not until I knew what I know now that I actually had no idea.

If you’re wondering if you’re really saved you’re in the red zone. Did you make a decision to follow Christ based off of a powerful experience that one time? Or did that one time decision show your life power.

Salvation isn’t showmanship. And there’s no such thing as the really christian Christian. You are.. you pretend to be.. or your not but unfortunately, only two of those matter.

It comes down to saved or not saved.

I wish I had known when I didn’t. The feeling of salvation just cannot be explained. What it’s like to have a real relationship, not just religion, with Jesus can not be explained.

I do know, however what the Lord has laid on my heart over the last few weeks, and that I can explain.

Test these things in your life.

Not every one that says bedtime prayers every day is saved.

“Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but ONLY the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” Matthew 7:21

This passage goes on to say that when judgement day comes these people will cry out Lord, Lord… “and then I declare to them away, I never knew you.” Matthew 7:23

Not everyone that is in church every time the doors open is saved.

“He said to them, “the scriptures declare, my temple will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers” Matthew 21:13

“They claim to know God but their actions deny him. They are detestable, disobedient, and unfit for good things” Titus 10:26

“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of truth, no sacrifice for sin is left” Hebrews 10:26

There is a statistic that says 80% of the church is lost. 80%. This is only a few of many examples.

And the most scary one, because it was such a reality in my life, and I’m sure many others is this: Not everyone that stands before the church after having said “the prayer” (y’all know which one) is saved.

“The Lord says, “these people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught” Isaiah 29:13

Salvation is found only in Jesus Christ through true deep eternal repentance. Literally aching over your sin and shortcomings and so very badly wanting, NEEDING, to do better to please the Lord and demonstrate your love for Him in your life.

“Yet now I am happy, not because you are sorry, but because your sorrow led to you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in anyway” 2 Corinthians 7:9

Y’all, the kind of sorry you have to be..hurts. It is the best, worst hurt you will ever experience and that is the easiest way I can tell you. It is painful and liberating all in one sweep.

And you will never ask “I wonder if this is enough again.” You will know.

There are three things you will come to know: Jesus is not a spare tire, Jesus is more than what Blessings He can give, and Jesus is not convenience, He’s covenant.

You have to see Jesus, savor Him, and share Him and you will be so compelled to do all the above.

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come nor powers nor height nor depth nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” Romans 8:39-39

see that.

“You and your promises are trustworthy and you have promised good things to your servants” 2 Samuel 7:28

Savor that.

“Faith by itself, if it’s not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 2:17

Share it. Share Him at every opportunity. Make opportunity.

Jesus said whosoever may believe in me must deny himself daily, pick up his cross, and follow me.

If you’re only preparing a plate to satisfy what you think is enough, only providing certain doses of certain things on only a few plates in not enough places, it’s not enough.

He gave you just the right amount of blood you needed to cover every last wrong you’ve done, all the wrong you will do. Love Him enough to portion the plate properly so that others may begin to serve that plate too.

I love you all so very very much,

Satan Knows

I let my kids stay home from school today.

We’re still in our pajamas. 

We ate honey buns for breakfast.

Call it irresponsible, maybe it is.

There’s a million other things I need to be doing today as we prepare to move into our new home, but instead I gave horsey rides. I colored “in our bibles” (Gracie doesn’t understand the concept of a coloring book, it’s all bibles since that what her mom colors in). I gave “hairplane” rides and ate gummies instead of fruit. 

Today I filled my cup because the last several weeks I’ve let Satan steal at my soul.

Y’all the mind is the devils biggest play ground. 

One tiny seed of doubt placed by Satan on the right day, at the exact right- already vulnerable time and then devil has won- in our marriages, in our homes, in our workplace, in ourselves. 

I would swear that Jesus tells my husband days before, “Hey man, could you put this little bug in Katie’s ear for me today? I’m going to talk to her about it, but you know how she can be sometimes.” I can see my husband as he nods in approval knowing exactly ‘how she can be’ and then acts in obedience. 

I’ve been busy with work, Tired and worn down emotionally and physically- as mom, as wife, and just so inadequate with my faith over the last (I’m ashamed to say) month. You know? All those things you are too because are there really enough hours in the day?

I remember when it turned for me now, looking back but it wasn’t until a very serious sit down with my husband and two days later with Jesus that I fully understood why.

The conversation went like this. “Do you not see the pattern, baby? You feel down on yourself over weight, you feel negatively about work, you feel like you’ve failed at your task as a wife, you feel like you fall short some days as a mother.” 

These are all things I feel in relation to the things I compare myself to. 

These are the things that the world tells me I am less than.

These are the things I have let emotionally wear me down, making less time to be present in my calling. Making less time to be present with Jesus, even present with you.

Satan knows.

Satan knows your desire to have the family like hers. 

Satan knows that you want your house tucked away ever so neatly for company.

Satan knows that your coffee has been minimal and so are your nerves.

And so he waits. And waits. Until the time is perfectly imperfect and he plants a seed. 

If you are not very careful in your thinking, even while firm in your faith, that seed will grow too.

What has life taught you about weeds in a flower bed? If you don’t pick them out, they will devour what it good, what is purposeful.

And y’all it’s with tears in my eyes that I tell you that is a real thing. Satan rules the world, but Jesus chooses you- even when we lose sight of Him, live in opposition of Him, let darkness crowd Him out, He never loses claim to us. We are His. 

I’ve told you the bug from my husband; here’s the word from God.

“Gather the elders and all of the inhabitants of the land to the house of the Lord YOUR God, and cry out to the Lord.” Joel 1:14

“The seed shrivels under the clods, the store houses are desolate; the granaries are torn down because the grain has dried up” Joel 1:17

To you that may look like some of that thoust and shan’t Old Testament scripture, but it was conviction for my heart.

Satan planted a seed in me of inadequacy. It’s one of his favorites so it’s safe to assume that you too have let this grow in your life. Feelings of less than, the poison of comparison.

What is torn down is because of what has been dried up.

This is why it is absolutely necessary that we, every single day without fail and with fortitude, seek the kingdom. SPEND TIME WITH JESUS because you can be sure Satan is spending time with you and ladies you are MORE.

When your faith is dry the destination is defeat. You will be torn down because Satan knows all of the right ways to tear you apart and Jesus cannot fight for those He does not know. 

KNOW Jesus, y’all. Don’t just read about Him or hear about Him or send prayers to Him. KNOW HIM.

Come to me. Today, yesterday, tomorrow I am YOUR God. And her God and her God. I am personal to you, to her, to everyone who calls my name I am precisely anything and everything You need individually. Cry out to me.

Cry. Leave the rehearsed and fancy words for a term paper, y’all. Jesus don’t care about your vocabulary; He cares about your heart. 

Give Him your emotions. Give Him your feelings. He wants rawness, He wants real. 

In the Old Testament times people tore their clothes as a sign of mourning.

“Tear your hearts, not just your clothes, and return to the Lord your God. For he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in faithful love, and he relents from sending disaster” Joel 2:13

Here he said keep your clothes on girl, tear your heart up instead. I don’t want your clothes, I want YOU. Hearts bleed, baby. Let it pour, that’s it’s purpose. Spill it all at my feet, come back.  

Over and over and over, run back to me. I forgive you, I care for you, I’m not mad at you, I’m never out of love for you, and I only want what’s best for you- that will always be me.

Today, I chose to not compare myself to any other mom. Today I chose to give Satan no seat. Jesus has the whole couch, I even gave Him a blanket in hopes that he would stay, but when he doesn’t? When I feel torn down again?

I’ll know it’s a direct result of which seed in my garden I let dry up. It will be my fault, and so I’ll run back, not to all of the things I wish I were, but to the One that tells me I don’t have to be. 

Hugs and Blessings

Jesus is Just

“But God, that doesn’t feel fair.”

I’ve said a thousand times, even when I’ve known better. 

“This is not you, God. This doesn’t align with you. Aren’t your promises bigger than heartbreak? Show me You, Lord.”

And of course He did… but not how I anticipated.

Jesus is justified. 

He does not do wrong. He does not know wrong. He does not choose wrong. 

He is just. His plan is just. His timing is just.

I think sometimes I get so caught up in life that I forget all of this stuff we do everyday: the cleaning, the running, the endless loads of laundry, the job, the bills- there’s purpose there. 

Everyday. There’s purpose.

And I find myself being ungrateful sometimes even more than I say thank you.

This morning I woke up to a little girl hungry for Cheetos at 6AM and instead of being so very grateful that this little body with ten fingers and ten toes full of life stood in front of me healthly, though demanding, I chose to ask God for a better day than yesterday. 

“No baby, not chips for breakfast. God please let this day go smoother.” All in the same breath.

She cried. I thought I might too.

I keep finding myself in all of these tears. These almost irrational tears that just well up out of nowhere. You’re tired, you’re stressed, you’re worn down, maybe you’re hungry? Yes, I’ve literally cried for being hungry before- a 100hr work week will wear on you- but I find myself just sitting there in tears crying about this or that saying “this is not fair.”

I’ll allow myself ten minutes and then I piece it back together.

It’s fine. I’m fine.

I have to work. Im mom. Im wife. I don’t have time for this.

But Mama, you have to make time to break. Stopping piecing it together, moving forward in shambles, just making it with wreckage to your next mess and just fall.

“And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a self indulgent mind to do what ought not be done” Romans 1:28

God gave them up means God hands it over. 

We ask God for all of these things.

 I need this to be easier, God. I need this to feel better, Lord. God, please- I need… 

and these feelings of insufficiency, of need, crowd us out. We let our feelings, rather than God’s design and command, be an overriding guide for our behavior. Self-indulgent feelings open a gateway for sin and result is always pain. It’s  inevitable suffering and bottomless trauma because we could not wait, our feelings couldn’t be patient, on the things that God had planned. 

Instead, WE try and piece ourselves together, WE try to hold things up, WE try to pick our feet up, one in front of the other. 

We keep asking and asking and praying and praying lord I want, Lord I need.. and so He hands us over. 

The things you want most in this life will smother you if you let them. 

Even Jesus had to say God not my will, but yours. God if there could be any other way to save the world, let it be that instead. But there wasn’t. There was no other way. The cross was it. Jesus was it. 

Jesus is still it.

Stop trying to make a way. Stop making these plans. Stop bringing prayer before you bring praise. 

Anytime we feel like God has set us aside, we have to know that it is most always because some action of our own has asked for us to be sat there- and so He did.

I feel so ashamed sometimes, when I get outside the well kept borders of my faith. 

God lets me fall, but God also reaches for me. 

“You are called to belong to Jesus” Romans 1:6

That’s it. That’s all you HAVE to be.

Take some of the pressure off yourself, girls. You don’t have to be the perfect wife, the home-room mom, the size 4. Just be His.

See laundry for seven and don’t ask God for a way through it all- thank Him for the laughs those dirty clothes had that day.

See a load of dishes and don’t huff because it doesn’t end- thank God your jobs are enough to feed your family without fail. You’re not hungry.

When your baby girl asks for Cheetos, give in. Let her eat them and watch her face light up and thank God that she is here and alive and well because there was a time that losing her was a scary reality for you. 

And when it all gets to be too much,  because it will sometimes, don’t you dare pull it together. 

Break. Fall.

Let God reach for you. Let him put it back together: the wife, the mom, the full-time job, the home. Not in your own self-indulged way, but His way.

It may not always feel fair, but it will always be right. 

“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

Thank you, God, for my life, for its entirety, all of it- for its purpose. I don’t know what it is, I don’t know where it is going, but I know where it started and that’s enough. You’re enough. I give you everything, all of it, trusting you will make of it, of me, something beautiful. Reign over me Jesus. Take all of me and leave only You. Thank you God for everything, thank you, God, for you.

Amen

Katie 

Because my judgement felt justified

“I never want to be the girl that makes the other girl feel bad. Gosh, I am so glad I don’t act like that to people.”

I let that thought roll through my head while participating in a conversation that probably was not going to reciprocate anything positive for that day.

“My thoughts were justified. That was bad behavior. They should be ashamed, but I know they’re not.” 

Not seconds after that I got a thump from the good Lord. *autocorrect had changed good from hood which may be more appropriate considering it was a hard thump and surely my gentle Jesus wouldn’t do such* BUT this voice, it said.. “and who are you exactly?”

Oh. Wait. 

Let’s be honest, for every two girls we envy there’s at least one we’re glad we aren’t, yes or no?

Don’t answer, I don’t want you to be thumped also.

This scripture came to mind immediately: 

“I say to every one of you: do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement in accordance to the faith God has distributed to each of you.” Romans 12:3

My thoughts in that situation, as well as many other thoughts I’ve had, we’re in complete opposition of the very truths I share with all of you.

Now my grandmother always said “if you think it you may as well say it,” but I can’t be completely certain that her philosophy is completely biblically sound… but I do know that scripture says it doesn’t matter how clean your shirt is if the heart that holds it in place is dirty. 

“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart” 1 Samuel 16:7

That made my heart sorry, not for those girls this time, but for myself. 

Y’all, I am not perfect. We aren’t. When did it become okay to wrap our concerns around the imperfections in the lives of others so tightly that our own sin seeps through judgement’s seams? 

I am so quick to judge. SO QUICK and though I may go against what my Gracie said and keep them to myself, does that matter? Aren’t your floors still dirty even if the dust is confined to only under the rug? 

As people, we’ve placed all these sins in different categories: bad sin, mediocre sin, and acceptable sin. While biblical theology does leave it’s students to believe that some sin is greater than others, the Bible itself brings a bigger message: that we are a broken people incapable of fixing ourselves, that the one and the only perfect person died to bleed over the things you cannot fix for yourself, and that it takes the same amount of blood to heal us all- not too little, not too much, but just enough. 

We do not set the standard, y’all, but somehow the standard has set us. Society has set us to believe that sex before marriage isn’t as bad as pregnancy out of wed lock. Society has set us to believe that things like addiction, infidelity, dishonesty, and family disunion are all result from heinous dysfunction, but the people that pick apart the lives of those already picked over with gossip or critism aren’t. Society has lead us to believe a lot, y’all. But we don’t set the standard. We will, however, be judged by it. We can’t obey so long as it suites our lifestyle. Partial obedience is complete disobedience.

and so my heart was sorry. 

Jeremiah 24 says I will watch over them for their good and I will bring them back. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them, but John 15 says Jesus is the ultimate Gardener. He will cut off every branch that does not bear fruit and even the branches that have fruit he will prune back so they will be more fruitful. 

We are purposefully planted by the kingdom, but even in Christ our branches get sideways. It’s not news to me that Jesus wants to cut back the rotten pieces of me that bring no good, but here He says even your good stuff I have to cut on. His provision has to be greater so we can be stronger, grow straighter, be more.

What began as conversation and criticism for me, ended with branch cutting conviction. Jesus reminded me “and who are you?”

And I’m certainly no judge. None of us are. Not for the people we like and not for the people we don’t.

“And now dear Lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I asked that we love one another. And this is Love: that we walk in obedience to his command. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love” 2 John 1:5-6

We are obligated to love- a jesus love.

Commanded.

Demanded.

Unjudgemental.

Undeserved.

Merciful Love.

This is Jesus and Jesus in you; not optional but necessary.

He demands love for everyone, not just the ones that get it all right because that then means love for no one- not even myself.

Hugs,

Katie 

When you feel too busy for your faith 

I lost my necklace, I couldn’t retrace my steps because I didn’t know how long it had been missing. Because I never took it off, I didn’t have to actively put it on. The gold statement piece had become just a piece and less a statement.

Some two weeks later, I find it gracefully curled up on the marble of my bathroom floor; I guess it had been sitting there the whole time.. just waiting for me to pick it back up, like I left it there on purpose. 

I guess I kind of did, though, in a not really kind-of way. 

When I’ve had a bad day, I run to the bathtub. I try to pull everything from that day off as quick as I can, ready to wash away a day of messes. I must have accidentally thrown the necklace off too, all piled up with my clothes and my sub-par attitude. I didn’t even know it was missing until I really needed it again.

There have been times in my walk with the Lord that have been just that. Somewhere along the way I sat Him down on accident only to find myself without His presence when I needed it.

Wait. When did that even happen, Katie? Don’t you hate when someone asks you “Well where’d you lose it at? Where did you sit it down?”

I’ve been busy. 

Busy chasing my toddlers. Busy doing laundry for seven. Busy working two jobs with crazy hours. Busy trying to diet. Busy trying to be my half of the partnership in my marriage. Busy trying to plan things and people I have no control over. Busy planning a plan for when those things don’t go according to plan. 

And so I’ve been reading my bible, saying all my prayers, and doing all of this stuff and the stuff crowded out my spirits, THE spirit. 

Does anyone else do that?? Just let life run all over you? The enemy feels like he has really big feet sometimes, don’t he? 

But things aren’t how they feel. It’s always what they are.

You may feel 50lbs heavier today because of your big lunch, but you’re not. You may feel like the kids ate your soul today- they didn’t. You may feel like her life is so much more perfect than yours- it’s not. Today may have felt like it was the end of the world, but it wasn’t. 

This is why Satan feeds off feelings. Let me distract her a little more today than yesterday. Let break her down a little more, kick her a little harder so she is so distracted by what she feels over who she is.

Satan works off feelings, God builds on truth. 

God says I chose you. (John 15:16)

God says you are more precious than jewels. (Proverbs 3:15

God says he is close to you (Jeremiah 23:23)

God says he’s even closer when we draw close (James 4:8) 

And God says I’m ahead of you, making a way for you. (Colossians 1:17)

He picked you, perfected you, stands beside you, draws even closer to you, and he’s even cleared the way.

He’s made a way to the coffee pot through the laundry, he’s made the way through the work day and the sick babies with snotty noses. He’s made a way through your feelings of inadequacy and brokenness. He’s made a way for your marriage. He’s made a way for you- to him- with him in the kingdom. 

Don’t let your feelings stand in the way of Jesus. Don’t make Him just a piece. When we approach Jesus unintentionally He has great potential to become unnoticed. 

I didn’t know my necklace was missing until I reached up to grab it and it wasn’t there. It didn’t require a conscious effort everyday to put it on. But Jesus does. 

If not, He will be no different than the necklace. 

In a world that attacks our weaknesses in what sometimes feels like an unending supply, we must also deliberately and intentionally prepare retaliation against feelings that aren’t, for truths that are. 

Jesus is always the statement, Satan is just a piece to run interference, and you are in control of both by what you choose to be attentive to. 

Life is busy and so are you, but it’s never too busy. Make a point to make purposeful time. 

Hugs

Katie