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,

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

The only thing that stays the same is change; the only thing that keeps us well is perspective. Phil. 2:12-16

As I sit in my living room floor, watching the weather from my bay doors, sick babies in arms, I’ve watched this transition over the last hour. Dark to light, misted showers to empty clouds, leaves that were so intact and sure of their places that, with just a small gust of wind, fall in spirals to the ground.

I’m now several weeks behind speaking with you ladies because my heart has been much like the weather. I’ve had bright days that have felt fine, and dark ones that have felt hopeless. I’ve experienced fullness, but more than that just the driest cup, and to be so sure of the things I stand for, the One really, I have let this world blow me all over the place, taking pieces of me and loads of my emotions with it. 


Our scripture is starting in verse 12-16. Today is about Paul’s church. It’s about Jesus.

My most loved people, rest in obedience to the one who takes care of you. Do not become sidetracked. If it’s me that you look for, it is always me that you will find. I’m working with you, in you, for, always, what is best for you. It will be good because I am good. Trust me. Do not take for granted my plan; please do not protest and criticize what I am doing. There is no safer place to be than in my will. You are not safe with yourself, but instead cling to what is good. Remember when nothing else is, I am- hold onto my word and be a light, the kind that is always brightest in the dark.

Let me tell you a story.

There was this man. The one you read about in the books. He was charming, faithful, loving.. a provider- loved his wife so much. Told her everyday how important she was, what she meant to him, how he loved her, but the woman was broken. She wasn’t faithful to her husband. She couldn’t believe the things he said, she didn’t trust his love. Instead of accepting this unheard of, unfathomable love, she slept around with this man and that one, leaving one bed for another and her husband just devastated. 

On no particular occasion, the husband knew where his wife was.. away from him of course, but he was still worried for what he cared for- so he makes her dinner. He searches for his wife, knocks on the door of some man- whichever one of the week- and says I know she’s in there, here is dinner for y’all. I brought her more clothes and here is some cash for y’all for her to help her make it through the week. I know you have her, but I’ll never stop caring for her because she is mine. Use what I have given you and take care of her.

Really think about that; I hope you feel it as I have. The husband is Jesus, the wife is you. It’s me. Scroll back up. Read back through it.

“She has not acknowledged that I was the one who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil, who lavished her with silver and gold, that she turned and gave to idols” Hosea 2:8

I am provided for. I am loved. I am never alone…

And I am as full as I allow myself to be.

Last night I sat on the bar in my kitchen and I cried the ugliest tears while I made dinner for my beautiful family. My husband interceded, as he always does, and said “Katie, baby, people are going to be people (assuming he knew what was wrong), you just have to keep being you.”

And for the first time in wasnt people I was disappointed in. It was myself. I know what the world is; I’ve made peace with that- I also thought I knew who I was and somehow I let the world take it from me. 

I have trusted fear over faith, my own provision over Gods, and it has lead me to sleep with the enemy instead of resting my head at home.

Daniel 2 says he changes times and seasons, gets rid of something’s and builds others up- he reveals deep and hidden things and he knows what lies in the dark, but he also knows the light lives within him.

God created this world for light and dark, for foggy rain and for periods of clarity. We were meant to be full some days and poured out others- but we were not meant to be thrown around by the wind, by the world. God created the leaves to fall, not you babe.

You- he builds up. You- he protects. You- he loves. You- he provides for.

He said I know what’s in the dark, but you know me.

I dont know what your darkness is, or what has your cup drained this week but I know what God has revealed to me through Hosea, through Daniel, and through Paul in Philippians. 

Things are changing, but I am in control of that change. You will try and fix things yourself, deal with them yourself, manipulate them yourself- you will find yourself away from me in these seasons, but I will provide you with the food and warmth you need while you are away- even though you are unfaithful to me, I will never stop doing good for you. I will fight for you in you- it is for good. 

Faith is strong enough to conquer the world most days, but today faith feels like placing an empty cup under a faucet of truths and praying with confidence that He will fill me back up.

Be good, do good in the shadows and in the sun and be grateful in both. 

The only thing that stays the same is change; the only thing that keeps us well is perspective. 

“Katie, you’re only human, baby. You’re not perfect, I’m sorry” he told me last night wiping my masacara stained cheeks.

And I’m not, neither are you- but the second best thing I’ve ever learned is Jesus uses the broken that you are, what you have left to give… to create in you a heart like him… 

the first?

even when you’re not perfect, He saves you as blameless.

Better late than never

Xoxo

Katie 

Philippians 2:5-11- I am no better than you are- not a color, not a size

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death- even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father” Philippians 2:5-11

In our relationships and in our lives, learn to serve as we have been served.  

Even as the one greater than all, Jesus did not let His position affect His behavior. He made himself nothing. I am no more than you are; I am no better. I am here in obedience to serve and save; I have come to give and die. 

And for his obedience God gave Him the best name.

Y’all… 

I look around in all the little circles in my life and am broken over people. Truth is the greater the circle, though, the bigger the problems.

 We are in a world where it matters what your last name is. It counts what color you are. It makes a difference where you came from. It’s of significance if you have money. 

I wish I could say I don’t remember when it happened, but, honestly, I’ve known it no other way. 

Why?

Serve as we have been served. 

Jesus, in His humanness, was KING and He came so humbly that He saw himself no better than you or I. What happened? How did we go from a crown of thorns to just crowns? 

How is one race better than the other? Or his name better than hers?

I cannot imagine how it hurts Jesus to see His people like this. Created for love, we have turned this world into nothing but division.. of color, or success, or status. As people we’re caught up in who WE are, what WE have, or how WE can be better.. and there’s so much me that there’s never an us.

We have a heart that longs to prosper, but we always choose ourselves. Selfishness is not our success- it’s our sentence.

“Because of the evil they have done.. they aroused my anger…. again and again I sent my servants who said do not do these detestable things that I hate. But they did not listen or pay attention; they didn’t turn from wickedness or stop… my fierce anger was poured out; it raged against the people and made them the desolate ruins they are today” Jeremiah 44:3-6

Over and over the Bible tells us to love one another, be servants to eachother, help your neighbor, give, forgive, and be humble. 

Instead we criticize. We help when it helps us. We spend more time talking about our neighbors than serving them. We give when it can be returned. We forgive without forgetting, and humble is not even a thing. People are only what we can benefit from them. We don’t even see people as people. 

And so God is angry and it’s our fault. We are the reasons our circles look like they do.

Jesus came as king and walked as man. I am no better than you are. What makes us more if Jesus himself was less? 

Yes, We are all different. We’re all different colors and shapes and sizes; we have different amounts of money, different numbers of friends, different stuff… but y’all we’re all people and we’re all worth the same. 

And so God exalted Him and gave Him a name above names. 

The world tells us to be somebody you have to have some things; the one that rules says just the opposite. 

“So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last” Matthew 20:16

You can be a lot of things for a little while, or you can have it all forever but you’ve got to give now or you’ll be without later.

Serve one another as Christ served you. Make most everything about others and focus on making one thing about you.

“Therefore since we have these promises, dear friends, let’s purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” 2 Corinthians 7:1 

Purify ourselves. If we want to have stronger, healthier circles- there has to be a surplus of change. Start with you, cleaning from the inside out. 

We cannot live in even circles when we sit in divided groups. 

“All the trees of the forest will know that I the Lord bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall. I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish” Ezekiel 17:24 

Serve until you’re dry. I want to be empty.

Xoxo,

Katie 

Philippians 2:3-4: Selflessness

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” Philippians 2:3-4

Be selfless. Lower yourselves. Look out for others. That’s all. Simple, right?

I think humans are naturally geared towards self promotion. Always taking the next step to get a step higher, we often put ourselves before others. We also have a big tendency to think we’re better. 

What if I looked up to you, and you looked up to me? And she looked up to her and he to him? And so on? If everybody is looking up to somebody, no one is getting looked down on and that’s a beautiful thing. Lower yourselves so that no one is beneath you. 

Do not look at someone’s life and measure your worth by their accomplishments. We’re all set apart, remember? There is no better with Jesus, just different. Of course she is in a different place than you are. It’s physically impossible for four feet to stand in the exact same spot, but wouldn’t it be all together lovely if four hearts would? Community. 

If we could just admire someone for what they are, instead of adding up the things people are not,  less than becomes less threatened. 

Let’s not look at a person only for what they can offer you. Do not avoid someone when that something is nothing.

Be good, do good because of who you are, not what you think someone else is. Lower yourself to meet someone where they are, you do not know what drug them that far. 

I read a piece of scripture in Ezekiel this week. God was talking to Israel, but just conviction because it can as easily apply to us.

“I am bringing you back, but not because you deserve it. I am doing it to protect my holy name, on which you brought shame while you were scattered among the nations.” Ezekiel 36:22

Not because you deserve it, but because I have a name to uphold. I say I am and so I must be.

And don’t we all? As Christians we are the standard. We should never lose an opportunity to protect that. 

One of my favorite Old Testament stories is in Exodus. Moses is in the middle of a war, hands up to Jesus, and He is winning. As he begins to get tired, though, his hands start to fall and they start to lose. 

“When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up–one on one side, one on the other–so that his hands remained steady till sunset.” Exodus 17:12

Two friends saw him struggling and they came to help. Moses and his army won that battle because he had someone to be the support he couldn’t be.  They were there to help, not to conquer. 

Not for your interest but the interest of others. If you’re only serving someone for what you may receive, that’s not serving. That’s business. 

“Whoever is generous to the poor, lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed” Proverbs 19:17

I wish I had pretty words to tell you these things, but I don’t. Sometimes it just is what it is. No one is above anybody. We killed Jesus and with Him perfection died. No matter what anybody tells you, ugly hearts lead to empty lives. It doesn’t matter how you dress them up. 

God’s humor can change your circumstance faster than you can change your shoes so be so careful that the pair you pick for the day walks humbly. The warning is there: as easy as you can be walked with, you can be walked on. 

“Those who love only themselves and do not obey the truth, but do what is wrong, will be punished by God. His anger will be on them.” Romans 2:8

“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” James 3:16

“He who shuts his ears to the cry of the less fortunate will also cry himself and not be answered.” Proverbs 21:13

His anger will be on them. They will find nothing but disorder. They too will cry and I will not answer.

But all of those are fought with one:

“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” 1st Peter 4:8 

All were called to do is love people at least as much as we love ourselves. This world of division is evidence of our failing, but it still doesn’t hurt to try. 

Love and Tuesdays,

Katie 


Philippians 2:1-2 The He-Said She-Said Christian 

“Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate?Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.” Philippians 2:1-2

A break down: Didn’t Christ do anything for you? Where are all the good hearts? Make me proud, guys. Work together. As Christians we’re all here to be the same standard and seek the same purpose.

Forgive me. I have written this small group three times. Three drafts, and it all sounds very un-gentle if we can just pretend that’s a word. So I know it’s later than usual but I always wait on God’s voice and not my own before I publish. If this strikes you wrong, I apologize. The abrasiveness is not my own. 

I read once that if calling Jesus Lord was an empty statement if it never makes a difference in your life.

We are all a broken people. We all fall short. James says we all stumble. But y’all, we use forgiveness as a crutch.

 I sat in my bedroom one night with a girl so dear to my heart, mentoring her about what it means to be like-minded with Christ and my heart just broke because with every small tweek in her life I suggested she give up, she refuted me with “but Jesus forgives us right?” We’re all going to get it wrong, but the difference with Christ is the heart that wants to get it right, not the one that acts whichever kind of way because there is a get out of jail free card.

People make excuses for their sin, but are so eager to point at the fall of their neighbor. I’m not just talking about “regular” Christians even the “leader” ones. 

What does it say for the change God has had in your life if you’re fresh from an over-seas mission, had this huge heart change, and are back in the break room at work catching up on the gossip you missed. Gossip is not the only thing you missed, baby. You’ve missed the point entirely.

I, personally, have felt unwelcomeness of the church. Not just one but several, trying to find the perfect fit for my family. I spent six months running a baby ministry before I was welcomed by a pastor. SIX MONTHS, and half a bible read later, I was so hungry for this community the Bible speaks of, desperate for a mentor, and it still took half a year! It took me that long to decide that people are not what other people say and that the church is as broken as we are and y’all that brings tears to my eyes. 

Jesus did not put a steeple at the top of a church building, to stand taller than the rest, for it to be thrown around by the wind. The church is a place for the broken, not a place of brokenness.

Paul says is there any comfort, is there any love, is there any fellowship. Y’all we are His people. Or maybe you’re not saved? You want to be or you wouldn’t be reading here. It’s on US. His work was finished on the cross. We have to stop pointing the finger and start pointing the light, guys. 

How do we expect someone to run towards something they are constantly being criticized by? A compassionate heart is one that empathizes with everyone. Jesus understands, y’all, and we’re supposed to too. Be like minded with Christ. 

People will never remove themselves from where they are in sin if the place they are trying to get is even more critical than the life they are in the middle of. No one, y’all no one, wants a life worse than the one they are sitting in the middle of.

 People already feel less than. Real repentance is sorry for the things I am and compassion for the things I’m not yet, not conviction of both. 

Hasn’t Christ taught you anything? Then why has your heart changed nothing? 

Christ will leave the entire flock to look for one lost sheep. Even when we lose sight of Jesus, He never loses claim to us. He leaves to search for less than, and for whatever reason we’d rather sit at a table and fellowship while we talk about them. 

This is not the mind of God. 

We’re all on the same team. We are called to fellowship. To whole-heartedly believe we are not better or worse but all equal regardless of race, gender, or social status. We are the same because none of us got a drop of blood more or less than the one who goes before us or behind us; it’s an even amount. An amount great enough to cover it all.

Reorient yourselves to the characteristics of Jesus, yall. If you couldn’t do those things sitting at His feet, you shouldn’t do them at all.

Call Him Lord and let that lead your life. Be the Christian, Be the church. 


Love y’all,

Katie.

Philippians 1:29-30 what the church failed to say

“For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have” Philippians 1:29-30

Freedom of consequence does not mean freedom of trial. 

Y’all Paul is in jail, remember? It’s not his first time either. Suffer for him. I think this is where the church falls a little short. We go to revivals and discipleship weekends and conferences and the message is almost always the same: Jesus is good. And y’all He is good.. but the world isn’t. And so people are left with this false expectation that when you’ve been saved, that’s just it. It’s all good because Jesus is good. Then one day someone wakes up and a family member has died, a house has burned down, or someone has cancer. Or maybe it’s the little things that add up to feel like big things; the rumors or the flat tire, the broken air conditioner or the little fender bender with a not so little repair fee.

We’re left feeling defeated and kicked around because it’s always something, and just what kind of God constantly puts these things on me? I thought saved meant safe? I mean isn’t that the same word? And so the picture the church painted failed me. I didn’t understand. 

We talked about the cross being a one way street in Jesus’s day and y’all, the cross still is. The cross means life but more importantly death. Our own death. When you chose Jesus, you commit to stop choosing you. 

And that’s kind of the problem. We killed a man. A man literally died for you and for me and as guilty as we are, Jesus said we’re not. The difference is.. when Jesus was nailed to that cross He meant it… and sometimes, when we die… we dont. 

We die on Sundays at church; we make sure to wear our biggest smiles and speak to everybody- even “those people” when it needs to look good. We die on our social media accounts leaving only the shiny exposed, maybe throw in a few cute photos of the kids crying too- you know, to rule out complete perfection but to paint a picture close enough. We let ourselves die long enough to watch our mouths in front of our kids because we want to set the right example.. but what about Mondays? The only piece of that long death story that’s consistent is pretending we and our lives are perfect when we know well and good they’re not. What about when church is over? we don’t speak to those people in walmart, our attitudes stand unadjusted at work, and our mouths need more than a piece of orbit to clean it up.  We don’t mean it when we make the commitment. We move on and off of our cross all week long and then get upset when something moves in our paths between points A and B. 

Y’all it’s always going to be something- A broken part or a broken path. Jesus saved you; He didn’t kill Satan so be careful. Moving between places is dangerous to your faith. I’ve lived in the same town for 5 years and I’m not kidding when I tell you I still get lost some days trying to get groceries. But I don’t get lost at home…We have to stop moving on and off of the cross.  You cannot get lost if you do not move. The further we move from the home of Jesus, the more room Satan has to wedge between us. So stay. Even when it means suffering, stay with the cross. Stay with Jesus. 

James 1:2-4 says not if you have trials but when

1 Peter 1 says though for a little while you may suffer 

Psalms 34 says many troubles but the Lord delivers them all

But John 16:33 says there have been many trials on earth but I’ve overcome the world.

2nd Corinthians chapter 1 tells us that sometimes our suffering will be so great that it will feel like we’re dying, far beyond our ability to endure. It goes on to say that this is on purpose so that we may not rely on ourselves but on God. He deliberately engineers debilitating circumstances into our lives so that we are in constant, total dependence on Him. The only true consolation is found in Christ, not in a change of circumstance. Yes, we will suffer, but as long as we stay in the same spot- quit moving away from home and stay on our cross, it’s going to be fine. God promises us rainbows, but they always come after storms. Paul was one of Jesus’s #1 men and look at his life? He was unattractive, unweathly, and completely unashamed because he was also unbelievably blessed…even when he suffered.. even when he suffered again. He suffered and we will too, but the result for all of us is the same. When it’s over there’s a rainbow at the end… even if we only have a few in the middle.


Hugs and Tuesdays,

Katie 

Philippians 1:27-28: The “act right when others aren’t “acting right”

“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but you will be saved” Philippians 1:27-28 

I don’t care who said what, does what, plans to do what… you are responsible for you.. and you have to act right. By this- when I see you or hear things about you I will know who you’re really living for because you’re not scared or intimidated by any of these worldly things. When you’re not washed up by circumstances it’s proof that what’s temporary will come to ruin while Jesus comes to save. 

That’s what this scripture means- act right when others arent “acting right”

Christian conduct is something you will have to teach yourself every day but somehow can never be taught enough. This is how I was saved. I will forever be grateful for hurtful words and difficult people. 

You cannot wait on a fair world and an pretty circumstances to follow Jesus. 

I’ve been reading in Luke and my church has also been studying a piece of scripture in Luke and several weeks ago in our small group that mentors me we talked about what it looks like to take up your cross daily and follow me. My fellow small group girls are reciting their memory verse right now but many of you don’t know it. It’s Luke 9:23.

“For anyone that wants to be my disciple- they must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me”

Now the cross to us means something a lot different than the cross to Jesus’s early early people. As the old people say back in the old days the cross was nothing but an unrelenting instrument of death. The cross was a one way trip. And y’all, it still is. (We will get more into this next week) We think of the cross as a glorious symbol of safety and power… and it is but we paint these pretty pictures in church that scream come get saved, it’s the best life. Come get saved, it’s forgiveness. Come get saved, it’s freedom. But nobody mentions the hard stuff. How many invitations have you heard that said come on down and accept Jesus, but it’s going to suck sometimes, you’re still going to hurt and get hurt, but awe just come on down cause Jesus is good. You don’t. We forget to share that side… and so when people accept Jesus, they are just set on fire, they are blazing it up and all of a sudden they hit a puddle and they don’t know what to do. Now hold on preacher, you said Jesus was good, my life would be good, my pain would be gone, I would be free. But what’s all this? 

Hear this. People’s hearts do not change because Jesus changed yours. The cross is hard. The cross is heavy. The cross is still worth it. 

It wasn’t until I knew God and understood who He was that I realized that all that time before I had not know Him at all.. I had just known of Him. I was going to church. I did a devotional every day. I prayed. Y’all I prayed every day. Over and over, I prayed for peace, for people’s hearts, for change- and God didn’t hear me and I couldn’t understand it. The Bible says pray with all your heart and these things will be given to you. To tears, daily, I would pray for peace. God, please! Have you ever just wanted to shake God and be like did you not hear me? I’ve been asking for this?! Hey, do I need to write it down? If you have.. Maybe you are now- God is teaching you something. 

I won’t go into great details because I don’t want my story to get in the way of the message, but difficult people let Satan roar at me and I stopped praying. For three days I sat alone in my bed while my husband was at work and my children were with their father and I told myself “katie, breathe” every breath I took. My heart, my chest was so heavy and breathing felt like a decision. I’ve heard God speak to me twice and on that third day was the first time. He told me Stop. You’re ready now and I’m going to use this time and your life to do big things

And He has. That was January 11th 2017.


If you cannot read this scripture, turn your bibles to Titus chapter 3. Read verses 1-8. Remember what I told you I prayed for? Peace. Read what I wrote in the margins, notice the date. 

This scripture. THIS yall, is life. MY life, YOUR life. We are an ungrateful, hateful, nasty, selfseeking people. I AM. We are. God did not answer my prayers because I was asking for peace in relationships and not just peace. Do y’all know what peace is? Peace means freedom from disturbance. Peace does not mean perfect relationships in a perfect world. Paul tells us here, act right that Jesus says do good, do better, be more. Be kind! Stop talking about other people and instead talk about me. Accept me. Love me. Be restored by 

 “And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.” Titus 3:8

It says be careful to commit to doing what’s good. Being careful tells you it’s not always going to be easy, but you’ve got to always try. Mama always said two wrong don’t make a right, baby, you gotta do the next right thing. Take up your cross daily. If we responded to every body that hurt our feelings the way we sometimes want to, all we’ve taught them is that Jesus does not take care of us- that Jesus is not good and neither are the people who follow Him. Conduct is so important yall. 

Jesus hears you; Jesus heard me. We just have to get out of our own way. I thanked Jesus for peace just two weeks after the night He saved me and I had been praying for it for ten months. When you stop living your life for yourself and other people and start living it for Christ- other people’s conduct is not as offensive. You begin to see the things they’re missing before you can feel what they say. 

As Jesus told Martha… you are worried about many things when you need only a few, indeed only one.

Everyday pick up your cross and everyday carry it with you even if somebody else left theirs at home. The scripture says they will be destroyed and you will be saved. 

I love y’all!

Katie 

Phillipians 1:23-26 Not what you envy over, but what your good at

“I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me” Philippians 1:23-26

All Paul is saying here is umm, yeah. Sure I’d rather be laid back in heaven, but I have a purpose here. My time is not over and my purpose is necessary. 

We talk about spiritual gifts a lot at my house. I think it’s important to teach my babies what it means to be set apart, that all of God’s people are made different- each one with something special about them. Once my oldest first told me my gift was dancing and being nice to people, once it was coloring, and this week it was hair and cooking. I love these discussions and seeing their answers change; I love watching their minds move, but always comes down to this: God made us different, each one of us serve a different purpose.

Paul said of course I’d rather… but instead this is what I do- I’m here to help you. Heaven is better but this is now. 

Y’all I have so many “I’d rather(s)”

I’d rather be skinner, I’d rather not have Mondays, be more athletic, I’d rather stay home for work; rather not be sick on vacation, rather not have so many responsibilities, rather not feel like I carry the world on my shoulders somedays… be a better wife, a better mother… but why? I mean sure Mondays suck, but what about a lot of those “rathers”? Who picked the standard? Who’s line are we trying to get above but constantly feel less than? 

Until you lay down the dispiriting throb of comparison you will never feel at home in your own purpose. Paul knew what He was here for, but us? We spend so much time trying to live up to the placebo that we forget to be the person. YOUR person.

“Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” 2 Corinthians 10:12

Sometimes I look at girls and I’m just like “gah, how can see eat six brownies and still weigh some zero pounds while I can smell one and gain six?? I mean I know we live in an uneven world but geezz, give me something Jesus. But He did… I like to tell myself I don’t have abs because God didn’t intend on me being a swimsuit model, but it’s likely because I’m just lazy. The point, though, is this- your gift isn’t what you envy over, it’s what your good at- it’s where your purpose is. 

I would have never imagined my life to be what it is. When I’m not throwing the scale across the bathroom- I’m so satisfied with my life, but it looks nothin like I imagined it would. I picked a lot of things for myself that never added up in so many different ways; things were so forced. Simple things, easy things. This is what it feels like when we live for our own purpose, not Gods. I had a girl ask me a week ago ‘how you get your life turned around; how did you get to such a good place?’ And as I sit here in my living room floor, my hair on top of my head, an unpainted face, and a very toy-decorated floor… I can’t help but think oh, so this is what together looks like? 

I told that girl just because I have a very worn and colorful bible does not mean I have my life together. It actually means the opposite. I can’t hold it all together so I run to the One who can. I run there everyday, all week long because it’s always something. Ain’t it?

One girl may look at my life and say Wow, she has a love for the Lord and it has completely transformed her life, like that girl..others say i’ont know who she fooling, she’s a divorced, remarried mom and I heard her say piss last week- she hasn’t changed nothing. Some girls may envy my body while other girls criticize my cellulite-they zoomed in on the picture just to make sure I had it. Some people say I’m a pretty girl and there are others that will tell you quick- she ain’t nothing special.. and I’d be lying if I didn’t say some of those things don’t hurt my feelings. They do, but where I used to cry and cry after a trip to the school to pick my son up because ‘they were staring at me, I wonder what they were thinking’ I just don’t anymore. We have to stop letting people determine what we’re worth. I didn’t turn my life around, I just changed its direction- I stopped chasing who others said I was and tried to find who I should be. I guess my life did turn a little, just not around; it turned over. It turned to God. 

I say that so casually as if it were just as simple as, I don’t know, socks.. pretty basic. Just turned it to God. Y’all, that direction change, something so basic, turned out being so so big. 

I don’t know who drew the line on ‘perfect’ that we constantly try and climb but hear this: God made you on purpose. He made you separate, He made you different, He made you- You. 

Your purpose will not look like my purpose nor will mine look like yours, but you have something to do, something to be- just like I do. Luke chapter 11 verse 33 says “no one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden or under a bowl.” We are little lamps given specific gifts to fulfill a unique purpose. Just like you wouldn’t light a candle to stick it in the sun, you also shouldn’t take your light, your unique gift, and try to make it blend in. Lights shine the best when it sits alone- set apart, remember?

“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them” Romans 12:6

The very hairs of your head are numbered; you are worth more than many sparrows says Luke12:7 so the next time you find yourself sitting in the “I’d rathers” or comparison- change directions and sit in purpose. Be who God says you are, not who people say you should be! 


Love yall,

Katie