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Did You Know?

25 Mar

We all know the song “Mary Did You Know”  but what I want to know is Jesus, did you know?

Sunday is coming.  This Sunday is Easter.  On Easter, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.  We can celebrate that everyday, correction, we SHOULD celebrate that everyday but on Easter it’s different.  We celebrate the fact that Jesus rose form the dead, that he’s alive, that he’s with us and not just a statue on a wall or above our fireplace.  Humans made a mess of this world and Jesus came willingly to this earth.  He knew what was going to happen and yet he came.  He came, died and rose 3 days later for me, for you, for everyone.

I currently live in the world of newborn; I have a sweet little 5 week old.  I look at her and I’m amazed.  I’m amazed that God loved me so much that he sent me her (and her 2 older sisters.)  I watch as she looks around and takes it all in.  I hold her to my face and whisper “I love you” and I wonder if she knows what that means.  Her tiny little hands grasp my finger and I thank God for blessing me with her.

Then I think of Mary and my mind is blown!

She experienced this same beautiful love story with Jesus. WITH JESUS.  The Christ Child.  The Savior of the world.  The Beginning and the End.  Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation.  Col 1:15   He is over all creation. When surprises come up that knock me on my butt, he is steady. He knows tomorrow.  He knows my life story and how it will end.

Did he know this as a baby?  While my newborn is looking at me trying to figure out who this crazy lady is, was Jesus looking at Mary and knowing her story?  Did he look at her and see her future heartbreak and did that break his heart?

When he took his first breath, did he know that in 33 short years, he would be taking first breaths again after he died and rose?

When he got hurt and ran to his mamma and wrapped his arms around her for a comforting hug, did he know that those arms would be stretched out on a cross for all of us?

When Mary looked at him and her heart could just burst with love, did he know that one day her heart would burst because it was breaking as she witnessed people falsely accusing him?

When he was playing with his brother James, did he know that one day James would publicly disgrace him but then become a major player in the new church?

I don’t get it.  I can’t wrap my brain around this.  So much about Christianity is a mystery, but that’s the point of faith.  All I know is, is that Jesus loves me, he loves you too.  I pray you accept his love and allow it to heal your parts that are broken.

Thanks for allowing me to share my world with you…welcome to my brain.

 

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PaW, Moses and Restoration

25 Jan

So it’s Monday, and my blog is regarding something that happened yesterday.  I’m so impressed with myself for actually sitting down within 24 hours of being inspired. (Patting myself on the back right now.)  But before I get started let me just say, I have been binge listening to the Happy Hour podcast by Jamie Ivey.  The premise is her talking with friends on topics ranging from adoption and God’s calling on your life to 90s heart throbs and eyelash extensions. You should listen to it.  You will be happy.  You’re welcome!

Ok, back to Sunday.  Praise and Worship or PaW because I’m too lazy to type it out.  I LOVE PaW. I listen to my “Bethel” station on Pandora pretty much all day long; yes it is playing right now.  Bethel means “the house of God.”  I love this so much I’m trying (unsuccessfully might I add) to convince my husband if our baby is a girl, this NEEDS to be her name.  We have a boy’s name, but not a girl’s name.  This makes for fun conversations at night when we’re both exhausted and delirious.

Dang it, rabbit trail.  Ok, back to Sunday.  I love PaW.  I love singing my heart out about how good God is.  My husband plays bass on the PaW team at our church so I know all the songs and, let me tell you, I feel like such a groupie when they do a new song and no one knows the words…but I do!

I’m gonna be honest here.  Lots of times, even though I’m singing, my mind is wondering.  I look around at other people and see them completely engrossed in it and I’m totally jealous.  I love seeing people crying during PaW because I know God is doing something miraculous in them.  Healing something that needs to be healed, confirming something that needs confirmation, reminding them that He is just and faithful and love.

I’m not one of those that just stands still with arms crossed during PaW.  Nope.  I’m a mover and a shaker and my hands are raised.  Well usually one is and the other is moving like Mariah Carey’s or Christina Aguilera’s.  My husband makes fun of me and calls this my signature move. Sunday my arms got tired and I randomly thought I wish I was Moses and people were here to hold my arms up.  If you’ve been raised in the church you know what I’m talking about. If not, let me explain:

Moses was the leader of the Israelites and they were at battle.  As long as Moses’ hands were raised they were winning, but when he got tired and lowed his hands, they were loosing.  So 2 guys found a stone for him to sit on and held his arms up so that his hands were steady till sunset. (My very basic interpretation of Exodus 17:8-16)  As I said earlier, my mind wanders during PaW so for it to wander to something biblical was quite a shock to me! lol

I’ve heard sermons on this passage about supporting our leaders.  About how our leaders need us just as much as we need them.  We need to rally around them and support them and lift them up in prayer.  I FULLY agree with this.  I love my pastors and can’t imagine doing life without them and my husband and I support them whenever we can.

However; I also think there is a second point in this passage.  That we need to be PaWing God AT.ALL.TIMES.  When we are in the thick of it and battling for our lives.  When we are too tired to go on.  When we don’t see the point of going on.  When we feel heartbroken and alone.  When even breathing is a struggle.

When we are in this place of brokenness, that’s when God is doing what He does best; restoring! The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirt is crushed.  (Psalm 34:18.)  (You can stand on this verse.  It’s a promise from God and God is truth and doesn’t lie!) When we are in tune with God and allow Him in, we are forever changed.  Not only will God draw near to us, He will send others to walk through this hell with us.  I say this, but I personally struggle with it.  When I’m in the thick of it, I don’t want people to feel sorry for me.  I don’t want them to quote me scripture; I want them to acknowledge this sucks and that I’ll get through it.  When my mom died, I made my husband go to work that day because I knew he wanted to comfort me but all I wanted to do was clean my floor.  Yes, I’m horrible person and I need Jesus.  I.KNOW.THIS.AND.CLAIM.IT.

Anyway…if you’re in the thick of it, I hope you know you are not alone.  Depression, sickness, anxiety, addiction, death, fear and doubt have no place in God’s presence! I pray you find rest and peace.  It sucks but you will get through it!!

Thanks for allowing me to share my world with you…welcome to my brain!

 

Some Weeks Just Suck

13 Dec

This time of year can be hard for some.  Holidays are made to be shared with loved ones, but what happens when that loved one is gone?  How do you celebrate when you wife, husband, child, or (fill in the blank) is missing from the party?  Do you put on a smile and fake it till you make it or do you hide out in a dark room and avoid all contact with the outside world?

This week has been really hard for me; December 9th is the 2nd anniversary of my mom’s unexpected death and December 12th is her birthday.  Add to that a 29 week pregnancy doctor’s appointment where I had to drink the nasty Fruit Punch Glucose crap, a weigh-in realizing I have already gained the total weight of my last pregnancy and I still have 11 more weeks to go AND the fact that I got a hair cut that didn’t turn out the way I wanted!  This called for a major pity-party and let me tell you, pity-parties are the best parties I throw.

This week I find myself living in a world of regret.  You see, my mom and I didn’t have the best relationship.  I spent half of my life hating her.  I allowed hurt and anger to boil up inside me and build a wall.  When I was young it was easy to blame everything on her.  Things like “I was just a child…she was the adult…she should have reached out..I did nothing wrong” filled my mind and I found comfort in blaming her.

But then Jesus…

I started to realize that Jesus didn’t die on the cross so I would spend my life hating her.  When he cried out “It is finished” over 2000 years ago what he meant was “Katie.  This ugly bitterness inside you is finished; it’s time to forgive.”  If Jesus could forgive the friends that betrayed him and the people that killed him, I can forgive as well.

It wasn’t easy and it took years.  Romans 12:2 played a big part: Do not be conformed to the image of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  The renewing of MY mind.  Yes, the world told me it was ok to hate her, but Jesus said to renew MY mind…this means I have to take ownership of my thoughts and feelings…gross!  Who wants to do that?  I literally chanted “the renewing of my mind, the renewing of my mind, the renewing of my mind” every time I felt the ugliness rising up in me.  I had to face that fact that I’m an adult now and if I want things to change, I can’t keep doing the same things.  (Duh, mind blowing I know.)  I had to change my tone of voice, body language and even my posture while talking to her.  I had to realize she did the best she could.

When she died, our relationship wasn’t perfect but it was better than what it previously was.  I look back and get sad for the part I played in the “complicated relationship.”  Nothing is ever 100% someone else’s fault.  We ALL play a part in conflict.  If we want it resolved, we have to do some self reflection, realize our part and change our behavior.  It’s not easy, but necessary if you want change.

If you have some one you need to forgive, let me encourage you to do it!  It will be hard and it won’t be overnight but it’s so worth it.  Don’t spend another day with that wall up, start knocking those bricks out.

Thanks for allowing me to share my world with you…welcome to my brain.

3 Times A Day

23 Oct

Our laptop crashed AGAIN 2 weeks ago.  The smart, tatted, pierced, techie Apple Store guy said something about our RAM card was causing the crash, (the words “RAM card” cause me to stare blankly and blink, whatever.)  It wouldn’t even turn on this time so we broke down and got a new desktop computer.  Laptops are convenient bc I can sit on the couch in a dark room, or a Starbucks, and blog.  BUT I love that the desktop has a real mouse.  Dear real mouse, how I have missed you!  I didn’t even realize how much I loved you till you came back to me.  I’m sorry for all the years I took you for granted and for throwing you across the room.  You are constant and faithful and you fit beautifully into the curve of right my hand.  You are way better than the new, sleek finger pad thingy.

That felt good to get off my chest…

Last week at church, my pastor was talking about lies.  That sermon was amazing and you should listen to it as soon as you finish reading this post.  Statistics show that women lie at least 3 times a day and men 6.  Why is this?  Why do we lie?  What do we gain? Sometimes the truth is ugly, so if we alter it slightly and wrap it in a box with a pretty bow, does that make it better?  No it doesn’t, but it makes us look better and I think that’s the appeal to lies.

Lets see what God has to say:

Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me!  For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; FOR HE IS A LIAR AND THE FATHER OF ALL LIES.  John 8:43-44 NLT (all caps added by me.)

Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight. Proverbs 12:22 (KJB)

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  John 14:6 (NIV)

It’s pretty clear that: 1) lies come from the devil 2) God detests lies and 3) Jesus is truth.  If I tell at least 3 lies a day, I am choosing Satan over Jesus at least 3 times a day…OUCH!!!  That is disgusting!!!  This is something I never thought about.  Thank you pastor for making me look inward at my heart, realizing it’s not pure and gross and realizing I have a lot of serious work to do. (The “thank you” was sarcastic, I’m not really grateful at all, self examination is hard.  I’d much rather pray for God to change someone else’s heart, not mine.)

A few days after this sermon was preached, Brandn asked me a question.  I really wanted to lie but I had a choice to make, choose satan or Jesus.  You see, we went on vacation for our anniversary and his mom and step-dad watched our girls.  They logged into their Netflix account and never logged out.  We don’t have Netflix for 2 reasons: 1) I’m too cheap and 2) I’m a tv junkie and if it’s in my house, I will watch it.  My form of self control is to not have cable.  I have wanted Netflix for a while so I can watch all the episodes of Gilmore Girls bc for some reason, when the show came out, I was stupid and never watched it.  Soooo when I noticed Netflix was in my  house, I immediately (it felt so natural, I didn’t even have to think twice about it) jumped right into Season 1 of GG.  (If Lorelai/Luke and Sookie/Jackson don’t end up together, the writer will receive some very late hate mail from me.)

A few days later Brandn asked me what episode I was on.  I froze and the internal struggle began.  Do I lie and tell him episode 3 or do I tell the truth and admit that I’m a junkie and after 3 days of GG, I was already on episode 11? Dang it!  Why was it so hard?  Why would I even think to lie about something as stupid as this?  My answer doesn’t matter; Brandn will not take the girls and leave me because I watched 10 episodes of GG in 3 days.  This is no big deal so why was I considering lying?

My answer didn’t matter but my choice did.  The choice of choosing Jesus over satan matters.  The choice of breaking the habitual habit of lying matters.  It matters to God.  My heart matters to God.  Your heart matters to God.

We all have a choice to make.  Let me encourage you to choose God.  Even though it’s not always the easy choice, it’s the right choice.

Thanks for allowing me to share my world with you…welcome to my brain.

Facing the Fire

25 Jun

Stand; Stories of Courage.  We just wrapped up this amazing series so do yourself a favor and listen.

This week, we find ourselves in Daniel 3.  King Nebuchadnezzar had a gigantic golden statue made of him and set forth a decree that when the music played, everyone must fall down and worship the statue and whomever refused, would be thrown into the furnace. (I can’t imagine a fiery death.  We live in a 2 story house and I have kept myself up many nights stressing over the fact that a fire could break out downstairs and my fire alarms won’t go off and my daughters will burn up before we get to them.  True story ya’ll, I didn’t make that up for dramatic effect.)

Three boys, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (I’ll refer to them as SMA from now on to avoid a finger cramp) refused to worship the statue because their God was the God of Israel, the ONE.TRUE.GOD.  The God who raises little girls from the dead, the God who heals the lame, the God who forgives and the God who saves.  They had such faith that they knew without a doubt that their God would save them from the fire.

The king was furious with them and ordered the furnace to be heated 7 times hotter.  The fire was so hot that it killed the soldiers who threw SMA in.  When the King looked in he saw 4 men walking around in the fire unbound.  The King described the fourth man as looking like a god; and he was so amazed he called them to come out.  It was as if SMA hadn’t been in the fire at all!  Neither their clothes, hair nor bodies were harmed.

Three men were thrown in but the King saw 4 men unbound.  The fourth man was God.  As much as SMA didn’t want to go in the fire God allowed it anyway.  God did not abandon them in their darkest hour tho.  He didn’t magically turn on the sprinkler system and make the fire go out or have fireproof suits appear.  No, SMA stayed in the fire BUT they weren’t alone.  God was with them!  He stayed and loved and protected them from the fire that were were walking in.  When they were thrown in the fire, they were firmly bound.  When they came out they were unbound.  The King was using the fire to kill them.  God was using the fire to unbind them.

What fire are you walking through?  If you’re lucky, you’re not in a fire BUT don’t get comfortable; one’s coming.  God never promised us an easy life.  In fact, He straight up tells us it’s gonna be hard.  “In this world, you will have trouble but take heart, for I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33.  Take heart, I have overcome the world.  That’s the promise of a loving God, of a God who saves.

You may feel like you’re walking around alone, unloved or unseen, like God has totally abandoned you and is ignoring your prayers and face down on the ground pleads for help.  You may feel like He’s making you suffer for that bad choice you made or that good deed you didn’t do…HE ISN’T, please believe that.  The very thing you are praying to be delivered from, God will use to deliver you.

If you are in a fire right now, face it head on!  It sucks I know, but you’re not alone and you will get through it.  God is right there with you and you will come out stronger and better!

Thanks for allowing me to share my world with you…welcome to my brain!

Pat Yourself on the Back

3 Jun

Today I was texting my pastor (well, he’s more than a pastor, he’s my friend, mentor, husband to a dear friend, father to amazing kids, Jesus lover and world changer)…anyway…I gave him a compliment for working so hard on our church’s new website.  The funny thing is, he wasn’t looking for a compliment and almost didn’t take it.  Sometimes compliments catch us by surprise.  Sometimes we don’t think we deserve them.  Sometimes we desperately crave one but no one is there to offer one.

If you don’t know this about me, I’m a Stay Home Mom.  I went into labor at work (was in denial so I drove myself to the hospital only to find out I was dilated to a 6) and never returned after my maternity leave.  It wasn’t planned it just happened.

I spend my days with a 13 month old while the big one’s at school (Summer Break starts in 2 days so I’m soaking in my last 48 hours of 1 child at my heels all day long.)  It only took a year, but I feel like I finally got this stay home mom thing down. The baby sleeps through the night now (angels sing hallelujah) which is a game changer and I can take on the world!  I can breath again, I finally stopped be a sleep-deprived-crank-monkey and started being silly again.  And now we’re gonna mess it up because we’re trying for another baby.

Today is Wednesday and Wednesday nights are hectic.  I rush home after the big one gets out of dance practice and throw something on the stove for dinner, we scarf it down then my husband runs out the door for worship practice.  Well, I planned ahead today.  I’m making Sloppy Joes for dinner; fancy, I know.  It’s 10 am I just chopped the onion, bell pepper and mushrooms because I knew I wouldn’t have time tonight.  I put the container of veggies in the fridge and stood there smiling feeling pretty proud of myself…this must be what Edmund Hillary felt like after conquering Mt Everest!

I look around and no one is here to join in my celebratory dance.  No one is here to say good job Katie or give me a hi-five.  No one is here to see that I just saved me 15 minutes of precious time in dinner preparation.  This is my company right now, and I’m not about to wake that sleeping giant:

Willow

Dear mamma out there about to pull your hair out.  I know you have days where you feel unnoticed or unappreciated. I know you have days where you spend all day taking care of a young child, or maybe your day is spent taking care of an elderly parent, and you just feel unseen.  I know, I have days like that too.

The truth is you are seen.  You are noticed.  YOU.ARE.LOVED.  You are the daughter of a heavenly king and He sees everything you do.  He created the awe inspiring beauty of the stars down to the subtle beauty of a daisy and He created you.  He knew you from the beginning of time and has loved you ever since!

God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand.  I’m an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.  You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight.  You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence.  I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too – your reassuring presence, coming and going.  This is too much, too wonderful – I can’t take it all in!  Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit? to be out of your sight?  If I climb to the sky, you’re there! If I go underground, you’re there!  If I flew on morning’s wings to the far western horizon, You’d find me in a minute – you’re already there waiting!  Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark! At night I’m immersed in the light!”  It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you; night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.  Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb.  I thank you, High God – you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration – what a creation!  You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something.  Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.  Your thoughts – how rare, how beautiful! God, I’ll never comprehend them!  I couldn’t even begin to count them – any more than I could count the sand of the sea. Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you! – Psalm 139:1-18 The Message
All those little things you do today that will go unnoticed, they’re noticed.  Sometimes we get too busy to point them out or say thank you so I’m gonna say it.  Mamma, thank you for all you do, go ahead and pat your self on the back, you deserve it!  Tonight, when you tuck a sweet one in and steel one last kiss and hear a sleepily whispered “I love you,” breathe that moment in.  You worked hard today.  You loved and that’s what matters.
Thanks for allowing me to share my world with you…welcome to my brain.

Beautiful

4 Dec

Christmas is fast approaching. When you think of Christmas, do you think of Black Friday, lights, eggnog or presents? Do you think of Jesus? He is what Christmas is all about but somehow we have commercialized it to heck and Jesus has become a second thought to most people.

Sure, we go to the obligatory Christmas service and think about Jesus at least once, I mean hey, we don’t want to look like a total heathen right?!  But do we focus on Jesus?  I’m gonna be honest here and say I don’t focus on him as much as I should. There wouldn’t even be Christmas presents if there wasn’t Jesus.  When I think of Jesus, I can’t help but be thankful for his unconditional love.  If you follow my blog, you will notice that God’s love is a constant theme of my posts.

I was reading in Acts the other day and I came across this nugget.  I have read it several times before but something new stood out to me:

One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts.  When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money.  Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!”  So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.

 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,walk.”  Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.  He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.  When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.  Acts 3: 1-10 NIV

Did you see it?  Sure this is an amazing story about miracles and healing but what stood out to me was the name of the gate.  Did you even notice it?  I’ll wait a sec while you go back up and re-read…BEAUTIFUL!!

This man was begging at the gate.  He was lame and depended on the generosity of others for survival.  He asked Peter and John for money.  That’s all he was hoping for, money; his expectations weren’t very high.  They didn’t give him money but what they gave him was so much more.  In the name of Jesus, he was healed! He was lame since birth so he had never walked before.  Instantly he was walking and jumping and praising God; can you imagine what this must have been like for him?

He asked for  money but instead he received the ability to walk.  He no longer had to beg which I’m sure gave him dignity.  He now had freedom and independence.  He was no longer confined to a spot, he was no longer known as the beggar at the gate called Beautiful.  He was now known as the man who once begged at a spot and was healed in the name of Jesus Christ!  He encountered Jesus at a place called Beautiful…I’ll let that soak in for a minute.

We put limitations on God.  Why?  Do we only ask for little because we don’t think we are worth  more?  Do we think our problem is too big for God and by limiting what we hope to happen we’re preparing ourselves so when it doesn’t work out, we weren’t really expecting it to?

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.  Eph 3:20 MSG

We need to stop putting limitations on God, He will do so much more…isn’t that BEAUTIFUL?

Thanks for allowing me to share my world with you…welcome to my brain.