Pastor Ryan Matchett gave a compelling message last Sunday. He brought an issue to life, one that most of us are not familiar with, no matter how long we have been attending church or vigorously working to complete our Biblical Studies degree. It was a message that delicately and humorously unveiled the messy reality of what humanity is comprised of. That is desperate people clinging to worldly things for their worth and value.
Ryan didn’t call us desperate and lacking in a pejorative, rude way. If he hadn’t called it out it would have been a lapse into his own desire to be liked, something he strongly fought against to be an example for us.
Despite the difficulty of what he was saying to us, his message came across loud and clear. When we believe that life is all about us and that our success will complete us we are tricking ourselves into the greatest failure possible: reliance on self and on the things the world calls valuable, “fame”, “money”, “recognition”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying these things are inherently bad, just that in order to live a life of peace and a life that is pleasing to God our priorities need to be in order.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying these things are inherently bad. What I am saying is that if we’re interested in living a life of peace our priorities need to be in order.
Really, in order to live a life that is pleasing to God our value CAN’T come from what we do.
To be living a life that is worthy of God and beneficial to ourselves we must embrace the fact that deep down inside we are people who lose and as a result, we are losers. Please don’t take this the wrong way…when I say losers, I mean we sometimes try to overcome what our innate self of morality tells us is wrong… selfishness,
Please don’t take this the wrong way…when I say losers, I mean we sometimes try to overcome what our innate sense of morality tells us is wrong… selfishness, bitterness and greed (the list really is endless) but we fail. Instead of overcoming these things, we hate people, lie, stab at them behind their backs and use their influence for our own selfish gains. Oddly enough, we will stab someone else in the back and suck up to another person. We rip certain people apart then try to make ourselves great in the eyes of other people because we think our value is in the opinions of people. That’s just the beginning of what we will do to be noticed, recognized, celebrated and to fit in. Nasty.
Yeah, and…the dirty, nasty truth of the matter is: we, people incapable of living up to our own expectations, are perfectly incapable of making any significant change to peoples’ hearts and lives if we do not humble ourselves and lay down expectations for ourselves.
As difficult as this may be to hear, it is true. He is the One who made people and loves them desperately. This is true for all of us, no matter what Biblical degree you have achieved. He alone understands what we need in the unique way we need it. When we die to self He is able to use us as His messengers but we must constantly be asking Him for grace to do so!
In this journey of dying to self it is so important to remember that ultimately, the only one who matters is the God who has made each and every one of us. We will all wither and fade into the background but the Word of God will remain, powerful and life-changing, until the end of the age.
“The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.” – Isaiah 40:8
It can be tough laying down the ideals we have for ourselves and embracing the “loser” identity. That is the Spirit’s work. How often do we forget that Jesus, the Creator of the world and the Word incarnate, asked Father God for help to let go of His will to carry out the ultimate will of the Father?
“Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done” – Luke 22:42
He gets it. It’s tough beans. But because Jesus did it we can be confident to ask Him for the strength to do it too.
Please, take some time today to realize that you and I both make pretty big mistakes and are not the Saviors of the neighbors’ story, our dysfunctional family’s story or even our own. Allow yourself to relax in the fact that the God who made the Universe is humble. He holds out His hand and beckons you. Will you choose to step down from the pedestal and ask Him for grace to be the same?
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29
Looking back at the situation, I remember it well. The basement was dark, ominous and penetrated by nothing more than a slight sliver of fading light. My bare back lay flat against the cold concrete wall. A tear slipped down my reddening cheeks. I hastily brushed it away and listened to the sound of bickering coming from upstairs. I was in trouble, again. It had been the wrong time and the wrong place for me to be. My guardian, a kind man on most occasions, had the temper of an infuriated bull. He and my other guardian clashed ideas about issues regarding me on many occasions, hence the heightened tones that slithered down into my space and sent chills down my arms.
Yes, my space. My cold, dark, isolating space. The place I now called home.
The moment I said that one thing wrong and he started yelling I knew from past experience that it was in my best interest to hide, to protect myself in this “home” of mine. With as much haste as I could muster I had skirted away from his wrath and moved into the space I knew so well, that awful basement. He never came down there, only for the occasional beer from the mini fridge. I tucked my head into my knees for a moment then stared up at the washing machine. It whirled away as though nothing had happened. The sound was comforting in many ways. If I couldn’t hear the shouts completely did that mean that everything was back the way it was supposed to be again?
I missed my mother so much; I wanted her to come back from the hospital. I wanted to know that she would live. I wanted to be held by my father, wherever he was. Did he even love me anymore? So much was wrong with the picture and I knew it.
Looking back now I realize that everyone knew it they just couldn’t fix it.
I watched as my little chest heaved with deep sobs. I turned my gaze away from the broken, little girl and asked, “Jesus, where were you when I was hurting like this? Lord, didn’t you care? At all?”
Soon as the question had been asked the light in the room widened. The source was not from the small door at the top of the stairs but seemed to swallow the black in the darkest corner of the basement. I watched that light grow. The little girl’s sobbing quieted to a whimper. My hope increased as did my ability to see Him.
His voice flowed with warmth greater than the heat of the sun. The way he said my name set my heart aflame. “Katie…Katie… oh, my sweet Katie.” He took a step towards younger Katie then knelt down beside her. He held a small bottle in his hand and pressed it lightly against my cheek.
“I keep a record of every one of these.”
I, grown up Katie, almost shouted at Him. How could He act so nonchalantly towards me this hurting little one? “Why are you doing that? Save her. Heal her mother! Good god. What kind of God are you?” He turned and looked into my eyes. I should have felt guilty for speaking out of turn but no. Instead, I felt complete peace. His kind eyes melted the ice around my heart. He accepted me even when no one else did. He understood my sorrow. He loved me so deeply as He could feel my pain. I held my breath as I caught a quick glimpse of the deep, red scars on both His wrists
As He continued to stare into my eyes the pained expression began to subside as He smiled. His eyes grew lighter, brighter, even more overwhelming. I was tempted to look away as He answered me, His voice soft yet powerful at the same time.
“Katie, I do this because I want to give you twice as much joy as you have experienced pain. I do this so my measurement will be accurate.” My eyes started to burn as He turned away and focused His attention on the girl’s tiny body. He wrapped His strong arms around her shoulders, His white robe ran over her like a blanket of snow. As soon as she was enshrouded I heard His voice, rushing like the pounding of waves on surf. It commanded the attention of all darkness and sent any feeling of despair shrieking as it ran for an exit. It echoed through the caverns of my wondering, wandering heart, bringing to life my trust in the God of the Bible. His discourse aimed at the hopelessness and death surrounded us.
“She is mine and I will protect what is mine. She is safe in my arms. Darkness. You will not overcome because she is mine.” He turned back to me, His eyes blazing like fire.
“Katie, I was always there… in your darkest moments, I was there. I am still there. Horrible things happen because of free will and Satan’s reign on earth but my child… nothing can separate you from the love I have for you. Nothing.”
I looked up at Him, tears now running from my eyes. “I believe you, Lord. You were there in my darkest moments. You are here now.” He nodded then stood and walked towards me.
“Remember that I will never leave or forsake you, Katie. I am yours and you are Mine.” He paused to wipe His warm thumb across the streams running down my face.
I choked out a response. “I love you.”
His voice continued, as smooth as always. “I love you too Katie. I always have.” His eyes continue to shine more brilliantly than the light now filling the room. He brushed a curly piece of my hair from my face.
“Don’t allow yourself to doubt that I always will.”
I share this story in light of the fact that so many of doubt the goodness and love of God based on the garbage things that have happened in our lives. I encourage you to sit down with Jesus, Holy Spirit and the Father. Ask God to reveal the most painful moment in your life then ask Him where He was in the midst of it.
I guarantee He will answer you and show you that He cares about the elements of your life no one else seems to give a rip about. Feel free to listen to the song I have included below as you do so. Be prepared for Him to shine His glory on your circumstance <3 it delights Him to do so.
With much love,
Last night was terrifying… I hadn’t experienced a panic attack or anything remotely close to it until the clock struck two Oct 12, 2017. Disclaimer: if you think this sounds anything like Dickens then thank you, I’m honoured. I imagine your next question might be, “so when does the ghost of Dairy Milk past come out to haunt you?” Haha, funny. You’re funny. There was no chocolate ghost. Not this time. Not ever… I don’t think inanimate objects have ghosts actually…
But, in honour of being poetically fancy I will let you know that the ghost of my “should have dones” and “what ifs” hovered over my head like ghouls on speed. They would never rest. They couldn’t settle. They jumped in and out of my brain. They clouded my judgement with their waxen, white robes. They wouldn’t let me be.
You might be wondering why I was in this mood of complete frenzy… well, my neck was killing me and I needed to wake up for cross fit in a couple hours.
More importantly, I didn’t do well on one of my University assignments and was told my highest mark would be a B + in that class. This wouldn’t be so awful if I wasn’t planning on applying for graduate work but indeed I am; when I am finished my Education and English degree this year I plan on applying to law school. As I’m sure you can imagine, the require a fairly high GPA (by fairly high I mean to the moon high… no… to VY Canis Majoris high… yep, that’s slightly more accurate).
On top of that many other passions, options and things to achieve decided to pillage on my mind.
As I lay there, my head and neck aching, I thought of familial issues and my role to play in them, my responsibility as a loving wife, my book and publishing paths, my relationship with God, my relationship with friends and obligations, my reputation and credibility in the work force. I began to think of assignments that I might tank and stupid things I might say during my upcoming presentations. I started to think about all the extra volunteer work that was required of me and if my health, as it stands, would allow it.
In short: there was a circus going on in my head and I couldn’t sleep above the din.
For a while I lay there, allowing the clowns, acrobats and tamed lions to run rampant through my mind. I allowed fear to swallow me whole. After many too many minutes of paralysis by way of fear I realized something very important.
It was something that would change how I would react to the situation.
I remembered that I am the daughter of a God who is so much bigger than the anxiety, the fear, the worry. I am the daughter of the King of Kings, the Lord of all Creation! Why would I let one grade bother me? If one grade too big for the King of the Universe to work with? I would give my fear and anxiety to Him. I would let Him take it then not allow myself to take it back on. Yes! It had worked before.
In light of this fresh information, I stilled myself in the darkness and started reciting Psalm 23. It goes a little something like this:
The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul (no one else can do this). Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for your rod and your staff they comfort me. You prepare a place for me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil (with joy). Surely Your goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
After repeating this a couple of times, much to my relief, the wildly beating heart within my chest started to sink beneath waters of placid peace. The storm in my mind calmed to a dull roar then stopped altogether. My worries faded away. The throbbing in my neck subsided bit by bit. My body relaxed and I was pulled into the arms of the Prince of Peace. He watched over me as I slept. I could feel it.
The next morning, my heart felt so dry and exhausted. I needed something anything. I needed more than the materialistic gains I had been running for to satisfy me.
I spent a good amount of time with Him rehashing what I had felt and how desperately I needed His presence and His guidance. I felt like a creek bed, dry and without sustenance or life. It didn’t take long for Him to answer each one of my cries with that sweet voice of His… that sweet, sweet voice.
He calmed my fears.
I write this for a couple different reasons but one of the most important is so that you know you are not alone. If you are struggling with fear, anxiety of anything of the like today please approach God and ask Him to still your frantic heart. He longs to hear your cries. He will not judge you for them. He welcomes you with open arms and a gentle heart.
He wants you to live life to the fullest and not to be bound by societies (and your own) expectations. Allow yourself to rest in His strong arms today. Let His peace flood you.
If you need prayers for anything do not hesitate to contact me.
This sound is incredible to listen to when you’re going through a tough time. It helps calm me when I’m having super tough time <3
Whenever I walk into your small room at Joseph’s Creek Care Village I am amazed by how decorative you manage to be, even though you can’t really move your arms. I find myself continually amazed by the blues, greens and perfect off-white tones you surround yourself with. Tasteful, Porcelain figurines of birds guard each corner of your well-lit living space. They light my smile whenever I sit down beside one of them to strike up a conversation with you.
We talk about life, my dreams and aspirations, my husband, our God, our powerful feelings versus the truth and of course… we talk about chocolate. You have always been such an amazing listener. It’s an understatement to say I feel perfectly at home whenever I am with you as you are such a beautiful reflection of God’s heart towards His daughter.
You have always been such an amazing listener.
You are your Heavenly Father’s Daughter. He has shaped and molded your heart where human attempt failed. He has lifted you, a rising Phoenix, from the ashes and given you a fiery heart for His name. You are a prayer warrior. The spinning planet we call home would look different if you were not seated firmly on it.
I mean every word.
Mom, you, the woman who have gone through so much pain, are the source of my most profound inspiration. You are one of the biggest reasons as to why I am the way I am. It is because of your love for me that I have the beginning of an understanding of the depth of God’s love for me. Even beyond that, you are the one who has taught me to be polite, loving, caring and generous to those around me.
You are one of the biggest reasons as to why I am the way I am.
I adore your witty sense of humor, your beautiful smile, and your infectious laughter. I love that you have fought things out long enough to stay with me. We have talked about this a couple times… I mean it when I say I didn’t think you would make it to my graduation, much less my wedding. I almost lost you a couple of times but you remain and here you will stay.
I pray this is the truth for many years to come because I am selfish. But really, I am not a small percentile; so many of us who know you are selfish. Good thing you’ve stayed or there may have been an unfortunate, but understandable, uprising.
Thank you for taking me on vacations and impromptu road trips even when I sure as heck didn’t deserve them and for introducing me to people who would support me. Thank you for never giving up on me and always praying over me. Thank you for always wanting the best for me, no matter how badly I messed up.
You have taught me that I am a Princess and have shown me how to walk in this gift. I am to be kind to others but also realize my identity as a Child of the King. I am still learning Mommy but your prayers are helping. You have taught me that beauty isn’t everything but people’s hearts are eternal. This has changed the way I live and interact with those around me for the better. Please pray that I am able to infuse this treasured identity and purpose into the precious women I interact with because they are so worth it.
You have taught me that beauty isn’t everything but people’s hearts are eternal.
You are a treasured gem and I am sorry that I have followed suit with some confused others and don’t always treat you that way. I don’t mean to make excuses but it can be difficult when I’m trying to navigate through this confusing world and its frustrating challenges.
You are a treasured gem…
Honestly Mom, I don’t know what I would do without you. I don’t know who I would be if you weren’t in my life the way you are. I do believe that in His amazing grace our Heavenly Father has allowed you to remain in my life.
Yes, sometimes we annoy the crap out of each other. We have differing options and strong wills. Through our less pleasant interactions, I am learning to let go of my side of things and let God. This is yet another of the invaluable lessons my relationship with you has led to.
Please know that even when we argue I will never stop loving you. I will never stop appreciating you. I will always be a reflection of the heart God has placed in you. He gave you the wisdom to raise me in this world and it’s made a world of difference to me. Thank you for listening to Him and following Him with all your heart.
I must confess, I feel tinges of His overwhelming love for you Mommy just like I feel the ones you have for me. It’s such a shame…I know these words could flow for much longer and please know in my mind they do. I will forever love you. Forever.
Forever Your Little Princess,
“Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
I have a little confession for you…
The first thing I flipped to this morning was not God. I did not consider praying for struggling friends and family. I didn’t take time and rejoice in the fact that I had opened my eyes to a gift, the gift of life that I had taken for granted so often.
Nope, I went straight to Facebook and clicked on my bright red notifications. If they weren’t about something I had done I skimmed over them and popped over to the much coveted comments about my work.
After reading the two that were there I launched over to Instagram… did I achieve any more likes overnight? Oh, wow… her insties always hit 23K whereas mine are around the 50 mark. Balderdash.
I tapped on over to my gmail. Certainly many treasures would await me there. Wrong. After scrolling through fifteen generic, subscription emails and answering one of great importance I hesitantly set down my phone. Time to face the day, as it was, not as it was depicted on social media.
I reluctantly drug myself to the mirror. Blemish. Blemish. Crazy, hairy eyebrows! Ack! If I didn’t have facial hair issues like this… if I hit the gym more often…. If I had started an acting career earlier on I would have a name for myself by now but no, here I am at 24, having gotten nowhere and look at that… look at that! Was that a zit?
Ew… Jimmy Fallon style…
After pulling myself away from my reflective “bestie” I looked into our office. There sat my faux black chair, my bible and a reminder of what I needed to do. It was something I really didn’t want to do. There was too much to accomplish. There were too many things to nitpick. That day, it was just another something that was required of me and I didn’t want to do it.
Thankfully, I was aware of the fact that feelings do not indicate reality and really, this was going to be the best move I could take in the game plan of my day. I knew this because it had been my experience many situations previous.
I sat down on the floor, completely wiped. I was exhausted by my inadequacy and shamed by my lack of willpower. There was little I could say except, “God, please be present.” It didn’t take long for His warmth to wash over the confines of my heart. It was the feeling my dry soul needed so desperately. A well deep within me broke. My Father was bringing me home, close to the volcanic passion of His heart.
“Continue Katie. I am listening.” So I did.
“Daddy Please fill me with Your peace. God I am so sorry for allowing things in my life before You. You really are the only One who truly satisfies me. Please forgive me for taking control over my life when You are the One who has destined me for particular niches. You designed me. Please lead me. I love You.”
“I forgive and love you with all my heart Beautiful Daughter.”
As I spoke, warmth exploded in my chest, filling me with a renewed sense of purpose and plan. “My God, please help me remember how powerful and delightful You are. Please help me recognize the fact that Your love will never wane. You are I AM, the God whose love is so much better than all the “pleasures” found in this life.”
Learning to spend time with Him and listen to the love language He speaks over us is the most valuable thing we could ever do for ourselves. Let’s keep in mind this fact as we do so: He doesn’t want us to carve time so we can appease Him (who are we kidding? He doesn’t need us to make Him happy!)
With that being said, He is more worthy than we’re able to calculate and no, we are not able to give Him all the praise He deserves because we don’t have the capacity to do so. He is much too good, to holy, too perfect for that.
In His grace, all He asks is that we give Him all of us, our dreams, passions and pursuits. He also asks that we give Him the best of our day, our precious time.
These things are requirements as He wants to see us filled with joy and incredible peace. He wants to see us live lives of freedom, delighting in His presence more than the things that won’t satisfy and will eventually fade to nothing.
If we want to lead lives filled with peace, joy and freedom let’s remember to do the most important thing possible, give that time to God, seek His face and don’t neglect to read His Word.
In my continued pursuit of drawing closer to God and His holiness I will be focusing on this scripture today. My friend, I urge you to do the same:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9
With much Love,
God, when my heart murmurs, whimpers and begs to be known by the world I ask that You would flip the desire. Instead, may this misguided heart of mine cry only to know in deeper, more radical ways, the depth of Your jealous love.
The contentment and rest we all seek is not found in throngs of screaming fans but in Your beloved arms and never ceasing embrace…Selah.
Jealousy and comparison? Are we familiar with one another? Oh, yes… the three of us are well acquainted. So well acquainted that I often fail to notice their arrival. The indicator of the momentous occasion manifests itself in the form of sulphur, a thick, potent gas that drifts from social media and into my porous heart.
Today I was taking time to scroll through my Facebook feed when I realized something, my joy was slowly but surely being sucked away (I, understandably, have come to identify this as the dementor effect). I lost my ambition to create and my drive to accomplish. I began loathing the people who were “more successful” than I was. I started hating who I was and my lack of fiscal success.
Yep, my stinky friends were back and man did they ever reek.
In light of the sulphurous smell and the realization that I wasn’t doing enough I frantically started crafting a game plan. I would be more involved in particular organizations, more ambitious with my book proposal. I would be sure to take more risks and spend more money on advertising. I had to write more posts to keep my readership up!
Even after I had figured out which steps to take and when I should take them I felt very empty. Something was missing. It wasn’t until my husband stepped in and listened to me whine that I realized what that something was.
I was comparing myself to the success of others and not allowing myself to be content in the position God had placed me. I was missing His Scriptures, His Word, His voice in my life. I had allowed the gentle whisper to be silenced by the cackling of other whims and fancies.
It is frighteningly impossible to fully enjoy who we are when we are consumed with others and what they are accomplishing. (Tweet that and steal the quoted picture if you wish!)
In light of this situation, and at the advice of my glorious husband, I googled and retrieved some epic scriptures to help with the matter. There are six of them that stand out most to me that I would like to share with you…
- Psalm 37:5–commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and He will act.
Wow, how often do I forget this one? If there is a passion, a desire in my heart that comes from God it would do devastating damage to not surrender it to Him. He is the One who made the desires. He is the Only One who will see them to full fruition in our lives. This is also a lesson in learning to trust the One who we ought to lean on in EVERY situation.
- Proverbs 14:30–a tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.
Not cute imagery… at all (hehehe, Jared Bosgra I can hear your voice whenever I type “cute”. Thank you for this). I don’t know about you but I don’t really want my bones to rot. AKA: I don’t want to live in a state of dank envy and unrelenting overachieving for the rest of my life, always looking at others and backwards, not able to simply enjoy the season I am in or the people who surround me. If anything, that sounds like degenerating rot to me. Again, that’s not cute.
- Galatians 1:10-am I saying this now to win the approval of people or God? Am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be Christ’s servant.
Powerful stuff Paul. Powerful stuff. Let’s summarize: if we are trying to please people with our endless works we are working for people and not for God. Ultimately this sacrifice will not stand up in court, on the day of judgement when what people say doesn’t matter, at all. One day, when I am face to face with the Almighty God I want to lay down my fearfully formed works at His feet, exactly where they belong, and say to Him, “all this was done for You my King.” Goooosh, that will be amazing.
- Isaiah 2:22–stop regarding man in whose nostrils is breath, for of what account is he?
If you have the tendency to look to celebs or other people’s opinions for your worth, please stop. Like my daddy always used to say, “we all put our pants on the same way”.
We’re all going to stand before the judge on that final day too.
Please be ready to give an account for how you lived. Was it for Christ or for the affirmation of others?
- Mark 12:30–love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
Please forgive me if I’m wrong but I believe this love projects into all facets of our lives, including what we do with our gifts, passions and talents and no, I don’t think this is optional.
6. Proverbs 3:5-6–trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Mic drop. We need to give EVERYTHING we are to the Lord, regardless of how we feel. My friend, please keep in mind this fact: how we feel often has no bearing and is not indicative of reality, often (at least in my own life) it is the exact opposite.
We are commanded by God to lay our burdens at His feet, not to burden ourselves with countless thoughts.
(Twweeeet and steal that photo!)
We are called to acknowledge this merciful God (spend time with Him and read His Word). When we do these things and give our dreams to Him He will lead us in the way He desires for His name sake. He will make a way for us!
In closing I have written a prayer. Feel free to pray this and allow His peace to wash over you as you do:
“My God, please light a fire beneath this hardened, wax, heart and pour the contents into the mold you desire. Purify the dross and imperfection. Cleanse me of my good intentions for I am Yours and You are mine.”
With much love,
Sunday morning came in the form of an alarm. It lulled me back to reality as quickly as most mornings do. I was tired but the ambitions I held firmly in my grasp were not. There was much to accomplish today and I, Katie Pezzutto, was going to beat with gusto each challenge that decided to loom its smirking face over me.
After grabbing a banana and some toast slicked with peanut butter I loaded my things into my car and tore down the road towards work.
“Whoops!” After an abrupt stop at a red light, my water bottle fell over my armrest and landed on floor behind my chair. I twisted my neck to retrieve it and in doing so caught a glimpse of something I had failed to “champion” that morning. Even more awful still, it was the most important thing I could have accomplished.
My faded, leather bible sat on the cushion of my backseat. Its unopened pages rested snuggly against each other.
How did I forget that in the car? Oh, that’s right… I had decided I didn’t have time to spend with Jesus this morning.
The fleshy nerves around my raw heart seared. I had substituting busyness for time with the One who brought peace.
I was leaning on my achievements to make me happy and not my Saviours hands.
Ouch. Not cute.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t much I could do as the clock was ticking down and I was expected to be at work in five minutes. Things would have to wait.
Seven minutes later I arrived, set my bag down on the floor and sunk into my cushy chair. As soon as I had typed my name into the data base, a winged dot caught my peripheral. The thumb sized creature was inside the office and from the fuss it was putting up this was the last place on earth it wanted to be.
Smash, smash, smash. If I listened close enough I’m sure I could’ve hear him screaming for freedom as his tiny wings pattered against the glass. My heart melted for the little guy.
Without hesitation I snagged a fresh toilette from the kitchen and tromped towards the moth. Those emails could wait. As I reached out for the tormented insect I was struck with the ridiculousness of my situation and with a startling thought:
the hairy intruder was me.
We weren’t all that different from one another in a lot of ways. The two of us were trapped by our propensity to overcomplicate the simple things in life. Unlike the moth, I had a sure-fire way out of any mess I had created for myself. My problem was that I often chose not to take it.
Until I stepped in he didn’t have either luxury.
Things were about to change.
My little friend put up quite the fight, despite the fact that he was already exhausted from beating against his prison for so long. If only he would have allowed himself to ease into the cloth. I would have quickly and easily swept him away and into the great outdoors.
Silly beast… silly me.
Why had I been fighting against the wind, neglecting what was most important for temporary things, when I knew the powerful Being who could calm the greatest of storms?
My question for you today is this: why fight the battles by yourself instead of relying on the One who, like a daring lover, is willing to conquer them for you? Why spend time with exhaustive goals when the arms of the Prince of Peace are wide open and welcoming, His face bright and shining with a smile?
Run to Jesus.
No matter what storm you are facing. No matter how inadequate you may feel.
He will always take you back and give you peace. He will give you purpose and joyfully release you to beat your wings into that wild, blue yonder.
With much love,
Gravel crunches beneath my feet as I sprint towards the park. My lungs are on fire, my muscles are stretched like taunt bungee cords, tightened to full capacity. One more step. I tell myself after my next laborious step. Just one more.
One step turns into two and two into three. I keep running. I keep pushing myself. In less than five minutes I, drenched in sweat, have reached my destination, finally. Gulping in large pockets of air I plop into the grass, taking no heed to the fact my sensitive skin will be covered in hives afterwords. I focus on my breathing and my accomplishment. As good as it feels to smash my running time I still can’t help but wonder, will my accomplishments ever be good enough?
I have been asking myself that question all week. Each time the response continues to remain the same: work harder, be better, get stronger, learn more, outsmart the pack.
Before the voices could lay claim to my mind I stop them.
I calculate my thoughts, spin them around then ask for the only opinion that truly matters, “Father, will I ever be enough?”
I shiver as beams of warm light filter across my cool skin. “You are enough Katie.” At His response a slight smile pulls at the corner of my mouth. He never fails to speak back to my heart and provide rest for my soul.
I slung my arm over my exhausted, twitching leg. “Please help me rest in your truth Abba.”
“Katie, when you are weary, burdened and laden with heavy situations come to me. Lean on me. Let me speak truth into your life. You are enough. You are enough and I am enough for you.”
I shiver as a cool breeze washes over my slick back.
“Thank you Abba.”
“I love you Katie.”
Peace washes over me as my Father and I sit here in silence. We listen to the echo of children’s laughter as it bounces across water and smell the freshly blossoming wild flowers. I am complete. I am perfect. I am loved, desired and wanted just the way I am.
I am home.
Are you agreeing with the lie of the enemy that you aren’t good enough? If you are please stop and take time to realize that lies have been spoken to you.
Trust me, you don’t have to have bigger boobs, a smaller waist, larger biceps or whatever crap society has told you you need in order to be enough. If you follow the pattern the world has laid out you will never be content. You will never be filled with joy, only longing.
Find your identity in Christ. Spend time with Him and ask Him who He is. Ask Him who you are to Him.
You won’t regret this… it may, in fact, completely change your life… just as it has changed mine.
With much love,
This morning I rolled out of bed, snatched my phone from my desk and tapped in my password. While checking the trending section on Facebook a headline caught my eye and stopped my breath. It read, “The Voice singer Christina Grimmie…shot dead.”
As a sporadic watcher of The Voice and big fan of Christina Grimmie voice I was shocked and very saddened by her passing. The beautiful, talented, young woman that passed away was only 22 years old.
While I skimmed article after article many ideas notions and ramblings ran through my head. Ultimately, only one of those thoughts won out in prominence. That thought being: life has proven itself to be way too short. As can be seen in the incredibly tragic case of Christina, we can be here on earth one moment and gone the next.
That thought led to myriads of other questions… big questions that can appear to be rather disturbing if they have never been discussed or thought about. Inquiries such as: what in the world do I live my life for? What or who is waiting for me when I pass from this side to the next? Am I living in a way I want to be remembered for?
For me, thinking on these things was a somewhat macabre experience but also very enlightening… you see as a human I am not too excited about death and dying As a Christian, I believe in heaven and am incredibly excited to go there. I also believe God has called each one of us to live lives that are worthy of Him. We are to use our God given abilities and talents, no matter what they might be, in order to glorify and honour Him.
In light of the tragic events that have transpired I urge you to think about your eternity and what you have been placed on this earth to do.
If you’re not sure where to start, I can tell you this: you have been placed on this planet to know God and to make Him known to others. Yes, there is a God who is passionately in love with you who wants you to know Him and spend your eternity with Him. He gave His Son’s life so you can live with Him forever. Don’t wait to get to know Him. He calls lovingly for you today <3
My sincerest condolences and prayers go out to this beautiful, young woman’s family and the millions who have been impacted by Christina.
Christina singing “In Christ Alone” <3
I couldn’t believe it. I was with Him again and this meeting was even more intimate than most. As we walked through the thickly wooded forest we discussed life, joy, pain, sorrow and calling. We talked about purpose. Ah purpose. The topic I could not stop bringing to the proverbial table…
Midway through our walk I stopped to stare out at a sparkling lake and smiled. Our conversation was a reflection of all our past meetings. Just as always, this get-together was so special, foreign and not understood by many.
After explaining to those people what it was like to be caught up in His unwavering gaze and the warmth of His touch they would usually say, “Glad it works for you” or “that’s nice Katie but why don’t you try something else? They would state then ask, “He is a tyrant who feeds you what you want to hear then demands everything of you. Why are you still with Him?”
I glanced over at my companion. The gentleness in His eyes was evident as He met my gaze. He smiled and walked over to a large rock, our resting place. My eyes followed His gait, my mind reflected on times past. He was my best friend. The One who had walked with me through each circumstance, no matter how challenging. He never left. He never abandoned me… even when I had cheated on Him, multiple times but recognition, food and success never won out. They always left me longing for more whereas He had filled every void with just the sound of His voice.
That’s why my heart would sting after hearing peoples’ responses to our relationship. It did not hurt because I had been proven wrong or because I was missing out on other more exciting relationships. No, my heart broke because those who spoke mildly of my Love did not know what they were missing.
Oh, if only they knew! If only they knew how amazing it is to be snuggled close to the One who loves them more than anyone on this planet! If only they knew.
“Yes.” His warm eyes danced as though lit with flame as I spoke His name.
“Those who don’t know you and hold bitterness against you or unbelief…can you please show them how beautiful You are? Could you please show them how much you love them? Please show them how real you are.”
He gaze remained on me for a moment before turning back to the pristine lake. “I would love to. I would really love to…keep praying for their hearts My Love. When someone stands in the gap for them and prays for them it opens their hearts and melts the blinders off their eyes.”
“I will…” I glanced down at the inky dirt beneath my sandals then back up at the lake. It was easy to forget that He loved them even more than I did but of course He did. It sucked that there was only so much I could do to acquaint them with each other… they had to be willing.
My attention shifted as He spun around on the rock, a big grin lined his features.”Hey! You know what?”
“What?” My eyes widened. He liked to surprise me with new things. I half expected a moose or some other majestic creature to creep out of the brush and start talking to me.
“I love you.” I tilted my head, looked into his gaze and grinned, completely overwhelmed by the fact that someone so perfect loved me like He did. “I love you too.”
In that moment, with our eyes locking and the musky smell on fresh pine lingering in the air I realized something. There was no love like the love I had found. There was no reason to cheat, to run to my looks or my ability to score an A on a test. My validation could not be found in them.
Although the temptations remained, the One who defined my worth remained as well… and he wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
My friends, please consider this a reminder to remember who the true Love of your heart must be. If you desire a life filled with joy, peace and validation from the One who loves you with all His heart, choose Jesus and nothing else.
A reminder… what we should do when we have allowed ourselves to worship things meaningless things that are not Jesus <3
The reasons people give for the lack of God are as surprising as they are many. Have I heard quite a few of them? I sure have but for the sake of brevity I have chosen to narrow the ones I will discuss today to three.
Those three are as follows:
- I haven’t seen Him; therefore, He is not real.
- I messed up so He’s not coming around anytime soon.
- He doesn’t care about me.
Okay, so… here’s the deal. I’m not one of those people who tells you they are going to prove you if God real or is not. But there is something I can share with you: my testimony (or my life story).
I grew up in a Christian home and was taught to believe in God. As a child I felt a nudge, from what they told me was the Holy Spirit, and promptly invited Jesus into my heart. After my parents split and mom fell into illness I started to hate myself and question the existence of God simultaneously.
This led me down roads of bitterness, pain and hardship. There were points in my life when I wanted to say “screw it” and end it all. No one understood my anxiety, my pain or my addictions. No one understood the deepest recesses of my heart. No one could reach down and heal me.
It got to the point when I was falling so fast and was so desperate that I screamed the last name there was left on the list, the name that came after the counselors the psychiatrist and the medical doctor.
“Jesus!” I cried. “If You’re real You are going to revive me and take me out of death. If You are not real then I am dead.”
Here I am. I don’t know if that proves anything to you but it certainly does to me. I went from not being able to function properly aka: not able to hold a job or friendships or a solid relationship to being filled with joy, bubbling over with laughter and having a renewed sense of purpose.
No person did this.
God did this.
After I cried out to Him He started working on my heart in such a delicate fashion. He asked me to spend every morning with Him, learning truth about myself. I began reading my Bible, delving into the context of the scripture, talking to God as though He were a good friend that I had known for years. Through conversation with God I learned that whenever I felt fat, ugly or unlovable He would speak truth to me. I just needed to ask. When I did, this is what He would say: Katie, my darling daughter. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are perfect.
Over an incredible rough patch of six years He walked with me, faithfully. He never let me down. He has always answered me in one way or another.
So, with regards to the reasons God doesn’t exist… I can’t prove to you that there is a God… I can only show you the proof. I am here when my existence wasn’t supposed to be possible. I have hope for a new day because I know there is a God walking beside me, a God who is SO much larger than any giant I may face.
Are you struggling with believing God is real or having a tough time believing His intentions are for you?
I would ask you to stop living in fear that He is what you may think He is. Reach out to Him, talk to Him. Start taking half an hour every morning that is dedicated solely to His Majesty.
I promise you that you will not be disappointing with the treasure you unearth.
The clock struck five, thus signalling the end of my shift. As usual, the termination of my work day had left me like a worn out football player: dirty, grimy, tired and rearing to engulf a giant pan of deep fried chicken legs.
Mmm… chicken legs. The thought fed my mind as I retrieved my car from the work compound.
Within minutes, I had twisted up the volume in my Corolla and registered the stereo for more base. My smile widened as the sweet, sultry falsetto of Adam Levine came coursing through my speakers, lulling me in and enticing me to dance like a seizuring Canadian monkey.
“I got the moves like jagger. I’ve got the moves like jaggger! I’ve got the moooooves like jagger.”
Mmmm, yes. When I hit the Highway 3 I pretended not to notice the older woman straining her eyes to watch me or the group of teenage boys laughing their brains out as I drove past. What they thought didn’t matter. All I needed to focus on were the catchy lyrics and the repetitive notes that pumped identity into my soul.
Four Maroon Five songs later, a measurement I often used to determine the length of my car ride, I had arrived at my house. Alex, my hubster, pulled in as well.
He rolled down his window, dusted something off his hands and looked me in the eyes. “Whatcha listening to Kate?”
“Mmmm… Maroon Five.”
He tilted his head and continued to stare at me with those wide eyes. “Is that a great idea? The lyrics are ridiculous… not to mention, super sexual.”
I shrugged. “I just…really like the beat. No, the lyrics aren’t good but… the beat is well fabricated.”
He smiled a little. “Katie, regardless if you want to listen to those lyrics or not, your listening to them grants them authority and access into your life.”
“Thanks pastor Dan.”
Alex rubbed the stubble on his chin and kept watching me with those sea eyes of his. “No problem. See you inside.”
As I gathered my computer, lunch and other supplies from the backseat I started thinking about something my mother had told me when I was a young girl. “Garbage in equals garbage out.” Fancy that? I had noticed that since starting to listen to contemporary music I had started letting a bombs and the like slip.
From the heart the mouth speaks. I was letting trashy words that weren’t uplifting anyone around me slip from my lips like they weighed nothing. Oh, they weighed something. They weighed everything. I didn’t care that the people I was passing by with my music blaring were hearing the trash I had been playing. Maybe I should care in the future.
But why should I care?
The kids in the car next to me were being further exposed to toxins they did not need. The elderly woman in the blue Sudan certainly didn’t need to be informed of the fact that I had the moves like Jagger…. My gosh. There’s only one person in the world who need know that!
In my pondering I was also met with a thought, a VERY important thought: what does God think of the music I’m listening to? When I gave my life to Him I told Him He could have my all.
I caught myself wondering: is listening to a sick beat and crooning vocals about only acting on my impulses and using people for their bodies pleasing to His ears or His heart? When I was listening and singing along with gusto was I giving Him my all?
Nope. Quite the opposite…I was allowing something that was anti God into my ears and thoughts. This does not glorify Him or move His Kingdom along.
Now, before we label God as a misogynistic jerk who doesn’t let us do anything we want to do let’s dwell on something: God is a Good Father. He is one who tells us to do certain things and not certain other things because He wants the best for our hearts, minds and bodies.
For example: He will not allow little John John to eat a tub of ice cream before heading to bed because… guess what? It might disable John John from doing things that are, ultimately, of much greater value to him like sleep… and properly functioning kidneys.
God wants us to live lives that are peaceful, void of anxiousness and debilitating desires. His passion is for us to be free and to set others free.
Granted, it’s pretty darn tough to set anyone free who continually chooses to hold on to the broken chain that used to bind them.
If we hold on to the crap we used to be enthralled with before life with God we are weighing ourselves down and excreting values that are questionable. We are also making it very difficult to hear and understand the voice of God if we are shutting His out with regard to this one matter.
Is it worth it?
I don’t think it is…
So, before you turn on that radio and start belting beats with Lady Gaga just remember…you serve a God who created the dreams, passions and desires within your heart. Allow Him to take over your everything and work His full potential in you.
You will not regret it. I promise.
I sat in my office, mouse in hand and a concentrated look on my face as I stared at the large screen. “Distance from Wyndam Carseland to Edmonton…” click. “Best ways to fry up crickets…” click. “Best ways to train yourself to stay on track.” Click. Click. Click. “Campground listing almost completed… now to set up the that Iphone…”
Ding! The door to my office swung open and in walked a man, clad in plaid, wearing a scowl on his face. I greet him as warmly as possible after being startled out of my concentration. “Hello.” He glanced quickly at the brochure rack then back at me.
“How are you?” He snapped, clearly not caring if I answer his question or not. “I’m warm.” I smiled before continuing. “Thanks for asking. How can I help yo….?” Before I had finished speaking he started.
“Do you have tokens for the dump station?” Much to my chagrin and vague amusement, his heightened emotional state sent his pitch wheeling into something that almost sounded falsetto.
“Tokens no, you will need change for the dump station.”
He stared at me wordlessly for a minute before throwing his hand up in the air. “Well, what do you think the dump station takes? Of course I’m talking about coins.” I froze, a part of me wanted to pump my fist into this guy’s face. No one comes into this office and sasses me off, especially when I’m being kind and clearly wanting to help. Inside of escalating the situation I breathed in deeply as he continued.
“This is awful…if you’re charging people money for that dump station you should at least have change available.” My mind spun… “you know what’s awful? I wanted to say. What’s awful is that you’re harming other people by being rude because you are so freaking entitled. That is indeed awful…what a sad state you choose to live in Sir.
Instead of speaking the words I would have liked to have said I looked him in the eye. “I’m sorry for the inconvenience Sir. I will have to let my Supervisor know.”
“That would be a wonderful idea.” He muttered. “This is the worst service.” A smirk, completely unmerited, threatened to climb up the corners of my mouth. I could have made it worse…oh, so much worse for you buster.
Perhaps you work in customer service and this situation doesn’t seem like much to you, if anything my situation seems like child’s play. Fair enough, I can understand that and I really respect you for what you do. There are many people who go through much worse on a daily basis and are paid minimum wage for what their work.
I would like to develop a thicker skin for these kind of things but at the moment, thick skin is not my strong suit. With that being said, his rudeness and disregard for my feeling did affect me. The things he said to me hurt me. I try my hardest to do the best job that I can. When something is beyond my control and I am being put down for it…well, that hurts.
Now, to the moral of the story. How to deal with jerks…
After I had been lovingly dumped on by Mr. Plaid I realized how poorly I had handled the situation. God tells us to love those hurt us. I had been thinking about punching the guy and causing chaos in his life as payback for his harsh tone and words but that is NOT what Jesus would have done, at all.
My reaction to this mans disregard for my heart showed me my need for a deeper understanding of God’s grace and love for people. It also reminded me of how imperfect I am and of how deeply God’s grace runs for me. I was reminded that the fountain from which His never-ending grace flows will never dry up…
So, you need some help dealing with a real jerk hole?
Take your feelings, which are often not valid, and bring them for judgment before God’s truth, his infallible Word. Here’s a head start:
Colossians 3:3 “For you have died to this life, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” (We are hidden in, protected by Christ. Nothing people do our say can affect us because we are secure in our identities as sons and daughters of the Most High God. We have everything we need because we have God as our Father).
1 John 4:8 “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (We are called to reflect God’s image and be love to those around us. We must have a relationship with Love in order to exude Love’s attributes…after all, how do you represent someone you don’t know?).
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…”
Luke 6:29 “If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. (Jesus…I don’t even have words. The King of the Universe’s humility is enough to render me almost completely speechless…and to think about how He modelled this perfectly by being nailed to a cross and suffering an excruciated death all the while saying, “Forgive them. They do not know what they are doing.” WHHHATT!?).
Ultimately, remember your identity is not in how people treat you or in how you feel about the situation. You are a son or daughter of the Most High God. You are royalty and have a King who has lavished on you royally. Allow yourself to run to Him when someone hurts you or there is a bully who won’t go away. Give of yourself even when people are rude, unjust, angry and ornery towards you.
That being said, properly set boundaries are also an incredible important piece of this complex puzzle but for now just know that we are called to love…as Jesus did. We have been called with the highest mission one could ever ask for, to breath joy giving life, into the broken lives of the unlovable and we’re going to rock at it.
With much love.
What cyclical trend is wounding and killing the children, youth and adults of not only our past but our present generations?
Fathers missing in action.
When I say the word “father” I don’t only mean the man who lives under the roof of your house, who gave life to you and who takes you fishing from time to time. While those are all good things they don’t encompass the magnitude of what a father truly is. When I say “father” I mean, a man who understands his call and purpose, to understand God as the perfect Father he never had and to act as a representation of God, the heavenly Father.
To be more specific:
I am talking about a man who would give his life to protect his daughter. He is her warrior in the physical, spiritual and mental. He fights for her and would kill anything that might try to come near her. I am talking about a father who tells his little girl how worthy and loved she is through his actions and his words.
A father who prays with his little girl and instills wisdom within her spirit and heart. This wisdom will help her soar with freedom and conquer new worlds, the way God wants her to. A father who passes on a legacy of strength, faith, hope and life because that is what he has been filled up with by his Heavenly Father. That’s the kind of father I am talking about.
So many men don’t know how to fulfill these requirements because we live in a very broken world and they were not raised by one.
Because of this lack, many precious daughters are not raised to know their true value. This results in so many heart wounds, mistaken identities and the continued affliction of heart wounds on those around. I have seen this in so many of the youth I mentor, my peers and my colleagues.
I was, for many years, without a true father. I am still healing from the fact that I didn’t have a daddy to affirm my value as a beautiful daughter, no matter what I looked like. I, especially in my teen years, would strive to be the most beautiful, successful, sought after woman on the planet but even after I received affirmation I found myself to still be searching. I needed something more to fill the emptiness that left a huge void in my broken heart.
Precious Daughters, if you haven’t been introduced to the Father who loves you more than anything else on this planet. I want to give you a glimpse of what that love looks like. I would like you to understand the INCREDIBLE, insurmountable love that God, your Heavenly Father has for you.
You know those things we look for in a man?
A strong hand as a guide, strength by your side. He would give anything to see you succeed. He feels your pain when you do. We want a man who listens and who understands, one who cares and woes us with flowers, chocolates or whatever we may happen to love (sloths in my case). We want to be seen as beautiful and known as valuable. I repeat for emphasis: we LONG to be seen and known as BEAUTIFUL AND VALUABLE.
Our Heavenly Father designed us to want these things and this is not a bad thing. The way we feel about being wooed, held close, looked at with great love and cherished as the most expensive, exquisite diamond earth’s caverns ever gave life to is a desire the Creator of All placed within us.
The only problem is this, we live in a world with so much busyness and distraction, fear and doubt. We hear people and voices in our heads telling us God must not be real because of our circumstances and or pain. He must not be real, there’s no evidence. There’s no Heavenly Father, you might say. You might this this chick, Katie, is loony…
Oh, dear friends… there is evidence all around us. There is evidence within our very hearts, souls, minds and bodies that we have not been able to unpack and understand.
Look at the mind, we have huge research centers working towards understanding our minds and yet we know SO LITTLE. There are so many self help books on calming the soul. I have tried many but none have worked except the Word of God, truth.
There are also books telling us how to have a toned body because when we do then we will feel better about ourselves but maybe that wasn’t the problem in the first place…maybe it was our lack of understanding about where our value really comes from, our Heavenly Father who adores us in every circumstance and no matter what weight we hold.
Yes, we don’t understand the deep recesses of our hearts but there is a God who does. I have met Him and been healed greatly by His sovereign hand.
Your Heavenly Father is closer than your breath. He wants you to turn to Him so He can envelop you in His never ending love.
Romans 8:37-39 -“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 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.”
I think it’s about time to wrap this up…
This morning I was listening to the song/spoken word included below and bawling as I did.
If you want to meet with this Heavenly Father, the One who will teach you the truth about yourself and your unending value, I recommend you place yourself in the protagonist’s position (the boy’s) and just listen.
No, it’s not Drake or Lecrae but that’s totally okay… please tough it out. It’s worth it.
Before I dive deeper into the content of this blog I must say something to the lovely single ladies. Ladies please ask God (and follow his guidance; do not falter from this) for someone who loves Jesus more than he loves you.
I also beg of you to make certain that the person you are marrying is someone who is kind, loving, gentle, gracious and someone who you do not have any second thoughts about. If any of these things are not secure as “yes” I can assure you that your marriage will not be all that it can be.
Throughout my adolescence and adulthood, I noticed so many rings being tossed to the side like garbage and now realize that a common denominator for a majority of these marriages was a lack of Christ in the home.
I realize that some couples who have not accepted Jesus that are living a more peaceful, loving life than some Christians. Trust me, I know. But have you considered spiritual warfare? The fact that there is a battle going on for people’s souls? Christian marriages are attacked because they bring great influence in the Kingdom of God. I am not justifying the turmoil in some Christian households but am posing a fact and it’s one that is important to think about.
I know that without all the qualities I mentioned being in place and secure my marriage would not have stood a chance. By God’s grace and because I chose to wait for the right man, I have married one of the Godliest, gentle, loving men I have ever met in my life.
Now on to this first year business… I cannot speak for everyone when I give testimony to the fact that the first year is difficult. I can let you know that our first year was pretty tough. I can also give you a list, not exhaustive by any means, of four issues (humorous in retrospect) Alex and I had to work through in order to maintain peace and functionality in our new home.
a) Personal space –
I, as an only child, (yes I will play that card) found it difficult to allow someone else into my personal space. I was used to having a bedroom, bathroom and recreation space to myself. For me these were places no one could enter. They were havens where I could sit in nothing but silence and peace. Things changed a little bit when I introduced a 6,1, Italian manoid into my house. In a matter of one day we were sharing a bedroom, sink, toilet, fridge and chocolate cupboard. It kind of felt like I was jumping into freezing cold water at first. You know that affect they depict in movies? The one where Ryan Gosling says, “hey girl” and the girls heart turns to mush? Yeah, well. When my space was taken over my heart definitely stopped a little…
b) Bodily functions –
growing up I was told that boys expelled gases a lot more often then girls. Whenever I heard something of that nature I would wrinkly my nose, twirl my hair and laugh along with my friends until one day, actually one year and a couple weeks ago, I was no longer laughing. I don’t think I need to expand on this any further.
c) Parents and in-laws –
They are a very big blessing. They can also provide an iron sharpens iron effect when things aren’t going to smoothly between the two camps. A clash in cultures can arise while misunderstandings ensue…I think you get the picture! Thank God for God’s grace on us and them.
d) Differences in diet –
I really enjoy eating well and feeling good. As a natural result, I am a huge fan of eating the right food groups in moderation. Alex, on the other hand, was perfectly fine with Ramen noodles purchasing packages of pre-seasoned rice from the Dollar Store. It took a little time and coaxing but I eventually lured him to the dark side of ethnic/healthy food…hehe.
I like to make and spend money. Alexander really likes to make and save. I’m sure you can see where the conflict may have ensued with this one.
There you have it, these are some of the many things Alex and I had the chance to work through. Because of them, and God’s grace, we are much stronger and efficient when it comes to solving arguments and settling grievances.
So, to those of you who are getting married congratulations!To those of you who were curious about what this post had to say, I wish you the best!
With much love,
I remember myself as the frumpy tag along who, despite my severe lack of makeup application skills, helped friends get ready for their dates with the positively ravishing men of grade 9. I felt unseen and unvalued. Being unseen became my identity.
People are complex. I understand this and realize not everyone has turned to this disorder for the same reason. That being said I want to alert you to come of the root causes of the disorder that are not foreign to me and show you how to work towards healing those areas of deep pain. The first root I am going to address is value.
No one on planet earth is exempt from feeling like they must attain value. Believe it or not, this type of thinking bombards those even though who are “top of their game”. We see celebrities come crashing from their marble pedestals, successful business men hitting bankrupt then committing suicide, high-profile men involved in the Ashley Madison scandal being left by their families and communities. All of these examples point back to the question, “do I have value?” We think people’s affirmation will provide a solid, secure answer the to question.
It doesn’t. Trust me.
The summer before I started grade 10 at Mount Baker High School my emotional life was a mess. A couple years earlier my father had left our family and my mother had become sick with a quickly degenerating disease. Eventually my mom was sent to live in a care home because I, and my grandmother, could no longer take care of her.
That summer a couple years after all that transpired wasn’t so fun. I had friends but saw them as so much prettier than I was. I was the frumpy tag along who, despite my severe lack of makeup application skills, helped them get ready for their dates with the positively ravishing men of grade 9. I felt unseen and unvalued. Being unseen became my identity.
As the summer was coming to a close I decided to start exercising much more than usual and eating much less when I did this. If I could be thin like my friends perhaps boys would like me more and would see my value. I spent many lunch hours throwing up in the bathroom then pacing around the school grounds to work off any extra calories that may have seeped to my hips and thighs. Slowly but surely I saw my weight begin to drop off. As I watched the numbers on the school fall lower and lower I figured I had discovered the trick to happiness.
I was sadly and devastatingly wrong.
After almost dying twice and finally being admitted to the hospital in my grade 11 year I realized what I had been trying to do wasn’t working. By that time my mind, emotions and physical state were a conglomerate of crazy messiness. I was unable to think straight and couldn’t leave the hospital without being in a wheelchair because of the damage that had been done to my heart.
It was odd that even though I had reached my goal of being crazy thin I still wasn’t happy with myself. I remember burying my head in my hands and weeping after discovering this realization. What would it take for me to feel worth anything?
MY DIARY (AS REMEMBERED)
February 17, 2008
I lifted my head from my dry, cracking hands and reached for the bright blue Kleenex box sitting beside my hospital bed. Even the soft fabric of the tissue seemed cutting as it scratched against my fragile skin. I whimpered and allowed a fresh onslaught of tears to fall. Why did everything have to hurt?
I had reached my breaking point when the nurse told me they were going to up my meal intake the next day. It was almost too much for me to bear, especially after all my hard work keeping the food away. The other girls didn’t have to eat that much, why did I? I threw the tissue into the basket beside my bed and caught a glimpse of my legs as I did a glimmer of revelation was given to me.
I was thin, frighteningly skinny, deathly ill looking. What had I done to myself? As I stared at my legs I realized something was wrong but there was no way I could change my way of thinking by my power alone. On countless occasions, I had tried to free myself from my dark prison by medication and counseling but nothing had pried open the bars.
As I sat on the bed, staring out the tiny window a couple of beds over a verse my mother used to read to me before she became ill rehearsed their lines in my mind.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want…He sets a table for me in the presence of my enemies.”
I took a moment to test the verse. Could this be true? “God, if you’re real you will save me. If you’re not Lord, I’m dead.” My voice was an almost unintelligible whisper but I had high hopes that my Shepherd had heard me. If He hadn’t or didn’t care I knew I couldn’t go on. There was no other option for me to be saved by anything but divine intervention.
God drew me into His gentle presence daily. I allowed myself to be led because I was so broken and in need of healing. No human could fix it for me. The healing could only come from spending time with Father God, the Father I needed for my adolescence but didn’t receive. He comforted me in my loss while I read His word. He sent people to hold me as I wept and washed away wrong beliefs I had towards myself. After about five years of running to the Lord with every thought and pain He has completely changed my way of thinking and has made me dependent on Him.
“The healing could only come from spending time with Father God, the Father I needed for my adolescence but didn’t receive.”
Looking back on the experience I am grateful for the disease that almost ravaged my body and mind completely. I am thankful because my helplessness made me realize how badly I needed a Savior and how faithful a Savior was the one I needed. I am grateful because I have learned the faithfulness of my Father. He didn’t leave me at any step in my journey.
The God who walked with Isaac, Abraham and Jacob is the God who has walked with me and has provided healing in the area of value. He is a Father who provides everything His children need and I am His beloved daughter. I know I can ask for anything and know that my good, good Father will provide for His daughter. I have worth and don’t need to be affirmed by the warped values of the world.
I beg of you to not allow anyone, including yourself, to live with any kind of disorder. The Father is gently beckoning you out of that way of life and into freedom. Following Him means spending time with Him and asking Him how He sees you. Allow Him to shed light on your pain and show you how precious you are to Him, the Creator and King. Allow Him to set you free to fly.
Why stay weighed down by burdens when you were made to fly?
It’s a common inquiry, a strategy used to break the proverbial ice and a keen way of digging deeply into another human beings’ twisted psyche. Are you gripping the edge of your seat? Oh. My. Goodness. I can do all those things with one trick? You sure can and it’s not even magic.
You ask people an itty, bitty, little question:
“If you could enjoy a giant mug of steaming caffeine with anyone in the world today who would it be?”
Would that person be old, young, famous or infamous?
(Someone infamous? Seriously? You naughty beast you).
I’ve heard answers like:
“My great, great grandmother.”
Jesus! Hehe. Yes, now that’s the response I like to hear. Whether or not that person was asked the question at Sunday school is none of your wee, little business.
In all seriousness though, why choose to spend a single day with? Why not choose to spend every day with Him?
I won’t lie, it would be pretty amazing to walk with Jesus on earth, listen to Him talk and ask Him questions face to face but when we accept Christ into our hearts Jesus’ Holy Spirit lives in us! Fact.
Some people become very distraught when it comes to addressing Christ in this day and age…”It’s not the same. It’s not easy to connect with Him. I never connect with Him.”
If you feel that way I suggest a solution:
Give yourself fifteen minutes daily to sit with your Creator. Ask Him questions. Listen. Read His Word. Seek Him heart. Ask Him to reveal more about who He is to you then SEEK! Don’t give up. Is that how we are to treat our relationships? No!
And this is the most important one we’ll EVER HAVE.
When I’m told that God doesn’t speak to people today I cringe. Elohim took His time, used a myriad of different authors over many years for varying perspectives and wrote a HUGE book filled with how we ought to live, how He sees us, what our purpose is… et cetera. And yes, He also speaks through a still, small voice. He speaks in ways that are intimate and very special to us.
We, the Christ followers, need to ask Holy Spirit for guidance when we read it. But let’s not give up because some of the cultural content doesn’t make sense to us. Let’s dig deeper.
It baffles me…how can someone be a “Christ follower” without being intentional about getting to know his or her Leader? We are mandated to do so if we claim to be “Christ Followers”. This is what being a “Christian” means for hairy heavens’ sake.
If you know Christ but do not feel close to Him please don’t take this message as condemnation but rather as inspiration. Let’s do what we, the Christians, have been called to do. Let’s get to know the Almighty God.
Let’s not merely wish to walk with Him; instead, let’s actively seek the Lord’s presence and daily bask in His glory.
The cry escaped with hope and I felt no comfort
I am riddled by memories and shrouded by darkness
While ruminating on wounds I heard
His roar echoes across the dark chamber
I’m sure of it, the beast heard my wails and smelt fresh blood
I could not escape him; my pain was too great
His figure looms; he is large and great
The terror within me rises again; I feel no comfort
Boils within me as he approaches the darkness
He walks closer to the entrance of my chamber
The pain is overwhelming; I sob quietly so I can’t be heard
Why must it be now that I am heard?
By this creature so great
By a beast not afraid of this dark chamber
Could he, King of Beasts, bring comfort?
Shrouds my dark art; I sketch portraits with the blood
His large paw pushes open the door and dips into the blood
My pain has been heard
Light prevails over the darkness
I look up to see his eyes; they are gentle but great
My heart jumps then rests; I feel warmth and comfort
I’m about to be freed from this chamber
He releases a roar; it echoes throughout the chamber
He wipes away the blood
No more terror is felt; his presence is a comfort
I am heard
By the King of light, he is so great
The only one whose power chases away the darkness
I look up; gone is the darkness
Only brilliance fills this chamber
The lion is a warrior of light; he is great
My fears are wiped away with the blood
From where I crouch I know I am still heard
I glanced in his warm eyes, “Are you here to bring my comfort?”
He responded with truth, “I am great. I’m here to bring relief and clean this blood. I am here to bring light to darkness and scurry the rats from this chamber. Child, you are heard. Your fears are dissolved in my comfort.”
I am sitting here rather patiently with a nasty couple of gargantuan butterflies flitting around in my gastrointestinal (at least one cliché is necessary in this piece of work). My monster cheese bun and pre-sliced turkey shavings are set up neatly and off to the left hand side of me. To both of sides of my computer mounds of empty zip lock containers are piled high (I eat when I’m studying okay!). Fruit flies, who are compliments of my beautiful roommates’ festering potato bag, have awakened and leapt from my lunch bag. They threaten to cover the bun and meat in a wing-y, black blanket. Yuck to the moon and back.
Despite the danger, food is second priority. Before eating, I am waiting for my hands to warm and my heart to settle. I know I have a couple of thing to ponder on.
It sucks when life isn’t easy doesn’t it? It can hurt when we must wait for the things that mean most to us. I am waiting to feel affirmed by people around me. I am waiting to feel loved by those who know me the “best”. I am waiting to have a family draw me in close and let me know that everything is going to be okay.
“I am waiting to feel affirmed by the people around me”
Will these things ever happen? Will my heart be healed from its major losses and insecurities? Maybe. But what if there’s too much to be waiting for?
I am also waiting to see what kind of grades I will be getting this semester. I am waiting to hear if I will win a spot in the University’s education program. I am waiting to know if I am good enough. Good enough? Will I ever be good enough? I need to stop waiting! When will it ever stop being a necessity? Seriously.
“Good enough? Will I ever be good enough?”
Okay. So. I don’t want this blog to be one that ends with a cute little, “everything is okay and this is how we overcome it.” I must admit that sometimes life and circumstances really sucks. That familial void may be more than our hearts can take so overwhelming at times that we don’t know what to do with it. (Run to Jesus; spend time in the Psalms). Seriously. That much I know.
“Run to Jesus; spend time in the Psalms. Seriously.”
A little piece of meat to take away from this abrupt blog post is as follows: we need to run to Jesus and try to devour our lunches before the fruit flies do.