Last night I lay on my couch, sprawled out, ugly crying like you wouldn’t believe. It had been a long day, a long week, a long month.
A toxic combination of back pain and unfulfilled dreams had proverbially pushed me over the edge.
I had questions for God: if you made me a writer, why leave me incapacitated like this? Why give me dreams if You’re just going to crush them? Are you THAT horrible?
After half an hour of angry crying and seething insults, I calmed down and listened to His voice, gentle as a whisper.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Faith. Okay, God. So what? I don’t have faith right now. I don’t know if You’ll heal me or let me stay sick like my parents. I have no faith that you’ll heal me. NONE.
“I need you to Trust My character.”
“I will work all things together for your good…”
I think of my mother, who lives in a care home. God, she’s sick! I haven’t had a real hug from her in years! Do you call that good? Really?
I chew on my tongue then exhale loudly.
I feel God’s gentle hand guide my mind. I start thinking.
Although she is still sick, her incapabilities have placed her in a position of quiet influence.
When no one else wants to visit the dying elderly, she reads scriptures to them. She is a joyful presence. She brings solstice to nurses who are in abusive domestic situations.
I think about my past.
I went through my teen years with a super sick mom and dad who was not present. I now relate to people who battle with strained, familial relationships and uncertainty.
There was no hope when it was happening but now I see. What a gift. To bring peace to a fellow human being, to be Christ to them when they have nothing left.
I remember my own struggle with anorexia. Going through it was hell, but now, those I lived with in the hospital are hearing about the healing power of God.
He healed me then. I believe He will use my pain for the good in His perfect timing again.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
As He starts to speak again, warmth floods the empty caverns of my heart.
“Katie, when you feel hopeless you are still hoping and exercising faith. But you’re putting faith in the wrong thing….
you might not know the answer, but you know the One who will answer you. Trust in my character Katie. I make all things work out for your benefit. I love you.”
I wiped tears from face, took a deep breath and sunk deeper into the growing warmth.
I love you too Daddy. Even when things seem hopeless. Please help me put my trust in You… even when things seem bleak and I can’t see anything good.
“I have a purpose for you and plans to give you a hope and a future.”
I chose to believe it, even when I didn’t feel it. As I did, I felt His warmth cloaking me, embracing me, enrapturing me. In that moment I realized, He is all I’ve ever needed.
He is more than enough.
“Comparison will cause you to be prideful or depressed but never fulfilled…” – Lisa Bevere
We’ve all felt it.
You’re walking into your favorite store in the mall, feeling pretty. The sun is shining. You’re wearing your favorite off-the-shoulder shirt.
Today you even tried brushing your hair!
Who are we kidding? Five hairstyles later and here we are… but no one needs to know that!
You catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and let your gaze linger for I second or two. Not bad at all.
You blink then BAM, you see her standing there with her perfect hair, enviable curves and designer clothing.
Miss Perfect slips on a pair of Guess sunglasses and poses for a group selfie. As her friends huddle close, you can’t help but notice, her skin is flawless. No filter required.
A group of guys walks past. Heads turn. One of them trips and falls into a kid with an ice cream cone. The kid starts wailing.
You wish it was socially acceptable to join him.
Man-bun Manny behind the counter is eye-balling Miss Perfect, probably figuring out the best way to snag her number.
You decide to leave and avoid the mirror on your way out. Your joy fizzles out like flat pop. The rest of the day, you try pulling yourself away from the thoughts.
If only my life looked like hers, then I would be happy.
Yeah, I’ve been through it and it SUCKS.
Maybe you don’t have the hots for Manny but whatever reason your joy bubble has been popped, it is SO important to get it back.
And it is possible.
Tell God you’ve been comparing yourself to others. Nothing you say surprises Him. Talk to Him about the way you’ve been feeling. Let Him know how inferior you feel.
Apologize for believing lies. This makes room for truth.
Focus on the truth.
— You were made with the precision of God’s hand. He is MESMERIZED by you – Psalm 139:14
— There’s a reason why you are you. God made you JUST the way He wanted to – Jeremiah 29:11
— God is kind of like that crazy friend at the party. He actually sings and dances because He’s so excited about you! – Jeremiah 20:11
Ladies, it may seem weird but it’s true: you will find confidence when you aren’t focusing on you. Stop looking at your “insufficiencies” and start looking at the beauty He sees. It will set you free from comparing yourself and launch you into a world of peace and JOY!
With much love,
Your choice to believe truth will shift your thinking and your world. You are made of powerful stuff.
I remember sitting on the hospital bed, staring at my twiggy legs, wondering if God was playing a trick on me. Did He care enough to fix my broken mind?
While the answer is a resounding “yes”, there have been moments in my Christian walk where I have wondered about the goodness of God.
Recently, for example:
This past month, I have been experiencing a lot of pain in my neck and back. It drains me of my energy, zaps my ability to work on projects and makes me downright irritable to those I love most. As a result, I have walked in guilt, thus making me more horrible to be around.
With no relief in sight, I have wondered about God’s care for me.
Questions like: “If God is so good, why hasn’t He taken away the pain” and “why are my struggles still here?” inundated me with uncertainty. Maybe Jesus had those same questions when He hung on the cross, bloodied and fractured.
When spending time with Jesus yesterday, something was made very clear:
He is making purpose of the pain. Through it, He is calling me deeper into His embrace.
When I am knocked out on my bed, trying to breathe I call to my Jesus. I have no one but Him. He ALWAYS meets me, fills me with peace and wraps me in a giant hug. Because of His presence, I am starting to deeply, intimately understand and care about the grievances of those who live with pain chronically.
Through the Savior’s embrace, I find great compassion and am compelled to help those who suffer.
Case and point:
Jesus cares about your hardships. Despise the pain you may be feeling, He is SOOO good. He is going to turn that pain into a beautiful story of redemption for others. They are going to see His goodness through His healing power in Your life.
If you’re suffering from pain, emotionally or physically, and you haven’t been healed be persistent. Believe for God’s healing, wait on Him, ask for His perspective about what’s happening.
Praise Him for the things He has done in your life. Ask for new things and trust He is listening!
Rest in knowing you can give your requests to God. He is just and faithful to answer you. Even if you don’t receive healing right away, accept that He is doing something good.
His way is going to be way better than anything you could have ever imagined, even if the pain remains for a season. Embrace the Healer, lean deeply into His strong arms and release the pain you’ve been holding.
He is more than happy to shoulder it for you, His Beloved Child.
I don’t like games.
I should rephrase this to be a little more accurate.
The real trouble is this: I really, really, REALLY hate losing.
When I was a little girl, I would experience tonnes of inner turmoil and trepidation if I didn’t do something right, if I didn’t come out on top, if I wasn’t the best at something.
I think this “perfectionistic complex” really flared up when, as a pre-teen, I moved in with my grandparents. As I was uprooted from my parents, many well-meaning adults told me how fortunate I was to be taken in by other members of the family and that I should be grateful. In the meantime, my tender heart was pierced and bleeding, throbbing and wishing for nothing more than to grieve the loss of both my parents.
…you should be grateful…
Amidst the confusion that came along with a family splintered into dozens of unreachable pieces, my heart was never given the chance to grieve. I felt like there wasn’t time for me, instead, I had to shoulder the pain and move on for the sake of others. In other words, I had to act like I had it together so others wouldn’t be burdened by me.
As a disclaimer, I don’t say all of this for the sake of a pity party, I say if for a point that will be helpful to you. So please, stick with me.
In all honesty, I never felt like a part of my family. Instead, I always felt like a separate entity. In desperation, my heart told me: if you do something to tick them off, you’re out. Remember that and you’ll be just fine.
…if you do something to tick them off, you’re out…
As time when on, the anxiety worsened and crept up in sports, music and dance. I dropped many activities because I was terrified to fail and let others down. Fear crippled me. I wound up in the hospital, while I was in the downward spiralling, addictive process of trying to “perfect” my body.
As the years have rolled on, that fear never really went away. If anything, it worsened and manifested in different ways. My feelings about my outward appearance, the way I conducted myself with others and the occupation I was working towards became quick and easy targets.
This desire to get everything perfect in relationships, career and school drove me away from any kind of risk, even calculated ones.
Just yesterday, I was listening to a message by Kris Vallotton. Kris was talking about an interaction he had with a follower of his, we’ll call him John. The young man was immersed in sexual sin and having a tough time accepting God’s love because of these struggles.
The whole situation resonated well with me.
See, that fear, although it has lessened in the past couple years, still permeates little pieces of my story. There are days when I don’t feel like approaching God because I don’t feel like I’m going to get my words perfect. There are some days when I don’t feel worthy to come to God because I don’t have it together. In short, I understand the young man’s struggle.
There are some days when I don’t feel worthy…
Ultimately, Kris’s response to the young man was really what hit home. Kris did not start writing a checklist of all the things his follower should do. Instead, he moved as the Holy Spirit led and took John in his arms. They sat like that, Kris, like a good father, with his arms draped over his “son”. At the end of fifteen minutes, the young man dropped to the ground and started bawling. He told Kris he had never experienced love like that, the love of a father.
As time went on, that love was what helped heal John’s heart completely. Once he realized how loved he was by Father God, the things he did that didn’t honour God melted away, like dross exposed to purifying flame.
Perfect love casts out all fear!
Through a lot of trial and error, I have come to find that the only remedy for the perfectionistic tendencies is love, perfect love, unconditional love straight from my Heavenly Father’s heart. When I am not feeling good enough or when I am afraid to try something new because I might fail, I stop, wait and listen to the sound of my Father’s words: “there is nothing that will separate you from me. You are perfect, loved forever. I died for you. I live for you. Katie, you’re perfect and so pleasing to me. You are perfect. You are perfect. You are perfect.”
…the only remedy for perfectionistic tendencies is love, perfect love, unconditional love…
When the words aren’t enough, sometimes I will ask Him to show me how much He loves me. Yesterday, in my exhaustion, He sent a father figure to tell me how proud He is of me. He also sent my favourite little red and black insect, a ladybug to land on my writing notebook. Yeah, I was crying a lot yesterday.
As you go about your day, I pray those same truths over you. Know that you are loved despite your many imperfections and beyond your wildest dreams. Know that you can call on the Father at any time and He will show you His passion for you, trust me <3
“Cast all your cares on the Lord, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
With much love,
This morning, I was, as usual, struggling with the many flaws I found with my body. Tired, peeved and incredibly irritated by the constant barrage of self-doubt I stood from my desk and walked to my window. Petrified by the weedy state of my garden I closed my eyes, longing to escape thoughts of judgment and the endless list of “to-do’s”.
“Lord, what is beauty to you?”
Almost as soon as I had asked the question, His warmth invaded the space as He entered the doorway. He walked across the room and stood behind me, put His large hand on my shoulder and stood with me. We stayed in silence for a few moments before He spoke. His voice, deep and soothing. My nerves started to slowly relax and wind down.
“What do you think of the rose Katie?”
“Roses are beautiful Yeshua… but, I mean. No offense but…” I opened my eyes to the nasty condition of the garden that lay just beyond.
“I’m kind of sick of the rose metaphor. How can I apply that to daily life? I’m obviously not a rose, I’m human. I mean, I could wear a costume around all the time and spritz myself with that flowery stuff from Bath and Body but I don’t think that would work. And yeah, people judge other people based on what they look like. All I’ve wanted, for the longest time, is to be liked and accepted by people. Is that too much to ask?”
He paused, waiting for me to be ready to listen. “Everything uniquely, Katie bug.”
The radiance of His smile exploded against the walls. His hand stayed on my shoulder, grounding me.
“Yeshua, what does that even mean?”
“Trust me, just close your eyes my girl.”
I squeezed them closed.As I fought the temptation to drown my sorrows on Facebook a new garden came into sight. Planted in that garden, in the richest soil I had ever seen was a rose, vibrant red, stunning and blooming. Its fragrance filled the air. To the right of the rose was a raspberry bush, green and lush with ripe fruit hanging from its twiggy branches. To the left of the bush was a daisy, bright and yellow as the sun. Up the flower bed just a little further was an orchid, purple, vivacious and striking. Further into the grass and away from the bed were bleedings hearts, pink and red marble drops dripping from their green conical homes. Evergreen trees, stood tall above us on all sides. The forever protectors of all those who lived underneath their sturdy shadow.
“Yeshua, it’s beautiful here.”
“Yes, everything is beautiful uniquely.”
“I suppose, but don’t you mean “uniquely beautiful?”’
He grinned and donned a look of excitement that I knew so well. He swept his hand across the flower bed.
“Each flower is beautiful in its unique state, you see. When I see the beauty of a person, I see the unique attributes I have placed in them. Their strengths, their weaknesses, their personalities. I see all of it and I love all of it. I want, so badly, to show my people how to accept themselves as I have made them. I want them to then come to me and learn to cultivate that beautiful uniqueness I have planted in them.”
The joy in his eyes was now misted by tears, “Katie-bug, all you need to do is ask me what I see when I look at you. You would be overwhelmed.”
I nodded as my own eyes welled with tears.
He took my hand and stared at the sky. “Just look up!”
I lifted my gaze. A slit in the blue had opened and widened as we watched. Just as a long-anticipated grand opening, the veil quickly slide open to reveal majesty. There, waiting on the velvet canvas were billions upon billions of stars, the moon the sun in all its splendor. Galaxies woven into colourful tapestries of royal purple, gold and black danced. Stars sang. Colorful meteorites twisted and turned before exploding into fireworks of carnelian, jasper and ruby. Chills ran down my spine. My knees grew weak. I grabbed onto his arm and looked up at Him.
When Yeshua’s hazel eyes looked at me, they were filled with light, joy, peace. Heat poured through my heart and into my stomach. My knees started to collapse. The strength of His arm was the only thing keeping me from falling.
“My girl! Katie! Everything I have placed in you is infinitely more beautiful than what you are seeing right now. Infinitely!” He winked at me and lifted me by my elbows. As He did, strength returned to my shaking legs.
“Now, to answer your question with more than a rose. every person is unique. Each carries a certain type of beauty that the person next to them does not carry. I don’t look at aesthetics. I am much deeper than the world. I think in a way that people haven’t tapped into in regular practice. When you spend time with Me, the One who created you, uniquely you, you learn more about the beauty you hold. My girl.”
The veil remains open as He gently plucked a rose from the dirt and handed it to me.
“You wouldn’t hurt this rose, would you?”
“No! Of course not.”
He released my hand and lay the flower in it. “You need to stop hurting yourself with the words you speak and believe about yourself. When I look at you Katie, I do not see ugly. I see nothing lacking. I see perfection. In every child of mine, I see it. They are beautifully unique to me Katie. Show everyone how valued they are Katie. Show them what I see in them. Call out the truth in those who have been deceived by the enemy. I want them to hear this truth so badly.”
I nodded my head and tucked the rose close to my heart. He stepped closer to me and tenderly wiped my tears with his thumbs.
“I will keep fighting for you, my girl. I will never give up, even when you don’t see things as they are. I love you more than you could ever imagine.”
“And I love you Yeshua, so so much.”
We stood there together for some time before I opened my eyes. The warmth remained. The galaxies and fireworks stayed etched in the darkest corners of my mind. When the dark thoughts try to invade I will show them back and speak the truth, “I am beautifully unique. Loved by the Creator of the Universe. Lies hold no power over me because I, just as the rose, am forever protected in the shadow of my Savior.”
Now when the dark thoughts try to invade I will shove them back, break patterns that have controlled my mind for decades, and speak the powerful truth I now hold dear to my heart.
“I am beautifully unique. Loved by the Creator of the Universe. Lies hold no power over me because I, just as the rose, am forever protected in the shadow of my Savior.”
My friends and I haven’t experienced the light of day in one hundred hours, thirty minutes, fifteen seconds. I stand outside the old church we have taken refuge in, glance at my watch then back out at the ruins. Chunks of broken pavement enshrouded in night lay before me. Only four, flickering light posts, spread quite far from one another, dimly brighten sections of that pavement. Just as the sun has abandoned us, the moon is not out either.
I glance ahead. Small, hairy figures move into a lightened section then sink back into the shadows slowly. A dank smell, wet and moldy with a tinge of flesh follows them. They are hyenas. I know that much. Are they hungry even after feasting on the dead lying in the streets? Perhaps. But I need to get across the lot to get some nourishment of my own, water. The beasts don’t seem to be aware of my presence. I am willing to take the risk.
I take a step off the grass and onto the broken tarmac. A hyena standing in flickering light turns to me stares then lets out a loud, low, ominous warble. A grow sounds to my right then my left. Jolts of fear smash through my spine as I turn to run inside the church. The smell gets worse. Much worse. I reach for the door and slam it behind me. Turn the lock on the knob.
It won’t lock. Why won’t it lock? With high pitched, unearthly noises, the hyenas smash themselves against the wood, howling and pawing to get in. One sticks his paw through an open slot between frame and door. I scream and pull the door closer to me, slamming its foot inside. Blood stains the frame. The beast yelps in pain and hobbles away. Hopefully, my two friends sleeping upstairs will hear everything and lock themselves away safely, just like I encouraged them to do earlier. The onslaught of snarling faces, pounding and howling continues then gradually fades into the gentle sound of my crying. Finally, they had given up.
I slide down the door, my hand firmly grasping its handle. Sobs rack my body. I need to pull it together. How stupid of me to go out there! But we need water. It’s been almost three days without. I stay there, holding my arms tightly on the knob. I need to move upstairs, to be in a safe space but I can’t move my legs. I am exhausted.
A large shadow slinking across the yard catches my eye. I push myself to my feet and stare out the bulletproof window on the white door. I hold in a scream as a large face appears. Its green eyes study me. Black and orange stripes etch its face. I tighten my grip on the handle. It growls, then roars. Teeth bared. A tiger.
It turns and swings itself at the door with its body. Crack. The animal broke the wood with its sheer weight. There was no way I could hold it back. I release the handle, push myself up and run towards the dark hallway on my right. It bellows and takes off after me.
My foot snags. I fall and claw myself to standing.
“God! Help me!” The tiger’s eyes flash. An explosion of light. A loud, horrific moan. The tiger lays on the floor a hundred feet in front of me. Its arms and legs splayed; its eyes frozen in perpetual horror. I grip the wall and watch as a giant creature walks over the body of the tiger. A lion. My body stiffens. He stares at me for a moment with honey coloured eyes. His profound thought leaked through his golden eyes.
“My Child, ask, and you will receive.”
As we hold each other’s gaze, sunlight inches across my pale skin. A burst of light explodes through the back wall. A surge of power blasts through the right then the left. The building was imploding and I was in the middle of it. I throw my hands over my head and scream. The lion starts to roar. Deep, loud, terrifying. Glass shatters. Stone rumbles around me. The building crumbles. I wait until the sounds have died and look up shakily. I am not hurt. There is no lion. Only sun and warmth. I see my friends waving to me in the distance. I feel peace. Only peace. Something I hadn’t felt in a very long time.
Fear. It smashes into us in waves. It comes to us in myriads of ways. My fear manifested in the dream I just shared with you. I woke up in a sweat and begged God for peace so I could calm down and fall asleep again. As I lay there in the darkness, waiting, He reminded me of three verses I thought I knew well:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
“The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14
“Cast your cares upon the Lord for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
For those of you who experience fear. Any fear at all… fear about what people think of you, fear for your job security, fear that you won’t make it into University or pass your classes, I ask you to discipline yourself to remember that God is a prayer away. Although our requests may not seem to be answered as immediately as they are in the dream I shared, He always answers. ALWAYS. In the right timing, the best timing that is condusive to our growth towards the Father.
He wants us to flourish and prosper! His heart is for us!
While you wait on Him, continually choose to soak in His word and truths. They are truth, they are light, they are going to let you live life to the fullest.
Above all, remember: He is for you. He has fought and continues to fight for you, even when you aren’t aware of it.
With much love,
Picture this: you’re at a party, sitting on an oversized cushion with some friends. The music is on point; the conversation between your bros flows like water. All is well. You lift your cup to your mouth and look out over the sea of people BOOM. There she is, golden hair glistening in the overhead strobes. That smile of hers brighter than any sun you’ve ever seen. She’s gorgeous. All the guys are looking at her and she’s looking at… you (cue Rihanna and Mr. Calvin Harris). Instant connection. She walks over with her friend and starts a conversation. You can tell you’re not the only one intent, fixated on her every word. She smells like a bed of roses and is the epitome of beauty itself. The two of you look deep into each other’s eyes. Fireworks start exploding in the background.
Magical, right? Corny? Perhaps. I mean, where they heck did the fireworks come from? You’re probably in some dude’s basement…
Please humor me and picture this: the next day you’re staring at the blonde beauty’s number in your phone. Should you call her? She’s beautiful, smart and hilarious. You’ve known her for a couple years before the party but this is the first time she’s noticed you. You’re super attracted to her but should you do something about it? Should you ask her out?
My friends, the situation can be daunting, no matter which side of the gender coin you’re on. I’ve been asked questions about how to start a relationship and would love to share some of my biggest fears when I dove into dating. Although I’m almost 100% certain your situation will be different than the one I have described bear with me. I think this advice is beneficial for anyone, no matter what your situation might be.
- What if they aren’t the one? I don’t believe there is one person for you! I’m not advocating for expedient divorce in the future but I am saying: don’t worry (Matthew 6:8) about missing out on the experience of a lifetime with that one person. I believe there were other men I could have married and things would have still been beautiful. The main point: don’t freak out because you think you’ll miss the chance of a lifetime if you don’t date someone. God works things for the good of those who love Him. He’s in the business of doing that. I promise.
- What if I waste years dating someone I’m not going to marry? Everything boils down to this: your relationship with God is where everything else flows. Intimacy with the Creator is friendship. He will direct you and let you know where you are to go when you are spending time with Him, seeking to know Him and listening to what He already says to you via His word. If you don’t have this intimate relationship with Christ first, PLEASE pursue Him before pursuing a relationship with someone else. When you do, He will lead you in a way that is most beneficial to you and your growth.
- What if I’m not ready for dating? Subconsciously we all know what is good for us and what isn’t. If you do not think you should be dating someone because you struggle with addictions or are having some deep emotional shifts or in a season of your life where you find personal growth exponentially more pertinent than communal growth, then don’t feel bad when you say no. That person will understand. Even if they don’t, they will move on. It’s also important to keep in mind that we over spiritualize things at times. When you start dating someone it’s for marriage, yes but that doesn’t mean you MUST marry the person. Please hear me out: You are getting to know them. It’s not a zillion year long commitment that you’re signing up for. When you say yes to the fancy dinner date you aren’t selling your soul to the devil… totally different processes ;P I wouldn’t know.
That’s all for now, my friends! If there’s anything you would like me to write on please let me know. I am super open to suggestions and would love to take a shot at answering questions that are relevant to those I love and care for.
Cheerio for now!
Before the busyness of the day begins, I sit down. Laying in front of me is my robin-egg creative writing Bible. Beside it, one of my bargain store journals splays across the table. I take a sip of my smoothie and stare mildly. If I’m honest with myself, there’s a part of me that dreads this time of the day.
I fear the failures that will be exposed, I fear the work associated with extracting my imperfections and diagnosing them. My fear is that I won’t add up, once again. For some reason, I dive headlong into the conclusion that there will be a million and ten things wrong with the way I am conducting the intricacies of my life… yet another reason I need to start reading the egg-shell book… condemnation sucks.
Here we go. I crack open the Bible and start reading Proverbs 3… for the Lord corrects those He loves, just as a Father corrects a child in whom he delights…joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding… Okay, so how do I gain wisdom Lord?
Lord? I roll my eyes and move on to the next passage. For wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better than gold…
“Katie. Sit with me.” His voice is but a whisper but it resounds so deeply. Sit with me…
“Lord, I am sitting with you.”
“Katie. Rest. Be with me, not with your to-do list. I am here. Waiting. Come sit with me.” With a sheepish grin on my face, I tuck the Bible away, put down my pen and close my eyes.
“Just sit with me.” His plea is so innocent, almost childlike in longing. The warmth of His smile cascades over my shoulders like sunlight. Warmth, peace. A little girl’s laughter. Sun bathed flowers of all kinds. The Father chuckles. His laughter sounds of rushing waters, tumbling and leaping and crashing in pursuit of the shore. A blanket of warmth and softness tickles my toes. I open my eyes. He rests beside me, one arm around me the other in His lap. Those eyes. I catch my breath. They are deep caverns of living
“Daughter, what do you see?”
I open my eyes. He rests beside me, one arm around me the other in His lap. Those eyes. I catch my breath. They are deep caverns of living colour, awash with sunsets, dancing prairie grass and the greenery of Israel in bloom. He smiles knowingly, fully aware of all my thoughts. God of the Universe pulls me close, leans His chin gently onto my head and starts to sing. Deep, melodious and rich.
“My girl, my girl, perfect you are to me. You are worthy. I long to be with you. I want to hold you. Trust me. Trust me. Trust me. There’s no peace like mine. No striving. You are perfect my girl. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Nothing you could ever do will disappoint me.”
My heart warms, the pains and disappointments of life subside. I am filled with joy, in the presence of my Father. The One who knows me more intimately than any other and there’s nothing more I could ever want. I reside where my soul has forever longed to be. I am home.
If you’ve worked yourself out of the daily practice of time with the Father, don’t feel condemned. He holds no offense against you. My prayer is that you are inspired to once again join your Father in the place of being, the place of rest.
Much love, peace and rest,
Have you ever rolled out of bed in the morning, sprung up, studied your bleary-eyed reflection in the mirror and said to yourself, “you know what? I don’t feel human today; I must not be human.” You’re probably giving me an eye roll and baulking, “yeah! All the time Katie.” Yeah, said no one ever.
Okay, I’m not going to make light of the situation at hand but it’s important to realize what we are agreeing to when we abide solely in our emotions and feelings about something.
We agree to super untrue things all the time. How often do we look in the mirror and think, “holy… I am an ugly piece of work”? Or on the other end of the spectrum, “wow, look at these curves; better make sure I maintain them, otherwise people won’t like me as much as they do now.”
Those are both untruths; albeit on opposite ends. Regardless of which side you digress towards, if what you are saying does not agree with what God says about you and your situation, you are repeating Satan’s lies over yourself. There’s no in between. There’s no middle ground. We are in a war and the king of lies wants to tear you apart, it’s a battle strategy and it works, if we let it.
Use God’s Word as it is, a weapon of destruction, a sword of truth. Choose to stand firm in what it says. Listen to what He says about you, not what the world wants you to believe about your identity.
The verse I meditate on regularly has brought me more freedom than I ever thought possible and I am honoured to share it with you, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:14
Repeat it, ask God for help to believe it, soak in it, be changed by it then use it to bring hope to a dying world. This is basic stuff but it’s foundational to a life of peace, joy and power; all the things I desperately wish for you to experience, the things that will help you live life like you never thought possible.
With much love,
When I wake up in the morning, bleary-eyed and weak, You sigh. It’s not a gesture of impatience or frustration. You don’t see me as an inconvenience. To You, I am a delight. I am to be marveled at. I am to be cherished. Little do I know that You watched over me as I slept and because of You no harm befell me. My lungs still pump air in and out. In and out, without me noticing. Just another example of Your grace.
As I stand in front of my fridge, frumpy and placid as can be. Crazy, puffy mane all over the place You grin. You love that You made me to make all kinds of expressions. In the cute category, this one ranks close to the top. I swear I hear You laugh as I pop a spoon into the peanut butter and shovel the paste into my mouth, too lazy to put it on my toast.
I sit down at my computer, half awake, half zombie. You stand behind me. Your proud smile bursts beams of light through my mind. Your joy illuminates my thoughts and brings me the passion to do what I do best. You place Your hand on my shoulder and my stomach ignites with flames. You use the words I write to burn out the impurities and dross floating around in my mind.
You lead us, You love us. You will never forsake us.
Friends, my prayer is that you see and feel God this way. Know that He smiles at you, laughs at your jokes, wants you to run to Him when you hurt. Know that He is watching out for you and that that is the most important thing for you to know.
He and I sit alone together, staring out at the expanse of the ocean. Spinning cosmos and sprinkles of stars dance in the far distance. Eager waves toss and crash into the rocky crags beyond. It’s a beautiful sight but the mood in our meeting is different this time. Solemn. Sad. He looks at me, his eyes wrought with grief.
“Katie, they will one day know who True Love is.” I nod solemnly and look out to dolphins jumping. Their synchronized dance pulls at my heart. It’s all so perfect and yet people did not see my Father’s creative hand in it. Anger started to stir in my gut.
“Father, You made everything so perfect, yet they don’t see it. They say You are hateful and unjust. A giant bigot with overbearing rules.” A picture of Jesus, beaten, dripping with blood and struggling for breath flashes through my mind. We both stop. Breathe. The anger dissolves as He tenderly takes my hand. I remember sin and death and impending doom were beaten the day the Son of God was killed for mankind.
He smiles. “It is finished.”
Yes, the evil one’s plans were abolished on the day the Son of God was killed for mankind but still…
“Father, how can You still love people who mock You and spit in Your face? You’re so perfect and Holy and they don’t see it. You only want the best for them and yet they abhor You. It’s not right! It hurts me so much.”
He pulls me close, into the warmth of his shoulder. “That is the definition of true love Katie. It is unconditional. It doesn’t change based on what they do and don’t do. I will always love them.”
I stare out at the ocean and snuggle deeper in His embrace. I want to understand True Love and feel it. I want to be that kind of love for people, just like my Best Comfort and Provider is for me. I want to be an image of my Father.
God, would You please help me love those who mock You and berate Your name. Father, would You show them Your unconditional love for them and pull them close to You, just like You do for me.
I love You because You loved me first <3
It was tough rolling out of bed this morning. My skull throbbed as though someone had whacked my face with a baseball bat. My stomach spun and flailed, tossed like Poseidon’s ocean, assailed by ravenous wind gusts and splashing mists of sickening nausea.
In short, I felt like crap.
After peeling myself off my floor, I slowly made my way into the kitchen, gingerly forced fruit down my throat, popped a pill and shuffled back into bed, deflated, defeated and feeling much older than my twenty-five years. I don’t know about you, but being sick for a long period sucks. Fear that the pain will never leave is more agonizing than the symptoms.
In many cases, my weakness has come as a full-blown blessing. In my times of greatest pain, fear and loneliness, I have come to know God’s character in greater depths. This is because I have had to cry out to Him like never before. I have had to lean my full trust on Him because there is nothing the doctors can do. There is nothing I can do except, snuggle into Him and weep.
It’s a level of intimacy I don’t experience with Him unless I am weak and needy. It’s kind of funny, and quite horrible, that I have to be struck down by sickness before I take a moment to spend serious one- on-one time with my Father, the most faithful, kind, gentle Being in the cosmos. Ya’know, the Creator of the Universe. I can’t help but laugh at myself sometimes.
If you are in chronic pain I want you to know that hope is not lost. God has not forgotten you. When you feel weak, take time to lay in His strong arms. Ask Him to cover you with His peace. Ask Him to show you deep truths about Himself. Ask Him to heal you in the way only He can. He will do it, in His timing. Remember, He has plans to “prosper” you; He wants to give you a “hope and a future” because He loves you more than you could ever imagine (Jeremiah 29:11). Although it may not feel like this is the case, don’t let your feelings dictate reality.
Do you read me? God loves you and wants the best for you, even when it doesn’t feel like it!
For now, embrace the peace of Christ in the chaos. Amid the pain, allow yourself to sink deeper into the blue. He is waiting there to take hold of you and bring you a life of deeper purpose and meaning.
Every one of us has a special skill, gift or talent. Mine is the propensity for joy with a slight edge of blackened comedy. I can walk into a room and within a couple minutes have at least one person laughing, even if that person is me 😝 When you’re an only child you make due with what you have… often it was me and my Barbie dolls make three… so. I don’t think my brain fully formed. The moral of the story is: have more than one kid. The end.
When God gave us talents, be it the ability to organize, lead or offer quiet, solid advice, He didn’t do so arbitrarily. He crafted us with intention and purpose. Yes, there is a purpose to everything God has made and, we are the by-product of that purpose.
The gifts He placed in us are meant to reflect who He is. When we use those gifts to bring glory to ourselves it pulls us down, depresses us and leaves us begging for recognition. When I thought my pretty face could make myself feel better about a bad day, it actually warped my emotional situation into something much worse. I started to run to the mirror whenever I needed affirmation.
Yeah…on days when I thought I looked like crap, everything kind of went downhill.
But when I started to ask God to make my gifts shine for His glory and not mine, things started to change, drastically. As soon as I started listening to His voice, and not use tasks to prove my worth, the anxiety I suffered from, lifted.
I realize this was the case because I had decided to pull myself off the stage and allow the King to take His place. When I did that, I started to not care about what people thought of me. I realized that any good bad or ugly conclusion they came to could fall on the shoulders of Christ. He would shoulder the burden for my imperfections.
He was the One on the stage, not me.
My prayer is that you allow Him to use the incredible gifts you have been given for His glory and allow Him to shoulder your many imperfections. He will do it with more love than you can ever imagine.
With blessings and much love,
When I scramble and stress, trying to be the best it freaking drains me. When I chose to not pause and see what You see in me, it paralyzes me. When I stayed worried about the scary drive ahead, I wasn’t trusting that You, Father, would protect me. Instead, I buried myself in endless streams of newsfeeds and Youtube videos. It never works.
Despite my foolish choices, You stand beside me with Your strong hand on my shoulder and You said, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
The moment You showed me my passion but I took the route that made money instead I did so because I didn’t think you would provide for me. You didn’t reprimand me. Instead, You led me to my office window, twisted open the curtains and gently lifted my chin to look at one of the chubby robins. “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
When I allowed hopelessness in my situation to consume me, it’s because I didn’t believe You would ever get me out of my mess. You looked me in the eye with that wild yet gentle gaze of Yours, Your strong hand on your sword. “The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.”
When I was super worried about putting on a bathing suit because of what people would think, I wasn’t remembering that were the One Who made me and You do all things perfectly. You pulled me into your lap, held me tenderly and stroked my hair. You reminded me of the fact that You made me perfectly. I recited what you have said to me thousands upon thousands of times. “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” You always smile so wide when I say those words. It always makes me grin and laugh too.
After giving You my fears and worries I sit in Your cloud of great peace, remembering the truths You have spoken over me, over us. Father, today I choose to give the things that cause anxiety and give them to You. Today, and tomorrow and the next for the rest of my life I will speak truth to the situation and not let my feelings get in the way of Who You are.
I love you into eternity Dad.
Models on runways, pop idols tearing up stages, CEO’s raking in million after million, Instagramers with truckloads of followers… fame, fortune and followers. Ah, what a life. I used to want what they have. Then I took a closer look and realized something.
This world has way too many superstars.
Please don’t get me wrong, I respect hard work and dedication. A Spirit of Excellence is a wonderful thing but, as we see in tabloids all the time, it can turn sour if it’s being used to bring glory to the person honing it.
If you’re anything like me and you catch yourself feeling like you haven’t accomplished much because you don’t have fame, riches and followers, I urge you to stop and reevaluate. Consider this: which people have had the biggest impact on your growth as a person?
Maybe some popstars came to mind for you. None did for me.
Instead, I thought about the teachers who cared for me, took me for coffee, bought me books on writing and submitted my work to competitions. I thought about my mother, who has done so many things for me I don’t even know where to start and my grandparents. I think of the girl at the insurance office who told me I was pretty when I felt uglier than a bald cat or the writing mentor who didn’t give up on me. I think about the friends who listened to me and let me ugly cry into their beautiful clothes.
I’m telling you…
The people who leave a mark for eternity are the ones who journey beside us, down the messy path and through hardships. They are not the gods on their plinths, smiling down on their pathetic subjects. They are like Jesus, walking along the dirty roads, gathering dust in between their toes and holding close the untouchables. They are the people who are surrendered to God’s Spirit and sent out to love people unconditionally, not be their idols.
It’s not a popular idea.
Yes, fame and flashy things are what the world values. But the King who created this earth, He thinks about things much differently. He might call you to lead a large ministry or do something that gains global recognition but the point is this: the world doesn’t need more superstars. That is people who work solely for their value and the approval of others. So, please don’t strive for that. It is a path that will leave you so empty.
What the world REALLY needs are people willing to lay down their lives for whatever God has planned. The world needs life. And ironically, life comes from death to self.
It is when we lay down our selfish desires and embrace a relationship with God that we can truly life and bring joy, peace, freedom and life to all those around us.
When you question how valuable it is to die to self and live a life for God, remember this. One day, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that there is a God. We don’t have time to care if millions of people like us and follow what we do. Time is short and we have the greatest gift in the Universe.
Ourselves, sacrificed to God’s purposes, the best of purposes.
Let’s share it.
He had been dead for three days. His grave was just as any resting place for the dead should be. It was stone-cold, echoing of nothing and yielding only silence. Dark, grey, black. No shadows. No light. A body lay on a large stone, cut from the cave. Lumps of herbs protruded from beneath the white linens that delicately hugged the body. The ripe scent of frankincense and tears left by weeping women lingered gently. A faint whiff of cauterized blood lay close to the sheets. Hope had been lost when he cried from the cross then exhaled his last whiff of life. As the air left his lungs the world he had come to save was lost. At least hell though it was so. But hell knew nothing of the supernatural power that would silence pain and death forever. If it had, no scoffing would have been made at his sacrifice, the sacrifice that tore down hell’s fiery gates and tossed them to the wayside like a pile of inflamed garbage.
The man had gone below the earth to claim what was his. He had overtaken death and snatched the keys from the horned overlords. He stared demons confidently in the eyes as theirs, glazed with evil, glared back into his. Glare they might but there was no confidence beyond the posture. The power had been taken from them. The moment this dead man tossed the gates aside like they weighed nothing, they had known it. Many howled in anguish as Yeshua rose, leading hundreds upon hundreds of people in tow. Many continued to jeer and mock, just as the soldiers beneath his cross had. Their end would not be pleasant and it was coming soon, so soon.
A slight tremor rippled across the stone followed by the subtle rise and fall of the dead man’s breath. A slight twitch of a thumb. Black. All lay still once more. Another ripple, the hand moved. Another and the dead man’s torso lifted. The blood on the linen bandages receded. Dark red, light red, faded red, white, pure white. Another tremor, a rumble sounded and faint cries could be heard just beyond the stone cage. In a matter of minutes, rays of light shot through the stone walls, piercing the minerals and forming galaxies of glitter against the dark rock. White bandages shone. The man stood, blood no longer covered his body. Flesh no longer hung from his bones. The stone guarding the grave had not been rolled away, exposing the walls to sunlight yet everything was awash with a fresh glow. He was the light.
Yeshua lifted his brown eyes to the edge of the grave and began to walk. The holes where nails had pierced through flesh, tendons and ligaments remained. They would speak and pour healing out on all nations.
A deep, gushing warmth filled his belly. He bent his head back and thrust his fist in victory. They had done it. They had won. With a resounding crack, the door split. With a dull roar, it twisted away from him and into the flowered garden beyond. Elohim, the Perfect King, would, once again, have His treasure, His prize, His people. They would know love and life like they never had before.
Yeshua grinned brightly as sunlight filtered in, exposing the way he had come to save, the truth of his unconditional love and the life he had given them. All nations and people would know unthinkable passion, love and truth in a way they never had. He was the hope to all who were lost, broken and in need. He was the only Way to the Father and to life at its fullest. He was the author and finisher of all lives and destinies. A giant smile pulled at the corners of his lips. The people Elohim had made would soon know life to its fullest. The people of the earth would have a personal relationship with the Creator of all. Yeshua took a deep breath of the fragrant air and exhaled slowly. He tilted his head towards the sun, his dark face warmed by the rays of the great star.
And to think, each of their stories was just beginning.
The wisps of white sway with a discrete breeze. “Warmth, power, peace, security.” Every word I speak feels closer to my chest the deeper I walk through these curtains, closer to you. But even as I walk I know that you are closer than the air in my lungs.
You speak to me through the gusts I take in: inhale, “I will never leave you.” And the exhales I gently force out “or forsake you.” You are the breath in my lungs. You are the ancient of Days, the ruach, my breath of life. You, the Creator of light are so close to me now.
I step beyond the line of the curtain and stare out. In that moment, I am more certain than ever that You have never left me. A slight breeze smooths itself across my face. Before my feet is an aquamarine sea. It stretches far beyond what I can see. The white sands surrounding it are dotted with shiny, rounded dots. Pearls. The symbol of purity through hardship. You tell me that you are proud of me and that I am your pearl. I smile, lean to the right, pluck one from the sand and slowly rub it in between my fingers.
“Daughter.” Your voice comes as a breeze off the light waters, causing them to arch, tremble and crash. Sweet spray dusts my face. I smile.
“Abba. You came.” I look up to see the sun but there isn’t one. I forget. My Father is the light. Rays of light wash over my head, my neck, my arms. I am mesmerized by the heat. It starts to spread through my stomach. A deep rumbling starts in the sky above me. It holds the melodious note of laughter, deep joy. A bubbling spring of warmth starts to rise in my belly. My Father is laughing. I can’t help but throw my hands to the sky and join Him. We stay here for an indeterminate amount of time. Time has melted away. It always does this when it’s just Him and me.
“Oh, Katie. I love you so much. So much.” One last rumble peals across the sky and through me. My knees give way beneath me and I begin to weep. The King’s joy has overwhelmed me.
I hear the sound of footfalls on the sand and slowly lift my gaze. White. He wears a long, white robe trim with red, the color of passion and purple, the color of royalty. The King stares at me for a moment before kneeling and placing his large hand on my shoulder. At the warmth of His hand and intentionality of His gaze, the gurgling fountains in my heart burst forth. I begin to laugh again. He stares into the sky and shouts at the top of His lungs.
“My daughter, in whom I am well pleased. I love her! I love her! I gave my life for her! I love her!” It’s all too much. Prolonged exposure to the warmth could incinerate my insides at any moment. But they don’t. I want to stay here, reflecting on His extreme love and passion for me.
So I do just that… and I soak, in His perfect presence.
I urge you to take time with the King today. Allow Him to listen to every word you say and care for your every fear. Let Him show you just how overwhelming His love is.
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
Medium sized disclaimer: I don’t dance around things. I let to tell them straight, raw and real because that’s the human condition. We are all raw and real, even though we don’t always want to admit it. I argue that the fact you were attracted to the title of this post says something of your raw, human condition. That being said, please read the entire article before making judgments. I have received messages from people asking me very abrasive, assumptive inquiries. I did not answer the questions but instead, I asked them if they had read the entire article. In all instances except for one they had not. Anyways, enough of that. Learn and enjoy!
Yesterday evening, my husband and I were sitting at the dinner table eating our chocolate bar dinner when a scintillating topic came to mind. That tantalizing topic being one I have not addressed via blog. It’s the word with hot and heavy connotations: attraction.
Alex started raised an eyebrow and dug his fingers into our chocolate bar, “it’s a weird concept, isn’t it?”
“Being attracted to someone who isn’t your spouse?” I smirked and broke off a chunk. “Yeah, it’s a bit weird.” We both sat pensively for a moment before I broke the silence.
“How do people deal with that kind of thing?”
He popped another huge hunk of chocolate in his mouth and chewed through his answer, “I ask God to help me remember the person I’m married to. I ask Him to remind me of my covenant to you. Then I choose to stop thinking about it.”
I snatched the bar away, “cute…”
His adorable dimples deepened, “how do you deal with it?”
“Ummm… I honestly don’t know. Sometimes I let thoughts roll around in there and don’t get rid of them. It’s something I need to work on.”
Something to work on indeed.
So here I am, sitting at my computer with a glass of Kombucha in my lap and a somewhat enlightened topic on my mind. I have spent time with God sorting some feelings out. Thankfully I have been able to come to a conclusion on the topic. That conclusion is this: it’s all about choice.
God gave us choice when He let us occupy the garden, He gives us choice in marriages, how we handle finances, irritating people and myriads of other things. He lets us pick our spouses and allows our eyes to wander.
If you’re anything like me you will ask questions such as: why can’t things be easy and straightforward? Why does everything have to be SO difficult!?
If we didn’t have choices, we wouldn’t be able to choose and it wouldn’t be true love.
Something we get so wrong in our day and age is that love is nothing but a feeling. This is what the pop songs tell us all the time. When our feelings change, we can jump on the next wagon that sports an attractive fellow or lady.
When we made a covenant with that person we made it for life “till death do us part”.
Have you ever felt attraction to someone you are not in a relationship with? Perhaps you aren’t in a relationship but you feel guilty about entertaining thoughts. I urge you to sit down with God and make it right. He’s not there condemning you but He does want you to live a life that is filled with purpose and honour.
As God’s kids, we are called to higher standards. We are called to keep our eyes fixed on covenants we have made. We are called to choose to love even when we would rather not.
Because that’s just how we do things ;P