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!
Recently, I sat at my window staring out at the birds. It didn’t take long before the neighbours idiot dogs started yapping. I slowly sipped on my poo coloured, chocolate flavoured smoothie, anticipating the glorious quiet my recently purchased dog silencer would bring to the neighbourhood.
After taking in a couple deep breaths I cracked opened Alex’s bible. It had been a while since I read it paperback form and even longer since I had used my own (moving blues).
“God what do you want to talk about today.”
Fear. Katie, today we need to talk about fear.
I was a little surprised at His response, thinking we would be working on something more along the lines of patience…perhaps that one is for tomorrow…
Following His prompt, I picked up my pen and wrote, what do I fear, Father? There was a brief pause followed by a slew of situations where I have felt fear, most of them I have experienced since my teen years. One out of the large list hit me the hardest.
Fear of rejection.
Lord, how the heck do I get rid of this? I flipped to the index on the back of the Bible… fears. The verses that stood out most to me formed a beautiful pattern that I have put into, what I call, “freedom steps”. These “freedom steps” helped me move away from holding on to fear and anxiety. They propelled me towards freedom in Christ.
This is what they look like:
Step 1: hear and believe who God is.
Isaiah 35:4 says – “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come. He will come with vengeance; with divine retribution. He will come to save you.”
God is VERY interested in coming to save you at a time that is most conducive to your well-being and the glorification of His name. In the meantime, He tells us to not fear, no matter how dire the circumstance might look. Trust that He cares and will come for you. Do not fear when people reject you, the Lord will come and bring His perfect justice into the situation. He is a Father who loves and protects. He will avenge you.
In the meantime, He tells us to not fear, no matter how dire the circumstance might look. Trust that He cares and will come for you. Do not fear when people reject you, the Lord will come and bring His perfect justice into the situation. He is a Father who loves and protects. He will avenge you. He will bring people who love you and respect you, you only need to ask Him for this and wait on Him.
Step 2: run to Jesus when life is falling apart.
John 14:27 – “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give it to you as the world gives (that is fleeting and momentary). Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Jesus left us with His incredible peace. Seek Him and the peace He gives freely, not the fleeting pleasures the world has to offer. The happiness and peace that money, fame, relationships and status give are momentary and will come crashing to the ground. Those things may tempt you into thinking they will give you peace but they can’t. They are not enough to fill the God sized holes in our hearts. Relationship and friendships won’t fix our fear of rejection but Jesus will. Run to Him and His truth before anything else as He is the only One who will truly satisfy.
Step 3: have faith, believe He cares about you and act on it!
1 Peter 5:7 – “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
Giving our worry to the Lord is a constant act of faith. We can choose to hold on to our concerns and allow them to manifest in anxiety and other disabling ailments or we can be bold, take a leap of faith and give them to a God who cares for us.
So, to answer the underlying original question: is it possible to be free from fear of rejection?
With God, anything is possible. So, yes. Definitely. It’s up to us whether or not we choose to pursue the One who brings ultimate freedom.
Two days ago, a Christian publisher contacted me about signing my YA novel, The Fisherman’s Daughter, with their company. My heart leaped for joy but, just as quickly, sunk with trepidation. A week prior, I had read bits and pieces of my first novel with hopes of reviving it from the dust. After my brief, incredibly analytical survey, I determined it wasn’t good enough to send out into the world.
Nonetheless, my excitement at the publisher’s interest clouded my judgment for a brief period. During that hour, the publisher and I set up a phone call. After considerable thought, I was prepared to let her know that my book wasn’t good enough and that I didn’t want people reading it.
Much to my delight, and surprise, she told me my work had been chosen for a couple of reasons. Reasons being, it was fresh, good material with convincing characters and twists. She let me know that they wanted to work with me to polish my humble piece of art and make it really shine.
Point being, our feelings aren’t always indicative of reality. Just because I thought the book wasn’t good enough to be published, does not mean it wasn’t. Just because you feel like you will never succeed does not mean it’s true. When your mind tells you that you won’t overcome temptation, disregard the thought. He has not given us more temptation than we can bear. Just because your family seems impossible does not mean God will not give you the grace to overcome the pain of a broken world.
When you find yourself staring at something that intimidates you or makes you feel inadequate, remember: you have been made by the hand of a majesty, powerful, God. That same God wants to see you excel in the gifts He has placed in you. He wants you to be in a relationship with Him, the kind of relationship that brings life, joy and peace to a hurting world. He wants you to thrive and has given you the tools to do so.
Run to Him, lean on Him when you feel weak and inadequate. He’ll never disappoint you when you run after Him with all of your heart.
Lately, God has been teaching me the art of rest. In light of this I have decided to take a bit of weight off my shoulders and only write my blogs on Monday; however, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for a little exception. I think this particular exception is due especially because what I have to say is something SO MANY of us deal with on a regular basis. That is, the slimy yet gripping tentacles known as self-hatred.
For the past several years, the nasty, sniveling turd called self-hatred was my constant demon. The thoughts of self-loathing attached themselves to my ear and whispered filthy lies about my body, mind and spirit.
I tried self-help groups, cute-inspirational sayings, books, boys and friends to unlatch the sharp talons but none of them worked. Some of the people around me told me I was gorgeous yet it didn’t satisfy my need for something greater.
Can I tell you the SUPER simple belief I had to see before I stopped hating myself?
I believed my value came from what other people thought about me.
That’s it. It’s SO SIMPLE but this subtle thought process was what almost ended my life. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb to say it’s a way of thinking that kills so many of us on a daily basis but we don’t stand up to fight it!
Only recently have I started to discover complete victory and freedom in the area of self-hatred. Because God has revealed simple, yet extremely effective, things to me about the topic I would like to share one of those most powerful ways with you today.
The following is a letter paraphrased from multiple verses. It was originally written by Regina Franklin from her book, Who Calls Me Beautiful and expanded on by yours truly. As you read it please allow each line to sink into your heart. Meditate on what is being said. Linger on the words you are reading and ask Christ to help you believe as you hear the truth of your Father…
Before the beginning of time, I knew you. I knew what colour your eyes would be, and I could hear the sound of your laughter. Like a proud father who carries a picture of his daughter, I carried the image of you in My eyes, for you were created in My image. Before the beginning of time, I chose you. I spoke your name into the heavens and I smiled as its melody resounded off the walls of My heart.
You are Mine. My love for you extends farther than the stars in the sky and deeper than any ocean. You are My pearl of great price, the one whom I gave everything for. I cradled you in the palm of My hand. I love you even in the face of your failure. Nothing you say or do can cause Me to stop loving you. I am relentless in My pursuit of you. Run for Me – I will love you, Spurn Me – I will love you. Reject yourself – I will love you. You see, My love for you was slain before the foundations of the world and I have never regretted the sacrifice I made for you at Calvary.
When I see every part of who you are, I marvel at the work of MY hands, for I whispered words of longing and desire and you came into existence. You are beautiful and I take pleasure in you – heart, mind and body. You are My desire. When you turn your head in shame and despite what I have made, still I reach for you with gentle passion. You are My Beloved and I am yours. (Authors adaption from 1 John 3:2; Isaiah 43:1, Matthew 13:46; Ephesians 1:4; Revelation 13:8; Psalm 194:4; Song of Solomon 7:10; 6:3).
That’s the simple, straightforward truth.
“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong…” 1 Corinthians 1:27
In light of what you just read, I dare you to stop telling yourself you need to look like you just stepped out of a Victoria Secret ad, fashion mag or a fashion mogul’s closet. I dare you to start shutting down the lie that you have to please everyone around you in order to obtain worth.
I dare you to start living confident and free in the realization that God sees you. He knows you and you are all He could ever want you to be.
Enamored and Shamelessly Dancing in His great Freedom and Joy,
A friend of mine recently said something that shocked and angered me.
We were discussing child abuse and the effects abuse has on children long after they are grown. He went on to tell me that the abuse happening was not the child’s fault; however, that child, once they were at an adult, resumed responsibility for their pain. They were left with the choice to deal with the after effects of that abuse. They were in-charge of choosing to take the necessary steps towards healing.
What he said didn’t line up with my personal philosophy-of-fairness, at all… but that’s usually, isn’t it? We think we know what is best and choose what we see as the best options given our feelings. I tell you from personal experience, following our ever-changing feelings is like boarding a rickity ship into an onslaught watery disaster… I digress…
The way I saw it, those adults deserved to be beaten, drawn, quartered and slapped with a bill to pay for that child’s healing. Yet, what my friend was saying that the innocent, vulnerable child had to pay for the price of the adult’s sin?
Despite the anger rising like a serious volcano of heartburn I listened carefully and analyzed my thoughts on the subject. Difficult as it was, what he was saying was truth. Although it punctured holes in my millennial mindset it sprung wings of grace and gently resonated with my Spirit.
Ultimately our difficult yet fruitful conversation reminded me of the greatest sacrifice of all. Even though we have all sinned…
…if you think you’re a good person who has not sinned and is not in need of God, please do not be fooled by yourself. Stop and ask yourself: have I lied, cheated, gossiped or thought lustful thoughts about someone else? It’s no surprise to God that you have, that’s why He offered Himself, to make us pure in His sight…
He saw and paid for your imperfection before you even knew of its existence.
Now that’s epic.
Even though we have all screwed up and allowed sin into God’s perfect Word He still came to earth and gave His life for us. It wasn’t His fault that we chose the wrong road but He took responsibility for our actions and died the most excruciating death for our freedom. The thief, Satan, wants to steal, kill and destroy your joy. He wants to dangle tempting ways of escape that often manafest themselves as blame… oh, I’m just an impatient person. My heart was wounded, that’s why I am always angry. I am always scared because my parents abandoned me as a child.
Although I do acknowledge that each of these problems require healing I also acknowledge that they can trap us if we constantly ruminate on them and do not make a move to kill them. We ruminate on the unfairness of our situation day in and day out only to find out that we wasted our lives constantly blaming others and situations. Does that sound like a fulfilling, fruitful life to you?
Do you really believe God when He tells you that you are free? Do you feel oppressed by pain that has haunted you for years? Do you struggle with blaming others for the things you do on a regular basis?
I challenge you to step up to the throne of God, find a quiet space and confess your faults to Jesus. This isn’t easy and is something I find myself doing quite often. As challenging as it can be to admit our problems, it brings so much joy and freedom to our lives.
After you have told the Lord you are sorry for holding on to blame and anger ask Him to fill you with His incredible peace. As Him to hold you and heal you. He will bring SO MUCH freedom to places you doubted would ever feel full.
Come out of hiding, it’s safe where He is. He is the most safe, trustworthy and powerful Being you will ever encounter <3 He is so much bigger than any problems we could ever face and He wants to face them for us… now, that’s Love.
With His Love,
One of the things I admire most about women is our natural ability to nurture. When a friend is in need, we’re there to help. When someone is struggling we have an innate ability to encourage and build them up with our God-given intuition; Women are graceful, beautiful, loving creatures.
God lovingly created Eve to be Adam’s perfect helper. God presented Eve to Adam like a gift and in every way, she complimented his strengths and weaknesses. He was proud of what He had made for His son.
“ And the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man He made (fashioned, formed) into a woman, and He brought her and presented her to the man.”
-Genesis 2:22 (AMP)
If you read the entire passage carefully you’ll notice God didn’t create Eve so she could help Adam tend to the garden. God was looking for a companion. A friend. A partner.
Given our nature, what happens when our “Adam” abandons us or treats us badly? What happens to our gentle, empathetic nature?
Abandonment and mistreatment can come in plenty of ways but some of the ones that come to mind are: being emotionally unavailable, prioritizing work, pornography addiction, infidelity, always putting others needs before yours, controlling or manipulative behavior, drug or alcohol addiction, bullying… the list goes on.
No longer protected, in our vulnerability, we turn into protectors. Our desire to be confident for our “Adam” turns into a ferocity unlike no other.
They say we have the mind of Christ, I believe God gets fierce about His women not being protected. Just like our earthly Fathers, God wants to protect us. He gave us this inner warrior spirit, which is stronger than a man’s by the way (seriously, watch a woman in divorce court as she fights for her children) because it protects us.
I speak from experience because I know how it feels to be abandoned and mistreated; I’m married to an addict. Through my experience with my husband, my inner fighter came out. It’s not the first time I’ve seen her but she’s much stronger than she was the last time she came out swinging her protective fists of fury!
Being married to an addict has been more difficult than I can properly put into words but because of it, I’ve learned how to be both gentle and strong at the same time. This is the true character of God and how He created His daughters to be. He is both merciful and just. Patient but firm. Loving and powerful. And you, sister, have that inside of you too.
We’re taught to believe we were only created to be companions. To perfectly to compliment our husbands (or future husbands) weaknesses. While this is partially true, it’s only a piece of our nature. We were also created in the image of God for another purpose entirely. When we’re abandoned by our, “Adam” we learn that God is the one we were really created for.
God first. Adam second.
“Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.”
-Psalm 146:3 (KJV)
No one will ever love us like God will. He’s the true love of our life. When we love God and make Him the center of our purpose He will give us the “Adam” we need.
For me, I’m still hoping he’ll give me my husband back. The handsome man I fell in love with was my perfect companion and I was his perfect helper. God told me to stand by my husband through a hard season in his life. Whatever happens next, my identity is not found in the success or failures of my husband, it’s found in who God made me to be.
While my husband is still lost, I am found.
I’m thankful God gave me a gentle, nurturing nature. It’s helped me to support my “Adam” in ways I wouldn’t of otherwise. I’m also glad he gave me this spirit of fierceness because that fighting spirit has protected me from significant harm. Our natural tendency to nurture can work hand in hand with our strength.
If you’re a woman, going through anything tough, I encourage you to remember your strength is gentle but by no means is it weak. Many may have been made physically strong but your inner spirit is a powerful force to be reckoned with. You have the Spirit of God inside of you, you’re His daughter. Do you see how incredible you are? What wonderful, amazing gifts He’s given you? You were created in His likeness. He was proud of you when He made you.
So proud, he presented you as a gift.
Leah Grey moved to New York City full of hopeful aspirations until her husband went into long-term treatment for addiction. Unable to afford to stay, she picked up her childhood dreams and moved back to her rural, Canadian beach town with her two young children. From rooftop city skyline views to her parent’s basement, in the darkest time of her life, she created Grey Ministries to support, encourage and empower women with loved ones who struggle with addiction. With a practical faith-based approach she challenges popular beliefs about addiction while teaching women in crisis how to find God’s peace within the storms of life. In March 2016, she launched her website, leahgrey.com and popular peer support community, “Live, Love, Hope” http://facebook.com/groups/livelovehope.
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,
I wrote this five years ago when I was going through some most confusing times I had ever experienced (due to the pain from the lack of a father figure in my life and my mother’s life in the balance).
It’s been amazing to look back at how God has come through in all the ways He promised He would. As you read it, remember, there is a God who is SO much larger than any trouble in your life. He wants you to talk to Him. He longs for you set time aside and get to know Him for who He is, a Protector, Comforter and Provider. This is as true today as it was five years ago and will continue to be into eternity…
Imagine the cries being emulsified by a God stronger than those who terrify
Imagine turning to Him with all your fears,
When the seas give way
And the mountain range is left burnt, blackened, and bare
As all you cling to are those with which you watch mighty occurrences happen
You are all in terror
Who will save us?
Who can save us?
Has the disease gripped your mind in a vise so constrict you wonder,
“Will it ever again be mine?”
Cry out to Jesus
Cry out to Him
He who saves from terrifying winds!
From the hurricane that feels to have taken your mind by storm
The resounding words from others you can’t seem to escape
They are running throughout and crashing upon against your feeble mind
Is this my prepared fate? No, absolutely not
It does not have to be…
Feel free to hand over any rights get on your knees, bow grief to His might
It is not, “Maybe He will take up your case.
Your convolution of sins may cost a high wage….”
Well they did
But that price has been paid
He will take up your case
He will fight by your side
He is your deliverer
He will set you free
He has set you free; He is your best friend and will always be
Once you give it to Him He will work to set you free
Rest in Him, Trust in Him
Where is the validity of the claims I make; how could such a God be?
Take into consideration a label I’ve made available for all to see:
This has been a thoughtful note written and addressed to past me.
My name is Ian, I was born and raised in Maine where I was able develop a deep love for adventure. I have spent the better part of the last decade traveling and working with faith based charity organizations during which time I crossed paths with Katie. Currently I need to focus on healing and exploring possibilities for the future, Lord willing my plans to travel later in the year will be realized and perhaps the trip will even go smoothly… this is a small part of my story.
When I was 17 I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to go into the military and pursue a career in the special forces.
I knew several former special forces operators and I could already meet most; if not all, the requirements for the physical tests but it wasn’t good enough for me. The only thing that was standing in my way was myself and thanks to Hollywood I still felt like I didn’t fit the part, or more importantly I didn’t look the part. In the movies the guys are big, strong, have defined muscles, and great six packs.
I decided that the only thing that was keeping me back from looking the way I wanted was my diet. At first I cut my food intake in half and focused on vitamin rich foods while I increased my workouts; I quickly dropped some weight. I thought if I could drop that weight by simply cutting out that much and working out a little extra then I should see what else I could do.
Before long each day I was eating no more than a few handfuls of food each day and working out for 4-6 hours. I was fueled by my desire for perfection. I didn’t just want to pass the test or even get best score possible, I wanted to pass with ease. Except somewhere along the way my desire to better myself was tainted, it transformed into a growing hatred for my physical appearance. I hid this hatred from everyone around me, I acted happy and outgoing but inside I was full of disgust for myself. I know now that these were all lies but I couldn’t see past them. They seemed like truth and the only reason those around me didn’t say them was that they were too nice.
I continued to live my life and feed into those lies, continuing on that road to self destruction for the better part of three years, hating and destroying myself until one day; with a plethora of health issues, I saw a doctor. He told me flat out that if I continued like this my heart was going to give out on me and I would be dead before I turned 25. That wake up call saved my life, but it was a long road ahead. I tried to start eating again but I just couldn’t, not for a long time.
By the end of my downward spiral of over exercise and anorexia I could barely get my body to eat a protein bar. After a mouthful I would grow exhausted from chewing and overwhelmed by a feeling of nausea and a desire to throw up. My body had become so accustomed to my handful of food and vitamins a day that it rejected anything additional. I spent months working with a doctor retraining my body to eat and process food again, the desire to actually eat anything was another issue entirely.
It’s been over 10 years and to this day I still battle with it.
The food wasn’t and still isn’t what I needed to overcome, it was the lack of love and acceptance for who am and how I look. Looking back I can see how much of my anorexia stemmed out of lack of love for myself and for a sense of control in my life that had changed so drastically in only a few years. (I had lost my father, lost my childhood home, and transferred to a new school.) My sense of self was cracking and through those cracks seeped in the lies of the world hidden in self doubt and confusion of who I was and what I was to do with my life.
To this day, I still hear those lies lurking in the dark recesses of my mind and at times of weakness they manifest, I can never let them last. But I must be ever mindful of them as I try to eat healthy and workout even to this day. Those few years were long and painful and I have lasting damage to my body because of it. I give thanks each and every day because I am still alive. I thank God for His healing and I look forward to the day when it is complete be it in this life or the next.
Fame is an attractive concept to many people. Once upon a time, I was not one to be exempt from this statistic. Because of my fascination, I did some interesting things…
Indeed, the thought of being pampered and fitted by Gucci himself, strutting on to the red carpet bejeweled in sparkling diamonds and blowing delicate kisses to my thousands of admirers piqued my interest to the point of avid frustration. Why couldn’t I be that? If I could be that then my life would be completely different. It would, in fact, be… complete! Or, so I thought.
I would watch The Voice and see fans cheering for their favorite coaches while thinking, “what if it was me that they were cheering for?” That would be so amazing! God, why was I not born with more characteristics that would make me attractive to the entertainment industry? Why can’t I sing like Ariana Grande?
I’m one of those people who, after finding something about herself that she doesn’t like, will work very hard to treat the ailment. This is exactly what I tried to do. I applied to be a model, worked extra hard at my image on Facebook, started writing more and researching more about writing, modelling, acting and singing. I figured that the more I was good at, the more I was recognized, the more desirable I would be and thus the happier I would be.
Did it work? Haha, does any vain, selfish, irrational thing work out for the sower’s benefit? Nope.
Not in the long run anyway…
If anything, diving into the deep end of my insatiable desires left me feeling dry and very empty. What I was doing made me miserable. Go fig.
I was ignoring the gentle voice of God and His unique calling for my life.
This morning, as I spent time with Him, we chatting about the concept of fame…The more I asked, the more He answered. He made it clear to me that fame was not what I needed. I needed value from someone. To be more specific, I needed to know I was valued by Him. Once He made this clear to me I asked Him for a HUGE favor: “Lord, would you please show me my value to You? This is the only way I will be satisfied.”
He quickly obliged.
As He touched my heart and made the much desired change, I started to realize that I was not made to be known and worshiped. I was not designed to be the one that people envy, dream about being or idolize. I started to realize that this was exactly what I DIDN’T WANT. There was WAY to much pressure attached and far to many responsibilities but even more than that, it wasn’t how the Creator of the world designed me to function.
Any worship is meant to go straight to Him, not to us, fragile beings bound for the dust from whence we came. If we worship a person we are praising an idol made of flesh and bones and guaranteed, that idol will let us down.
I’m not saying it’s not okay to admire someone for what good they do in the world, I think it’s great that we have people we can look up to; however, I caution those who look to celebrities to dictate what their lives will look like. I caution my readers against looking to people and modelling their actions in order to receive value from those around them. I also caution my readers to not look at the other side of the fence and think that fame, or even being well known and accepted by their community is what will solve their troubles.
It will not heal the deeper wound beneath, a strong desire for acceptance and value.
As a disclaimer, a lot celebrities are trying to figure their own lives out, much less have all the answers to yours… please keep that in mind before running to the tempting news feed at the side of your Facebook wall, the next “Be Fit” or “Cosmopolitan” magazine. The authors are usually trying to remedy a symptom and money while doing it. They will not be fixing a huge problem in your life. Guaranteed.
Instead of running to chocolate, fashion mags or friends who care but don’t have all the answers…run to Jesus <3
I pray and trust that you will find contentment wherever you are in your life and with whatever goals you hold. Remember to lift everything, all your dreams and goals, towards the Creator of all, the One who has designed you and who has incredible things for you.