Even the trash man needs some lovin’

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Because it’s raining and you really do appreciate him a whole bunch.

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Because, what if.

What if, out of allllll those trash cans– *YOU* are the only one who shows him love today.

It’s trash day somewhere. Love simple.

Because love never feels simple to the one receiving it.

Oh, and… quarters work best for rainy days :-)

Happy day!

Kati

Why the only fight worth fighting is the fight for love: A daughters story of her fighting dad.

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As I type- someone I love fights to breathe.

Gone are the days of important phone calls, junk mail to read.

The phone calls missed, the birthdays forgotten.

All matter not.

This is the truth of life friends.

We will all fight. We will fight over dirty laundry, dishes, and kids who have places to go.

We will fight with neighbors over property lines, cooks over food served cold. The phone company over high bills and insurance companies over unpaid promises.

But when the time comes to fight for life: those moments will not matter.

What will matter is, did you love.

Did you love when it was hard. When it wasn’t deserved? Did you love after years of absence and neglect?

Were you Jesus to someone?

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My dad left. He was fighting hard for custody of me and didn’t win. And when he lost, he left. And I never saw him again.

It wasn’t until a dozen years later that he called out of the blue to meet.

We’ve seen each other every year – once or twice, sometimes more for the past several years.

And the reason of absence doesn’t matter- the loss for words. The birthdays forgotten and the books never read.

What matters is now. What matters are the years after the dozen lonely ones. The years of having babies and those babies calling him, grandpa. Years of random phone calls from him- sometimes an email.

What matters is today. That when a fight ends- either his or mine, we will have loved no matter what.

May you choose, friends. To fight the battle that matters. The battle to love others- no matter what.

1 john 1:19

“We love because he [jesus] first loved us.”

And that dad of mine?

Well he’s pretty great after all.

Loves today and always friends,

Kati

Ready to quit? Perhaps it’s time to get dirty…

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As we approach yet another year of the FREE Community SHARE our little family puts on each year (a time when people donate items they no longer want and we set up the local community center as a store where people can come and get all they want for FREE) I am overwhelmed with the amount of people helping. This morning, I was thinking of a story I wrote two years ago. It was our second year of doing the SHARE and I wanted to quit.

I hope this story of my failures helps encourage you to be strong and do something God has laid on your heart!


“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done.

We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.”

–Mother Teresa


April 2012

I almost didn’t do it.

I walked into the house and said, “I’m quitting it all.”

“I’m tired.”

Ever felt that way?

 

 

Just because you have a calling on your heart, doesn’t make it easy.

Actually, it’s easier to give up– or better yet, not even start.

Did you know, I’m a quitter? Did you know, I’m a mess? Did you know, sometimes I get tired and want to give up? Did you know sometimes, I yell, cuss, and wish for a quick shot of something hard (that being hard liquor for those of you with virgin vocabulary ; )

If you think less of me now– you thought too much of me to begin with.  

I am so broken. 

 

Crying hard, I yelled “Why do I have to start everything!? Why can’t I just be a part of something?”

 

Little did I know, I was apart of something bigger than me. Did you know, if you knew who I am apart from Him– you would turn and walk away. I wonder what she did.

What did she do? What did she say? There, looking Grace in the eyes– How did she react? 

“Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery.

 

They put her in front of the crowd. “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger.

They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”“No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”


John 8:1-11

Did she sit and anxiously await the following Sunday when she could go to church and share what happened to her? How about starting each morning with devotion? Did she sit in her comfy, cozy house by the fire and meditate on His goodness with christian music playing in the background? Perhaps she even gave a shout out on Facebook of how big and good her God was.

Or wait! Her eyes were open to grace, open to what she had been forgiven of– she was now “better than that.” Better than that person she once was. Did she forget? Did she forget where she came from? Did she forget what it felt like?

Did she forget the Grace in His eyes and how they looked on her with compassion, love, and mercy– regardless of what she had done? Did she know she didn’t deserve it? 

 

Don’t get me wrong, Christian music is good, and I love me some cozy meditation beside the fire. And of course, we all know–quiet bible time before my day is full of loud, is the best start to the day. But what good are those devotions, those songs, that grace– if my hands are not getting dirty.

What good are those scriptures; God breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, and training in righteousness, if I’m sitting on the sofa reading my Bible–maybe even baking cookies for a church bake sale– but I have not loved with my hands, with my feet, with my story.

 

 

“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise you are only fooling yourselves.For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” James 1:22-25

 

So, I quit. I threw my fit. Cried real hard. Felt overwhelmed. Got back up. And started to plan the SHARE– where people could come and get whatever they needed or wanted. All for free.

I asked some people to help. For some, it was their first time to feel the dirt. Some felt uncomfortable; some felt stretched.  For that day, we lived the scriptures– we dug through bags of peoples junk making it treasures for someone else.

 We even had christian music playing in the background. 

 

 

 

It’s not about me. It’s not about what I have done. I have done so little. In fact, more bad than good. No, friends. It’s about the opportunity to be a part of the big story– The God Story.

It’s about Grace.

It’s about the unexplainable, always perfect, always covering, always good, love of our sweet Jesus. It’s about knowing, you are never too far from Grace. Did you hear that? You are never too far from Grace. Your storm is never too big, your attitude is never to rotten, your pain is never to deep. Your past is never too ugly, your choices never define you. That love that covers the dirt, the wounds, the imperfections– yup, it’s always there.

Oh, friends I can only hope! When we have discovered this gift, this grace, this LOVE… it would cause us to be crazy! It would get us off the sofa and into the dirt, not only reading but living the scriptures. It would make us tired and even a little crazy. Oh, that It would keep us bent low to the ground, healing through helping.

 


Much love,
Kati

 

When we become the Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church

Where there is love, there is God. God is love. - Mother Teresa
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Where there is love, there is God. God is love.

- Mother Teresa

It seems like a lot longer than four years. Since the last time I saw him cry.

That sweet man of mine, he’s not really a tear kind of guy. Three times only that I can remember in our almost 13 years of marriage. This day was number three.

Home early, midday. A car full of books, papers, plans, and dreams– ready to be packed away for safe keeping.

Those things, still packed away. 
 

It’s a sad day. The day they say to you, go away and never come back. Don’t say goodbye, don’t finish the conversations you were having with so many people, just sign here.

Their demand was simple.

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“We are offering to pay a 60 day severance to be paid in normal payment cycles, providing you agree to the following terms.

 

A. Attendance to this church is forbidden

B. Any and all means to malign the church or its leaders by you or your spouse, Kathlean Gibson, will terminate the severance agreement immediately. This includes all forms of internet use, chat rooms, Facebook, texting, etc. Any behavior that is viewed as defamation will be reviewed and decided by the Elders of this Church. 

C. Contact with he youth of this church with the intent of defamation will also terminate the agreement. 

 

Additionally, if all terms are met, a letter of reference by the Senior Pastor will be provided. 

 
Sign Here”


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“Have your stuff out within 24 hours and don’t take it personally” they said– “it’s just business”

 

He sat there. Just crying.

Finally he says, “They asked me not to contact anyone until after Sunday. I’m not allowed to talk about it until they tell the congregation.” He explained, “They canceled all the service projects scheduled for this weeks spring break, not giving a reason to anyone–I can’t even give people a reason.” 

What was their reason”, I asked.

He replies, “We’re not relational enough. and I don’t agree with the vision of the church.”

No warning, just get out.

 

What in the world do you do when you’ve been told to go away and never come back? 

What do you say when your nine year old,  who eats, sleeps, and breathes church– says, “Can’t go back to church? But anyone can go to church- no matter what.”

I’ll tell you what you do.
you die.
 

When the church, the body of Christ, Christ’s Bride, the place where grace is abounding, becomes a business- when they turn their face to you and say go away, you die. 


You die a slow and painful, lonely death.


We’re still dying.
We’re different now.

It has changed us. Oh, we love. We serve. And we worship the One True God. But we don’t give our heart away. We don’t talk about much with you anymore. We don’t really discuss much about what God is teaching us. And when you are sitting next to us in church, we’re wondering– who are they really and when are they going to hurt us? Daniel? He’s not going to open up to you, that’s for sure. You can tell me how wrong all of that is– I already know. But for now, for some reason, it’s just something we cannot shake. We pray for people to come into our lives and aid the healing. We’re waiting, leaning on Jesus, and hoping for a day when all of that is gone.

And you see, when there is a pain like this– people don’t mention it. It’s like a secret they don’t want to bring up. Like having a child pass or a spouse leave you. Doesn’t anyone realize maybe you just need to hear, “Hey, how are your wounds and what can I do to help? Let me sit here with you in the ash of the painful wounds; what if we heal together.”

The hurt, it does bring hope. Being ripped away from the gathering of believers, being told to go and never return–the pain it has caused, there is hope in it.

There should be pain.

In scripture we see a loving, jealous, and just God. Then, we are introduced to a radical, loving, and just Jesus. A Jesus who loved prostitutes and sinners. A Jesus who always told off the Pharisees, A Jesus who said, keep nothing, and give it all. A Jesus who taught us how to offer a kiss to the person planning to turn against us and ultimately lead to our unfair trial and death.

You see, when the church, or anyone who follows Jesus, has operated outside of this Jesus way. It hurts. But when your heart longs to be loved the way Jesus loves, unconditionally. There is hope.

There is hope because God is a healing God. He takes our wounds and makes us new. It takes time, yes. But in time– memories fade, the pain slows and you begin to trust just a little here and there.

Then there is love. I could rant and go on about how poorly we felt treated. I could tell you the lies, the disgusting truth of it all. I could share with you the sad stories of how badly I just wanted to go back and see my friends but I had to realize, those are not friends. But love has came and made that story new.

Oh, it still hurts. And it’s wounds go deep. But there is love and forgiveness.

This is the amazing thing of God. He is a God who not only teaches us good things but also brings us out of the human mistakes we often make and he teaches us good lessons.

I cannot tell you how many times I have said something that hurt someone– all in the name of Jesus. I cannot tell you how many times I have been the deliver of death- like the church was to us that day.

I can’t tell you how many times I have been the Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church in the lives of my friends.

Because the truth is: we live in a broken, broken world with hurt and ugly all around. I think we are a world torn apart by abuse, selfishness, divorce, lack of love, and even yes– people getting kicked out of church and not allowed to go say goodbye all because they don’t agree with the unknown vision of a church.

We’re all human. Fred Phelps felt strongly about certain groups of people. That church felt strongly of me.

And both of those sad situations hurt hearts.

I struggle through my own issues. If good ‘ol Fred and his group of people were to hold up signs directed toward me, they would say: GOD HATES PRIDEFUL PEOPLE. GOD HATES SINNERS. GOD HATES PEOPLE WITH TERRIBLE PASTS. Because I have Issues of pride, anger, self-righteousness; the temptation to stir the pot and cause dissension. And I was a total mess before I met Jesus.

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But you see: those issues- God has to work out within me, through fear and trembling. Nobody’s rant, sign, or bull horn will change my heart- nobody’s rant DID change my heart- Jesus did.

So, therefore. In my OPINION… I think-

the more people I love to the feet of Jesus, the more hearts he can heal to his perfect way.

“The saving grace of Jesus changes the hearts and ways of fallen men, not me. So- hopefully the more time I spend with the broken people of the world- the more people I can share this healing Jesus with.”

And handing it to Jesus- isn’t “just siting by and doing nothing” After all, God handed it over to Jesus and he started a revolution.

May you realize the truth: When the church, or anyone who follows Jesus, has operated outside of this Jesus way. It hurts.

BUT when your heart longs to be loved the way Jesus loves, yes- that unconditional love: don’t give up. This life is big and someone will come along and love you back to health. And until then, lean on that Great big God who loves you– you. YOU YOU YOU YOU YOU YOU. Not the Sunday morning, masked you. Just you. Not the office you. Just you. Not the you on the weekends. Just you. Not the “you” you were when you were getting this christian thing right. Not the you I see. Not the you people like Fred Phelps sees.


He loves the YOU he made. The YOU he’ll see in glory.
As you reach, lean, jump, burst forth- trying so hard to find this healing Jesus- remember. He is always there. He is always ready.

And he is never a business. He is the lover of your soul.

Oh friends may we never be the one causing the pain. May we be life givers and deliverers of hope. But when this wicked heart deceives us and we cause the pain– may God come along side of us and love us through correction. May those we hurt have grace and understanding. And above all– may God heal those wounds and use them for glory.

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. 1 John 3:16

Don’t give up- real love gives hope.

Healing alongside you,

Kati

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