no greater love than a love chosen

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If I need to say it again, I will. I’m madly in love with her.

The problem is, that is the hardest part. When you love someone and they just don’t love you back. And really, please don’t tell me: “Oh, you’ve got it wrong, she does love you.” Or, “Oh, she’ll come around.” Because while all those things are well and good  — even possibly true:

It does not make it any easier today.

Don’t feel all sorry for me either- Really, I’m fine. You see, this is the beauty of an unrequited love… It keeps you close to the feet of Jesus. How could it not? The story of Jesus IS unrequited love.

John 15:13
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

So when she tells me she hates me or hates the color of my skin, the family she’s in or the past she remembers, it hurts. When she says she’d rather be in foster care or she was in jail like her mom, it hurts. Yes, for years you can let is pass as the “adoption adjustment period” but there comes a point in this human life where you simply have to fight harder against a hard heart.

Like the mother you can never please, or the husband who never fully loves or appreciates. The boss who never compliments or the friend who never follows through. The teenager who tells you they hate you or the wife who has cheated time and time again because your love just “isn’t the same as his”.

It hurts.

Dearest friend, hear me say this. To my own heart: listen closely…

It is worth it.

To love fully, even when hurt is the example of Jesus. No matter your religion of christian faith, we can agree on the same thing: the heart of the Jesus story is hurt. The story of Jesus’ life is a life of pain and constant betrayal.

Yes. I know, we tend to say, “I am following the will of God, why does this hurt so bad?”

Friends. When did we start to believe that following the ways of the cross would be easy and painless? The ways of the cross are not easy but they are full of worth.

Matthew 16:24
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

So when she wakes up and decides she still doesn’t love you, possibly not even love a single person in the world today: you choose to love.

Each day is different. For me, this day: I choose to help her find beauty in her different skin.

For my girl who has a color she hates and hair that reminds her of her past, I choose to help her find beauty. I look straight into her eyes and say, “The way God made you was perfect. We are all different and you should never be ashamed.”

Hoping one day, it’ll break down the walls of  insecurity and she’ll fall into the saviors arms knowing she is wonderfully and beautifully  made: no matter where she’s come from or where her story started. Like we used to hold her and tell her we loved her and we were never letting her go- one day we trust those chains will be broken and she’ll stand taller and stronger knowing she has overcome. Because someone chose to love.

Some days, it just becomes a choice: I will love even though it is hard. Do not grow weary because it is hard, friends. Of course it is hard. After all, loving someone who loves you back is such a simple task. Choosing to love is a hard and holy thing.

Luke 3:32-36
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. “If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. “If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

I’ll come back to this time and time again. I always do. How quickly we forget the simple message of love. That.love.is.merciful.

I know, to think of children or spouses, co workers or friends as enemies is taboo but I’m only spilling my human heart. When someone doesn’t show kindness or favor, it can be hard to love. When you love them unconditionally and they just don’t love you back: the pain can be immeasurable. You know the way you start looking at them just a tad bit different, maybe not smile quite the same… oh, the temptation to pull back on the reigns of mercy and protect your heart can be so strong.

But this, I think on this: how many times has my savior held me so sweetly and spoken those same words, I’m not giving up on you. Or how many times has he looked deep into my cold eyes and seen beauty?

May you seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God this hard, hard road called: grace.

Choosing right alongside you,

Kati

 

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When even your children seem to hate you and you just feel hopeless.

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It was the 16th time that finally broke the window.

She picked up the shoe for the 16th time, mad at the world. She threw and it broke.

You would think the walls would have come down after that.

You thought wrong.

But what do you do when your child hates you? When she looks at you with hate because you’re not the mother of her birth? What do you do when you know she loves your husband more, her dad more.

Simply because: it’s not men she has issues with- it’s mothers.

Because it’s the mother who left. It’s the mother who made the bad decisions. It’s the mother who never stood up for her children. The fathers came and went- it was he mother that always let her down.

So, it doesn’t matter what you do. It doesn’t matter how you love. You always remind her of

a mother.

And really, you just want to be a momma. You just want to hug ,and kiss, and cuddle away bad memories and hard times. You want to say time and time again- “You’re safe here now.”

But time and time again you’re left holding back screams. You’re left wanting to shout, “I AM THE ONE WHO IS HERE! I AM THE ONE WHO LOVES! WHY DO YOU ALWAYS HURT ME?”


We all have windows don’t we?

Days that have been shattered into a million pieces by someones unkind, thoughtless words. The diet that failed once again. The man who didn’t call. The wife who never returned. The mother that let us down. The brother who broke the promise. The family member who broke all of the rules and harmed someone close to you. The mother in law who never forgives. The child who doesn’t seem to ever care- and the battle that.never.ends.

There are windows all around us.

We look into those windows and the reflection peering back to us changes every day.

Some days it says, “You are beautiful” Some days it says, “You are a piece of trash” Some days it says, “You are loved.” Other days it says, “Who could ever love you?”

And then, one day it happens. You just can’t take it any more.

You pick up the shoe and throw it through the glass- hoping for the enemies lies to stop.

And they still come.

Her lies are still there. The broken glass didn’t fix anything. The truth of her past is still as real today as it was yesterday. All the terrible things she yelled at me that day, she’s still yelling.

No. Broken glass doesn’t fix anything. And the same is true of us isn’t it? Broken friendships. Don’t fix anything. Broken promises. Don’t fix anything. Broken marriages. Don’t fix anything.

No. The only brokenness that fixes anything – is brokenness at the foot of the cross.

Dear one.

There are times when there are just no answers. There are no fixes. There are no explanations to why something happened. You are sad, Jesus is sad, and everyone involved is broken into a million pieces.

And the truth is, you.just.don’t.want.to.get.out.of.bed.

I only want to speak these words into your heart today- because He is speaking them into my very own heart.

He loves you. He is close. He is watching. He is proud. He is good. He is just. He is the only thing that will never break. He is the only glass that never shatters. He is able to take your brokenness and make it new. He is watching you.

He loves you and never stops seeing the full, new, beautiful you.

So when you look into that window and you see the ugly reflection peering back at you- remember. We all have a beauty inside of us that Jesus is working on. A beauty that calls out to the savior to make it new each day.

I am there. You are there. Your Christian neighbor is there. Your pastor is there. Your best friend who does everything right is there. The mother that always hurts you is there. The hurting daughter in my home. She’s there.

We are all there. Imperfect, just trying to get a glimpse of Jesus each day. Just a small touch of his robe. We’re all just trying to be made new- time.and.time.again. Breaking the glass won’t fix it. Yelling words we don’t mean won’t fix it. Giving up won’t fix it.

Giving in to Jesus is all that will make anything new.

“Just then a woman who had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding came up behind him. She touched the fringe of his robe,  for she thought, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.”

Jesus turned around, and when he saw her he said, “Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well.” And the woman was healed at that moment.” Matthew 9:20-22

Oh, friends. To long for just the touch of his robe. The newness that comes from the simple touch of Jesus.

Jesus is saying to each of us every day. “My child, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well! Not your actions, not your failures, not your successes. Not your method of parenting, or your tithe amount. Not your involvement in church. Nothing but your faith in me.”

Beautiful one: May you know your true beauty today. May you know he is fighting for your heart, for your soul, for the renewing of your mind.

When the 16th time comes. May you fall to your knees and surrender to only the touch of His robe. My you never give up. May you never look down. May you feel loved and cherished by the ONLY one who loves fully.

Jesus.

Broken, earthly, and nothing compared to Jesus~

Kati


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The day my nine year old was picked up by the police: When people think you have it all together

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“I don’t want to live here anymore.”

“I.want.a.NEW.family.”

Stomping her feet- right there in the middle of her bedroom, surrounded by all who love her; she had made up her mind- it was time to leave.

And what do you do when something like that happens?

Because when you’ve grown up being tossed around from foster home to foster home- from institution to institution when things get hard; of course you want to leave.

So, she left. And I followed- all secret agent like. Parking behind trees and in peoples driveways. It’s true. I simply hid out as I watched my little girl skip around town- thinking all was right with the world; thinking she had won.


Some days, I want to skip around town- thinking all is right with the world, thinking I have won. But the truth is: I’m a broken mess.


I followed her for an hour before the city police finally came and picked her up and drove her home. All the while I thought, “And people think we have it all together.”

This is the truth, friends.

None of us have it all together.

I have sat with mommas who have tried to take their lives; mommas who I thought had it all together. I have sat with women whose marriage I envied; only to find they were nearing divorce. I have wished upon stars for your picture perfect child to influence my not-so picture perfect child; only to find your child is no-so picture perfect after all. I have hoped and dreamed for the homes of many- only to see those homes be taken by the bank or cause a divorce over finances.

My nine year old just wanted a new family. And when the police picked her up? Well, she didn’t care one bit. She told him she ran away because she didn’t want to do her math problems and she wanted a new family. Well, in orphan world- police take you from families to make you safe. She thought he would just snatch her up and move her to a math-less world. So, when he said, “Next time, I’m taking you to juvie.” She wasn’t too impressed.

So, how do we: moms, dads, sons, daughters, co-workers, bloggers, foodies, grandmothers, men and women– how do we show the love and grace of Jesus in a true and genuine way? Because as Ann Voskamp sweetly reminds us:

“Aren’t we all really like Peter– cowards and liars and deniers and absolute messes? I am.”

I am.


And when one runs away or one hits another child, or one does something unthinkable, I simply am reminded. We all need Jesus. A suit, tie, and seminary degree, all packaged with a big smile aren’t going to change the fact that I am a broken mess and so desperately in need of a savior.

And hopefully? By leaving all of that religious, “I’ve got it all together” facade aside, this desperation can speak loud into the lives of my children. That life is hard, and days can be crazy. But Jesus is loving, and grace filled- no matter what.

Then, when we break at the feet of Jesus,  we’re just a bit like my nine year old- who, hours later– even hours after being toted home in a patrol car- finally broken, collapsed in my arms and said,

“I’m sorry mom and I love you.”

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“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.” 1 John 3:1a

Lavished by the King- and so desperately in need of Him–

Right along side of you, friend.
Kati

Similar Post: Do things that make the white guy in Walmart say, Da** girl; how many baby daddies have you had?


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As soon as I heard about Robin Williams, I thought of this:

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Robin Williams.

Yup, you know what I’m talking about.

As soon as I heard about what happened, I thought. Yup- I’ve been there.

Have you?

I mean, I’ve never pulled the trigger but I’ve sat with those who have, in one way or another. Those who tried to take their own lives and failed– only to feel like they can’t even get that right.

I’ve held the gun– thought about the funeral. I’ve even thought of all those people who would miss me if I were gone. I’ve cried the tears of feeling unwanted when there was no reason to feel that way but I’ve also cried the tears of feeling unwanted when there was a reason to feel that way. And there have been more than one. For me. And maybe for even you.

One time, when we were kicked out of the church — when we needed the church most, only to find it was merely a business, hiding behind the mask of Jesus? Yes. When we struggled through those terrible, hard; HARD days– I heard that man of mine say,

Man, this. THIS is the reason people commit suicide.”

I’ve told you before- I’m nobody special.

As soon as I heard about Mr. Williams, I thought of this post by Ann.


What the Church & Christians Need to Know About Suicide & Mental Health— from the heart of Ann Voskamp @ a holy experience.

 

Dear Church,

Cancer can be deadly and so can depression.

So can the dark and the shame and the crush of a thousand skeletons, a thousand millstones, a thousand internal infernos.

We could tell you what we know.

That — depression is like a room engulfed in flames and you can’t breathe for the sooty smoke smothering you limp — and suicide is deciding there is no way but to  jump straight out of the burning building.

That when the unseen scorch on the inside finally sears intolerably hot –  you think a desperate lunge from the flames and the land of the living seems the lesser of two unbearables.

That’s what you’re thinking — that if you’d do yourself in, you’d be doing everyone a favor.

I had planned mine for a Friday…” FINISH READING HERE



All my love and hope for you to stay strong,

Kati

Could my bad mom moment help you?

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We all have that child.

Well, at least I tell myself we all do. Maybe it’s only me.

In this home of half a dozen children- the “that child” always changes.

But lately? It has been the same one.

over

and over

and over

again.

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Last night, all of my kiddos were tucked into bed.

Sneaking one little guy a banana I thought, maybe I should give his brother one too.

“No, he doesn’t deserve a banana.”  I thought.

He yelled at me.

He hit his sister.

He did that thing he does- again.

Then I heard it.

“I’m watching the way you treat him.”

It came all over me like a flood. You know, the way God does? Just says six little words that rock your world?

Yeah. That God of ours. He did that.

Again.

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Compassion, Kindness, and Love.

Within five minutes, all of my littles had a banana; all giggling under their covers at the idea of a late night, sweet snack.

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So, I wrote it down. Right there in the hallway– where we write prayers.

He’s watching.  And He notices when it’s hard. He hears when you pray again out of frustration. He is planting little seeds in my little man’s heart each.time.i.choose.to.love.

no matter what.

Sometimes, I don’t deserve the Fathers love. But He gives it still.

May we be a person with the mind of Christ. To love even when we’ve been wronged. Even when they’ve done it again. Even when it seems like they’ll never change. May we sneak a little bit of sweetness into their hearts so they know we love them still.

Because He’s watching the way we love them. And the thought of seeing my Father look upon me with a smile of satisfaction?

Well, that’s beautiful.

Learning Daily,

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