When life gets messy and Valentine’s Day is sort of a rip off

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this post was originally posted march 7, 2014 and titled why cinderella and her story is totally bogus

So, everyone’s day looked pretty special on Facebook and all of social media, huh? Nobody filled in their “status update” with: “Well, he packed his bags and said goodbye.” OR “We had this great thing planned and he fell asleep on the sofa.” If wasn’t quite the fairy tale ending you’d hoped for, eh?

Those cards and roses, they’re a real nice idea, huh? They just sort of bring the Walt Disney Magic right into your living room for just a moment, don’t they? Well, maybe that’s not your idea of “romance” but for me it was. I mean, everyone has a different fairy tale, ya know? And mine was all wrapped up with glass slippers and happily ever after.

Don’t worry, it didn’t take me long to realize the truth. Yeah, that Cinderella and her story is a total rip off.

I mean, I know it happened to you– don’t get me wrong.

I know your sweet man waited until you were married to hold your hand. I know he asked your dads permission, and even got down on one knee. But it didn’t happen for all of us.

Oh, we dreamed that it would, didn’t we? But life gets icky and stories get stuck on us like mud- and before you know it, we’re just a mess. A mess of ladies walking around looking for something to make us new. Well, it’s surely our Prince Charming, right? He will come and rescue us from this mess of a life and make all of our dreams come true.

Ummm, maybe not so much.

Because you see, there’s this thing called life and like I said, it gets all messy. I want to hear the Cinderella story that tells of Cinderella all crazy and emotionally unstable or just down right mean because she spent all that time under the oppression of a wicked stepmother. Or the Prince who ends up being a starving artist because he’s sick and tired of being royal and needing to meet the crazy expectations placed on him.

The Cinderella who partied back in the day and struggles with her past choices? Or the Cinderella who didn’t know what in the world to do so she just did the unthinkable and aborted that baby. She wishes she had known better but what could she do? It’s not like she could turn to her stepmother.

How about the Prince and his past lifestyle of rich and famous? Now he has found himself swarming in debt because he’s trying to have everything his parents had, in his young life.

What about the Cinderella and Prince who just couldn’t ever seem to lower their expectations– so their children grew up hating them because they were never.able.to.just.be.kids. Or what about the Cinderella and Prince who lost a baby and now don’t know how to cope with life together.

Whew, it can be a messy life.

The good news is God is a God of changing stories.

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That man of mine use to be gone all of the time. I was a sports widow. At night, when he and the baby were sleeping- I would sneak out and go to the clubs and dance with strangers. On weekends we watched MTV and he played video games all day. We were a mess. Just trying to figure it all out and having no idea what in the world we were doing.

Hey, if that is your life ^^ more power to ya. For me. For us? We were dying.

Now, that man and I have a crazy, deep love. We have a loud house with eight crazy kids running around. We even have a few pets to add to the mix.

He’s not a romantic, oh I wish he was. But he makes me hot tea each morning and always tells me he loves me.

He still loves sports and I love that he does. It’s a family thing now. We do it all together.

I still have issues, but I don’t kick him out of the bed (yeah, with my feet… really kick him) when I think he’s not listening. Now, when I’m sad- he understands I need a little extra love that day.

You get the point.

You know– we almost didn’t make it here. Nope. That picture at the top? The one of him cooking me dinner tonight (a RARE man thing in our house) We had been married for a year when we decided to call it quits. We were both tired. One swift slap to his face and he said, “That’s it- I’m out of here” and he was gone.

And I thought it was forever.

We knew we needed a change. We found a church, people loved us- like crazy get down in the dirty parts of life type of love, not just sit on the pew next to you quietly type of love. And it changed our lives.

Jesus in them, changed our lives.

Many times I have thought about what life would have been like if we had just given up. Oh, it seemed easier at the time. I’m sure it seemed easier lots of times back then. But now, I couldn’t imagine it any different.

Ever been there?

Here are a few simple things that have helped make our marriage work. Made it fun. Got us through a lot of ups and downs. Maybe you’re married, maybe you’re not. Maybe you’re on a break, maybe you’re finished all together. Here’s the deal: pack this little bit of goodness away for a rainy day… you just never know when “prince charming” may come waltzing in to swoop ya off your feet.

#1. Talk, Talk, Talk. We talk about everything. I mean every.single.thing.  Weather, plans, dreams, sadness, food, new discoveries, what the kids are learning, what tomorrows plans are. You name it- we talk about it. My man is who I talk with most.

#2. We send love messages. You see- in this day there are so many different ways to share love with people we should be ashamed of ourselves if we’re not! Send a quick text message, shoot a quick picture of where you are, what you’re doing and tell him you wish he was there with you. Leave him a little love note where he’ll see it when he gets ready for work. In some way- love that man with words everyday.

#3 I don’t expect him to be a girl. This one is a hard one. But it’s true. He’s all man. And he thinks like a man too! (imagine that) He leaves his clothes on the floor- drives me nuts! His garage is messy, he doesn’t clean the kitchen like me and he hates to make the bed. But you know what? If I lost that man of mine, I don’t think I could ever make the bed again or even pick up his last pair of clothes lying on the ground. He may be messy- but he’s special and I’d miss every.single.thing.about him if he was gone.

#4 You see, there’s this thing guys like- and yeah… they really do love it when you’re all cute and kissy, and all that stuff… umm, yeah- you get the point. I think he’d be happy with everyday- but let’s just be sure it’s more than four times once a week ; ) What?!! It’s true– he’s thinking about it… go on ask him. (he, he)

#5 I’m not my sweet mans holy spirit- I know, I know- you’ve got this Jesus thing all figured out. You’re the Proverbs 31 woman through and through. But I’ve had to learn the hard way, I’m not my sweet man’s holy spirit. What God is teaching me isn’t always what he’s teaching my man. So really, I can’t be all mad at him if he’s not doing his quiet time quite like mine. Or if he’s not _____________ you fill in the blank. My job as a wife is to live a life of godliness for all to see and pray for my man that God would speak to his heart. And really? Trust me- a daddy who comes home and does devotion with the family because HE feels led to do so is so much more fruitful than the daddy who comes home and does devotion because you’ve whipped him into submission by nagging = (

#6 I’ve learned to let my man- be my man. He’s not your man. He doesn’t have flowers delivered, or even take me to dinner very much (we’re both too cheap for that) But he loves me in his silly ways– Like his Valentine’s gift this year? 14 ways he loves me, sent via text message:

No diamonds for this girl- no thank you. I’ll take my man, just the way he is. And don’t you go thinking I’m being prideful or thinking I know it all because the truth is- I’ve spent many a day wishing my man was your man because your man did something like, cook you a fancy dinner and my man made ramen noodles. =) But we have to realize, ladies: each of our men have a way they love and it is special in their own little way.

Those are just a few- I’m sure you know of a bunch more. Honestly? Jesus is the one who makes it all work here in our house. The rest is just a little bit of fun. When I’m mad, It’s Jesus that reminds me to love. When I’m being selfish- it’s Jesus that reminds me to love my man more than myself. My man? He will disappoint me time and time again. But Jesus, his love will never fail. That Jesus. He is always so good.

Love big, have fun, and live YOUR happily ever after! Break the mold, be crazy! Laugh at mistakes, say I’m sorry… dance like you’re 20! Don’t you even try to be like Cinderella, sister. Her story has been played out.

Dancing like a crazy lady through this thing called life,

Kati

*****

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A story of roaches, coach shoes, and Jesus. A story of grace.

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“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”  Mother Teresa 

I had a friend tell me once,

“Just because you have a bunch of white friends with money – doesn’t mean you’re supposed to be a missionary.”

I was so mad God wouldn’t send me to Africa.

And this was just two years ago.

My friend and I weren’t talking about white people or black people, we weren’t talking about people giving money: don’t miss the point here by reading trivial text out of context. We were talking about being mad at God.

I was mad because we couldn’t adopt. I was mad because we weren’t working in a church. I was mad because we couldn’t be missionaries. I was mad because I felt like a pawn in the game called, Christian.

I was mad because I wanted to just do something and it seems like I was stuck doing nothing.

Because the truth of the matter is: sometimes you’re tired of hearing, “Go into all the world” and you’re saying, send me! And He simply says-

Not.right.now.

And I was sick.to.death of being told, no.

So I was crying. Well, screaming really. I think I even had serious booger action going on. I was a mess. On the phone with my friend, yelling about how angry I was at God for giving me crazy desires and no outlet for them.

Have you ever been there?

Where you’re just crying out to God. I’m here and WHY DON’T YOU USE ME?


 

There’s this lady I know. She sleeps with roaches.

And we’re not talking a few roaches. We’re talking: When we go visit her… we strip down before coming home and even hours later– we still feel the bugs. She lives in our town- population 3,000.

There’s this lady I know. She wears Coach shoes. (Yes, the purse company, Coach makes shoes… I didn’t know either) This lady? She lives in our town– population 3,000.

The cost of Coach shoes could feed a village in my beloved Africa. We’re talking feed them for days.

Last week? My friend with Coach shoes, washed the feet of the lady with roaches. And even as I type this my eyes fill with tears. Every.single.time I think of it– my eyes fill with tears.

My friend with the Coach shoes? Yeah. Her. She washed the feet of the lady with bugs crawling all over her. She bent low on her dirty, filthy floor and washed her feet. She washed her feet while wearing her Coach shoes. 

Because she understood. This lady isn’t dirty and filthy, she is loved by a Savior. Her feet are precious and worth more than gold.  Her floors, her feet? Those are just material things.

You see, just because we have feet adorned with jewls doesn’t mean we can’t love those whose feet are worn and tired, dirty and needing grace.

It wouldn’t have mattered if it were Keds, Coach, or Reebok. Our friend with roaches only felt the sweetness of Jesus that day.

And she didn’t care what kind of shoes Jesus was wearing.

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There’s this lady I know. She turns red faced when you ask her to speak.

There’s this other lady I know. She needed new shoes. She’s the lady with roaches.

My red faced friend? She was there when the feet washing happened. She left and bought new shoes. She returned with the shoes and cut them to fit our friend with swollen, tired, clean feet. While she placed the new shoes on her feet- my Coach shoe wearing friend and I dumped the water from washing the feet of our new friend.

We dumped the dirt and shame out of that bucket and returned inside to see her in new, shiny, dollar general shoes.

Our lady with roaches? She felt like a princess.

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Here’s the deal.

We were missionaries that day. And if I had moved to Africa I would have missed it. If I had stayed mad at God because he didn’t fit the desires of my heart- the desires HE gave me-into MY box, the way I thought it should go… I would have missed it.

And those two crazy kids we adopted last year? If I had moved to Africa, I would have missed. it. If I had stayed mad at God because he didn’t fit the desires of my heart- the desires HE gave me-into MY box, the way I thought it should go… I would have missed it.

And this church thing? This revolution we’re startingIf I had stayed mad at God because he didn’t fit the desires of my heart- the desires HE gave me-into MY box, the way I thought it should go… I would have missed it.

May we live boldly friends. May the desires placed upon our hearts change those around us. May we realize moving thousands of miles away isn’t always the answer. May we be a people who are not above getting our Coach shoes dirty. May we be a people proud of who God made us and live boldly according to the desires placed in our hearts.

May we have the wisdom and strength to do things now. Not later when we are prepared. Not later when we’ve moved to our “Africa” may we understand God has equipped us now for good works.

May we realize, it doesn’t matter. Coach shoes, shy and red faced, or angry hearts. God can do big things through each.and.every.one.of.us.

Typing barefoot- wishing I had a pedicure, broken in a million ways~

*edit this sweet soul did go home to be with the LORD during that same hot summer.*

All my love,

Kati


 

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why shackin’ up with people might not be such a bad idea.

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I met her Monday.

Monday. The day I finally let down my guard and allowed you to tip toe into my world. The day I finally shared what all God was doing. The day I trusted you with my secrets.

Because after all. People like to see a persons plans fail. Not many like to see or help them succeed. I believe the old saying goes, “They’ll pay a quarter to watch you smile, a dollar to watch you cry.”

But this isn’t about succeeding, is it?

Driving past our new future homestead, on our way to someone’s home to take out their garbage, we saw the neighbor, Ms. Rachel*.

By chance, my man and oldest daughter had met her earlier in the day, they mowed the empty lot next to her home. They never told her we would be moving in, next door to her– next month, Lord willing.

Stopping by to say hello, Daniel introduces me to her. She’s only lived there for two months.  She tells my sweet man about a leak, asks if he can help. We talk about food from her country, her small business here in America, and then it turns to where we live. To which my man says, “Well, you know, Ms.Rachel*, we are going to be your new neighbors.”

Puzzled, and talking so super cute with her accent, “You a gonna do what?”

Yes- we are going to be your neighbors, right across the road. We are going to use it for the community.”

We went on to tell her of our plans. Once a week, nonprofit, donation based cafe’ downstairs with healthy, homegrown food– special teas and coffee. We told her about the evening soup kitchen. Where people can come and eat homegrown food, enjoy special drinks, yummy coffee. Talk about Jesus, life, hardships, and just live together. We told her about the community garden we’ve been blessed to already start. We talked about the lifegroup currently meeting at our home, studying the book of ACTS and the early church. How they gathered together, sharing everything, nobody in need. Everyone a family. We told her about the community clothing SHARE we plan to have open twice per week. Where people can come and donate time, earning vouchers to shop for good, clean, clothes, toys, and housewares.

Then she says it.

You a gotta be kidding me…. ohhhhh you a gotta be kidding me. I just a sitting in my living room saying, ‘Oh God, today I fasted, something good is gonna happen… oh God, today I fasted, something good has to happen.’ You are my good news! The Lord has answer my prayers– I a prayed someone would come to that home who would use it for Jesus. “

“Oh, this is a gooood day. A gooood day. “

She grabs my face with her worn hands and kisses my cheeks.

“The Lord has answered my prayers. We a gonna do a lot of good stuff together. We are gonna use your home, AND my home. Oh, I’m a so excited.”

Little did she know, meeting her- had answered my prayers.

Funny how God works.

Not moments later, a man pulled up. Talked with my man. He had heard, through the little community grapevine, what we were doing.

He offered his city lot to use for an additional community garden.

His vacant. totally ready to plant a garden. city lot. The city lot directly across from the home we’re purchasing for the purpose of doing life together with the community. He offered it free of charge to be used for the purpose of loving people. Loving people through food, through working the ground, through talking about life, through living. Together.

He [that amazing. always knocking my socks off God.]

He had provided. again.

Not only had He provided like-minded friends to start together.

sold our house.

provided another home several thousand dollars less than asking price.

even given us an additional fridge for the cafe’ and a neighbor had randomly given us a deep freeze, unaware of what the Lord was doing.

The list goes on, and on, and on.

And He still knew I still needed a little something- something like a random neighbor saying, I’ve been praying for this sort of thing to happen.

Because when you do this sort of thing, friends. Something like offer your home for community use, take on a home bigger than you would choose to buy if not for this purpose, with human hopes it all works outwhen you share hopes and dreams of simply walking this Jesus walk differently, a little more like the way you read about in scripture- where people lived together, dreamed together, held each other accountable, and helped each other no matter what. Where there were no TV’s or smart phones to steal our attention… back “then” as my kids always say. When you start talking like that?

People think you’re crazy. YOU start to think you’re crazy.

So, tomorrow, I’m going to need another reminder, I’m sure. Because I’m human. And the ways of the Lord are scary. And saying you’re following the “way of the Lord” alone sounds and feels all pious. But He just reminds me again and again.

This. is what you’ve been called to at this moment. Don’t hide your lamp stand. Tell others the good news of what I am doing.

So, we told Ms. Rachel*. And she said, “We’ll use your home, and my home.” The man stopped and said, “You can use my city lot.”

And God says, “See? There are other crazy people out there, my darling.”

Do not be afraid.

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“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Do you ever feel crazy?

Friends. We serve the God who silenced the hearts of Kings. The God who created the ground we walk on. He will give you boldness to stand strong and love big. It’s scary. But He’s bigger than your fears.

Sometimes it takes a long time. Sometimes it just starts with a prayer or sharing ideas with friends. Most times? It means putting the bible study down and just getting dirty– applying the words we’ve read time.and.time.again. Sometimes, it’s getting out of the boat and sinking time.and.time.again. Oh my, oh my, I’ve almost sunk to the depths of the sea several times. I’ve done a lot of things wrong, assumed wrong things, and handled loving people wrong, many times.

But that Jesus of ours? He loves us all the same. He looks on us and has big plans for our little steps of love.

“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should: how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.” Ephesians 3:18


May we have the courage to show this love to everyone
– no matter how crazy it makes us seem, no matter how many times we fail, no matter how scary.

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We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.” – Mother Teresa

Much love,
Kati

*Ms. Rachel’s name was changed for this story.


 

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Why you don’t need to have family devotions

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It is the hardest thing to do as a family.

We can gather for a movie, gather for work in the garden. We can gather for a family game, even gather for tea-

every.single.day.

But you mention devotion– family time talking about God and his goodness- and it’s like the earth spins in a different rotation.

Everyone needs to sit still. Everyone needs to be ready to listen. The person delivering the devotion needs to be well prepared. We need to have at least 30 minutes to an hour of uninterrupted, totally silent time.

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Why?

Maybe it can happen- right there. Where other stories are told. Where we share about our day. Where we talk about last nights game, yesterdays lunch menu, silly stories of childhood; next weeks plans.

Where the random sock sits waiting to be put away.

Maybe in the car, waiting at the doctors office, walking around the track? What about while shopping for groceries?

Maybe there, we can just share a little bit of that Jesus goodness with our children. With our spouse. With our mom or dad.

Maybe 10 min a day adds up to over an hour a week. Maybe something magical happens when we just make it “normal” to talk about Jesus?

Maybe thinking of it as just “life” rather than “devotion time” it will actually happen.

Even with the socks sitting on the table.

Much love,
Kati

Excellent family devotion resources:
The Adventure Bible & Devotion
What’s in the Bible
Our 24 Family Ways Devotion Book
Bible flash cards from your local book store; you can usually find them for around $1.99

Ideas our family loves:
We have a basket that sits on our sofa with bible books and bibles. When the kids wake up in the morning- they tip-toe out to the sofa and dive into those books every morning. The kids know, these are the only books they can look at when they first wake up. (shhhh, they’re learning quiet time and they don’t even know it!) This is the delight of my momma morning!❤

The Living Bible Translation is easy for children and new Christians to understand (psssttt… it’s my favorite) =)

Related Posts:
How to trick your kids into love
That Stinkin’ Proverbs 31 Woman Again


GUESS WHAT?! You have asked and I have FINALLY listened! writingwithintrees in on Facebook! Check it out by clicking HERE! writingwithintrees on facebook! For those of you who ask often for the link to share with friends, feel free to invite them to “like wwt on facebook, that way they can stay up to date with posts also! I don’t have a personal facebook, so feel free to reach me here.  Much love.😉

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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Sharing is at the heart of the God story.

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This is the beauty of stories:

A few years back a friend of mine from highschool contacts me, via Facebook, out of the blue. “Hey Kati” she says, “What age is your little girl? I have some clothes I’m needing to pass along and wondered if you’d be interested.”

At the time of that season change we really did need new clothes for our little Emmyn. Her message was right on time.

May this story  encourage you to contact someone today– just out of the blue. May you be the answer to their prayers today. May you be the one who shows them what Jesus looks like.

All because you took the time to share.

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Spring 2012:

She tip toes from her bedroom, sleepy eyed and messy hair; still half asleep from her nap.

Quietly, she asks me a question,

“Momma… are these for me?”

With a great big smile– I get to say, “Yes, they are.”

 

My two big girls and ‘Ting’, the foreign exchange student we had at the time ask, “Who are they from?

I reply, “A friend from high school.”

“Who?” They ask.

“A lady named Andrea.” I reply.

Ting asks me, “She just gave them to you?”

“Well, yeah” I say.

“Why?” He asks.

My response? “Well, it’s a blessing. God knew our little Emmyn needed some clothes.”

“…always God,” he says.

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There are so many clothes, we put a whole bag away for next years size.

Meanwhile, my little Emmyn changes clothes all night long saying, “Look mommy, look how pretty.”

She felt special and pretty all because someone shared.


As I folded all the clothes my friend had passed along to me:  I couldn’t help but smile real big. My mind flooding with memories. Memories of fancy dresses, boys, nail salons, tanning beds, and getting our drivers license.

Now, she thinks to give me clothes.

It’s a total God thing. … “always God.”

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We’ve been blessed by many, many, many people over the past thirteen years of parenting with great hand me downs and are so very thankful. However, there is just something so special and surreal to see how this web of life continues to spin me in crazy directions of “I cannot beleive this.”

“A friend from high school named, Andrea.

Sharing is at the core of the God Story. 

Last year, after the Community SHARE (a little thing our family does to help in the community) was all over and done, someone approached me asking how it went. After telling them all the great things about it, they had just one question.

“How do you know they aren’t taking advantage of you?”

I replied, “Well, I don’t. But it’s not my job to make sure they use it correctly, it’s my job to give in love and let God do the rest.”

“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”  -Luke, in Acts 20:35 NIV

Over four years ago our family returned to our home town. Moving home was hard. It wasn’t the part of “home” that was hard. It was leaving what had become home behind that was hard.

One of the hardest things was finding a way to help those around us. Where we had moved from, my man worked in a church– opportunities to love and serve were all around. Well, how do you, in the “real world”, create those opportunities?

Think about it.

As a Christian, we use our church as a platform to love, serve, and notice need. If we happen to work in the corporate world where we’re surrounded with people everyday– we can use that outlet.

Well, I stayed home and my man worked with his Dad.

We thought we were going to die for lack of ways to help. So, out of pure desperation, we created ways to help. We got out into the community and started helping. And people always asked (still ask)  “Now, tell me again… what church are you with?” and we always reply.

Oh, we’re just a family.

Friends– we are the church… don’t forget it doesn’t take a building. It takes the sweetness of Jesus pouring out of us. Don’t feel you have to stay behind the walls of a church to love.

Remember what Jesus said :

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

The people on the receiving end of that word from Jesus didn’t run to the church building and start a planning meeting. They didn’t set a budget, ask an evangelist to come, or even beg for volunteers.


They just went and did.

We can witness through love at work, at walmart, at school; or at the gym. We can spread love like wildfire through social media, email, letters; and sweet gifts. We can even love through random acts of kindness in the community. We don’t have to rely on the church calender to match up to our schedule [we don’t even have to rely on their approval].

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Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.  James 1:17 NIV

THIS is the great thing about giving:

it’s all about grace.

Someone can take your free stuff, your story of the cross, your kindness, your mercy, your compassion and not use it to it’s fullness. It’s true, they can. Makes me sit and think, I sure am glad God didn’t withhold grace from me, contingent on what I would do with it.

 John reminds us,

“If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” 1 John 3:17  NLT

Ah, how simple. We see. We help. Then, Jesus takes control and the Holy Spirit does the work.

Aaaannnnnddd that’s probably best– considering I’d make a pretty lousy Holy Spirit😉

Blessed to humbly share this broken story with you today,

Kati

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When the world says you’re not worthy- God simply says you’re wonderful & worthy.

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Life is such a roller coaster ride.

So, you lost it again- did ya?

You fell backwards- again. Yelled, thought that yucky thought, visited that friends house again and did that thing you really should not be doing- a.g.a.i.n

You thought you were better than that person, again. You thought you were better than them, did ya? Slipped with that addiction, talked bad about that dear friend, broke a promise?

It’s. OK.

No, no. really- listen.

It’s OK.

You slept with that man, you told that lie, you sat in church like none of it ever happened. You lied on that paperwork, you cheated the system.

It’s ok.

He did it too, you know.

King David.

He saw that beautiful woman bathing across the way and he wanted her. That married woman across the way- He had her. Her husband? He had him killed. Why? Because that beautiful woman was now pregnant with his [david’s] child.

Yet, God calls David a man after his own heart. And he calls you, child of mine.

Here is the part of David’s story we often forget, at least I often forget.

He was blind. He didn’t even realize what he had done. It wasn’t until a messenger [Nathan] came to him and told the story of a mans life to David that David realized, “Who is this man? This is terrible! He must die!” Nathan says, “You are the man!”

From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful…

 

One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home. The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”So David sent this word to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent him to David. When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the soldiers were and how the war was going. Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king was sent after him. But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master’s servants and did not go down to his house.10 David was told, “Uriah did not go home.” So he asked Uriah, “Haven’t you just come from a military campaign? Why didn’t you go home?”11 Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents,and my commander Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open country. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and make love to my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!”12 Then David said to him, “Stay here one more day, and tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13 At David’s invitation, he ate and drank with him, and David made him drunk. But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his mat among his master’s servants; he did not go home.14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. 15 In it he wrote, “Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.”16 So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were. 17 When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David’s army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died.18 Joab sent David a full account of the battle. 19 He instructed the messenger: “When you have finished giving the king this account of the battle, 20 the king’s anger may flare up, and he may ask you, ‘Why did you get so close to the city to fight? Didn’t you know they would shoot arrows from the wall? 21 Who killed Abimelek son of Jerub-Besheth? Didn’t a woman drop an upper millstone on him from the wall, so that he died in Thebez? Why did you get so close to the wall?’ If he asks you this, then say to him, ‘Moreover, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.’”22 The messenger set out, and when he arrived he told David everything Joab had sent him to say. 23 The messenger said to David, “The men overpowered us and came out against us in the open, but we drove them back to the entrance of the city gate. 24 Then the archers shot arrows at your servants from the wall, and some of the king’s men died. Moreover, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.”25 David told the messenger, “Say this to Joab: ‘Don’t let this upset you; the sword devours one as well as another. Press the attack against the city and destroy it.’ Say this to encourage Joab.” When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the LORD. 

Well, ya think??? It displeased the LORD, huh? Well, I bet it did!

Hold UP! Did we really just read that correctly? David, DAVID? He did that? He slept with that chick?

Yeah- and we’re not just talking Shrek and Fiona type of “sleeping” We’re talking, get down and dirty with another mans WIFE type of “sleeping”.

Well, I know if it had been me, I’d be feeling pretty bad. That’s not where we find David. We find him needing a friend- someone to come and show him what he had done. And his friend didn’t just tell him “Hey, David! What are you doing?” No. Nathan put it into perspective for David.

12 The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.

“Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’11 “This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. 12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’”13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.

2 Samuel 11:2-12:13

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David was blind to what he had done. He knew he loved and served God– but was totally unaware of his evil sin.

Oh my, oh my. I am so very blind. Yet, so very loved.

When the troubles of my day weigh me down- when my regrets seem to heavy to carry I simply must remember this- he loves me still.He doesn’t love those things I do. But he loves me through them. Where the world says, I am a failure- God says, I am worthy and loved 

Do you ever feel that way? If I could whisper something sweet into your ear– If I could give you any hope at all: it would be hope in this:

If he can forgive me and make me new- he can forgive you and make you wonderfully new!

When God forgives someone like me- someone who had done the things I did– Someone who still continues to do things today. Someone with a past like mine? Well, there is an unremarkable feeling of thankfulness. I’m talking, every day- every.single.day I just can’t believe he loves a wretch like me.

This is the truth we find in the man they call Jesus- this is the hope we have to offer others. An unexplainable love. We see it all throughout his life portrayed in scripture. You know, Jesus– God here on earth. That’s who I’m talking about– the God who  rebuked the proud religious leaders; showed us grace, mercy, and peace in a real way- That sweet man they call Jesus. He is good. He alone is good.

God is good. And not just stupid, fancy church type of good. I’m talking get down and dirty with drug addicts, prostitutes, and adulterers good. He gets down in the nitty-gritty of our junk and brings us back to life. 

And he is watching you. He is watching you love when you are tired of loving. He sees you fighting the good fight. He sees you choosing peace when life is hectic. He sees you love your spouse when it’s hard; clean dishes one more time and he is so proud. He sees you smiling at work when those people are rude to you, he is watching you simply trying to get something right. He knew- the day he formed you- that this day would come, that you would need him so desperately. If you’re life is hard during this season. If you feel you just can’t get anything right- lean on him more than ever– talk with him, tell him your fears, struggles, and angers. Rejoice at each moment of joy with him and when this stage of life has passed, praise him!

And GUESS WHAT?!?!??!??!  AHHHH!!! It’s the BEST news EVER!!!!

He doesn’t love you because of what you’ve done today. Your good deed or mistake today didn’t catch him off guard. He loved you from the moment he formed you in your mothers womb, knowing all the mistakes you would make and he loved you still, blessed you still, and called you his own- still.


The Lord directs the steps of the godly. 
He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.

Psalm 37:23-24 NLT

Much love and grace today friend.  May you feel worthy, beautiful, and loved in all circumstances. Knowing there is a Jesus who alone is good and loves BIG He know you today, yesterday and knows who you will be in fifty years from now! Yet loves you so much.

All my earthly love,
Kati 😉

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Some of you have asked how to receive posts in your email: it’s simple. On the lower right hand side of the screen there should be a “follow” button. Click and enter your email. It’s totally safe.

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Um, yeah… is there an ad below here? A creepy ad  (yes, directly below here, some strange video, perhaps?) I didn’t put it there = / And I didn’t choose what it will advertise. Sorry about that.