Living the Book of James: week five. Oh no, it’s about the tongue.

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Are you ready? eek! It’s all about the tongue and having true wisdom.
 
Deep breath in. Deep breath out. I’ll admit, I’d rather be reading your devotion to ME this week.

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living the book of James
week 5
chapter 3:1-18

Monday: Read James 3:1-18 (come on, it’s little– you can do it!)

Tuesday: Re-read James 3: -8

 

Notice in vs. 4:

…Or take ships for example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.


Is our tongue driven by our emotions or steered by our grace?
Do we lash out hasty like a snake, ready to strike at any minute?

If you are like me, it depends on the day. Some days, nothing can make me upset. Other days, I just snap. Oh my goodness, I hate those days. You see, our emotions are big and usually driven by circumstances. They are like the strong winds, pushing us in all different directions– we cannot trust emotions. Our grace however– it’s like the small rudder which must steer our “ship.” It’s hidden deep and capable of doing big things.

Our emotions can be steered by grace–that unexplainable gift we have been given that causes us to accept each others faults– if we draw daily on the one who gives that gift. If we are living in the spirit, focused on the One Who Gives Life, it makes it easier to see things with new eyes. And drawing daily doesn’t have to be a big deal. Remember? It’s just about doing it.

Wednesday: Read James 3:9-12

…With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.

Oh, My
Oh, My
Oh, My

I really don’t know what to write about this. It is so simple and right there. Our options are — well, there are no options at all, are there? He tells us right there what we do each and every day. This is what I love about James, it’s not hard to figure out, it’s not sugar coated– or in some sort of code. It’s black and white.

…My brothers, this should not be.

Can a Christian worship on a Sunday morning, then go out to lunch and not express a smile to those serving them lunch? Can a Christ follower talk bad about people who work on Sunday — working on the “Sabbath” — and then go to Wal-Mart to buy groceries, being checked out by someone working on a Sunday?

I think Rob Bell sums it up best:

“Because with every action, comment, conversation, we have the choice to invite Heaven or Hell to Earth.”

Thursday: Read James 3:13-18

Love, love, love, love this passage.

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincerePeacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

Could it be that wisdom is not found in what we know- but rather who we are in Christ? Oh my goodness, I sure hope so. Read that again slow. Could it be that wisdom is not found in what we know- but rather who we are in Christ? Oh goodness, I am so far from wise and I’m full of childish ambition- I’m daily in need of a reminder: Who am I called to be in Christ?

Friday: Let’s meditate on this: James 3:18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness.

May we live in such a way, Jesus would be proud.

simple. yet, life changing?

Loves,
Kati

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When we become the Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church

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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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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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It’s monday, again. And things aren’t going so great.

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The baby didn’t sleep and the toilet didn’t work. The friend didn’t call and the raise didn’t come. The car didn’t start and the bills didn’t get paid. The church didn’t work out and the kids fought all day. The school work didn’t get planned, the lunches didn’t get made.

The weather wasn’t agreeable, the grocery store- too full. The oil didn’t get changed and the trees didn’t get planted. The sun didn’t shine on winters chill and the toys are still strewn all over the yard. The mother didn’t care and the son didn’t call. The little one felt hot to the touch and you don’t feel so good. The chemo didn’t work, the big break didn’t come, the prayer wasn’t answered.

The laundry’s still waiting and it wasn’t even your day to put it all away.

The letter didn’t get written, the book didn’t get read. The cake wasn’t baked and the memory wasn’t made. The grocery list was never started and the coupons never clipped. The jog never happened and the cupcake tasted so good. The husband didn’t say sorry; in fact he didn’t even care.

But you know what? The Father, yeah that one they call King, Savior, Adonai? The I Am, the Alpha the Omega the one who touched the dirty and loved the crippled? He saw it all. He sees it all.

And He is always there.

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Of this I am reminded once again~

It isn’t what happens to me that defines who I am — it is how I react to it that determines whose I am.


Hebrews 12: 1-2 NLT “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne…

[… watching you, smiling at you, finding joy in you sweet friend.]

Monday, Tuesday- whatever day. May your heart be full of faith as you conquer the darkness that tries to capture the joy from our days. May your mind be focused on the I Am because we know we cannot conquer this day without the One who created it. May you lean solely on The One and Only. May the creator of the universe, the painter of the sky; the designer of the honey bee and the intricate flower it draws its strength from- may THIS God be ever evident in your day as you trust in him. As the honey bee must have the beautiful flower to begin it’s journey to honey- may you start your everything by the strength of our father.

Loves,

Kati 

Because you don’t have to be prefect this Christmas: a story of how Jesus loves broken-imperfect people.

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IMG_1220 IMG_1223 IMG_1225I’ve felt this one coming for a while now. Sometimes, you can feel the words there- words ready to heal. But walking down those roads again, the roads those words came from- can hurt.

I am convinced. We’re all full of words. Walking here and there, with all of life’s words, life’s stories- hidden deep within our hearts.

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Christmas time always makes me think of her. When the weather is cold, so cold your body shakes as soon as you step into the dark- I have to physically shake my head to make the thought of her leave my mind.

We were always poor. But cold winters and a promised Christmas morning, always made poor have a feeling. 

Sleeping together in the same bed to stay warm, running quickly to the electric stove, burning orange to warm frozen toes each morning before school- the kitchen lit by the light of the microwave. If there was extra money that winter- we would actually put up a sheet on the door of the room we slept and run a space heater. We had central heat and air, we just didn’t have money.

We had each other.

My mom was special. She worked hard. She would fix things when they broke. It was amazing. She would drive her little car into town and load it with lumber and then cut it with a real saw, like the ones dads used in their garage. On hot summer days, we would drive down to the filling station off the highway and share a real ham sandwich from the deli- made with Miracle Whip. We ate real slow, savoring each bite. If I was lucky, I also got to pick out a penny piece of gum.

Divine.

Our Christmas tree was always so ugly. She would climb a ladder to the top of some cedar tree in our yard and cut out the top of it for a Christmas tree. Always telling me the same story of how her and my dad spent countless nights stealing little trees from ditches along the highways- planting them in the yard and planning one day to cut them for Christmas trees. Totally crazy in love.

I don’t think he ever cut a tree.

I hated those trees. They were so ugly. And our neighbors? They didn’t only have a real family– three children, a dad, grandparents, and a dog- they had a perfect tree too.

Now, all grown up- I only wish I remembered more ham sandwiches and ugly trees. The truth is- I remember lots of pain.

I get my fight from her. She was a fighter. Wouldn’t give up. Wouldn’t back down. Wouldn’t let go.

But you can only throw your fists up for so long before you have the throw in the towel.

Then, you decide. You decide to love or be hurt. You have to figure out- did you survive or die?

There were never free turkeys, coats, or school supplies those days. We didn’t have things like free health insurance and food stamps. For some reason, they had told her no and she never tried again. They didn’t enforce child support those days.

We ate a lot of Ramen Noodles.

Police didn’t respond like they do now- when the man who always said he loved us would hit and she would scream for hours, I would call and they never came. Not once. We must have lived to far. One day, he hit hard enough- she never let him come back.

She threw in the towel. Hurt for the last time. Two failed marriages, a failed lover, a cold house. That’s it.

She gave up the fight. She locked up and hated the world. Finally removed the mask and realized, what was always hidden had become worn and weary. And she couldn’t fix it- no matter how strong her fight.

What do you do when your hero leaves? She had loaded the lumber in the tiny car and cut it with the real saw. She had cried, silently, every month when the bills were due but still allowed me the penny gum from the filling station. She couldn’t be perfect anymore.

The problem with realizing you’re not perfect is- others will soon know. So, to keep others from knowing, you just shut down. She shut down. She became bitter and mean. She never smiled. She never encouraged, she stopped buying the penny gum and sharing sandwiches on hot days- she was finished.

I slept cold and alone that winter.

You still want to love when that happens, I wanted to love even more. When you’re twelve and your hero is hurting you don’t know what to do– but you want to do something. Now, I know though. It can’t work that way. There is only one healer who can mend those wounds.

She didn’t have to be perfect. I never knew what perfect was. We learn what perfect is by those around us. I wish I had known- I would have taken her weary face, held it in my hands and said, give up the fight. Surrender the pain and love like crazy.

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We’ve had a lot of people in our home lately. New people. Two nights ago, I finally just started to cry. I told my husband, I can’t just keep loving like this Daniel. I think I’m afraid– It’s going to hurt too bad.

He says, “There’s no love without risk”

You see, what happens is in your quest for friendship you find the need to be perfect. And you don’t know it’s happening. You have a bunch of kids and people just assume you’re nice. Or you homeschool and people just assume you’re patient. You’re crazy about loving broken people and people think you’re some super Christian. But the reality is, you’re none of those things and you’re crazy dependent on Jesus to make you new every.single.day.

So you love. And people leave. You say the wrong thing that didn’t fit who they thought you were or should be and it’s never the same. So you’ve given your heart to them and now- they’re gone and you have a decision to face– did you survive or die? Do you close out the world and live in your box of pain or do you surrender, yet again, to an unfailing Jesus and start all over again?

When you sit with the “good brother” during the Christmas meal at the moms house who always told you you weren’t good enough- do you survive or die? When the father of your child doesn’t send a Christmas gift again for your little one- what do you decide? Do you ever love again? Or have you died to being loved. When you arrive at your in-laws home and they share with you, once again, how you really could have a better job and provide better for their daughter. You have to decide, do those words define you or does the love of a Savior and his promise of unending love define you?

I will never be strong enough. And not everyone will love me for who I really am. Someone will figure out I have Ja Rule in my Pandora playlist and they’ll decide I simply must be a reprobate. My big mouth will say something controversial and they’ll decide we can’t be friends. My Christmas tree will be too big for some and too little for others. My skirt too short, tattoos too exposed or skirt too long and perfect. I’ll make homemade bread one day and eat a donut the next and someone will have some sort of an opinion.

The truth is: in this life- many will still love, some will leave.

But the babe? The babe sent so perfectly that day? He will love.

I love Christmas. I am sure if I lived in a place such as Haiti or Syria– where death is all around and brokenness is so visible- Heaven and the promise of a new earth would be what I long for most. But here- in this world that I live in- the world I wake up in each day.  A life full of masks, broken relationships, constant reminders of cold nights, a mom who has given up on love, and a mind reeling daily with imperfect memories of pain– struggling through self imposed standards- I long for the day when I will see Jesus. Streets of ‘gold’ don’t excite me one bit. I’ll take Jesus in the streets amongst the slums – I just want to be with Jesus.

He is the one. The only one perfect. And yet he chooses to look sweetly upon broken me and love. He knows my Pandora playlist; he knows my struggles and insecurities and he still chooses to love. Not just any type of love. I’m talking get down and dirty with my junk type of love. He never leaves my side and he never judges through human eyes. He helps me surrender and gently corrects my faults. He’s always there.

When I really sit and think of what Joy filled the earth that day- I am overwhelmed at the love of a savior that really did come in the form of a babe- dependent on a broken woman. A woman who many, I am sure, had decided, was not perfect.

Oh, the irony of that magnificent King.

This Christmas may you be overwhelmed at the majesty of his great love for you and may you remain humbled and dependent on Jesus- realizing only his opinion of you truly matters and if we are seeking him to the fullest, he is good to teach us such good things. And one day- we will truly be perfect and whole.

May you smile a little brighter and love a little deeper simply because he loves so sweetly.

Merry Christmas,

Kati 

“Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!”