Forget what everyone says: love is hard.

Standard

It’s our family motto.

do hard things.

But just because it’s your “motto” it doesn’t always make it easy.

20140728-082701-30421988.jpg 20140728-080606-29166745.jpg 20140731-150734-54454417.jpg IMG_2141 IMG_1935 20140609-091306-33186109.jpg
20140525-134751-49671210.jpg
20140509-162931.jpg 20140509-163110.jpg 20140509-163131.jpg 20140509-162919.jpg 20140509-162150.jpg 20140509-162020.jpg 20140509-161942.jpg 20140509-161921.jpg 20140509-161751.jpg 20140509-161818.jpg IMG_2710 IMG_2795
IMG_2229 ce4ce-photo IMG_1619 20140625-074012-27612389.jpg

Monday we’ll say goodbye to this home and although it’s for all sorts of great reasons— I didn’t realize it would be so hard.

Because I’ve wiped lots of tears from tired eyes in this home. I’ve sat with countless mommas for tea. We’ve celebrated countless birthdays and made up countless excuses to throw parties. We’ve hosted countless guests in this little home of ours. We’ve harvested lots of love from our garden and taken lots of walks through those trees. We’ve loved those living around us, countless times. Our children have grown up with the littles around us. We’ve had times of plenty and times of need. We’ve had spiritual bliss, and walked hard roads of wandering in this home. We became a family of eight in this home. We’ve loved big, been loud, and it’s all been within these walls– never knowing it was anything special, it was just life.

And soon– this life will be only a memory.

To the town we prayed we’d never return to – God has brought us. To the town we prayed we’d never return to- God has helped us come to love, call home, and care deeply for.

As we move with purpose to love the community in a bigger way. Gathering with others to open a piece of this towns history for all to see, love, and use all while trying to figure out: when do you just, live. To live our life so openly– is frightening if I give it much thought.

sears

My head keeps saying, “It’s no big deal, Kati.” with it’s upbeat tune of Bob Marley singing in my ear; every little thing is gonna be alright”. Yet my heart is fighting back the desire to stay in the comfort of all I know and love. Right here on our little hill. With chickens, tall grass, and doors we never lock.

Doing hard things is hard.

I remember a time in my life, before Jesus wrecked me. A time when success what all that mattered. A time when I couldn’t even say the words, “I’m sorrybecause my heart was too prideful.  Then, simply saying, I’m sorry, was hard. Over time, there have been lots of hard things. Times when we could have said, no. There are times when we’ve chosen not to fight and that was the hard choice. There have been times when we’ve had to say goodbye. That was hard.

The truth is: we all have different things we’re facing. Different hard choices. Jesus is such a radical example of choosing the hard way. He forgave. We washed the feet of the man who would betray him only hours later. Jesus showed us what really matters in life. People. Loving people. Regardless of who they are– what they’ve done. He knew, that love would be revolutionary. That love would speak over religion. That love would speak over the pharisees of this world. That love was the universal language.

Love is hard. Real love. Like, lay down your life love. Love can look like a bad day.

At a time in my life, saying sorry was revolutionary. Now I couldn’t imagine being a person like that. One day, I hope to say, “I had a house once, that was hard to give up. Now I can’t imagine being a person like that.”

May we be a people always doing hard things.  May we fight the good fight with kindness, dignity, and respect. May we say goodbye when it’s hard and hello when we just want to turn and run. From speaking love to moving away- there are many seasons of hard.

May we be a people of big love carried by small steps. All over our neighborhoods, towns, communities, and ultimately- the world. Loving in all sorts of ways allowing it to get easier and easier as we start to look a bit more like Jesus.

Like disciples.

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

-Jesus

Loves always,
Kati


Follow writingwithintrees on Facebook: writingwithintrees: facebook
Follow what we’re doing with our new house here: Café of Life, Chelsea: a place for community

scripture quoted from, John 13:35 NLT


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.

photo

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.

Advertisements

Sharing is at the heart of the God story.

Standard

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.

*********************

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.

always.god

 

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.”

******************

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].

4thshare

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

*****

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.

photo

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.

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

Standard

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

***
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  😉

***********

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.

photo

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.

a story of addiction and sweet love for the toll guy.

Standard

Feeling silly, a few days ago– after a crazy day of everything seeming to run behind schedule and then several hours of open road with those crazy kids of mine, I met the toll man.

I smiled and said, “Hello!” In my totally annoying, high pitch way.

He was all frownie.

He was crabby.

And it made me all gloomy.

So, I set out to change the world in the the most effective way of our day…

Facebook.

20140212-074113.jpg

A friend replied:

20140212-074105.jpg

And I replied…. Why haven’t I ever thought of that??

And then it hit me: Because I don’t think of every single great idea.

Even though this Friday for Valentine’s Day we will celebrate as we always do- walking around our little town handing out treats. Even though we left cocoa for the mail lady last week- even though my eight year old told the produce guy the other day “Excuse me, sir but you are doing a great job at stacking that lettuce…”

I had never thought about cheering up the toll booth guy.

Because believe it or not- we would be silly to think we can’t all learn a bit from the ideas of others. 😉

So, of course.. I stopped at SAM’s during our road trip and bought a little bit of love in a box.

20140212-075216.jpg

And after eating two Kit- Kat bars on my own… (that is a sad truth) we saw the toll man again.

And we gave him a little bar of love.

He smiled.

Well, as you know— when you find what makes people smile, you sort of get addicted to making it happen.

And when you have a gigantic box of goodness tempting you to eat.just.one.more you can’t help but want to share more love so the candy is gone ; )

Yup, we gave the car wash man one too.

Do you know what that car wash guy did? He stopped in the middle of washing someone’s windshield and JUMPED UP AND DOWN. Then he gave my 12 year old a fist pump, and even said, “Oh my, Oh my, God Bless You”

Now my 12 year old is addicted too.

Of course, It got me thinking… maybe you would like to join our addiction? Hey! You can get 52 of those bars of love for only $28 at SAM’s Club. Or stop this morning and get one at your local convenient store and share some love with the grocery clerk, drive through man, bank clerk or even the toll guy.

——————————

Grab this picture and share it? Yup, spread the idea of simple love today.   #14daysofsimplelove

20140212-075223.jpg

Happy Monday (tuesday,wednesday,thursday and beyond)!

Kati

yeah… if there’s 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.

That stinkin’ proverbs 31 woman again. How love can shape generations to come #14daysofsimplelove

Standard

“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”  James Baldwin


like it most when I’m up before the pitter patter of little feet. I like to sit and prepare before they come bounding, excited and ready to start a new day.

They usually start by telling me all about their dreams or informing me they’re hungry.

While the house is quiet, I like to set the mood. My mood. 

It is a peaceful thing, a quiet house. Before I begin the daily battle that wages deep within me, the battle of self and selflessness, it is best if I start in the quiet.

I wonder if that’s what she thought. You know that girl.  The one who puts us all to shame. “That Proverbs 31 Woman.”

“She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.” …but no servants found here.  I’m planning my work. —  and maybe it’s best if I begin in the quiet. Begging God to help me get it all done.

“She is energetic and strong, a hard worker.” because the Lord is her strength. …because he alone is [her] rock and her salvation. [Her] fortress where [she] will never be shaken.

“She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.” …because she knows it’s the only way her children will see, those people matter.

And my very favorite part…
“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.”because she realizes she cannot parent out of fear of their future, or of her past.

“When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.” …only because she pauses. breathing quietly and deeply before she responds, perhaps?

“She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.” …because she runs one more time at the cry of help, bends down one more time to pick the little one up, and sits to read… just a little bit longer.

Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.”  because he knows, this job of being a mother—will keep her close to the heart of God.

So, they tip toe out, into the darkness of early morn one.by.one.

And then your sweeties little baby joins the two of you…

and the list goes on,
and on,
and on.

I wonder- if the Proverbs 31 Woman of today would have been able to explain herself- would she have said things like,

“Yeah, it’s super, duper hard some days and I just need my Fathers help over and over again.”

because she knew, one day she’d be old and grey. If we caught up with her years later after her hands worn from years of love and hard work, would she have told us,I realized I was raising generations when I loved my little ones so it was worth the fight. I knew the love I gave today would impact them forever. I knew I was shaping generations to come.

Because when we love them, they’re learning how to love forever, right?

Our children, our students in a classroom, our neighbor, the neighbors kids… whoever we talk to, share life with, share stories with. If we’re showing, living, and talking about love. Wow. What a difference that can make.

Are you a part of the 14 days of simple love challenge? Where we love simply, in some way — each day? Knowing our little bit of love can make a big difference. But wait! It gets even better! The great news——>> When the person we loved goes and loves someone else, all because of the love we showed them? Well, that could change the world.

Leading up to Valentine’s Day why not love, simply each of the 14 days? Besides, why save big love for only one day, right? Here is how it works:

Everyday there will be a new simple way to love posted here. Each day you use that simple love idea and run with it. However that way is possible for you- do it!

Everyone is looking for someone to love them. And the more we love, the happier our little hearts are.

“The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread” – Mother Teresa.

Today’s simple love: Give Instruction With Kindness.

Image

“Her words are wise and kindness is rule when she gives instruction” Proverbs 31:26

this.one.will.be.hardest.for.me.

Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised.

Loves today and always,

#14daysofsimplelove guide:
Day One: Who said grown men can’t date boys
Day Two: Everyone’s view is different than mine

Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies.

Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She finds wool and flax and busily spins it. She is like a merchant’s ship, bringing her food from afar. She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard. She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night. Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber. She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy. She has no fear of winter for her household, for everyone has warm clothes. She makes her own bedspreads. She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns. Her husband is well known at the city gates, where he sits with the other civic leaders. She makes belted linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants. She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her:
“There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised.”

Proverbs 31:10-30 NLT

yeah… if there’s an ad below here—> don’t click the creepy ad  (yes, directly below here, some strange video perhaps?) I didn’t put it there = /

So, you think everyone is better than you huh? Think again.

Standard

THIS is what I look like when the little things I write matter to people and they actually read it and I’m left feeling like a little Minion on the movie Despicable Me saying,  “whaaatttt?”

20140131-092045.jpg

That, my friends- is a thirty year old woman taking a planned ‘selfie’. =)

Cue next picture of me climbing into my turtle shell- bound for hiding because I think maybe people have it all wrong? Maybe they don’t really understand I’m just a mess trying to figure it all out and it just so happens, my heart pitter-patters for words? Maybe they don’t know I’m just a silly girl who loves sharing words on a screen- hoping one day they’ll spill over onto real sheets of paper and sit next to peoples bedposts. Do people even know that I really don’t know what I’m doing? Like for real- I may love words, stories, and sharing brokenness with the story of Gods redemption, but I don’t even know where the commas go and spell check is my best friend.

So, yeah. I know. It’s a scary impossible,  you just know everyone can’t wait to see you fail sort of dream.

But it gets me thinking just a bit- makes me wonder:“Do people reading my silly words understand they’re amazing? No, seriously. Do they realize they’re created to be unique, different, and totally not like anyone else?”

Then I realize, the truth is: probably not.

Most of us spend a lot of our time comparing screens. Your screen is much cooler than mine. Your facebook or twitter page gets way more likes than mine and you have way more friends than me. Your kids are perfect, and you read your bible every day. Your husband takes you away for mini-vacations three times a year and he even buys you a new dress to celebrate. You’ve adopted three kids, I’ve only adopted two- you drive a new mini-van, I drive a beat up SUV with a broken heater. Your house is bigger, your family is much cooler, and you even have a dog that does tricks.

*sigh* I’m such a major loser.

20140131-092148.jpg

See I told you. Major.

If you are someone who is a major loser like me but you think you’re the only one— I’d like to share with you this simple truth:

psssst, it’s a secret. guess what?

Everyone’s kids have cranky, bad days. We all feel lonely and misunderstood from time to time. Not all of us go on vacations all of the time and I know I never get new dresses. We all spend too much money on something, and we all have our things we “just can’t live without”. We all have seasons where our spiritual walk seems dry, and we all sometimes want to walk away from a screaming child of ours at Walmart and pretend they aren’t really ours. There are days when we all want to give up or  just sit in a corner and cry. I know I’m the only one who sometimes lets a bad word fly out of frustration though- right?

Here’s the truth. Nobody’s life is picture perfect. If our lives were perfect, we wouldn’t need the cross.

There is a false reality that comes along with reading about other peoples lives day in and day out. I can get all wrapped up in what others are doing that it becomes very damaging to me as a wife, a momma, and a daughter of the King. I start to compare my life, actions, and activities, with other mommas instead of how I measure up to the calling placed on my own life; The calling of Jesus.

“Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” 1 John 2:6

If I claim to follow Jesus, I must try to live as He did. It’s not a choice- rather a reaction. It is an overflow of who I am. I am loved by the King. Oh my goodness, I get goosebumps just thinking of His love and favor!!

Isn’t it exciting? As Christ followers, we get to share with the world the beauty of being unique!

You may be like the widow who fed Elijah; or perhaps you have a faith like the Canaanite Woman whom Jesus called a dog. Perhaps you need grace, like the  the woman caught in adultery who Jesus saved from stoning. Or perhaps, you’re someone who needs to just.quit.throwing.stones. No matter what point we are in our walk with Jesus, we have only one person to imitate, Him.

I remember when I first became a stay at home momma. It all happened at once. I had just had our third kiddo, Judah. Only days out from c-section (i know you have home-births, you’re so much cooler than me) I became a stay at home, homeschooling momma. Also a full time ministers wife all in a new town, surrounded by all new people. One night, I was crying, talking to that sweet man of mine about how I just didn’t know how to juggle it all. In response, he looked at me and said something I will never forget.

He said:

“As long as you are being the best daughter you can be; then how can you not be the best mother, wife, and friend.”

I still think of that every day. “Father, I’m doing the best I can; you’ll have to fill in where I lack.” And trust me, I lack a lot. So, the truth is simple. We’re all always falling, and He’s always picking us up, dusting us off and helping us start again. In the world of computer screens, blogs, facebook, pinterest, twitter– we hardly see the falls, we only see the beauty of His help.

For instance, see my little Emmyn making a cutie-pie snow man in this picture?

20140131-092109.jpg

Well, what you don’t see is the fight she gave me when I made her wear boots instead of flip-flops only minutes before. =)

Oh and… remember the post about my crazy past of drug addiction and God’s saving grace? What you don’t realize is… i didn’t even realize my sweet man (aka HUSBAND) didn’t even know the ‘date story’ from that post.  ha, ha… oops = /  I thought he knew every little detail of my life.

How about this random pig we saw walking down the road a few weeks back? Yeah- that was strange and my kids wanted to take him home. I almost did.

20140131-092135.jpg

See this cutie pie picture from our adoption day? Yeah, the picture of my boys? Isn’t it nice of Triston to be giving Judah a piggy-back ride? Well, what you don’t see is Judah running over in between picture shots to get a huge drink of lemonade and then spilling it all down his shirt. So, we had to hide the evidence. Hence, their sweet, on screen, brotherly love. ; )

6

The truth is, there is no one good- accept the Father. Including people with cutsie little blogs or pictures on Facebook. Our days are filled with challenges, temptations, sin, wrong choices, harsh tones in our voices, and bad judgment calls. That’s the beauty of grace.

He is so good to give such good gifts.

Titus 3: 4-7 NIV
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

May we be seeking Him each and every moment of our days, friends. May He fill our every thought. May we compare ourselves to that sweet Jesus of the cross. Who took on flesh to live a life of example and sacrifice. Let us not compare ourselves to the broken brother or sister sitting next to us in the pew, showing up in our newsfeed, or walking beside us at Walmart.

While you slap your little babies hand, while you wipe your little guys runny nose… again. While you have yet another hard discussion with your teenager; while you show grace to your nagging mother just one more time. While you serve at that job you hate just one more day, or help that person just.one.more.time.  May you remember to be the best Daughter of the King you can be.

“As long as you are being the best daughter you can be; then how can you not be the best mother, wife, and friend.”
The rest will fall into place, my friend.

“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.”  Ephesians 5:1-2

No better than the next guy,
Kati

.
yeah… if there’s an ad below here—> don’t click the creepy ad  (yes, directly below here, some strange video perhaps?) I didn’t put it there = /

Do things that make the white guy at WalMart say, “Da** girl, how many baby daddies have you had? An adoption story.

Standard

Everyday. That’s how often someone asks me about adoption.

Most people want to know- “Doesn’t it wreck your life?

I don’t think people ask everyone who has adopted this same question. I don’t think the person who adopts the cutie pie little baby is asked this question. I’m sure their most asked question is different.

I think it’s the people who adopt the older “un-adoptables” who are asked my question. Sort of like – everyone loves puppies, but the older pit-bulls- nobody wants.

The problem is:

They all wreck your life.

Big, little; nice or mean. HIV positive, healthy. Two months old, ten years old. Domestic, International. All of them. They all wreck you.

This is how I want to answer everyone who asks.

It’s hard. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Each day, everyday. It.is.hard.

It’s hard because when I go to the school and the kids in her class interview me, like they do all of the other MVP student’s moms,  they want to know: “What was her first word?” And of course, I can’t say, “Well, I only met her nine months ago… let me get back to ya on that”  ; )

It’s hard because when we celebrate birthdays in our home- we look at baby pictures. And for them, there simply are none. And the truth is: there never will be.

It’s hard because as much as you try to be mom and you really are- you simply are not the only mom they’ve ever known and you never will be because they still remember that mom.

It’s hard because as much as you tell them you love them- at first, they wonder if you’re for real.

It’s hard because, by this age, they really should know how to take baths, eat food, pour water or simply apply chapstick and lotion but they just don’t.

It’s hard because every now and then, they tell you stories of dark nights, no mattresses or food. They remember bugs crawling on them, and dogs hurting them. They have stories of dads yelling and people leaving. Over and over again.

It’s hard because as much as you love them- as much as they’re yours forever and you’d take a whole dozen of them. You still get really mad because someone did this to them.

And then I think:

Oh yeah, you bet we’ve been wrecked.

We’ve been wrecked by that sweet Jesus who makes all things new. Wrecked by this love He has shown us in real life by the true heart of adoption. Wrecked by this reality. Really? Is this the way it is? Jesus loves me? Me? Messy, abandoned me? Me? Always messing up, never getting it right, me?  He.adopted.me?

And now, out of the love of two broken people– two people He adopted into His family, that man of mine and little ‘ol me, we get to show the love of a savior to two kiddos? Two kiddos who, as you can tell, are totally “Gibson”…

IMG_2042

Let me give it to ya straight.

Adoption isn’t for everyone. I get that. I’m not saying it is. Fruit Loops aren’t for everyone either. But just so you know, I think they’re delish. =)

Here is something else I do know. God is moving in the hearts of His people to care for orphans. It simply must be the reason I am asked every single day about adoption. It must be the reason my email is flooded with questions from people I don’t even know asking me how to help with their hurting adopted kids. It must be the reason I am asked, almost daily, “How do I adopt.”

If you are someone who is asking that question allow me to share with you this:

Adoption is hard.

The paperwork is endless, the people involved in the process aren’t always the best. It will require a lot of work. Your house may need some changes- your perspective might need some fine tuning. Some kids are really messed up, they need your love pretty bad. Some people are rude to you- it’s just the truth. Like the man at Wal-Mart who took it upon himself to ask me “Damn girl, how many baby daddies have you had?” as my little crew of white and brown children trailed behind me– totaling six all together ; )

Yeah, he must be a real winner.

Who cares about all of that stuff.

Here is what really matters:

Today I watched my boys play basketball in the freezing cold wearing matching NBA sweatbands. And if the nerdy matching sweatbands weren’t enough to make this momma tear up- I heard Triston (who is adopted) say, “You’re the best brother Judah.”

Here is what really matters:

Two days ago we celebrated Ashley’s ninth birthday- it was her first birthday with us. The truth is, she doesn’t know what this momma was really celebrating. I was celebrating her surviving those first eight years and rejoicing in knowing she gets to live the rest of them- no longer surviving.

Those are the kinds of things that really matter.

IMG_2674 P1070953 P1070986 P1070947 IMG_2710 IMG_2748 IMG_2214 IMG_2229 IMG_2757 IMG_2426 IMG_2758 IMG_2542 IMG_2795 IMG_2697 IMG_2699 IMG_2694 IMG_2683

The hard paperwork and countless expenses associated with adoption will fade away.  In fact, some people don’t even have much expense or paperwork. The truth is- the scary unknowns don’t stay unknown for long. And who knows? Your house might be more ready than you think. Someone might answer you “yes” to adopting, rather than “no”. You just never know until you go for it.

When I watch this video- [the video just below]  I know it’s about a sweet baby and the fight for clean water. But I want you to know this:

When you adopt- THIS is the type of world, wonder, and opportunity you offer a child. A chance to see it all for the first time. A chance for them to fulfill their “If I had a mommy and daddy list” and believe me.

They have that list.

“Once I knew only darkness and stillness… my life was without past or future… but a little word from the fingers of another fell into my hand that clutched at emptiness, and my heart leaped to the rapture of living.”

-Helen Keller

May we be the hands that clutch at emptiness, friends.

All my love made possible thru Him,

Kati

Related Posts:
Jesus can love thru a crazy person like me?: an adoption story.
His grace covers even the drug addict, time and time again.

 

.