Forget what everyone says: love is hard.

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It’s our family motto.

do hard things.

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

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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


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scripture quoted from, John 13:35 NLT


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

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

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


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

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

–Mother Teresa


April 2012

I almost didn’t do it.

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

“I’m tired.”

Ever felt that way?

 

 

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

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

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

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

I am so broken. 

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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


John 8:1-11

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

 We even had christian music playing in the background. 

 

 

 

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

It’s about Grace.

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

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

 


Much love,
Kati

 

some people don’t need to hear about jesus

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When we got there, of course, it happened again. Looking around in amazement, I thought to myself, “Just get busy and get rid of some of this stuff.”

She seemed to walk fine to me, playing with her little puppy outside. In fact, when we got there she was walking around her yard on her cell phone. Why does she need our help, I wondered.

I unloaded my little children into the cold evening air expecting to finish in two hours only to reach the gate and know it would take much more than a cold evening, this would take another day.

She had replied to an ad we had placed in the local paper offering free leaf raking help to local people 55+ who either needed help or needed us to do the job for them. We were there to rake her yard. A simple task. After all, her yard needed major help, it hadn’t been helped for several years.

When you walked through the gate, you could see her life that once was. Play toys, flower gardens, sitting areas, and even a pool. At first glance someone would think…

“This person doesn’t need help, she just needs to clean up her yard.” 

 That is what I love about our Jesus. It’s not always the person who needs help he’s helping, it’s usually me. 

We worked hard that night, doing as much as we could.  The kids we’re having a blast, there were so many leaves to have fun in, making piles, running and jumping. Discovering treasures that had been buried under the mess of leaves for what looked like, years. 

I always do it. I judge. I make excuses for why someone isn’t worthy of my Graces. Why I don’t have time to help. Why my help won’t make a difference because I’m just one person- we’re just one family.

I really am a mess. 

As I worked that night, I couldn’t stop thinking about Grace and how absolutely desperate I am for the precious gift. I also thought about how so many people look to me like they don’t need [or deserve] it.

 I stopped and chatted with *Ms. Martha for a bit. She told me of her grandkids who once swam in the big pool (now overtaken with weeds) and how long she saved for that patio furniture nobody sits in anymore. She shared with me about all the pins in her back, the countless surgeries she had endured and how she was preparing for yet another one. She said thank you countless times. When we left, her eyes filled with tears and she said,  

“Nobody ever helps.” 

 

She had experienced Grace and I don’t really know how it happened. I mean, all we did was rake some leaves. My goodness, the kids even argued a few times over the rakes. 

How does grace show up looking like some crazy kids and a tired mom? 

Of this I am always reminded: when we love people, no matter how big or small He does all the rest. He moves and stirs their hearts the way they need stirred. The way only he knows. He uses our crazy, messed up lives to love and help people. 

It’s how they know, He [that magnificent jesus of ours] cares. 

They know He cares because you came. Because you sat and chatted, because you touched them. Because you hugged them, cleaned their house, talked them away from their addiction one more time, took them into your home one more time, or perhaps forgave them once again. 

I realized that night, for the first time. Some people are just ready to see Jesus.

Some people don’t need to be taught about Jesus; they don’t even need to hear the Sunday sermon. They’ve heard it all before– they know all about our Jesus. They’ve heard the stories. The heartbreaking truth? Some may even sit in a pew all their days and never really see Jesus.

I’d like to tell you it’s always easy. I’d like to tell you loving on people always brings contentment to your soul, always fills your voids.  I’d like to tell you everyone I’ve ever touched was nice. I’d like to tell you my kids understood yesterday when I denied the homeless man a dollar but then he denied me the opportunity to buy him lunch or even bend to pray with him. I’d like to tell you I’m totally content where I am in serving others and I’d like to tell you I  don’t pray each time I read Katie’s  updates that He would send me there to help. I’d like to tell you, I don’t question God and beg Him to let me do something more. I’d like to tell you I’ve never had to stop and pray before we step foot out the door- headed to help- asking that sweet Jesus to forgive me for yelling at the kids or being impatient when we’re trying to get out of the house. I’d like to tell you I didn’t have to ask for peoples forgiveness time and time again.

But I can’t

I can’t because I am desperate. So, desperate for His Grace. I can’t because I’m broken. I’m broken and only complete in Him.

Like so many, I didn’t deserve grace. I was a liar and a thief.  I was an unwed mother at 17. I was selfish,  mean, and full of hate. I was broken.

But grace? That gift I don’t understand one bit? I fell into it hard. And when it caught me, it changed me. It didn’t take away my struggles- no. It gave me a hand to hold thru the struggles. It gave me hope of a day with no struggles. It gave me peace.

It said, “Hey you. I really love you.”

And He has to say it over and over again: “No, no, no. for real. YOU. I love you. Hey Kati- I know the world says you’re no good or not good enough. I know your mind says you have to get it all right before I’ll love you. But no, for real. I love you now. Messy yard and all. Messed up plans, dreams, and hopes- I’ve got that. Wrong decisions, damaged relationships- I’ve got that.”

Someone really loves like that? Yup. He sure does.

Reminds me of a story:

John 8:1-11

New Living Translation (NLT)

A Woman Caught in Adultery

8 Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”11 “No, Lord,” she said.And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

————–

I bet she thought she was a total loser ; ) And He just loved her, showing grace in abundance. He’s pretty cool like that.

May you fall into grace today and everyday friend and rest there peacefully. May it cause you to be a crazy bright light- shining for Him everywhere you go. And when you fall and stumble? Like I do every.single.day. may he gently help you up. dust you off. and make you new.over and over again.

All my messy, broken love~
Kati

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*ms. martha’s name changed for story