Wednesday, April 25, 2012

so many things...

I was blessed with a father that never took life for granted, that used every moment we had together to tell me how much he loved me & how proud he was. He had a vigor for life & a magnetic personality that was irresistible. He danced at all my middle school dances & always reminded me about the quiver of my lip that made him give me my way when I was little (He would say I couldn't tell you no baby.) He was a lover of the OSU Pokes, conversations with strangers, and food. He had a great smile & made you feel like you were pretty stinkin special. Observing & reflecting on his life has brought about so much & tonight brings me to this: As I type I hear my 3 year old playfully giggling in the bathtub & asking for more cheddar bunnies. Yes. In the bathtub he is munching on organic cheese crackers. I admit, I'm partial! I've learned in a painful way to cherish moments like this with him, that before I may not have. I know it seems mundane but I have often been reminded since dad passed that life is just that, it's life. We aren't waiting on it to happen, it IS happening today…right now, catch it because it is quickly passing by. You see this time a year in a half ago I might not be seeing life from this view but I do now. Life has changed yet it still marches on. How many times do we cut our loved ones conversations or experiences with them short because we are too busy. How many times did your child say mom before you rudely said "What?" I'm as guilty as the next parent but what I'm trying to convey is that every second of every day that you get to spend with your loved ones is a gift. I don't think we begin to understand this until we know what & who we are. I've began to understand the importance of loving who God created me to be. I'm currently reading a book by Paula Rinehart called "Strong Women,soft hearts" in it she says The more completely we belong to Christ, the more of our real selves we become. I LOVE that statement & am finding it to be true. I've noticed that as I have retrained my brain to receive & accept the unlimited supply of the love & grace of God that my passions for life are shining brighter than before. I'm filtering through & making stacks one for non-important & one for extremely important! The cloudy picture is starting to become clearer. What I've been put on this earth for is starting to make since. One of the most beautiful things about life is that God gave each one of us different personalities, quirks, passions,and dreams. He created me with a list of favorites, things He knew that would especially wow me when I encountered them like the mountains, the sound of rain, the vibrant colors of the flowers in the spring, the fresh fallen snow. I guess what's changed the last several years is my ability to quiet my heart & stop to breath in the fresh air & be aware of Who gave it to me. To acknowledge the Lord throughout every day & thank Him for life. Life is absolutely something I am grateful for & far be it from me to be given this gift of life and take one second for granted. xoxoxo, Katie

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Fear not little flock….

I feel compelled to write about fear more so because of the recent weather & the fear that has been evoked in the heart of man in this region. There was quite a bit of severe weather yesterday but the forecasters are amped & warning us all for much worse today. While I appreciate the warnings & will take appropriate measures to ensure our safety I will not be letting anxiety, fear, or doubt control me & my prayer is that you won't either. My first thought about fear is always this scripture "For God has not given us the spirit of fear(refers to a disposition of the mind) but the spirit of Power and of love and of a sound mind(self-control)"2 Timothy 1:7 I read that verse to say that my God, my creator, the one who knew me in the womb & even before then did NOT I repeat did NOT give His people a spirit of fear. Think about this for a moment with me Your heavenly Father designed & intended for you to have a mind that not only operated in power but in love & ultimately self control. I looked up some of the Greek translation of the words in this passage & was excited to see that the word power in this scripture means "a spirit of strength, meaning manly vigour in opposition to a spirit of cowardice." I almost feel like the spirit behind some of these storms is strongly lead by fear. Then I imagine God asking me if I trust Him. I can only think in my own human understanding the example of a parent & child. Would you as a parent ever leave your child alone in a storm? To face it & experience it alone? Well heck no!! So why then despite what happens would the Lord let those who call out to Him as children think that we needed to fear? I believe it's because it's our nature to try & figure it out on our own. But today I encourage you to talk to your Father, God about all this. Refuse to be lead by anything less than the still calmness of a loving Father who has your good at the root of everything that happens. Jesus didn't come to prevent anything "bad" from happening in our lives He came so that He might walk with us through them. Truth is I can lose my home, my car, my life & ultimately it's all good because my Father is God. He set my life into motion 33 plus years ago. He has never failed me yet & He won't any of His children. He is faithful, He is faithful, He is faithful….I can not say that enough. Today do not allow words of fear to direct your conversations today. Speak to God, let Him know your concerns He understands them & I know without a shadow of a doubt will replace them with peace only He can give. Encourage your children to breath easy, to not fear. We are teaching valuable lessons to them through our response to such chaotic activity in our fallen world. Pack a bag, know where you will seek shelter if the need arise but above all include the Lord in your planning He longs to lead you. There is safety, peace, and joy found in His shelter.

So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matt 10:31 NIV

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27 NLT

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3 NIV

They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. Psalm 112:7 NLT

But the Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love. Psalm 33:18 NLT

Tuck these scriptures away in your heart, repeat them out loud if anxiety which is rooted in fear, tries to attach itself to you. Take this time if you're a parent to talk about God's protective power, His love, and how important it is to trust Him for everything including the weather. I hope & pray this speaks to someone & by the power of the Holy Spirit you are at peace today & into tonight. It is said that the phrase "fear not" is in the Bible 365 times, I'm thinking one for every day of the year.

Rest, trust, and abide


Sunday, April 1, 2012

the freedom that comes from grace...

Have you ever strived for something only to fail miserably? Or wanted something so bad but had the preconceived notion that you weren't worthy of receiving it? I feel like that's how I handled God's grace for what seems like forever. I understood who He was, what His son Jesus did, and ultimately had a pretty good understanding of the "right" way to behave. I worked tirelessly at trying to please Him. I would purposefully not cuss, or be moody, you get the point? But then I would get tired or someone who really tick me off & I would blurt out some fleshly response only to live with the guilt of letting God down for a few days until I had forgotten or repented enough that I thought He had forgiven me. You see I was "working" to accomplish His approval. Working?! To please my loving Father?! Father... That's the relationship that I felt like I had to work to obtain. WRONG! I believe the Lord purposefully gave me a Father who I affectionately called daddy to show me exactly what a Father is. My memories are of a daddy who loved, kissed, and chose to believe the best about me in all situations. He always believed my intention wasn't to be evil or to disobey from lack of respect. You see not only did my daddy believe the best about me, I believe God always believes the best about His children. I believe He loves me despite my failings. I believe He lovingly desires me to talk to Him about everything. That's grace friends. Unmerited, undeserved favor. It was obtained for us by way of Jesus & His gruesome journey to the Cross. That is why we no longer have to work to get to God. We only have to rest in who we are in Him. The only way we discover that is by reading the scriptures & reminding ourselves daily that we belong to Him. Our worth is not from men, our purpose isn't created by men, our significance in this world isn't from men either. Our price tag says paid in full! 1 Corinthians 6:20 says we have been bought with a price(Jesus) therefore we should glorify God in our body & in our spirits. It's about living a life that glorifies Him because of what He has done not because you are attempting to earn something. That only causes strife & the potential to fail(which we all do at some point because we are human)When you place your trust & faith in God, He does what He does best & that is guide us into truth. It is a learned response on our part because over time if you understand how much God loves you instead of focusing on how much you love God you begin to operate & function out of the appreciation & love that comes when you realize you are good enough! I believe when I finally understood that I was precious in His sight & valued that I started to "rest" in that promise that His grace was sufficient(2 Corinthians 12:9) & that I indeed was immediately made whole. My goal now is to operate & function in the precious gift of grace. I am enough. You are enough. The challenge is retraining your brain from all that religious rules that no one can ever obtain. When we think we can do anything to be "better" than the next sinner we are operating under law & not grace. The real truth is if you are guilty of breaking any one part of the law then you are guilty of breaking it all (James 2:10) That my friends is why Jesus came & died in the first place to reconcile us back to God. His blood shed is enough to cover you, you need only repent & draw near to the one who made you. He longs to be in your daily life, in your conversations,apart of every facet of your life. And just like a earthly daddy desires all that is good for you so does our heavenly Daddy ;-)

♥ Katie