I was reading over old emails from my husband the other night. Some were hard, hurtful ones from rough times, and others made me smile, loving ones from our early dating stage.

I came across one email from a friend, an email I had forwarded to my husband with the attitude of “how could she say that?”. Now that I look at her correction, a response to my attitude in leaving my husband, I know that her words were right and her heart was loving. It was hard for me to remember the stage I was at when I received the email, the thoughts of leaving, the selfishness of it all, the numbness to how my actions were affecting my family and friends. But it was needed. Sometimes I need to remember the seriousness of the situation I put myself in.

What really hit me in this email was the fact that she acknowledged that my struggles were spiritual and that I needed to get back to God. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to do that at the time. I’ve realized through my last two years how serious spiritual blindness is and how thorough satan can have a hold on someone. Why is it that we have all the answers to these problems when it’s happening, but before it happens we don’t prepare ourselves? As Christians, shouldn’t we prepare for these times of struggle? Shouldn’t we educate ourselves and defend ourselves so that when they creep up, we’ll be able to fight well? It’s like only building walls around your kingdom when the enemy is standing at the gate. It’s a little too late then! It seems like it’s rare for a person to prepare ahead of time for these struggles and those that are doing this, we usually label them as “fanatics” or “super religious”.

This email and others reminded me of the times where I was struggling with thoughts of leaving my husband, trying to fight the thoughts…feeling like I was barely treading water, and then how I sank. I was drowning, I was trying to fight satan without realizing how he was even having a hold of me.

I remember after I first left, telling people that I had “struggled for years”, “prayed for years that God would change my heart” and “really pursued God”. It wasn’t true. Yes, I had struggled for years, but had I fought satan’s attacks? No. I didn’t even realize half of his attacks were attacks. I kept letting them in, thinking I was only human for thinking or doing certain things. I didn’t pray for years for God to change my heart, I prayed every now and then and certainly didn’t wage spiritual war for my marriage, husband or even my own heart. And there was no way my spiritual walk would be considered “pursuing God”. I went to church on some Sundays, rarely read my bible other than that, and prayed off and on during the week. I didn’t chase after anything.

And people wonder why their marriages are struggling? They wonder why they’re not hearing God’s voice?

Do you know what it is to chase something?

When I was little, we would love it when a chicken would get out of the run. We would chase it all over the yard, we’d work as a team to corner it, we’d pounce on it when it ran frantically by, we’d use whatever we could to catch it. And it was fun! We’d laugh so hard after it was caught and share stories about the thoughts that were running through our heads as we were chasing it. Or about the panicked expression in it’s eyes as it tried to escape. We chased it. And we didn’t give up until it was caught and back in it’s pen.

We need to chase after our God with the same energy. We are built to catch him, built to feel that excitement of the hunt and built to work as a team in the chase. It is what we were created for. When God created us, molded us with his hands, he created a deep yearning in our hearts that could only be satisfied with feeling close to him.

Our society has engrained in us to pursue anything BUT our relationship with Christ. We go to church to dress up once a week and see friends and go for lunch afterwards. What would happen if we spent the entire day praying. We got up early, prayed and spent time reading our bible, then we drove to church listening to Christian music and really listened to the words and as we sang them, we meant them. Then in church, we wrote notes because we wanted to make sure we read them later and applied them. Then afterwards, instead of going out for lunch, we had friends over to our place, had a prayer meeting where everyone shared their hearts and we prayed over each other for the struggles we were all going through. What if after they all left, we sat down with our spouses and waged a prayer war for our marriages and for each other? What if that night, we lay in bed and read the bible with our spouse, and prayed Psalms for each other before we went to sleep?

What if we allowed our days to be so consumed by God and our pursuit of him that everything else seemed like an interference.

I feel like we’re all chasing wholeness, contentment and fulfillment but not allowing ourselves to acknowledge that our relationship with God is something we need to allow ourselves to be consumed by in order to find these things. I was chasing after these things, I was wanting to be “happy” and “full” before I left my husband. But if I had chased after God instead of just these feelings, I would never have left my husband. I would have realized that all these things come from God. And when you simplify your pursuit of happiness, contentment, fulfillment, peace, restfulness…into one word, one Being – God – it all falls into place.

He will give you everything you need. Everything your heart desires. And most times, our heart isn’t really desiring physical things, but instead it’s desiring closeness with him.

I think that we need to allow ourselves to be consumed and obsessed with our God. Forget society’s definition of wholeness and satisfaction, lets allow ourselves to chase after our creator and defend ourselves for the trouble in life that is promised to come. Then, when it hits, our castle will already have it’s walls and our defenses will already be strong and we will be ready to go to battle.

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I’m finding that sometimes living for God’s glory can get busy and even complicated. It’s a simple concept, but when do you rest in him? When do you “be still”?

A friend and I were just chatting about this. There’s so many things that we can do to give God glory, so many things that we can fill our lives with…but what do we put effort into and what do we rest in? When do we give up the ‘good’ and wait for the ‘great’?

I have been told by God, in no uncertain terms, to return my heart to my husband. After I took action and stepped into obedience, God instructed me to leave the city I was living in and return to my hometown. He literally spoke to me on the top of a mountain in Peru, and showed me that this is what he wanted me to do. So, knowing the dissatisfaction that running from his will gave me for the past two years, I did it. I knew that following his instruction to me, no matter how difficult, no matter if it made sense or not, would make me feel more whole than ever before.

I’m not running any more, especially not if God speaks to me on the top of a mountain. When he speaks, I jump. I’ve learned my lesson. And I’m sure I will continued to learn it.

Sometimes when God speaks to me, it’s in a dream, sometimes it’s through his Word, and sometimes it’s a complete sense of ‘knowing’ in my heart. The instructions from God to move to my home town were in a combination of these things, but it was the instructions for life when I was home that were the ‘knowing’.

I just ‘knew’ that when I moved home, God wanted me to just live. Just relax in him, rest my soul, build my relationship with him and just live. I just ‘knew’ that he would be working while I was living. And he did. It was incredible to watch God answer prayer after prayer, speak to me so clearly through other people and his word, and to help me gracefully transition into my new / old life.

But then the novelty wears off a bit. The normal life sets in. The realization that my bills are being paid…but that is all. Spending money is nil. My own home is not an option. New clothes are a luxury. And sushi and a movie? That’s a dream.

Ok God. What now? Can I switch jobs? Earn more money? Get my own apartment or house? I start to get frustrated with not hearing his voice. I start to ask him what my new instructions are. I start to get angry with where my life is.

I start to want more.

Societies pressures of “normal” start to press down on me.

God’s word says to “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10), but how are you supposed to be still and know when you’ve followed his instructions into what most people would deem as “crazy” and suddenly you feel like he’s forgotten you?

My friend is reading the book, Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God by Henry Blackaby. One night when her and I were texting back and forth about our rough emotional battles, she read a section of the book and sent this quote:

He just kept doing the last thing his Father told him to do until his Father told him what to do next.

It’s so easy for me to complicate my walk with God, to put societies expectations onto my life, to assess opinions and apply them to my actions. But really, I don’t need to worry about these things. When it really comes down to it, they are not going to get me through the Pearly Gates. God is.

So when life gets complicated, when I start to worry or get angry, when I get frustrated at how my life is so abnormal and simple, I just need to remember to focus on what God has asked me to do and wait until he tells me to do something different.

Bringing glory to God is simple, let’s not complicate it.

Listen.

Do.

Do. Do until you’ve heard new instructions and then do them.

Listen. Do. Listen. Do.

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 1:11-12

 

I read this verse last night, not even meaning to find a verse that applied to bringing God glory, but stumbled across it as I was praying for God to show me something to feed my heart.

Sometimes when I read the bible, I forget that everything in it is true. Weird statement to make, I know, but really. If I was to read this verse without pausing and thinking about it, the meaning I would walk away with is “Ok, God works out the BIG things in my life so I can bring him glory.” Which isn’t such a bad thing to walk away with, but it’s not the truth.

God works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.

Everything.

Every. Single. Thing.

If I have learned anything since returning to God, it’s this. Every single thing happens for a reason. Nothing goes unnoticed by God, and every little thing that happens in your life is because he knows it is happening, because he planned it to happen and because he wants it to happen. There is a reason. Sometimes, especially in the hard moments, it’s hard to see this reason and hard to believe there even is a reason…but there is.

I have a note in my phone that is titled “Coincidences”. I realize there’s no coincidences, it’s a sarcastic title, but it’s where I keep a list of all the “Coincidences” that happen in my life. And there’s a huge list!

Easter weekend I made the sudden decision to fully return to God and return my heart to my husband. It was an amazing change inside me, one that compares to the day I invited Jesus to be my savior; joy, butterflies, anticipation…emotions you can’t describe. I was in my hometown, visiting my parents, and in the visit with an old friend my true heart tumbled out and I knew my life needed to change. I broke up with the guy I was dating and in love with and God became number one in my life for the first time ever. I devoted my heart fully to my husband, and committed to living as his wife until God restored our marriage, regardless of where my husbands heart was.

Coincidence #1: Returning home to the city I was living in, I realized that our church was starting a 5 week series on Crazy Love and relationships. Coincidence #2: I attending a bible study that happened to be studying Esther and how God changes our destiny. Coincidence #3: In this bible study a girl at my table shared with me how God had just restored her marriage. Coincidence #4: I started volunteering and “randomly” met a girl who was waiting on God to restore her marriage as well. Coincidence #5: As I was praying for marriages and had just started praying for my husband, my hubby drives around the corner.

The list goes on and on and on!

Nothing. NOTHING happens by accident.

Everything is in HIS plan, in HIS will, in HIS timing for HIS glory.

And the best part is that his plan is perfect, his will is perfect and his timing is perfect. If we wait on him, live our lives to bring him glory, and allow him the space to work, our lives will be more full than we can even imagine.

 

What if you committed every one of your actions to giving glory to God? Before you did something, bought an item, planned a trip, went to work, you prayed and asked God to show you how you could glorify him in that action. And what if you actually listened to his prompting after that prayer?

I think that this is where I got stuck before. Listening to God’s answer. I’m obviously not perfect, I struggle with this still, but I’m becoming more sensitive to listening to the little tugs he puts on my heart.

I have spent the last two years running from God. Denying his voice in my life and doing, literally, anything I wanted. I am the Poster Child for the Prodigal Son story.

Two years ago, March 1st, I left my husband. I had been struggling with thoughts of leaving for a while and I “finally” admitted to myself what I had subconsciously known was coming: I wanted a divorce. I told him I was leaving, packed my car, and drove 9 hours in -30c weather to my new city where I had already rented a room and applied for jobs.

God told me, not even two months into leaving my husband, to read the bible. His voice was clear and loud, and as I lay in bed crying hot, angry tears, I told him in no uncertain terms that I wouldn’t do it. His voice told me that by being obedient and reading my bible I would return to my husband, and I retorted that I wasn’t ready for that. And so I didn’t listen. I lived my completely rebellious life, partied, dated and slept with other men (which is really just a nice way of saying I committed adultery), and ran in the opposite direction of God.

And then one day I decided to be obedient. Something had been slowly changing in me, even if I wasn’t admitting at the time that it was God bringing me back to his kingdom. Again, I lay in bed, and I looked over to my bible. “Ok God, I’ll read one verse, but that’s all I have time for.” I picked up my bible and couldn’t put it down.

And my life changed.

Suddenly, and I mean suddenly, my heart was on fire for God. I was craving every bit of his presence, I couldn’t get enough of his Word, sermons, books, Christian friends…I couldn’t be satisfied but yet I hadn’t never felt so satisfied in my life.

All God needed was for me to listen to his voice and be obedient.

All I had to do was take one step towards him and he would rush towards me. Like the Prodigal Son, all I had to do was take that one little step towards home and he saw me from the distance and ran towards me with open arms.

You will be shocked at the changes God will do in your life when you listen to him and commit every action you take to giving him Glory. God will speak to you more clearly than you’ve ever heard before. Give yourself time to listen to him, pray for his voice to be clear, and dare yourself to be obedient even when it doesn’t make sense.

My commitment is to give God glory in every thing I do. It’s hard, it’s sometimes frustrating and it’s definitely not “normal”. My life is not what I would choose it to be, but my heart is finally whole and I am satisfied in my Savior.

 

For some reason lately, Romans 8 has been re-occuring often. Either in verses I’ve randomly seen on Facebook, or the pastor at my church has mentioned it…Last night, because apparently it takes me a week or so to act on God’s nudging, I spent time studying it. I love tearing verses apart. I love writing them out, then highlighting the more meaningful words and looking up their definitions. And then I look the verse up in a couple different translations. It really helps me have a well rounded view of what the verse means, and I find that the different translations give different perspectives. I really love this process!

In our Christian circles, verses have a tendency to be over-quoted. It gets to the point that we have heard them many, many times and we turn our brains off to the true meaning and feeling behind them. It’s bound to happen in anything, not just our Christian walk, but it’s frustrating in our walk with God because it means SO much to shut certain messages off even if it is subconsciously.  Romans 8:28-30 are some of those verses for me.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified.

I’ve heard this verse a thousand times. I’m sure I’ve read it a thousand times too. I’m sure there have been times where I’ve gotten something from it, and then the next time I got something else from it, and then the time after that I skimmed over it thinking “Yeah yeah, I’ve read this one before”. But this time, I flushed it out, grabbed definitions and translations and really studied it.

…We know that in ALL things, GOD WORKS for the GOOD of those who love him…

In every single situation God works for us. He never sleeps, he never has his attention on just one person or circumstance, his eyes and ears are ALWAYS on every single person he has created. He listens to their prayers and works towards bringing them into the life that he has designed for them.

Like I said before, I am a part-time waitress. Not really by choice, but because God pretty much told me to take this job. He told me he would provide it. So I feel I am meant to be there until he tells me to leave. I’m going to be honest, my tips suck. They’re awful. I’ll work a full day and get $40. Big whoop. I don’t think that I’m a bad waitress, I love serving and really work at being thoughtful and kind to my customers, but the “small town mentality” is that tips are barely 10%. Which is fine, not only are tips in addition to my wage and not mandatory, but if I truly believe that God is my provider and that he is working in EVERY situation for my good, I can put my trust in him that he is looking out for my financial situation. Especially when he told me to take this job.

…Who have been called according to his purpose…

There is a purpose for me. God has a plan, how often do we hear that? But how often do we actually stop to think about what that means?

God, the maker of this entire universe, the creator of the trees, the sunset and the thunder and lightening, has a PLAN. For ME. “Katie girl, there’s something I need to you do during your life on earth. I’m going to work it out, if you trust me and let the control you have on your life go, I will make it happen”. How cool is that?! The God that allows the blood to continue to pump from my heart, throughout my body, and has made a mass of flesh in my head we call a brain to compute, is telling me he has a plan for me. I have a purpose for his kingdom.

And the best part is, by allowing him to put this plan into action, I will feel more fulfilled than ever before. I will feel as though I am satisfied, as though I am accomplishing what I am meant to. I will feel WHOLE.

…For those God foreknew…

Who didn’t God foreknow? God knows everyone, he created us, in our mothers wombs he knit us together. Which means that we are ALL predestined to be like Jesus. We’re all called, we’re all justified, we’re all glorified.

This is our purpose in life! This is what will make us complete. To strive after Jesus, to pursue a personal relationship with God, to allow him to mould our lives. This is what will give us that satisfaction in life we are all searching for. Our sole purpose in life is to life according to God’s calling. Stop complicating it by asking “Well, what job does that mean I need to have? What career? What car? What house? What man?”. It’s as simple as chasing after our Saviour. Get to know him, spend time with him, listen to him, talk to him, become like him. And you will feel complete. You will feel like you’ve found what you’re looking for.

I promise.

 

For the time being, I work part-time as a waitress.

When I was considering moving back to my hometown, you know, before God literally told me on the top of a mountain to move back, God put it on my mind to apply for a job at Boston Pizza. A couple days after I came back to town I applied, untrustingly, to two places instead of just the one, for a waitressing position; Mr. Mikes, where they had a sign outside saying they were hiring, and Boston Pizza, where the manager told me when I applied that they weren’t hiring.

A day after applying to Boston Pizza, where they apparently weren’t hiring, I was called in for an interview, I was hired and on the schedule the next day. Mr. Mikes, where they were advertising a need for waitresses, took two months to call me back.

Again, rolling my eyes at myself, why can’t I just be trusting? What would it have hurt to only apply to Boston Pizza and say “Ok God, I give up control on this, I trust you”. But nope, I had to attempt to control my situation just a bit more and apply to both jobs. Only to be shown once more that control was definitely something I don’t have over my life.

No matter how much you think you’re in control of your life and circumstances, you’re not. What you have is from God, where you are is where God wants you, who you’ve become is who God has allowed you to become.

I used to wonder why leaving my husband was so easy for me.

Just over two years ago, I left my “perfect” life and beautiful husband to pursue “myself”. I found a place to live easily, within a week I had a great job with the best wage I had ever earned, friends that lived just down the street, I was in the same city as my sister, my social life was amazing…it was all so easy. So doesn’t that mean it’s right? When something comes easy doesn’t that mean it’s where you’re “supposed to be”?

But now I’m realizing that God had allowed me to have all these things, to become the party animal I was and to enjoy the attention from other men so regularly, in order to show me that even though it’s what I thought I wanted and what I thought would make me happy, it wasn’t and it didn’t. He allowed me to have my new job, he allowed me to have my new house, he allowed me to become the person I thought I was “meant to be”…all to show me that it wasn’t at all what I wanted. It didn’t make me feel whole or satisfied, it didn’t make me feel complete. It didn’t quench that unending desire in me…

He allowed.

HE allowed!

In order to show me that HE was the only one that could fill that desire, he allowed me to pursue a rebellious and sinful life, so that I could see, not just be told, that only he could fill that space in my heart.

Sometimes life is easy because God is involved. And other times life is easy because God is involved.

Leading a rebellious life was “easy” because God was involved. He was letting it be easy for me to prove a point. Coming back to him was easy because God was involved. He was making it easy so he could prove a point. I could live an easy, rebellious life, focused on the now, focused on being selfish and denying the emptiness it creates and the pit in my soul that isn’t being filled. Or I could live an easy life with God in control, leading the way, opening doors when they’re meant to be open, and trusting that he is in control…and on top of this feel FULL and SATISFIED. Maybe “simple” is a more appropriate word instead of “easy”. Life with God isn’t always “easy” it’s “simple”. Simply trust in him, simply give up control, simply spend time with him, simply watch him work.

I think I’ll pick the easy life, the simple life, with God, because my soul finally feels like it’s home.

Well I just finished having a temper tantrum.

Yep, I’m a 29 year old woman and I had a temper tantrum in front of God. Why is my life where it’s at? Why did you tell me to move back to my old home town? Why did you give me this dead-end-pays-pennies job?

I was sitting on the couch, attempting to have my “morning devotions” (which turned out to be happening at 4pm) and spend time with God when I suddenly got hit with a ton of negativity and emotions building up about my situation. Why God? Why can’t you just GIVE me something?

And as I’m sitting there, venting and crying to my mom about my life and how it’s not where I want to be and how I can’t make it financially in my job and how I don’t want to live with my parents any longer and how I want my husband back and how I want want want….I look down and see this stupid verse that my bible is open to. “Oh you of little faith” (Matt. 6:30). And I start to cry harder.

God, just show me what you’re doing! Show me that you’re working and that I will be rewarded for this effort I’m making for you! “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?” (Matt. 6:25). I roll my eyes. Seriously God? I laugh through my tears. Thanks God, thanks a lot. Ok ok, I get it.

I realize I’m a spoiled girl. Or I am realizing. One of my friends recently told me, in a funny moment, that when we would go shopping as friends they would just let me lead because otherwise the trip wouldn’t go so well. I’m spoiled. Apparently I always have been. So when God tells me to move back to my home town, to take a piddly job as a waitress and to live with my parents, all seems good and fine until I realize I don’t have money to do anything. No money to buy a dress, no money to visit my old city, no money to go out for dinner and definitely no money to buy my own house.

Why God? Why can’t I just have my own home? I’m 29, I just want to create a house, buy lamps, decorate, wake up to make coffee and sit on my patio. I just want to mow my own lawn! (Aren’t I going to regret saying that later…). And I look down again and another binkin’ verse is jumping out at me: “Do not store up for yourself treasures on earth” (Matt. 6:19). OK fine. I get it. And God laughs and nudges Michael “She just might have gotten the hint.”

Why can’t God just give me something?? Hasn’t he already? He has rescued me from a unfulfilling life, one that I was pursuing wholeheartedly and without remorse. He has shown me that life with him is rewarding, plentiful in heart, peaceful in the center of turmoil. Most importantly, because he GAVE me his Son, allowed him to be brutally murdered on the cross while he carried MY sin and MY shame and MY hardheartedness, I have been ALLOWED these things to begin with! I have been allowed a fulfilling life, I have been allowed a rewarding life, a plentiful and peaceful life. I have been allowed an amazing relationship directly with my GOD! And I have the nerve to ask what God will give me? So I will continue to live the life that God has asked me to, I will press on and give God glory.

And I will work on not being so selfish (rolling my eyes at myself).