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Ruth’s troubled life helped give birth to Grace.

-Max Lucado

Humans have such a short sighted view of their lives. We suffer for a minute, a week, a year and we cry and moan. It hurts, it’s unfair, this isn’t love! It’s a wonder that God has patience for us when he can look down and see the whole picture and here we are, crying about a grain of sand  as we stand on a mile of beach.

After moving to a new city, Naomi’s husband passed away, leaving her with their two sons. But if that wasn’t bad enough, just as her heart is healing from the death of her husband, her two sons died as well, leaving her with nothing. With a bitter and angry heart, Naomi told her daughter in laws not to follow her back to Bethlehem: “The Lord’s hand has gone out against me.”

It would have been so easy for Naomi to become a crusty old woman, bitter and ugly towards the world because of what she had gone through. And maybe she did…we don’t know. But what if she had seen that because of her sons death, her daughter in law would marry Boaz and their great-grandchild would be King David? What if she had known that years down the road, because of the sorrow that she had to endure, the pain of losing her handsome boy, Jesus Christ would be brought into the world?

What if Ruth had stayed in Moab because that’s what made more sense? If she hadn’t left her family, if she hadn’t gone to Judah, if she hadn’t taken a chance…

Sometimes, probably most times, our pain seems pointless. Why would God want me to suffer like this?! Why would he possibly want my son to die, my disease to spread, my heart to break…But what if our pain wasn’t about us, it was about how it started the ball rolling for someone elses story? If Naomi hadn’t lost her family and Ruth hadn’t taken that chance to follow Naomi, the lineage of King David and Jesus wouldn’t have been started. What if our pain is the start of an incredible story of unbelievable Grace and miracles?

What if our pain isn’t about us?

It’s so easy, actually it comes naturally, to think that your pain is about you. It’s about your story, your bubble at that exact moment. But what if we trained our minds to remember that there is a bigger plan in place. Our lives are temporary, and everything happens for a reason. What if, every time we felt pain, we whispered “There is a plan, there is a reason, I can’t wait till God shows me the purpose for this”.

Our society has become so entitled that it’s hard to not think that way. But we aren’t actually owed anything! “Life isn’t fair” as my parents reminded me multiple times when I was a kid. You don’t deserve to be happy,  as nice as it would be to be happy all the time. You are here to bring Glory to God, to show the world his power and love and to win hearts for Heaven. If it takes a bit of pain for you to save a soul for eternity, it might just have to happen.

Your pain isn’t about you! It’s about bringing you, and possibly others, closer to God. It’s part of an already written story, that God has complete control of, and HE knows best. It might not make sense to you, it might be hard to go through, but if you lean on him and trust that he can carry you through, you’ll make it to the other side…and maybe even have a couple friends in tow.



My Story

Dear Life…that’s how I’m starting every journal entry in the last little while. It seems appropriate since life and I need to have a talking to. Doesn’t life have a way of not turning out how you thought it would? It’s all part of the adventure…as long as we have the patience to view it as that (insert winky face).

I’ve had a few people ask me details of my story lately and I thought that it would be a good idea to write it out again. And considering there are some changes since I last posted, it’s probably a good idea.

Obviously life started way back when, out of the womb and into a beautiful Christian family…but “my story”, the one I feel like God shaped in order for me to help those around me, began when I was 21. Life doesn’t begin when you meet a man and fall in love (if only I could tell this to all young girls!), but in this case, this is where the story begins.

I met the man I would marry at a youth event. We had a great “meet-cute”, as the old gentleman told Kate Winslet in The Holiday. It was the middle of a very cold Canadian winter and the youth group was playing a version of Mission Impossible outside, snowsuits included. I caught a certain young man and was taking him to ‘jail’ and as we made our way though the snowy tails, we got lost. Neither of us seemed to mind because we were laughing to hard and teasing each other to much. The best part was that because of the snowsuits and hats, we didn’t even know what we looked like, it was just genuine fun and connection.

We left that event still not really knowing who each other was, but (and I guess I speak for myself here…) feeling chemistry and curiosity for each other. It wasn’t until months later that we met again and the strange thought of “I could marry this man” crossed my mind. And I did. One year and 20 days later, I was walking down the isle to meet my lobster (Friends reference, duh!).

Seems easy and lovely and happy-ever-after, but it wasn’t all a bed of roses even leading up to the wedding. There were a lot of red flags I should have seen and addressed, but being the good Christian girl that I was, I just assumed that because you’re dating, marriage comes next and that submission is going along with what the one you love wants. Oye. The lessons I have learned.

The biggest lesson I learned along the way was the importance of putting my relationship with the Lord first. Like. FIRST. It’s not going to come naturally, it’s not going to just be there, you have to make a genuine, stubborn effort to put God first in your life or your relationship, no matter how beautiful or strong or filled with twitterpation, will crumble.

Our marriage was great. We had our issues for sure, there were fights and broken chairs, slamming doors and shouted swears (man, the things you’ll say to the one you love the most!). But for the most part we got along well, learned to communicate with respect and made an effort to succeed…in our own way. But when God isn’t there, when you’re trying to find happiness and purpose in another human and other temporary interests, even the strongest of relationships can turn to dust.

One issue lead to another issue which lead to another issue…and I got to the end of my rope. I had been looking for happiness in all the wrong places and got to a point in life where I was depressed and overwhelmed and emotionally overburdened. I came back from a trip where I had been tempted to be with another man, and told my husband that I needed to leave. One week I made a trip to clear my head and was beginning the plans for my new life. Within one month I had packed my bags and had moved to another city.

And that’s only the beginning…

I lived the crazy life for the next two years, ignoring God’s constant voice to pick up my bible and spend time with him. I remember hearing his voice as clearly as if he was standing beside me but I rebelliously refused. I wanted freedom, I wanted excitement, I wanted happiness.

In these two years I partied, I swore like a trucker, I dated and slept around…I did whatever the heck I wanted to. And even though I was ‘happy’ and busy, I more often than naught, cried myself to sleep. There was a depth that this type of happiness wasn’t filling. As much as I genuinely believed that I was ‘happy’, something just wasn’t quite right.

Before I left my husband he asked me a question “When do you think you’ll start dating?” and I casually and unfeelingly answered “I don’t want to date, if it takes me two years to find someone, I’ll be happy with that.” (My heart breaks to know how painful that question would have been for him to even ask).

Almost two years to the day, I started dating a guy that fit my list of wants. He was tall, tattooed, a biker, a giant but a teddy-bear that treated me better than anyone had up to that point. We got quite serious fast and were even discussing rings. I was finally where I wanted to be! Until a trip to my hometown…

It was Easter and I went home to visit family and the one friend I had left. In a visit with this beautiful friend I told her about the special guy I was dating and after a while she casually asked “Katie, if your hubby ever wanted another chance, would you give it to him?”. I scoffed and shook my head, even as tears welled up in my eyes. I was confused, if I was happy, if I was over my husband, if I wouldn’t give him another chance, why was I holding back the tears?

My next stop that day was to surprise a long-lost friend at her work place. I obliviously overlooked the fact that I hadn’t seen this friend for two years and walked through the doors thinking that this would be a fun, care-free, surprise. The moment I saw her I burst into tears, almost uncontrollable sobs. That was my Damascus Moment. God almost literally ripped the scales from my eyes and revealed my sin to me in a way I thought only happened in biblical times. I could suddenly and very painfully see the hurt I had caused, the wrong I had done and the unhappiness I was in. I knew in an instant that I had to break up with my boyfriend and ask my husbands forgiveness. I had to do the unthinkable and ask for a second chance.

The next few days took some deep contemplation. Did I want to do this? Was I willing to put myself out there? Was this really something God wanted me to do? I have never been in so much heart-pain as that. God had shaken up the world I had created for myself and shown me his unrelenting Grace and Love and was, I believed, asking me to take a huge leap of faith.

So I did it. I wrote my husband a huge letter asking for forgiveness, asking for a chance to try again, and I waited. Waited for him to respond, waited for God to let me know what he wanted me to do next…I didn’t get a response from my ex, but I did have an email from his sister who I had been writing a bit, and she let me know that on the day I had send the email to my ex, he had proposed to his girlfriend.

I’m admittedly not good with most dates, but I believe that it’s been almost three years since this crazy moment in time. The moment where time stood still and I cried “God, I thought you had this?!”.

Life is an adventure though and through the last few years there’s been some amazing changes. God has built a fire in me for him that is better than I ever imagined. I see the importance of my relationship with him, and even though there’s been droughts and peaks and valleys in that area, I know it’s where I feed my soul and I continue to come back to it and push through.

I’ve learned that life is never what you think it will be, it never goes how you think it should, but if you keep your hands open instead of clenching them around your expectations, life is still beautiful even in the frustrating times.

For two years I lived, waiting for my husband to come back to me. I didn’t date, I spent my emotions on God instead of other men, and I saw miracles, changes, and amazing experience more than I ever thought was possible.

I decided after a while, and I’m not sure if this was prompted by a release from God or from my own frustration, that dating wasn’t out of the realm of possibilities, and I started seeing what options were out there. I can’t say that it was successful…no matter who I dated, no matter how much chemistry was there, there was always, without fail, something missing. A piece that didn’t seem to fit. And I can’t honestly say that I believe, from my experience in the now 5ish years of dating and trying to ‘move on’, it’s actually possible after a divorce.

I am so grateful that God decided to show me that miracles DO happen in modern times. So many people thought it was impossible for me to come back from the lifestyle that I was in, so many people had prayed for me to come home to my husband, so many had prayed that I would just smarten up my ways…and guess what! I did! It might not have been in the timing they wanted, it might have been to late to work on things with my ex, but the point is that they’re prayers were answered! I DID come back, I DID change my ways, God DID show me my errors.

Prayer is powerful! I know, I could literally feel when people were praying for me when I was being rebellious and it would make me angry. If you’re waiting for a miracle, wait. If you’re praying for drastic change, wait. You’ll see God move like you never expected!

If you’re being stubborn and ignoring God’s voice, if you know what he’s telling you to do and you don’t want to…just shut up and do it. God knows what our souls are crying for. He knows what we truly, deeply yearn for…you don’t. Your plans won’t turn out well at all without him, they’ll fail miserably and be a complete waste of time. So if he’s prompting you do make a change, to do something or to stop doing something, even if it doesn’t make sense, just do it. What’s the worst that can happen? Seriously.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know where I’m at in the dating part of life right now. I’m holding myself back when it comes to dating because I’m feeling as though God is asking me to focus on other areas of my life first. This part of my life has been hard, a learning curve to focus on the right areas in life even if I was dating. But I love my story, as hard as it has been to go through a divorce and try to work on restoring that relationship only to be rejected. It’s made me into the person I am now. But above that, it’s allowed me to feed into marriages on a level I wouldn’t have been able to hit before. I’ve had friends tell me that my experiences have saved their marriages and I’ve heard stories of people reading my blog and returning to their marriages…stories that have brought me to tears to think that my experiences, my little life, has been able to heal relationships…it’s mind blowing and so humbling. It makes all the pain worth it and I’m glad that what I’ve been through can help bring people closer together and closer to God.

Stubborn Love

Before you start reading here, flip to Jeremiah 32:26-44.

Don’t you just love how the Bible is a living document? Every time you read it, something new pops out. 66 books, 686 pages and it never gets old. I think that’s proof enough that our God exists!

With all the tragedies that are happening in the world lately, I’m feeling a pressure put on my heart to start memorizing verses. My gut is telling me, and I don’t think I’m the only one, that our time for free worship is coming to a close. Without being overly paranoid, I do believe that soon Christians will be limited in their public worship. And when that time comes, I want to say that I have God’s word embedded on my heart and mind. I want to know that I haven’t wasted my time expecting the world to stay all fine and dandy.

That being said, I flipped to a verse that I love this morning and decided to start memorizing it. Which, by the way, is so much easier than when I was a kid. I chose Jeremiah 32:39-42 to memorize.

“I will give them singleness of heart and mind, so that they will always fear me for their own good and for the good of their children after them. I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me so that they will never turn away from me. I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul. This is what the Lord says: as I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will give them all the prosperity {or: bring them back from captivity} I have promised them.”

I love this verse. I think it’s absolutely gorgeous! God has built it into our hearts and our minds to follow him. We naturally have an urge to find him and follow him. And not only that, he will NEVER stop doing good to us. He is excited to do goodness for us, he will give us prosperity and bring us back from captivity as he has promised us.

After I read this verse and thought “Wow, this is amazing! What other God can say that they stubbornly love their people like this and will provide for them this well?”, I glanced up to the top of the page and saw another verse I had highlighted.

“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything to hard for me?” vs. 26

And I decided to read from vs. 26 to the end of the chapter.

Jeremiah is coming to God, begging him to save the people of Israel and Judah from the Babylonians who are about to make a final attack on the city in order to completely destroy it. He’s also confused. God has just given him instructions to purchase a piece of land…What? But the city is about to be taken over! Look kid. Just do what I’ve said and trust me. I am the Lord, the God of ALL mankind. Is ANYTHING to hard for me?

I just love it when God talks back to people. He doesn’t mess around, he doesn’t sugar-coat things, he’s pretty sarcastic and it’s pretty hilarious. Humbling, but hilarious.

I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything to hard for me? Therefore, this is what the Lord says…” (emphasis by me…duh…when have you every seen underlining in the Bible).

“You know, the Lord? The God of all mankind? The God that has control of everything and nothing is impossible for Him? Yeah, this is what that Lord says.”

And then God goes on to point out how much the people of Israel and Judah have screwed up, how they’ve hypocritically turned their backs to him but still claimed to be Christians, how they’ve worshiped other gods IN his house, how they’ve provoked God into anger, how they’ve defiled his name, how they’ve refused to listen to him or respond to his discipline. Basically, God is so angered with them he wants to remove them from his sight.

But. God is the God of all mankind and nothing is to hard for him.

So instead of giving Israel and Judah what they deserve, he’ll give them singleness of heart and mind to follow him. Instead of allowing them to be destroyed, he’s going to make a promise to them that he will not stop loving them. Instead of allowing them to be defeated, he’s going to “rejoice” in doing good to them, he’s going to give them a home, prosperity and take them out of captivity.

Think of all the times you’ve been a hypocrite. What about that time you showed up hung-over for church? Or that time you lied? Or that time you denied what you knew God was trying to tell you? Or that time you created an idol out of money or work or relationships instead of spending time with God? (Oh wait, is that just me? Am I the only one? Insert winky face because I know we’re all in the same boat).

If God was in human form he would be standing in front of us telling us how much he loves us while he bled on the floor from the effort. And he would be rejoicing while he did it.

We have a God with stubborn love. We can do whatever we want and he will refuse to give up on us. And we know it. We have a God Radar build into us that is constantly reminding us that he’s wanting to spend time with us. And while we are out doing our dirty deeds, God pouring love into our lives and planning our escape from captivity…even as we defile his name.

And if you want your mind completely blown, think of how he’s asking us to have this same love for those around us.

So. Two things.

First, how about we start responding to this stubborn love? Lets have some stubborn love in return. Even when we don’t feel the emotions we want to feel towards God, lets actively, stubbornly, chase after him.

Second, lets try to have this type of love for those around us. This world is quickly becoming a world filled with obvious hate. Think of how God loves us even when people treat him so badly and lets make an effort to reflect that in our daily lives.

I’m going to read over these verses a few times. Maybe spend a few days thinking of how crazy God’s love is for me and really allowing myself to soak it in. And then spend a few days reading over it as though he’s asking me to love those around me with this type of stubborn love.

Isn’t it great that God doesn’t love us because we are lovely in his sight, but because we are sinners? I was just writing about this in my journal the other day. He didn’t go to the cross because we deserved His sacrifice, He went because we were completely undeserving and He wanted to give us complete grace. Phewf hey?

There are times where I’ve done some things completely terrible. Things that are totally against what I believe is right, things full of sin, things that fill me with shame. And I think “Oh God, I’m so sorry, I’ve messed up again”. He looks at me with warm eyes and says “My girl, I love you! Not because you’re good and perfect, but because you are human and you need me.”

All I need to do is repent and sit at his feet.

That’s it.

Satan tries to have his hay-day and remind me of my sin. He tries to fill me with regret and attack me with thoughts of shame. Thoughts of being undeserving. Thoughts of hopelessness. But just coming to God’s throne with a spirit of humbleness is all I need to do. He offers forgiveness without cost; gladly opening His arms for me.

I feel like I am constantly messing up. I try to live a good life. I try to be good, really good. You know? But I always seem to throw a stick in the spokes. I hate it, but I know it’s ok. It’s all in God’s plan, He knows my faults, He knows my story, and He’s working it out to be an amazing testimony.

It’s humbling, and I think that’s a great part about messing up. It keeps me on my knees, which is exactly where I need to be. I mess up so often, I don’t have time to be self-righteous (or maybe I’ve become self-righteous about not being self-righteous…haha). The moment I feel like I’m doing pretty good, self happens and knocks me down again.

I’m so grateful for His patience and for those strong arms that pick me up every time.

“It’s alright, My Girl, I’ve got you.”

I was reading Psalm 46:5 this morning: “God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at the break of day”. And I heard a voice remind me “No matter what mistakes happened last night, this verse is still for you. My word is still written for you”.

I don’t have to do anything but ask forgiveness and it’s there. I don’t have to do anything but accept the love He’s offering and it’s there. What a blessing…and that’s an understatement.

I’m sitting at my kitchen table. It’s covered with chalkboard paint and little doodles from my roommate and I. Flowers and a cute ceramic owl to one side of me and a steaming mug of frothy coffee to the other. I love my mug, it’s big and red and has a ‘K’ on it…Winners. That store is awesome. The window is open slightly, the wind blowing the curtain and my fluffy dog is begging to be pet at my feet.

I have a cute life. It’s adorable! Quiet, peaceful, busy when it needs to be. Family, friends, a good job. I’m so blessed!

I realized as I sat here yesterday, having my daily reading time, that I’ve been through a valley lately. In the last few months I’ve been fighting what I knew was a huge lie, that I was undeserving to be in God’s presence. I would sit down (or maybe not even sit down, but just think about) and try to have quality time with God and this overpowering feeling of guilt, displeasure…I’m not sure how to describe it…would overcome me and I couldn’t present myself to Him. I didn’t feel adequate to pray or to read the bible. A voice, a lie, was whispered into my ear that He wasn’t hearing me, that I was faking my relationship with Him. And, as I had my morning coffee yesterday, I realized that I hadn’t felt that, or heard those lies, one single bit in the last week. I don’t know what changed, but those thoughts, Satan’s lies, just disappeared. I had unknowingly climbed from the dark, dry valley and reached the summit. Thank God!

Isn’t interesting that sometimes you fight a spiritual battle knowingly – you pray, you cry, you claim verses over the situation – and sometimes, all you have the energy or brain-space for is a simple prayer and suddenly you realize its over.

I love the feeling of when the cloud lifts. You’ve been feeling a burden for a while, you can’t seem to shake it, but then one day you wake up feeling awake. Feeling like you can breathe. Feeling like a battle has been won. It’s so amazing knowing that God and His warriors are fighting for us when we aren’t even aware. I believe that we still need to be sensitive to what He is asking us to do, how He is asking us to take part in the battle, but there are times when all we can do is say His name and trust that He is taking care of the rest.

As I’m learning lately, there are wins and there are losses, but they’re all used in God’s plan for your life. To form you into the person He needs you to be.

I’ve failed, I’ve fallen, I’ve turned my back purposely. And even if those choices aren’t what God would want for me ideally, they’re still parts of my story He saw coming and will use for His Glory. There is a reason for everything and as long as we remind ourselves in the desert and valley, that He should be our focus and our destination, we will come out the other side with more experiences to help us, or even others, through the next stage that He has planned.

In church on Sunday, our pastor spoke about Luke 17:11-19. The story of the 10 men with Leprosy which Jesus healed and sent on their way and where only one returned to thank and praise him.

Like our pastor said, usually the moral we take from this story is that we are to be grateful for the work God does in our lives, but there is so much more to this story than just gratefulness.

I think it’s because of my love for photography that I tend to look around and capture the whole scene. When I look at photos, I look at the entire picture. I usually imagine what was happening right before the picture was taken, and what happened afterwards. I now automatically do this when people tell me stories, when I read articles or here peoples’ opinions…my mind automatically goes to “Ok, what was said before? What happened in their life to create this reaction?”. So when I read stories like Luke 17 and the grateful man, I imagine the scene of him walking away with his friends, possibly encouraging them to go back and thank Jesus, the criticism he would have received when none of them wanted to join, the courage it took to go anyways…even after years of being shunned and abused by those not affected by Leprosy.

Jesus, being who he was, more than likely had a crowd around him. Maybe just his followers, but even so, a group of men and women. To approach a crowd by yourself, especially one of a well known miracle worker, would have taken huge courage.

Sometimes, it takes courage to approach God. Sometimes you have to remind yourself that it doesn’t matter what you think you deserve, or what others have told you that you deserve…you just need to go before Him and worship.

And then I think about the after-affects of this act of courage. Jesus had words for this man. Not just words for a group of lepers, but specific words for this specific man. There wasn’t a lot of words, they weren’t particularly special words, but they were words directed to this one man because he had the courage to approach the Great Healer. And maybe they didn’t mean anything to the others surrounding them, but who knows, maybe they were words that hit home with the heart of this sick and emotionally wounded man.

I also believe that intimacy was developed because of this courage. Intimacy between a man and his Healer. I believe that because of the words spoken from Jesus to this man, because of his courageous step to approach him, the lepers’ heart felt bonded to Jesus more than his ungrateful friends. He felt that Jesus cared for him, he felt special, he felt acknowledged.

When we approach God, he acknowledges us. When we have courage in our relationship with God, intimacy is created. When we take a step of faith and possibly go against what others are saying around us, we build a personal relationship with our Savior. When we are grateful, we are healed.