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.

Dead No More

Have you ever been running towards something, feeling like you’re chasing the dream you’re meant to have, but feeling dead inside? Something just isn’t right. Your heart tells you it’s what you need to do, what you need to have, but there’s a tiny bit inside you that is cringing and you’re not sure why. A few years ago I started running from my marriage. It seemed like the only option for me at the time, the only way out of the drowning feeling I was overcome with. I moved to a new city several hours away and started my own life, pursuing the things that I ‘knew’ would make me happy. By the time two years had passed, I had achieved everything I thought I wanted. But still…something…something was wrong. I felt dead inside. I felt like I wasn’t achieving anything, like my life didn’t have purpose, like I was an empty shell. I had what the world was telling me I needed but I wasn’t satisfied.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins… Ephesians 2:1

Through my sins, the multitude of them, I had died. My soul was shriveled and lifeless, even if my body seemed vibrant to those around me. The meaningful part of me, the true Katie, had passed away leaving a wandering and lost shadow of who I had been. God knew though. He was watching and waiting for when the time was right. When I was ready, he opened my eyes and made me see the mess I had left in my wake. Even though I had destroyed my life, he has helped me in the last two years to heal and grow and become a woman that is an even better version of what I was before. He has made me alive again, passionate, enthusiastic, full to the brim of purpose in him. Lately, there has been overwhelming temptation to go back to certain aspects of my previous life. It has been so hard to remember that, even though some of God’s promises have yet to be fulfilled, I am where I should be. Satan has been reminding me of the ‘fun’ I had before and that I am ‘missing out’ on it now. But if I truly believe in the Bible, I should truly believe that I was “dead in my transgressions”. When God took me back and opened my eyes, I felt a physical reaction. I could see clearer, I could hear clearer…it was as if I had stepped out of a fog. So why would I go back to being dead? Why would I purposely and intentionally deny the death I felt then and the life I feel now just for a temporary fix? Temptation does that, it pulls you into a lifestyle that seems fun and exciting or maybe even safe, only to actually kill you slowly and turn you into a hollow version of what you once were. Sometimes temptation makes sense. Sometimes Satan dresses like an angel, a rescuer, that seems like it will pull you out of the mess you’re in. Sometimes people you trust encourage you in the temptation. I believe that we know. Even when we say we haven’t heard from God, we know what he wants us to do. It might not be a huge, bellowing voice, it might just be an unsettled feeling in our spirit, but we know what God really wants from us. And going in another direction, is never worth it. We have to decide. What are you following? Who are you listening to? Who are you obeying? And I’ll be honest. At this point, I am grudgingly being obedient. The temptation seems much more fun and actual makes sense to most people around me. But the point of my life isn’t to make sense to the people around me. It’s to glorify God and to live a life worthy of my calling. By God’s strength, not my own, I refuse to be dead any longer. I refuse to believe the lies, I refuse to deny the full life that God has placed in front of me. So help me God, I will wait for his promises.

It Is Well

“Even so, it is well with my soul.”

Are you able to say this? When you’re in a rough patch, when God isn’t answering your prayers like you thought he would, when life isn’t going smoothly, when you feel like you’re just plowing through…Are you able to say, are you able to remember to say, “Even so, it is well with my soul”?

I’m at a point right now where the struggle seems uphill, in waist high in mud, with little to no relief in sight. I’m feeling like I’ve been called to do something that seems absolutely impossible, that God is holding me to, but my heart is weak. I feel like I’m pushing forward out of obedience, but that is all. Do you ever get like that?

I know this is a stage, a season that will pass and will flow into a place where I feel more heartfelt in what I’m asked to do. But it’s hard going through these places! It’s hard fully relying on God out of blind faith when everything around you is telling you to do something different.

It’s in these places, though, that we need to stubbornly say “Even so, it is well with my soul.” Even when I don’t feel like it, God’s will is well with my soul. Even when it doesn’t make any sense, God’s commands are well with my soul. Even though I can’t see it, God’s plan is well with my soul.

I truly believe that God will bless our obedience in times like these. He hasn’t asked us to take leaps of faith only when it makes sense, he’s just asked us to follow him. So when we do take that leap of faith when it doesn’t make sense, we are saying that we believe that God is real, and that he is all that matters.

By pushing through, past the emotions, past the limited view we have of our lives, and obeying God, we are opening the door for miracles. We are allowing God space to move where we otherwise would have filled the space with our nearsighted plans. We are acknowledging that God has ultimate control as well as acknowledging that we trust him to use that control.

We are proving that we believe the truth of the Bible.

So I am pushing forward. I know that this will pass, that God is working at destroying my mountain and one day I will see what the point of this strain was. And in the meantime I will stubbornly say “Even so, it is well with my soul”.

God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

Numbers 23:19

The Grace in Struggle

When you see someone in a place in life that they shouldn’t be, do you automatically cringe and think “Wow, that’s not good!”? Say they’re sleeping around, say they’re partying, say they’re running from their marriage…Do you stop to think that where they are is exactly where they need to be?

I don’t believe that any of these circumstances are good, or that God would desire anyone to sleep around or party or run from their marriage. But sometimes doing these things is what it takes for us to be turned into a passionate, devoted and enthusiastic follower of Christ.

What if we viewed these circumstances in our loved ones, or even in strangers around us, as grace filled opportunity for the individuals and their families to see God work miracles?

I have experienced first hand how quickly people give up on others when they turn away from their Christian walk and behavior. To be completely honest, it’s disgusting how quickly we give up on people that are struggling. If they don’t turn their lives around in our timetable or in the way that makes sense to us, we move on and encourage others to move on. It’s completely unbiblical. If only we would have the courage to wait on God’s timing and to remember that there is a plan and purpose for absolutely every single thing, even hurt and pain and detestable actions…if only we would present our requests to God, if only we would fight for those who are struggling, if only we would remember that Satan is already conquered, if only we wouldn’t give up so quickly!

I also know first hand the power of prayer and the completeness of the Grace of God. God’s love covers all sins, brings his people out of the impossibility of their situations and transforms hearts and lives to a point of disbelief. Prayer works! I felt prayer as I was running away from the Lord. I knew when people were praying for me and it made me mad.

Yes, I was living in a horrible lifestyle. My actions were disgusting, my life was very far from where a Christian girl should have been…but I was still exactly where I was meant to be because it was part of God’s plan. I don’t believe that I would have ever been as passionate as I am about God if I hadn’t gone through this rebellious period. I don’t think I would have believed God’s power if I hadn’t seen and felt it first hand.

I wonder what would happen if we refused to give up on those around us that are struggling. If we refused to stop praying for them. If we refused to stop waiting for them to come back to the Lord. If we refused to believe that our prayers are going unanswered.

What would happen if, next time you saw a friend that wasn’t living out their Christian walk, you praised God. Praised God that he is bringing them through this trial in order to show them a miracle. Praised God that he is turning one of his creations into a person that will live passionately for him. Praised God that he is chasing after them. Praised God that he isn’t giving up on them. Praised God that he has the grace to lead them down this ugly path in order to show them how beautiful and powerful he really is.

If we understood how powerful our prayers were, we would never get off of our knees.

-Unknown

Love God Without Conditions

What if we loved God as though he had already given us everything we wanted?

Sometimes, maybe most of the time, I think we are worshiping and praying because of what we want God to give us and not just because God is God. Do you think you do this? I’d ashamed to admit that I know I do this…

I pray, there are answers, and I praise God. I pray and hear nothing, and I start to pout. Does this sound familiar? I hope I’m not the only one.

God asks us to follow him, to pursue relationship with him, he says that once we do this he will give us the desires of our hearts but he doesn’t say that this should be the point of our pursuit. Actually, I think that we will be surprised at how our hearts desires change once we start chasing after God.

What would happen if we continually humbled ourselves, recognizing that we actually deserve nothing from him, and praised and worshiped him just because he is the Creator, the Beginning and the End, the God over every single thing. Let’s just take a moment to remember who it is we are praying to. Maybe that’s our issue.

Maybe we have gotten so caught up in what God can give us and what he promises us that we have forgotten who it actually is that we are praying to. We live in a world that continually preaches at us about what we deserve, what we are entitled to, how amazing we are. But really, we don’t deserve anything, we aren’t entitled to a thing and we’re really just pieces of dust that are here today and gone tomorrow.

There’s been times where I have been crying, mad and frustrated, and praying “God, I’m doing what you’ve asked me to do!! I don’t know what else I can do, why aren’t things going my way? Why isn’t this happening? Why aren’t you answering?”. That prayer, broken down, shows just how arrogant I really am. Who am I to tell God that I’m “doing all I can do”? Didn’t he sacrifice his Son for me? And I’m complaining about having to…wait for my passport for to long?? Or that my knee isn’t healing fast enough?? Or…or…or…Who am I to ask why things aren’t going my way? Hasn’t he promised to take care of me, to bring me through trials, to provide what I need? And why am I complaining that he isn’t answering me when he has already told me that he will, in his time?

Who am I to demand anything from God?

Who am I to question him?

He loves me, yes. He desires a relationship with me, yes. But all the rest is a bonus. What I need to do is chase after him, work on my relationship with him, worship him, praise him…and expect nothing in return. The point of my life is to glorify him with everything I have, in everything I do, and not to do it expecting a treat in return.

If God, the creator of the stars, the universe, the oceans and the trees, the creator of human anatomy and all it’s complexities, the God that controls the weather with just the sound of his voice…if that God loves me and wants to spend time with me, that should be good enough. Everything else should be viewed as a perk, not a requirement.

This way of thinking is a continual rebalancing. A lifetime work in progress. It’s impossible to think this way for long without slipping back into the attitude of entitlement, whether we mean to or not. We’re human, since the fall of man we have been wired to be selfish. But if we keep being intentional about bringing our thought patterns and prayer lives back to this way of thinking, I believe we will see an amazing change in our relationship with God.

And because of the change we will see in our relationship with God, we will also see changes in ourselves. We still start changing from the inside out. I believe that if we continually make an attempt to worship God selflessly, we will see God move even more mightily around us. I believe that we will feel him near and hear his voice and we will be able to watch him move. On top of this, when we make God himself a priority and not what he can do for us, I believe that people will be attracted to us and we will be able to, and desire to, share our relationship with him with those around us.

Just Give Up

I give up.

I giiiiiiive up.

I am tired of thinking and trying and over analyzing and pushing…I’m tired of my mind doing over-time, trying to work out my situation. It’s exhausting. I’m worn out. I can feel the stress, the tense muscles in my jaw and in my shoulders. I can sense it in my behavior and my attitude. And I. Give. Up.

I’ve gotten to this place multiple times before. God shows himself, I see a big movement on the other side of my mountain and then suddenly…nothing. And when the nothing appears I over analyze. My mind takes things into it’s own hands and tries to work out the when and why and how and who.

God brings me to this place on purpose. I can see it being his way of making me let go, making me realize that I actually have no control. It’s a place where I feel hopeless and helpless and the looming impossibility is overwhelming. And I believe that this is exactly where God wants me to come so I can fully surrender to him. It’s where I realize that this is the only answer; complete surrender and defeat of self.

The fact is, I can’t do what I’m doing by myself. There is no possible way I can accomplish what God is asking me to do unless he, almost literally, carries me through it. And this doesn’t just apply to people who are waiting for their husbands to return or standing for their crumbled marriages, but it applies to anything and everything that God is asking us to do. Nothing can be done unless he is the complete centre of it.

That’s why, I believe, when you are trying to accomplish something on your own God just sits back and allows you to try…”Go ahead,” he says “You do what you think you have to do. Then you’re done struggling and pushing and forcing and controlling, you can rest and see how much easier it would have been if you had just allowed me to take over.”

It’s grace that get’s us to this point. Grace that allows us to see how completely inadequate we are but that it doesn’t matter.

Grace is realizing that nothing we can do will work as well as moving aside for our Savior.

So I’m done. I’m done pushing and forcing. I’m done worrying and wondering. But what I’m not done doing is what God as asked me to do. I’m not done waiting on God’s promises. I’m not done trusting that he knows what he is doing. I’m not done seeing God work in ways I had no idea were possible. I’m not done waiting for God to show up. I’m not done seeing the miracles that God is preforming.

And when Satan tempts me to give up, you know what I’ll tell him? I’ll tell him that I will give up, I’ll give up my plans, give up my expectations and I will step aside. Because when I step aside, God steps in and when God steps in he shows up in a power I could never have on my own. When I give God the space to work, he works. And when he works mountains crumble, demons are defeated and victory is won. So yeah, I’ll give up alright. But watch out Satan, because you and your lies are going to hell in a hand basket.