Tag Archives: Questions

Loved

I was raised in a Christian home. My upbringing included Sunday School on Sunday mornings, Youth Group on Wednesday nights, and Small Group on Fridays. From an early age, God quickly became the most important person in my life.

I can remember the first time I raised my hands in worship during Sunday School. I would spend hours in prayer at church camp in the summer. My journals are filled with prayers and questions – looking to God for the answers.

Growing into adulthood, the godly women in my life encouraged me to spend intentional time alone with God, where you read your bible and pray. And I have done my best to make this a priority for the last 10 years. They’ve never been the perfect “hour every morning with a cup of coffee”, and they’ve never been perfectly consistent, but spending time in the Word and in prayer has continued to grow in importance the older I get.

I have had many seasons in life where I’ve felt alive in Christ. I’ve felt his love wash over me and my times with him have been fruitful and life giving. But this year, my times in solitude with the Lord started to get frustrating.  I was leaving each time upset and irritated. I couldn’t feel God. I couldn’t hear him. The logical solution was that I was doing something wrong. So, I would try getting up before work to start my day off right. I kept falling asleep, so I’d plan out exactly what I would read. When that didn’t work, I’d try spontaneity – just opening up anywhere in the bible and reading. I gave devotional reading a shot. I tried focusing on prayer alone. I gave reading a book by a Christian author. Nothing worked.

It wasn’t until just recently that I was able to finally voice the lie that had been planted in my heart. Luke and I were driving home from a dear friends funeral, and I don’t remember exactly how it came up or how the conversation wound its way there, but I remember telling Luke with tears in my eyes… I don’t think God loves me.

Just voicing this to Luke and identifying it caused blinders to off my eyes. I can see it now. I was trying to earn his love. I realized on that car ride home that I had been trying to earn his presence by getting up early each morning. I was trying to be good enough for him to speak to me by doing all the right things. I was trying to come up with ways to manipulate him into speaking to me.

But as I remembered the overarching story of the Bible, the truth became so clear: I cannot, under any circumstances, earn his love. 

Romans 5:6-11 says,

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

God chased after us, even while we rejected him. God extended his love to us, even when we failed, yet again. God sealed the deal, even while we sat covered in our sin – paralyzed by our inability to measure up.

Psalm 23:6 says,
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

He pursues us.

I hope you can begin to walk in this freedom today, too. I encourage you to spend time with the Lord, knowing, believing, and declaring that he loves you.  Let this truth wash over you:

You are loved. You are his.

It’s Simple…if you let it be simple

I keep trying to make life complicated. I keep thinking that there always has to be something bigger, better, more exciting and further reaching. But those things I look for always disappoint. Every time.

Too much time on social media makes tangible life feel purposeless.

Self-promoting sets up expectations that I can’t live up to.

Always looking for the next big thing makes the moments that my life is built on feel pointless.

Basically, whenever I take my eyes off the tangible, off the here and now in order to look for greatness in the world, I quickly find myself in a deep dark hole that I have to climb out of. That hole I climb out of is full if discontentment and disillusionment.

Let me put it more clearly….

I am a thrill seeking adrenaline junkie…who likes to do safe, non-life-threatening things. Like watch musicals. I can’t tell you how pumped up and alive I become when I watch musicals. But I also can’t tell you the emotional low I experience when that musical is over. I become disillusioned with my own life. In the span of two or so hours, I experience emotional highs like you wouldn’t believe. And when it’s over, I’m left thinking, “Is that it? Now what?”

But life isn’t a musical, as much as some of us might wish it was. Life also isn’t digital. Life isn’t black and white. Life isn’t boring. Life isn’t a non-stop thrill ride. Life isn’t predictable. Life isn’t all joy. Life isn’t all sorrow. Life isn’t all about you. Life isn’t all about them.

What I keep bringing myself back to is this – life is quite simple. It is a string of days that culminate into a beautiful lifetime. I’d like to live those days focusing on what matters, like loving my husband and learning how to be a good wife. Like learning that I really can trust God in all things.

I’d like my moments to encourage others by picking them up off the side of the road and getting them back on their way.

I’d like to embrace that rest is a gift that should be enjoyed. Stress doesn’t have to rule my life.

I’d like to see God in everything, and always be listening to his voice. I’d love to see people set free by his love. I’d like to spend so much time in the bible that it oozes out of me at every possible chance.

My personal quest is to get a little closer to this every day. I want to experience the fullness of life that God has available for me, and I know that it’s found in everyday tasks. It’s not found on a screen. I keep thinking about the pioneers who settled new lands in America – making a home from nothing or from wood they purchased at an outpost. They had hard work, a few people if they were lucky, maybe a family, and the Lord. Do you think their lives had no meaning? Absolutely not. I can only imagine that they enjoyed the fruits of their labor, trusted in the Lord through hardship, and lived out the drama of life with the people around them.

That seems pretty amazing to me.

We can’t get away from the internet in 2018 – it’s a way of life. But we can decide how much time we put towards the digital, and how much we put towards the tangible.

Guest Post: I would have lost heart…

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Psalm 27:13

My precious husband and I are celebrating 40 years of marriage this month. I honestly didn’t think we’d make it to 40 years – its been a very frightening year but we’ve also experienced the grace, mercy, and closeness of our Lord in so many ways.

In January, my husband fell ill and was experiencing horrible physical symptoms: He lost 40 pounds in just a matter of weeks, had severe jaw, neck and shoulder pain, a constant fever that ranged from 99 to 103 degrees, drenching night sweats, sore eye sockets, periods of uncontrollable shaking, bruising on his palms and legs, weakness, exhaustion and difficulty breathing. As he would rock back and forth in pain sitting on the edge of the bed I would sit next to him and gently run my hand over his back and pray, finding it hard to breathe myself because I was so terrified. The only whisper of a prayer that I could get out was, “I trust You, I trust You.” It took weeks of blood draws, scans, x-rays and biopsies to finally come up with a diagnosis. He had Large B cell Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

During this time we would encourage each other the best way we knew how, reminding each other of the goodness and trustworthiness of the Lord. Through our mustard seed-like faith, He grabbed hold of our hands and walked us down a path of amazing blessings. I started making a list of the surprise gifts from the Lord that grew to a couple of pages which gave us an expectancy of how He would “show up” each day. Out of the many different kinds of this type of cancer he was diagnosed with the one that is not only treatable but curable and had very little to no side effects from chemotherapy. In addition to having enough money stashed away to get us through the eight months he was out of work, people randomly handed us money – we even found a $100 bill lying in our back yard partially covered with leaves. The other financial miracles left us awe struck. We had the awesome love, support and help from our daughters and their husbands, many prayers, the tireless help from my sister-in-law who has uncanny medical knowledge and came to every doctor appointment with us. God used the many kind words, gifts and gestures from so many people to remind us He was moving, working, and fighting our battles.

After making it to full remission in May and being back to work just a few short weeks he had a major heart attack while on the job. He drives semi and thankfully was at his first stop when it happened. He was airlifted to St. Mary’s hospital in Rochester where, through an angiogram, it was discovered that the widow maker artery was totally blocked and two stents were put in. If it wasn’t for the quick action of an employee calling 911 and the first responders that were readily available, he wouldn’t be here today. God was still showing us His faithfulness.

The Lord chose to give divine wisdom and insight to the medical professionals in both cases to save his life. For those of you who are going though a similar situation, let me encourage you not to lose hope and to trust fully in the Lord. We don’t know what the coming year will hold, but we have come to understand on a deeper level just how good God is. He is faithful, He cares, He knows, and He’s concerned about every little detail of our lives. My husband’s latest scan still shows no cancer and the oncologist doesn’t expect it to return. He’s back to work and is continually gaining back much of his strength. Praise!


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Kathy lives near Minneapolis, Minnesota with her Super Hero husband, Joel. She has two adult daughters and two over-the-top smart grand children. She divides her time between painting, gardening, and the joy of taking care of her home and family.