Sunday, September 28, 2008

Heavy laden & Sweet goodbyes


As I sat down to write my chest felt like it was sinking in. I starting to say "I don't know where to start", and then I was going to describe how I felt. Weary would work, but not it. Scared too, but still not hitting the mark. And then finally, I noticed the pain in my chest. I was going to say "It feels like that dentist vest you have to wear when getting x-rays."

"Heavy"... "Heavy Laden." When those two words in combination hit my lips, tears began to roll down my face. It then went from quiet tears close to a sob. "Why Jesus? Why I am heavy laden? What does that mean?" I still don't have the answers... I just realized this. But what I can tell you is what I discovered through

Laden means: burdened; loaded down
Lade means: put (something) on or in, as a burden, load, or cargo load oppressively;

Looking at those descriptions I see two things.

One being that I am loaded down... not necessarily by choice, but circumstances around me have "laden" me. The other being that I have done it to myself. "To put something, a burden or load on myself". I would venture a guess, and say that all lades are oppressively loaded. In addition, I would say that part of this laden, is inflicted by me, and part by circumstances uncontrollable.

If you're still with me, good for you, if not- sorry but I'm going to keep going so I can process.

I am heavy laden. I think thats ok. God allows for the weary and the heavy laden to exist. He mentions those are who are just that.... "Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest." If you read my previous blog you would see that God had given me the word "Rest" to soak in on Friday. Perhaps he was preparing me for this moment. So that I would know, to wait silently on God, and I will find rest. He is coming, and has come. He is with me. Emmanuel. He offers me peace. I just need Him to take off this dentist vest.

What is so amazing, as I continually point out as God pulls things together, is that He works all things together for the good & He is never without a teachable moment. (as we called them at KAA)

As I looked up Matthew 11:28, the verse mentioned above, I realized what comes next. "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

I have been praying through this scripture for at least a year now- to learn what it means to take His yoke upon me & learn from Him. Praise Jesus that His yoke is easy and that His burden is light.

Obviously there is a lot brewing in my heart, all of which I won't divulge in such a "public" place, but I am thankful that He offers me that peace. We got home from Plymouth (story below) last night at midnight. I stayed at my parents, and drove up to my friend Heather's this morning to drive down to our "Unity service" for Common Ground. We have two locations- one on the west side, and midtown. So every once and a while we'll all gather as one community. It was B-E-A-UTIFUL today friends. I worshiped my socks off with "Great is thy faithfulness" "Jesus Lord of Heaven" "How Great is Our God" "Majesty" "God of this city" and more. It was restoring me to a place where I was remembering who my God is. (Like I should EVER forget right?)

Then today wrapped up the 4 week series about "church". Not just CG, but church in general. Jeff talked about Jesus, His ministry, and what it looked like for the disciples to leave all their fish, trust Jesus, and follow Him. (I would imagine they had to "take His yoke upon them, and learn the new way of life - with Jesus). So... what does that look like for me, right now, where I am? What am I not willing to leave behind to follow Him and enter into this way of life fully? Thats for God to say and by His grace for me to hear.

Anyway, so much just flooded my heart. Onto this weekend...


Yesterday I was at Indiana Sports Corp, Corporate Challenge. They happen to be my client, and our team, MediaSauce, always wins the spirit award. (thats just a side note b/c we don't win anything else) So needless to say, I was enjoying myself yesterday. I had the best run of my life. I won a bet with my boss. I was flying high.

And then I checked my phone. As you may know we've been "in the waiting" with Grandpa Umbaugh. I received calls and texts (yes texts- but from my dad) yesterday morning asking that we go up to see Grandpa again. So, Anna, Lydia, and myself left late yesterday afternoon. (Laura went up today)

When we arrived we saw relatives we hadn't seen in years, which was a blessing. But that was not the most significant part. When I walked in the room at the nursing home my sweet Grandfather was lying in his bed, with Grandma in a chair beside him, holding his hand and rubbing his arm. My grandpa doesn't open his eyes much, and things are slowly shutting down. However, God had a nugget of surprise.

I sat there and held his hand, spoke closely in his ear memories of times past; Laura running around in a diaper, fishing in Wisconsin, nicknames of the four of us. He remembered. He smiled. He laughed. He called "Goatie" (Anna) a poop. At one point the bed shook from someone getting up from sitting on it & his eyes opened. In that moment our eyes met- and I said "HI GRANDPA!" He responded "Hi sweetie. You're such a sweetheart." As as we left, we hugged him goodbye. We gave him kisses. We told him we loved him, and said he said to me "I love you too sweetheart. Take care of yourself."

I'll never forget what a wise soul once said ... "Tears are a gift". I love that. And God seemed to have blessed me with extra. And so, today, I am heavy laden. Not just because of Grandpa, but he has a lot to do with it. I am being formed, and it hurts. I want to follow, and I'm not sure I am. I want to be used, so I need to surrender.

A friend keeps reminding me (whether he means to or not) that praise brings it all back. It did for me today. It takes the "I" out of those statements, and things happen because God wants them too. Praise reminded me of the power of my God. It reminded me that His ways are better than mine. It reminded me that He loves me deeply.

Anyway, thanks for reading ... and allowing this to be a place where I can tell you about Jesus.

Joyfully HIS,

Thursday, September 25, 2008

God is in the waiting...

Oh waiting. Its one of my least favorite things, and yet, God continues to impress upon my heart that He is there, in the waiting.

I guess if you're waiting you have to ask for what, right? You're waiting for the car in front of you to go the speed limit. You're waiting for a sign or an answer or direction. You're waiting for God to heal, or for God to take someone home.

Today I was waiting in all of those circumstances. I don't know about this whole patience thing- I mean I know its a virtue, but really... come on...

My Grandfather, my dads dad, was recently taken off his pace maker and his defibrillator. His heart was being "shocked" a couple times a day and it seemed best for his health to take them off. So Grandpa is going "all natural". He is the Grandfather that we got to see just a couple weeks ago. (see last blog) Apparently that was his last "good day". He played the sax, ate fried chicken, and remembered us. I am so thankful to have that memory of my Grandpa. I love him and already miss him.

Really its pretty cool. His memory was gone, and came back a little for a few precious moments. My father has been sleeping on the floor in the nursing home, with my Grandma in a recliner next to my Grandfather in his bed. They took those things off on Monday.

They anticipated Grandpa going "home" on Monday night. However, here we are, Thursday night at 10:45, and he is still here. I do not believe this is a coincidence or really if those exist. God, in His grace, perfect timing, and His mercy has kept Grandpa with us. He has graciously given us these days for a good reason. So, as I get ready for bed tonight, not knowing if my Grandpa will make it through, I rest assured knowing that God will take Him home in His good timing.

And so, we wait...

Oddly enough I am seeking some direction in areas of my life. (go figure right? The ever restless heart of mine) After I read about Moses killing an Egyptian, and marrying someone... and God taking what was meant for evil and using it for good... I made efforts to allow God to speak. As I felt the word "rest" fall on me, Psalm 62 came to mind. I remember this used to be my favorite Pslam because of the "rest" factor.

However, the word "wait" is what was more prominent today. Why? Because I read out of a NASB now instead of an NIV. NIV is covered with the word rest, and NASB talks of waiting. For me, that paints such a different picture. I suppose you should rest in the waiting- so you're not anxious about anything. Anyway, here is what God spoke to me today (keep in mind the blog theme)

Psalm 62:1-8

My soul waits in silence for God only;
From Him is my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.
How long will you assail a man,
That you may murder him, all of you,
Like a leaning wall, like a tottering fence?
They have counseled only to thrust him down from his high position;
They delight in falsehood;
They bless with their mouth,
But inwardly they curse. Selah.
My soul,wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.
On God my salvation and my glory rest;
The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah.

Anyway, I guess God gave me that word on waiting for Him today & I wanted to share it with you. Know that He is there, and that often times it takes faith to wait, to listen, and be patient. He is not slow concerning His promise, but not willing that any should perish.

Be encouraged. He hears your cry. He loves you deeply, tenderly, and more than life itself. He is on your side, don't fight against Him. Fight for Him and with Him. Help me love Him. Point me to Him.

Sleepily your's,

[again, if we listen, He is speaking and provides our daily bread - I'm not good at this. Listening requirings waiting and waiting requires patience.]

Grandpa and Me 2006 Thanksgiving

Monday, September 08, 2008

A sobering, humbling weekend

God's grace is enough. It is enough to hold us. To get us through. It is enough for us to walk through the fire and not be burned, but come out more pure and ready to serve Him. His grace is enough.

Let me just run through the past weekend with you. This is not to feel bad for me in any way. I am thankful for the time I had this weekend, seeing the pain of others...allowing me, or reminding me, to be thankful for where I am; who is in my life; and the life that God has graciously given me.

Even as I think about it now my life comes with much responsibility."To whom much is given much is expected". Perhaps I'm not rich in the eyes of NFL players, politicians, "stars"... but those on the street, in the slum, or at the orphanage I have much. With that said...

On Friday night I had the privilege to volunteer for a benefit concert, hosted at Common Ground. (my place of worship) It was free, but there were t-shirts, and bands playing, to raise awareness and couple bucks for the worthy cause. "Whats the cause Katie?" You ask. Its Love146. I'm not sure if you're familiar with what is happening in the world today with sex slavery but it is outrageous. My eyes are being opened to this wretched situation that exists around the world, and has for decades, maybe even centuries. My heart breaks for those existing in it- for it is a life, at 8 years old I can't imagine.

The good news is Love 146 is doing something about it. Please check them out. Become aware. The shear fact of you just knowing about it is helping.

This is something I hadn't prepared myself for. If you read a few blogs ago, I mention Leslie, Tyson, and Tj. Leslie is one of Anna's best friends, who recently, went home to Jesus. Cancer was the assassin, but Jesus is her savior.

Anyway, the fam went up to Bolingbrook, IL for it. Lyd unfortunately couldn't make it. But Laura and I left saturday morning. On the way up we shared our hearts, we shared laughter, and hours later we shared tears. As I sat in the auditorium of the high school, listened to my sister sing "In Better Hands Now", grasping the finality of that, the victory of that, I was humbled.

Following her song, Tyson (Leslie's husband), took the stage with his church's worship band. We praised God together. We praised Him in the storm. We thanked Him and recognized Him for who He is. All led by a broken and hurting man. It was the most beautiful picture of God's redemption. He is redeeming Tyson. He HAS redeemed Leslie- she is home. She crossed the finish line. And I can't begin to tell you the lives that this warrior family has touched.

They said that their blog was read in over 70 countries. Over 100,000 readers have seen it. By their blog alone, by one families trial, by one family's faith & willingness to share, God has opened the eyes of thousands.

Tyson continues a blog here. Please pray for them. Now that the memorial services are over, a deeper sorrow will probably set it. The finality of her being gone. The truth that he won't get to see hundreds of people every weekend to talk about his wife. Please pray for Him.

Following the events in Illinois, we had one more stop to make. With continuous laughter from Laura and myself we journeyed on to Plymouth, Indiana. A place filled with so many memories. We ate, of course, at the local Pizza Hut.

Now, this trip wasn't to just see the Grandparents. We received a warning last week that my grandfather isn't well. He is my Father's dad. He is awesome you guys. If you met him you would love him instantly. He is JUST like my dad, only a little taller. He was in the navy. He loves Jesus. And he loves my Grandma.

He was doing ok when we saw him. I am thankful we made the trip. We also got to see my mom's mom. But really, as I watched my grandma lean on my grandpa. As I watched her say goodbye because they can't live together anymore (after over 60 or 70 years) my heart broke. This is life. All roads lead here. Or the lead to leaving earlier. But they do end eventually.

I told Laura she should have brought Brandt to the nursing home so that he would get a picture of what long lasting, steadfast, love looks like in the face of Alzheimer's, broken hips, and memory loss.

And so I return. I return to Broadipple. I return to my singlehood. I return to my 25 year old, relatively healthy, body. I don't have cancer. I am free from sex slavery. I'm not in a wheel chair. I am thankful for the breath I am breathing now.

It is important now that I take what I saw this weekend to my heart, but also use it to change my days. To keep perspective. To change who I live for. They live for God. Leslie lived & died for her savior, and mine, Jesus Christ. Why would I not do the same? For this life is but a breath. I pray as I exhale one day I will see the faces of those I've loved, those who have loved me, and the moments when I obeyed, followed, and loved my Jesus well. And through that- lived my life to the fullest.

Monday, September 01, 2008

The Pit & A New Song

What is so beautiful about God? Besides the obvious majesty, power, love, etc., He is able to redeem... even a wretch like me.

Just 2 minutes ago I began to type a blog, regarding "the pit". If you're familiar with God's word you are probably familiar with the "pit". This pit being what I've felt like I am in. I have heard sermons preached on it, taught it in Sunday school, seen people fall in what I thought it was, and talked about it in Bible studies.

However, lately, my outcry to the Lord is one of desperation. I am requesting redemption from this slump I'm in. Its not as if I have turned my back on God, or I'm not spending time with Him, and neglecting His word. But rather just the opposite. I am filling my life with praise music, seeking Him more, and being diligent in the Word.

Which brings me to another point... as I was brushing my teeth I thought "Abba, if I turned every worry, every thought about the future, every concern, into a prayer- I would be in a much better state than I am now.

Anyway, back at the ranch - the pit. So I knew the Bible discusses this pit, and typically when I share with you (my sometimes existent blog readers) I like to share where the scripture comes from. Thankfully God often writes it on my heart, however, due to painful memory loss I have a hard time knowing where on earth it is. So I went to our good resource "" to find it. No sir- the "pit" was only found in Genesis & Exodus. I knew it was somewhere in the Psalms. I gave up. I almost didn't write a blog tonight.

Then I thought "He put a new song in my heart". Because that is what I am longing for I thought I could share that nugget of hope with you. Unbeknown est to me God has wisdom in this thought flow. As I googled it, the praise song came up, and then a Christian blog. The blog that came up covered Pslam 40. Are you ready?

1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.

2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.

3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.

4 Blessed is the man
who makes the LORD his trust,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.

I cannot express to you the pertinence of this scripture in my heart tonight. For a couple weeks I have realized my distrust in God. I have prayed that my feet would be firmly planted in Him. Do you see what I see? God just brought it full circle, in one scripture, I haven't read recently by my desire to write a blog. Tears rolled down my cheeks when I saw that it was all there. As I spent time with Him this morning- He reminded me "Remember My faithfulness Katie".

He is so faithful. So trustworthy. So good. Pray for me. Pray that I would trust the only truly trustworthy being. The God of the universe. The God of my salvation. The God of my heart.

I pray that you are encouraged to spend time with Him. Remember Him. For He never forgets you.

Love your not so faithful blog writer,