Saturday, January 24, 2009

Stirring of love

What a week it has been. One of ups and downs. Fear and hope. Sorrow and joy.

My father has sleep apnea. After 3 days in the heart hospital his lungs and heart "check out" ok, and then it what was up to sleep apnea for causing weight gain (due to excessive fluid in his body), the lack of sleep, the shortness of breath, and general "weariness" of my father. Praise God they found it now - and praise God they have answers for that sort of thing.

The doctor said it would be a miracle to get the sleep test on Thursday night. But as we know of our God, He is a miracle doer. My dad got in on Thursday, was tested, and came out with all sorts of results that I couldn't re-iterate if I tried. Basically it was really bad. His oxygen was in the low 70s from the time he fell asleep until 1am - from there they put the "machine" on to give him oxygen and regulate his breathing, and he was "ok". Hopefully the machine and diuretics will help the fluid weight shed off and the breathing to become better.

Thank you for your prayers for him, for us, this week. They were certainly answered. I am looking forward to some healing here after!

There was fear and hope in those times with dad. More friends underwent sorrow and loss these past couple weeks. My friend's grandfather died this week and another friend's grandmother died last week. My friend whose grandmother passed away, said this after learning of the next death in "the group": adulthood sucks sometimes Amen. I am seeing death, suffering, and just the "hardships" of life are more frequent and personal as I gain years. But in that my recognition of God's love extends and grows even more so than the last time.

God has been showing me what His loves means in new ways. I was talking to a friend about "For God so loved the world..." We were talking about how we so often focus on the "that He gave His only son that who so ever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life". So, take it apart and really allow God's love to show. Allow the "bigness" the "grandness" the incredible love that God showed us by sending His ONLY son for US. Mankind. You. Me. And every face you see. That is who He loves. [hang on now.. I'm switching to a new point, but it will connect. God's love in sending this Son - that sacrifice ... ]

So reading in Exodus God stirred hearts to bring things for a "freewill offering". "The Israelites, all the men and women, whose heart moved them to bring material for all the work, which the LORD had commanded through Moses to be done, brought a freewill offering to the LORD " Man- even God's heart was stirred... "Everyone whose heart stirred him and everyone whose spirit moved him came and brought the LORD'S contribution for the work of the tent of meeting and for all its service and for the holy garments. "

It is beautiful to imagine that God gave us all gifts to contribute - some monetarily, some by physical ability, some by the ability of our hearts or minds. There is something for all people to give... to "offer" that contributes to the full beauty of God - the body of Christ! How awesome that as parts we are just an ear, or just a hand... but together we make up the body and can glorify God together. I love that. Harmony. Oneness. Sacrifice - ours and His - for the glory of God.

Anyway - bringing it together (if I can possibly attempt to do so) - out of God's "freewill" offering, He so loved us. [I.e. He sent His Son, as an offering, a sacrifice for OUR sin. That is amazing. Let that resonate. The God of the universe, the maker of you and me, who created all things, including light, day, night, animals, earth, planets, sun, moon, stars... HE sent HIS son for US. Wow. He sacrificed so that we might have life. He loves us that much. Praise God!!! And all God's people said....]

So lets "so love Him". Lets offer our lives as living sacrifices to Him.
(from Romans 12:1 The Message)

So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.

He loved us. Embrace it. "Your kindness Lord leads us to repentance". Life, new life, will continue to come through repentance and we can get there through His kindness. What a gracious and merciful God! What would our lives look like if we gave back to Him, or began to, all that He has given for us? And you know what - I'm not talking about "sell all your possessions and give to the poor" (although it isn't a bad idea and its an idea that is certainly not out of what God might be calling for any one person to) However, just a daily surrender to His will and His way. Recognizing His love for us - not so that we sin more, but simply that we pick up our cross - however heavy it may be, it may make us sweat, we may not like, it could bring tears and even physical pain - but we pick it up because we know it is the best and we follow Him.

That, my friends, is true life. That is following the Lord. God is breathing new life into me on a daily basis. Through His Spirit, through the freshness of His words, through relationships. I am thankful for new life and His love which he "freely" gave. (freewill offering)

We have a choice in life. Who will you choose to follow? Who will I choose? Its not just when I wake, but every minute of every day. Yeah I'll fall. But He is surely there when I rise; and He may just send angels to pick me up.

May we be stirred to love others, out of a stirring to love God. "Because He first loved us."

Choose Jesus with me...


As we depart from this blog, remember the words in Romans 8 regarding God's love for you:

38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,

39nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Prayer request... vent... waiting... praise!

So - I just got word Dad has sleep apnea. His heart is ok. His lungs are ok. Praise God, amen?

This day has been one of intentional prayer, for him, and other stuff... and I praise God for answering my prayers about my dad.

He is going to be in the hospital tonight. He is going to be released tomorrow (as of right now), and they are trying to schedule a sleep study on him to make sure they set the "machine" to the correct amount of oxygen he will need through the night.

I am awe inspired by God's working in my heart. I am awed by the response of His people - YOU. Thank you for speaking into my life. My heart is 180 degrees from where it was last night. God would get glory either way. Just like our friends who were thrown into the fire in the book of Daniel... "Throw us in there. Burn us up. Our God can save. But even if He doesn't... we will never bow to your god." However, He heard, He answered, and made clear that its sleep apnea.

Thank you all for your prayers, your notes, your encouragement. I've been brought to tears at your response, and I want you to know you've made a difference in my life.

Thank you.

Yours truly,

Still waiting...

After my vent session last night and my day of prayer today, I wanted to update you quickly. (as I need to remain, or gain, focus at work)

My dad and I chatted this morning. The cardiologist came in after his echo and didn't find anything with his heart. This is good news... praise God!

The "arg" news is that we still don't know whats up. The diagnosis of heart failure was really giving us a clearer picture of could be happening and has been happening. And so, we wait. God is here though, amen? I'm trying to remain in His presence as He remains in mine.

He said to me "Seek my face", and my heart continually says to Him "Your face I will seek". And so it is today... still waiting, still anxious, but seeking His face in decisions, in the health of my earthly father, and gaining strength from my eternal one.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, read the previous post!

love and peace will always come...


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Prayer request turns to a vent...

Well friends, there have been a few times I've tried to begin to write you. I wanted to begin to describe the sweetness that is my time in Exodus these days. Yes there are some days where I've been more "into it", but all together God is teaching me a lot about Himself; even showing me the consistencies of His personality (however debated it may be between the new and old Testament)

For example... here is a snippet of what I began 2 weeks ago:
My time in Exodus has been so sweet lately. Just a side note as God told Moses who He was this morning. As I look at the sun out the window I remember His words... (and Moses' immediate response... He "made haste"...)

Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth;

who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin'; ... Moses made haste to bow low toward the earth and worship."

Moses made haste to bow low toward the earth and worship. My friend has imparted to me her desire in the urgency of living for Christ. What are we waiting for?

Anyway, so you see where I was going with that one. I guess I wanted to bring something before you, yet again. Amidst the praises and sorrows of 2008, hopes are high for 2009. God is doing a lot in my heart and life (which I will divulge in future posts) but for now I will tell you about my dad.

Surely it will end up being "nothing" as they say, or at least "treatable". However, even in the optimism of those around me, and even the optimism in my dad, my spirits just kind of "sunk" today as I went and hung out with him in the hospital room at lunch.

We watched the inauguration together. Certainly a moment in history that will not be forgotten. I don't care if you are a democrat or a republican; a conservative or a liberal; or a little bit of both. (frankly I don't care what I am either) What I appreciated today was the redemption I saw in America. This is a post for another time... but seriously, equality for all mankind... the symbolism was quite beautiful.

Moving along with my dad...We had a big family lunch on Sunday. Kind of a last minute thing at my parents, and Dad didn't seem to be doing well. I think he was discouraged by the lack of wellness he is experiencing, even though he has been working his butt off to change the course his body was taking. (reference last November) Anyway, he is undergoing a lot of tests right now. They have gone back and forth with the diagnosis; certainly God is in the waiting. Its something with his heart. There is a mass amount of fluid in his legs. He is just not that well & has quite a few symptoms. So they need to find the original issue and that would (ideally) solve the rest.

Frankly, I'm just discouraged. Truly shouldn't be. I need to be trusting in the Almighty. I can feel myself crawling into that cave I've mentioned before... and what I told myself, and you (my blog), is this...

don't crawl in caves. That may sound silly but yesterday I shut down. I hibernated. I went into my "cave" of processing and it made things worse. I would let no one in and I certainly wasn't coming out. God was with me, but my heart was so unbearably hard I'm not even sure I was listening to the One person who was trying to get me out of there.

I am thankful for God's presence with me. I am thankful that He yanked me out of there today. Note to self: do not crawl into a cave unless you plan on bringing someone out.

Guys, my cave is seeming more appealing. I am hating the fact my dad is in the hospital. And I don't want to hear it will be ok, and I don't want to hear that they don't know... I want him to be better. And that is the fact. It makes it hard to work. It makes it hard to carry on conversations. This amidst a lot of other things going on. There are decisions to be made. There are answers to seek. And its as if crisis comes in my path every time I'm faced with decisions.

I apologize for the vent session. I prayed this morning as I spent time in the word that I would be a joy giver, not a joy taker.

Moses' face shone among the Israelites because of His time with God. Seriously! What a testimony. It shown so brightly that he had to veil it until he went to meet with God the next time. That is what I wanted to be today to the world, to my family, to my friends.

I fear that I have taken joy today. I desire to love others so well; granted I wasn't awful to any one, I'm not writhing in guilt tonight. However, in the midst of my dad's suffering, our waiting, I'm sure I could have been more kind, loving, patient, and gentle.

Even as I write this my heart is feeling a little more convicted about it, and God is speaking words of love over me.

"Katie... I love you. I know you. I created you. I fashioned you together for My purposes. I will never leave you nor forsake you. You are Mine."

These are words of truth... God hear my plea... break the glass, the ice, that is laid on my heart tonight. I pray the tears that so desperately want to pour out of my soul would come like a flood and land at your feet... or rather in your jar. If it is strength and not pride or sin that is holding me together like this, may I feel like, recognize it, and give you praise for it. But God - if it is sin in me, break me. Break my heart.

That is me in the flesh my friends. That is me tonight. I guess I would ask for prayer for my dad, and his health and spirits. My mom in her trust in God and her spirits. My sisters. My brothers. And me. I would ask for your prayer as I desire to seek God's face, God's will, and God's desire for me. I desire His rest. It is so obvious that God is tying together His truths in Exodus for my weary heart today:

MOSES - "Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight. Consider too, that this nation is Your people."

GOD- "My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest."

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

That truth is available to all... for dad, for me, for you.

A friend gave me this today... praying these words sink into my heart with more truth than they did today. I pray that I wake up with these sung over me and that it would change the way I live my day, the way my heart feels, and the focus I have... may these words ring true for me:

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscruitable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks strength, He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait on the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary. (Isaiah 40:28-31)

So this was more of a vent session. Thank you for walking along side me in this journey. In my ups, and my downs. I pray that you find rest in God tonight. May His song of peace sing over you.

In Christ I find my rest,

PS- thank you for being here. I considered editing this blog post because by the time I got to the end of it, my spirit was lifted. God uses my times here to bring me before the cross again and rest. I am there once again. But it doesn't do any good for you to read a dishonest post. This is me tonight. These were my emotions and feelings as I processed. And I ended up on the side of God's grace once again. Praise God for that. I would hate to remain where I was....

Friday, January 02, 2009

Abiding... a year in review

God is good.

I guess I felt like I needed to post and didn't know what to tell you. I suppose I could begin to relive what 2008 was like for me, for those I know, and knew, and what I hope 2009 unfolds. But there is just no telling what is on its way for us.

I do think its appropriate for me, and my heart, to make sure I receive what I learned last year and continue on in that learning with whatever God allows or brings my way in 2009.

First things first:

To abide. There has not been a word that has been so freshly laid on my heart as this one. As I recount the wars, the trials, the questions gone unanswered, the victories, the fears, the abide rings more true in my heart than ever. offers opinions on the matter and so perfectly coincide with my heart through out 2008. (and scripture that God taught me)

To abide is to remain. Crazy right? Or maybe not. But consider scripture that you probably have heard many times "remain in Me..." In the NASB the word the used is abide.

"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me." John 15:4

Another transforming idea of abiding is to abide in His love. What does that mean for you? For me, to abide in God's love, to remain there, means that I won't live into the fear, guilt, and shame that I have from my sin. It means choosing God before self. It means a constant surrender to the ONE who can do abundantly more than I could ask or imagine. Who wouldn't want to remain in that love? Even on those days when you question His presence, abide in His love, trust His presence. He is with you.

Other awe striking definitions of abiding are: "to have one's abode: to dwell", "to wait", "to accept without opposition or question".

Wow. God is dwelling with us friends. His dwelling place (His tabernacle) is us.

To wait. Do I need to explain this at all? Waiting is the name of the game. We are ultimately waiting for redemption and restoration of ourselves and mankind - however - we are actively waiting as in every moment God is calling us to love the world as He did. Abide in Him. He will enable you to accomplish all things in Him. "Wait for the Lord. Be strong. Let your heart take courage. Yes wait for the Lord."

To accept without opposition or question. If you didn't read the post 2 times ago, on Mary, please do because for me God is wrapping more and more truth around what I've learned recently in these definitions of abiding. Mary did question - I will give you that. But it wasn't with opposition, or a lack of trust, just kind of "are you serious God? I'm going to have Jesus, but really?" And then Mary was accepting it, she embraced it, and began the process of abiding in a new circumstance. Oh how I need to learn from her. God has put me in circumstances this year where I did not believe it. He has put people in my path where I felt inadequate to help, love appropriately, or be used by Him - but abiding did conquer. God conquered. I accepted the positions He put me in, and I have seen beautiful transformation in me and in the lives around me. How beautiful abiding is. To accept without opposition. Just trust Him. wow.

So those are my reflections on abiding.

The rest of year... I am in shock as I just went back through my blog from 2008, seeing what I've asked for prayer over. I guess I can update you on the fact that I can now take my coffee with just cream (cut out the sugar), and A LOT less cream than I was drinking last year. Baby steps to black.

My blog in 2008 began (after reflecting on Sarah) with crisis in Kenya, which is has now subsided. I believe there is still a little unrest, but God in His grace brought peace, and now Kenya is working on building their economy again. By His grace I might return this year. Now that would be incredible.

I asked for prayer for my friend (Anna's best friend) Leslie. We joined in the war, together, as a body of Christ, praying fervently for healing, but also for God's will. God, in His infinite and unfathomable love, understanding, and justice, took her home. I don't understand why God answers certain things the way He does. How do we learn to abide with answers we didn't prefer? We trust (in the midst of the agony) that God is sovereign. I do know that God has continued to pour out love and healing on the family she left behind. Please continue to pray for them. Her fight is over, but God still has a plan and a desire for Tyson and TJ.

I have asked for prayer for my dad. He is on the road to health. Having the understanding that dad has anemia, he is now taking a lot more iron, and eating iron rich foods. No internal bleeding. Praise God! Answered prayers... miracles. Thank you for walking along side us in that. Continue to pray for improved health.

There were some funny times certainly - with my family. Here are two blogs that I think are worth highlighting from the past year: (they aren't long, but I think they'll make you laugh. Especially if you know them)

DAD story about mothers day

Lets not forget how my mom began to use email. :)
MOM story about emailing

Also in 2008, my grandfather was very sick. In October he went home to Jesus. I praise God for the uniquely beautiful goodbyes I had with him. I will never forget how he loved me with his last breaths. I will never forget how he called me "a sweetie". I will never forget seeing his eyes for the last time. I will never forget his laugh, his smile, his kisses, his hugs. I will never forget him. I am thankful for him, his life, and even his death and all he taught me about being a fighter and a lover. Please continue to pray for my grandma, my dad, my uncles, and our family as we learn what life can look like without him. To live into the plan God has for us now, as Grandpa completed the task that God set before him. We've still got work to do my friends!

I have asked for prayer for the McCrackens. They still need your prayers friends. I just read an update on the possibility of surgery (they are pretty sure) on her liver to remove more cancer; and it looks like she will also be receiving radiation treatment. Pray for the family. Pray for Susie McCracken. Praise God for their time of "rest" over the holidays- no surgery, no radiation, just family time. But we need to join this family again in prayer. Thank you for your faithfulness family.

My baby sister got married in August. Brandt (her hubby) and her are learning a lot and growing together beautifully. There are a lot of raw truths that are discovered in marriage (not that I know from experience... but I've walked with a lot of friends through it), and they seem to be taking them one day at a time. Putting one foot in front of another. Her wedding was incredible and beautiful, and its a great thing to watch as they learn and grow and love each other more daily.

Ahhh... what a year huh? I know I've learned more, studied more, blogged more, than I put here but to just recap what God is doing, how He is active in my life and the lives around me is healthy for my heart. I am thankful that I was able to look at Him at the end of 2008 and say ...

"Thank you God. Thank you for your faithfulness, your goodness, your provision, your love this year. May I come to know you more intimately in the days, months, and year to follow. Thank you for new relationships, thank you for those I've temporarily said goodbye to, thank you for being present in the joy and sorrow. For the year to come... May I praise you more. May I come to you more. May I love you more. May I surrender more. Oh God ... that I would abide more. I offer you my life, my year, my all."

So - I guess I went into details of events over the past year, but it is just interesting to look at it over a year. I pray that we will all grow and learn and love more in 2009.

Thanks for sticking with me the past year. I look forward to living life on here with you in the year to come.

Cheers to 2009!