Friday, September 23, 2016

Just Some Thoughts.....

This morning I woke up with the overwhelming thought that I will never have to earn God's love.
It's a newer thought than you might think for me, someone who 
has had a relationship with my Savior since a very young age.

But this May, during a particularly moving night of worship my heart
crashed into my mind and the knowledge that I have to 
stop trying to earn God's love imploded in me.

I've always been aware of the fact that I can't earn God's love.
But that didn't mean that I wasn't trying to.
I saw God's love through the tinted lens of my human experience. 
An experience where love is conditional, where it's earned by 
achievements and given out as reinforcement for positive behavior
and withheld when the situation was negative. 
I was projecting everything I experienced over the truth, because that
was all I knew.

That's where the disconnect was.
God's love is so contrary to what we find socially acceptable.
God's love chooses you, when no one else will.
God's love rescues you, out of depravity and slavery.
But it doesn't stop at the initiation of salvation.

God's love pursues you.
It's unconditional. He never walks away.
 He never forces you to love Him, because that isn't the face of love.
He doesn't break our legs and drag us to the cross, forcing us to repent
and receive His everlasting love.
He draws us gently to our knees.
His mercy crashes over us because justice has been balanced when He paid our fines.

And it's this realization that brings so much joy to my heart.
There's nothing I can do to earn His love.
Absolutely nothing.
There's peace in ending the struggle to earn it, because it was
unattainable by anything I could do, it is offered freely.

When His people had abandoned Him, had turned away their faces
and were pursuing false love, God cried out for them.

"How can I give you up, O Ephraim...
My heart recoils within me;
my compassion grows warm and tender."
Hosea 11:8

It's surprisingly easy overlook the presence of God's love when you
are working for it.
 Let's rest in it instead.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The "B" word

As Christians we are often warned about the problematic "B" word.
Warned from the pulpit, cautioned by mentors,
chastised by scriptures that bitterness can be detrimental to our walk.
And I feel like, it's a thing that most people know.
But I also feel like we don't always recognize it.
Bitterness literally creeps in.
It sneaks up on you.
I festers from something inconsequential sometimes, something that 
should be so simple to come to terms with, but instead of
solving the problem, acknowledging it and confronting
it with prayer and the parties involves, it sits there and the friction
builds until it's a blister of bitterness.

Interesting comparison right?
A blister.
They usually start out as just an itch on your heel.
Then they get hot, the friction builds and then,
before you know it it's extraordinarily painful and you ability to
walk as you usually would isn't possible. 
 Trust me, I have so much experience with blisters.

A pastor spoke from the pulpit this Sunday and told us, 
"It is an illusion to be angry with another person, and be right with God."
As much as I would like for this to not be true, it is though.
I spent quite a lot of wasted time being angry with people.
People who I thought owed me explanations and apologies.
People who I thought should be remorseful for things that had happened
to me while I was in their care.
People who I thought should be held responsible for my actions in the future
because I believed that they were caused by the harm that they did.

But I was wrong.
As is often the case.
A very wise woman one told me,
"You are in no way responsible for the actions of 
the people around you. You are only responsible for 
how you react to those actions."

So today, I am not here to criticize you, and tell you that you are in the wrong.
I want to offer you some encouragement. 
Bitterness didn't pay off for me.
It made my walk with Christ laborious, the antithesis of joy.
I allowed bitterness to drive me to horrible places.
Me. My fault. I did it. 
No one else.

And that was the key. I realized that I didn't have to be angry.
It hurt so, so much to let go of that anger. 
It felt like it would be so much easier to continue in that
anger than to admit that I was in the wrong by holding it, nursing  it.

So when I was struggling through all of the emotions that swirled around,
when I decided that I would try forgiveness and really truly forgive with 
my actions and not just with my words,
I sat down and I wrote.
I wrote down everything that bothered me, 
everything that hurt me,
everything that I felt that shouldn't have happened to me.
And I cried.
A lot.

And over the course of the weeks and months that it took to come to terms with 
everything, to let all of the bad memories rush back, and to actually record them 
instead of suppress them I slowly began healing.
It wasn't all at once, I didn't wake up and say ,"Boom I'm done."
That would have been nice though.

And the blisters that I had, healed over. There are still
some scars here and there, but they are a testimony to
the fact that God allowed me to walk through a trial and
He stood by me and helped me endure it. 
And as I healed He opened a door for me,
in His perfect timing.

And the door had "Echo Ranch Bible Camp" painted on it.
Last summer I had the privilege of serving at this camp here 
in Juneau. I met some of the most wonderful kids ever there.
But it wasn't just a job, it wasn't just being a counselor, keeping 
up with kids, making sure they were taken care of.
It was the close to a very long chapter in my life. 
By being able to share my testimony with these campers,
being able to tell them about some of the things that God had seen me through,
and being able to relate with so many of them with personal struggles 
and encourage them was an amazing opportunity.
I got a glimpse of something. 
My trials had purpose.
God gave them to me for a reason.
Had they not happened my testimony would have been completely different
but because they did I was able to see the struggles of my campers
with an amazing compassion, to cry with them and for them because I
knew firsthand what some of them were going through.
And now, I thank God for the hardships, for the blisters 
and the scars.
Because He gave them to me for a reason:
To glorify Him.

"So if there is any encouragement in Christ,
and comfort from love, any participation in
the Spirit, complete my joy by being of the same mind,
having the same love, being in full accord, and of one mind.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in 
humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each
of you look not only to your own interest, but also to
the interests of others."
Philipians 2:1-4

Monday, April 27, 2015

Don't let your dreams be dreams....

"She's just waiting for the summertime, when the weather's fine
She could hitch a ride out of town
And so far away from that low down, good for nothing, mistake making fool
With excuses like, baby, that was a long time ago
But that's just a euphemism if you want the truth he was out of control
But a short times a long time when your mind just won't let it go."

Does anyone else feel like they are the only person that doesn't have it together?
That you're kind of just faking everything in the hopes that one day it will all click?
I do.
I feel so incredibly lost.
I feel like everyone else has these great long-term plans that
have been festering in their lives since they were small children,
and were asked "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
My answer was different every single time someone asked me that.
Except for a few years when I really wanted to be a vet.
And then I didn't.
And I did my school and I went to college, and everyone is still
asking me, "What do you want to do with your life?"
"What are your plans for the future?"
"Are you going to be a teacher?"
"Where do you want to live when you leave home?"

Hey there folks.
I don't know.
I don't have any deep seated dreams for myself.
Until I finished school, my entire existence revolved around making it through the week.
Just one more test, one more class.
And then I graduated and that ended.
And I felt the absence of any dreams.
Shouldn't I have some?
I mean, at this point, anything would be great.
Anything to give me an answer to that barrage of questions,
anything that makes me seem less prepared for my life as an adult.
And I searched, and profiled, and job-compatibility tested.
And yet, nothing.
The stupid test said an office job would suit me.
I work in an office right now though,
and I can't imagine doing it long-term.

I don't have any stellar talents, any athletic greatness that would 
set me apart or give me definition from the crowd of average people.
So what do I do?
This isn't a rhetorical question people.
I don't have the answer.
This isn't one of those blog posts where I set out and then answer my own
question, and the entire first half was really just written in retrospect.
Those are cool though.

Basically the only thing I have going for me is being done with college.
Yay me.
Don't belittle college, sorry guys.
If you are in college, don't quit!
Even if you have no idea what you will do when you are done, don't quit.
I'll go all "Facing the Giants" on you, just don't quit.

So, you and me.
We got this.
We'll figure this out somehow.
Just keep going. You won't stumble over anything great
if you sit at home and wonder about what your life holds.
At that rate, you're looking at Netflix binge records, and stale air.

"Well summer came along and then it was gone and so was she
Not from him because he followed her just to let her know
A dream's a dream
And all this living's so much harder than it seems
But don't let your dreams be dreams
You know this living's not so hard as it seems
Don't let your dreams just be dreams...."
-Jack Johnson, Dreams be Dream

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Okay, so you know those moments that you know are super important?
The ones that you hold on to forever?
Those are awesome.

What about those moments that make you panic inside?
The socially awkward ones?
"Do I push or pull, or, yep, that says pull let's try that now, and hey the door opens!"
Those are the worst.

Oh, how about those moments that make you cringe??
"Yes, I was an impertinent child, thank you ma'am 
for reminding me, I hear your voice condescending me every
time I'm too loud."
Cringe and blush.

Haha, what about the hilarious moments that you wouldn't trade for anything?
"Let's try sledding on our jackets! This will totally work!"
It doesn't. But we tried it several times. Faceplant every time.

Those missed moments?
"Oh that would have been such a good comeback!"
This one is a plague.

Those other missed moments?
The ones that really do plague you?
"If only...."
I think everyone has a few.

Try not to sweat them loves.
We have to come to terms with the fact that we can't reach into the past and 
touch those moments. As much as we'd like to hold those moments,
press them into something different, to change them,
to say something, to listen, to move,
to stay still, to give up, or to gather courage, we can't.

The only moments we can touch are the ones that are coming.
They are racing towards us. Hurling themselves at us.
It's hard to know which ones will affect us later.
There's no way to anticipate the effect of a single, simple action.
People are unpredictable, circumstances are unpredictable,
and therefore, out moments are unpredictable.

Don't fight that though. 

Keep yourself from tripping over the oppressive bundles of moments from
the past, keep looking up. Don't be afraid to open up those
bundles either. Remind yourself how far you've come from
that moment. And press forward, ever forward.
Don't let the past keep you from touching the
moments of the present, because you never know
just who's present you might be touching.
Make it positive.
Let peace and love and hope leave fingerprints
all over the coming moments....

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Gaining Some Perspective

If you are a Pixar fan you should be thinking about 
Ratatouille right now. And if you aren't,
educate yourself people. 
The Pixar films are awesome. 
I'll wait here, go watch UP.

I'm not actually waiting but whatever, come back when you're done.
Or not, you know, I'm still going to write this....

So, perspective.
I picked some up last weekend.
I was hanging out with a girl friend of mine, and we just
opened to each other about our childhood struggles and 
humorous happenings. "Darn that kid that stole my candy 
on field day in first grade" kind of thing. 
And as we were talking we had a "Freaky Friday" moment.
Without the Chinese food and whole actual switching thing.

See, unless you knew me as a kid, you probably
don't know a whole ton about me, or about the 
"defining moments" in my life that helped make me who I am.
I don't think people are born being who they will be when 
they are 10, 15 or 20. Things happen, things
that change our perspectives. 

But as we were talking, this friend of mine said something that really struck me,
"Wow, I wish I had been raised like you, with younger siblings 
and more responsibility. I wanted to be a tomgirl growing up,
but my dad was always really protective and wouldn't let me
do anything risky."

After I got over my shock, I told her that I 
would have loved to trade places with her, 
to have been comfortable with being more feminine, and not mowing
the yard and lifting weights when I was 13, not 
changing tires in the snow, or climbing under the car to grease the joints. 

But then I thought about it some more.
And I realize now that that wasn't true.
I wouldn't want it to be different.
I like doing those things now.
I like knowing that if I get in a jam, I'm not going to
have to sit on my hands until a guy comes to change my flat.
I like being able to give my opinions on things like
practical conceal carry positions, and my favorite knife brands. 
I like being able to do things for myself, to be 
able to take care of situations that freak other women out.
It's that whole "the more you know, the more you don't know" thing.

 So, I'm not the girliest girl out there.
But I don't have a problem with being a girl that knows 
how to do things that others don't, or things that are "guy-ish".
I guess what I'm saying is, instead of wishing you were like
someone else, be yourself. Learn to like yourself,
and don't change for other people.
You're awesome girls. 
And hey guys, if you're reading this you're cool too.

Monday, March 30, 2015

When Hope Feels like a Dirty Word

It's such a small word.
Delicate even. 
But it can have huge life altering repercussions.
Not always the good kind.
Hope begs us to keep it close when things don't go the way we think
they should. It asks us to cultivate it like a little seed.
To bury it in our hearts and let it grow in our dreams.
That may sound all charming, and lovely.
And it feels that way in the process.

Humans have an incredible ability to keep up hope.
We love hope.
Jason Mraz loves hope.
Taylor Swift, in spite of her ridiculous claims to otherwise, loves hope.
We all love hope.
We love Louis Zamperini's saga that is "Unbroken", because of the
herald for hope he was. (Side note-I highly recommend this
film, for among many other things, it hands us the perspective that
we have a few choice moments, usually the hardest ones we will face,
that are the crossroads for either a life of regret, or of victory.)
I'm not talking about that cutesy little, "Oh I hope I get XYZ for my birthday"
kind of hope. We give up on that pretty quickly.
I mean that deep hope, that burrows into your soul,
imprints itself into your being, and eventually becomes 
what you identify as.

But then our dreams don't get fulfilled, they get shattered.
Our heart, now grown fonder of the hope, gets broken.
And while we try to pick up the pieces and move on,
we find that seed of hope.
And it leaves a bad taste in our mouths.
Stupid idiot, why did you ever hope?

You could have stopped hoping, and avoided all this, you know.
You could have been sensible, logical even, would that have been so hard?
Good grief, you could have been a hermit with 50 dozen books on World War II alone!
Aaah, a little too close to home there.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Can People Change?

Can people change?
That as the question for today in my 5-year Q&a journal.
Can people change......
This blog is becoming more of personal conversation
with myself than anything, so why don't we discuss it?
Good, we all agree, let's do it.
I am not turning into Gollum, I promise...I do tell myself to shut up
quite frequently, but the similarities end there.

Back to the question though.
Can people (in my opinion) change?
I don't know.....
Well, yes. And also, no.
I'm inclined to answer "no" straightaway, but I am
forever an optimist and have to squeak the "yes" in, for hope and all that.
However, I don't know if people can really change that much.
At least not alone. True salvation can change your desires,
your heart, and open your conscience to reprimanding,
thus eliciting a new behaviour and attitude.
Outside of that though? Not really.
I don't know about all this change.
I believe that people can develop. 
They can become a better version, or worse version of themselves really.
It's a constant battle, that tricky "change". 
Trying to overcome that almost constant desire to fall back
on old habits. I believe habits can be overcome. 
I have overcome bad habits.
I am battling bad habits, that prayerfully, I will overcome. 
We are constantly developing characteristically, spiritually.
Are we changing though? 

I mean, I am not the same person I was two years ago, am I?
Five years ago, ten?
Hmmmm. yes. I am.
And also, no.
I am older, sure. I have more "life experience" (yay life).
I've developed as a person. 
Not really changed though.
I've had variables influencing me, constant things influencing me.
But I still hate cornbread, and I love the stars.
I'm still Katie, with blonde unfriendly hair.
I love Jesus, and I try to please Him,
really He's the only one I have the desire to please anymore.
I'm still that competitive little first grader at heart,
who rallies at the sight or sound of injustice...
(side note-a kid stole my candy bar in first grade and I wasn't fond of him ever after that,
also, I punched a boy for kissing me on the playground)
I'm rambling aren't I?
Oh well. Go away if you're bored.
Not really, please come back!!! 
Yeah, I'm also a people-person. That hasn't changed.
I want people to be happy. I don't like stepping on toes.
But get me wound up about something, and there will always be an
exception to that. 

So, can people change, is there hope for us? 
What is change? Is it "180 degrees, I don't even recognize you'?
Or is it a niggly little thing that etches away at us?
Or is it different for everyone?
I don't know. I still haven't answered the question....maybe I'll leave it blank this year....