even if he does not

Don’t worry, I’ll be back to my usual black and white pictures soon. But this little piece of Daniel 3:18 that I painted tonight looked better in color.

Daniel 3:17-18 – “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if He does not, we want you to know, your majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Even if He does not… we will be faithful.

Even if He does not…

  • make following my calling simple
  • make paying for SAGU easy
  • heal my father’s heart toward my mother
  • choose to heal my depression
  • make all the steps of my path clear
  • make it clear how to escape my sin habits
  • give me a rainy season
  • show me the way out of the desert

HE IS STILL GOOD.

Even if He never does another thing that makes sense to me or makes my life any “better” by my standards, He is still GOOD. He works ALL things for the good of those who love Him. My furnaces, whether I am delivered smoke-free or killed, will glorify Him.

He can deliver me from my battles and my personal furnaces. I believe that with all of my heart. He is bigger and better and stronger than anything I will ever face. He can deliver me. But even if He does not, I still will follow, and I still will praise Him.

on airplanes and authority

“You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?” (Gal 5:7)

Good question, Bible. (talking to the Bible doesn’t make me crazy, right?) Who hindered me from running the race right?

The easy answer: the devil.
But the real answer: my own flesh. 
The hardest things I have to fight don’t come from other people or other situations or outside temptations. They are the nature and tendencies I was born with; they are the flesh that is warring with the Spirit of God living within me.
That Spirit is how I run and don’t grow weary, how I soar on those eagles’ wings. But that Spirit can’t keep me sustained if my nature is allowed to fight against it freely.
You ever see those “God is my Co-Pilot” bumper stickers? (They all have a dumb font and weird graphics.)
Those are super dumb. When God’s my co-pilot, I nearly crash EVERY. TIME. I suck at flying this thing myself. I may be able to keep it in the air but I’m bumping into things and I am always low on fuel and don’t know how to avoid turbulence at all. 
God is not my co-pilot. At least, I shouldn’t try to confine Him to that role. He should be my rock and my bread and my water and my King. He should be my peace and my comfort and my strength and my fortress. He is holy and worthy and jealous and deserves to be so much more than a co-pilot that I take occasional suggestions from. Christ is my bridegroom, who loves me sacrificially and totally and cleansingly and in whom I can confidently submit. 
There’s no way I can run that race even to completion, much less well enough to deserve a “well done” if I’m trying to run of my own strength and on my own. I can’t shove God into the co-pilot seat. 
Who hindered you?” Me, Bible. I tripped myself up and got caught up in my own pride and ambitions and desires. Time to tie those shoelaces and get out of the pilot’s chair again. 

I need you to lean left.

HANNAH BRENCHER

large

I have not written.

No, not recently.

The excuse is that I am busy. My calendar– my alibi. But that’s just a lie to mask the real reason: I am resisting. I have been resisting for a really long time. Because that is sometimes what we do when we love something so much that we are fully aware it could double back to hurt us– we resist it. Because it changes us. And we are afraid to change.

Me, especially.

I want everything to stay the same. I want the same barista. He should never think to pack his bag and move to Nashville. I want the same mug. The same seat. The same moments played on repeat so we can always do this dance of familiarity.

I am afraid of people leaving. There, I said it. I am afraid of people being taken from me. I want to…

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little reminders

Sorry I’ve been a little MIA in the blog game lately. I was kind of letting my life spiral a little but I’ve grabbed the reigns again (well…more accurately I’m working on releasing control of the reigns back to God).

When I was a senior in high school I participated in Fine Arts for my church. One of the things I did was a spoken word poem-thingy, and I wound up in the top three for our district and took it to nationals.

Lately, I keep asking  “God, what the heck am I even doing?” like all the time. I keep wondering where my fire and my hunger went (as if it’s some puppy that would scamper off, and not something that I need to maintain). So I would repeat little parts of the poem to myself as a reminder of what I had and what I’ve come from and where I should be – where that past 2013 me wanted this current 2015 me to be at spiritually.

👉 So here’s the video. 👈 Because hopefully it will encourage you as much as it does me and as much as it did for those people in that gym.

My God breathed the stars and called them by name/
That same breath is in me and I am not called to be tame/
That great commission was not written to sit on a page/
It was meant to be lived by me no matter my age.

on followers, faves, and forgiveness

I love having the timehop app. It’s really fun to see old pictures and old memories. It’s also really interesting to see how I acted on social media compared to the actual state of my heart. I went to church a little in the beginning of high school because I had to, but I consider when I got saved to be October of my senior year. So it’s kind of funny to see bible verses or overly spiritual things popping up on my timehop from my sophomore and junior years, and thinking back to what I was actually doing at that point, and how far I really was from God.

It’s so easy to put a good face up on social media. To post a few verses or a Tozer quote, and act like everything is peachy.

I want to be transparent. Just because I post something pretty on my blog and it says something that touches your heart, or it looks like I have my act together, doesn’t mean that’s the truth.

I mess up all the time. Constantly. Daily. “Big” sins, and what feels like a million “little” ones (even though I know they all equally put Jesus on the cross). I’m not great at this thing called life. And I’m also not great at facing God when I feel convicted.

I let the healthy and helpful prodding of the Holy Spirit become twisted into a guilt that then pushes me farther from God. Instead of it drawing me closer, Satan knows how easy it is to get in my head and use that to do the opposite.

In my quest to chill out a little bit and go, “Okay. Where are You really at with my guilt and my sheepishness and wanting to not be in trouble…?” I dug in to see what I could find on forgiveness.

(spoiler – there’s a ton of stuff on forgiveness.)

Psalm 103:12 says, “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.”

1 John 1:9 says, “But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”

Isaiah 1:18 says, “‘Come now, let’s settle this,’ says the LORD. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.’”

Acts 3:19 says, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,”

I dig some refreshing from the Lord. And I need it today, while I try to figure out where conviction from the Spirit ends and guilt that will hurt my relationship and my worship begins.

Conviction is a good thing. Healthy. Necessary. Conviction is when little Jiminy Cricket hops up on my shoulder and goes “Hey Kait, do you really think that’s what you should be doing/ thinking/ reading/ watching/ saying right now?” Conviction is from God and is designed to help me walk out who I should be in Him; it’s my compass in this adventure called life.

Isaiah 30:18 says, “Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!”

Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Romans 2:4 says, “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?”

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you, self?!

I don’t know how He deals with me so often. I hurt Him so much.

But can’t you see His kindness is intended to turn you from your sin, Kait? Self, that voice is love.

One of my favorite songs says, “A father who doesn’t discipline/ Is one watching his kids/ Playing in the streets of sin.” That’s the point of conviction. To keep my reckless self from running out into the dangerous street and getting my heart all beat up. And I know that in my head, but it’s hard to remember when my shame makes it hard to come back to God after one more mistake.

Don’t be discouraged when you see everyone else’s pretty social media. Their timehop’s probably won’t match their actual hearts next year, either.

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant and patient God is with you? So hang your head a little when you come back to Him. It’s okay. Apologize, once again. And remember that He longs to wipe away your sins and refresh you.

the name thing

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

In high school I saw somewhere to take that passage and put your name in it to remind you how to be. I then promptly forgot about it because I didn’t really care much for God most of high school. This morning I was drinking coffee and eating oatmeal with flax seeds and hoping that God would give me more energy from our time together before my 8 am lab (because whoever lives above me was apparently building furniture last night after midnight). He reminded me about that idea this morning.

Kaitlin is patient.

Kaitlin is kind.

She doesn’t envy.

She doesn’t boast.

She isn’t proud.

Kaitlin honors others.

She isn’t self-seeking.

She isn’t easily angered.

She is forgiving.

Kaitlin doesn’t delight in evil but rejoices in truth.

She protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres.

That is love. God is love, and those verses say so clearly “love is” those things. If I’m trying be to be like God, then I’m trying to be like that passage. I was praying my way through those goals and then simply said “I want to be love.” God reminded me of John 15:13. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” But in daily life, there’s not necessarily always something life threatening going on to cause you to need to lay your life down. There’s just the daily grind and 1000 tiny choices and interactions. But by being patient and kind and humble etc. we are BEING love and in spirit laying our lives down for our brothers and sisters. This is the greatest love.

Try the name thing. Be love in the world.

the pause button

I’m eating Spaghetti-O’s for lunch at work right now, because sometimes you need to feel little again, and kid-food is a wonderful way to do that.

This post isn’t going to be tied into my food like the last one; I just wanted to share my Spaghetti-O joy.

Do you ever hit pause with God? I find myself doing that all the time.

Let me explain, if you don’t know what I mean. Sometimes, I take a mini-break from God. (It’s entirely unintentional, but it makes complete sense because to live for Christ, you have to live completely intentional.) Sometimes, I forget to carve out time with Him. I forget to pray continually. I don’t share a cup of coffee or tea with Him; I don’t pause and take a moment to be in awe of His creation when I see a raindrop or a leaf or a bird. I don’t take time to be grateful. I don’t take time to seek the Spirit and put on my armor.

It’s not that I don’t want it! It’s just that life gets crazy and busy and there are 5000 distractions hurtling themselves at my brain always. But if I don’t live intentionally, I end up subconsciously hitting “pause” on my relationship with God.

It’s always harder to go back to the gym after the holidays than it is to go back 24-48 hours after your last workout. That’s where I’m at. I paused over the Christmas week (dumb right? Christmas! It’s about Him!) and now I’m trying to hit play again but my muscles are stiff and weaker than they were. Stretching hurts more; I’m not as flexible as I was before my pause. And flexibility is a huge thing in my relationship with God. He’s not going to stop molding me, ever the wonderful Potter, but if I’m not flexible with His ways and His guiding and His molding, that continual changing and shaping are going to be a lot more painful than they have to be.

And I need that molding. I don’t like me. I don’t want to be like me. I’m awkward and kinda crazy (not in the fun way) and really really bad at inter-personal relationships. I don’t want to be me. I want to be like Him. I don’t want to be the lumpy finger pot with cracks all over that I am right now; I want to be a pretty, useful vessel for Him. That’s what the molding is for.

I don’t want to be like Zephaniah 3:2, that says, “She obeys no one, she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the LORD, she does not draw near to her God.” (It’s talking about Jerusalem in context.) She doesn’t obey authority, she can’t accept correction, and she doesn’t have trust in God….all because “she does not draw near to her God.” That’s not a pretty picture, especially for someone (me) realizing that she’s neglected to draw near to God. I want to have an obedient heart for authority (it makes life a lot easier) and I want to be able to accept correction from a mentor or concerned friend without getting angry or something, and I desperately need to trust God. Life is crazy on it’s own, and based on the fact that some big changes are coming my way and I’m also going to school to be in the ministry, trusting God is HUGE.

If you hit pause like me, don’t worry. Whether it was for a week or month or even if it may have been so long and so unconscious that you have no idea when it happened… don’t worry.

The Bible is full of encouragement for us pause-ers.

James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you….”

Zechariah 1:3 says, “Therefore tell the people: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty.”

Jeremiah 3:22 says, “‘Return, faithless people; I will cure you of backsliding.’ ‘Yes, we will come to you, for you are the Lord our God.'”

Psalm 145:18 says, “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.”

So if you think you’ve paused… It’s okay. It’s never to late to hit your play button.