A New Kind of Courage | Devotion. Emotion. Movement. Breath

Courage these days looks different than it used to…

Where it once was loud, it now stays silent. Where it once was proud, it now bows in humility. Where it once was seen, it now seeks solitude.

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Courage has taken on a new posture in this season of life and the truth is, it’s a dance- one I’m learning the steps to, far too slowly for my former striving self.

I’m fumbling and stumbling my way through it.

And yet, each day, each week, each lesson, I find myself dancing this new courage by heart.

Devotion and Emotion. Movement and Breath:

The basic fundamentals that encapsul this new courage.

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1. Devotion to God through the brave act of showing up

– of coming to him every day just to be with Him, no agenda. To hear from Him, to talk to Him and to read His word. Allowing this time to penetrate my heart and remake me every new morning, from the inside out.

Not in pursuit to “be better and do better”, but to receive, in my perpetual neediness and surmounting weakness- knowing and trusting that in my humanness surrendered, He is strong and mighty and most powerful.

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2. Giving my Emotions to Jesus and Taking Authority over Lies

Instead of willing myself different, I’m learning to be brave enough to welcome my emotions in whatever form.

Be it anger or resentment or frustration or guilt or shame or panic, I’m inviting Jesus to walk parallel to those emotions, feeling His easy lightness alongside the dark heaviness.

Feeling both coexist in the same space- my heart- allowing His presence to fight for me, rather than trying to “fix myself.”

And when His Spirit nudges- when I recognize the lies for what they are – the lies taunting me with untruths about who I am or what I need to do

I’m learning to courageously take my authority in Jesus and send them away… because for too long, I gave lies centre stage and an open mic night in my heart- free reign and an all access pass to harass me and my every thought.

But it stops here.
I will be brave enough to say, “no more”, because I am more: More than a conqueror. More than my mistakes. More than my weakness. More than my imperfections. More than my immaturity. More than my inability to meet others expectations and please every person in my life.

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3. Movement as Worship.

For everything there is a season and this is my season to fly- to learn to fly, anyway. I am no longer a caterpillar in a cocoon, but a butterfly, entirely new in Christ Jesus.

After a season of physical rest- of trusting the good in non-movement– I am finding a new stride: dance to music in my living room, yoga on my patio, running outside in nature.

For a former exercise addict turned nothing-but-walking, these humble beginnings feel awkward and hard.

Every movement is a brave act of surrender and in humility, I’m trusting that with time, I will find my footing and my strength- a new strength, firmer and more grounded than my former self.

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4. Breath as a life line- my connection in every moment to Love and Presence and Life.

Meditation and Centering Prayer and the simple act of intentional breathing.

To stop takes courage.

I’m learning that whatever it is, can wait, because in this moment, what I need more, is Him.

More than to get it done, more than to exercise my rights, more than to be heard or understood,  to fix it or figure it out, what I need now is Jesus.

Breath has become my wordless prayer.

I’m still waiting for the gifts of tongues, but until then, when words fail me or I can’t articulate what I feel, I’m bravely allowing breath to bring me home – to usher me into God’s presence and his heart.

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Devotion and Emotion. Movement and Breath…

All of this feels new and foreign and yet none of it is new or even foreign. They’re old truths and old practices. Ones that find homage in many homes and hearts and cultures and religions. And yet Im learning them with new intensity and intentionality.

I am a student of rest, learning to mother herself back to Love.

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I’d love to know:

  • How do you intentionally connect to Love?
  • What rhythms of rest has God led you to implement?
  • How has sabbath become a lifestyle rather than just a day?
  • How is God teaching you to mother yourself to wholeness?

We’re in this together- sojourners on the pilgrimage to Christ.

 

The new has come, the old has passed away | a NEW creation in Christ Jesus

I stood at the back watching, as 100 twenty somethings waved their hands in the air, jumping up and down with reckless abandon. A wave of emotion overcame me. We sang these words on repeat:

No sin too great, no pain too deep, no shame too real, that His love won’t heal.

In that moment, I knew it was true; not just with my head, but with my heart- I was convinced of it.

And as I cradled the revelation, I remembered God’s words:

Behold I am making ALL things new in you, Kailey-  a BRAND NEW thing. I’m making streams of living water in the badlands.”

Not two months ago, I wrestled for hope on Easter Sunday– I was living in not anymore, but STILL not yet. Waiting. Hoping. Holding fast to faith in what God has promised me, but I still had not seen the fruit of.

Yes, I was changed, but I was not entirely new- I still carried scars on my heart like tattooed reminders of my pain and past. And if those didn’t remind me, shame would – it always does, my mind a constant battlefield.

And yet, here I was fully convinced that these words were true for me, personally: There is no sin of mine too great, no pain too deep, no shame too real, that His love can’t heal.

And like a thunderhold, I heard Him in the recess of my heart:

It is finished.

Then these words fell from my lips, like a prophetic declaration:

The old has gone and the new has come. I am entirely new in Christ Jesus. It is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me.

In that moment I knew:

It was done- all the pain of my past healed, redeemed and made new! God had taken every ounce of hurt- the things that hurt me the most– and used them to recreate me from the inside out.

The things that should have killed me, remade me.

Not a patched up version of my old self, but an entirely new creation in Christ Jesus. I look, sound and act like an entirely different person – because I AM!!

I had just preached for 10 hours over the course of three days, and by golly, that woman WAS NOT THE OLD ME! 

I am no longer a caterpillar in a cocoon, awaiting transfiguration, but a butterfly, emerged and ready to fly.

Friend, you can’t possible understand the gravity of that statement…

I have been living in that cocoon for over two years,  in the darkness, awaiting the day when light would break through. Holding hope when it looked like nothing was happening. Trusting in the process even when it looked and felt like death. When it was uncomfortable, pressing in on me from all sides.

My cocoon was a test of faith and perseverance that matured me and built hope. And here I now stand a new creation.

In my newness, I am leaving behind baggage- the backpack I carried for years, like a penance to pay and protect: insecurity, striving, frantic and tired; the neglect of my soul and body- neither some possession that belongs to the spiritual part of me. I am a whole package, designed to love and be loved in unity- all of them deserving my care, attention and affection. If God can love and accept the whole package, so should I.

I have no notions this journey to flight will be easy – learning to walk out my freedom.

I know there will be days I’ll struggle and revert to old habits or thoughts, but through it all, I will ABIDE.

I will cling to Jesus as I learn to glide with grace.

Because I know who I am now- my identity no longer shaky or built on sand- who the world says I am.

I know who God says I am and that it is my lifebreath and song:

I am a warrior, a princess, a poet and a dancer.

… A warrior battling for myself and others to believe The One we belong to and who he says we are, in Him.

… A princess, beloved bride of the Only One who saves.

… A poet pouring out praises for all he’s done in me.

… A dancer, worshipping through movement- the breath of my body.

I am a writer and a speaker, but also a preacher; my voice is my gift to the world. God has called me to healing and deliverance ministry- something I’ve only just begun to taste.

The Holy Spirit will continue to lead me and guide me to truth that will set me free, so that others can be set free- to be who God created us to be, to walk out our callings, to Know Jesus and make Him known, to live wildly in His love and to love others the same.

Where I once doubted these things, I know them now to be true. Not true in some general, for somebody else sense, but all together true for me- my living reality:

God is able and he is trustworthy.

We can take him at his word.

He is powerful and our authority is found in His word.

Our God is good and he is working EVERYTHING out for our good.

What Satans means for evil, he will use for ultimate good- to show His glory and power- power to save, heal, love and redeem.

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Because you can take the girl out of the goal-setting but not the goal-setting out of the girl, this is what I hope for as I walk out my newness:

  • To leave a legacy of love and service, through simple, ordinary, every acts
  • To have loved Jesus more than anyone and anything else in this world
  • To have fulfilled my calling through faithful obedience, not necessarily quantifiable results
  • To have lived a quiet life, keeping to my business and working with my hands
  • For my daughter to know she is loved unconditionally, by me, her dad and Jesus
  • For the world (more importantly my people) to see Jesus in me, finding that beautiful and attractive.

In one year, this is where I hope to be:

  • To have experienced healing in my physical body, uniting it back to my soul and spirit
  • A simpler life: less stuff, deeper relationships and more time with family, friends and Jesus
  • Dancing again, running and yoga regularly, as well as, meditating
  • My health concerns on the mend with new routines and choices that ease my issues and I enjoy
  • Enjoying food and meal time again; uninspired and unmotivated to cook, a thing of the past
  • Minimal, if no TV
  • A spiritual mentor/group feeding, filling and challenging me
  • Regular church attendance that feels organic, routine and anticipated, not obligatory or a struggle
  • Rest as lifestyle
  • Listening to my body and welcoming what it needs

 

Ps: You can bet I’ve added these to my #powersheets and revised my yearly goals.

When you’re weary from trying and you know it’s far from over

For two years, God has given me the same passage to hold onto:

Don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new… It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.- Isaiah 43:18

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In 2016, He gave me the word “trust”, to go along with it.

In 2017, he gave me the word “abide.”

a·bide: stand up against, put up with, endure, tolerate, endure

I knew almost immediately, what He meant- what God was asking of me this year: to remain in the struggle, to be constant without change in my circumstance, to stay in the tension (without running, without quitting, without demanding solutions or insisting things be black and white, all or nothing.)

These words- the single words God gives me each year- are like a theme. An overarching plan or purpose for the unfolding 12 months. They’re God’s focus for my life and my heart, should I choose to trust him and obey.

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If you could see my last two years, you’d call it ridiculous-  uncanny, the way these words have thread the 365 days they title;  a bullseye to nearly every lesson and circumstance that follows…

almost as if God knew what He was talking about and was orchestrating the details of my days, right down to the final letter. 😉 

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Truth is, both years have been difficult- the most difficult of my life. And that’s an understatement!

Without Jesus, they would have killed me or at least, made me a mean, pessimistic, cold-hearted woman. Like the world and God owed me- big time, because of what I’d endured. Instead, they’ve remade me, through surrender and refined me in ways I can’t quite articulate in brief.

My suffering has made me better

more compassionate and less judgemental, more patient and less frantic, more tender and less tough, more present and less busy, more confident and less doubtful, primarily in trust of God and His goodness.

Call it trite, but suffering has been the means to moulding and shaping me into the women He created me to be- the woman I need to be, to fulfill my purpose on this earth.

And for that reason, I’ve now count grief and suffering as gift.

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Before you romanticize any notions of what that looks like, let me be frank:

I’ve battled this out on the front lines, hung in there by my teeth and nails. I’ve kicked, screamed and wrestled my way through- physically and emotionally. These two years have been the fight of my life!

What once came easy in other seasons, has become my battleground to claim. And I’m weary.

I feel tired, beaten up and defeated- depression looming on the sidelines, as if to mock me with my former joyful self.

The girl who preaches joy, fighting for every moment of it- who preaches unconditional love, still striving to earn it- who preaches faith, fighting to hold on to hope.

Behind the pretty posture, I feel ugly- my heart heavy and full of darkness. I feel like a fraud.

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There I am on resurrection Sunday (Easter)- the day Christ rose from the grave and defeated death, claiming victory over sin and darkness- and I’d rather stay at saturday thanks! I want to scream in frustration, remain in the dark and hang around the empty tomb weeping.

So, instead of singing, I remained silent- I resented the happy clappyness of Sunday! But why?! I beat myself up, asking…

Like Jesus’ friends on Holy Saturday- the day after his crucifixion- I wanted to sit at the tomb and wail in grief over a dead body… all the dead things in my life. I wanted to question why they were, despite being foretold they’d happen. Like them, I was wrestling for hope, trying to hold fast to Christ’s prophecy-His promise to rise again on the third day. Because my circumstances scream otherwise, just like Jesus’ did!

On Saturday, friends of Jesus waited in darkness. On Saturday they wrestled their emotions. On Saturday they fought to maintain hope.

And friend, that there, is me.

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In church, I begged God to grab me and pull me out of my pit- I was too tired to help myself and quite frankly, I didn’t want to. I needed hope fast.

Back home, I grabbed my phone – an attempt to numb myself; a fact I’m far too acutely aware of. Why, oh why, must I recognize every nuance and defence I use to try and outrun the heaviness, dull the emotions or taste temporary happiness?!

It’s fleeting and I know this– it doesn’t fill my void. Only God can. But today, I don’t care.

I succumb and silently pray that Jesus would do it with me– that he’d show up in the midst of my mindless scrolling.

And he did.

Some things died this year – Friday. Friday requires faith. Then there was the waiting, the uncertainty, the messy middle- Saturday. Saturday requires hope. Then beautiful new things were born – Sunday. Sunday requires nothing but love. Faith, hope, love. First the pain. Then the waiting. Then the rising.

There is no glory but straight through our story.
There is no resurrection without the crucifixion. – Glennon Doyle Melton

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Like lighting, it shocked my heart back to reality- my reality in Jesus and the promise he’s given me over and over and over again- every time I’ve asked him to remind me.

You see, 2016 was a crucifixion- a dying to my life, my marriage, my pride and my expectations.

It was the first time I fully surrendered to God. I stopped trying and gave up entirely. I threw my hands in the air and said, “I give up!” In waving my white flag, I finally gave Him control.

God had to show up, because I was done saving myself – and everyone else, for that matter!

I learnt trust and through it, cultivated faith with roots down deep- faith build on a solid foundation, unshakable in Christ Jesus.

2016 was my friday; a death that required faith.

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2017 has been my year of waiting and uncertainty- of wrestling the messy, awkward tension- of holding fast in the in-between. Of not anymore but not quite yet.

2017 has been my Saturday. The dark tomb of waiting.

As much as I hate to admit it, it’s cultivating in me hope- an unwavering hope, grounded in his promises. The one He’s given me, two years in a row, that he’s doing a BRAND NEW thing, building rivers in the badlands- Don’t I see it?! (no, FYI: I don’t see it yet!.. okay, maybe a little.)

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Do you see what this means, friend?!

My sunday is coming and so is yours!

This hard and heavy season comes with purpose. It too, is part of the process- part of His plan.

It isn’t a result of anything I’ve done or failed to do- it’s not another thing I need to fix or “heal my way out of.” I can let go and stop trying to make it what it’s not-  stop striving to fix my heavy heart and just trust God. Not my circumstances, or even myself, but GOD!!!

What has come to me, has come through God. This darkness is God appointed and it comes with great intent!

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It also means my heart is still living in Saturday…. There’s a reason I want to stay there and honour it.

I’m all in it- fully immersed in Saturday, sitting by my tomb waiting, grieving and wrestling-  all while fighting for hope.

And that’s very much ok. In fact: it’s necessary.

Because in order to experience the joy of resurrection, we must first grieve the death.

Both are an act of worship and surrender. Both an act of trust and faith. Because our hope isn’t in the tomb, but in The One who raises from it.

And He too, shall raise us to new life!

Our sunday is coming….

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Wherever you’re at this Easter season- a painful Friday of death, a dark Saturday of waiting or a victorious Sunday of new life- be all in it, friend! God will honour and accept your worship, however it looks. He sees you and He’s proud of you- you’re exactly where you’re suppose to be…This season comes with purpose.

When you’re defeated and desperately want to quit

 

I took this photo going into my counsellors office last year.

I felt hopeless and desperately wanted to give up and call it quits. I thought things would never change. Settling felt easier.

Then I walked in and settled on the couch.

In her own words, She said something like this- and friend, it changed everything…

Courage isn’t found in comfort, strength isn’t build in easy places. Both are cultivated in messy, hard soil, which if you persevere, become holy ground: anointed and set apart with purpose and great intent.

They lead us to transformation.

Don’t give up.

Don’t short change yourself because it feels easier.

Push through.

New life is waiting on the other side.

I decided right then and there, that whatever had come to me, had to go through God.

And therefor, it came FOR GOOD.

And I don’t say that lightly- I say that from the most suckered punched part of my heart-made-whole.

What the enemy meant for evil, God used for good: to bring a newness of life and transformation, I never could have imagined– or seen then! It would take months, until I caught a glimpse.

But for the time being, her words were a gift of hope – what I needed to carry on and push through to the other side.

Today, they’re my gift to you.

Carry on, Warrior.

#justkeepswimming #thedifferenceayearmakes #littlebylittle #newlifeiscoming

New Name, Old Problem | Hope in depression

I discovered an old blog post of mine from 4 years ago.

Yet as I read my words, I could have sworn I wrote them today!

Identical- my emotions are identical! Every t crossed and period placed – the same emotional battlefield, just four years apart.

This baffles me for two reasons:

  1. Maybe I’ve always struggled with minor depression and didn’t know it.

  2. I’m starting to see a pattern to how God works in my life – a rhythm to the seasons and struggles.

This isn’t the first time I’ve stumbled on old posts of mine, that speak directly to my current circumstance…

So messy, I am! Sometimes I resent my own heart… ’cause you know, shaming myself always works!

What I need right now is not that- not shame– but grace and acceptance.

Depression has a stigma though, doesn’t it? Few want to touch it.

Which if I’m honest, suddenly makes me feel like something’s wrong with me, when nothing’s changed- I’ve just put a word to a struggle I’ve battled my whole life.

Im no different… but suddenly I’m not ok?

I don’t want to feel like a freak or like there’s something wrong with me! Or like my emotions scare people… That makes me retreat more and withdrawal makes the darkness worse.

I need to stop hiding and actually engage people- be honest about how I’m feeling. Because it’s OK!

Depression is not a scary word: in fact, the vast majority of the world struggles with it.

Statistics show anxiety and depression are the number two disorder in ALL our world right now.

I needed to come to terms with this- that fact that I suffer with depression.

I needed to realize that I’m no different today, than I ever have been! I’ve always been this way – a deep feeler who experiences high, highs and low, lows.

I just have a name for it now.

It’s an opportunity to learn more about myself: understand my heart more, grow compassion and then extend grace to myself. Because I must learn it for myself before I can give it away to others.

… Like how I discovered I was an introvert after YEARS of living like an extrovert!

I’m still learning how to love myself in that one and walk gracefully in my new reality.

Nothing’s changed- I always was an introvert– but I wasn’t living like one (which explained the perpetual cycle of strive/burn out/numbing I found myself in every three months).

So, here I am again, at the crossroads of opportunity – to own who I am and love her relentlessly: a deep feeling introvert, who experiences seasons of depression.

Don’t you know I’m going to learn to love you well, Kailey.

God’s done this before and He’ll do it again!

When you realize you’re in a pit and depression seems plausible

I’m only now, just coming to terms with the probability- that I struggle with depression and could, from time to time. 

It’s entirely circumstantial- emotional stress, without a doubt….

It’s me carrying burdens I’m not meant to carry – things too big and outside of my control. 

Like people’s salvation and the world’s rejection and misconception of Jesus. It’s me thinking it’s my responsibility to save/change/convince people to Christ and manage outcomes. 

It’s yucky pride and me still trying to measure up, to make Jesus proud.

As much as I hate to admit it, this bout of depression is necessary: another layer God needs to shed, in order for me to walk in freedom and know Him deeper.

‘Cause I beat myself up when I see the darkness still inside me- as if on this side of heaven, I can obtain perfection. The lie that because I’ve experienced transformation and freedom and healing in Christ, I should have it all figured out now and no longer require grace or forgiveness. 

The realization of my sin sends me into deep grief.

And it’s that grief, when carried too long, that turns to depression. 

I see the light out of this pit- Jesus has begun to reach down and pull me out. But if I’ve learnt anything so far, it’s this:

It’s time to let Him move the reality of grace, from my head down to my heart. 

 


After writing this post, God led me to a one day silent retreat at home, using the following resource. If you’re feeling down, irritable, angry, weary, or fearful, I’d encourage you to set a day aside to be alone with Jesus. Go somewhere that inspires you or send the kids out for the day… I received the grace I needed- I walked away with quiet joy and peace knowing that this is not another thing I need to “fix” about myself- that God is sovereign over the dark, just as He is the light. He will use every experience, including seasons of depression, for good and glory.

 

Alone with the Lord: A Guide to a Personal Day of PrayerAlone with the Lord: A Guide to a Personal Day of Prayer by Gordon T. Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A powerful, yet easy to use tool for a day of personal reflection, and encountering Christ. I appreciated the prompts and pointers, while still leaving room for personal application and interpretation.

I used this for my very 1st silent retreat- I didn’t know what to expect, really, but I left with joy, peace and clarity. Great resource. Will use it again!

View all my reviews

The new wind in my sails, plus I have something for you from God

I feel a new wind in my sails; a gentle push steering me in new directions.

Change is ahead of me and while the fog is still heavy before me, I’m beginning to see clues of the new land I’ll be docking in.

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I first recognized this new wind inside me; the echoes of a new and different woman; a woman with stronger hope, braver strength and a fiercer passion than her former self.

And as I’ve looked around me, I’ve seen how ever so surely, much that once felt cozy and comfortable now feels like ill fitting clothes that must be cast aside for proper fitting ones.

My website being one of them.

While the words it houses feel right, it’s physical shell no longer does.

It feels like I’m sitting in some else’s living room trying to make it my own. Or like I’ve moved, trying to re -create my old home with the walls and configuring of a new one.

And rather than trying to fit the old into the new, I want to start fresh. A clean slate. To live out the newness that is within me.

I want to paint the walls with colors of this new wind inside me, but I haven’t quite put my finger on which ones yet.

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It’ll come to me in time. Slowly but surely, I’m starting to see the pieces come together.

But besides the physical shell, what I care about more is YOU… the souls that dare to entertain my own. Especially those who have journeyed with me in the last two years.

You, my friend, are the real deal. My tribe. My people.

You have sat with me in the shadows of darkness and the ick of my mess and not run from it. You have dared to hear my hurting heart and not judge it or blame it away. You just listened.

And you have been brave- brave enough to look inside yourself also and shine the light where it is dark within.

I’ve had countless conversations, online and off, that have reminded me that it is our weaknesses and our messes that connect us, not the pretty and perfect. It’s our imperfections that declare our humanity and our willingness to sit inside our stories and embrace them, that give others permission to do the same.

You have been a warrior, my friend, and you have reminded me I am one too on the days I’ve forgotten. By simply showing up, by reading my words and my sharing your own heart and journey with me. And for that I’ll be ever grateful.

Thank you for being my safe house in the raging of the storm.

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So while I begin this renovation project on my blog, one that first started in my heart, I want to invite you along – to invite you in.

Would you dare to let me in, also?

Would you be brave enough to share with me a little bit about yourself and how I can best love and serve you, the same way you’ve blessed me?

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BY ANSWERING THESE FEW QUESTIONS, YOU WILL BLESS ME WITH GENUINE KNOWLEDGE OF THE HEARTS GOD HAS PLACED IN FRONT OF ME.

YOU WILL HELP ME STEER THIS SHIP DOWN THE RIGHT PASSAGE WAY AND LAND IN THE DOCK GOD HAS APPOINTED FOR ME.

AND ULTIMATELY, YOU WILL BE HELPING YOURSELF.

BECAUSE I HAVE SOMETHING FOR YOU FROM GOD.

I DON’T QUITE KNOW WHAT IT IS YET, BUT HE WANTS ME TO GIVE YOU – TO BLESS YOU – WITH SOMETHING AND I’M READY AND WILLING TO DO IT.

WOULD YOU HELP ME DISCOVER WHAT IT IS?

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I love you friend, in the dearest sense of the word. Your heart makes mine bubble over with gratitude and pride.

You matter and so does your presence here.

Thank you for sojourning with me.

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If you love something let it go. If it comes back it’s forever yours.

‘Cause what stood before was never yours…

 This is the unmaking; beauty in the breaking. Had to loose myself to find out who you are. Before each beginning there must be an ending. Sitting in the rubble I can see the stars. –The Unmaking | Nichole Nordeman

I read it: That my desire to use my gifts for God’s Glory wasn’t enough.

That desire alone isn’t enough, but for years I believed it was.

According to Andrew Murray, in “Abiding in Christ,” in and of itself, our gifts (and our life) are dominated by the flesh; they are steered by our sinful motives. The only way for them to be used for pure good- His good – is for them to be surrendered to him and given back. To lay them down for a time, for God to take back and claim them as his own.

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If indeed God designed for us to use them, he’ll gift them back in his time and in his way, when our faith is more mature; when we’ve become painfully aware of our ever constant need to abide in Christ and be lead by the Holy Spirit; when our grieving of being self-led is stronger than our desire for do our things, our way and in our own strength. 

I thought about it.

There have been countless things I’ve felt God call me to put down; good things even. Things I believe he gave me or wired me for and ways in which I thought I was worshiping and glorifying him!  

… things like my work, my writing, social media, speaking out, running and working out, my weight, appearance, food, friendships, my marriage, my desire to have another child, even reading my bible!

Each of these things he’s called me to surrender over the years- to lay down, give up or let go of.

At the time, I thought for forever, but in reality, it was a season.

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In an act of trust I obeyed, largely without understanding why. That’s no coincidence though. It’s the way of wisdom:

We must first experience and live out truths before we acquire the knowledge and understanding of it.

And I’m beginning to see it now. 

While yes, before God asked me to lay those things down there was much good coming from them. But the truth is, they were still vastly being operated by my selfish motives and vain conceit, even though I didn’t see it. 

Sure I invited God into them, but they weren’t his. They were mine.

I hadn’t yet given them to him to be claimed and cleansed.

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In his mercy, God saved me from myself.  He knew my heart was for him- to be like him and closer to him. And through obedience, he’s taught me things I never knew. And he’s transformed me because of it! 

Slowly but surely he’s given me back the things I laid down but they hold entirely new meaning. I see them differently. And if I’m honest, they somewhat scare me now, because I see how easily it is for my flesh to creep back in and get in the way!

But it’s that fear that keeps me close to The Lord, constantly seeking him and asking for wisdom and discernment; intentionally choosing to stay tethered to Jesus and asking Holy Spirit to lead and guide me in everything I do, say and choose to engage in.

I pray that my spirit will be grieved each time I steer off course or do something that offends him. I want to run back into his loving arms asking for forgiveness and thanking him that he’ll finish the work he’s started in me. 

Because repentance is sweet, friend and conviction is oh, so gentle. It’s like a loving remark that makes you want to do better and be a better person; to correct your wrong immediately! There is no shame in it, nor is there guilt. And when there is, I know it’s not from God.

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But it’s only in my surrender and embracing my flailing, that I’ve discovered that.  I can only say that having walked through it and out the other side- the other side of obedience and laying down the things he’s called me to.

And it’s not something anyone can convince you of, so I won’t even try. 

But I can pray

–// 

Father, you are a good God who relentlessly pursues us with your love,  patience, goodness, gentleness, kindness and discipline. But I confess our eyes are blinded and our hearts hardened. Would you do what only you can do by the power of your Holy Spirit: prepare us and or hearts to receive whatever it is you have for us today. Tune our eyes to see you, our ears to hear you and or hearts to trust you in and out of obedience. Reveal yourself and your will in the ways you know we can’t deny you. Don’t let us miss it and give us the courage to respond! Let your will be done on earth, in our lives, as it is in heaven. 

All the toil
All in vain
Every image of ourselves that we create
Every dream
Built on sand

Let not any passion be for kingdoms we have fashioned in our own name
For our own fame

Let us not be fooled
And let us not be disillusioned
Let our eyes see You clearly

Not to us
But to Your name be glory

-Not to Us | Nichole Nordeman

When something feels different and you realize you’re in the wilderness

I’ve felt mostly silent the last few weeks, with little to say other than a few pointed things here and there about subjects close to my heart right now; mainly on the topic of pain, suffering and how we ultimately find healing in Jesus. But besides that, I’ve wanted nothing more than to retreat to solitude, spending aimless hours alone in quiet, prayer and reading.

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In my times of solitude, my heart has felt heavy; the unhealed burdens of my past still hanging on. It’s been a long season of healing for me these past 24 months, but the healing that I’ve been experiencing as of late is different- deeper than behavioural modifications. I’m talking about genuine heart healing, my friends; the stuff of transformations, revelations and head knowledge finally becoming heart knowledge – some of it I’m realizing for the very first time!

I’ve been working through Heart Made Whole, as part of the book’s launch team, as well as, praying Jim and Pat Bank’s Healing and Trauma Prayer each day. To say that I’ve reached new depths of freedom and healing would be an understatement. Words cannot adequately describe all The Holy Spirit is doing in my heart, nor the battle that I have no doubt it going on for me in the heavenly realms! There is some serious spiritual warfare happening in my life right now…

I am so grateful that God has taught me to fight right – in prayer – trusting him to do the rest. I’m so grateful that he’s taught me to simply wait on him for timing and the next step. I’m so grateful he’s taught me that there’s nothing I can say that he can’t handle and nothing I can do that will cause me to walk off the path he has chosen for me.

I finally understand that my faith has zero to do with me and everything to do with God;what he’s already done through the sacrifice of Jesus and what he’s actively doing in the intricate details of my daily life right now. I’m just privy to sit back and watch it all unfold, taking part in his master plan from time to time.

I’m even more so grateful for the people he’s placed in my life to help keep me on the narrow path. Like bumper pads on the bowling lane, he’s put people in specific areas of influence over me to bounce off of, ultimately moving me further down the path without falling off it. He’s made me sensitive to seeing how he is using others to speak direction, conviction, encouragement and revelation at just the right time.

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Just today, I felt compelled to go to the mountain. Now from where I live, it’s not a far journey; a 2 minute drive to be exact. But for this water loving, pretty view seeing lady, craving the forested mountains seems rather “off”. I went with it though, trusting God had a plan and a reason.

As I parked, I felt compelled to ask for prayer from some friends and in typical kailey fashion, proceeded to puked out a vulnerable plea. I walked into the forest and my first thought was bears, then cougars, then every other scary animal I would feel paralyzed at the site of. Fear overtook me and I decided to simply walk a few feet in and then find a spot to rest [some place I wasn’t too far from reality and could easily run from if something tried to attack me]…. city girl living in the country, I know!

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As I sat down, a text came in from a girlfriend who so aptly heard from God and obediently sent me just what I needed to read. The link sent me to the wilderness. And just like that, I recognized what was happening- the season I was entering in to. I had felt it- the shift in my mind and heart- in the last few days, but I wasn’t able to put words to it until now.

I sat there for the next 45 minutes reading and preparing myself for this next season in the wildness. I can confidently say this isn’t my first time, but I have a sneaking suspicious that it won’t be like any other wilderness I’ve experienced before in my faith walk.

But rather than fighting it, I am embracing it and marking my stance in the sand. I’m placing my feet on solid ground and refusing to run for comfort. I’m pushing in and trusting that what waits for me on the other side, is worth every moment of hardship and suffering. God chose me first and I’m choosing him back.

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No scheme of man, no power of hell can separate me from his love!

 

When you can’t help but give thanks for the hard stuff

I fell to my knees and weeped. I weeped in gratitude and then in confession and finally in gratitude again.

I weeped for the gift of this season and the things I never realized until now, that it affords me. I weeped for all the ways I’ve squandered it away, even fought it, and finally for the reality that it’s not too late. I haven’t missed it!

It’s taken me 14 months to get here and truth is I’ve pushed back against it all the while – against God. I’ve pushed back in fear of who I would become and what I would discover when all the noise and doing was set aside; what I would hear in the rest and slowness of my new found normal.

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But most of all, I feared what I would come to know when I wasn’t so full of “all knowing” and my plans.

It’s taken me an entire cycle of seasons, becoming a mother, a marathon of healing, giving up everything I’d worked for and grieving major loss and heartache to get here but I wouldn’t change a moment of it… not for anything.

Because it’s in the trials and the hurting that God has shown me who He is and who I am, apart from my plans and my expectations; apart from the reputation I built for myself and the “good work” I want to do; apart from perfect circumstances and comfortable living; apart from being heard, seen and understood by the world – even those closest to me.

There are days I’ve taken more than I can give
And there are choices that I made
That I wouldn’t make again
I’ve had my share of laughter
Of tears and troubled times
This has been the story of my life

You were there when it all came down on me
And I was blinded by my fear
And I struggled to believe
But in those unclear moments
You were the one keeping me strong
This is how my story’s always gone

And this is who You are
More constant than the stars up in the sky
All these years of our lives
I, I look back and I see You
Right now I still do
And I’m always going to

I have won and I have lost
I got it right sometimes
But sometimes I did not
Life’s been a journey
I’ve seen joy
I’ve seen regret
Oh and You have been my God
Through all of it

Colton Dixon | Through all of It

He’s showed me how every hard moment invites me into something greater that he has planned, if I’ll surrender to it.

The cross invites us to see grace where there is pain, resurrection where there is death and that every hard moment leads to new life. – Henri Nouwen | Turn my Mounring into Dancing

He’s taught me the battle’s won in prayer – to pray like I’ve never prayed before- believing in miracles. He’s taught me to face my hard emotions and not run from them or punish myself for feeling them; that it’s ok to not be ok and to admit it. He’s taught me to love people where they’re at, having compassion for their pain and hurting. He’s taught me that true love is the hardest gift to give- the deepest sacrifice- and yet the most rewarding.

He’s taught me being “no one” is so much better than being “someone”, because it affords me the time and space to live fully alive – alive to the people and places right in front of me, investing in those that actually mean something to me.  He’s taught me I can’t love all people but I can the one– the one desperate for recognition of them– the one I hurt when I’m too busy seeking others recognition. He’s taught me true community comes at a cost; a willingness to sit with others in their ugly without fixing it and going when it’s all together inconvenient.

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He’s taught me the transformation power of solitude – of intentional times of silence and justing waiting in his presence. He’s taught me the freedom of accepting I’m not enough and I never will be and that is all together ok because He’s enough for me.

And he’s taught me that nothing I do, no matter how small, is insignificant in the kingdom of God. Whether I’m folding laundry, talking to a stranger, running food to a friend, giving clothes to a mom in need, leading a teeny tiny bible study in my home or writing a few words on a blog that few will ever read – none of it will come back void, if done in gratitude and for His glory alone.

For the first time in my life I don’t want to be someone, I don’t want more and I don’t want to be doing for the sake of doing. And I can’t tell you how freeing that is…

Like the heaviest burden – years of endless striving and trying but always failing – has ceased to exist and in it’s place a lightness and childlike joy I carry in my heart….

Like I’m five again and I believe anything is possible – that I can be anything I want to be without a care for what the world thinks- but in the mean time, I think I’ll just enjoy twirling and running into the arms of the ones I loves.

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When I’m with You
I feel the real me finally breaking through
It’s all because of You, Jesus

It’s like my heart’s on fire again
I’m not afraid
I’m not ashamed
I’m safe when I am with You

So I’m here just as I am
Bruised or broken
I don’t have to pretend

Citizens Way | When I am with You