Its okay to not be okay…

Does anyone else go through seasons where you feel as if you have lost your passion for life? Lost your motivation? Lost any kind of drive at all?

Its not a fun place to be is it? I recently watched a part of a sermon by Steven Furtick, pastor of Elevation church. This sermon described the place between where we were and where we are going as the “middle”. As I watched it I felt tears in my eyes because that is where so many people (myself included) get stuck. We have moved past where we were or who we used to be, but haven’t quite made it to the next “season” yet. His next statement BLEW me away. The grace of God that brought me to the “middle” is the same grace that will enable me to keep stepping towards the next thing.

Think about that for a minute. The “middle” could also be described as the wilderness, a mess, our mistakes, loneliness, chaos, process, change, a storm, etc. But this is a different way of seeing it. When you see that God is in the middle with you…in the middle of the mess, in the middle of this season where you feel alone, in the middle of the storm, in the middle of the process, it changes our focus if we allow it.

Now I am not going to sit here and pretend to be spiritual with you guys. This past year has been wonderful and hard all in the same breath. Wonderful because I have felt and seen the hand of God in my life, but hard because there have been significant changes in my life and the lives of friends around me. I’m a creature of habit…usually it takes God pushing me out into the middle or gap to get me moving. I tend to want to stay in what is familiar and what is safe. I insulate my heart so that it can’t be broken or damaged (been there and done that…have the t-shirt in fact).

But I am learning that safe doesn’t always work. God is calling me to a level of vulnerability with Him and with others. Its time to take the focus off of myself and what is happening in my life and put it onto others that are hurting or don’t have the hope of Jesus to rely on.  As my pastor talked about at church today we need others around us in order to be growing. Growth doesn’t happen in an insulated heart…it takes being vulnerable, it takes letting people know that you’re not okay, it means letting people know that you’re in the “middle” and that its hard…that life is tough at the moment.

I think its okay to not be okay. To realize that you can’t do it alone…nor were we ever asked to in this life. God doesn’t promise an easy life, but He does promise to be beside us as we walk through this life. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My loving-kindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me.”

Think about that…Webster’s dictionary defines grace as “unmerited divine assistance given humans..” We don’t deserve it, but God has said His grace is sufficient. Its enough…its MORE than enough. We just need to simply latch on to it and never let go. God’s strength is made perfect when we realize how ineffective and weak we truly are in comparison to the mighty God that we serve.

Don’t let your weaknesses, struggles, addictions, etc. burden your heart. Of course deal with them…find an accountability partner, confess, see a counselor…whatever it is you need to do. BUT, GOD….BUT, GOD. He shows His strength in the middle of our weakness…in spite of it God shows up and God shows off! You never know…the thing that puts tears in your eyes today, that you haven’t told another living soul you’re dealing with could be the very thing that God uses to show His power to someone else and bring them into the family of God.

Again…its okay to not be okay. Its okay to be struggling in that “middle” place. But precious friend as I myself am feeling stuck in a “middle” place…

I encourage you to reach for the Lord. Psalm 46

I encourage you to reach for His grace. 2. Cor. 12:9

I encourage you to reach for His strength. 2. Cor. 12:9

I encourage you to reach for His promises. Luke 1:45

I encourage you to reach out to those men and women of God in your life. Prov. 11:14

I encourage you to stay focused on Him and not the things swirling around. Matt. 14:22-33

I encourage you to speak out truth (God’s Word) over your life. Prov. 18:21

I encourage you stand firm, and when you’ve done all else to keep standing. Eph. 6:13

I am praying for you…God has not forgotten you. He isn’t capable of it. Deuteronomy 31: 6 says, “ Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble in dread before them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not fail you or abandon you.” and Isaiah 49:16 says, “Indeed, I have inscribed [a picture of] you on the [a]palms of My hands;
Your city walls [Zion] are continually before Me.”

My God isn’t capable of forgetting about me or you…We are continually before Him. He sees us in this place and He has not left us alone. He is walking through it with us….whether we ever see or hear Him.

And who knows…your “middle” could become one of the most beautiful times with the Lord and become a “rock pile” (like Jacob), a remembrance of God’s strength, grace, protection, and provision.

 

 

Deal With Your Mess

So several weeks ago I was hosting my wing in my apartment for a movie night!! Lots of fun right?!?!? Yes, it was, but due to a busy week I did not get to come home and clean like i wanted so things ended up being thrown in the closet and on the other side of the bed.

blog-pic
my mess….
blog pic 1.jpg
my other mess

Anyway, as you can see its not the worst mess, BUT it is definitely a mess. As I woke up the next day and started to clean I felt like the Lord was trying to show/teach me something. Our lives may look beautiful, clean, pristine, and perfect from the outside BUT in reality waiting just around the corner or behind a closed door is a MESS that needs to be taken care of.

That got me to thinking…how many times do we put on a face to the outside world when inside we are hurting, holding onto baggage, or in addiction? We put on a brave face when inside we feel dirty, ashamed, guilty, out of control, and etc.

Well ladies one thing the Lord has taught me as I deal with my own, personal messes is that His grace is sufficient…His grace is sooooo sufficient! Does that mean I don’t have to do my part? Or make good, Godly choices? No…I still have to step forward into the unknown and trust God, and trust in His healing process.

I have to let go of the tightly held mess that I hold onto because it feels safe and normal and allow the Lord’s grace, healing power, and comforting presence to come through and permeate every area of my life. I am working on this process and I think we all need to work through the process. I was watching Elevation church’s Code Orange Revival and Christine Caine was speaking. She made a wonderful point. She said, “Unless you deal with your yesterday, TODAY…there will be no tomorrow!!!

Don’t wait, but deal with it TODAY!!! If we keep putting things off then we may put off God’s blessings and God’s voice in our lives. Its time we step into the fullness of the life that God has called us to. That doesn’t mean hard times and it certainly doesn’t mean pain, but it does mean that God will be right by my side as I stand on firm ground whole and healed! I am taking this to heart and asking God to continue to shine a light on those areas of my life that need to be fixed and healed. I encourage you to do the same.

Remember that your story may be the story someone else needs to hear someday!

 

 

The Holding Pattern…is it worth it?!?!

Have you ever found yourself in what seemed like a holding pattern? You know the type of holding pattern when you are on your way home for Christmas, but the plane cannot land yet so its just endlessly circling?!?!?!? If you are anything like me then you find holding patterns an unnecessary evil in life. I could honestly live without them if I had my way, BUT Jesus has taught me something about the holding patterns of life.

Oh, I could say that I now LOVE when I’m in a holding pattern, but that would be lying. I still don’t like them, BUT I have come to see the necessity of them. For the last several years on my birthday I have really asked the Lord for a scripture that would help set the tone for the following year. On my 26th birthday it was Luke 1:45 AMP “And blessed [spiritually fortunate and favored by God] is she who believed and confidently trusted that there would be a fulfillment of the things that were spoken to her [by the angel sent] from the Lord.” Man, did I ever have to cling to that scripture with both hands!

Let me back up a bit. When I moved back to Oklahoma the goal was to either have my own apartment or to room with a friend. Well, because of student loans and the fact that teachers don’t make very much money my options were limited. However, God provided a nice place to live within my budget. November of 2015 I moved out of that place and began a HOLDING PATTERN season of my life.  In the natural nothing seemed to be adding up, nothing seemed to be moving, it just felt like I kept circling.

BUT GOD…BUT GOD in all His infinite wisdom, grace, and mercy allowed me to walk through that season to learn several things.

  1. Waiting is and can be painful…

There is no magic formula or time period listed and there are tears, anger, and more during the waiting process…embrace it. God is big enough for your tears and anger. He already knows what you are thinking and feeling so TELL Him.

2. Waiting is and can be frustrating…

Oh, I would love to say that I clung to Jesus during this time and never let my temper or attitude get the best of me, BUT that would not be the truth. There were days where it seemed all I could do was get out of bed and put a robotic smile on my face. BUT JESUS was there even then…He never left my side. He sent me little reminders of His promises and His love.

Example: December of 2015 I wanted to go to Rhema lights, but no one else was available or they didn’t want to go. Well, its not as much fun to go by yourself, but I did it anyway. I found myself tearing up as I saw the cute, happy couples so in love, the beautiful little kids tugging on their parent’s hands to go faster, and the groups of friends laughing. I asked the Lord to show me His love…oh I “know” He loves me, but sometimes I need reminded. I was leaving so I had to go back over the lighted bridge. Well needless to say it was CROWDED (think Friday night)  and EVERYONE was stopping to take a picture. I was determined to keep a good attitude…well all of the sudden the song “Believe” came on by Josh Groban. Guys, its one of my favorite contemporary Christmas songs. Because of the traffic on the bridge I stood there and was able to listen to the entire song. I felt as if God had wrapped His arms around me and was holding on so tightly. I may not have had that same experience without the holding pattern season of life.

3. But…waiting is and can be beautiful and necessary

I don’t believe that I would be the same women writing this post today if I hadn’t experienced this holding pattern specifically and many others in my life. Throughout the last 9 months I have experienced God as my provider. I have experienced God as my comforter. I have experienced His tender mercies and little love notes as never before. I have grown stronger in my faith. I have grown bolder in speaking the Word over my life. I have become more aware of the devil’s schemes.

Throughout this season women from my church have wrapped me in their arms and stood for me when I felt I couldn’t. These same women have been on their knees in prayer for me. These women have spoken life into me. These women have pointed me back to Jesus because He is a good, good Father.

I don’t know what season you are walking through today, but know this GOD IS FAITHFUL. GOD IS A GOD OF RESTORATION AND HEALING. GOD IS WORKING AS THE PLANE IS CIRCLING.  

I never thought that I would be settled in a place that I could call my own (really didn’t think I could afford it). I never thought I would get to decorate it just the way I wanted. I never thought I would get to be a wing backer for ORU and invite girls over.  BUT, I’m here to tell you that God has provided each of these desires and has fulfilled them. I am sitting in MY apartment writing this today. I am looking at MY decorations hanging from the wall. I am planning for MY ORU wing of girls to come over for a movie night this weekend.

I can’t say it enough…GOD IS SO FAITHFUL…even when I am not!!! I will leave you with this, although I could continue to tell you story after story! 26 was a year of me letting God have the dreams I was holding so tightly clenched in my fists, AND believing that He would fulfill them.

On my 27th birthday I believe the Lord spoke Ecclesiastes 3:11 (AMP) to my spirit, “ He has made everything beautiful and appropriate in its time. He has also planted eternity [a sense of divine purpose] in the human heart [a mysterious longing which nothing under the sun can satisfy, except God]—yet man cannot find out (comprehend, grasp) what God has done (His overall plan) from the beginning to the end.”  There is a plan…there is a divine time schedule. God may have you or me in a holding pattern because the time is not appropriate. God only makes beautiful things, but He does it in HIS time. Don’t rush the process…there are beautiful things that God wants to show us and perfect in us.

I would love to pray for you if you find yourself going through a holding pattern in life. Leave a comment below.

 

Growing Pains

I’ve never understood the phrase “growing pains”…

What does it mean to have pain when growing?

What does that look like?

Does it look like the same for everyone?

Well, all I can say is that there are indeed seasons of growing and those seasons can indeed be painful. The last several months have definitely been along those lines.  I won’t go into detail, but suffice to say that it has forced me to go to God in a new and real way that I hadn’t done in a while to be honest.  But, is that a bad thing? Looking back at the last 2 months on the “other side” for lack of a better word, I think it is the BEST thing that could have happened.

When we are forced whether by our own choices, those around us, or just because we live in a fallen world to run back into the arms of a loving Savior where we are safest it can be the BEST thing for us.  For me personally, I picture Jesus standing there orchestrating my life, but I’m too busy running around to acknowledge His presence and assistance in my life. He is softly calling my name and desperate to talk to me, but I am acting too much like a Martha to stop and take notice. So since I won’t do anything about it Jesus steps in and forces me to become like a Mary.

But is that so bad??????

My first response is YES….Don’t you know how busy I am? Don’t you know how busy for your kingdom I am?

And then I step back (only because I’m forced) and look at the beauty of the gift of growing pains. Wait, what?!?!?!?!? Beauty in the midst of growing pains? Stay with me for a minute….

When a piece of pottery is being formed there is shaping, reshaping, and sometimes the potter has to restart. That, I imagine, if the clay could speak is a painful process. Its the same with us spiritually, physically, and emotionally. There is pain as we grow… When you want to lose weight you are going to feel pain running , lifting weights, and training your body to eat healthier. When you are trying to be more stable emotionally you are going to feel pain. And Jesus himself experienced pain when he was growing spiritually. Jesus asked for the cup to pass Him, but He also was willing to go through the growing pains to sacrifice Himself for us so that we could be with Him. But just because Jesus experienced growing pains all those years ago, doesn’t mean we don’t have to experience them as well.

1 Timothy 4:15 in the amplified Bible says “Practice and work hard on these things; be absorbed in them [completely occupied in your ministry], so that your progress will be evident to all.”  That last part “…so that your progress will be evident to all.” hits me square in the chest. The evidence of my growth should be noticed by all. Not in a prideful, look at me I’m awesome way, but in a wow, look at what the Lord has done in her kind of way. But what is the evidence? I believe that operating in the fruits of the spirit is evidence of maturity and growth in a Christian.

So all this to say I am embracing (most days) the beauty of growing pains. I am embracing the growth and maturity that needs to happen. I am embracing the spirit of Martha and sitting and learning at Jesus’ feet. Is it a perfect process? NO Will I probably mess up? YEP  But I am excited to start this new journey with the Lord and excited for all that He has to show me and I am excited to watch Him move in my life and show himself mighty on my behalf!!!

Hand in Hand

Hi, everyone my name is Katie, and I thought I would give you a bit of background information to understand the story I’m about to tell. I am a first grade teacher to kids that are in poverty. It is a very challenging and rewarding job all in one breath. The story I’m about to tell you tells you about a little boy in my class last year that is so very special to me (not that they all aren’t, but sometimes a particular child reaches out and grabs you).

Earlier in the school year my class had to walk laps due to poor behavior during lunch. Normally, this child runs them and completes them quickly.  However, today he was having a very tough day emotionally. Picture, if you will, a child that is in a house full of other people, a new baby, and not much structure. Needless to say he picked up the rocks on the track and started throwing them towards other students. Another teacher informed me of the behavior, and the consequence was to walk another lap. However, he chose not to do that and walked away from me (sounds like what we do to God sometimes???) Serval minutes passed while I waited to see if he would make a different decision, but he did not. I walked over to him and asked if he would like me to walk his lap with him, and he shook his head yes. We started walking and talked about proper behavior, why we don’t throw rocks, and that I loved him and that is why there was a consequence. We ended the lap, and he merrily skipped away to finish his recess.

However, I was struck with a picture so deep within me of God and His children that I have been ruminating on it ever since. There is a well-known poem called “Footprints in the Sand” written by Mary Stevenson which illustrates our walk with Christ. Throughout the poem the man sees sections with two sets of footprints and times with only one, and the poem ends with this line, “ The Lord replied, “The times when you have seen only one set of footprints is when I carried you.”

How many times do we walk away from God because of behavior, sin, shame, or condemnation and then accuse Him of not being there for us when it was our decision all along?  I have personally shoved God away more times that I would care to count, but yet each time I look around and feel all alone I begin to feel His arms surround me and see His guiding hand even in the midst of my disobedience. Romans 3:3 says, “What if some did not believe and were without faith? Does their lack of faith and their faithlessness nullify and make ineffective and void the faithfulness of God and His fidelity [to His Word]?” The answer to this verse is absolutely not…my pastor, Jamie Austin, always says, “God loves you and there is nothing you can do about it.” Those are such comforting words in the midst of the storms of life.

Maybe you’ve walked away from God not because of disobedience or sin, but because life has overwhelmed you and seems to be swirling all around you. Friend listen to Psalm 62:8, “Trust in, lean on, rely on, and have confidence in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is a refuge for us (a fortress and a high tower). Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!”  What a powerful picture of what God wants from His children. I urge you friends, as I am learning this myself, to live out the words in this Psalm. Too many times I curve inward and rely on my strength, my knowledge, my accomplishments, my works and forget that I can’t do anything to make God love me more than He already does.

God loves us and truly wants to invade every part of our lives; including those areas that no one else knows about. The areas that are painful, that hurt too much to open the door because it brings back memories that you would rather forget. Friends, I’ve been there and have walked through the process and continue to work through the process. But God is faithful and wants to heal and clean out those areas while walking hand in hand with us in fellowship and lending us His strength to make it day by day. God bless.

Hello world!

Hello, I am starting a new blog. i suppose you might call this a lifestyle blog considering it will be a collection of hodgepodge posts about my classroom, my journey to become healthier, and what I’m learning spiritually. Mainly its my attempt at trying to help or minister to even just one person. Hopefully you’ll stop by to read, and if not that’s okay too.