Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Blessing of Obedience

Lately I have been learning a lot about obedience.  To me, there are two different types of obedience. The easy type, cleaning your room or washing the dishes, and the more difficult kind, being obedient even when its hard, even when it hurts, even when you would rather run as fast as you can in the other direction.  That type of obedience is an act of love and faith.  It comes from understanding that your life is not your own and that Christ knows what is best and will not lead you astray.  That’s the type of submission that God is bringing me to.


At church I serve in the prayer ministry.  To most people that doesn’t seem like to big of a deal but my closest s friends would tell you, for me, it’s a BIG deal.  I really struggle with my own confidence in praying for people.  It is something that is completely unnatural for me for whatever reason and not something that I willingly step into.  One Sunday morning this past fall someone approached me and asked me to pray for people during response.  They were in need of more ladies to pray with women as they responded to a message.  I was terrified.  Who am I that I should be standing alongside women praying with them as they encounter and respond to Christ.  As I made my way to the front God encountered me in ways that only He could.  I was overwhelmed by His Spirit, prompting, and peace as I listened and prayed with people throughout the service.  As God’s perfect timing would have it a prayer training started the following Thursday and I found myself obeying God’s calling to join the prayer team and go through the training.  I was about to step into a journey of necessary but hard obedience and submission to Christ.


Fast forward to a few weeks ago and I am sitting near the front during response at a 7pm service.  There were not many people coming up for prayer at the time so I was just sitting and watching.  All of a sudden a close friend of mine walked up, sat down next to me, and collapsed in my lap.  As I sat there, with a person I care about deeply, crying and clearly hurting in my arms I had no idea what to do.  I am sure the look on my face was of clear bewilderment.  I felt completely unequipped to help her or pray for her.  All I could do was hold her as she cried and pray silently in my heart that God would heal her heart and her pain.  As worship continued and I began to feel this unrelenting call to pray for her in a very specific way.  My initial reaction was NO WAY!  I was scared, I was hesitant, I wanted to run the other way.  But instead I reluctantly obeyed and began praying for precisely what God has placed on my heart.  The words were not my own.  There is no way that I could of said what needed to said or pray what needed to be prayed but God could and He did.  As we closed I stood up gave her a hug and we both returned to our seats.  Later that night I was overcome with my own fear, inadequacies, and hundreds of what if’s.  What if I prayed the wrong thing?  What if I said something that was so off base and so out of left field?  What if, what if, what if!  I fell asleep that night questioning my own obedience and if it had finally failed me.


But that’s the thing, God never fails me.  Acting out my obedience to Him might be hard, frightening, and often times the last thing I feel equipped to do.  But He is faithful.  He provides me with what I need to be obedient and to follow His ways.  Later the next day I received confirmation that what I had prayed was exactly what she needed.   It was the perfect thing at the perfect time. 

While obedience can sometimes be the hardest thing, often times it brings with it the biggest blessings.  Submitting to God is a constant struggle but as He breaks down each wall in my life bringing me to my knees I realize the blessings that come with them.  Blessings of the king and kingdom, something I would never run from.   

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ouch

So its been awhile but I’m back.  I have been at a lack for interesting thoughts lately so I haven’t been an as active with my blog as I should be but this weekend was different.  I love Easter!  It’s an opportunity to reflect on Christ and His ultimate expression of everlasting love and that is so sweet.  I was especially excited for this Easter because my dad, step-mom, and little sister were planning on coming.  They are what I like to call CEO’s or Christmas and Easter Onlys’ but this year they asked if they could come rather than me begging them to join me.

Easter morning started out early, as it has for the past three years.  I have to opportunity to serve a lot during Easter.  I am pretty much around to do anything and everything.  Whatever people need I’ll do, its kind of like an all hands on deck type of time.  And I love it.  Spending time with so many different people and volunteers is something I enjoy most about this season.  Some of my greatest friendships have come out of these two days and it is something I really look forward to.  Anyway, I went to the sunrise service with my fellow slices and then made my way to the fair grounds at 6:30.  I spent most of my morning running around the amphitheater making sure things were where they needed to be.  In the business of it all I got a phone call from my dad that said that they were not coming to church. No specific reason, they just didn’t feel like it. 

Ok, lets back up.   My dad has a reputation for doing things like this.   Most of my memories of him also include some type of let down.   So, when this happened on Sunday it hurt.  In the craziness of the morning I didn’t take a lot of time to think about it but as things slowed down during Francis’ teaching the disappointment that came with that let down began to sink in.  As I listened to the message I was reminded on how much I want that for my family.  I long for those that I care about most to know and feel the love of Christ that I know.  And to think that they don’t is heartbreaking.

As the service ended I realized that a time that should be marked by true joy and celebration was outlined with pain and disappointment.  I wanted so bad for my family to be there and to experience the freedom I do.   In talking with a few you and some of my close friends about all of this I have realized that salvation is not my job its God’s.   And while it is ok to be disappointed and hurt reveling in that pain does no one any good. 
Instead I must continue to focus on the wonderful blessing in my life and how amazing this past weekend was.   I have a family that cares for me, friends who encourage me, and a community that continually points me back to who matters most, Christ.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Certainty of Uncertainty

This past week I have been really taken back by how uncertain our lives our.  Nothing is promised to us.  We are all blessed to have food to eat each day and a roof over our head but even that is a gift from God.  Its not something we are entitled to or deserve it is given to us out of the overflow of His goodness.   While I am sure this feeling of uncertainty has a deeper meaning there are a couple instances in the past week that it can be attributed to.  


First is what is happening in my family on my Mom's side.  My uncle, who I look up to, admire, and is one of my closest friends, is supposed to get married in two weeks in Mexico.  Key words....supposed to.  While my uncle is an awesome person with a great heart he has a tendency, as we all do, to be a little self-centered, focused more on his own personal gain than those in his life.  This has caused some major friction in the relationship between him and his fiance.  And while I care greatly for both of them the last thing that I would want for either of them is to force something that might not be right.  So, as they take this next week to evaluate and figure out what they both really want my family is left with some uncertainty.  Wedding or no wedding?  


The second thing carries a bit more weight to it.  My dad has a close friend, DK, who has been battling cancer for more than 11 years.  On Friday afternoon my dad got a phone call that DK had been admitted to the hospital and was not doing well, we weren't even sure if he would make it through the night.  This is always something that we knew could happen.  Because of his illness there was a constant uncertainty that one day DK could be here and the next morning he would be gone.  But on Friday this uncertainty became a certainty as he went to be with Jesus that night.  While I didn't know him as more than an acquaintance my dad and him and grown close and to see someone you love and care about hurting is not easy.  And as I was left to sit and reminisce about the many stories he told of DK, I was reminded of the uncertainty of life.  Each day is a gift and something that we should not take for granted.  Only God knows when our time here on earth is finished and we should choose to live that life out in thankfulness and joy for the one who sacrificed it all for us. 


But, in all this uncertainty and turmoil I know of one certainty, God.  He is my rock and my firm foundation.  Even when everything around me seems to be in flux the His consistent love, mercy and grace is the certainty I stand on.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

40 Days


Someone told me once that it takes 40 days to break a habit or 40 days to create one.  40 days, that’s it.  So, I went into this Lenten season with a commitment to read a chapter of the bible each day hoping to make it a staple in my daily routine.  I chose to start reading in Mark and go through Luke leading me right through Easter.  I know that I should be committed to reading my bible everyday but I have become complacent over these past few months.  I can make tons of excuses, I’m busy, I’m tired, I am reading all this stuff for Circles, or my favorite, the Jersey Shore is on.  But see that’s all they are, excuses.  My prayer going into this time was that God would reignite my passion for His word and light my life on fire.

Well, I am a week in and to say that God has once again stirred my passion for the Word is true.  I long for the time I spend each day reading through the Gospel.  But lighting my life on fire, now that’s another story.  Actually I would say that it has been just the opposite or at least that’s how it feels.  I am wrecked.  Each time I open God’s word I become aware of another flaw in my faith or life.  An area I am lacking in is brought up or an unhealed wound is reopened.  And that’s hard.   

My na├»ve view of scripture was that it was there to encourage and build us up not make us feel lousy or challenged.  But, was I wrong.  I am beginning to realize that while we are able to find encouragement and joy in the hope of the Gospel, God’s word is meant to challenge us.  It is there to bring about self examination and growth.   As I recount Christ’s mission and ministry each day, God continues to move in me.  He is healing wounds that I didn’t even know where there.  He is showing me who He wants me to be and how I should live my life.

And even though it’s hard, and it hurts, and it causes many tears, this revelation of just how broken I am has been the best thing for me.  So, each day I am drawn back to Him, back to His word and back to the love and grace that first captured me.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

S-T-O-K-E-D

I spent this past weekend in the mountains of Ramona (still not sure where that is) for Wyldlife Winter Camp.  It was probably one of the most epic weekends of my life.  Exhausting but epic.  There is something about Jr. Highers that is just exhausting.  We were at a camp called Oakbridge that was one of the coolest camps I have seen.  Ok, I havent seen many, but still it was so sweet.  They had a skate park, high dive, basketball courts, none of which we could use because it snowed almost 6" on Saturday night.  As someone who spent 4 years in Colorado, the snow is something that I have grown to love so that was a special treat from God.  Here are some other highlights:

*Dancing to Justin Bieber till the early morning hours
*Having club every day/night
*Program and entertainment night
*Double tap (Its a pretty sweet game.  If you want to learn just ask. :))
*Silent football (I actually never played this but watching the kids play was fun!)

There are so many other things that happened and I could spend hours telling you all about it.  But I think for me the best part was the relationships and conversations that I was able to be involved in.  Camp is a unique thing because as leaders we dont have to plan anything.  Normally it falls on us to plan games, talks, food ect. but camp is different.  All of our attention can be on the kids and spending time with them.  Camp creates space for conversations that club just cant.  And for me that is what its all about.  Its the reason I became a leader and a big reason that I joined Circles.  Being able to pour into these kids and simply love on them as Christ would is such a wonderful blessing. 



This weekend was an awesome reminder of what is important and what I should be focusing my life on.  When I get wrapped up in and frustrated with work, family, and life I can look back at the time I spent at camp with those kids reminds me what it is all about.

Here are a couple pictures too...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Some Photos...

I have been encouraged by some of you slices to post some of my pictures up here.  As most of you know I spent some time studying photography in college and even though I don't have a ton of time for it right now it is definitely still one of my favorite things.  Most people would probably think that spending hours shooting, editing, or in a dark room would be torture.  For me, its just the opposite.  In college I used to spend countless hours in the dark room.  I could put my ipod on and just let the world fade away.


Since college, I have been hesitant to share any of my work with anyone except my closest friends.  By showing my photos to people I feel like I am leaving myself vulnerable and exposed.  Letting people into a world that is intimately mine can be painful but it can also bring healing.  I guess thats the crazy thing about art, it can stir up emotions and feelings that you might otherwise ignore and not talk about.


Anyway, here they are.  I purposely have not put captions on them.  Let your mind wander a bit and form your own thoughts and feelings about whats going on.  Sometimes the best thing about art is its ability to break free of the conformity that we are so used to in our lives and allow for your own emotions to filter in.








Monday, February 14, 2011

Exhausted

If I am being totally honest I don't know if I have been completely open with all of you.  Those that know me best know I am really good at putting on a happy face, exuding optimism and energy, and acting like everything is ok even when its not.  Truthfully, thats what I have been doing these past couple of weeks.  Rather that giving out of the overflow of who God has made me I feel like it is coming from the core of my being.  And thats not a good thing!  There is not really anything major happening in my life but I am just tired.  No not tired....exhausted.  


I feel like my wheels are constantly spinning and there is no time to really rest.  I can't remember the last time I did something for myself or was able to turn my brian off.  Lately, I have really felt like just quitting it all.  Wyldlife, Circles, relationships, all of it.  At times I think it would just be easier to shut down and withdraw from everything.  And that is hard for me to say.  I am definitely not a complainer and I hate whining, which is probably why I have put off writing this.  I even started off writing this post with something about prayer and what God was teaching me but it just didn't seem right.  


The truth is thats a lie.  Quitting would not be easier, even though it seems that way sometimes.  I know that it is in times like this that where my faith is shaped.  I know that God is doing something in me that I can't see or understand.  I know that it is in this time, when I feel distant from Him, the people I care about, and the things that make me happiest that I need to push into Him.  He is there, He will draw me near, and He will rejuvenate my life.


All that being said, I am not going anywhere.  I will continue to search for God in each moment of each day and wait expectantly for Him to show Himself.  I will rely on those closest to me for encouragement.  And I will cherish the sweet, quiet moments trusting that He will fill my cup.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

What about the innkeeper....

Tonight we had Wyldlife.  It happens every two weeks and is always the highlight of my week.  Spending time with a bunch a crazy junior highers quickly reminds me of whats important and to never lose sight of that.  Anyway, tonight one of the leaders spoke on the parable of the Good Samaritan and she did an awesome job.  I, like most people, am familiar with the story but after coming home tonight I found myself drawn back to it, wanting to know and investigate more.  As I got to the end of it I realized that there is a 5th person to the story that often gets overlooked, the innkeeper.


The innkeeper is mentioned only once in a short verse where the samaritan instructs him to take care of the wounded man and upon his return the innkeeper will be paid in full.  Thats it, thats all we hear about him.  In actuality he plays a bigger role then I had ever noticed before.  By the samaritans' request the innkeeper is asked to ensure of the man's survival for little or no compensation.  The samaritan does say that he will return but how can the innkeeper be so sure.  And still he does.  The innkeeper relinquishes his own feeling and thoughts toward the situation and out of obedience, trust, and the goodness of his own heart, cares for the man.  What a selfless act.


When I think about the innkeeper's role in this story I cant help but wish that I could be like that.  That I could have enough trust and obedience to put my own emotions and side and act out of the goodness of my heart.  What a humbling reminder of what we all should strive for.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Joy...

"Joy is the experience of knowing that you are unconditionally loved and that nothing - sickness, failure emotional distress, oppression, war, or even death - can take that love away" - Henri Nouwen


This has been a tough one for me to get past this week.  When I first read this quote I sort of just skimmed past it.  But later on last week something drew me back to.  Ever since I cant seem to get it off my mind.  In trying to understand what about Nouwen's definition of joy it has demanded that I reflect on my own life and what brings me joy.


Honestly, I struggle to find joy in mundaneness of my daily tasks.  No where is this more evident then when I am work.  Sometimes I feel like when I walk through the door I turn into a different person.  I loose my patience much easier than I would normally, I am easily annoyed, and sometimes I even find myself less willing to help those I work with.  The hard part about all of that is thats not who I am at all.  I am normally patient, understanding, and want nothing more than to help and serve others.  So, whats missing?  Why am I so quick to shut people down?  After taking some time to digest Nouwen's thoughts on joy I realized thats exactly what I am missing, JOY!  Lets be honest though, its not that easy to be filled with the type of joy he describes.  I mean I am in the process of editing over 9,000 pages of reports, wheres the joy in that!  But thats just it, this overflowing, overwhelming joy isnt from me, its from Christ.  Its in the knowledge of His unconditional love that I must find this joy.  A joy that knows no frustration and no boundaries.  A joy that sets no limit to my patience or willingness to jump in and help at any moment.


God is showing me that this type of happiness can be found in even the littlest things and shortest moments.  It is in those moments that I am reminded of the source of my joy and of the reasons I so willing enter into a job or situation that isnt my favorite, for Him.  I truly believe that God's glory and greatness can be show in any situation and at any time.  And if I am able to play apart in that then what can be more joyful than that.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hello out there!  This is my first blog ever, maybe I am a little late to the game, but I guess you got to start somewhere, right?  Anyway, a little bit about me...

My name is Kate.  I was born and raised right here in beautiful Costa Mesa/Newport Beach.  I went to high school at CdM and played basketball.  After graduation I moved to Colorado and attended the University of Colorado, Boulder.  College was an interesting time.  When I first arrived at school I struggled to identify or click with a particular group of friends.  As a result spent the majority of my college experience in the dark hole that heavy drug usage puts you in.  Little did I know, God had other plans.  As He would have it He had planted His seed in the form of a friend whose constant love and support saw me through.  She chose to love me through all of my faults, shortcomings, and addictions.  One night in her room in our sorority, after months of questions and seeking, I realized that the love she showed me was different.  It was an everlasting bond that knew no boundaries and kept me coming back for more.  It was the love of Christ.  I knew I needed Him.  I needed and continue to need His love and the identity that I was and would always be His.  After graduation in 2008 I moved home and have been attending ROCKHARBOR ever since.

Being a follower of Christ calls for a different type of relationship with those around you.  These relationships should be filled love, intentionality, and meaning.  To me, life is all about those connections and how Christ's love is depicted through them.  By participating in Circles I will have the opportunity to better equip myself to start and carry on those types of relationships in my life.  The type of relationship that drew me to Him in the first place.