Rise High

As a child all I wanted to do was fly. I wanted to be free, to feel the wind on my face. Freedom and joy seemed to be what I yearned for. Even as a child I felt deep pits of darkness and despair deep in my gut. It felt like an anchor, a prison, a painful friend (or foe depending on your perspective).

But God met me in every way, everywhere I went. He showed me that my letting go allowed Him to raise the dead in me. This allowed hopes and dreams to rise, a new life to come forth even if it was slow. I found I could be brave as God opened new doors and a new way of living. Freedom and victory became normal.

It is true. The more you let go, the higher you will rise. God will remove whatever hinders you. This is how you can soar no matter what comes your way. His way of life for you teaches you how to fly like an eagle. He will show you how to soar above the storm and soak up the suns rays to rest and persevere through any circumstance.

Let go and rise.

Especially The Impossible

As a child I remember believing in impossibly big things. Adults, friends even family would all make sure to tell me the reality of life. Simply put, some things would never happen. But when you are born a dreamer, it is a part of you that never dies. It is big faith.

No matter what has happened in my life I have always come back to the impossible. The impossible is a challenge. What looks like a mountain could be moved or if you’re Mary Poppins, you could simply fly over it.

I have lived through many soul crushing things. I may have suffered times of doubt or felt extreme defeat but I was not defeated. The beautiful thing about God is that circumstances can change in an instant. Feelings come and go but God does not. God remains good. God remains the same. God is faithful.

Because of God hope rises as the sun awakes in the early morning. Dreams can and often do become reality. The impossible becomes possible.

Yes, Mary Poppins, anything is possible. But I would say, especially the impossible.

No New Years Resolutions!

It seems like the new year always brings others to reflect inward.

This year it hit me hard during my daily reading as I realized how self-absorbed we often can become with new year goals and aspirations. The thought occurred to me how many of us never accomplish what we had hoped to accomplish. We never follow through with our new goals.

How many of us even made promises to God or perhaps told him we would obey and did not follow through? Many of us may have made initial steps but never followed through to completion. If you are one that finished what you started for the new year I applaud you and I am cheering you on with my coffee in hand.

With the holiday mess all around me (I have pieces of gingerbread house sticking to my sleeves as I write), I am challenged to change my own focus. I am not making a New Years goal. In fact I am getting on my knees to ask God for forgiveness for the things I did not follow through on in 2019.

It is humbling to acknowledge my disobedience and lack of follow through. It is humbling to admit to you, dear reader, that I should have followed through with everything but did not in regards to the things I decided to do with God in 2019.

You might be thinking right now, “but Kara lack of follow through on a New Years goal is not bad!”

I disagree, yet God has extended so much grace.

When we are people of honor and obedient to the life we live for God, that means we follow through. I am not talking about weight loss goals but the ones that are a matter of the heart. Yes, outward issues can often reflect what is going on in the soul but it is not bad if you began making changes and are not quite there yet. Matters of the heart are another matter and we often forget that others are dependent on our obedience. One of the ways we rob ourselves and others is by focusing on ourselves, being self-absorbed. There are people who do not even know it but they need you to be present.

For me I can think of one thing I felt the Lord prompting me to complete and here I am ending the year with it incomplete. Did the people I was supposed to be present for know that He loved them in that moment?

“Lord, forgive my disobedience! Forgive me from partnering with fear instead of faith. Help me start the year with my focus on you and loving others. Remove any self-centered focus. Remove any fear of man. Thank you for your grace and mercy on this year and on the one to come. Thank you for valuing obedience and giving grace with my imperfections.”

This year, vote “no” on making any New Years resolutions in protest of the culture it has created. Instead, be obedient in all things. Love others. Let us return to love instead of selfish ambition and pride. Stop being offended all of the time and instead choose the higher road. Seek to understand rather than prove yourself right. Choose joy in all circumstances. Choose to be humble.

How was your 2019? Is there anything incomplete? Were you obedient in all things?

Turn your eyes to Jesus.

Obey.

“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:23 ESV

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 NIV

Counting The Savior’s Fingers And Toes

I have been thinking about Mary and baby Jesus recently. How did it feel to hold him close knowing who he was? As I began pondering these things the birth of Jesus started to come alive in different ways. Other things came to my mind as well.

Since God chose Mary and Joseph to be parents to Jesus, then he has fully equipped you to parent your kids whether they are biological or not. You are needed. You are known.

Remember the babe in a manger. Look at his family. Even he grew up in a blended family. It was not perfect. They were not rich. They loved God and each other. Obedience ran deep in their veins and trust was rooted in their hearts.

Below is a quick story that came from one of my days of pondering, wondering and imagining one of the greatest days in history for all mankind.

As you read, may the birth of Christ become more real to you today.

The dingy, musky air filled with scents of hay and sheep surrounded them. A fire crackled as a pot of water warmed over for Jesus and Mary.

Mary lay back exhausted and uncomfortable. She was trying to get Jesus to latch on for his first meal while Joseph gathered food, and tended to the fire. He would check on her every now and then. She would catch him staring at them in awe.

Jesus cooed and Mary nuzzled her nose into his neck and inhaled the scent of him. She counted his fingers and toes twice over. His eyes had a brightness to them and seemed to have a hue of every color. This was the Savior her people had been waiting their entire lives for.

Her heart could hardly take in that she was chosen to be his Mommy. How does one raise the son of God? She and Joseph did not have much and she bit back tears as she realized their lives were not fit for a king. It humbled her that she was considered worthy for such a task. And now here he was, in her arms, tiny, handsome and needing her. The Savior of the world needed her.

As Joseph finished gathering rags he brought over the warmed water and took care of his family. He could hardly believe that he was to raise the Messiah. He looked perfect in every way. Mary was more beautiful to him than she ever was. There were no words for this moment. Immediately their souls had intertwined and been brought together in a way that no one else in history would ever know.

Only a Savior could do that.

Enjoy. Pt 2 of God’s Steady Heartbeat

In my previous post, God’s Steady Heartbeat, 2020 , I wanted to go into further detail about one paragraph:

Let us not give up what has yet to happen in 2019. Let us enjoy our favorite holiday beverage (coffee anyone?), sit back and see what God will do. As we pray, as we go to the front lines of intercession, the Lord has made a table amidst it all for us. He has done this for us to learn to enjoy and walk in the victory that is ours even if we have yet to see it.

Finding enjoyment in our darkest hour or our darkest season is not something that happens on its own. There can be moments of such extreme pain and heartache that we often turn to God and ask, “Why must suffering occur?” Nothing about the struggle and pain makes any sense when you are in the thick of it sometimes.

Several months ago a situation intensified so much I thought my family might not survive it. It felt so painful, intense and the people who were supposed to help this situation allowed continued injustices to occur. Nothing made sense (it still doesn’t).

The lessons I have learned through this journey have been priceless. Here are a few of the ones I continue to learn from:

1.) Let Go Of Control

There is very little we are often in control of anyway. The circumstances and people in it are often not following your lead. Forgive, let go and praise. God already knows the details and letting go reveals your trust in him.

(Scriptures to look up: 1 Peter 5:7, Jeremiah 29:11, Philippians 4:6)

2.) Respond With Praise

What we are in control of is our response to our circumstances and others. We can either fight it or embrace the truths of God and praise him through it. The enemy cannot touch you when you have your praise on. Praise embraces heaven and pulls it down. Eventually Earth must be moved by Heaven so keep praising even if tears keep streaming down your face (and snot running out your nose). Battles aren’t pretty.

(Scriptures to look up: Jeremiah 20:13, Psalm 75:1, Psalm 99, Psalm 100)

3.) Rest

This can look different for everyone but the basic truth is being able to knock worry out and lean back into Gods big arms. Let God love you. Be still.

This is hard to do amidst a battle because it feels wrong to stop when all around you swords are clanking and the wounded are crying out. In God’s kingdom, battles are won differently. He fights for you which is why learning to let go of control is a crucial step in being able to rest and declare victory.

(Scriptures to look up: Matthew 11:28-30, Psalm 4:8, Psalm 37:7, Philippians 4:6-7)

4.) Declare Your Victory

It does not matter how dark, how bleak or how intense life is. Nothing, absolutely nothing can change truth. When you know that God is a loving, powerful, dead raising, promise keeping, miracle working God, then let your voice be heard!

(Scriptures to look up: Deuteronomy 20:4, John 16:33, Romans 8:31-39)

Dear reader, grab a cup of hot coffee and sit back and rest.

I am.

God’s Steady Heartbeat, 2020

There is a steady heartbeat I hear. It is strong. It is steady.

In these moments of serenity I see my God going before me. He sits with me by still waters. He prepares a table amidst my enemies. One word from his lips quiets the accuser.

There is a steady heartbeat I hear.

I know many of us have had a year of heartache and trials. Many have endured through injustices while others have whispered dreams out into the open, hoping this year would be the year of unfolding.

It is the time of year where people wind down. Some cannot wait for the year to end. Others are indifferent or thankful for what is.

Every moment matters to God. There is not one second lost on our behalf or on the behalf of those we love. Now is not the time to settle in or give up. God is a miracle worker and not one moment is forgotten in his hand. These last few weeks are of high importance to him as he works on our dreams and whispered prayers. Or perhaps words have barely formed from our lips as we have wept. God has seen every tear and knows what is written on our heart.

Let us not give up what has yet to happen in 2019. Let us enjoy our favorite holiday beverage (coffee anyone?), sit back and see what God will do. As we pray, as we go to the front lines of intercession, the Lord has made a table amidst it all for us. He has done this for us to learn to enjoy and walk in the victory that is ours even if we have yet to see it.

As this year winds down, enjoy it. Walk from victory into 2020.

There is a steady heartbeat I hear. It is strong. It is steady.

Freedom Fighter

When I hear the word I think of the cowardly lion. The amazing thing about the cowardly lion is that the audience is a witness to his courage before he realizes it. How similar we are to that, aren’t we? While we struggle, others are admiring us before we get around to it.

Courage.

Courage is getting up everyday and loving others whom may never love you in return. You try your best to hug away pain and trauma. You carry peace for the outbursts. Each day holds a similar routine. Each night you cry because you see a glimpse into the horror that sneaks out in your kids reactions. Deep down, you know that if you choose to give in to the darkness or give up, your child will add you to the list of people who did not know how to endure for their sake, for love.

Foster parent. Adoptive parent. Stepparent. Grandma. Grandpa. Aunt. Uncle.

Parent.

Whoever you are, courage is the word that defines you.

We are a witness to your courage even if you are unable to see it in yourself.

Every morning you wake up to love through another day full of trauma unknown, in an attempt to bring freedom. To love someone so deeply that your heart bursts with love despite the ache that seems to grow with each tear that drops from your precious child. At night you exhale, your soul full of exhaustion after the freedom work you just accomplished.

It may not feel like anything has changed but I assure you that your love in one day has done far more than any evil upon your child ever could. That is why you must rise in the morning to do it all over again. You are a freedom fighter.

Courage defines you.

Take courage.

Be still.

The Lord fights for you.