I was travelling to visit a friend this past week. During my drive I travelled through 3 different states. The lush green land slowly faded to a parched but beautiful brown. As I travelled I prayed for every soul.
My heart became so overwhelmed with love for my country. I wept. My beautiful nation is in so much turmoil and people are seeing the strife surface in more visible ways. What has been hidden is coming to light. Too many dark, broken and desperate hearts to keep count, yet I have wept and wanted you to know your incredible value.
America, my great country, aren’t you weary and tired? I know there are sorrowing people scattered in the millions. Do you know how much you are loved? ALL of you are loved.
Can we quiet ourselves for once and join hands once again? Will you join me? Can I help pray for a need you may have?
Jesus. He made a way to rest. His joy is waiting for you, today and the next day. Life can be much different. We can choose different; the good different; the holy-change-transform-restore your life different! Because… JESUS.
HE is your joy. Rest will be found with Him. ❤️ Jeremiah 31:25
This weekend we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus. In between that was silence. Tension filled the air as Jesus’ followers awoke with devastation unable to comprehend His death.
But God in great anticipation had a countdown going. He knew that a mighty conquering was occuring and victory was running towards humanity. While the people waited having only begun to grieve, to mourn the son of both God and man, silence settled as Jesus was about to breathe again. Even though Jesus had told them what was to come they still did not understand it. They knew the Messiah had come but nothing occured the way they had thought it would.
We are all in waiting right now. In our homes, on our own, we are waiting for our lives to go back to normal. But perhaps our lives are supposed to be resurrected? Maybe our lives are supposed to change to become better than before?
There is beauty in the waiting. We may not know what it is going to look like but because Jesus defeated death and rose from that grave, we can be certain that what is waiting is full of victory, hope, joy! Could we view the silence, the waiting, a beautiful part of our journey to a great comeback where life is restored the way it should be and reconciliation has occured; where our pain has been healed and each of us has returned to love?
Don’t you long for more?
The more is on the other side of the waiting, the silence, if one is willing to embrace the risen Savior. He has been waiting with great anticipation and joy for the day of resurrection… In your life.
Aren’t you ready?
It is time to stop ignoring the gentle whisper of love that will bring you freedom and heal your pain, Dear world.
You are loved more than you know.
Five years ago my Mom breathed her last breath here on Earth to make her journey home to Heaven. Those who have walked a similar journey understand the longing for that person. Some days Heaven feels far.
Many have followed the journey the past five years and I am grateful for you. Today, I am opening myself up a bit. I miss my Mom dearly but I have hope and joy. Please read my raw processing of the fifth year anniversary of her passing:
All I want is to experience a piece of Heaven with you today. I see you, you’re young and radiant. I thought you were beautiful as I grew up but today you radiate the light from the son and you’re breathtaking. You even smell good. I never saw you so healthy and your hair so thick. Aunt Shorty is smiling as she stands by your side. Michael is in your arms and your other grandkids are running around your legs giggling. My oldest sibling cannot wait to meet the rest of us as I see them waiting with excitement for our homecoming. The joy is indescribable!
Just a piece of Heaven.
To my Dad who saw your slow death from the beginning and battled on your behalf, will a piece of you come visit him in his dreams tonight? Just a piece of Heaven, a glance of your eye and your smile that radiates such love. Just a bit of your presence to touch the ache and bring a little more peace than before.
Just a piece of Heaven and I can tell you face to face how so many of your prayers for me have been answered. The horors of your childhood, a piece somehow did not elude me and it tore your heart to pieces. If only you could see me today and know I’m free, healed and whole. I know now that you prayed dreams and hopes would somehow be restored and the joyful spark would return to my eyes. Just a piece of Heaven is all I ask today, so that we could laugh a bit more over coffee. I could give you a hug and you could see the dreams that are unfolding in my life.
Just a piece of heaven, it is all I ask for my siblings who miss you too. You could be with all of your grandkids, some of whom you could kiss for the first time. Swingset swinging, going down slides, dancing, and laughing together even for a moment.
Just a piece of Heaven, it is all I ask.
Just a piece of Heaven for everyone.
Mom, I love you!
A mountain and a promise.
You are in a pit with a lion. What do you do?
Do you panic and freeze, or try to hide and cower in the corner?
You will face that lion. With every breath you take it will remind you that the Lord is with you. He will not fail.
As the lion paces he licks his lips with a ravenous look of hunger in his eyes. He looks so confident. After all, he is the lion and you are but mere prey. And you are in a pit with no rope. You have no ladder to climb or person to get you out. The lion knows that you have nowhere to go and the smell of you makes his mouth water. He can smell the sweat drip from your forehead.
What do you do?
You stare that lion down with a fierceness that defies any potential fear shaking your bones. Every fiber in your being knows that God will save you. You crush any doubts within milliseconds of them entering your thoughts. You stand your ground.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
The lion slowly creeps closer. Closer still he comes until you can feel the heat of his breathe on your neck. He sniffs your hair.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
You begin to hear a low guttural noise and he rubs his mane up against you. Soon he is rubbing up against you, back and forth. Gently you move your hands up and begin to pet his glorious mane.
What is this? This hungry lion meant to eat you is now as friendly as a dog.
What was supposed to be for your ruin has been reversed. You must wait a while longer before you are pulled out of the pit with the lion.
There is grace in the waiting. What joy there is for the reversal of the plans of the enemy.
Now you can wait confidently expectant of victory in a pit with a lion!
“The thoughts and decisions in your life can either control you or set you free.”
I have been missing my Mom lately because I wish I could talk with her about everything going on in my life right now. I know what she would say,
“Kara, you have a lot going on. It is good to cry. Do not be so hard on yourself. Please rest.”
Since she passed I often tell myself similar phrases as a reminder to give myself some grace and choose hope each day.
It is vital for me to choose hope and joy. If I allow my thoughts to focus inward and downward it could have the potential to sabatoge my life. When I choose hope, the impossibilities seem less daunting and I am trusting God to take care of every detail. Often I have found that I have had to fight for hope and learn this as a discipline.
I have chosen that despite the circumstances, I will live with faith for promises and find ways to laugh. Why? Because my God is good. He wants the best for me. He wants me healthy, healed and whole. Jesus did not come for me to be hopeless and downcast.
His joy is my strength!
In joy there is room for increasing hope. Because of this I enjoy life even when I may feel like weeping or when I would much rather stay in bed with a frown.
My decision to stay upbeat, positive and hopeful is a decision based on how much I know God loves me and is for me. Since I know this about Him I also know that He loves my family more than I do. I know He already stormed the gates of hell and made a way for each of us. He will never stop storming those gates! And if He will never stop storming those gates then I know that I can wait a little bit longer for victory while keeping a smile on my face. I can allow laughter to fill my belly while telling the devil to shut up anytime I may be downcast.
No matter what, God is still sovereign. God is still good. Despite anything I may be going through He never changes. He cannot be defeated. He is for me. He is for you.
His love is vast and deep. Jesus proved it.
This, my friends, is why I choose hope and joy. Life may feel a bit surreal but my God is real and mighty. Nothing can change the truth of who He is and what He is doing for those that love Him!
(Laughing at this family photo ⬇)
Are you waiting for promises?
The more I learn about perseverance the more I realize how much work goes into seeing promises come to fruition. If you are expecting a promise to just magically appear without any struggle or waiting period, you will be full of disappointment. Promises do not come without a battle. The bigger the promise the bigger the battle. On the same note the bigger the promise the bigger the victory will be.
While you are in the thick of it remember that God is faithful.
Expect a lot of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears. Anything worth having does not come easy. It will come with risks and challenges.
In my past I used to feel so defeated when month after month victory seemed so out of reach. Instead of seeing how close victory was I either complained, felt sorry for myself or put on pride and told God, “I got this now because obviously you are not doing anything.”
Lord, forgive me for those times! I could have chosen praise rather than believing the lie of defeat. I could have stood my ground. I could have laughed in the face of the enemy.
But that was the past.
Today I choose to stand my ground.
Today I choose joy.
Today I choose to rejoice in the goodness of the Lord.
Today I laugh in the face of the enemy.
I continue to laugh as he flees.
I laugh my way into victory!
Have you ever gone so long in a season that you literally just thought that life would always remain that way? I ask this question because my husband and I have gone through season after season of intensity. Seasons were filled with yucky slime and we often felt robbed. Despite this we chose Jesus and chose to laugh, chose to remain steadfast and choose love. All we have ever desired was to please God and be faithful to him in all things. We still desire this knowing that we may have to walk through heart wrenching things. Life is tough but I have been realizing that because of God I am stronger and tougher than what may happen in this life.
Recently we have been living in a new season. It came slowly, and steadily until one day… BAM!! We were walking right into a miracle. What?! This was something so new and so surreal. God had laid our path in order to walk out impossible things. We have always believed this about God but never did we dare to even dream what he wanted to give to us. As I write this, tears well up in my eyes because I feel so overcome with his love for us.
Our entire married life has been filled with miracles. When we needed a car, one was given to us. When we had no money for food or rent, a check would show up in the mail or groceries would be delivered to our door. When we were in desperate need God always provided. He was never late and never too early. His timing was impeccable, perfect.
Not only does God care about providing your physical needs but your mental and emotional needs as well. When you need people in your life to love you just like Father God, he will either send them or lead them to you. As we have walked in miracles God has given us the biggest one: family and a home. We no longer feel like we are wandering. Our hearts swell real big with gratefulness and a deeper love for others.
Through it all, God remains faithful. The greater question through every season whether good or bad is, will you remain faithful to him? Will you praise him no matter the circumstance?
Our answer has always been, “yes, God” and I pray that it always will.
For a period in my life I was holding onto ashes. These ashes contained many things. Pain and turmoil left a constant ache in my heart. I was holding onto words and an identity full of lies that I had allowed to penetrate what I did. It left me feeling anxious and doubting everything I said and did. One day I looked at my hands and realized,
“What am I doing? Why am I allowing this to rule my thoughts? Why am I allowing this pain over these ashes keep me from living in freedom?”
I decided then, that no matter how hard it may be to break the habit of holding handfuls of ashes that I would let go.
That day I chose freedom, I chose Jesus.
Too often we let what others say, a diagnosis, an ailment in our bodies, distance, or certain actions from others dictate and rule our lives to the extent of binding us. We were never intended to live this way. We were made for freedom! We were made to fly, to dance in joy, and to be so full of love that it literally overflows onto everyone and invades everything that we do.
What are you holding onto? What are you allowing to bind you?
Let it all go!
When you let go you are able to rest well. You are free to dance! Freedom grows and increases your faith.
I do not want to live a life limited but rather one that shows passionate living. Passionate living to me means to be bold in the Lord. I have no need to be anxious. I want to operate with him casting aside man-made boundaries of faith and man-made ideals of identity. It is in him that my identity lays. I can be me as God intends me to be.
Raise your hands in freedom. Dance. Laugh. Love deeply. Rest in his peace. Fly.
The past several weeks have not at all gone as I had originally planned. But I guess that is life, right? I am writing this with a smirk because I have begun to find joy in these simple hiccups in plans. God has little blessings and treasures even amidst those times as long as you are able to stop focusing so much on what did not happen!
The fatigue and health issues that I have been having, which I thought were simply from stress and grieving were indeed more than just that. Unbeknownst to me, I have actually had mono. The mono then led to a flare up of tonsillitis. Because of my diagnosis, I realized just how much I needed to slow down, and not put such high expectations on myself to do everything that I wanted to do. This meant that I did not hand out any Christmas goodies or cards to many people that I originally planned on (sorry everyone). It also meant that I have been learning the art of pacing myself while enjoying every single moment possible to the fullest measure. When one’s energy is low and food puts pressure on an inflamed and swollen spleen, you learn to enjoy every bite because it could be your last for a couple of hours.
I am grateful for everyone who has put in extra effort to help carry loads for me since I am ordered not to do so for at least a month. I am grateful for a husband who helps do laundry, pick up the house, and cook for me while I lay down on the couch. For those who know me well, I am much like my Mom… a stubborn go-getter, never letting pain and fatigue stop me from living. This is how I have been living my life. I did not realize how serious it was until my spleen was at risk of rupturing. I am thankful that God was protecting me and intervened through the prayers of my husband and my daughter.
Despite all of the physical disruptions to my plans, Christmas has been very full of blessings, sweet surprises, and moments filled with tears as well as laughter. The art of choosing joy is the best way to live life. Cherishing every moment and not getting hung up on how things are so painfully different is also important. What will your focus be on? I choose the positive things. Those people who are right in front of me. A daughter that needs me and wants to be a part of everything even if I am so tired that I feel like the couch is enveloping me. My husband that chooses to work hard, provide, take care, encourage, and love me as well as our daughter with every fiber in his being blesses me daily. What greater treasure is there than that of the people whom love you and you love?
Those people are my God given treasure. They remind me just how much God loves me.
I could have chosen the other route. It would have been easy to sink into the misery of what my body has been feeling for over a month and allow that to overtake my thoughts and feelings. I am stubborn.
I choose joy. I choose to be thankful. I want to be the type of woman that has grit! I want to be tough as well as sweet and gracious. I want to be like Jesus whose life was not always full of great circumstances yet he knew whom his Father was and why he needed to choose his ways. Life is not about us. Life is about love and choosing that love above all else. Life is about pointing others to the source of our joy. Life is showing others why we choose the way of living lovingly and joyfully. Life is full of twists and turns with blessings and treasures at every single one of them if we take the time to see them.
Life is beautiful!
God is the source and he is good.
Here I am going into the second year of holidays without one of my best friends, my Mom. This time last year I was doing my best to walk the journey day by day uncertain of how the waves of grief might hit me as important traditions ceased and days trailed off. I was not anticipating the grief to take a different face yet have such similar affects on my body as last year. Once again I cannot seem to remember things like I used to, my appetite is either none to completely ravenous, and I am very emotional. To be perfectly honest, this makes me feel a bit angry because I do not like this affect on my body.
Despite all of this, there is a difference. Laughter fills my body clear to my bones. Each day I choose joy and choose love. Letting go has come much easier. The ache still lingers. Tears still fall. Last year I was mourning Mom and continue to miss her each day. But this year I am mourning family as well. It has felt like we have taken hits to our family in all ways after having to fight a battle for our own little one recently. Everything seemed to hit all at once. That alone is exhausting!
Even amidst the issues God has given us victory. He has provided for us like only he can. He has drawn us closer to him. He has drawn us closer as husband and wife. If there is any purpose for the pain in the journey, being intertwined closer with him and with my husband makes it all worth it! That alone gives me a reason to sing. That alone gives me a reason to smile through the tears.
I want to know him more! I want to move in his love and power effortlessly and fully surrendered to him. I want to sing and dance. I want his joy to bubble over onto others. I have known many joyful people that I have wanted to be like. Their joy seemed so contagious. You know the ones I am talking about. They can often be labeled as, “those annoying super positive people out of touch with reality”. I now understand why they always have a positive response. When you spend more time with God and choose his joy, it penetrates every part of your being. You have a reason to be so positive. No Eeyore over here!
He is the source of my strength. He is the source of my joy. He is joy! Because he has won the victory we can persevere with joy through anything. Because he was and is stronger than anything that could come up against him, we have a reason to be full to the point of overflowing with joy!
My heart overflows.
Joy is Jesus.
The lowly manger scene reveals our source of joy. When God brought the greatest gift to come save us and make a way for us, joy entered our lives. Holy Spirit within us is a reflection of that day, the only virgin birth known in history, and a family knit together by God. The furious love of the King of Kings coming to save the day in the most unlikely way was also anxiously awaited by so many. It was scandalous for the time period. But Mary and Joseph chose to obey. Because of their obedience and God’s perfect timing, joy was sent to all people.
This is the reason I sing. This is the reason I can laugh in the face of grief. This is the reason I love like every second counts. It is why I live.
“I will exalt you; I will praise your name”.