Your Suffering Is Over

“You’re suffering is over” (Mark 5:34 NLT)

What would you do to hear those words?

That phrase stood out to me during my daily Bible reading. It penetrated my soul. None of us are immune to pain and suffering. Most of us would have a story to tell. Many of us hide the pain and suffering we are currently enduring. We have become good at cramming it deep inside while we force a smile and tell people we are doing “fine”.

I have become fed up with suffering! I am tired of it. I am tired of seeing it in those I love. I want to confront it. I want to destroy it.

My heart cries for justice!

How would your life change if you believed God could and would end your suffering and the suffering of those you love?

If your answer is still, “He wouldn’t do that for me” then I want to challenge you. What is it that is making you believe he won’t do it? The God I know loves you so much that it is not in his nature to not love. God sent Jesus to end your suffering. He took your suffering. He defeated your suffering.

Yes, there are a lot of things that occur that are unjust and cause our hearts to be ripped in two… but God! But God is for you. He is willing to stop everything like he did in that crowd and recognize your hand reaching out to touch the hem of his garment. He is willing to heal everything that has caused your suffering. He is willing to confront injustice. He slows down, even stops and joins you today when you welcome him.

But you may ask, “why have I had to suffer” or “why have I not seen justice yet”? The answer to these questions are complex and often include an interweaving of many things. Unfortunately our world is full of corruption, and sin causes a rippling affect on everyone whether it was because of your own doing or from others. Man’s ways are unwise. Man’s ways are prideful and arrogant. Laws without God do little to help end justice. Healing is also a process, sometimes taking us on a journey of complete wholeness and holiness rather than an instant quick fix that could leave our soul suffering.

This is not to say healing cannot be instant because Jesus said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over” (Mark 5:34 NLT) That was an instant healing! From that day forward her entire life was radically transformed! That is my good God revealing a love unfathomable and never-ending. That is my God bringing justice!

“You’re suffering is over”.

What would your life look like with that one simple yet profound change?

May it be!

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

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.

What My Dog Taught Me

This is a picture of my dog while I am gone. To some it may look like a dog who is in deep sleep. What this is, is a dog incredibly sad that I am gone. He almost looks a bit defeated.

I have been thinking about my sweet dog and this picture the rest of this week. He has separation anxiety because he believes the lie that when I leave, I will not come back. He lets that lie defeat him. I am also told that while I am gone he is mopey and sad. When I return he is renewed and exudes a joy that he is unable to contain.

We are not much different (forgive me for comparing us to a dog but the reminders from him are good to note).

This is what our souls look like when we don’t make time to be with the Lord. We get depleted. Ever so slowly we are exhausted by life circumstances and our souls become heavy laden. We want to give up. Sometimes we give in to the surrounding darkness. This is what happens when we believe lies about ourselves and about our circumstances.

If we could only remember the truths about our King. He will never leave us or forsake us. He has won our victory. He is always present. He loves us with an everlasting love. He waits for us to let him into our lives. Our growth and our joy is our choice because he will never force his way on anyone.

I encourage you to spend more time in prayer. Read more of the Bible. Get to know who God is. In his presence lies are destroyed, faith grows and hope rises.

There is no better way to live.

“God, thank you for always being there for me. Thank you for giving me strength to love through the storms. Thank you for helping me remain steadfast no matter how much my heart may break. Thank you for the gift of joy. Thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit. I cannot and will not live life without you. I choose you. Thank you for choosing me first.”

Baking and Dandelions

The aroma of homemade banana bread fills my home. It brings back memories of my Mom. I sing and dance in my kitchen as I whip up my own recipe. My eyes get misty as I remember her. As much as my Mom taught me how to follow recipes we never really stuck to it much.

I remember how we would get distracted talking or letting someone in our home in the middle of baking. When this happened it usually resulted with us forgetting an ingredient. I still laugh about the time we forgot to put sugar into our pumpkin pie. I tried pouring sugar over every bite but it still tasted awful.

I can laugh at these memories. I look back fondly on those moments where I know my Mom poured all of her love into me. It has caused me to reflect and ponder the legacy I am leaving behind. Will people remember my love?

As Easter approaches I miss her. When I see dandelions in full bloom I pick them and place them in a small vase because as a child I knew my Mom would put them on display. My Mom was able to recognize my gift of “weeds” as a treasure.

If my Mom loved me like this then how much greater does Jesus? I am in awe of this truth. He sees my weeds and makes it beautiful. He turns my mourning into joy. He waters a beautiful garden with every tear. He is faithful.

As I bake in my kitchen in my beautiful home, a tear may fall but a tender smile remains knowing the gift my Mom was. Not all Mom’s are able to show a small portion of Gods heart towards their children. I realize this precious gift that was given to me was intended for me to also give away.

I hope to leave a legacy of love.

Go Time

It is “Go time!”

The phrase is on a new coffee cup that a dear friend gave to me. It represents dreams coming to pass, to be expectant of them occurring. I am ready.

It is “Go time!” for many of you too. There is a stirring happening in many of your hearts to move forward with those dreams of yours. Are you waiting for permission from man? If you are you may be waiting for many more years to come. This life is to be lived for God not for man.

Go for it!

Are you waiting for the right timing? I understand that there is often a process to things and timing plays a big factor but for many of you the timing is now. It has been for far too long in some instances. Break free from fear.

It is “Go time!”

In A Pit With A Lion

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?

No.

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!

All The Praise

Today I must believe that all that has been intended to harm and destroy those I love, will be used for good. I must believe that it will all be turned around as justice prevails.

Worthy is your name, Jesus!

Be exalted high in the heavens.

You deserve all of our praise.

In times of gladness I will praise you.

In times of sadness I will praise you.

I will praise you even as I await for justice.

I will praise you while my hands can accomplish little.

I will praise you through the tears.

I know who you are. You are mighty. You are love. Jesus, my savior.

Please do not delay.

Even if I must wait a little longer than I would like for someone to be rescued, I will still praise you.

You deserve all of the praise.

Thank you for victory!

The Encouragers

 

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It is an amazing feeling to walk out of discouragement into encouragement!


 

When I began this blog I was determined to be as open about the grieving process that I was going through. It has been healing for me. I wanted to help others through my honesty. I wanted to send a message that grieving is not wrong, but that it is a part of life and that we must support one another through the different stages.


 

Too often, our current culture does not allow time to grieve, or even support and acknowledge that people are. I know that part of this stems from our busy lives we all carry. For those who have not been touched by the loss, they often can forget that an individual is still processing through the loss and separation of their loved one. Because they forget, they begin to question why someone may be tired, sad or discouraged. People can come across very insensitive. Because of these people, it highlights those who are very encouraging. The “encouragers” are the ones that give you permission to grieve. They cry with you. They will hug you. They will listen. I am thankful for these people!


 

I am the type of person that does not want to stuff issues down. I have intentionally been working on dealing with the grieving process head on as best as I have been able to in certain environments. I am thankful to be in a place full of love, and incredible encouragement. It has allowed me time to breathe. Dreams begin to resurface in a place of love and encouragement. Hope grows. One is able to break free from penetrating sadness that can often come and go as grief hits. Freedom reigns.


 

If I could give any sort of advice to anyone trying to support someone who has lost a loved one, it would be this: Give the other person permission to grieve when you are around him or her.


 

God does this for each of us. He acknowledges how hard it is. He sympathizes with us and gives us grace. He holds us, carries us and cries with us. He does not say, “Suck it up. Stop crying. You need to work harder to be happy. You really need to pray more since this shows you have sin in your life…” I could go on further but I will not.


 

Instead this is what God says, “My child, I love you. You will make it through this. The pain you feel reveals a heart that loves deeply. Sin caused this separation. I did not design you to experience this separation. It is why you struggle so much. Let me heal you, guide you and renew life to your aching soul. I will continue to listen to you, encourage you, and give you grace as you learn a new life. I understand your loss. It is hard. But you are stronger than you feel. I am holding you. I will pour my spirit into you to renew your soul. I love you.”


 

We all need to be more like God. We all need to extend mercy and grace to each other no matter what. We all need to encourage and love one another. Romans 12 describes very clearly how a true Christian is to live. Love should be greater than anything else. Love should permeate everything that we do, even when we might not understand what someone else is going through.


 

Romans 12:9-15

Marks of the True Christian

“9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” ESV (read the rest of this chapter. It is so good!)


 

Since my last post, I have been blessed by so many who have prayed for me, loved me and sent encouraging notes. Thank you fellow encouragers!

 

The Crashing Waves

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There are moments in life when everything comes rushing in all at the same time.


Sometimes it feels like I am in the sea, waves crashing against me one after the other. When I begin to look around at everything that is going on around me, it can take my breath away. The waves are never ending. It is when I focus my eyes on Jesus that I realize that I have breath and can keep my head above the waves.


There comes a time in life, after all these things collide, that one must just be. Breathe. Relax. Rest in the arms of Jesus. The Lord reveals himself in so many ways. It can be easy to get caught up in our selfishness that each of us are born in. This is so easy to do especially when unfair things happen in life: betrayal, death, lies, sickness, disrespect, slander and rejection. Have not all of us been touched by this in some way?


A life with Jesus finds the joy amidst such things. A heart for Jesus, says, “I will endure anything just to be more like you, just to be able to spend time in your presence everyday.” It is this desire that fuels every breath I take. It helps me to sleep well at night and roll out of bed each morning to go pour out my life everyday.


There is nothing better than to know just how much God is for you, just how much he loves you!


He shows me who I am constantly. When waves come my way in order to make me believe a lie and allow myself to become defeated, he shows me that he has prepared me for such a time. Life is so much more than just flesh and blood. There is a battle raging. It rages like the seas.


Who do you say that you are, reader? Are you prepared for death? Are you prepared to endure hardship just so that others may know that God is love; that he pursues them on a daily basis? Are you ready to be in battle everyday, no matter how tired that you are, just so that God can use you to bring others into his light and furious love? He wants to become more a part of your life. He desires you. He loves quality time. And as you are on the battlefield he is there showing you how amazing he is by the things he does through you.


Life with Jesus is a grand adventure. If you think otherwise then I challenge you to spend more quality time with God through prayer and studying his word. The more that he becomes more and you become less, a new life unfolds. You will be able to pray for people, and help people in ways that are beyond your human ability to help. You can have strength to face your greatest fears. In all of these experiences you will become more interwoven with Gods heart. Through every joy and trial, through every mountain in your path, you will be swept up in awe at Gods glory, power, omnipotence, grace, and love.


He is a good God. His love is always there. When the arms of those you love can no longer hold you, his will always be there to sweep you up to be close enough to hear his heartbeat. Such peace.


Plumbs newest album has a song called “Smoke”. The Chorus speaks what my heart says during this time in my life. So many things have ended. So many things have felt like they went up in smoke, forcing me to let go.


Chorus:

“You are my hope
You are my song
You are the oxygen inside these weary lungs
You are my safe place
You are my home
You are my shelter when it all goes up in smoke”


And the bridge says,

“My healer
Provider
You are my God
Protector
My strength and shield
You are my God”



Through it all, God is so good. I will declare who he is no matter how hard things might get. He never changes. Therefore, he is always good and his love and power rage on despite the waves that may be crashing in your life.


Psalm 18:1-3 (ESV)

I love you, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.