Monday, February 27, 2012

A Refining Fire- moving towards Perfection.


Well, here I am again looking around on the internet for inspiration for another blog post.
Sometimes I'm just inspired, other times I need inspiration. 
This is one of those "I need inspiration" moments. 

Ahh, okay- here's something.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.  ~Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry
What a thought! Perfection- a refining, a process. God is refining us to purest of pure gold. Soft, pliable, and reflective of HIs brilliant Glory. We cannot do this on our own. It is through the refining fire that we become pure. It's striving to be holy as HE is holy.  It's a drawing out of the dross- taking away things that are not the finest Gold.  We are already made in His image- in His likeness. During the refining process He puts us over the fire. a fire that is pure love. Righteous love- a love that wants nothing more, and nothing less than the best for us. It's not to destroy, but to help us change. Someone recently pointed out that if we are willing to walk through the fire of testing, we will be refined through that fire, and made into purest gold, which is just as transparent as glass with Him. We become so clear and pure that anything we do or say will be seen as glass to Him, as well as others. No impurities will be found; no flaws or imperfection will be able to stay, because they will immediately be noticed within. The process of purification is repetitive, often time-consuming, and very intense.
Often, as we are put under heat testing our faith, we seem to believe the intensity is too much work, and we will never make it through this fire. Our human desire is to give up and retreat. To throw up our hands and say "It's not worth it!!!" Through the fire, the pressure of removing the impurities seems intense, though it's only a matter of allowing them to surface within our own hearts and minds. When a heating pressure is applied to our lives, God is beginning the refinement process. Though we often question God as to why we are being persecuted, we soon come to find that God is blessing us with the very thing we thought was the curse. God promises that He will perfect His work. So, as I see it- we can either be okay with that and allow Him to take control of our lives and purify as HE sees fit. 
I promise, it'll be worth it- and He will be gentle. It is our struggling and our moaning that makes it worse. He will NOT give us something that we cannot bear. 
Looking back over the refining, the tests, purifications- over and over again...I can see the patterns of His love and grace. He was always in control over the situation- I just needed to let go and let God take control of the steering wheel.
What an Amazing Papa God we serve.
1 Peter 1:7
 ...So that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.


There- I ended up inspired after all :  
Blessings,
~Kate!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

His Love… Is Extravagant.

Instead of doing it in your own strength. 
Instead of trying over and over, and failing again.
Instead of clinging to the threads of your plans.
Instead of putting your faith in man.
Instead of worrying about what others think of you.
Instead of trying to hold yourself together.
And worrying about what to do,
Sink into the Loving Arms of Christ. 
Let go, He is waiting. 
His love is Extravagant. 
Unending.
He will catch you when you fall.
He will give you wings to rise up like the Eagles. 
And Soar.


How quickly we fall into the trap of relying on ourselves. How often we think we can find our own way, do it in our own strength. 
It's then that we are reminded, usually by circumstances, that we can't. 
God is the strength of our lives. We won't get far without Him. Yet, we still try! 

His Love, it's furious. Extravagant. Unending. Deep as the deepest ocean, greater than the vast universe.  To fall in Love with God- the creator of Love itself. What a romance! What an adventure! 
All that Love. For me. I cannot even grasp that.  He has not only saved us from eternal death, but He calls us friend, son, daughter, and Bride. 
Yet, so often... where do we run? Not into His arms. But away, into the shadows. Too ashamed to ask for help.  He cannot help us unless we let Him. 
God, Yahweh, Jehovah. He breaks all bounds, all boxes, all molds. He is with us, yet on the other side of the world, out in the universe. He came, wore clothes just like us, ate, drank, touched. He is also transcendent and immortal.  Holy, more beautiful than we can imagine, more majestic than the mighty Mountains, more radiant than a sunrise. 

The LORD is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid? Ps. 27:1
He is our strength! Such an amazing thought. I know I'm guilty of "doing it" in my own strength. Not allowing Him, or anyone else, to help me. Lately I've had several lessons in humility- allowing God's gift, in the form of other people, to help me. It's not been an easy lesson! I'm so prideful at times, well... All the time. Pride is one of the things God hates! I think I'm starting to see why- it separates us from Him, and His plans, His best for us. So- He hates it.

One of the most arduous spritual tasks is that of giving up control and allowing the Spirit of God to lead our lives.
-Henri Nouwen

Parting thought for this rambleish post:

"Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from Your presence?  If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depth, You are there.  If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me.  Your right had will hold me fast" (Psalm 139:7-10).






Saturday, February 11, 2012

Taking leaps.

Hope. Faith.
Yet- what meanings. It's not something that just happens. I know we may flippantly say "I hope it'll be sunny today". But- that's more of a wish than a hope, I think.  True hope, and true faith are something much, much more. It's knowing, beyond a doubt, that in spite of how things may turn out, in spite of how crazy things may seem- God is still in control. It is being certain that no matter what happens- it'll make sense in the grand scheme of His plan. No matter how it turns out. That is the hard part. 
Our job is not to worry. It's not to fret. (And I'm speaking to myself just as much, if not more, than to you.) I'm the type that wants to have everything planned out months beforehand. Often I'm afraid to "take the leap". To have faith that His arms will be there to catch me. 
I am reminded of the scene in the movie "The Village" when Ivy is standing at the door facing the darkness - hand outstretched- waiting patiently. She shows some fear, but she doesn't waver.She is waiting for the Man that she loves to rescue her. The forbidden to speak of scary "thing" is charging at her to take her with it into the night. Suddenly, He who she loves runs out of the darkness, and in one swoop, pulls her into safety; Not just into the house, but enfolded into His arms. 
You may have noticed that I capitalized Man and He. Yes, I am making a parallel here. I'm sure you can see it. We stand. Facing the darkness- hands outstretched. Waiting for Him who we love. 
That is Hope. That is Faith. It's to simply stand there. Waiting. 
Faith, hope. They  go together in this picture. We are waiting for He who we love to come. Though the storm rages, our life appears in ruins, though the mountains crumble, the world falls apart around us. Still, we wait. Do we say it's hopeless? That all is lost? No! Because that would be telling the Lord that there is nothing He can do for the situation. And you and I both know that this is not true! 
Father, help us to refocus our thinking to that of Hope. Help us to keep pushing forward no matter how the shadows loom or the rain pours. To always keep looking for the best- Your best. Eyes ever fixed on You. Waiting patiently. Knowing that when we take the leap- the arms there to catch us are strong, infinitely loving, and will always be there.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Forgiveness.

“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” 
Corrie ten Boom
Ephesians 4:32
And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. 

What does it mean to truly forgive?
Jesus tells us to forgive 70 x 7. 
We should not keep a record of wrongs. Yes, time heals us of wounds. However, when something happens to us it is always with us- no matter how great or small. It molds us, scars us. Scars our soul. 
Normally, a scar is ugly. However, it can also be a memorial to battles fought- and won. In this case, it would almost be a thing of beauty. It's a testament to all who see it that says "I am a victor" Because no matter if you lost the battle, or won the battle- you are still here. And rising above makes you a victor. 
Here I'm not talking about literal battles, of course. I'm sure you follow that. 
But what exactly does it look like to forgive someone? Someone who did something deliberate, or inadvertently. 
It's a walking out, step by step.  It's re-conditioning your thinking to that of sorrow, rather than rage. Sorrow for the other person, or people. And instead of many words- you have nothing left to say at all. Either to that person, about that person, or to God about that person. It's to be able to equate feelings of joy, peace, and love with memories.
 I believe this is true forgiveness. 

Is it easy? No! Not by any means! 
But is it worth it? Yes! 
Reconditioning your thinking to feelings that are completely opposite is difficult. 

When you, or I- or anyone- walks in un forgiveness towards another person it's indirect violation of the commandment " Thou Shalt Not Kill".
"As a man thinks in his heart, so is he".
Proverbs 23:7

I'm sure this also attitude separates us from Papa God. After all, think of all the things He's forgiven us for! Such an incredible number, each and every day. How can we not forgive one (or a few) offenses, when He has forgiven us of all? 

Just a week or so ago I was listening to "The Hiding Place" by Corrie ten Boom. (Hence the quote at the top).
What an amazing woman. The things she and her family suffer makes what I've gone through look like small potatoes. Forgiving those Nazis and other people who hurt her was her key. It was her key-passport to freedom and action. It gave her the ability to have the ministry, the heart, and the love that she did.  She forgave- AND forgot. To tell someone, or to think in your heart "I can forgive this person, or these people, but I will not forget about what happened" Is like tucking it away out of sight, but having it still there. That's not the way! I should be like you wrote it down on paper, then burned it. And nothing is left but ashes. Revenge is not the way- it shows a fallen nature. As does "one upping". You know the attitude. "Well fine, if you do that. I'm going to do this, and now YOU see how it feels"
Goodness! If Christ did that to us… well- you can finish the thought. 

Martin Luther King said : "Forgiveness is not the occasional act. It is a permanent attitude."

May I, may we all, keep in mind what Christ has done for us. And do unto others as we would have it done to us. 

I am off to work, my friends. I hope you all have a blessed day.
(Ps. It's always nice to see comments… *hint hint!*)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A musing on Beautiful Girlhood.

First for a little update on my life these days:
Nowadays I've been working most days every week, 3 of which are 4:30am to at least 5:40pm, sometimes later. Cleaning, babysitting, school, some births.. That's what my life has been these days. 
What's nice is I'm usually free to do what I want on the weekends. This allows me to go around and visit whom I will. So far I've been to North Carolina, Ohio, many places in Virginia, Florida, and Pennsylvania. And I'm looking forward to going to Kentucky next month for a friends wedding! 
Oh the joys of single life!! 


And now my random thoughts:
I was musing the today on what I was originally taught about "Beautiful Girlhood"- and what my life looks like now.  I have been judged, and often, for the fact that I no longer live at home "until I'm married".  From the time I was 17 or so I've always known I would move out before that blessed event. I didn't know it would be at the age of 20- and several states away at that. However, it worked out that I would go to PA for midwifery school, and mom and dad gave their blessing. So- off I went. 


Now, don't get me wrong- "Beautiful Girlhood" is NOT a bad thing. However, I feel like girls my age are often put in a box. They are frowned upon if they move out, take college courses, or do something beyond living at home and being a happy homely homemaker to be. While we are on this subject, I have a confession to make:
I hate cooking. That's not saying I can't cook- I just don't. (Anyone who knows my mom knows I learned how to cook, I just didn't catch the enjoyment behind it.)
I'd also rather kill and clean the chicken than figure out how to cook it.  I'd rather plant the garden, weed it, sweat and broil outside than actually cook, clean, freeze, and otherwise prepare the fruits thereof. 
I'm also not extremely sweet and demure. I'm pretty loud, I enjoy fun things, taking chances, meeting people. I love to wear bright skirts and colors. Put feathers in my hair. Dance about in the rain. And otherwise make a spectacle of myself. Definitely not in the mold.
What does this have to do with my previous topic, you say?
This:
I lived under the impression for years that I was a hopeless mess of a girl. Who completely missed the vision of Beautiful Girlhood/womanhood. Recently I've discovered this is not the case.
While being a lovely homemaker taking care of siblings, writing letters to friends in need, etc is NOT by ANY means a bad thing… that Is. Not. Me. 
No wonder I felt like a hopeless mess! I was living inside the box of what I'm" supposed" (in mans opinion) to be-when it is not who I was created to be! 


Since this realization I've almost reached the point of not caring what others think about what I do, where I live, and how I act. 
I will continue chasing after Biblical Beautiful Womanhood- but the womanhood I am supposed to have, not what others think I should have! 
So, ladies and gentleman, please keep in mind- that just because a girl no longer lives at home doesn't mean she is living out from under her parents authority. That she has lost her vision, and her beliefs.  In fact, in my case, it is quite the contrary.  I feel that my relationship with Jesus is stronger than ever. I've had to rely on Him many many times. Those times where I thought I couldn't take another step forward. Like I was all alone, and there was no other options. He has taught me to Trust, have Faith, and Love Unconditionally. Those 3 things alone I cannot do in my own strength.
Now, I wouldn't recommend moving out as a single girl. I'm supporting myself, in all ways (except for when I go to friends houses and mooch! haha.) Anyway- It's NOT easy AT ALL- however, it's not the taboo bad thing like it's chalked up to be in the majority of Conservative Christian circles. Especially when done with Parental approval and blessing and for a purpose beyond just "moving out because I hate being told what to do". (Which, I might add, is NOT a very good attitude for anyone. Much less one that thinks they are ready for the world. A boss is usually ALOT less lenient than a parent. I am, more quickly every day, discovering just how much I don't know.) As a little point: if you move out, be sure to join a church, or stay in your church. Keep under someones authority, have some accountability. It's very important :) I'm not advocating girls moving out- especially without their parents permission- however, friends, family, and other people- don't frown upon us girls who have moved out! Not all of us have siblings at home to watch, a family business to help run...etc.... I guess, bottom line is- don't put beautiful girlhood, or beautiful womanhood in a box. 
 Since that first move in August 2010 I've moved 7 times. I've learned lots, and I'm thankful for every bit of the ups and downs, hard decisions, and crazy stuff I'd had to endure.  The Lord truly HAS led me all the way. 


I don't mean to sound so snobby, or opinionated- and I don't mean to be nasty. And perhaps I might step on some toes- but, this is my blog.... and its my personal thoughts- so I'll say it! Just like you can have your personal thoughts!  So, I won't bash you, you don't bash me! Cool? Great. 


And now, let me leave you with this last thought:



You were born an original.  Don't die a copy. 
 ~John Mason

Your Sister in Christ,
~Kate