My Give.

22 06 2017

Over the past few months I have been haunted by an idea, a phrase that came about from a journal reading.  The idea came from Exodus 35 and 36, specifically 35:21 and 36:4-7…

“Then everyone came whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and they brought the Lord’s offering for the work of the tabernacle of meeting, for all its service, and for the holy garments.” Exodus 35:21


“Then all the craftsmen who were doing all the work of the sanctuary came, each from the work he was doing, and they spoke to Moses, saying, “The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work which the Lord commanded us to do.”

So Moses gave a commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, “Let neither man nor woman do any more work for the offering of the sanctuary.” And the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient for all the work to be done—indeed too much.” Exodus 36:4-7

How incredible.  As they were working on creating the tabernacle for the Lord – the place where the presence of God would dwell (!!), the people with willing hearts gave of what they had.  As each person gave from what they had, both possessions and talents THERE WAS MORE THAN ENOUGH FOR WHAT WAS TO BE DONE.

More than enough.

Nowhere in this passage did it say that the people judged their gift based on what others were giving but instead it says that they brought freely from what they had and all together it was ALL they needed for ALL parts of the tabernacle.  Actually, it was MORE THAN all they needed.

I think too often we look at our “give” and we judge it against what we see others giving.  We judge the type, we judge the amount, we judge what looks to be the quality... and often in this judging we judge our “give” to not be enough and so WE DON’T GIVE IT.  What we forget is that it takes many types and qualities and quantities of GIVES to make complete the calling of God on His people.

Recently I was reminded of this passage and an incident found in Acts.  There are currently many situations and people in my life who are going through hard times.  They are going through situations that I can’t fix.  I feel worthless because I wonder what I have to giveto them.  And it is in these moments that I remember a time where Peter, like me, didn’t have what a situation looked to need… but what he does have, he freely gives.

“Then Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.'” Acts 3:6

Peter doesn’t have money but what he has is more powerful.  Peter doesn’t have physical resources but he has miraculous resources that go beyond time.

Although I don’t always have money to give, solutions to the problem or even words to bring comfort, I don’t have the immediate resources, there is something I do have and like Peter it goes beyond…. I have God.  I have His presence and power inside of me.  Like Peter I have the miraculous resource of the presence of God within me who brings peace and healing.

My give is not dictated by what I think I have or don’t have but instead my give is dictated by His Spirit inside me.  In Him there is fullness and He enables me to give what is needed in those moments.  And so, I give of what I do have, Him.

What is your give?





5 Years.

5 06 2017

Yesterday was my 5 year anniversary of living in New England.  5 years.  I just can’t believe it.  I am amazed that:  First, 5 years have somehow flown by so quickly AND that somehow it has only been 5 years that have passed.  Isn’t it weird how that happens.

I have found that as you grow older those two statements ring more and more true.  It feels as though time is racing by, and yet, it feels as though the adventures we experience and the people we come to know, we have always known and experienced.  Simply amazing!

There is a lot that God has done in me and there are more than I could list of things that I have learned over the past 5 years but for kicks and giggles let me list what seem to be the top 5 things I have learned…

5 things for 5 Years

5. That distance doesn’t hinder relationships it only changes the way we relate.  When I moved to California from Washington I was a young 19 year old who had never lived away from home.  I was desperate to relate the same way as I always had and so I called my family EVERY SINGLE day.  I wasn’t ready to let go of the day to day interactions.  I wasn’t sure what it meant to have a life outside of them, I thought that if things weren’t the same then somehow it meant my relationships would be gone.  Fast forward 3 1/2 years when I moved to New England.  I not only was moving away from my family but I was moving away from my friends to a land that was unknown.  What I now know is that GOING and SENDING others means that our love is increased.  We may SEE people and comunicate with them less but it doesn’t make it any less impactful.  When distance limits time and hinders communication it makes (or must make) what contact and time is spent together that much more intentional.

4. Different doesn’t mean bad or wrong, it just means different.
The culture and people in New England are different than both Washington and California.  When I moved to California it felt as though what people did differently was WRONG.  It felt wrong because if they weren’t wrong than it must mean that I WAS wrong.  This feeling was based on a misconception that there was one right way to speak, one right way to love, one right way to meet/be with people.

Over the past 5 years God has begun to show me the beauty that is found in ALL of His people and how intentional He was to create us all to see and love and meet people differently.  As God showed me the purpose He made me with to see differently I was able to see or at least imagine the purpose He had for the different found in others.  Truth is truth but sometimes that very truth can be expressed, seen and experienced differently. Different doesn’t mean bad or wrong, it just means different.

3. Joy is found on the otherside of fear.
I love that recently there have been many Christian worship songs that talk about how God conquers fear.  This is probably due to the fact that for much of my life fear ruled me.  I can see now that fear even ruled my relationship with God: I feared being found out by God or others as being the phony I felt inside.  I knew my sin and struggled to be “good enough” to deserve the gift God had given to me.  When I moved to New England God began to make my face my fear.  He challenged me to make decisions in my life not based on my fears (especially of failure) but instead based on His faithfulness and His love.  1 John 4:18 says “Perfect love cast out all fear…” and God challenged me to trust His perfect love in the face of my fears.  I took a trapeze class, I went skydiving, I allowed Him to shed light on my past and I opened my heart to the possibilities of love.  And through it all I found that joy is found on the otherside of fear; when I allow my trust of God to dictate my decisions I experience freedom.  My only explanation when asked what skydiving feels like is that it is pure joy, there was nothing else but peace and joy.  When we journey with God and choose Him over our fear, we find His perfect peace and joy.

2. My potential has more to do with God than it does me.
Now hear me out for a second… In high school and even in college you could have summed me up in one word: perfectionst.   I felt like I needed to be good enough to make an impact on the world.  I felt this call of God on myself to do something important, something big but I never felt as though I measured up to that call.  And to be honest, that is probably true but I’ve learned in the last 5 years that I don’t have to:

Be good enough
Be wise enough
Be creative enough
Do enough
etc.

I only need to trust God in me and His leading and He will make the rest happen.  My potential has more to do with God and His power in me than it does on what I can do myself.  When I trust in that, impossible things are possible.

And finally, 1. My identity is wrapped up in God’s love.
This has been huge for me. If you haven’t figured it out yet my identity for a very long time was wrapped up in what I could do and the impact that I had.  I saw powerful ministers of God and felt as though what they did impacted who they were.  But now I know the truth, who we are dictates what we do and our impact.  If we want to be the light and love of God to people than our identiy MUST BE found in being loved by God.  Only when we rest in, root ourselves in and identify with God’s love can we in any way give that same love to others.  His love overwhelms me.  A few days ago I wrote this in my journal,

“A different sort of security comes when we see our whole identity as being based in Your love of us.  If we are certain of nothing else we can be certain of being found in your love… Your love is fullness of peace and strength.  Your love will not fail to change, transform, challenge and empower.  Your love is who we are and THAT changes everything.”

When my identity is based in God’s love then I can trust that He will change me.  He will cover me.  He will empower me.  He will… His love never fails and His love drives out fear.  If I am found in His love, if being loved by Him is who I am then nothing can stop me from being His love to the World.

I am in awe of all God has done in the past 5 years.  He has changed me and marked me in incredible ways.  Here’s to many more adventures and years allowing Him to do what only He can do in AND through me.





Love Lashed.

15 04 2017

Written by K. DeWitt
April 13th, 2015

Love Lashed

I can’t help but think about Jesus,
Think about the Cross,
Think about what held him there.

“If you are the Messiah, come on down from that cross”
Voices mocked who days before had praised.

What are we to think of the man, our Savior, nailed to that cross?
Is He the Savior, the one come to defeat?
Was He the one to set us all free?

Was He a man or was He the Savior?
And what held Him there, upon that cross.

Fully a man and yet fully God
Nails weren’t what held Him bound to the cross that day.

Love lashed His will to that cross;
love that had withstood the ages,
Love that relentlessly made a way,
Love of a Father, a God and Creator.

Love held Him there.

Love lashed Him to the cross,
beyond human decision and temptation.
God’s true, eternal, pure love illuminated the darkness.
And love, love held Him there.

Love lashed Him there,
when no cords or nails could hold him.
No decree or declaration.
Fully human, yet fully God
He could easily have come off.

But love lashed Him there.  
Love bound Him to that cross.  
Love anchors His will to the will of the Father.

No love that can be known on earth down below.
No affections among humans
Could bind one upon earth as it is in heaven

This love that lashed Him is a love beyond
Love that called light from the darkness
Love that is pure and holy and true
Love without condition and that could never fail.

The only thing stronger than death,
Love lashes Him there.





Roots Down Deep.

29 03 2017

For as long as I can remember trees have always fascinated me.  I love the grace with which they swayed in the mind.  I loved watching them survive and change throughout the seasons.  I LOVED listening to the wind whisper through their leaves while on the golf course.

Trees have always fascinated me.

It shouldn’t surprise you then that over the past few years God has spoken to me a lot through the image of a tree and the idea of roots down deep.

 


When I moved to New England there was something that happened within me that I could only explain through the picture of the transplanting of a tree.  Transplanting a tree takes a lot of commitment, forethought and follow through.  The roots of the tree have to be pruned the season prior to transplanting, a new hole must be dug and prepared, the plant must be positioned correctly and will need adequate care after the move.

What I found in my move to New England was that although the pruning was uncomfortable and the move was restricting and hard, once transplanted I finally had room for my roots to dig down deep and the ability to bear more fruit than I thought possible.

God had been purposeful both in the preparation beforehand but also in the where and the when of transplanting me.


And now, 2 1/2 years after I was transplanted I could see that my roots were deeper and my leaves were fuller.  And yet, there still seemed to be areas where there wasn’t much fruit, areas where there SHOULD have been fruit.  I began to ask questions of why I act and respond certain ways in different situations.  Questions of why I struggle with certain sins.  Questions of why I wasn’t seeing the type or amount of fruit as the care and conditions should see.  These questions birthed from a place of believing that there was more for me than I was seeing and that this “defect” had to come from somewhere.  The asking wasn’t consuming but I was becoming convinced that there had to be a reason why, there had to be a source, and God could show me.

And so, a year ago God began to answer.  And it was through the picture of a tree that God answered me.

God showed me, that I had become a stable tree.  My roots were deep and my leaves were healthy but there was an area that wasn’t seeing it’s potential.  He showed me deep into the root system, to the very beginning.  He dug down deep and revealed that sometime in the infancy of my tree a strong weed had taken root and that it had wound itself around my roots and pretended to be a part of the tree.

The weed hadn’t hindered my trees overall root strength or tree healthy but it caused areas to go without nutrients and to produce less fruit.  It wasn’t that anything was wrong with me and it wasn’t anything I  had done.

But it was time for something to be done.  My roots were deep enough and I was strong enough to survive the deep work that He needed to do.  If He had tried before I wouldn’t have been strong enough.  God needed to dig down deep and separate my true roots from the impostor.  He was going to rid me of the weed forever so that the areas that once lacked vitality and fruitfulness would now bear all the fruit that was intended.


Over the past year that is what God has done.  He has gone deep to rid me of the weeds.  And as He has worked He has also continued to speak to me about Roots Down Deep.  It is only if I will allow my roots to continue to go deep that I can withstand His rooting out the weeds deep within.

Growing up in the desert I was always amazed at the depth of roots some plants (and weeds) could produce.  The lack of water forced their roots to go deep.  The easy nutrients were found above but the life sustaining ones were found deep down.  Even in the driest of times, if you dig down deep you will find the nutrients for life.

The work is hard and painful and is taking time but the results I can already see and are worth it.

The only way to survive being transplanted, survive the weeds being dug out of life or the dry seasons that inevitably will come is to have roots down deep; to go beyond the easy and momentary to the eternal and everlasting.

If you have struggled with why God would wait to deal with or heal something in your life, I hope this image gives you hope and strength.  It is God’s love that waits as we become strong enough and it is also His love that goes deep to rid us of those weeds.  His timing is perfect.  His ways are eternal.  His love goes beyond even our pain.

Will you trust God and allow your roots to go down deep?  Will you push past the momentary and trust the Everlasting.

Keep trusting but don’t stop asking and believing for the fullness of His healing and love.

 





Deep Cries Out to Deep.

29 03 2017

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Deep calls to deep… this was a devotion that I wrote a year ago and as with most devotions, it still speaks to me.

We have all been there, when the depths of who we are are steeped in pain and despair.  Sometimes the pain is actually growth, painful and time consuming periods of growth.  Other times that pain and despair is God’s prompting for surrender.  Surrender to the healing that can only be found in Him.  Regardless of what the pain and despair seem to be, It feels as though whatever is going on will never end, will never let up.

It is in this spot that we often forget who God is and what He has done. We forget that our God is steadfast, that His love looks beyond the moment into eternity, that He can and does the impossible daily.

God’s love is hard to understand because it is a love that has all understanding.  Our vision is clouded and minimal in distance but His not only encompasses all there is but sees in all of time.  He has all of us and all of eternity within the scope of His love.

And it is in light of that love and in those moment of pain and despair that  deep calls out to deep.  The deepest part of who we are calls out to the deepest of His love.  Where the roar of His life and love can drown out any other sound.  It is here that His grace and love pour over us and where, if we allow it, His mercy can wash the dirt away.

As deep calls out to deep, His mighty waters drench my soul, His great love allows me to surrender my plans to His and trust.

For even though the storms of life rage, my God calms the waters with a word and stills the raging sea with the soles of His feet.  


Will we surrender in the waters and allow them to wash over us?
Will we allow our deepest parts to cry out to Him?
Will we allow Him to remind us of who He is and who we are in Him?






A New Thing… Continued.

24 03 2017

Over a year ago I wrote a blog post titled A New Thing.  I talked about experiencing my first Christmas and birthday away from my family and how although it was a new experience that didn’t make it a bad experience.  I shared that God had been prompting me that I was moving into a season of taking hold of a “New Thing.”

This idea or theme had come from Isaiah 43:18 and 19,

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland…”

Last year, as God continually spoke that to me, I was challenged to deal with former things.  God brought out deep areas of hurt and wounds within myself from the past.  God brought me to times of letting go of activities and functions I had previously participated in.  God asked me to take intentional steps to close out the former things.

As is always the case, my expectation for 2016 was that it would be filled with new things because that is what God has spoken.  The reality though was different.  The reality was that God was using 2016 to prepare my heart for the new things I would find in 2017 and beyond.

God was cultivating within me what would be necessary for these new things to take root and spring up.  God was cultivating within me what would be necessary for these new things to stay rooted when the wind and the rain appeared.  God was cultivating within me what was necessary for these new things to withstand times without rain.

God was cultivating me.

Now a few months into 2017 I wanted to share one of the new things that God had been preparing me for.  He had been softening the soil, getting rid of the weeds and working so that this new thing could take hold.

At the end of 2016 I began a new journey at my church as our NextGen Pastor.  This means that instead of just working with our youth team to love and inspire our youth students, I now work with a large group of leaders and volunteers to care for, inspire and love on our children and youth from birth into college.  A few months into this new thing and I can tell you that I am so thankful for God’s season of cultivating.  This new thing has taken more energy from me, has challenged me to think differently and has made me let go of so much.  This new thing couldn’t and won’t happen if I stay fixed on the former things.

Thankfully, God is still tending to the soil of my heart so that this new thing and the others to follow will continue to be fruitful. 

What I love about God doing a new thing in me, is that it is dependent on God and not myself.  I must only rely on and trust God, He will cultivate and tend to the new things.

There are more thoughts swirling around in my mind and more new things that God has started within me and that I believe in the year (or more) to come that we will see spring up!

My prayer this season is that I would continue to let go and not dwell on the former things that He has asked me to lay aside and that I would see and take hold of the new things, the new promises He is giving to me.

God, that my heart would continue to be cultivated for Your miracle life and promises to spring up and take root.  That I would let go of the former things, former fulfilled promises, former fruitfulness, that I could see the new things take root and emerge.  May I trust in your faithfulness and timing in all thing.


What about you?  Are there new things in your life that God wants to cultivate and bring forth?  Are you hindering these new things by dwelling on the past? 

Will you allow God to do a new thing in your life?  Will you trust Him in what that will take and what that will look like?





Champion.

19 12 2016
I’ve been thinking about this post for over a year.  It’s really a topic and a thought that I’ve had since high school.  Something that I’ve pondered on as I have watched individuals in my life champion me.  

A champion is normally thought of as the victor of something.  They have become victorious and because of this they often are seen as fighting or competing on behalf of other people.  In the Hunger Games you would see this idea as each district had individuals competing to be the Victor but it was an honor for their district if they won.  They were champions for their people.
But what this word, champion, can also be a verb.  And in verb form it means the act of defending or support.  In Kaitlin terms… to champion is to make someone or something victorious.  To champion is to raise someone up when they can’t on their own.
Throughout my life… I have had many champions.  My parents, my sisters, my friends.  Aunts and Uncles.  Cousins.  Pastors, mentors, coaches, teachers.  They have all championed me.

In high school… I had many champions.  My parents, my high school leadership teacher and my pastor.  These people didn’t see me just as the youth with emotional baggage, who didn’t see herself as worth something but instead they saw what God was up to in my life and that my heart to follow Him outweighed my brokenness (most of the time).  And so they championed me.  They raised me up, they encouraged me, they made room for me at the table.  They naturally pulled out who God was calling me to be.
In college… I had many champions.  I had district supervisors and staff (Shout out to Dave Veach in the Northwest District!!) who loved on me and gave me opportunities to do and see more.  They didn’t hold back but only because they knew I had more to give.  I had staff at LPC who gave me opportunities to step into leadership roles, to love on others and who created opportunities to help me make it in college.  They saw not only a college student but a minister of the gospel, in many different ways.
And most recently, in the years since I moved to New England… I have had many champions.
I had a district staff that made room for me at the table.  When I arrived as a district intern I was given a voice.  I was encouraged to speak up and speak out.  To lead.  When I didn’t feel old enough, wise enough… when I just didn’t feel enough.  They championed me until I knew I was enough.
I had pastors around the district, well respected and seasoned leaders, who loved me and encouraged me.  They made room for me to be Kaitlin but also made certain that I was a part of this place.  Leaders who let me love their people and lead their youth.  Leaders who again, made room at the table and championed me.
I currently have a job as a staff accountant with a team and a boss who champion me.  They respect my thoughts and give me opportunities to both learn and lead.  They champion me to minister beyond just my local church body or even my denomination family to impact the Kingdom in far wider places.

 
I am being championed.
And I have pastors today who are helping me to make room at the table for others.  they encourage me to think differently, to dream larger and to allow God to do more in me. Who have never once told me that I’m too much but who are helping me to be the ALL God created me to be.  They champion me to not limit God in me, to not stay rooted in the box of conformity, but to be open wide to the limit that is only God’s Word.
They champion me. 
The other day at staff meeting, one of our pastors mentioned that in many of the letters that Paul writes he addresses the letter as coming from both himself and Timothy.  Paul puts Timothy on the same level as himself.  He gives Timothy equity with just a few words. Paul champions Timothy.
In my own life, I have so many instances to champion people.  I have leaders who are capable who just don’t know it.  I have youth who are made for more, who can’t even see past high school.  I have college students just wanting to know that they belong.  I have friends in my community loving God as best they can.

And the question that I am faced with is this, will I champion them?  
Will I make room at the table, will I allow their voices to be heard?  
Will I make them victorious, no matter the cost to myself?
Will I champion now?