Sabbath: Trust. Rest. Be. Create.

This post is a post that I started well over two years ago.  I was exhausted.  I worked full time serving the churches and pastor’s of our district and then I was also the youth pastor at my own church.  If you looked at my planner you would see that I was scheduled from one event to another.  There was not much room for breathing.  But then God spoke and did some amazing things.


“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

That scripture has always been on my heart, for as long as I can remember.  It has been a phrase that has spoken to my heart of who God is.  Probably partially because I’m a bit of an overachiever.  I go, go, go until I can’t go any longer.  I work and work and work for God but when it comes to the sitting, waiting and listening part well… let’s just say I don’t gravitate to that easily.

Sometimes I get so caught up in doing something for God that I lose sight of knowing God.  To know someone you have to spend time with them which is lost when you are go, go go.  The idea of being still to know that He is God spoke something to me that I didn’t realize until the last few days…

When I’m still I don’t just get to know God more but I know that He is God because when I am still, it means He must be working instead of me.  When I am still then it shows His glory not my own.

It all started several months ago as I sat in my review at work and they asked one simple question, “How would you like Monday’s off?”  It was like a breath of fresh air!

I had noticed myself becoming increasingly more tired and run down because most weeks I didn’t really get a day to rest and relax.  Monday through Friday I was working in the office and then on the weekends I was preparing and attending to church and youth group things.  I was exhausted both physically, emotionally and spiritually.  I was drained and there were moments where it seemed like I wouldn’t be able to pour out because there was less and less within.

Well I am exhausted no longer. 


Although I no longer work at this job and I no longer have a specific day of Sabbath I can speak that what God spoke to me in this period has stayed with me today.

I look back and I see that God was moving on my behalf, 
even in ways that I could not see.

Shortly after this time I found out that the office would be closing and I entered a time of intense emotional wrestling.  Without God moving on my behalf I’m not sure how I would have made it through.

 

I now make time to stop and just be with God.  

I now make time to know God and be known by Him.  

I now make time to be still so that His glory may be shown.  

I now make time so that what I do could be out of a peace that only comes from His presence.

Be still.  Know that He is God.  Be still.  Know Him and be known by Him.  Be still. Be.

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καθαρός

Names have always intrigued me.  I’m intrigued at how a name can adequately encompass a person and how there are names that do not fit that person.

Take myself for instance, my name is Kaitlin.  Kaitlin fits me quite nicely.  Kaity does not.  I am not a Kaity.  I have no ill will towards anyone with the name of Kaity or towards the name itself, I just am not that name.

If you look in the bible, you would see that names were important to them.  For their name didn’t just identify them as different than another but instead it was their name that gave them their very identity.  And throughout the story that unfolds from the bible we find that God often changes a name to signify a change of identity, a change of character.

A few examples:

Abram: high father -> Abraham: father of many
Sarai: my princess -> Sarah: mother of nations
Jacob: heel grasp-er, usurper -> Israel: he struggles with God
Simon: God has heard -> Peter: rock

Names, they are important.  And so, I bring you back to my name.  Kaitlin, it comes from the English word Kathryn, which comes from the Greek word Katharos.

katharós (a primitive word) – properly, “without admixture”; what is separated (purged), hence “clean” (pure) because unmixed(without undesirable elements); (figuratively) spiritually clean because purged (purified by God), i.e. free from the contaminating (soiling) influences of sin.

Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see the Lord.”

For my whole life I have held onto this verse, held onto the idea that this was who I was destined to be.  My identity was to be pure of heart for then and only then would I  receive what my heart desired, to see the Lord.  I have always looked at this verse as something to be attained, that if I try hard enough, if I keep myself pure, if I do all that I should be doing, then and only then could this verse truly be my identity.

Then last week God spoke to me something that changed the way I see my name and myself; He spoke to me truth.  “Purity of heart” is not something to be attained in the future but instead is the identity that God has already given to me.  God sees me as pure of heart, it is not something I must “make happen” but instead in my passionate love of Him it is found.

And seeing God?  The thing that I desire above all others?  Well He showed me that I already see Him.  I see Him daily in the scriptures.  I see Him daily in divine encounters.  I see Him daily as my needs and desires are met.  I see Him daily in my relationships.  I see Him daily as seasons change.  I see Him daily.

Being Katharos, being Kaitlin, it isn’t a thing to be attained but instead is the identity of who God already sees me to be.

Who does God already see you to be?

Create

A poem written on September 14th, 2014

Create

A voice beacons to my soul.
An invitation to:
Be
Breathe
Rest

My heart comes awake,
a beam of purpose emanates
from the core of who I am:
Peace
Joy
Love

I sit, sing, write;
it is as though the mirror has been cleaned and I finally make sense.

In the act of creating, I am being created.
In the act of creating, the Creators image is found.

Create.

Be.
Breathe.
Rest.

Create.

When Our Ask is Too Little

“Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to  go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
The Weight of Glory and Other Sermons by C.S. Lewis

The other night I was in my room praying and interceding for the youth of my church, for the youth considering coming and for those who are yet to come.  I was contending for them against the enemy who would seek to steal their very destiny and identity.  I was contending for them as the enemy seeks to steal their innocence and purity.  And then I uttered this phrase…

“God, I only want…”

“If you would only…”

“God, just let them…”

In the middle of my prayer I stopped, because the Lord reprimanded me… the problem is not that I do not contend nor that I do not ask… the problem is that my ask is too little.  I ask for an “only.”  I don’t want to receive and I don’t want my youth to receive an “only.”  I want to receive and want them to receive and experience and be ALL.  Abundance.

1 John 5:14-15“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”

John 10:10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

The problem is not that we do not ask, but instead that we ask for an “only” instead of asking, expecting and contending for His abundance.

I don’t want an only and I don’t want to put an only on my teens; I want all that God has for us.  All of His love, all of His Peace, All of His joy, all of His presence, all of His power, ALL.

What about you?

The Risk To Create

I’ve always told people that I wasn’t an artist.  I can’t draw, this is a fact and not an opinion.  I was more pragmatic than being an artist meant.  I was creative but not artistic… or so I thought.

About 9 months ago I started painting.  I didn’t really expect anything to come of it but I had some paint, a few canvases and a whole lot of stress to need to relieve.  I sat down to paint and when I was done…

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Surprise!! Crazy, right?

Now I know that I’m not the most talented.  I don’t paint according to any technique other than, hmmm I wonder what this would do.  I’m by no means a professional.

But so what!  I’m an artist.  For Christmas I painted at least 15 paintings for a select group of people in my life.  I painted and while painting I meditated upon what scripture I would give to each and every person.  This wasn’t just about a gift but it was about the person and what I believed God was saying to each one.  So one by one the pieces were finished and given away.

Funny thing.  Along the lines of making these gifts I became addicted.  Something infected my soul.  The need to create.

I guess that means I’m an artist then.  The need to create overcoming my fear of failure.  Each piece becoming it’s own.  And the challenge continues.  I became comfortable with acrylic and so in the last month I’ve stretched into watercolor.  Watercolor really has a mind of it’s own.

Painting, I’ve realized, forces me to give up control.  I never know how a piece is going to end up with.  Normally half way through I’m pretty discouraged, this can’t possibly turn into something nice.  Even when the picture part is done, often I’m not too thrilled.  But, I persist.  I put the scripture on, and surprise, I end up liking the piece.

The same is true of life, I’ve found.  It requires us to give up control because it never turns out, either at the end or along the way, to be what we expect.  If we stop too soon and don’t finish we will be discouraged because it just doesn’t look to great.  Good thing a painting isn’t judged by the condition of the product half way through.  The same is true of our lives, it’s about the whole picture not just a part.  Just because it’s messy at one piece and no clear thing is being presented doesn’t mean it’s worthless.  We have to press through till the end.

We also must risk.  We can’t hide our lives from everyone and expect to make an impact.  Life is about creating and then risking it all to show the world.

With that said, I’ve created an Etsy shop for my paintings.  I may never sell a painting, which would be kind of sad, but at least I’m willing to allow people to see.  I would count it a success if just one person was encouraged, inspired, touched by my store.

Check it out, Normal Beautiful.

And then take a look at different paintings I’ve made, some are shown completed and others are half way done. Then… figure out what you were made to create and then take a risk and go after it!

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He’s Just Not That Into You

I’ve posted before that I kind of have a problem.  This problem is that for as long as I can remember I’ve suffered from something that I have called Boy – Itis.  It’s an untreatable disease that some people laughingly call being “Boy Crazy.”  For those who suffer from this as I do, please refer to this previous post that will hopefully help.

Well…. as most of my posts happen to come from some random thought, so does today.  I was thinking about how there is a guy that I know, that I care deeply about, who seems to have a crush on me.  And although this guy is wonderful, I don’t feel the same way.  Isn’t that the worst!  I mean why can’t it be like, you are wonderful and I am wonderful and bam we are together.  In my life it always seems to be one sided…either I like them or they like me.  Well anyways…. as I was thinking about this today I was struck by an experience I had almost 2 years ago.

Now I’m the girl that often was told by boys that they were not interested.  Most of the guys that I have ever liked in my life have found me repulsive.  This might have been because I was the girl chasing the boys around the playground and writing them love songs on Valentine’s Day.  True stories… both of them.  Either way, I have always been romantic and had a lot of love to give.

In 1st grade I convinced my posse of girls to serenade the boy that I liked after choir with the Beattles hit, “She loves you.”  Poor guy.  We followed him around singing, “She loves you, yea yea yea…” for who knows how long.  This same boy had to put up with me watching him during recess and waving vigorously at him.  Today he lives back in my home town, is happily married and they are expecting their second kid.  Thankfully my antics didn’t scare him away from girls forever!

I could regal you for hours with stories of the ridiculous and humorous things I have done in the name of love.  But sadly, most of these things ended up with rejection… and almost never in the nicest of ways.

Not that I was always the kindest in rejection either, although I tried to have a little more tact than was shown to me. I remember vividly a boy asking me out my Junior year and I gave him a common bible college answer, “I just don’t think that this is the right time for a relationship for me.”  A month later…it might have been less… I had a boyfriend.  Woops.  Probably wasn’t the kindest thing, but I promise it came from the right heart… I just didn’t know how to tactfully tell the kid that he was nice but I was not interested.  You know, thanks but no thanks!?

Then I went to college and awkward story after awkward love story continued.  Until we enter into my Junior year.  Man my junior years in high school and college were lucky times.  My junior year I had two boyfriends.  My Marine boyfriend… which was my favorite relationship I’ve ever had… I’ll blog about that at another time and then my most serious relationship I’ve ever had.  The latter relationship blew up was redeemed and then blew up again mid way through my senior year.

Enter new crush.  Because when you suffer from boyitis you can’t go all that long without at least a crush.  Well this crush was on the youth pastor at the church that I attended.  He was tall, cute and single.  It was great.  He was awesome and I learned a ton from him as a youth pastor.  Honestly to this day there are multiple wise things that he shared with me that impact my walk with the Lord.  Well I knew him for probably around 9 months when I graduated from college and was preparing to move to the complete opposite corner of the United States and I took a chance.  I asked him to coffee and told him that I had a crush on him.

I laid it all on the table and held nothing back. And in return he told me that he didn’t have the same feelings back.  But as he handed back my heart he told me how honored he was that I would be interested.  You know, thanks but no thanks.  It was the craziest conversation that I had ever had because he was telling me how awesome I was but without being interested in me beyond friends.  I was worth while but that I wasn’t what he was looking for.  I was wonderful and amazing.  I loved the Lord and was gifted in ministry.  But I wasn’t that someone that he was looking for.  And it was alright.  Rejection had never come so sweetly before.  I would never in a million years take back that afternoon because it taught me two things.  1)It taught me that taking a chance is important.  If I had not been bold enough to talk about it, I would have been left wondering “what if.”  And 2) Not being interested doesn’t mean something is wrong with the other person.  It just means that they are not what you are looking for, plain and simple.

And so, as I sit here knowing that there is a chance that there is someone interested that I don’t feel the same way, I pray that when the day comes that we have that conversation that my words would speak life into him.  That he would leave the conversation not saddened by the “rejection” but enlightened to his worth.  I pray that just as the words spoken to me spoke that I was worth more than settling that my words would speak that into him.  For I have found that I am not willing to settle with something that I am not looking for.  And I have seen how worth while the wait can be.

Just because He’s not that into you… doesn’t mean that you aren’t worth while.  Maybe it is for that very fact that he isn’t into you.  Take heart.  Look into yourself and discover how worthwhile you really are.  And then, don’t settle.

Letting the Kaitlin inside Out!

At this point in my life I’m not really sure what God is doing.  Seriously.  But the funniest thing is that I am totally alright with it.  Because I know who I am and I know who God is.  The past 5 months has been a testimony that the Lord has even greater things for me than I could ever ask or dream of.  Every expectation, desire, want, etc of the past 5 months have been blown out of the water.  I have nothing left to even guess what the Lord is going to do next.  It seems that every day there is something new that the Lord is doing and it catches me by surprise.  Well… I guess that’s what my Adventures in the Shire are all about, right?  Living my life fully, every day and experiencing things I have never experienced before.

Well I came to realize the other day that there is as a little girl inside me desiring to live life by twirling in a too big ball gown.  There is this little Kaitlin inside of me that reminds me what it means to dream.  It reminds me to twirl around and enjoy the dream.  To not be worried about what is going to happen next but instead to think only of the now and the what could be.  I bought an adventure the other day… that I will talk about when I do it… but when I was talking with my sister about it she asked me where this little sister had been.  She wanted to know why all of a sudden I was living my life through adventures because before this I was always scared.  I was so consumed with the bad that could happen and I was scared of the dreaming that come when you live in adventure that I shrunk away.  Well… I no longer am.  I am allowing the little Kaitlin inside of me… the one that pretends and twirls and wears ridiculous outfits out into the world to experience all that God has for me. 

Well… of all the adventures I have yet to experience I think that my last adventure was probably the weirdest.  I’m not kidding… it was unlike anything I had ever experienced.  I modeled as a bride.  Yep… I modeled… as a bride.  At this point in my life I am neither of those things.  Now you have to understand that before this I had never even tried on a wedding dress let alone pretended to be a bride.  I have been careful in the last few years to be present in my life today and not to wait to live my life.  And I also am usually really self conscious about photos.  For so long I felt unlovely that I didn’t like pictures to be taken of me.  So it’s a big thing that I would be so willing to model.  But… I wanted to help and hey, it was another adventure!  The photographer was my friend Savannah… and man is she good!  I am so proud of the woman that she is and for the dream that the Lord has given to her.  She is such a sweet person with a whole lot of personality!  She is seriously going places.

So last Saturday I borrowed and put on a wedding dress… did my classic Kaitlin updo, put on my make up and we headed on out.  We went to a cute little hidden park right off the road by the Manchester airport and we set about taking pictures.  Well here are 2 things that I will remember for my wedding: 1. The end of October is way too cold to take pictures outside and 2. just to enjoy myself and the pictures will turn out.  And man was it a blast!  It was me, Savannah and Savannah’s parents who are my pastors… we laughed and froze together.  Below you will see the pictures which turned out really great.  It is so weird seeing myself in a wedding gown.  Seriously.  Strange.  But it makes me excited because I know sometime in the future, with the right person and at the right time it will be me.  Check out the pictures from my adventure, Savannah’s blog and if you live in MA or NH hit her up for pictures!!

Here’s to new adventures and bright futures!!

Every Women’s Nightmare.

Graduation was 2 weeks ago and I have decided to write about my graduation experience.  You have to understand that I’ve gone back and forth on whether I should post this because the topic can be a little less than kosher for both genders.  But I made my decision because 1) it’s hilarious and 2) almost every women dreads this experience.

 I hope that this story brings laughter to your life :)

On the day of graduation we had to arrive at 8:30 am at Angeles Temple.  Since my family was staying in Ontario I had to leave at about 7:30 to make sure that I made it there on time.  So I got up at 6:00, took a shower and got ready.  I did my hair, my make up, got dressed, said bye to my family and then I was on my way to Angeles Temple.  Nothing about the morning warned of an impending disaster.

On my way I got a Venti Starbucks coffee and made it to Angeles Temple right at 8:30.  We got into our gowns, did the run through, and took our class photo.  Then we were told to finish getting ready and take our stuff to our cars.  I ran downstairs to take my stuff to my car and to go to the bathroom when I saw my mom sitting outside.  I gave her everything and then ran to the bathroom…. I thought that I knew where the women’s bathroom was but as I walked quickly in I realized that I was wrong.  I had walked straight into the boys bathroom and as soon as I realized the faces looking back at me had way too short of hair I twirled around and ran out and then into the girls bathroom.

When I got into the bathroom there was still nothing wrong.  I went to the bathroom, touched up my face and headed back up to the grad room to wait until we lined up.  Once up in the grad room we all just hung out.  As time went on I began to sweat more and more under my gown but this didn’t seem strange since we were all extremely hot and ready to get the show on the road.

And then it was time to line up.  We got set up by our names and waited until right before everything was about to start to move to our spots.  And that is when I realized something had to be wrong.  My “stomach” didn’t feel right at all and I was sweating more than usual.  But I thought about the morning and realized I had drank a venti coffee without really eating anything of substance.  The discomfort I was feeling I was sure was because of the coffee.  I took a couple of deep breathes and focused on graduation.

And then we were moving along and before I knew it I was walking down the stairs to my seat.  A few people after me and we were all in our seats as worship began to start.  And that is the moment I realized that yet again I was wrong, it wasn’t the coffee making me feel wrong…

Now I have to let you in on a little secret, well a few.  The first is that my time of the month is pretty irratic as is, when it does show up I don’t really know when it is going to arrive.  The second is that every time my dad has come to visit me in California I’ve started.  Regardless of those two peice of information there wasn’t a moment that morning until I was standing for worship that it even occured to me that I could be starting my period.

Well as I was standing there for worship I felt something drip down my leg.  My first assumption was that since I had been sweating profusely all morning that it had to be sweat.  The thing was it was a rather strange place to sweat and it sure was a lot of sweat.  So very subtly I lifted up my gown and to my horror there was blood running down my leg.

I had started my period.

Now you can understand what I mean when I say that I had experienced every women’s nightmare at graduation.  I stood there in worship racking my brain trying to figure out what to do.  I couldn’t walk across stage with blood dripping down my leg because… well everyone would think I was dying!  But I also knew that we were supposed to stay put once we had walked down to our seats.

For a few seconds I panicked but then I realized that I had managed to keep my cell phone on my person.  I pulled it out and texted my boss (my office is in charge of graduation).  But after a few moments I realized that she could have been doing a number of things and might not get my text so I quickly texted another co-worker, “I have an emergency.  I have blood running down my leg.”

At this point in time they were introducing the speaker and I knew that my time to get the situation dealt with was beginning to dwindle.  Thankfully I got a text back right before the speaker took the stage to quickly go up the isle and exit.  As soon as I got the text I hunkered down and sprinted to the exit.  I went out, requested for my purse to be gotten from my family and we managed to fix the sitution.  Everything got resolved and I was back into my seat as the speaker began to wind down.

Since graduation people have asked me what I thought about the speaker and how graduation was.  Well sadly I heard maybe 2 minutes of the speaker and graduation was a blur.  But in all honesty I can tell you this… Although this is every women’s nightmare and can be seen as embarrassing it really wasn’t that bad.  I survived.  It was so ridiculous of an event to take place on such a special and momenteous occasion that I just have to shake my head and share it with the world.  I’m not embarressed really by something that is an extremely natural occurance for women and which many women have rather unfortunate stories such as me.  What I’ve learned is… that when life gives you weird situations, laugh and enjoy them!

.:Rearview Reflections:.

I don’t know about you but the Holiday (Christmas and New Years) season makes me take stock of my life; where I am at, where I have been, the people that surround me and the changes that have happened and this season hasn’t been any different.

My dad gave each of us, me, my sisters and brother-in-law a picture that summed up the year.  As I looked at the pictures that my dad had chosen for me I couldn’t help but notice the difference that one year had made in my appearance.  But the change in my appearance isn’t the only change that has happened but there have been so many changes that have happened in my life…

But looking back at how my life has changed can’t just be contained to a year but it has been a constant change for years….

2005-6: I turned 16, went to my first dance, kissed a boy for the first time and it was the last time I ever lived with one of my sisters…

2007: Was the first time I ever had a boyfriend and I got to see my oldest sister fall in love…

2008: I graduated from high school, got my first official job, watched my middle sister graduate with her AA, gained an amazing brother and watched my oldest sister get married, sent my dad and sister to Chicago for 10 months…

2009: Moved to California, started Ignite and gained friendships that will last well beyond graduating from college and lost my papa (a man who I miss and think about often; someday, whomever I marry will be someone who he would have been proud to call a grandson)… and right before the end of the year I graduated from Ignite!

2010: Started Life Pacific College, got a job in the Cafe and worked there for 3 months, had an amazing internship at the Northwest Foursquare District Office, learned how to challenge myself in taking risks and got hired in the Registrar’s Office at Life Pacific College.

2011:

I now live in an apartment, my very first apartment, with three other girls…

I pay bills…

I only have 15 more units (for the most part) until I will be a college graduate!!

I am more than happy with my appearance for the first time in a long time…

I have worked at my current job for a full year and a half

I am now an aunt to the most amazing lil girl in the whole world (and i’m not biased ;])…

I went on my first official date(!!)…

Experienced a lot of wonderful firsts…

and now… 2012.  What will this next year hold?  Where will God lead me?  What will  He say?  Who will I meet and who will I be?  Tonight isn’t just a start of a calendar year but more it is a springboard to move forward… To move forward but never forget what is behind….

My life is a journey, I have no idea where I will go or who I will be… the view in front of me is beautiful and free but I must never forget that the view in my rearview mirror is just a wonderful because of the stories, the beauty and the lives that are entailed!!

What are you thinking about as 2011 ends and 2012 begins?

What type of rearview reflections do you have today?

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