5 Years.

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.

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Love Lashed.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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?

Resolved to Relate: Resolution Night

For those of you who have read the past few posts that I’ve made you will know that in the last few months my youth group had been walking through a series on Relationships.  It’s been a while since I’ve posted as life has been a bit hectic but I wanted to conclude that series with you.  I think for those of you who have ready both the Identity series we walked through early in the summer and then the corresponding Relationship series it’s important to see where all of that was leading.

To be honest, there is so much more that should be and could be shared.  There is so much more of my own story that someday you all will hear.  There are so many other facets of God’s truth that illuminate and lead to these truths.  But to be honest, I’m not willing to wait any longer for those moments to pass before sharing what I believe God is asking us to resolve.

But I’m getting a little ahead of myself.  Let me first tell you what Resolution Night was all about.  For me resolution Night was birthed out of my own Resolve as a teenager to seek after God’s Way in relationships and my own covenant with my parents.

As I have struggled in my own walk to restrict my relationships to God’s Will and timing, one of the things I am the most thankful for is knowing I an not alone.  Knowing that my parents where there in my relationship successes and failures, that my friends would not stay silent but would believe more for me when I was ready to give up and for community beyond those two who continue to stand with me for God’s best.  And it was out of these relationships and the belief that there is something of a sealing that happens when we choose to stand for our resolves that our Resolution night was birthed.

Resolution Night was the culmination of our whole relationships series where youth were invited to make a public declaration of their resolve to do relationships God’s Way.  They weren’t forced and hopefully they didn’t feel coerced.  My goal was not numbers but instead heart.s  Even if only one person stood, I would have rejoiced because they were making a decision that would change their life.  If anything, I did everything I could to make certain they only made a stand if they were ready and willing to live under that resolve.

Students were encouraged to talk with their parents about making the resolve and ask them to stand with them on that night, to partner with them in their resolve.

The resolve was three part: Youth, Parent and Community.  And for me, the night had more of an impact because just as they were making that resolve, I too was resolving with them for the very same thing.


Youth Resolution

As an image bearer of God, I believe that I was made for relationship with both God and others.  I believe that relationships, although God’s design, are not the full purpose of our creation, but instead part of the greater plan.  In these relationships I believe that God’s heart is to cultivate and fulfill the desires of my heart.

As such, I resolve to pursue relationship with God before all others and to relate God’s way.  I resolve to trust and wait for God’s promised spouse and participate in relationships based solely on God’s love.

Specifically, I resolve to:

  1. Be intentional today for the promises of God tomorrow.
    1. Guard my eyes: I will abstain from and avoid any stimulating material of any type.
    2. Confess when I make a mistake and repent of sin.
    3. Seek accountability and walk with integrity.
    4. Allow God to heal and restore all areas of my heart.
  2. Love out of willful purpose not based out of feelings or desires today.
    1. Love in a way that gives others what they need not necessarily what they or myself want, even if this results in rejection.
    2. Pray for my future spouse and will not cultivate any emotional one-on-one relationships before the Lord’s time.
    3. Set boundaries in relationships for the intention of honoring and respecting both me and those I will relate with, today and in the future.
    4. Pray for others and treat them with kindness, respect and compassion.
  3. Explores and seek out who God created me to be.
    1. Accept responsibility for my own purpose.
    2. Accept responsibility to administer the Kingdom of God to the World as God calls for my life.
    3. Accept responsibility to not settle for anything less than a suitable partner for my purpose.
  4.  Reject Passivity.
    1. Be responsible for my own will.
    2. Seek out and stand for the things of God.
    3. Confront evil, pursue justice, and love mercy.
  5. Rely on God.
    1. For strength, wisdom and grace.
    2. To bring to pass all His promises in my life.
    3. To bring His purity from my heart into my thoughts and actions.
    4. Trust those He has placed in authority over me.

As a man of God, made in His image, God created me to honor and protect those made in His image.  As such, I resolve to:

  1. Lead courageously: I am led as directed by God and will not be led by the world or my own desires and fears.
  2. Boldly pursue: I will chase after and take responsibility for my suitable companion, God’s ordained woman.

As a woman of God, made in His image, God created me to honor and protect those made in His image.  As such, I resolve to:

  1. Guard and protect my beauty: I have been given a beauty and a power to influence and inspire those for God’s Kingdom.
  2. Refuse to settle: I am worth being fought and pursued.  I will not settle for anything less than God’s best.
  3. Take responsibility to care for and love God’s ordained man for me and the generations that will come out of our partnership.

Parent Resolution

As the parents entrusted with the responsibility of raising children made in the image of God, we resolve to help raise our children to relate God’s way; to trust and wait for their anointed spouse and participate in relationships based on God’s love.

As such, we resolve to do this by:

  1. Praying: In all matters pray for and into the children God has entrusted to us.  Calling forth through prayer, and the actions that follow, the image of God in our children.
  2. Being present: no matter what happens, we will be there mentally, physically emotionally and spiritually to support, encourage, guard and guide our children.
  3. Loving: regardless of mistakes, we will love with God’s love, not without consequence but full of grace.
  4. Teaching biblical truth:
    1. Through reading, explanation and godly example.
    2. To teach our sons that “they have what it takes,”
    3. And our daughters that they “are enough.”
  5. Creating, instructing and enforcing boundaries: with the express purpose of cultivating healthy and godly relationship.
  6. Fighting against the tactics of the enemy to diminish, destroy, and mar God’s intention and design in our children.

Community Resolution

As the church is not just a building where we gather to worship but instead a community of people “called out” of the world into the Kingdom of God.  As such we resolve to stand together to help this youth and family to relate God’s wait; to trust and wait for their anointed spouse and participate in relationships based on God’s love.

Specifically, we resolve to:

  1. Hold any confession or struggle of a friend in confidence (except when necessary to share with an adult).
  2. Share with an adult any struggle or sin of a friend that needs addressing.  I will first tell my friend before sharing with a leader, to convince them to go with me.  I refuse to yield to “unsanctified mercy” that allows sin to increase in my friend’s life.
  3. Follow through in the process of bringing our friends accountability to see complete healing and restoration.
  4. Help instill and enforce healthy boundaries and practical steps for emotional, physical and spiritual purity.

Our Resolution Night blew me away as 7 of our youth with their parents stood for God, their peers and community and resolved to relate God’s way.  What a powerful night!

Early I said “But I’m not willing to wait for those moments to pass before sharing what I believe God is asking us to resolve.”  And this is true,  I believe that there are those who will read this either in the near future or the years to come who will recognize that God is asking you to make this resolve.

It doesn’t matter your age or your history.  If you have made mistakes before and have not waiting on God’s best for you, it’s okay, you can start today.  If you have waited for so long that you have given up hope, don’t give up but instead trust in the God that loves you in a way that ultimately is fixated on you being made completely whole.

I would like to invite you to resolve to relate God’s way.  Look for parental figures (if not your own parents) to resolve with you.  Give them permission to guide and cover you as God intended.  And then seek out community to love you and hold you accountable.  I’m here.  The body of Christ is here.

Will you believe you were made for more?

Will you trust and wait on God’s best for you?

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.

Resolving to Relate: DTR Part Two

If you have been following my blog for any length you will notice that there has been a strong theme over the past few months that have to do with 1. identity and 2. Relationships.  This is because at my youth group we have been talking about Identity (Who we are in Light of who God is), Resolving to Follow God, and then how those two play out in our relationships, especially dating, sex and marriage.

In our Identity series we talked about Determining the Relationship and that we must resolve to love those we interact with not as the world calls us to love but instead with God’s love.  A few weeks ago we touched back on this idea of Determining the Relationship but more in the context of relationships.

Our original design was as the image bearer of God , male and female together. As the imago dei (image of God/image bearer of God) we were created for:

  1. Relationship with God
  2. Relationship with others

If we are made as the image of God – then we have to understand who God is:

God is love.

1 John 4:8 “he that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love.

This word love is the Greek word “Agape.”  This love…

…is considered a benevolent love which means that this love that is God’s very identity is a love that gives the recipient (you and I) something we can’t receive, make, find, earn on our own.

…it sees something infinitely precious in the recipient – not because of something they have done or not done but just because of who they are.

…is not shown by doing what the recipient desires (wants) but instead what the one who loves deems as needed by the recipient, even knowing this may lead to rejection.

We, as humans, cannot show this type of love to God or others without first receiving God’s love – it is only God, in His Holiness, who has such an unselfish love because this love is rooted firmly in the personal character of God. God’s love is a part of his personality and cannot be swayed by passion or diverted by disobedience.

God’s love isn’t based on how we make him feel – it is willful. He chose to love us and He continues to carry that love out.

If we are made in the image of God, and love is a part of His personality/His very identity – then doesn’t that mean that we are made in the very image of love?

And so, we must determine what our relationship with the World should be. Our Relationship with the World must be one of love – God’s love.

A love that gives what people need not what they want.

A love that is willing to be rejected to truly love.

A love based on seeing those we love as infinitely precious and deserving of God’s truth, God’s life.

A love not based on our feelings but based on willful purpose.

But the question is, how do we do that?


  1. A love that gives what people need not what they want.

I firmly believe that with both friends and with the suitable partner God has for us – that they will challenge us to be more of who God created us to be. They will give us what we need feedback, challenges, encouragement, room to grow, etc. not necessarily what we want.

We also need to be willing to be those people. Those friends and even those possible suitable partners.  Are we giving space for them to seek God first and not us, are we challenging what they are hearing from God when it sounds off base?  Are we calling them out when their actions don’t line up with what they say God has said?

2. Love with willful purpose – not a love based on feelings.

In resolving to relate – we need to be intentional – we need to have willful purpose in our relationships. We need to know what God is calling us to.

In our relationships we need to care both about those we are relating with today but also those we will be relating with and who they will be relating with in the future…

Listen to me, it isn’t just about how far is too far. But it is about honoring each other and those you will end up being with.

3. We need to be intentional today for the promises God has for us tomorrow.

We need to not just think about today but we need to ask God what He has for us in the future and then make decisions based on those promises.

Noah started building the Ark when there weren’t any clouds in the sky… when they didn’t even have a concept of what rain was. His actions were in light of God’s Word for the future not what he saw or felt in that moment.

4. We need to know who we are in God.

Adam and Eve were suitable partners for what God had created them to do.  God’s plan for us includes suitable partners for what we were created to do. But that means that to know who is suitable, we have to be willing to wait until we know what God has called us to do.

This doesn’t mean that we have to know the exact specifics but we must have a sense of the direction that God is calling us to.

God gave me this picture:

Imagine that you are back in high school and you have a huge project for one of your classes. Each person has a unique project they are working on and it has to do with who they are and how they were created.  Each project was created to bring out that specific person.

With this project, you will be working with a partner of the opposite sex.  The teacher tells you as you are receiving your projects that you can choose your own partner or you can wait on the teacher and they will pair you with someone who has a project that would complement your own.

You decide to pick your own partner.  You see someone who you think is cute and looks as though you would get along great.  You introduce yourself and ask if they would like to be partners.  They quickly agree and you start talking.  You find out that you have similar personalities, you likes similar things and everything looks perfect to you.

Over time though, you find that your projects are less compatible than you first imagined.  Conflict begins to arise as your research and resources are incompatible.  You find that either you must separate to find new partners, you will stay together but work harder to try and make things work or one of you will have give up their project.

If you had just waited on the teacher they would have brought you a suitable companion.  A companion whose project would have complimented your own.


The questions that God has challenged me and I challenged my youth with is this:

Are we willing to be intentional today – in our relationships –
for the promises of God for tomorrow?  

Are we willing to be intentional today so that our marriages, our callings,
our families tomorrow will be all that God intends them to be?

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