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.

 





Legacy: Rahab

31 03 2014

Legacy.  We are still talking about this at my youth group.  Why?  Because it’s an important topic and it’s something that as Jesus begins to set teens free they need to realize that in that release they are being released for a purpose, for the Legacy that is already inside of them.

And this week at youth group was powerful.  I love how Jesus works and how after He moves all the pieces fall into place.  As I was preparing the message this week I was having a REALLY hard time with what I was going to say.  Not because I didn’t have a point and I didn’t know what God wanted to say.  No, on the contrary I had such a specific thing that I knew I was supposed to say but it seemed too short.  Have you ever had that problem?  I don’t normally, usually I have to condense to fit it all in.  Not this week, no matter how much I studied, no amount of knowledge on the subject could help me to bring together a longer message.

As we went into worship we truly came into the Presence of God.  I believe that when you truly enter into the presence of God you cannot leave unchanged, sometimes the change is that you are freed from sin that entangles you, sometimes it is just that the Lord who is pursuing you begins to reach your heart.  Often those on the outside don’t know what happens but you do.

Last night it was evident that the youth were encountering the presence of God and being changed.

Chains were broken, sin was released, there was a freedom in their lives that had not been there moments before.  The Lord moved and as such worship continued almost the whole time until just a few moments were left and I was able to share the very thing that God has placed on my heart to share….

Rahab.  If you look in Joshua 2 you find the story of an unlikely savior.  Rahab was a prostitute who saved the spies of Israel and in turn saved her family.  When the spies arrived she knew in whose name they came and she knew that He was the only one who could save her.  And so, she boldly hid the spies from the king of Jericho and trusted that the spies when the Israelites would come back, would save her.  She put her life in danger without knowing if she would really be saved.

“Now Joshua the son of Nun sent out two men from Acacia Grove to spy secretly, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went, and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab, and lodged there. And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, “Behold, men have come here tonight from the children of Israel to search out the country.” So the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the country.” Then the woman took the two men and hid them. So she said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from.  And it happened as the gate was being shut, when it was dark, that the men went out. Where the men went I do not know; pursue them quickly, for you may overtake them.”  (But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order on the roof.)  Then the men pursued them by the road to the Jordan, to the fords. And as soon as those who pursued them had gone out, they shut the gate.  Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof,  and said to the men: “I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you.  For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.  And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the Lord, since I have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father’s house, and give me a true token,  and spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.” So the men answered her, “Our lives for yours, if none of you tell this business of ours. And it shall be, when the Lord has given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with you.” Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall; she dwelt on the wall.  And she said to them, “Get to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you. Hide there three days, until the pursuers have returned. Afterward you may go your way.” So the men said to her: “We will be blameless of this oath of yours which you have made us swear,  unless, when we come into the land, you bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household to your own home.  So it shall be that whoever goes outside the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we will be guiltless. And whoever is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him.  And if you tell this business of ours, then we will be free from your oath which you made us swear.” Then she said, “According to your words, so be it.” And she sent them away, and they departed. And she bound the scarlet cord in the window.  They departed and went to the mountain, and stayed there three days until the pursuers returned. The pursuers sought them all along the way, but did not find them.  So the two men returned, descended from the mountain, and crossed over; and they came to Joshua the son of Nun, and told him all that had befallen them.  And they said to Joshua, “Truly the Lord has delivered all the land into our hands, for indeed all the inhabitants of the country are fainthearted because of us.”

 

But can I challenge you for a moment, her legacy wasn’t in what she actually did, her legacy was in what God was able to do.  Rahab was a prostitute who became a part of the lineage of Jesus.  Rahab was the mother of the kinsman redeemer Boaz and the great great grandmother of King David.  A woman whose choices in life could have meant that she would forever live a sinful life, through her faith filled actions brought victory not only to the Israelites but brought salvation to her soul.  Her choices and her sin did not discredit her Legacy because her faith secured it.

We all have a legacy.  I keep saying that because I believe that it is true.  God wants to use us for His glory that people would be set free, know the truth and follow the One who Created it all.  But the enemy tells us that because of choices we have made, choices others have made for us or circumstances in our lives we can’t live that Legacy out.  This is a lie because the One who placed that Legacy inside of us can, and will if we let Him, redeem it.

What in your life is discrediting your Legacy to yourself or others?  Have you given it to God?  

Have you allowed Him to redeem you and your life, have you grabbed hold of the salvation that has been won for you?  Have you turned from the things that hold you back and run after God and the Legacy He has for you to leave?

 I challenge you to take a step of faith as Rahab did, put your life on the line and grab hold of the salvation that has been won for you.  Then live boldly the life of Legacy that is already inside of you.





With Redeemed Eyes.

19 01 2014

I haven’t always been beautiful.

I’m serious.  I’ve always had the potential to be beautiful but I went through a rather long time of just being awkward.  Need proof?

ImageImage

Image Image

Seriously.  Do you see those glasses.  Yikes!

This plagued me for most of my childhood but seemed to culminate in high school.  For my first two years of high school I wore jeans, a t-shirt and my hair in a pony tail.  I seemed to have no sense of fashion and I was most definitely a nerd.  It wasn’t that I didn’t care what I looked like, although that is what I would have told you, but instead it was that I cared so much.  I didn’t feel pretty at all and I didn’t know how to do anything about it.  So I hid behind baggy jeans and t-shirts.  I wore my hair the same way every day and I pretended like I didn’t care.

I weighed more than I would have liked but I just joked that I was in shape, round was a shape wasn’t it?  But every time I looked in the mirror it pained me.  I never looked how I wanted to look and because of my sensitivity my mind added pounds to what was in the mirror.  By my junior and senior year of high school I began to care about how I looked.  I got contacts and starting to wear make up, not that these things made me pretty but I realized that instead of hiding I could accentuate the beauty that was hidden somewhere inside.  But my senior year of high school I weighed the most that I have ever weighed, 20 pounds more than I even weigh today.  And I was lost.  I didn’t feel beautiful.  I didn’t see beauty inside of me.

That was five years ago and God has brought me on a journey into beauty.  I had to find out who I was before I could see the beauty of me.  If I didn’t know who I was I was never going to see myself as beautiful.  And day by day, year by year and season by season as God has healed, renewed and redeemed me I have found out who I am.  The me that was inside but that I on my own could never find.  And I am beautiful.

One of my teens told me that they looked through my facebooks photos from the past five years and her comment to me was, “Well, you are pretty now…” There are two ways that I can take that.  That I was ugly then and that I am pretty now.  Or the me that she sees today is the me that was hiding when I didn’t know who I was.  I choose the second.  God has allowed me to see with redeemed eyes the beauty that was always there, it was just hiding.  And now when I come to the mirror I am not disgusted.  I am not discouraged or defeated.  I am amazed at the God who redeems me, the one who created me and takes joy in me.  I see beauty not because of physical appearance but because I know that He is purifying my heart.  My prayer is that no matter the outside of me, that my heart would always be beautiful and that when I look in the mirror it would be this that I see.

ImageBeauty.  The ability to freely be who God created you to be.





A Redeeming Love.

14 05 2013

If you haven’t figured it out yet I take great joy in reviewing where the Lord has brought me.  This is because I have a love hate relationship with Process.  I love where God brings me, how one day I am in one spot and another day in another spot because the Lord has lead me and brought me to that new place.  I love that!  BUT in the movement of going to a new place there is also friction and it is this friction that I hate.  I hate the uncomfortable stretching that takes place as the Lord asks me to trust in a new way and be strong in His might.  In this love hate relationship I have found that in order to trust the Lord I have to remember where I have been, what He has done, for it is in doing this that I have faith for the unseen.  This isn’t a new idea.  I mean God told the Israelites whenever they were going to go forward to remember what He had done.  Why?  Because if we don’t hold in our mind how great our God is we can see how large the mountain is in front of us.  It is all about perspective.

Last weekend marked a year.  Not a year in the sense of a calendar per say but a year non the less.  A year since I graduated from college.  I am a little amazed at how quickly the time has sped by and by where the Lord has brought me.  I’m not sure that I can adequately express how blessed I am where God has planted me with the opportunities presented, the love that is given and the people that I am surrounded by.  Seriously wow.

But the true amazement can be summed up by one word: Redemption.

This year has been a year of the Lord redeeming.  It is a part of who God is, He is our Redeemer.  He always has been but I’m not sure I have ever been able to understand redemption in such a personal way.

You see when I moved to New Hampshire I was whole but I was also broken.  I was the most whole that I had ever been because the Lord had brought me through level after level of healing.  He healed my emotions, my soul and my mind.  He brought freedom and allowed me to begin to realize who He was and who I was because of that.

But I was still so very broken. 

My life was riddled with questions and my emotions were tied to things of the past.  I looked with eyes that were tainted.

Then slowly God redeemed my vision.  NH became home, my home.  This place and these people became mine.  The Lord began to redeem and establish.

In the 9 years since I had become a Christian my self confidence has grown.  Where once I would have questioned the truth of my friendships I now walked with confidence that everyone was my friend.  Because come on… who wouldn’t want to be my friend ;)  Where once I had wrestled to figure out who I was, I now walked knowing who I am.  Where I had struggled for so long to not be too much and to be less, I learned that being less meant I wasn’t truly me. 

And then I became a pastor.  And my thoughts went back to, “I can’t do this God.  I’m not enough.  I don’t know enough and I don’t have enough for all of this.”  Suddenly I was uncertain yet again.  But God showed me that although it was important to learn and to seek wisdom, I can only truly get those from Him.  Without Him I have and am nothing but with Him, I have it all!  How crazy!  Where He had taught and brought me before He established me here, now.  And where He had taught me who I was, He now showed me just how I fit.  When I found myself in the Northeast it was like I found the place I had been created to inhabit. 

And most recently God has redeemed, began to establish and awaken a dream, a desire, a call that had long ago been torn down.

Up until 8th grade I was the girl who always had a song bursting forth.  I would wander throughout life with music constantly going through my mind and made up lyrics being sung for all to hear.  I played the piano from 3rd until 8th grade and for as long as I can remember I was in choir.  I loved it.  But, just as with most things you love, this one was the area I was the most insecure in.  I loved and desired to sing forever but… what if I couldn’t or shouldn’t?  Well on the last day of 8th grade a boy made one statement that has haunted me every day since.  The words, “You are terrible.”  These words have resonated through me and throughout my head every time I think about singing.  And for 2 years after, I didn’t sing.  It didn’t matter how often my parents or grand parents or others told me that I was a great singer, the only words I heard was of one eighth grade boy.

Pretty terrible but this is the reality that so many live with.  We don’t hear the thousands of positive words spoken but only the one thorn that lives within our heart.

This was something I lived with for 9 years.  That is such a long time to be so broken and so disillusioned.  But then God redeemed.  A few months ago I was praying that God would bring someone to my youth group to lead worship.  I wanted someone who loved Jesus and lived a life of worship to bring my teens into the sweet presence of the Lord.  Well God answered but not in a way that I ever expected.

His response to my request was simple, “You have a guitar, You do it.”  And with that simple words, “You do it,” I cowered.  “But God,” I said, “I can’t…. I’m not good enough… I can’t sing… they would only cringe.”  And to this day His words strike me to the core.  “Kaitlin, you aren’t willing to work for what you want.  You aren’t willing to work to get better.  You aren’t willing to lay it all down on the line to bring them into my presence.  If you truly want them to learn what it means to completely surrender and to put aside what they may look like or feel, if you are asking them to be vulnerable before me then you have to do it first.”

Ouch.

But His words were true.  I wasn’t willing to do the one thing that I was asking of them.

So I began to practice and practice.  And my terror began to rise.  Week by week I wondered if I would ever be good enough.  Until one week I knew that it was time.  So I did it.  I brought my guitar and we worshipped.

And for the first time in 9 long years I thought to myself, “I can sing.” And I was free.

God is so good.  He is so wise and so kind.  He wanted to redeem me, all of me.  But I had to trust.

So today, as I move through the final month of my first year living in New Hampshire I am learning to trust.  I am in awe of the Creator that not only loves me enough to send His son, but enough to continue to redeem me in everything.  The One who is not satisfied until all of me is whole and new.

Has God redeemed you?





When our words are TOO much

9 08 2012

I am a talker.  Don’t know if you knew that but I most definitely am.  I think it’s hereditary…. my whole family talks.  But the thing is I’m not just a talker but really I’m a communicator.  I love to use different things to express who I am, what I think and how I’m feeling.  Written, spoken, sung, signaled.  I love it all.

But there truly is an art to communication.  There is a point in time when speaking becomes too much.  Our words carrt too much weight.  It does more harm than good.  Emotions get sparked, feelings get hurt and things begin to spiral out of control.  What you meant is no longer what is heard.

The sad reality though is that people don’t learn this.  They just don’t get it.  We come from a culture and a society where freedom of speech is number one, that no matter what we have to say we should be able to say it.  Now understand that I believe whole heartedly in freedom of speech BUT I think there is a bigger picture that we are all missing.  The bigger picture is the Kingdom of God.  The bigger picture is God Himself.  The bigger picture is His LOVE.

I have thought about this for the past couple of weeks as the whole Chick-fil-A thing has been going on and I guess I’m just adding my 2 cents to the whole thing (go ahead and groan).

I believe and support what the Chick-fil-A CEO (I think) said.  I believe the he was being honest about the values that the company holds, I honestly believe that he wasn’t being judgmental but instead it would seem he was only answering a question about the company.  I don’t have a problem with any of that… my problem is with the response.  The response from everyone, on both sides.  But especially from Christians.  But not because they supported Chick-fil-A… and not because they supported the truth of the Bible but because there seems to be a truth missing. 

You see, when you choose to speak out about an issue… when you choose to be an advocat, your words have weight.  You are accountable for that weight.  You are held accountable for the people that follow and the hurt that is done.  The issue isn’t that you are speaking, the issue is that there is no understanding of the weight of those words.  And there is a point in time, there are issues that arise where we must truly seek the Lord, seek His heart and figure out our response.

I don’t know what the right response was in the Chick-fil-A issue.  But I do know that through it all what should have been shown was love.  For God loves, that is His heart.  He sent Jesus to die on the cross for the redemption of humanity.  Every person has a chance at that redemption and that Love But when our words speak the opposite of love, when our words instead alienate we are then robbing God of that redemption.

Our words often are our action and they speak louder than what we claim to believe.  Our words, actions and beliefs must stand hand in hand.  We have to learn when to speak up and when speaking is too much.  It’s a learning process… it takes time and makes you rely upon the Lord.  Thankfully… the Lord is a talker too.  He is forever speaking, if only we would stop talking and listen.

So in my own life.. before I speak I must learn to listen.
Before WE speak WE must learn to listen to Him and speak HIS truth to the world.