18 November 2011

coincidences and God

Do you ever have those moments where you KNOW that they are completely and utterly moments where God is working? Where events seem to just work together so perfectly? Some people might call them coincidences, I  like to call them God-incidences.

I just had one of those.

I have gone through a semester of intense learning. I have grown leaps and bounds in my faith. I can't express how much of a change I see in myself and how I view events. I have gone from having absolutely no clue what I was going to be doing six months down the road to having a rough idea of what the next six months is going to hold. I've gone from being very unsure of what my passion was to being confident that I have discovered it. I know where my heart is, I have some idea of what purpose God has created me for.

At the beginning of the semester, it felt like I was in a holding pattern of sorts. I was waiting. At first, I struggled a lot with God telling me to be still and wait, to get to know Him, His character, and His plans. I didn't want to wait. I wanted to be doing something. I wanted to hurry up and get to the "good" stuff. Yet God knew that I wasn't ready for it. I needed the time of waiting to dig deep into what it meant to live for God, to get to know God on a even more personal level.

Now, about three months later, I am starting to see all the pieces come together. I may not be able to see the whole picture yet but I know that every single encounter that I have is important. Whether it be talking with a woman at Starbucks or trying out a new church or seeing a student counselor, they all have an eternal impact.

It makes  me a lot more conscious of how I interact with people. Because you never know when that person or that encounter could become a life-changing moment.

Abba, I thank you and praise you for the work that I see you doing in my life! Thank you for my times of waiting and preparation. Thank you for opening my eyes to the seemingly small moments. Help me to keep my eyes trained on you in this next period of my life. Thank you! Thank you Abba!

27 October 2011

starbucks and amen

I love Starbucks. I love walking in the door and feeling like I've walked into one of my good friend's house. Maybe part of this feeling is that I go to Starbucks a lot. Its a place of differing things. It's a place where I am both productive and procrastinator; where I am introspective and outgoing; where I am, in the truest sense of the word, me.

A while ago, I decided that I didn't like always getting the same drink every single time I went to Starbucks. So I started asking for a surprise drink, or a barista's choice. It's like an adventure in a cup. A little surprise party to celebrate another day alive.

Today while at Starbucks, I was writing in my prayer journal, getting ready to end my journal entry. I suddenly remembered a conversation that I had in my Bible study group earlier this week. It was about the meaning of "Amen."

A good way I heard it explained is that Amen is basically what Mary said to the angel after he came and told her that she was going to have a baby.

And Mary said,  
   Yes, I see it all now:
   I'm the Lord's maid, ready to serve.
   Let it be with me
   just as you say.
Then the angel left her. 
                                    ~  Luke 1:38 (The Message) (Emphasis added by blogger)

That is what Amen means. That means a whole lot more than just a single word to end a prayer or a word to show your agreement with what's being said. It's so much more of a commitment to say, "Let it be with me just as you say."

Abba, I pray that I would be like Mary. Let it be with me just as you say.

26 September 2011

facebook and freedom

I was cleaning out my laptop hard drive and came across a Facebook conversation with one of my friends from last summer. The thing that struck me was how much I've changed. Since my illness, I've been stuck in fear. I started going to a counselor and I realized that I have a fear of failure. And yet, only 12 months ago, I had a completely different perspective.

Here's my part of the Facebook conversation:
"...failure has another definition: an act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful; lack of success. that kind of failure, in my opinion, is a better kind of failure. because at least with that kind, you TRIED; you took a risk at something you enjoyed/were passionate about"

I want to be set free from this debilitating fear of failure and rejection. I want to believe that even if I fail, taking a risk is worth it. I want to have the courage to try, fail, and get up and try again.

So here's my declaration for everyone to hear (technically read).
I,  Katlin, am not going to be stuck in fear. Christ has already set me free, he set me free the minute I accepted him. I will NOT let this fear keep me from living of a life of freedom. I am choosing to take control of the freedom that God has given me and hold on to that. I am free!

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." ~ Galatians 5:1

30 August 2011

questions and soup

What things are you trying to figure out in your life? What is that question that you're trying to answer?Maybe its "who am I" or  "why am I going to college" or "what should I do now" or maybe something completely different. 

 I read something today in my Social Psychology textbook that kind of goes along with those questions. It was the beginning of a section titled, Introducing the Self. 
Are you a "good" person? What could you do to reach your long-term goals? Why do you think others view you as they do? Although we all struggle to find the right answers to questions like these, we ask them of ourselves easily and naturally.
I know this may not seem like it really has anything to do with epiphanies and figuring things out and answering questions. However, I think it does so just stick with me. The part that stuck out for me was not the questions themselves. It was what the authors wrote about the questions and  answers. "Although we all struggle to find the right answers to questions...we ask them of ourselves easily and naturally." Answers to questions such as "who am I" or "what is my purpose" or "who type of person do I want to date" are hard. They take lots of introspection and time and effort and even more questions that require answers. But maybe its not about the answers. Maybe its about actually asking the questions and sitting in the question, letting it soak in, letting it stew a little, letting it absorb into your being. Yes, that is a thousand times more difficult than just quickly coming up with an answer to the question just so that it isn't left unanswered. And yes, it might seem really stupid, illogical, and silly to leave a question unanswered. However, what if by leaving it a raw, unanswered question for awhile, you find something that you hadn't thought possible when you first asked the question. What if your raw, unanswered questions became soup? A soup of exquisite goodness, of delightful flavor, of possibilities and dreams, of hope and love. So take the chance of leaving the questions in your life unanswered, let them simmer in your heart, and maybe just maybe, you'll have soup for your soul.

07 August 2011

the desert and declarations

Have you ever felt like you were alone, wandering through a lonely desert, unsure of where you're going or what your purpose is there? Have you ever felt like no matter how loud you shouted, nobody could hear you?

I have struggled a lot with feeling like that since the sickness started. So many times I have felt that not one person understood what I was dealing with. Oh sure they could read about it and understand in a small way but nobody had gone through what I was going through. I felt so very alone.

I feel like I woke up one day in the middle of a wide expansive desert, not a tree in sight nor any body of water. All I could see was dry, cracked earth reaching as far as the eye could see. I didn't have any idea how I got there or why I was there; all I knew was that I was supposed to walk and keep walking until I could somehow escape the desert. It was a very silent area - no people, no cars, no city noises, no animals, nothing except for me and the hard, cracked dirt. I couldn't call out for help, it might bring unspoken danger. I couldn't rest, if I did, then I might die for lack of wanting to get up again.

I don't know how to get out of my desert. Elle, my counselor, compared my desert to the Israelites' 40 years wandering  in the desert. Their desert was a time of cleansing, of getting rid of the impurities in the characters of each person. What was left at the end of the 40 years was a group who had faith, a faith that had endured through 40 years of wandering and waiting. I'm not sure what the purpose of my desert is. Maybe it is to purify my character, to get rid of the impurities. Or maybe it has a whole other purpose that I can't see yet. But maybe its not about knowing what the purpose is. Maybe its about being open to God's work in you, in your character, your desires, your thoughts.

"In the same way I was with Moses, I'll be with you. I won't give up on youI won't leave you." ~ Joshua 1:5 (The Message)

Abba, I feel alone in my desert. It feels like you have given up on me, that you have left me. Thank you for reminding me that you are with me. You didn't leave Moses or the Israelites and you won't leave me. Help me to remember, when the lies that I am all alone are crowding in, that you have declared that you will never leave me. As you wish.

10 May 2011

blogging and God's awesomeness, part 2

It has once again been a long time since I wrote. It's not that I don't want to write, because I do. I'll think of something that I want to share with you that happened that day and what it made me think about. But when I sit down to write, the words don't come. I fought this at first; its hard to have something that you want to share but not be able to share it.

So here I am, actually writing for the first time in over two months. In my last post, I realized that I had become so focused on my glory that I lost sight of God's glory with this blog. I have done a lot of soul searching since then, trying to figure out whether my time as a blogger was finished, learning what my talents are.

I honestly believe that this blog is my service for God right now. It's my way of sharing what I am learning about God and my relationship with him. My mission field per say. Just like missionaries need breaks to not become burnt out and lose their focus, I needed the same. There has been so much hard stuff going on in my life recently that I had burnt out and lost my focus.

I'm not sure when I'll write again. I know that this is not the end of this blog, in fact, I would say it is a beginning of sorts, a beginning of honest talks, with no BS allowed.

Abba, I want to keep my eyes on Jesus, through the easy times and the hard times. I know I've messed up. I looked away and just as Peter started sinking when he doubted his ability to walk in the steps of his Rabbi (walk on water), I started sinking. I'm grabbing your hand, Jesus, I need you. In your name I pray, Amen.

03 March 2011

blogging and God's awesomeness, part 1

Today, I was strongly encouraged to blog, since I haven't blogged in a couple weeks, by one of my ADX sisters, I'll call her Aro. So here I am, attempting to write however its not going that well. Maybe its because I'm trying too hard to write something thought-provoking that will spur each of my readers to become better people. I'll be honest, thats my problem. I've been told by my friends that read my blog that some of my posts are powerful spiritually. And now whenever I think about writing, I wonder if its "good enough," will it have enough "spiritual-ness" to bring people closer to God? 

When I first started writing, this was a way for me to share what I was learning about God's awesomeness through my daily life. But now, I've become egotistical and way to absorbed in the awesomeness of myself. I've become a pharisee-blogger. I'm a pharisaical blogger.

I'm not sure where this leaves me and this blog. I think I need to spend some time evaluating why I'm writing, whether its to glorify me or God.

Abba, I ask that you be glorified in everything that I do whether it be going to class, meeting with friends, or writing on this blog. Let your love flow out of me onto everybody with whom I interact. Forgive me for ever thinking that I was ever the one touching hearts through my writing when really it has always been you working through me. Thank you for loving me even when I mess up. 

17 February 2011

Real Community

I normally have a specific format for this blog and don't ever just give a shout out to another blog. However I feel that sometimes its important to break a "rule" for the better of everyone here. So here it is!

The blog is called Real Community and the purpose of it is to encourage, "people to come together to glorify God through community. We want to address the false idea that people have to go through life by themselves. We want to come alongside people in their struggles and use that to deepen our relationship with Christ." I really encourage each of you to take a look at it.

God, I just want to lift up Real Community and the bloggers who write on it. Use them to cause a revolution of what being a Christ-follower looks like, to form a worldwide community full of real people who don't have everything figured out.

27 January 2011

seeing and acceptance

So I'm going to share some really personal details about my romantic relationships (love life, boys, any other similar term) or lack thereof. I have had one boyfriend. That's it. I've never had any friends with benefits, or one night stands or made out with a random stranger or anything else that is like that. That's not to say that I haven't had my fair share of crushes. :) Honestly, most of the time, I am completely okay with being the single gal. Sometimes though, it can be hard.

Recently, I've seen a good number of my friends start dating, either another friend or somebody else. And even though I am super happy for each of them, at the same time it brings up a lot of my issues of self-worth. Sometimes all I want is for one solid, fantastic man to see me for all that I am and realize that I am perfect for him, just the way I am. Then tonight, I was thinking about that and I realized something.

There is somebody who sees me and wants me just as I am. In the first chapter of John, verse 47 and 48 the author (John) writes about when Jesus calls Philip and Nathanael. Listen to this, "When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, 'Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.' 'How do you know me?' Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, 'I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.'" At first glance, this may seem like its not a big deal, however if we skip over it, we miss something important. My bible study leader, J, put it this way. When Jesus said to Nathanael "I saw you while you were still under the fig tree," its like he's saying, "I see you. I know every little thing that you do, especially the little things that nobody else notices. I appreciate you for those things. I accept you just as I see you."

He's saying that to you and me right now. He wants us to come to him when we're hurting, when we're scared, when we're feeling under-appreciated, when we are feeling alone, when we feel like nobody understands us, when it seems like our world is falling apart, when we've met someone special, when we are wanting to be loved for who we are, when we want to be seen. 

[your name here] said, "Where did you get that idea? You don't know me."
Jesus answered, "One day, long before Philip called you here, I saw you under the fig tree." ~ John 1:48 The Message (Emphasis added by blogger)