Intercession

True intercession involved bringing the person, or the circumstance that seems to be crashing in on you, before God, until you are changed by HIS attitude toward that person or circumstance.

-My Upmost for His Highest

Today there are several circumstances crashing in on me, some of them significant, some of them more along the lines of my selfishness. Today I will try to lift them up and seek Christs attitude towards these people and circumstances, that these times may be filled with Joy and Peace.

“A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices….”

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photo found here.

Bittersweet

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Last night was one of those nights that can be wrapped up in one word: laughter. Richie and I got home from back to back events and I looked over at him and was like, I have a headache from laughing so hard. It was one of those little gifts life sometimes hands you in the best possible way.

What was unique is that last night, amidst all the laughter, there was a deeply bittersweet feeling in me. We began the night by meeting with our small group, which is potentially our last time getting to meet with them. We all just kept cracking up at each other’s honest stories about life being married. I looked around the room genuinely grateful that I have gotten to be a part of this group, a group I have trusted, have opened up with, and learned so much from. I cross my fingers that we can meet again in the spring, but realistically, life may get in the way.

From this group we booked it over to my staff Christmas party. And oh my gosh did we laugh. We all sat around a long table with glasses full of crisp white wine and plates piles high with pineapple coconut cake and sweet potato pie and we opened up with each about all we are grateful for and what we hope for our little church in the coming year.

My experience with my staff has also been bittersweet. Since I am new on staff, I have only been around for a month, I am still struggling to find my place. It can be a little lonely, and there are some people who have been less than welcoming. But there are also people who have welcomed me with arms wide open, and that is so sweet. Looking around that table felt different than when I looked around the room earlier that night in small group. It felt like hope. Hope that real community will develop with these people, that reconciliation can happen, that growth will occur, and new opportunities found.

God gives and God takes away. I may not get to meet with my Small Group anymore, but He is so faithful to provide me with new communities. Sometimes they look different, but they all have the potential to be deeply impactful. I am so curious to see, as this year comes to an end, what next year will hold in store. It is a year brimming with potential.

Time to call a spade a spade…

“Don’t let comparison steal your joy”.

Such an inspirational little phrase. I read it and I imagine myself fist bumping myself in my head. Yeah Kayla! Don’t compare yourself, choose joy! Easier said than done. My fantastic ability to compare myself to others is award winning. I am so good at it, half the time I don’t even realize I am doing it. I want her skin, her hair, that house they get to have, her work out discipline….the list goes on and on.

What’s even scarier is when those comparisons go even deeper: I wish my husband did things like her husband did, my writing will never own up to the writing on that blog, why don’t I have more friends like she does. Often times I arrive at a place where those comparisons start eating away at my soul and cause me to question the very characteristics that are good and beautiful and make me uniquely Kayla.

The thing I am realizing is, there is another word for comparison that we like to avoid using because in my opinion, it sounds really harsh. That word is greed. At the end of the day, when I choose to not be thankful, I choose to be greedy. When I walk away from indulging in comparisons, it leaves me with a giant nauseating stomach ache.

I am not saying that this is true for everyone. I just know for myself, its time to call a spade a spade. Its time for me to be a little more real with myself, and its time to be a little more content.

Stuff.

I want to go to this conference so bad! Whose coming with me?? We can bring 3 and split the cost!

You should attend this conference, Im the production coordinator (looking for a stage manager..whose interested? Renee..?) 🙂

I totally messed this recipe up today. Im a cooker not a baker. APPARENTLY you cant substitute eggs with applesauce. my bad.

I was completely inspired by this post this morning.

Im ashamed to admit I want these shoes. Im such an uncool human.

So proud that this is my sister in law. Her blog cracks me up.

Well thats all for now. I just submitted a paper and now Im off to plan Richie and I’s 6 month anniversary to Cabo (why not, am I right?).  Since we have managed to never celebrate any sort of anniversary thus far including during all of our dating years, we decided to cash in on 6 months of marriage.

New things are no longer only around the corner..

So after a lot of waiting and waiting I finally have a job! And not just any job, an amazing job, a dream job really. I am now on staff at my church working with some amazing people to grow and develop some new programs we are launching. Things centered around missions, service, and  volunteerism..aka stuff I am TOTALLY passionate about. Once again I am getting paid to do ministry, something frankly I probably would have done for free (dont tell my boss).

The process of getting here was not easy or pain free, nor will the transition into it be.  But how I arrived here is nothing short of the Lords complete orchestration, and I am just EXCITED. I am working doing something I love and in a grad program that amazes me. Thank the Lord! And thank you to everyone who has been praying for me through this journey. Like my last post showed. I love my world wide web of family and friends!

The Hole in my Gospel

I am reading this book, and it is altering the strands that make up the fabric of my world. It is churning my insides and making me stay awake long after my husbands soft, exhausted snores fill the room.

There are so many holes in my gospel. So many things in the Bible that I simply ignore. Its not that I sit here and deny its truth, oh no, Satan is much trickier than that. In the ease and comfort of my life, I simply do not dwell on certain things. I emotionally distance myself form my responsibility to the poor broken and outcast. I emotionally distance myself from past experience with poverty in order that I may not have to deal with their pain.

The first time I think that the true injustices of society really hit me, really brought me to my knees, was during a trip to Argentina. Richie and I spent about eight weeks working with a group of kids in a very, very poor neighborhood. Think slums. These kids hardly had enough clothes to keep them warm, it was the dead of winter, and really the only meal they were guaranteed each day was at a local ladies house who opened up her garage and fed them hot cereal.

It was heartbreakingly sad, and so we blogged about it, and people sent money. The last week before we left for the States, we headed into the bad part of town one last time, excited to give a cash gift to help out this local community that had wormed its way into our hearts. When we walked in, we were confronted with grim expressions and found out gut wrenching news.The night before, a baby had frozen to death because the family didn’t have enough blankets. She was the baby sister of one of the kids we played soccer with just the other day. Here we were with the money to buy a thousand blankets, and we were a day too late. I wanted to run away and hide and never try and help someone again. That pain was too severe. Too risky.

But, I am learning, that is not the Gospel. The Gospel looks and that situation, and instead of running away, it runs into it full force, arms wide open.

There is nothing about Matthew 25:31-46 that is easy for me to swallow, but I think it is pretty simple to understand. The more I allow God to grip my soul and to see the world through His eyes, the more I cannot help but be sure of is this fact: The Gospel is action and the Gospel is service. It scares me how often and quickly I miss the point. How quickly I turn my focus on poor old me, and dwell on all my insecurities, compare myself to all these other people and feel bad about myself.

I am a member of a royal priesthood. I have the power of Christ and the direction of the Holy Spirit. Its time for me to live like I actually believe it. And this doesn’t have to be in another country. It can be tomorrow, at lunch, during work, after class. What corners of my world are thirsting for the Gospel to be exemplified?

wisdom distilled from the daily

“If we are not spiritual where we are and as we are, we are not spiritual at all. We are simply consumers of the latest in spiritual gadgetry that numbs our confusion but never fills our spirits or frees our hearts”

-Joan Chittister, Wisdom Distilled From The Daily

Im already being challenged by my grad school reading. Tonight, im feeling overwhelmed with how blessed I am to receive the education that  I am. The challenge to live in a rhythm of spiritual holiness is easier said than done.

Lord, help me not give into the temptation of gadgetry, but instead to pursue authentic relationship with you.

1 Peter 2:9

1 Peter 2:9 – But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

I know that there are many ways in which God speaks to his people, if you are like me, one of those ways is through repetition. I hear a verse once, twice, three, five times in a week or two. Alright God, you have my attention.

For me this summer was NOTHING like I planned. Nothing. I had these great big plans that were supposed to go into play once I got married. I was going to find a job within the first two weeks, have lots of friends over and cook for them, go on adventures with my new husband, be generally happy. Let me preface this all by saying, this summer was JOYfilled. Truly. I am learning and growing so fast I cant even see it sometimes. The generally selfish happiness part? Not so much.

At a prayer meeting a few weeks ago 1 Peter 2:9 was used to remind us of the power and authority we have to pray in Christ’s name. In my devotion the last few days it  has reminded me that I need to praise God for the journey he has me on. Then there was today. Today 1 Peter 2:9 showed up and it punched me in the gut. It screamed: KAYLA, WHAT ARE YOU DOING. Yup. Screamed it.

I was listening to a sermon this morning and the pastor posed the question: what should a Christians greatest fear be? Answer: That we can go through our entire lives and never have God use us for his purposes in expanding the kingdom. How scary is that? We can call ourselves Christians and have God never use us because we are too dang consumed with ourselves to get out of His way. I am a part of a Royal Priesthood, and yet I have been sitting on my but all summer whining about finding a job, comparing myself to all my friends and even more scarily, people I don’t even know. I have this big list of wants and choose to pray about that when I have literally been given the power to change others eternity. I have given into the temptation that life is about living from one happiness fix to the next.

So that is my declaration: I am throwing off the distraction of “me” and jumping back in the game. It starts in my mind, not letting comparison steal my joy, not letting the fact that the dream job didn’t work out keep God from using what he has brought into my life. Letting the dream be that through the process of doing, whatever it may be, God will flesh out my calling, and bring His dreams for me into fruition in his perfect timing.

I am going to start praying this every day: God use me to expand your kingdom. God use me.

I think that it is through this that I will find contentment.

Matthew 5:5 says: You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are- no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bout.

 

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. 
I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.
I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no “brief candle” for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

George Bernard Shaw

glorifying busy

ok- I may have stolen this from another friends blog, but it cut deep today, and I wanted to share:

“We’ve bought into the lie that the busier we are, the more value we have, the more necessary our existence is.

Sometimes I find myself wanting to do more than I want to be.

God doesn’t call us to be busy, he calls us to be productive.  And sometimes the most productive thing we can do is stop being busy for Jesus and start being with Jesus.” Thanks Friend!

In a season of forced being…Its time I appreciate and learn from it.