Breakfast at Tiffany’s

I love old movies. Those classics from the 20th century where someone bursts into a song and dance. Where the boy always gets the girl. Where there’s a happily-ever-after. Betty Grable. Fred & Ginger. Judy Garland.

Sigh.

The romance. The innocence. It’s purely fluff and fantasy, but some days, it’s a nice diversion.

I’ve also seen one or two classics that are just the opposite. Real. Raw. Gritty. That’s how I’d classify the iconic movie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

The main character is Holly Golightly. She’s a young, beautiful, fashionista who appears to have the world by the tail. Beautiful clothing, parties, famous people, money, and men seem to be the staples of her life. Independent, self-supporting, and free, she lives life on her own terms. She answers to no one and does as she pleases. She thrives on adventure, making a point to do things she’s never done in the past for no other reasons than she’s never done it. Her favorite activity: having breakfast at Tiffany’s, the world renown jewelry store on 5th Ave in New York City.

The character of Holly Golightly, played by Audrey Hepburn, became the symbol of style, sophistication, and independence that many women hoped to achieve. As we look at the iconic photograph of her standing in front of Tiffany’s, pencil thin in the perfect little black dress and perfectly coiffed hair, most of us have sighed and whispered, “if only”. If only I looked like her. If only I had her style and sophistication. If only I had her wardrobe and money. If only I had her carefree life. Her friends. Admirers. Independence. This woman – this character – the look of Audrey Hepburn – is the woman that many women dream of being.

However, the reality is, most of us are more like Holly Golightly than we know.

Though iconic and trend-setting, Breakfast at Tiffany’s is really a story of brokenness. Holly is a deeply wounded woman, having suffered abandonment and rejection in childhood. To cope with heartache, she creates walls and hides behind those stylish sunglasses. Self-medicating with shopping and booze, she develops a new persona by moving across the country, changing her name, and pretending to be something she is not. She lives a shallow life and keeps people at arm’s length to prevent them from seeing that she is lonely, insecure, fearful, and unstable. She often experiences what she calls the ‘mean reds’, which is intense anxiety and fear. And, when overwhelmed by the mean reds, she gazes into the windows of Tiffany’s and dreams, pretends, and fantasizes, lying to herself, imagining that this is not really her life until she is able to push fear and anxiety into the background.

She’s so afraid of commitment, of loving and being loved, that she refuses to name a homeless cat that lives with her, simply calling it “Cat” because a name would make their relationship seem too real- too permanent. She fears relationships will cage her and, like a bird, she’d be trapped and unable to fly freely.

What she’s failed to realize is that all the steps she’s taken to keep herself protected and remain free have done the exact opposite. The walls she’s built, the shallow-phony persona, the care-free existence, the drinking, shopping, and lying to herself have caged her and limited her in the worst way. They have kept her heart from substance and truly experiencing real freedom.

Holly spent her life looking for help, healing, and wholeness in all the wrong places.

Doesn’t that sound like many of us?

I think every woman can identify with some of Holly’s choices. So many of us have built walls to protect our self, to keep others out, to prevent others from seeing into our wounded-ness, to hide our brokenness. We’ve utilized society’s tools of money, alcohol, pills, shopping, sex, and attention to cope with our pain. We’ve surrounded ourselves with people only to keep them at arm’s length, because we’re afraid of transparency. We live with fear and anxiety, at times being overwhelmed by them. We pretend to be something we are not, performing for acceptance and love. We lie to ourselves to help us deal with the stress of life. We’re looking for help in all the wrong places.

And, like Holly, we don’t even see it. We don’t realize we’re broken. We can’t see we aren’t free. We can’t see we aren’t whole. We think this is how life is supposed to be. That this is how it works. That this is normal.

It’s not until someone says to Holly: “You call yourself a free spirit, a “wild thing”, but you’re terrified somebody’s going to stick you in a cage. Well, baby, you’re already in that cage. You built it yourself. It’s wherever you go. Because no matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself.” that she realizes how wrong she’s gotten it.

The honesty of those words sinks into her heart and expose her life for the sham that it is.

Those words are very similar to what Holy Spirit whispers with love into our hearts. He gently points out the reality of our circumstances, revealing the lie that our self-declared freedom is really bondage. That our independence is actually crippling us. That our self-medication is only masking the pain and adding to the chains that bind us. That our self-created person is just a sham, hiding the beautiful creation He designed us to be.

It’s at this point that He reveals that Jesus stands ready and willing to set us free from the cage that imprisons us and the chains that bind us. He stands ready but waiting on us to respond. Will we let the Truth of His words impact us, sinking deep into our heart and the revelation wash over us? Will we come clean and confess we’ve had it all wrong and we don’t know what we’re doing? Will we accept His invitation to freedom and let Him tear down the walls and unravel the fake persona to reveal our true identity? Will we let Him do all the magnificent things He’s planned for us so that we can truly soar, and become the woman He created us to be?

Or, will we let the fear of transparency and pain of authenticity stifle us and keep us imprisoned in the cage that holds us back and limits us? Will we live in the chains that weigh us down and produce fear and anxiety? Will we stay bound by a false identity, trapped behind prison walls we built?

The “wow” in the story of Holly Golightly is not in the clothes or lifestyle. It’s not the supposed care-free life and glamour. It’s that in the end, (at least in the movie) she chose love. She chose to let love in. It’s that she realized her life had no value without love. None of the things she had could give her what authentic relationship could give her.

If you really want to be like the iconic Holly Golightly – let go of those things that bind you, restrain and cage you in and choose LOVE (1John 4:8). Choose to let Abba Father in and allow Him to heal your brokenness and give you beauty for ashes, joy for mourning, and garments of praise in exchange for the cloak of heaviness, despair, and anxiety you wear (Isaiah 61:3). It is only in Him that you can experience the care-free life (1Peter 5:7) of true adventure and live the life you were always meant to live – one that is fulfilled and content (John 10:10).

 

 

*taken from a message shared at a women’s event.

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I’m so hungry!

I’d like you to meet our son, Stefan. He has some great thoughts about fasting and I’d like to share them with you. Let us know what you think!


When I am extremely busy, I can go an entire day without eating, and I won’t even realize it. I won’t have hunger pains. I won’t get cravings. I won’t even realize that I haven’t drank anything. And, I can do that a lot! I know, I know- that isn’t healthy. But, when I have so much happening during the day, I forget about caring for my body and don’t even miss eating. It isn’t until it is the end of the day, late at night, when I start to get a headache. It’s a pounding, obnoxious headache, and my stomach feels like it has a knife piercing directly through it. I’m slightly dense sometimes; so, I don’t always realize that it is extreme hunger pains (“extreme” as if I have gone days without eating). By the time I stop to think, “Oh, I haven’t eaten today”, it is late at night, and I’m on the verge of death. So, I just quickly shove chips or bread or popcorn down my throat (something that’ll relieve the hunger pains and give a filling sensation to my stomach). Of course, that works in the moment, but I always wake up starving!

I wasn’t going to admit this, but there have been times where I have sleep-eaten. Yes… It is true. My body is desperate for something; so, I wander out in the night and find something to consume. This could be dangerous because I’m an all-natural eater, and I’m not sure if my body knows that… So, I could have eaten cheese puffs without realizing. Anyways, I have gotten better about making time in the day to eat actual meals. What’s the purpose of eating all-natural if I’m starving my body?

Okay; my point in all of this is that I can’t help but draw a connection between my body and our spiritual lives. Allow me to explain:

We can get extremely busy in our day-to-day lives. We work, go to school, have families, friends, commitments, ministries, sports, foundations, outreaches, and, of course, we “need” our tv time, social media, video games, cell phones, and apps to unwind and relax. During all of this, we forget to eat (spiritually speaking), and we don’t even realize it. We won’t have hunger pains. We won’t get cravings. We won’t even realize that we haven’t spoken to God or spent time in His presence in weeks!

It isn’t until it is late at night (a bad point in our lives) that the intense headaches start- that’s the anxiety, worry, depression, sorrow, insecurity, loneliness, restlessness, etc. We get the sharp pains in our gut. And, we realize, in this nighttime, these bad seasons of life, that we haven’t eaten. This is when two things can happen:

We begin to find the quickest snack to shove down our throats in order to resolve the hunger pains and get a filing sensation (i.e. a worship night, an inspirational scripture, an uplifting word or prophesy from someone). AND/OR we begin to search in the night for something. Our spiritual bodies are desperate to be filled, so we sleep-eat. And, since it isn’t accustomed to us eating, our spirits may not know we are all-natural eaters (consumers of God’s Word)… So, we may have eaten of the world’s pantry and not even realized it (those pesky cheese puffs).

And, here were are- somewhat starved, malnourished, and filled with cheese puffs. It’s not exactly the best place to be in life. How do we get out of this place? Easy. Make time.

It always happens when I am fasting that I realize my hunger pains. Of course I never feel them when I’m not fasting, but then again, I am always busy with work or friends or entertainment. But, when I’m fasting and separate myself from my everyday life, I realize that it is 2 pm, and I haven’t eaten. I’m hungry! Clearing my schedule, letting go of certain things, making time brings the realization that I haven’t eaten and my body is hungry.

The same goes for our spiritual lives When we clear out the unnecessary and even the necessary things from our lives, when we make time and separate ourselves from the normal, day-to-day routine, we get those hunger pains. We get the cravings for more of God and for more of His presence. We’re reminded that we need to eat and that our spiritual bodies have a hunger for the Bread of Life.

So, just as I have made time to eat actual meals during the day, I have started being intentional in spending time in the Word, drinking from the Well, and eating the food that is most important. And, the more I do that, the more I realize how hungry I actually am for God. Good thing it’s an all-you-can-eat buffet (cheese puffs not included).

…man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 8:3 

Stefan

yeah – he’s got a thing for chocolate too 😉

And, that’s a wrap!

Well, 2017 is coming to a close. And, let me tell you, it’s been an incredible year. One for the record books. Unbelievable. Amazing. Overwhelming. Wonderful. Blessed.

We started the year in full planning mode for a February wedding. We gave our daughter Danielle to the love of her life, Dylan Oakey, on February 24th. It’s a love story to make your heart swoon. Their wedding was such a beautiful representation of who they are: unique, inspirational and fun!

The next week, our oldest daughter Gabrielle, had the fourth of six surgeries to repair the retina in both eyes. She discovered both retinas had detached in late 2016 and multiple surgeries would be required to regain vision. In addition to those six surgeries, she also had multiple laser procedures as the pressure in each eye sky-rocketed painfully (and dangerously) high. As a family, we spent the year helping her hero of a husband, Scott, take care of her and their toddler Josiah. It has been a very long and intensive journey to regain her sight, and we look forward with hope to the end of January 2018 when she should be able to function independently as her sight steadily improves.

At the end of March, my husband Bill became ill with unexplainable symptoms. It started with perpetual dizziness and went downhill from there. The symptoms seemed to mimic an episode of a thyroid storm he experienced in 2010 where everything went haywire. But, even though the symptoms were eerily similar, there were differences that left everyone – including doctors – scratching their heads. We have gallon-size ziplock bags that holds the dozens and dozens of medicines prescribed to him.  And, after a MRI, CAT scan, x-rays, heart tests, balance and equilibrium testing, a sleep study, countless blood draws, multiple visits to the ER, endless appointments with his regular doctor, several visits with a homeopathic doctor, a visit to an ENT and neurologist, no one had any answers for us.

In the midst of all this, Danielle suffered a miscarriage at seven weeks. She was due January 1st.  And within 10 days of her miscarriage, found herself pregnant again. She is currently pregnant with grandson number two. Judah Beckett is due one day after their 1st anniversary, February 25th.

Because Bill is still struggling with his health, someone suggested that we do mold testing in the parsonage we live in. So, the week of Thanksgiving, a company came into the parsonage and did air quality testing. The test results revealed that the parsonage – our home – was full of toxic levels of mold and formaldehyde and we needed to immediately evacuate. We were stunned. We suspected there might be “something” to deal with, but never imagined it was toxic. Never dreamed we’d have to leave. Immediately.

Our heads were spinning. There was talk of losing everything we owned. Of walking away from everything with just the clothes on our back. There was talk of being able to remediate some things but not everything. It would take several days before the final test results would reveal that we could keep some things, but the majority of our belongings – 30 years of marriage and family – would have to be discarded.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt so overwhelmed. I can’t explain to you the myriad of emotions we felt. It was like experiencing a flood or a fire – except we could choose to keep some items. The guilt of throwing away items that looked perfectly fine. The shame of owning “too much”. The pressure to immediately find a place to live – to purchase a house of our own. During the holidays. The uncertainty of what all this would end up looking like. The inability to help and support Scott and Gabe, as she had surgery number six the same week we found out this news.

The shock of realizing that Bill’s illness was connected to mold and formaldehyde toxicity. That Stefan and I were also experiencing symptoms of mold and formaldehyde toxicity, we just had not realized it because they were different than Bill’s. That once out of the house it may take us months to recover.

28

(I had pics of the girls, so I had to show you Stefan too)

But with all that (and these are 2017’s highlights, because details or listing more challenges would have made this post entirely too long) 2017 was not a year of difficulties, heartache, problems or despair. It was not a year of fear, anxiety or stress – though, it certainly contained all of that. Instead, 2017 was a year of promise. Of possibilities. Of opportunities. Of hope. Of joy. Of faithfulness.

I can say that because I have chosen to see it that way. I have chosen to look at Jesus. I have chosen to see the blessings. I have chosen to focus on His goodness to us. His faithfulness to us. His provision for us.

I can say that because I have chosen to let those situations anchor my soul in Him. I refused to let myself become angry, bitter, frustrated, disappointed, resentful, discouraged or depressed. I refused to ask “why?” I was determined to be driven further into His arms, where I knew I could find safety and rest. Where there was hope.

I can say that, because I have chosen to be thankful in all circumstances (1Thessalonians 5:18) for every everything (Ephesians 5:20). Am I thankful in this moment, when I am “homeless”? When I am sick? Am I thankful for mold and formaldehyde? For detached retinas and miscarriages? Yes. Yes, I am, because those painful, difficult and stressful situations, gave me the opportunity to encounter God in a way that I may not have otherwise. I had the opportunity to see an aspect of His greatness that I may not have seen. Those circumstances opened doors for miracles. To see the impossible come to life. To experience heaven on earth. They gave me opportunities to learn and discover Him. To grow and mature in faith and Truth. To lean in and trust. To be even more dependent on Him. They provided an opportunity for the supernatural to become a reality for me.

NOTE: let me be clear, those things are NOT from God. None of it. God is good and only does good. Every situation I’ve mentioned above were strategies of the enemy to steal, kill and destroy. But, in His faithfulness, Abba took the situations the enemy intended to destroy us with and worked them together for our good (Genesis 50:20). In His kindness to us, He is working all things together for our good (Romans 8:28). He is giving us beauty for ashes and joy for our sorrow (Isaiah 61:3). We leave 2017 blessed and enriched, instead of destroyed.

And, while the events of 2017 came as a complete shock to us, they did not catch Abba off guard. He was not surprised. Instead, He was prepared. He was waiting on us as we stepped into each moment, with precisely what we needed. Whether we needed peace, strength, endurance, help, courage, grace, wisdom, encouragement, comfort, assurances, financial or material supplies, or anything else, He was there with an abundant supply. We saw God be everything He promised to be. Not once did He leave us hanging. Not once did He fail us. Not once was He late. Not once did we have to fend for ourselves. Not once did we have to fix it. Not once were we alone. His faithful goodness was astounding.

Yes, it’s been an incredible year. One for the record books. Unbelievable. Amazing. Overwhelming. Wonderful. Blessed. I would not want to do it again, but I would not trade it for anything.

James 1:2-4 (TPT) My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can! For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up power within you to endure all things. And then as your endurance grows even stronger it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking.

 

 

It happened one Sunday in Jackson, TN

I think the most sobering words in the Bible have to be the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:21-23 (NLT)‘Not everyone who calls out to Me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to Me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in Your name and cast out demons in Your name and performed many miracles in Your name.’  But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from Me, you who break God’s laws.’

I remember the day this passage gripped my heart. I was 21 years old, sitting in a Sunday morning service at Northside Assembly of God in Jackson, Tennessee listening to a teenager tell of her experiences on a recent mission trip. At some point, she shared this verse, and it shook me. This was not the first time I had heard this verse. However, that day, the impact was so great, it was as if I was hearing it for the first time.

The words “Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter” reverberated within my soul. Grief enveloped me as I wondered if Jesus would say to me: I never knew you.

Having been raised in church, I thought I had this thing figured out. My Christian credentials were quite impressive. I won’t bore you with those details, but I had prayed the sinner’s prayer. Been baptized (multiple times). I went to church every Sunday and Wednesday. Went to revivals and special services. I was involved. I volunteered. I was connected. But, somehow in my 21 years of church attendance, involvement and connection, I had missed the heart of Christianity – intimacy.

That might sound odd to you. It did to me at first. But the more I explored this verse, the more I realized Christianity was not about following the rules. Initially, that’s what I thought and it was how I lived my life – always trying to follow the rules. But, this verse opened my eyes to the reality that God desires intimacy.

In verse 23, Jesus says I never knew you. The word knew is the Greek word ginóskó. I bring this up because the New Testament was written in Greek. So, for clarity, it’s important to know and understand the original word so that we can understand the original intent. If we don’t do this, we could easily misunderstand the intent or context of a Scripture or passage.

The word ginóskó means to know, come to know, get knowledge of, understand, perceive. It is also the Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. This word implies more than an awareness of; it indicates intimate knowledge of.

Ginóskó is the same word found in Luke 1 when the angel appears to Mary to announce that she would conceive and give birth to Jesus, the Son of God. In verse 34, Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.The word virgin is the word ginóskó. In other words, Mary is asking how could conception be possible since she had never been intimate with a man. She is saying: since a man has never had access to that part of me, how could I possibly be pregnant?

So, in Matthew 7:23, when Jesus says I never knew you, He is saying I was not intimate with you. I did not know your heart. I did not have access to every part of you.

Christianity is not about formulas and rituals where we live by rote and routine. It’s not about doing things for God. Jesus makes this clear in verse 22 when He says: On judgment day many will say to Me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in Your name and cast out demons in Your name and performed many miracles in Your name.’  There will be people who say; I did a lot of things at church. I did a lot of things on Your behalf Jesus. And His reply will be; Yes, you did a lot of things, but you were never intimate with Me. You were a worker, not a lover.

Christianity is about being with Jesus. Intimacy. It’s about allowing Him into every part of our lives. We’re not trying to keep up appearances with Him, do things perfectly so we’ll impress Him, or follow any rules. We are developing a deep and intimate relationship with Him. We are continually giving Him complete access to every part of us. No walls. No closed doors. Complete transparency. Total availability. Nothing is off limits. Nothing is restricted.

And, as we share our heart with Him, He then shares His heart with us. He tells us His desires, plans and what’s in His mind. We get to see what He sees. Hear what He hears. Feel what He feels. That’s how we know what His will is. Knowing God’s will comes from intimacy with Him. It is not an exchange of facts and data. It is a transfer of heart to heart. And, because we’ve seen His heart and we are intimate with Him, doing His will becomes our passion.

As we are intimate with Him, we then do things with Him – not for Him.  From the being comes the doing.

I will never forget that Sunday morning in Jackson, Tennessee. I am so thankful Holy Spirit thundered this verse in my heart and awoke me from my slumber. It changed the course of my life. It changed everything about me. And now, at the end of my life I am confident He will say to me – Hello Kim. I know you.

The love of my life.

In case you haven’t met the love of my life, this is my husband Bill.

Bill Wahl37979_484813072728_1749468_n1914616_1242088772487_846870_nBill Wahl5

On August 1st, we celebrated 30 years of marriage. And, I want to tell you, this man has my heart. Every. Single. Piece.

We met at Lee University (then college) in 1986. One look at that face and I was hooked. Handsome. Funny. Intelligent. Interesting. Engaging. Kind. Confident. Transparent (yes, even then). It didn’t take long for me to fall head-over-heels in love with this man.

We spent every waking hour together. We had breakfast, lunch and dinner together every day in the cafeteria. That means I got up early every day in order to eat breakfast. Even before that 8am class. Y’all don’t even understand what that means. I’m not a morning person. I come by it honest as it’s genetically woven into my DNA. And, I seldom want food in the morning. But, every day I met him for breakfast, just to be near him one more time. And, I ate lunch and dinner even if I wasn’t hungry.

He walked me to every class; he met me at the end of every class. We even had some classes together. (You can arrange that when you meet during freshman orientation, which was the week before registration. In hind sight – that was risky! Glad it worked out, otherwise I would have had to drop a class or two.)

We studied together in the library, hung out in the Student Center, and arranged to have our Chapel Seats next to each other. We stood in front of my dorm until curfew at night talking and talking. And, if we’d had cell phones then, I’m sure we would have kept talking into the night, falling asleep on the phone.

When my parents called to check on me, all I could talk about was Bill. What he said. What he did. What he thought. What I thought about what Bill said. What I thought about what Bill did. What I thought about what he thought.

It was all I could talk about to anybody. If I was not with him, I was talking about him to anyone who would listen.

We spent so much time together, that both of the best friends I went to college with were annoyed. My cousin, who was also on campus, was concerned. They all wondered if I had lost my mind because we were inseparable. This was unlike me. But, I couldn’t help myself. He was like a magnet, and I could not resist. I was hooked. This man amazed me. Fascinated me. Intrigued me.

I hung on every word he said. I wanted to know what he thought about everything. I wanted to hear about his life. His past. His hopes. His dreams. His plans. His opinions. Every detail. And, I wanted to tell him every thought in my head. Every feeling I felt. I wanted to share past, present, and future with him.

Once I saw him, no one had to convince me to talk with him. My normally shy and reserved self lost all in-habitations. I actually approached him first to invite him to play a meet-n-greet game.

Once I spoke with him, no one needed to encourage me to spend time with him. I took advantage of every opportunity. I created opportunities.

Once I spent time with him, I didn’t need reminders to get up for breakfast. Despite my disdain for early mornings, I didn’t need to be coaxed out of bed. I was up early and ready to go.

I looked forward to spending time with him. I looked forward to being with him. I looked forward to hearing his voice.

Meeting him changed my life. It changed the way I lived. It changed the plans I’d made for the future. It changed everything.

As intense as this sounds, I feel like this is what our relationship with Jesus is supposed to look like.

I feel like we are supposed to be so captivated by Him, that we want to spend every waking hour with Him. So eager to be with Him, that we willingly get up early to see Him – even if we are not morning people. So in love, we willingly plan our day around Him because we want to do everything with Him.

So enthralled that we talk with Him non-stop, hanging on every word He says. Wanting to discover what He thinks about everything. What He wants. What His plans are. Telling Him everything in our heart. Every feeling. Sharing every experience with Him.

So fascinated that we talk about Him non-stop, telling everyone what He said. What He did. What I think and feel about what He said and did. He’s so ingrained in our conversations, that everyone knows we’ll talk about Him given the slightest opportunity. That we’ll create opportunities. That we will work Him into every conversation. That we will just boldly bring Him up.

To be so consumed with Him that others wonder if we’ve lost our mind. That the magnetic pull He has on us is evident to the casual observer. That we radiate with love for Him.

To be so in love that no one ever has to convince us to talk to Him. No one has to give us a list of reasons why we should have conversations with Him.

So enamored that no one has to encourage us to spend time with Him. No one has to sell us on the features and benefits of spending time with Him.

So engrossed with our relationship with Him that we don’t forget days on end that He’s in the room with us.

I think this is the way it’s supposed to be.

Jesus told us in Matthew 22:37 that we ‘….must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ In other words, loving Him with everything. Being so consumed by Him that it changes everything about the way we live, the way we think, the way we speak and the choices we make. That connection to Him becomes our number one priority – overshadowing everything else. That He alone becomes our everything. The One who completes us. The One who fills us. The One we crave.

Yes, that sounds intense. And, it is. But this is what we were created for. Intimate, deep, soul-absorbing, mind-blowing, life-giving, earth-shattering relationship with the One who created us. It’s so much more than we think it is.

Anything less is not enough. Anything less leaves me wondering………

So, this is what I’m working towards. This is how I want to live – with such an awareness of Him that every thought and feeling is shaped by His Presence and His voice. That I’m driven to connect with Him continually. That I am completely absorbed by Him. Engrossed in the relationship. I want my continual response to be Psalm 27:8 (NLT) My heart has heard You say, “Come and talk with Me.”  And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

 

ps – to clarify. Abba loves the way I love the man He gave to me as a life partner. He is thrilled that Bill has my complete heart and utter devotion. He is please that Bill is the love of my life. It’s the way He planned it. And, He is also pleased that I realize Bill is a gift to me from Him. Abba gave Bill to me (and me to Bill) to complement, support and partner with. Bill does not complete me. I do not need Bill. I want Bill, I want him every step of the journey, I enjoy him – but I do not need him. I need Jesus.  I can’t survive without Him.  

So thankful I get to do the journey into the heart of Jesus with this man. xxoo 

Bill & Kim

One more for funsies. This is a pic of the first time I saw Bill’s face. (there’s a story behind that) A friend took a picture of me watching him. Beside me are the two besties (Jennifer & Melissa) and cousin (Sonya), watching the whole thing unfold. Sigh……

finding Bill

Have You Tried Reading the Directions?

I’d like you to meet my forever friend, Jennifer. I don’t remember when I didn’t know this girl. We’ve been through just about everything together. And the stories we could tell…..like the time she got a round brush stuck in her bangs during Sunday School and I took her to the kitchen and filled the brush and her hair with peanut butter to help get it out. Or the time I cut her hair. Or the time she set her back yard on fire when we were camping. Or when it appeared her hair was on fire at my wedding. (lots of hair and fire stories here) Or the time we got stuck in a tree in a field with an angry bull. Or the time she saved my life in the girl’s bathroom in high school. Or when we sneaked off campus for lunch and she left me hiding in the floorboard of her car for Coach Cleveland find. (I learned what aiding and abetting was that day) Or going to college together (with our other forever friend, Melissa).

This picture pretty much sums up our relationship.

Kim & Jennifer

I’m sure you’re going to love her thoughts!

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Is there anything more nerve-wracking than driving in Atlanta?  Well, yes actually.  Driving through Atlanta with a load of 17-year-olds in tow.

A couple of years ago, I was driving my daughter and several friends up to north Georgia to go whitewater rafting.  As we were zooming down the 285 “speedway”, I had a blow-out.  I managed to get my old grey Suburban full of teenagers to the shoulder (such as it was).  The next couple of minutes were alarm bells and sweat for me.  I was a nervous wreck inside.  The kids all piled out as to not sit in a hot car on the side of the Interstate.  The “shoulder” was a very narrow left-side concrete strip, which left me in a sheer panic of the thought of one of my passengers getting hit by any of the literally thousands of vehicles whizzing by in the six lanes next to us. When an 18-wheeeler would blow by, our bodies were literally swayed by the hot wind that rushed behind them.  I was sure that distracted drivers were manning the wheel on most of these cars, and well, let’s be honest: we ourselves were a distraction– a bunch of kids on the side of the road with a crazy-looking, sweating, woman and a broken-down truck.

In my group were some young men, one of whom was an Eagle Scout, and they set out to look under the back of the Suburban to start getting the spare out. They weren’t having any luck though.  My spare was not dropping down like it was supposed to.  They worked and sweated and then started over again…but no luck.  The rest of the kids in the group grew restless and so did I.

A couple of policemen pulled up. They were extremely nice and friendly but they could not figure out the tire either. We politely discussed what my next move might be (a tow-truck) while the two boys continued to fiddle around under the truck.  We had been at this for about 30 minutes now, and I knew it was probably time to throw in the towel and move to Plan B.

At this point, my daughter emerged from the side of the Suburban and it occurred to me that I hadn’t seen her since we had first pulled over.

She said simply, “Can I try it?”

I said, “Well, sure…but the guys have been working on it and they haven’t figured it out yet.”  That was code for, “Don’t bother.”

Then she said, “Well, I’ve been reading the Owner’s Manual.  Maybe that will help.”

That was one of those parent-moments. You know…when you just stand there like a dork and marvel at this kid of yours and their superior reasoning skills, and wonder when that transformation happened without you noticing.

You can guess what happened next.  It wasn’t too long before we were, in the words of Willie Nelson, “On the Road Again.”

That was a scary situation, but like most crucial moments in life, we laughed about it later.  As time passed, I found some symbolism in the chaos.

2 Timothy 3:15-17 (NIV) says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

How many times are we faced with a scary situation in life?  Something that we haven’t faced before… Something that seems to be without a solution…something that is entrenched in treacherous circumstances.  We stand there, and stare at it, and try to figure out how to fix it.  But it won’t fix.  We try again.  Still, nothing.  We fiddle with it, tinker with it, try looking at it upside-down…nothing.

At some point, hopefully, we turn to our “Instruction Manual”, God’s Word, and look for instructions on how to address our problem. But how much easier would our life be if we would read the instructions right from the start?  How much stress and worry could be avoided?  Maybe some negative situations wouldn’t even occur at all.

All we need to do is read the directions that our Maker gave us. God doesn’t want us to stand on the side of road worrying about what is going to come barreling toward us and knock the breath out of us. He wants us to read the directions. Then, we can get off the shoulder and continue our journey toward something better.

Jen's Blog pic

This is the crew who survived the flat tire fiasco. The daughter who saved the day (and the cost of a tow) is Kayla, the long-haired beauty sitting on the bench, second from the right.

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Jennifer lives in Madison, Mississippi with Pat, her wonderfully patient husband of 24 years and her two amazingly brilliant daughters, Tavyn and Kayla. She is the 7th grade principal at Madison Middle School and a die-hard LSU fan. But most importantly – she loves Jesus. 

Jen's family

Is there anything more beautiful?

I love to imagine what Jesus looks like. I love to think of Him in different aspects; envision Him doing and being what the Bible says about Him.

For example, I love C.S. Lewis’ imagery of Jesus as Aslan – the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. (Revelation 5:5) Fierce. Dominating. Forcefully putting His paw down and roaring so loudly that He shakes everything around Him. As I see Him as the Lion of Judah, I feel protected. Safe. I sense my enemies trembling at His presence. I see them running as He roars.

I love to think of Him riding on His white horse at the Second Coming. (Revelation 19:11-16) Bold. Strong. Courageous. The Conquering King. Thundering from heaven with fire blazing from His eyes as His hair flows in the wind. Leading the charge to silence the enemy once and for all. Defeating him by His word. (wow. I faint right there.)

I love to think of Him seated at the right hand of Abba Father. (Colossians 1 and 3) The position of honor. The position of authority. Magnificent, He is the radiance of the glory of God. Holding creation together. And as He overlooks all of creation, we see His heart as He intercedes for us. Pleading our case, asking Abba Father to move and work on our behalf.

I love to think of Jesus preparing a place for me. (John 14:1-3) Creating a room for me. Making a place for me at the table. Anticipating my arrival. Excitedly expecting me to join Him. To see the sheer, unreserved joy on His face as I finally see Him face-to-face. As I leap into His arms and encounter brilliant beauty that I could never have imagined. As He takes me to see Abba Father. To watch me finally experience all that I was created for.

To think of Jesus in these ways draws me into His magnificence and splendor. Opens my eyes to how incredibly exquisite He is. I catch glimpses of His breathtaking beauty.

But of all the things I imagine – all the ways I picture Him – there is nothing more beautiful to me than the crucified Jesus. (John 19) The gruesome Jesus. The one with flesh hanging off His bones. Blood running down His face. Streaming down His body. Hair matted with dirt and blood. Bruised. Whipped and beaten Jesus. Grimacing in pain. Crying out to God in agony. With spit on His face. A hole in His side. Nail pierced feet and hands.

I love this image of Jesus more than any other because it is in this, that Jesus set me free. Paying a price to redeem me from an utterly hopeless situation. Buying me from slavery. Releasing me from a prison I was powerless to escape. I am no longer a slave. I am no longer bound. Limited. Restricted.

Because He willingly suffered and died for me, allowing Himself to be savagely beaten, abused, ridiculed, humiliated and tortured, I am healed – spirit, soul and body. My blinded eyes opened. My oppressed heart set free. My wounds healed, whole. Missing parts restored. I am made new. No scars. Just as if I had never been damaged. Broken. Enslaved. Imprisoned.

In agony, He carried the weight of my crushing sin. Wiping away my past. Eliminating my depravity. Wickedness. Choosing to forget. Choosing to release. Choosing to look at me with love.

His brutal death defeated a foe that I was no match for. Completely disarming my enemy. Destroying his works. Stepping on his neck. Breaking his hold. Conquering for me. Giving me victory.

The cross He carried bridged the chasm between Abba and me. I am no long separated from Him. No longer an orphan. Adopted by Him. An heir with full benefits and privileges.

And it is through the magnificent gore of the cross that I can see the beauty of Him now. Because I have seen Him crucified, I can see Him as the Lion of Judah. I see Him riding His white horse. Seated next to Abba Father. Feel Him making intercession for me. Know that He is preparing my place. Eagerly anticipating my arrival.

Nothing is more beautiful to me than Jesus crucified because it opens my eyes to see everything He is.