Bigger on the Inside

If you know my family well, you know we skew a bit geeky. Star Trek, Star Wars, and, most recently, Doctor Who.

I realize I may have lost more than a few of you. I also realize none of these shows openly point to Jesus. I promise I’m not handing out TV recommendations. I’m just a crazy woman who loves to keep her eyes and ears forever open to the Lord over here hoping you’ll stick around. Because there’s something I’ve been praying that I would love to share with you, and you don’t have to be a sci-fi fan or watch any of these shows to get it.

I’ve been praying God will make me bigger on the inside – like the Tardis and King Solomon.

If you’ve ever watched Doctor Who, you know about the Tardis. It doesn’t look like much on the outside. Just an average, unimpressive, blue Police Box. But on the inside? This powerful time machine the Doctor travels in is massively bigger with room upon unexpected room.

And Solomon. He is a king who prayed for wisdom, and 1 Kings 4:29 says, “God gave wisdom to Solomon and very great discernment, as well as breadth of understanding, as the sand which is on the edge of the seashore.” (LEB)

That phrase “breadth of understanding” is literally “width of heart.”

Breadth of understanding. Width of heart. He was bigger on the inside!!

Solomon, with his finite mind and fragile human frame, held more wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of our infinite God than anyone else. Sadly, he didn’t always choose to live by that wisdom. But knowing what God granted him leads me to this … 

I want to be bigger on the inside. I want to retain the things God shows me. I want to use what He teaches me well so He can keep revealing more. I want to know Him and experience Him at an ever-deepening level. I want to remember Scripture and the connections He helps me make. I want entire LIBRARIES in my soul, all about Him.

Not so I can spout off facts. Not to be puffed up pridefully. I want to live for Him. I want to have access to the wisdom I need to live each day well. I want to have hope I can grab hold of for myself and others. I want weapons ready at hand for fighting my real Enemy. I want His Holy Spirit empowering me, convicting me, encouraging me, teaching me, and reminding me of Truth. I want to live like I have the infinite Spirit of God in this finite body … because I do.

Psalm 119:34 in the Amplified version reads, “Give me understanding [a teachable heart and the ability to learn], that I may keep Your law; And observe it with all my heart.”

Yes, Lord. This is what I want. Width of heart. Breadth of understanding. Bigger on the inside.  Every room filled with more and more of You.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 (NIV)

“By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.” Proverbs 24:3-4 (ESV)

“The Lord God has given Me
The tongue of the learned,
That I should know how to speak
A word in season to him who is weary.
He awakens Me morning by morning,
He awakens My ear
To hear as the learned.
The Lord God has opened My ear;
And I was not rebellious,
Nor did I turn away.” Isaiah 50:4-5 (NKJV)

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:14-19 (NIV)

If this is what you want, too, I’m praying for you today, friend. I’m praying God will make us all bigger on the inside.

Kimberly

Let There Be Light

How many rooms in our homes do we typically want lights in? All of them, right?

Kitchens, living rooms, and even our closets.
Bedrooms, bathrooms, and also our basements.

Even if we were building a brand-new home and wanted to save some money, I don’t think any of us would say, “You know what, let’s just not worry about having any lights in any of the rooms or even any electricity so we can plug in some lamps.” Not now. Not today. Not when we have access to power and light like we do.

Because we want to see. We need to see. Especially when things get dark.

And, oh my goodness, how this simple thought has spoken to my soul.

It has left me asking myself how many “rooms” in my heart and mind and life I want lights in. Just a few spaces and places? Or do I want every corner flooded with hope and Truth?

Psalm 119:130 says of Scripture, “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.”

God’s Word turns on the lights. Not only does it help us see Truth and hope where our minds have been darkened, there are those times when this passage connects to that passage, and we have “lightbulb” moments. He helps us make connections that bring light and clarity so we can see clearer. Our outlook becomes brighter.

This is part of why we need the whole counsel of God’s Word – so that He can help us make more and more connections that allow for more and more light. And the more light there is within us, the brighter we can shine in this world. So, the light of Christ within us coupled with the unfolding of His Word that keeps turning on more lights?

Brilliant. Beautiful. Needed in my own heart and needed in this world.

Here is my prayer today:

Yes, Lord. This is what I want. I want the Truth of Your Word to turn on the lights in me. Every corner of my soul flooded with wisdom and Truth. Darkness dispelled and hope shining bright. Holy Spirit connections changing the whole of me. No door closed to You. No space off-limits. In my soul, I declare it, Lord – let there be light. And let me be a light in a dark and hurting world. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:1-5

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

Forever grateful for the light of His Word,
Kimberly

The Humbling Truth About My Pride

This hasn’t been my best year.

I don’t mean because of things that have happened to me, but because of some of the ways I most definitely have not brought glory to the Lord. Especially with my words, my thoughts, and my attitude.

And the honest reason some of these things have grieved me? It’s not for wholly holy reasons, like hating to grieve the Lord. It’s because these things have embarrassed me.

I’ve been embarrassed by my weaknesses. Embarrassed by my struggles and my sin. Embarrassed that, apparently, I am a normal human being who now and forever needs Jesus daily and desperately. Oh, the shock and the horror.

Thankfully, God has been reminding me He isn’t shocked by me. He tells me up front that my sufficiency to carry this glory He placed in me, in this earthen vessel, is from Him and Him alone. (2 Corinthians 3:5-6; 4:6-7) He has compassion on me because He knows my frame, He knows that I am dust. (Psalm 103:13-14) And He promises me that He will absolutely complete the good work He began in me. (Philippians 1:6)

But the reason He’s completing His good work is NOT so that others can think well of me. It’s NOT so that I can feel better about myself. And it’s NOT so I can stop embarrassing myself. He’s fulfilling what has been His plan all along – to shape me to look and live and love like the most humble, powerful, loving, obedient, self-sacrificing, God-focused, surrendered Man that has ever walked the earth, His Son Jesus. (Romans 8:28-30)

The work He’s doing is for His glory, not my own personal glory. To point other dusty, broken souls to the truth that they can know His salvation, too. They can carry the light of His glory, even in the midst of their messiness and imperfections.

I want to share a quote with you that has been messing with me in the best of ways – pointing out my pride while also settling my soul. Sometimes the best thing God can do for us is to help us get over ourselves so that we can get on about the business of making Him known. He knows we need Him. And it’s good for us to remember that fact, too.

Yes, we are image-bearers. Glory-carriers. But these things are now and forever thanks to Him. A God who loves us and is willing to use us, even while He’s still shaping us. Today, we can repent where we need to repent. We can apologize where we need to apologize. But then we need to get back up and getting moving once again. No shame or embarrassment. Just surrendered hearts full of hope and committed to Christ.

“We are disappointed with ourselves, not because we are humble, but, quite on the contrary, because we thought too highly of ourselves, and we are wounded in our pride. ‘We are angry,’ says St. Francis de Sales, ‘because we have been angry; impatient, at having shown impatience.’ Pride is known most surely not by its swagger, but by its quickness to grow bitter and despondent. The soul that is truly humble takes its faults quietly, and goes on afresh in confidence and hope. For humility rests not upon self-contemplation, but upon a vision of God.”

– Brigid E. Herman

Praying for us all today. May we take our faults quietly and fix our eyes right back on Jesus.

Kimberly

What If You Aren’t Actually “Too Much” After All?

I can be a lot.

A woman full of so many thoughts. So much emotion. So many words.

(So VERY many words.)

I send mile-long emails and texts.
Most of my posts won’t initially fit on Instagram.
I can’t seem to ride in a car without pointing out some tree, some bird, some something the good Lord made.
And there doesn’t seem to be much I can come across that some part of me isn’t making some connection between what’s in front of me and God.

These are the things I can be tempted to try to keep a lid on. To apologize for. To try and “tamp down.”

They are some of the places where the enemy whispers that I’m “just too much.”

But as I was out walking one morning recently – marveling over the rainbow keeping me company (of course), walking into someone’s yard to snap photos of mushrooms (wow… trespassing?), keeping ears, heart and eyes open for the Lord (what are You saying today?) – it struck me anew…

The God who paints hope in the sky and sprouts white-capped wonder from the ground also created the miracle that’s me. I know. That feels a little weird to even type out. Trust me when I say “miracle” isn’t a word I tend to label myself with.

And yet, there it was. A truth from Scripture lodging itself in my heart and displacing the lie of “too much.”

Because I’m fearfully and wonderfully made. On purpose. With purpose. (Psalm 139:13-18; Jeremiah 1:5)

So are you.

Will we be too much for some people? Yep. We will. But that’s okay!! We aren’t called to make the whole world love us. We’re called to glorify God. To live in obedience to Him. To be wholeheartedly who He created us to be as we point hearts to Him.

Oh, friend… what if those places where the enemy keeps telling you that you’re “too much” actually hold some of the very things this world needs MORE of from you?

What if you thanked God for the MIRACULOUS way He’s made you? What if you dared to ask Him to help you take the lid off? To let all that’s been watering you down simmer off so that you can bring the world a more fully-flavored version of you. A you that helps them taste and see that the Lord is good.

Let’s invite the Holy Spirit fully into these “too much” places. We can let Him refine what needs to be refined. We can ask Him to purify and sanctify and mature. But let’s also be sure we refuse to quench the Spirit whenever and however He leads us to offer the world more.

God created you because we need you… and I’m so very glad He did.
Kimberly ❤️

Who Needs to Hear Your Voice in the Midst of Their Battle?

I don’t know if God has ever used a movie to speak into the deep places of your heart, but there’s a scene in The Return of the King, the last of The Lord of the Rings series, that encourages me personally and powerfully.

The people of Rohan are preparing to head into battle, and as they sit lined up on their horses, the king rides down the line, shouting encouragement and striking his outstretched sword against theirs. But we also see a shot of Merry and Eowyn on a horse together. Merry is a hobbit. Small but willing to go into battle. Eowyn is the niece of the king. A woman sneaking in among the ranks of men because she has the heart of a warrior. And in a moment that will stick with me forever, Eowyn leans in close to Merry and whispers much-needed encouragement into his ear.

It’s a moment that stirs God’s whisper within me … “This is what I’ve called you to, Kimberly. To be the whisper in the ear.” I confess it’s a call I sometimes undervalue. Because the ones encouraging us out front can seem so much more important, you know? But we need both. We need the shouts before us and the whispers in our ear.

We need pastors and speakers and leaders to stir us up and move us forward. But we need more than that. We also need people who will come along beside us. People close enough to speak personally and directly into where we are. People willing to be the perfectly timed whisper of courage and hope in our ear.

It’s a work that can show up in so many ways. Texts sent. Cards mailed. Calls made. Words spoken over coffee or even typed out in small spaces online. It’s a work I know I’m called to. Maybe it’s a work you feel called to, as well. To be the whisper.

That’s why I want to encourage my fellow encouragers. Keep whispering. Keep trusting that your small words – words that aren’t small at all to the ones they are spoken to – matter. Your whispered words of love and hope and kindness may be just what someone else is needing so they can keep going. So they can keep fighting. So they can face their battles knowing they are seen and they are loved.

Never doubt it. If you are a whisperer of life and hope, you are a warrior. A mighty and needed one.

Keep encouraging, friends,
Kimberly

When You Feel Painfully and Hopelessly Stuck in a Season You Don’t Want to Be In

Several years ago, I sat down on a regular Sunday morning and typed out words I felt the Lord impressing on my heart. Words of encouragement written for a loved one who was going through an incredibly difficult season of life. This has ended up being the most shared piece of writing I’ve ever put out on social media, which tells me more than just the person I wrote it for needed it.

And so I’m pulling those words over to my blog today – in case you need them, in case someone you love needs them. Please know this post is not in any way excusing or allowing for abuse or neglect. Nor is it about standing idly by while people are hurting. These words are for those times when you have prayed for yourself or for someone else and God has responded, “Trust Me.”

You are loved and prayed for friends,
Kimberly

I would have pulled Joseph out. Out of that pit. Out of that prison. Out of that pain. And I would have cheated nations out of the one God would use to deliver them from famine.

I would have pulled David out. Out of Saul’s spear-throwing presence. Out of the caves he hid away in. Out of the pain of rejection. And I would have cheated Israel out of a God-hearted king.

I would have pulled Esther out. Out of being snatched from her only family. Out of being placed in a position she never asked for. Out of the path of a vicious, power-hungry foe. And I would have cheated a people out of the woman God would use to save their very lives.

And I would have pulled Jesus off. Off of the cross. Off of the road that led to suffering and pain. Off of the path that would mean nakedness and beatings, nails and thorns. And I would have cheated the entire world out of a Savior. Out of salvation. Out of an eternity filled with no more suffering and no more pain.

And oh friend. I want to pull you out. I want to change your path. I want to stop your pain. But right now I know I would be wrong. I would be out of line. I would be cheating you and cheating the world out of so much good. Because God knows. He knows the good this pain will produce.

He knows the beauty this hard will grow. He’s watching over you and keeping you even in the midst of this. And He’s promising you that you can trust Him. Even when it all feels like more than you can bear.

So instead of trying to pull you out, I’m lifting you up. I’m kneeling before the Father and I’m asking Him to give you strength. To give you hope. I’m asking Him to protect you and to move you when the time is right. I’m asking Him to help you stay prayerful and discerning. I’m asking Him how I can best love you and be a help to you. And I’m believing He’s going to use your life in powerful and beautiful ways. Ways that will leave your heart grateful and humbly thankful for this road you’ve been on.

Kimberly D. Henderson, 2017 ©

What If You Need to Suit Up Instead of Toughen Up?

“You just need to toughen up, Kimberly.”

This is what I told myself after an incident of being misunderstood and then referred to in untrue and unkind ways.

“If you’re going to be a woman who shares her heart, you just need to get some thicker skin.”

I truly am not a woman who deals well with conflict. And mine is a heart that wounds easily when it’s at the receiving end of sharp or unkind words.
I am sensitive.

It’s a word that can take on negative connotations. But I think it’s a good part of how God made me. I’m learning it means I’m aware, attentive, receptive, responsive. It’s what helps me take note of both God and people alike and then move accordingly.

But when I “toughen up,” when I “thicken my skin,” I lose so much of that. I become cynical and skeptical. I become hard to get close to as I continually self-protect. And the toughness of my skin seeps in and forms callouses on my heart, leaving me no longer easily moved because there’s this thick barrier between me and you.

And I felt the Lord impressing on my heart that I don’t need to protect myself with thicker skin. I need to put on the armor He’s already given. And not even for battles with people. People are not my real enemy. Satan – the father of lies, the deceiver and accuser – and all of his hellacious host are the ones I’m truly battling against.

God hasn’t called me to “toughen up” against people. He has equipped me to “suit up” against my true enemy.

And this feels huge. Like the opening of my eyes to more of the enemy’s lies. Of course he wants me to toughen my skin and harden my heart. He wants me guarded and unusable. But God, I believe He is calling me to stay soft, tender, receptive, resting in the knowledge that I’m fully and well-protected. Not by self, but by Him.

So I’m sitting back down with Ephesians 6:10-18 and really looking at the protection that’s already mine. The belt of truth. The breastplate of righteousness. The gospel of peace upon my feet. The shield of faith. The helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, the very words of God. I’m asking Him to help me get a better grasp on what each of these pieces mean in my day-to-day living and battling.

And I’m asking Him to soften this skin instead of thickening it. To make me more sensitive. More receptive. More usable by Him because I’m fully covered by Him.

Which part of the armor of God are you the most thankful for today? How aware are you that it’s yours? That you can put it on? How much more freedom would you move in if you knew and believed God’s got you covered? I would love to hear some thoughts from you today, friends.

Love & Prayers,
Kimberly

Some Thoughts on Surviving This Year

Long before I started devoting my time and energy to penning words that point hearts toward the hope we have in Jesus, I was a Biology/Chemistry major in college.

And I can’t stop thinking about the senior seminar I did on spider webs – a paper and presentation I gave after many long hours of research. I’ve tried to no avail to find it so I could reread it. Twenty-two years after college, I confess I may have forgotten a thing or two or almost everything.michael-podger-jpgRztEuaV4-unsplash

But what I do remember is the wonder of how spider silk is comparatively stronger than steel. And it isn’t just marvelously strong. It’s also incredibly flexible. This is what helps a web endure up to hurricane-force winds and insects getting tangled up in it. The silk is able to soften, lengthen, bend, and then become rigid again.

Truly amazing.

And isn’t that what this year has required of us? What it’s asking of us? What it’s hopefully working into us? Both strength and flexibility.

I think it’s so very important to note the flexibility part. The willingness to bend and the strength to be found on the other side of it.

It all reminds me of Jesus. There has been none mightier, none stronger upon this earth than Him. And yet, He was continually willing to bend.

The King of all Kings who bent His body low to wash His disciples’ feet. (John 13:1-17)

The Savior of the world who bent His head countless times in prayer.

The Son of God who bent His will to the Father’s in the garden and found the strength to endure the cross where He would pay the price to save all who are willing to call Him Lord. (Matthew 26:36-46)

I don’t know what you need to take from this personally.

Maybe you feel like you’re about to break from the exhaustion of showing up strong and today’s the day you need to stop and bend. Bend your knees in prayer. Bend your heart towards God. Stretch out long before Him and bend your will to His.

Maybe where you’ve believed you have to stand your ground so rigidly God’s letting you know there’s actually more strength to be found in a posture of humility.

As for me, I’m pondering all of this prayerfully and asking God to help me be a woman of both strength and flexibility. A woman willing to pray daily or even hourly, “Not my will, but Yours.” A woman who actually comes out stronger when the winds of this year finally start to calm.

Praying for you today, my friend,
Kimberly 

(Photo by michael podger on Unsplash)

Jesus Didn’t Simply Call Us to a Life of “Quiet Timing”

Sheep don’t just check in with the shepherd and high-five him before merrily heading about their own way.

Theirs is a position of dependence. An all-day awareness. A continual listening for and following of their shepherd’s wise and loving lead.

But if we aren’t careful, we can forget our own position as sheep dependent on a Shepherd and turn our “quiet time” into nothing more than a quick check-in time. One where we perhaps get a little refreshed, get a smidge of wisdom and guidance, ask the Lord to bless our plans, and then head on about what we’ve got going on for the day.

But here’s the thing (and I say this in the kindest and gentlest of ways)…

Jesus didn’t call us to a life of “quiet timing.” He called us to a life of abiding.

Yes, sitting with Him in His Word is an incredible and needed way to start our day. It’s vital. But that’s because it helps us with the abiding. It prepares our hearts to see Him and hear Him throughout the rest of our day. It helps us recognize and follow His lead. It prepares our hearts and our minds for what He knows is ahead. And it reminds us we can trust Him and depend on Him when we find ourselves tempted to go our own way.

Oh, friends. There’s so much we can end up missing out on when all we ever do is sanction Him to the beginning of our day. Wisdom. Provision. Protection. Revelation. Refreshing. Adventure. Even the simple joy of recognizing His continual presence.

That’s why I want to remind us to be so very careful not to close our Bibles and simply check our time with Him off of some to-do list today. Let’s ask Him to help us stay aware of Him. Let’s watch for Him and listen for Him – all day long. Let’s live like we’re actually sheep (because we are) and follow our Shepherd’s needed and loving lead.💗

PSALM 23

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.”

Love you, friends,
Kimberly 

When You Don’t Feel Fruitful Enough

Something I have long struggled with is shaming myself for not being productive enough.

I want to see proof. Results. Evidence that what I’m doing is adding up to something that matters right here, right now.

Because I’m supposed to be thriving, not just surviving… right?

I need to be “killing” it. “Bringing” it. All. the. time.

At least, that’s the message being sent to my soul. By me. By the world. Even by well-meaning people who want to help me make a difference with my life.

Honestly, though? I’m pretty sure I’m not killing it at anything. I’m not bringing it. And I don’t much look or feel like I’m thriving these days.

But as I sat on my back porch this morning and let tears of frustration fall, I felt the Lord drawing my eyes to look around at all of the plants in our backyard.

Yes, they’re in a season of visible productivity. There are leaves and flowers and obvious growth. Even the peach trees just down the road are currently heavy with fruit. But they don’t always look like this. There are seasons where they appear much less impressive. Stripped bare. Near dead. And yet, they’re still alive in those times. There’s still good work happening in the unseen places – beneath bark and under dirt.

And I know it in the natural. Standing beside plants in those quiet and seemingly barren seasons, berating them for not being outwardly productive while I demand proof of life and vitality? It would be ridiculous. Pointless. Fruitless.

So, why do I think this method will work on me?

Maybe the kindest and wisest thing I can do for my soul right now is to stop all of the demanding and berating. To give up on trying to force tangible fruitfulness and instead do the one simple thing every plant in my yard does no matter the season…

Stay rooted.

I can stay rooted in the love of Christ. The wisdom of Christ. The peace of Christ. The presence of Christ.

I can know that while seasons come and go and my productivity levels rise and fall, He remains the same. His love for me does not change. And it’s okay to be in a season that doesn’t look or feel particularly bountiful.

Fruit will come. Growth will happen. It’s a promise for those who stay rooted in Him.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

Love & Prayers, dear friends,
Kimberly