Letting the One Who Was Wounded for Me Help Me Stop Continually Wounding You

It’s not uncommon for the issues of my heart to overflow out of my mouth and cause someone I love a regrettable amount of pain.

I can’t tell you how much I want to suck those moments right back up. Undo actions. Unsay words. Erase all traces of wounds that I’m afraid all too often leave scars.

Of course, none of that is possible.

I can apologize. I can repent. But I can’t fully wipe away from my mind or theirs the hurtful things that have transpired.

And as I have about thought how I need to let the emotional scars I have already left not shame me but definitely compel me not to leave even more, I can’t help but also think about the physical scars my sins have left on Jesus.

Scars that Scripture says were visible on His resurrected body. (John 20:27) Scars that will still be visible when I bow before Him in heaven one day. Scars that I want to start picturing as I live out Hebrew 4:15-16, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Because I think it’s important for us to know we would see them. If we walked up to His throne of grace right this second asking Jesus to help us in the face of our weaknesses and our temptations, the hands that would reach out to comfort us would still bear the marks of the death He died for us.

And as I seek to live a life that wounds others less, I realize Jesus’ scars can speak five very specific things to my heart if I will let them:

1) His scars remind me I am deeply and fiercely loved.

I am loved with a love that held Jesus to the cross where He willingly and fully paid for my sins. (Romans 5:8) A love that can help me live differently and love sacrificially.

2) His scars remind me victory over sin is possible.

Jesus has already won the victory over both sin and death. I don’t have to live as a slave to sin anymore. Seeing those scars can remind me I have the power in the face of temptation to say, “That’s not who you are anymore, Kimberly! Christ gained the victory for you. You’ve been made new and set free. You’ve died to this sin! You can turn around. Right. This. Second.” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57; Romans 6)

3) His scars remind me obedience is a must if I want to live a life that’s victorious.

Jesus’ flesh was crucified for my victory, but I must also continue to crucify my flesh daily, even hourly. Just as Jesus obeyed the Father all the way to the cross, I must deny myself and choose obedience over gratifying sinful and selfish desires. (Matthew 16:24) Will obedience be hard in the moment? Probably. Will it be worth it in the end? Yes. Absolutely.

4) His scars remind me I can be healed.

So much of my wounding of others comes out of my own places of woundedness. But my wounded Healer is willing and able to bring healing to every single part of me. (Isaiah 53:5; Psalm 147:3)

(And the one I need the most right now…)

5) His scars remind me sin has a price.

My sin cost Jesus His life. Truth that isn’t meant to shame me, but I do need to let it humble and change me. And since Jesus has already paid for my sin, why would I want to make anyone else pay? Because that is exactly what will happen every time I choose to give in to temptation. My sin will cost me. My sin will cost the ones I sin against. My sin will cost those who come in contact with me. I’ve already left scars on Jesus… on myself… on others… I need to stop and ask myself, “Do I really want to leave more?”

Things I share NOT to stir up guilt over what we have done in the past but to remind us we have a very real and present hope in the here and now. His scars can speak a better word over us if we will let them. His scars can help us live differently. Obediently. Victoriously. Kindly. Compassionately. Humbly. Lovingly. If only we’ll pause, turn to Jesus in prayer, ask Him for His help, and then move in obedience.

Oh, Jesus… let it be so in me.

❤️ Kimberly

What Do You Need to Leave Behind?

What is that thing you don’t want to bring with you into the new year?

This is a question I discovered in an Instagram post from Nicki Koziarz in 2018. A kind reminder that there are things God wants us to live free of as we move forward. Weights He doesn’t want us to carry. Patterns He doesn’t want us to stay stuck in. And I immediately resonated with Nicki’s idea of writing a letter to that thing – calling it out and saying goodbye to that fear, that broken relationship, that defeating thought pattern, that anxious memory.

Screen Shot 2019-12-27 at 6.52.42 AMI haven’t written my 2020 letter yet – the one where I draw a clean line as I say goodbye to what I want to leave behind in 2019. But I thought I would share last year’s letter with you. The one where I said “so long” to insecurity. Just in case you need to say goodbye to insecurity, as well. Or just in case it might motivate you to write your own “so long, farewell” letter before we head into this new year.

And please know I’m not claiming this letter led to me living 2019 perfectly free of insecurity. I certainly had my low points. But purposefully writing these words out caused something to shift deep inside of me. I became more aware of insecurity when it popped up and felt better equipped to tell it, “Nope. So sorry. You’re not controlling me today.”

Progress was made. And that makes my heart so very happy.💗

Here is last year’s letter…

Dear Insecurity,

I’m not sure when you first attached yourself so hard and fast to all that I think, say and do. All I know is that I’m tired of you.

I’m tired of the way you leave me overthinking anything and everything. I’m tired of the way you leave me second-guessing – every thought, every word, every choice, every idea. I’m tired of the way you have me forever and always over apologizing. I’m tired of the ways you make me shrink back, give up, sit still. And I’m definitely worn out from the ways you leave me pacing the floors, fretting and freaking out, and crying far too many needless tears.

That’s why I need you to know we’re through. Maybe I’m the one who first invited you in. Maybe you were deposited in my life along with the thoughtless words or deeds of others. Either way, I’m the one who has let you stay this long. And I’m the one who gets to say that this is where our journey ends.

2019 is going to be my year of living free of you.

I’m going to say the words I feel led to say. I’m going to do the things I feel the Lord prompting me to do. I’m going to write if I feel led to write and not let “numbers” dictate whether or not I think my words are needed.

I’m going to try new things without fear of failure. I’m going to wear my favorite things without worrying if I’m stylish. I’m going to stand taller, smile broader, and move towards others surer because I know deep down that who God created me to be is beautiful and needed and good – no need to compare or compete with others. And I’m going to celebrate others knowing there’s still plenty of room in this world for me.

I’m going to take up my space in the world fully – no more living partially or hesitantly, worried that I might be too much or not quite enough. I’m going to give generously and purposefully – of my words, my time, my prayers, my resources, whatever God asks of me. No anxiety before or after about how it will be perceived or received. I’m going to simply and humbly walk in obedience – asking for wise counsel when I need it, but no longer dictated by my assumptions about the thoughts and opinions of others.

I will move about in freedom. I will live this life with joy. I will walk into a room full of people without the exhausting weight of you. Free because of Jesus. Loved fully by my God. Equipped by His Word and empowered by His Spirit inside of me to turn you away whenever you come knocking on my door.

Yes. This is a new year. And you, insecurity, are not welcome to be a part of it.

Kimberly D. Henderson, a most beloved, purposed, and set free daughter of the King

How about you, sweet friend? What do you need to write a letter to?
Praying for you today,

One of the Kindest Things You Can Do for Yourself This Christmas

What are you giving yourself this Christmas?

It’s a question that might sound selfish or even a bit cheesy. But I believe it’s one that could be the start of something deeply healing and sweetly freeing.

Because as much fun as it is to unwrap those “just right” gifts from others or our own Amazon wishlists, I keep thinking about how we need to give ourselves something a little different this year. Something that will mean infinitely more to our souls than a cute pair of shoes or some fancy new gadget.

So, I thought I would share a list of gift ideas we can pray through.

Maybe we need to give ourselves the gift of “stopping” something. As in…

*I will stop comparing myself to others – physically, vocationally, spiritually.
*I will stop shaming myself – for what I am, for what I’m not.
*I will stop whispering unkind words about myself – in my head and under my breath.
*I will stop going back over every single detail of that horrendous mistake I can’t go back and change.
*I will stop using demeaning names for myself – out loud or simply in my heart.
*I will stop berating myself at night for everything I didn’t get done – resting and rejoicing in what I accomplished, thanking God for His fresh mercies every new day.

Or perhaps we need to give ourselves the gift of permission to “receive” something…

*I will believe Jesus’ love and forgiveness are enough to cover and cleanse that sin I can’t seem to forget.
*I will receive kind words from others instead of deflecting them and refusing to believe they are true about me.
*I will receive and believe God loves me instead of listing out all of the reasons I just don’t think it can be true.
*I will receive grace when I make mistakes instead of ramping up my demands for personal perfection.

What gift do you need to give yourself, precious friend? Is it something I listed? Is there something else God immediately laid on your heart? Speak it out loud. Write it down and wrap it up for real, saving it for a day when you’re struggling and then unwrap it. Sincerely give yourself something your heart has been needing. A gift of kindness from you, to you this year. ❤️

Wishing you the merriest of Christmases,

Five Things to Remember When You Feel Overwhelmed and Intimidated by the Word of God…

Do you deep down want to read God’s Word, but you feel so overwhelmed and intimidated by it that you find yourself avoiding it instead?

I get it. I really and truly do. I think that’s why you’ve been on my heart this morning. Because I’m so very familiar with this struggle.

It’s also why I would love to offer you some encouragement, sweet friend. Words from a woman who has never been to seminary – a woman who isn’t a Bible scholar by any stretch of the imagination – but who has learned she can hear from God through the pages of Scripture. Something I type out not to imply I’m special but to say, “If He can speak to imperfect me, He can most definitely speak to you.”💕

So here is what I would sit down beside you and say:

1) You have been created and equipped to hear from God.

Don’t believe the lie that you can’t read or understand Scripture. Psalm 119:73 reads, “Your hands have made me and established me; Give me understanding and a teachable heart, that I may learn Your commandments.” (AMP)

You were designed for connection with God! And He knows how that best happens. He knows how He made you to learn. Don’t be afraid to ask Him to help you discover what that looks like for you. He loves to respond to the heart hungry to know Him.

And not only has He designed you to learn, He has equipped you! When God places His Holy Spirit inside of us upon acceptance of His Son Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He gives us the best teacher we could ever have. A teacher who is willing to guide us and open our eyes to see marvelous things in the Word of God. (John 14:26; Psalm 119:18) That’s why one of the wisest things we can do is humbly and prayerfully invite the Holy Spirit into our times of study.

2) A good study Bible, a journal, and an app or two can take you a long way.

You don’t have to sit down on your own and try to make sense of God’s Word. You aren’t there to try to prove to God what you already know; you’re there to learn more. That’s why study notes are your friend!! If a passage of Scripture is particularly difficult? If the Holy Spirit highlights a verse and you want to know more? Open up a good study Bible. Use something like the YouVersion app to read the verse in different versions of the Bible. (I also love the Logos app, the Firt5.org app, Biblehub.com and blueletterbible.org for word studies and extra teachings.) And take down a few notes so you don’t forget what He’s showing you… even if all you write are the questions that were stirred up inside of you.

3) There’s no “perfect” place to start.

I don’t know of anything that shuts down more people than feeling like they just don’t know where to start reading. We feel this pressure to do it perfectly. But perfection is the enemy of connection. My sincere recommendation? Just start. Start at the beginning of the Old Testament. Start at the beginning of the New Testament. Start in Psalms. Start in Proverbs. Start in the book of John. Start somewhere that already feels familiar to you. Just. Start. Knowing that ALL Scripture is profitable. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) Trusting that He will keep guiding you from there.

4) Don’t feel rushed.

I know it may feel like God is standing over you wishing you would just hurry up and understand. But I think what He truly longs for is for us to slow down so we CAN understand. God takes His time to do things well. And we need to be okay with the slow unfolding of His words inside of us. It’s a gradual building. A continual growing. A lifelong pursuit of knowing Him that is well worth our time.

5) Don’t get discouraged.

There may be days when you feel like you just didn’t get much out of His Word. That’s okay!!! Some days God’s Word is going to feed us right away like bread, and other days it might feel more like holding onto seeds. Words that we may not grasp why we need them just yet, but that can still grow if we’ll tenderly tuck them inside of our hearts. Words that can accomplish good things even if we don’t yet “feel” those good things. (Isaiah 55:10-11)

I know this is a lot of information… but I’m sincerely praying at least one of these points is a little bit of freedom for you today and a nudge in the direction of the Lord. A gentle reminder that spending time in God’s Word has nothing to do with impressing Him and everything to do with pressing in to Him. That it’s not about learning facts…. it’s about leaning in close so we can hear His heart and let Him sync ours up with His.

I’m praying for you today, friend. And I’m believing with you that He has so much He wants to say to you from the pages of Scripture. Words from His heart to yours. It doesn’t even matter how long it’s been since you last cracked open your Bible. Today is the perfect day to start. ❤️

So, What Am I Supposed to Do with All of These Hurtful Words?

There isn’t a single human alive who will leave this world unscathed by harsh words hurled at us by others.

And as I’ve watched some pretty hurtful things play out on the internet recently, I’ve been asking God how we process the yuck we humans seem so capable of dishing out to one another. Where I felt led to the other morning was Ephesians 4:29: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

That word “corrupting” means “rotten, worthless, bad.” It is a word that conjures up images of spoiled food. And while this passage of Scripture reminds us not to SPEAK these kinds of words, I also sensed a reminder not to INGEST these kinds of words.

People say we are what we eat. Scripture tells us that as a man thinks, so is he. So, why aren’t we more careful about the words we chew on? Why do we allow ourselves to spend so much time nursing and rehearsing the words that have wounded us?

So here is where I’m landing this morning with hurtful words in my own life:

     1. I need to spit out what we know is rotten.

If something tastes rotten when it comes to actual food, we spit it out. We don’t choke it down, nor do we go back for seconds or thirds. So, why are we feasting on the same old wounding words that keep making us sicker and sicker? Just because someone dishes those words out, that doesn’t mean we need to take them in.

     2. I need to chew on Scripture.

God’s Word tells us that it’s milk, it’s meat, it’s daily bread for our souls. It is life-giving and true. If we aren’t sure if there is truth in what someone else has said… if their words taste “off” but we aren’t sure if they actually are “off”, we can turn to Scripture. It’s where we find wisdom, nourishment, hope, and, yes, even correction and redirection when we need it. Words that show up both “comfort food” and “vegetables” we may not be crazy about. All needing to be chewed on equally.

     3. I need to sit with wise people.

When wounding or confusing words have come our way, we would be wise to sit with the wise. To ask them to help us see things more clearly. To help us sift through what needs to be thrown out and what we may actually need to learn from. To keep us humble, teachable, and growing.

We are the gatekeepers of our hearts and our minds. We are the ones who choose what we chew on.

Oh, that we would speak wisely and chew wisely, my friends.

So much love,

Why the World Needs the Real You, Not the Fake You

Ask anyone what has more nutritional value, a store-bought strawberry Pop-Tart or fresh farm-grown strawberries, and you’ll get the same answer.

Actual strawberries, of course.

We know that fake food isn’t as beneficial as real food. And yet, how often do we find ourselves offering other people a fake version of ourselves?

We compare ourselves, feel like we come up lacking in some way, and then try to be more like “her” or “him.” We notice how much people seem to be drawn to that other person, so we conclude maybe we need to be more like them. Maybe we need to make some major changes so we can be more desirable, more palatable, more marketable.Screen Shot 2019-10-15 at 6.41.44 AM

But here’s what God’s been trying to help me see … just like fake food can never provide the taste and nutrients and health benefits of real food, a “manufactured” version of me who looks and acts more like someone I’m not isn’t truly benefiting anyone either.

Our lives help others taste and see that the Lord is good. We do this through our unique God-given gifts and abilities. Our unique talents and personalities. The love and grace of Jesus that flows through us in unique and needed ways.

But if we aren’t wholeheartedly who He purposed us to be, people are going to miss out on the good God designed us to give.

Does that mean everyone is going to love us? Of course not. We’ll never be everyone’s taste. But that’s okay. The point of food has never been to garner attention or applause. It’s not the point of our lives either.

We are here to love. We are here to serve. We are here to bring God glory by simply and wholeheartedly being who He designed us to be.

You don’t need to “manufacture” a better you, friend. And I don’t need to fake my way to a different me. We just need to keep growing into more Christ-like versions of who God has called us to be. We need to show up humbly and wholeheartedly, wherever God has us today.

So wherever you are… wherever you may go… just bring the real you. She’s the one we need. Resist the temptation to compare yourself with anyone else, and choose to believe that God knew exactly what He was doing when He knit you together. Because He did.❤️

So much love,

Why Satan Loves Our Perfectionism

71289500_2735148809842331_3390159313279385600_oStriving for perfection.

It can be what keeps us from reaching out to the friend who’s hurting… because what if we don’t say the perfect words?

It can keep us from asking that person to meet us for coffee… because they seem to have it all together and we just don’t.

It can keep us from writing, creating, making, giving, going, doing… because what if we don’t do it perfectly? What if we mess it all up? What if we look like a fool?

It can even be what keeps us from approaching the Lord… because what if our prayers aren’t perfect, our time in His Word isn’t perfect, our hearts are just a huge, disappointing imperfect mess?

And it’s such a trap. Such a lie. Such a huge tool of the Enemy. Because Satan knows if he can keep us bound up in the need for perfection, we’ll miss out on the gift of connection. With people. With the God who loves us and invites us near – just as we are.

We don’t seem to realize how much we could actually gain from others if we would reach out instead of holding out. We fail to recognize how much others miss out on from us when we keep stopping short of sharing the good and needed things we have inside.

And, honestly? When we don’t love and give and move where God is clearly leading us to? We’re giving ear to Satan more than our Savior. We’re trusting in ourselves instead of the Lord. We’re moving in a direction I don’t think we truly want to go in. One of straight-up disobedience to our God.

(Ouch and have mercy.)

What have you been hesitating to do because you’re afraid you won’t do it perfectly? Perfection is the enemy of connection, sweet friend. Truth I’m over here learning too.

Whatever God is calling us to do, let’s make our aim simply to do it with great love. Even if it’s imperfect. Even if it’s messy. Even if by some chance we do look a bit foolish. I’m believing it will be worth the chance for true connection.

So much love,