When You’re Desperate to Be Pregnant With the Things of God

pregnantI have heard that there are women who can start to show signs of pregnancy even when there’s no tiny life growing inside of them. A desire so strong it ends up manifesting itself physically.

And I’m starting to think they can happen spiritually, as well – these false pregnancies.

We look around and see these women birthing God-sized dreams, doing amazing God-sized things. And we want it so badly, we start thinking we see the signs. We mistake the flutterings we feel inside as we gaze at their manifesting dreams for the stirrings of our own plans and purposes.

And we labor and we work and we bear down hard, but nothing comes. Nothing happens. And we pull back and we look up and we shake our heads in frustration and confusion. “Hey. What’s the deal? I’m wanting to do this for You.”

And I have been this woman wishing I could pee on some stick to let me know – am I pregnant with Your dreams for me yet God? Have You planted something wondrous inside of me? Am I going to birth something for You? And will that be sometime soon?

Well-meaning people, they don’t make any of it much better, these pregnancy desires.

They ask the couple that’s been married for a few years when they’re going to have a baby. Because the couple needs that pressure? Because the only reason you get married is to have children? Because they want someone making them feel like there must be something wrong with them since they haven’t had a child yet?

Seven years into writing at this place, I’ve had some of those same well-meaning people with their well-meant questions. And I know they mean it as a compliment, but I shift uncomfortable when the question comes up – So are you writing a book yet? And I smile and say I might like to someday, masking feelings of failure and disappointment because I’ve tried. I have felt the longings and I have felt the stirrings and I have sat down and tried to make the book words come out – but they haven’t.

And what’s a woman who longs to birth something good and lovely and noble for Him to do?

Pen in hand, heart and pages laid wide open, I spent time last week journaling and talking to God about all of this. This stuff of dreaming with Him and being brave and birthing God-sized things. Me – this woman who is just now learning to stop apologizing for wanting to write. And I thought about being pregnant with my girls. How there was the day I deep down knew I was pregnant, no awkward stick required. And as my girls grew, I swelled with them, their kicks and nudges becoming undeniable.

And I can’t help but smile as I remember my third daughter. How I was wide-eyed and begging the laid back doctor to hurry over because the pressure, oh the pressure. That girl was coming and he needed to put down his cup of coffee and come catch her fast. And he scoffed a bit until he walked over and checked me. And when she came onto the scene with no more than a push or two, I bit my tongue and didn’t say a word to him about how a third time mom, she knows what she’s talking about.

My journal filled with questions.

Is this what it will be like when I’m pregnant, Lord?  

With a book, with an idea, with a dream.

Will I deep down know? Will there be this swelling and this stretching? Will there be these undeniable Holy Spirit kicks and nudges? And when it’s time, when it’s really and truly time, to bear down and birth those dreams – won’t I know? Because I’m thinking I will be so swollen with them – with the pressure and the need to push those dreams out weighty and urgent – I’m thinking surely, I’ll know it’s time.

And I while I feel like there are stirrings – tiny ideas forming and coming together – He’s telling me it’s just not time.

It’s not time to labor.

It’s not time to push. 

I journal more:

Books and babies – they need time to grow.

Books and babies – it’s not healthy for them to be pushed out too soon.

Books and babies – they are meant to be conceived and birthed out of covenant relationship intimacy.

Conviction stirs and I start to wonder if I have long been seeking Him out with a misaligned heart. A heart so desperate to birth something that I have started approaching my Love not for intimacy, but instead simply for pregnancy.

Seeking Him out as a means to an end.

Begging Him to conceive something in me.

Slipping into a place of wanting something from Him more than I desire to be with Him.

His whisper in my heart is tender and clear.

Just be Mine.

Just enjoy Me.

Enjoy My love.

Enjoy My presence. 

Enjoy a deep and soul-satisfying relationship with Me. 

Seek Me for Me. 

Because He is the one who satisfies. He is the one who fills my soul. He is the one who can sustain me, who holds me together. And when I approach Him, I need to approach Him for Him.

I already know from having children – they are a blessing, but they aren’t my soul’s true satisfaction. They are dear to my heart, but having them didn’t make me or my life complete. And I’m fairly certain – doing things for God isn’t going to either. No dream, no accomplishment, no blessing long longed for will ever make me whole.

The greatest gift will always be my relationship with Him – Creator of the Universe, Lover of my soul.

And just as having a healthy, intimate relationship with their daddy is one of the best gifts I can give my girls, this is one of the best gifts I can ever give the world –

My heart deeply and intimately connected to the heart of God.

And what I’m about to say will sound crazy and may even reek to some of a lack of faith, but I’m pretty sure it’s one of the bravest and best things I’ve ever done.

I’m laying it down.

I’m laying it all down.

The plans I have had. The dreams that I’ve been begging Him to make happen. I’m laying them aside for now. And not that I am going to quit writing all together. I am just going to quit trying to force out words. I am going to stop trying make something “happen” with my writing on my own.

Because I don’t want to do something just so I can say I did something. And I don’t want to try to give birth to something that He knows I’m not equipped to live with yet. And I don’t want to seek God just because of what He can do for me or even through me. And it may not sound brave, but for an insecure heart that has all too often longed to be a somebody in the world, it is.

It’s the brave choice to trust His love and to just be His.

I can let Him do what needs to be done in me when and how He knows it needs to be done. I can quit trying to force out things He has yet to fully develop in me. I can know that there will be beautiful things birthed out of my time with Him. Things I don’t have to manipulate to make happen. Dreams and plans and purposes that He’s knitting together as He sees fit, that He’ll help me birth when the time is right.

I can just rest in His love.

And it feels awkward and uncomfortable, when I come face to face with the people I know in real life who read this blog. And I tell myself it just doesn’t matter – if they think I’m prideful or crazy. It doesn’t matter what anyone does or doesn’t think because I know this – if He leads me to write it, then there’s someone out there who needs to read it.

And today, I just want to encourage you, whoever you are, to do this with me:

Lay it down.

Whatever you keep showing up in your time with God begging Him to do for you or in you or with you?

Lay it down.

Take your hands off. Resist the desire to push, to manipulate, to try to make it happen.

Lay it down, even if just for today, and simply seek Him for Him.

Seek Him.

Enjoy Him.

It’s not going to fall to pieces if you don’t put your hands to it today. It’s not declaring defeat and saying it’s never going to happen. It’s not a lack of faith. And just so you know, it’s not wrong to want to be used by Him, to want to birth beauty for His glory. He created us on purpose and with purpose.

But today, maybe we just need to simply say this:

God, I want You more than I want anything else. 

Honestly? I think we are going to be amazed one day when we look back and see what He could birth out of a heart positioned like that.

A heart positioned in faith.

A heart positioned in trust.

A heart positioned to simply rest and receive Him.

I love you, friends.
Kimberly

*** Photo credit ***

Perfectly Positioned {For When You Aren’t Where You WANT to Be}

postcardIt was such a small moment.

They often are. The ones that speak the loudest to my heart.

I had stepped away from my desk at work, only to come back and find a postcard that needed to go out that day. I had already taken the mail out earlier in the morning, but I quickly added the necessary postage and grabbed my keys, needing the fob that would let me back into the office.

I hurried out, hoping the mail had not yet run, only to have a disappointed sigh escape my lips when I got outside and found the red flag no longer up. I would have to drive by the post office later. Not a huge deal, but still sigh inducing.

Feeling mildly frustrated about wasted time, I headed back into the building. But before I reached the doors that would lead me back to my desk and actual productivity, I noticed one of our pastors’ wives. Her hands were full, and she was trying unsuccessfully to get into a locked room with the wrong keys. I made a small detour to see if maybe I could help her. I don’t have keys to all of the doors in our church, but I hoped one of the two on my key ring would do the job. Sure enough, I had just the key she needed, and she was so grateful I had come along right when I did.

Heading back to the main office, I felt good that my trip away from my desk had not been a total waste. At least I had been in the right place at the right time for someone else. I had assumed my trip out of my cubicle and towards the mailbox had been all about me getting a postcard sent on its way. But that wasn’t the point at all.

I had been put in position to be a help to someone else. To open a door. To share my keys.

And in that brief moment of processing why I had really needed to walk that postcard out, the Lord delivered some truth to my heart. A little Holy Spirit postcard sent via a brief moment. One reading:

Dearest Kimberly,
Do not assume to know why I have positioned you where I have positioned you. 
Much Love,
God

Ummmmm…wow.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to get discouraged when things don’t go the way I think they should. If life seems to be taking an unexpected turn or my own plans appear to have flat-out failed, my heart begins to question. (And sigh. A lot.) “Lord, I feel like You had asked me to obey You here in this area. And I did. But…well…things aren’t going how I thought they would. Did I miss you? Did I mishear? Have I just wasted my time?”

He is having to teach me that when outcomes are different than what I have planned, it does not mean I am outside of what HE has planned. God’s ways are perfect. Purposeful. Powerful. And beyond my comprehension. And His plans? They aren’t all about ME.

I so needed that reminder, that Holy Spirit postcard from the Lord. I needed Him to tell me that when I am not getting the results I expect, when my days seem super routine, when I am not where I think I want to be or should be, I must not lose heart. My time is not being wasted.

I can trust God is positioning me – right where I need to be. And not just where I need to be for me, but where I need to be for others.

I can stop making assumptions and simply stay expectant – trusting Him to work in me, through me, and for me. Right where I am. And when it is time to move on? When I do need to be in a new place, in a new “position”? I can trust He knows how to put me in just the right place at just the right time for His just right plans.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.”
Proverbs 3:5,6

Thank You, Lord, that You are worthy of our praise and of our trust. We surrender to Your ways and to Your plans, and we say today that where YOU want us to be is where we really want to be. May we be a blessing, right where we are. And may our eyes be wide open to Your many blessings that are always all around us.

Learning to trust, 
Kimberly

*** photo credit ***

When Everyone Else Seems Like Fine China {And You Feel Like a Dollar Store Teacup}

communionI have felt such a strong pull to do communion on my own at home recently. To break off a simple chunk of bread, to pour my small cup of store brand grape juice, and to lay my heart bare before the Lord. To thank Him. To remember. To press in as tight and as close as I can. To ask Him to fill and then to pour out.

And as I was heading out to go for a walk one morning, I felt the tug. To pause. To press in. To take communion. So I pulled out the bread, grabbed a fresh bottle of juice, and then reached for a cup to use. A dollar store teacup one of my daughter’s got at a birthday party caught my eye. My thoughts began to swirl as I pulled it out and set up my small time of communion.

It’s not a cup many would find value in. The imperfect floral pattern around the top. The chipped, fake gold paint lining the rim. It is, quite honestly, a cheap cup. Not a cup to grace the tables of kings and queens. Not a cup that would be sold in the finest of stores. Not a cup the world would really find all that desirable.

Except for the thirsty.

When you are thirsty, truly thirsty, you don’t care what vessel your drink comes in – fine china or a dollar store knock off, exquisite crystal or brightly colored plastic. You just want your thirst to be quenched.

And as those thoughts settled in my heart, before bread or juice ever even touched my lips, I was undone.

Because I can still get so caught up in and hindered by thoughts about my own vessel, about what I think I have to offer. Not just my physical “vessel”, but also my personality and my gifts and abilities. I get to feeling small and unimportant, forgetting that what matters is what is going to pour out of me. What matters is what will slake the thirst of those who are parched for hope, parched for joy, parched for living water. Water that will become a fountain springing up into everlasting life (John 4:10-14). People need to taste of my Savior, not be impressed by the woman carrying Him. And He doesn’t just let certain “impressive” people carry Him. Anyone willing, anyone who calls Him Lord, may offer Him to a thirsty world.

Tears slipped past my feeble eyelash barrier as truth set in.

The King wants to use this cup.

This vessel.

The shape, the size, the apparent worth to the world of my vessel, of your vessel? Those things just don’t matter. They don’t matter to the thirsty. We don’t have to be fancy or impressive. We just have to be available to our King.

My dollar store teacup may not look like much, but it is useful. And it is clean. And this woman? While I may not look like much to some, He says I am useful in His Kingdom. And so I pray, asking Him to keep this vessel clean.

Lord, let me be an empty vessel You can pour out of.
Let me be a clean vessel. One where sin, pride, and selfishness do not mix in and pour out as well. 
Let my life leave the sweet taste of You on the lips of the weary. 
Let me be a vessel for the thirsty. 
Pour out of me, I pray. 

Today, maybe you need to stop looking at your “vessel”. Maybe you need to stop comparing yourself with others and simply let the God with whom NO ONE can compare pour out of you. He wants to use you – no matter how plain and unimpressive you may feel.

He wants to bless the thirsty through your life.

May we remain clean and usable hearts before our mighty and loving God,
Kimberly

When Worry Threatens to Tear You to Shreds

By a threadIt’s the same word.

When we see it in Matthew 6:25-34 and Jesus tells us not to worry – about our lives, about what we will eat or drink, about what we will wear, about tomorrow – and then when we see it again in Philippians 4:6-7 where Paul encourages us to be anxious for nothing.

Do not worry.

Do not be anxious.

They are simply different English forms of the same Greek word – merimnao. A word that my Spirit Filled Life Bible notes tell me “suggests a preoccupation with things causing anxiety, stress and pressure.”

And I know I can’t be the only one.

I can’t be the only one who gets preoccupied and distracted. I can’t be the only one who feels the weighty pull of it all – the anxiety, the stress, the pressure of this life. With our hearts and our minds pulled in a thousand different directions at one time, is it any wonder we walk around feeling shredded?

Torn to pieces.

Never fully whole or okay.

And it’s the word that merimnao is derived from that really catches my attention. It is derived from the word merizo which means “to divide into parts.”

To divide into parts.

Recognition flickers at those words. That is me. That is me. I am all too often a woman found sitting in one place, body full present, but with a heart and mind dispersed everywhere and anywhere else. Pieces of me strewn across my long list of burdens and worries and what ifs. A painted on smile feeling like poor glue to hold together insides that are falling apart.

But this can’t be all I have to offer to my family – a wife and mom too distracted by worry to ever be fully present.

This can’t be all I have to offer to my friends – a halfway listening ear because, “Hey, I’ve got a lot on my own plate.”

This can’t be all that Jesus wants for me, for us – fractured lives never fully lived. Not when His Word says that He came to make us “whole and holy by His love” (Ephesians 1:4, The Message).

Whole and holy.

And I ask Him how. How can I be made whole and what can possibly hold this worry-shredded woman together?

And His answer is no surprise.

His Word.

His powerful, God-breathed, world-framing Words. 

“Everything’s falling apart on me, God;
put me together again with Your Word.” Psalm 119:107

Put me together again, God.

Sew all these pieces back together.

And I know this is starting to sound like some long lesson in Greek, but my heart is so moved by the revelation that can come from digging a bit deeper. Because the word for “framed” when God tells us in Hebrews 11:3 that the worlds were framed by God simply speaking, it is katartizo. And katartizo means “to arrange, set in order, equip, adjust, complete what is lacking, make fully ready, repair, prepare…It is used for the disciples mending their nets (Matt.4:21) and for restoring a fallen brother (Heb.13:21).”

And my heart latches on to HOPE.

The God who framed the world by His words can mend this woman with them too.

And not just His Word written out on the page, but the Word made flesh (John 1:1,14) – Jesus. He holds me together too. Because all things were made by Him and for Him and in Him all things hold together (Colossians 1:16,17).

He holds all things together. All things.

And I am pretty sure “all” includes me and you.

Jesus can hold us together.

And while we may feel like we are falling apart, like there is so much pulling on us that we aren’t going to come out of this life in one piece, that just isn’t truth. We are women (and men) who can be beautifully and powerfully held together by Jesus and His holy Word.

Over the past few months I have found myself turning to His Word more than ever before. Not because I am so holy, but because my heart has felt so holey. I have needed Him to hold me together, and it has been a precious gift to realize this –

The God who first knit me together in my mother’s womb?

He can knit me back together again and again. 

Each and every day. 

Whenever I need Him to.

He can knit you back together again too. 

When worry threatens to tear us to shreds, when it has already torn us, we have to turn to His Word. We have to pick it up like needle and thread and weave it through our hearts and minds. We have to sew it into every fiber of our beings – living it, breathing it, clinging to it, walking it out. We have to allow it to hold us together – reminding us of the truth of how big our God is, how loving our God is, how faithful our God is, how able our God is.

We have nothing to fear. 

We have nothing to worry about.

We don’t have to live life divided and distracted.

Because God says so.

Because His Word is truth and it will hold.

May we take Him at His Word – this God who gave His one and only Son for us. May we allow Him to hold us together – this Father who promises to never leave or forsake us. May we be able to approach each new day with hearts whole and at rest – trusting He loves us, He is for us, and He really is enough.

And may we remember to share with others the words He uses to mend us, to hold us together. We just never know when someone else might need the needle and thread we have been using. And we? We can become the mended menders.

Blessings, friends,
Kimberly

*** Photo credit ***

For When You Want to Freak Out Because You Just Keep Getting Older {A Post about What My Husband Really Needs}

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.”
Proverbs 31:30, NLT

husand and wifeThere are posts you hesitate to share. Because they are personal. Because they may set you up for being judged. Because they may make you sound shallow. But then you stop and think, “I cannot be the only one who battles this. How can I not share where I am finding help and hope?”

So here it goes…

My heart has been struggling lately. Teetering towards freak out mode more often than I would care to admit. Why?

Because they are everywhere.

They meaning the women who are younger than me. The women who are more fit than me. The women with waaaaaay bigger breasts than me who aren’t afraid to show them. To. The. Entire. World.

They are on the TV. They are on the computer. They are on billboards. They are on magazines.

They are everywhere.

The enemy and my insecure heart are right there, too, whispering in my ear, “Wow. Look at her. I bet your husband wishes you looked like her. I bet he wishes he had married a woman with a body like that. I bet he regrets that you are all he has to lay down with at night.” You know, because that is all I am worth. And that is all the other women are worth, right? What our bodies look like. What our pants sizes are. What our bra sizes are. That’s all we have to offer the world, right? Our bodies? (Ummmm…wrong.)

And I know the bra hang up does make me sound shallow. But when you have had family members, coworkers, and even a boyfriend make comments (some straight to your face and others thinking you wouldn’t overhear) during your growing up years about your great lack in that area…well, a girl develops a bit of a complex. I mean, obviously it MUST matter since so many people felt the need to point it out.

Enter in looming (and sometimes landing) freak out mode. Not only is my bra size pretty unimpressive by worldly standards but NOW I am getting older too. Older, wrinklier, and squishier. Great. Just fantastic. (Of course, the more “me” I acquire as I get older, the more the bra size goes up. Not quite sure about that trade-off. Sigh.)

And this – this has always been a place of deep, deep insecurity for me. It is a place where I have to turn to the Father for truth. Because my worth? It isn’t found in any number associated with my body. Not the number on my scale. Not the number in my blue jeans. Not the number on my bra. Not even the number that tells just how old this body is.

My ultimate worth is found in a different set of numbers – as in 33 years spent in humble earthbound service instead of on a rightful heavenly throne. It is found in 3 nails piercing willing hands and feet and 6 excruciating hours spent hanging on a cross. The numbers associated with Jesus, who said I was worth dying for, are the only numbers that count. And while the numbers associated with my body will always fluctuate, those numbers connected to Jesus will never change. My worth is secure and Rock-solid in Him.

So I am having to remind myself of my true worth and what it is my husband really does and doesn’t need.

First, what he doesn’t need:

He doesn’t need a wife who wears a more impressive bra size. Seriously. Would he probably be okay if they were bigger? I am sure he wouldn’t be upset. But that would be a want, not a need. And for the record, my sweet man has never complained or commented once. He is so good to tell me how beautiful he finds me – from head to toe. This is about me having to learn that the sum total of my worth and beauty as a wife is not found in mammary glands – no matter how much my heart and the world has told me differently.

He doesn’t need my skin to be wrinkle-free. “I love you” sounds the same coming from a mouth surrounded by some extra lines. And you know what, it may sound even sweeter, because then it is a love that has endured the test of time.

My husband doesn’t need me to fit into skinny jeans. I won’t even dive deep into that subject. I have already written about those stupid jeans here. Do I need to take care of myself so I can have a long, healthy life with him and so I can present him with my best? Absolutely. But “healthy” for me is never gonna land this girl on a runway. Or a magazine cover. True story.

So what is it that he does need?

Here is what I have on my list so far, a list I am asking the Father to add to daily:

He needs a wife who loves, honors and respects him. Letting my words and my actions speak love, speak honor, speak respect. This means I will need to meditate on the things I love and appreciate about him instead of constantly making lists of hurts, offenses, and all the things I think he does wrong. This means guarding my thought-life about my husband because if I dishonor and disrespect him in my heart and in my head, I am going to end up dishonoring and disrespecting him with my words and my actions. I love 1 Corinthians 13:7 in The Message translation – love “trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end.”

He needs a praying wife. Praying for his health, praying for his safety, praying for his walk with the Lord, praying for him as he works, praying for him as a husband and a father, and yes, praying for him as he faces the bombarding images of other women. The enemy fights dirty and, as a wise wife, I need to pray for my husband. Not because I assume the worst but because I remember that the enemy is after me, after my husband, and after my marriage. Praying protection and wisdom for us both. Praying verses like Job 31:1James 4:7Romans 12:91 Corinthians 10:131 Peter 5:8-9 and Proverbs 5:15-19. Praying His Word is powerful – that’s why I have links for all of the verses in this post. So you can pray the ones that speak to your heart today too.

He needs a wife with a gentle and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:3-4). A wife who is able to “be still” and know that God is God (Psalm 46:10). I don’t need to fret about my body. I don’t need to freak out that he might notice that other woman. God’s Word tells me that fretting only causes harm. And that is so true. When I am all in a tizzy over my looks and over what other women look like, I am unhappy. I am moody. I am upset by the most ridiculous and unrelated things. A heart at rest in the Lord is so much more attractive than the one in continual freak out mode. The words found in Philippians 4:6-7 have become some of my go-to verses when I start feeling a little crazy instead of quiet.

He needs a humble wife – one who readily admits she isn’t perfect and continually lays her own heart before the Lord for inspection and correction (Psalm 139:23-24Psalm 19:12-14).  A wife willing to let God work on her issues instead of constantly finger-pointing at her man (Matthew 7:3-5).

He needs me to be his best friend – to laugh with him, to hang out with him, to pay attention to what makes him feel loved and special. He needs me to be on his team. To be his biggest fan. And when I feel upset with him or hurt by him, to take it to the Lord, asking Him to help me love him in those tough moments like God does – with a love like I mentioned earlier. A love that hopes all things and believes all things. A love that forgives and works to move forward (1 Corinthians 13:7Ephesians 4:32). Oh, and this friendship? It is the kind that actually should come with benefits, if you catch my drift. Intimacy is not only legal in marriage, it is to be enjoyed in marriage.

And ultimately, he needs a wife who fears God. Not a “shaking in some corner in terror” kind of fear. No. I mean a woman who reverences her God. A woman who knows doing life and marriage God’s way is the best way. A woman who releases control to her Father and takes Him at His Word. Because I am not going to get any younger. My physical beauty is going to fade in many ways. But if I stay in right relationship with God, if I press in ever closer to Him, if I choose to live by His ways and His Word, my inner beauty? It is going to grow exponentially.

And you know what?

I can do all of those things he needs no matter what my body shape or size. 

Listen, I am no marriage counselor. I am not saying I have all of the answers. I am also not saying I am good at all of this yet. I am simply a struggling woman approaching middle age trying to fix her heart on truth. There are still days I long to be physically beautiful by the world’s standards. I have cried very real tears about all of this. But if magazine-worthy outer beauty was able to sustain a marriage, then Hollywood would be the one place without divorce and infidelity. (Which it definitely isn’t.)  A seemingly perfect body is not the key to a thriving marriage.

I love my husband. He is an incredible man. And my heart’s desire? It is to be a woman he thanks God for more and more as I get older – no matter what is sagging, no matter what is wrinkling, no matter how little I fill up the top portion of a dress. I want to be a gift in his life. I want my worth settled in my heart, because there will always be women who are younger and more attractive than I am. I want to be a wife filled with joy, less prone to freak out and more secure in who she is in Christ.

If you are struggling with your physical appearance today, too, know that I am praying for you. You have been fearfully and wonderfully made. And what you have to offer the world isn’t your body. You are a beautiful daughter of the King, created in His image. You were designed on purpose and with purpose. You are chosen, accepted, and dearly loved (Ephesians 1:3-8). You are a precious vessel carrying Jesus – to your husband, to your family, to the world. (And these things are true even if your marriage is in shambles or if your heart is still longing for someone to pop the question. Our worth also isn’t found in whether or not we have a husband.)

Today, let’s press in close to the Father – the One who loves us without fail, the One who will never leave us or forsake us, the One who does not judge us by our outsides. Let’s rest fully in His love and let the beauty of a heart at rest in Him flow freely from our lives. Is that always an easy thing to do? No. But it will make all the difference in our lives and the lives we come in contact with when we choose to daily redirect our hearts to truth.

Love you all,
Kimberly

A Post For the Invisible, For the Uninvited, For the Ones Who Desperately Want a Seat at the Table

out6hWMI sat down and broke bread with a friend this week.

Flatbread.

Her sandwich involved fried jalapenos. Mine? Chipotle mayonnaise.

And sitting at a small metal table outside of a gas station (we’re fancy people, y’all), both my body and my heart were fed. We laughed and we reconnected and we talked about family and work and faith and…tables. Not the long stretches of wood with four legs attached to them. Not those kinds of tables.

We were talking about the “tables” so many of us long to sit at.

The executive tables.

The tables where the popular people sit.

The tables reserved for the people up front. The people who matter. The people who are big and smart and super important.

Those kinds of tables.

And we talked about how we can fight and claw and work and manipulate and schmooze our way into a seat, only to get there and find out it isn’t all we thought it would be. And sometimes we even look back and see the high price we had to pay (or that our family had to pay) – all so we could get a seat at that table.

And none of this is condemning leaders or those who are high up in whatever field they may be in. This isn’t me saying they got their seats the wrong way and they should be ashamed of themselves. Not at all. We need leaders. I need people smarter than me doing all of the important stuff I can’t do. (See. I just used the word “stuff”. I obviously need smarter people who use bigger words.)

For me, our conversation was a personal reminder that I need to check my heart on what I am striving for. It was one of those moments where you realize you need to decide what it is you really want to spend your one life on.

The Holy Spirit nudged me with a telling question on my way home from lunch.

Do you want to make a difference or do you want to be famous?

I shifted uncomfortable in the seat of my minivan.

Because did you know that there are “tables” in Christian circles?

There are.

And I have felt somewhat like I am in high school – this awkward and invisible girl who doesn’t seem to quite fit in anywhere and who feels so very small. I look around and I see all of the ladies who are the “in” gals. And they tweet out sweet messages about each other’s books and speaking engagements. And they post pictures of themselves together having a grand time doing things that look fabulously fun all while being ministerially important.

And a secure heart would celebrate.

But I confess, this heart isn’t totally secure just yet. And there are days I have had to quit looking at my Twitter feed or my Facebook page because it feels like I am looking at the popular table. The table I was not invited to.

And I told my friend that I know, I know I could push hard and promote and connect and try to make something happen. I could make my way to some table somewhere. But that isn’t God’s plan for me or His best for me right now. I know He will open the right doors at the right time and place me at the right tables. And if I push and move outside of His will, it will dearly cost me and cost the precious people at my table – my sticky, crumb and school paper covered kitchen table.

Do I want to make a difference or do I want to be famous?

Because if I want to make a difference, I already am.

I don’t mean that in some prideful or boastful kind of way. What I mean is that we are all making a difference. Of course, we get to choose whether it is a good difference or a bad difference. But we are all making an impact at the tables where we are sitting. Whether it is where we pull up a chair over dinner with our family and our friends or where we sit across from coworkers with our bag lunches or how we sit down and pull up close to talk about the things that matter most to us in places like this blog.

I – by simply being me and being obedient to Him and by making Him known in all that I say and do – am making a difference.

You – no matter how small you may feel – are making a difference.

And it’s really none of our business to try to count up how big that difference is. God knows what He is doing, and He doesn’t need us to tell Him He isn’t doing a good enough job employing our gifts and talents and abilities in this world. (Oh. My. Toes. Did that hurt anyone else???)

I feel slightly exposed writing this all out. Because obviously I wouldn’t be writing it if part of me didn’t want to be famous. If part of me didn’t want a place at one of “those” tables. If part of me didn’t want to matter in the way the world says we need to matter. But I don’t think I am the only one who has ever wrestled with this.

So, sweet invisible feeling sister out there, I just want you to know this:

You matter.

No matter what table you sit at. 

I have foolishly thought for far too long that to make a difference for His kingdom I had to make it “big”. That I had to have a booming blog with a massive following. I thought in terms of numbers. But God reminded me that He doesn’t think like I do (Isaiah 55:8-9). And His math is nothing like my math. (He would leave the 99 for the 1. Not exactly “make you popular” math. And He can take food meant to only feed one and feed thousands. Unbelievable multiplying math.)

I need to stop counting to see if I count.

I need to stop looking around at everyone else’s tables, pull up a seat and simply rest at His table.  

The table where I am always welcome.

The table where I get to feast on His presence and His Word and His love and His mercy and His grace. 

The table Jesus paid a high price for me to have a seat at (2 Corinthians 5:21).

The table where there is room for everyone but no room for egos (Ephesians 2:8-9).

We keep trying to get the world to tell us we matter, and all the while, there is a table set for us, daily waiting for us to come and feast on all that will truly satisfy. A table that declares we mattered enough to die for.

So this is where this girl repents – for sometimes wanting what the world has to offer more than what the Lord has to offer, for forgetting how precious and amazing it is that I have a seat at the table with the King of kings, for trying to steal a little bit of His glory for myself so the world can think I’m something, for the times I have worshiped the people at those tables instead of the only One deserving of my adoration.

And repentance sounds like some awful thing we should avoid, but it isn’t. It’s a beautiful gift. The gift of being able to let the filth of your choices and words and attitudes and actions slide right off of you so you can sit clean at His table, enjoying His presence (Acts 3:19).

The world’s most exclusive tables?

They don’t tend to welcome the filthy, the broken, the hurting.

The Lord’s table?

He not only welcomes you just as you are, He even offers to wash you clean, to bind you up, and to make you whole (1 John 1:9, Psalm 147:3Isaiah 61:1-3).

What an invitation.

Lord, help us to use our influence well. The influence we have at the tables where You have placed us. Help us to love deeply, to share all that we have and all that we are fully, and to spend our days making You known every chance we get, no matter where we sit. And instead of vying for a seat at some worldly table, instead of waiting for some elusive invitation, may we invite people to come and sit with us. To sit at Your table and to taste and see that You are good. We love you, Lord. You and You alone are deserving of all glory and honor and praise. Amen. 

I love you, friends. That you even come and sit and eat the words I serve up here? It is a gift. It is a blessing. And I humbly thank you.

And if this post resonated with you, I HIGHLY recommend reading Emily P. Freeman‘s new book, Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World, when it comes out in August. This book is teaching me more about actually embracing “smallness” instead of hustling so I can be Big and Important. The Lord is using it to give me so much beautiful permission – to be small, to be me, to be His, to just BE. I love Emily’s heart, and I am loving this book.

Learning to Live for HIS Glory and to REST in His Love,
Kimberly

*** Photo credit ***

The Truth About Nobodies and Somebodies

red carpetThat Jesus.

He’s really somebody.

The Son of God. 

The Alpha and the Omega. 

The Beginning and the End.

The One who is and who was and who is to come.

The Almighty.

And His list of titles, they can’t get any more impressive – Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

And the One who had every right to show up with cameras flashing and red carpet rolled out grand – because, hey, He’s the Word and He’s the One who was there with God in the beginning and He’s the One through whom and for whom all things were created – He showed up humble and small instead. The Son of God, wrapped in flesh destined to be pierced and torn to pay for the sins of this world. The Holy One, laying aside the advantages of His status, claiming no special privileges, willingly living a servant’s life. (Philippians 2:5-8)

And it hits me hard.

The great Somebody, the greatest Somebody ever, He became a nobody. For me. 

We live in this world that tells us we have to be somebody. We have to get our names up in lights or in the history books or on the covers of our own books. And we pound the pavement hard to make sure we are seen and we are known, to make sure someone can see that we really are somebody.

We can even try do it in in His name – as if only when we are really a somebody will we be able to reach anybody.

I’ve been that woman – working hard to be somebody, chasing hard after other somebodies, wearing myself out trying to make myself into somebody I’m not, into somebody they’ll love.

And I need to stop and say this – I’m not slamming writing books. I love books. I praise God for those who have written books that have fed my soul and helped me grow. Books should be written. Books need to be written. But they need to be written as an act of service, not as a means to be seen.

And I am starting to see –  

The Name above all names isn’t calling me to make a name for myself.

Because my name? It’s already engraved on the palms of His hands. (Isaiah 49:15-16) And my name? It may never make it into the history books, but it is forever written in His book. (Luke 10:20) And my name? It doesn’t hold the power to save, to heal, to set free. Only His name holds that kind of power. The name of Jesus.

And Jesus, the One who became a nobody for me – He isn’t asking me to become a somebody for Him.

He’s calling me to live a life patterned after His.

And He came to serve, not to be served.

He came for the sick, not for the well.

He came for the nobodies, not to try to impress the somebodies too puffed up and proud to even know they need a Savior.

He, the great Somebody, willingly showed up as a nobody. 

And I love this reminder from His Word:

“Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.”
Romans 12:16b, MSG

All of this – it settles my heart. It slows down my frantic pace to be and to do and to achieve and to impress.

It slows me down and reminds me to receive – to fill up on all that He offers instead of begging the world to make me feel like I’m enough.

It reminds me to see – to notice the ones who feel like nobodies, the ones who need to know they are somebody to Him and to me.

And it reminds me to love – to offer freely and fully to others what I have already been freely and abundantly given.

What peace and rest.

He doesn’t want us to wow the world. He wants us to love it, to serve it, to minister to it in His name. 

And we don’t need the world to notice us, because He’s already noticed and He’s always had His eyes and His heart set on you and on me.

So today, if you feel like a nobody in the world’s eyes, I want you to know this – it’s okay. It really is.

He’s in the nobody using business. (see 1 Corinthians 1:26-29)

And He became a nobody for you and you are somebody to Him and He wants to work in you and through you.

Humble, small, right where you are you.

We don’t have to be somebodies. We can be small and we can be His and we can do amazing things in His name. I’m pretty sure we will be amazed when we get to heaven, when actually we see the reach and the impact He had through us – a bunch of nobodies.

“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21, NLT

Blessings, dear friends,
Kimberly

The Day God Sent Me Home

A night with all of my friends from MOPS seemed like just what I needed. Weary from a long week of being Mommy, I headed out the door for a leadership retreat. Oh, the relief! I wouldn’t have to do bedtime. I wouldn’t have to fix breakfast in the morning. I wouldn’t have to do anything for anyone – at least not for anyone under 4 foot tall.

I was so ready for a break. I was ready to eat, ready to fellowship, ready to dig into the Word with my friends. What I didn’t realize was that the “break” the Lord intended for me was way more than just hanging out with friends.

He intended to break my heart. 

The first half of the retreat was nothing too eventful. Just lots of food and lots of laughter. It wasn’t until Saturday morning that the Lord began to reveal why I really needed to be at the retreat.

I smiled and happily prepared to take notes as our leader began to share her heart with us. She talked to us about our priorities when it comes to ministry, a reminder that MOPS can never be greater in our hearts than our families. I started to squirm. Okay, actually I started to feel like I couldn’t breathe. My family was not only supposed to be my main ministry, but my heart was supposed to be more for that ministry, the ministry of home, than it was for any other.

Tears began to pool in my eyes. I knew.

My heart was not at home.

I thought of how I walked around my house feeling put upon and burdened. My fuse was constantly short, my words consistently sharp. I had been resentful of my role as a mother, as a housekeeper, as a responsible adult. Ministering to those outside of my home seemed so much easier, the return so much quicker. And I was allowing guilt for all of the things I felt like I did wrong as a mom to push me away from home.

The more our leader spoke, the more my heart broke. I pictured my precious girls and the damage I was doing by not being fully there for them. Finally, I had to get up. It was leave that room or have my emotions explode all over everyone. I hurried outside and completely broke down. Not just a few tears. No tiny trickle. I cried so hard that I could scarcely catch my breath, hiccuping in gulps of air.

I poured my heart out in repentance before the Lord, telling Him over and over how sorry I was. Asking Him to forgive me for taking the blessing of my family for granted. Asking Him to heal my precious daughters from any hurts my selfishness and foolishness had inflicted. I don’t know how long I sat out on the back porch. All I know is, by the time I went back in, I was spent. I went to the bathroom, cleaned up my face, and then slipped back into the meeting. Thoroughly wrung out, I was a vessel ready to be filled.

Not long after I returned, it came the time in the retreat when we were sent to find a spot where we could each be alone with the Lord. A time to truly listen for His voice. I slipped back outside with my Bible and sat on the ground. All I could say was, “Woe is me. I’m undone. O Lord, I am undone.” I opened my Bible up to Isaiah 6. I felt like Isaiah, a person of unclean lips standing before the most holy God.

As I continued to read in the Word about Isaiah, it was if the Lord was pouring sweet salve over the brokenness of my heart. I grabbed onto the words of Isaiah 6:7, “Your iniquity is taken away, and your sin is purged.” I felt God telling me that these words spoken to Isaiah when the hot coal was touched to his lips were for me, too. My sins had been purged. They were gone.

Then, in the Word, the Lord speaks saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” (Isaiah 6:8) His questions for me echoed in my ears, “Whom shall I send to your children, Kimberly? Who will deal with them tenderly? Who will wipe away their tears and point them in the way they should go? Who will minister to your husband? Who will meet his needs? Who will care for your home? Who will serve with rejoicing and singing?”

My heart began to lighten with hope. I asked my own questions, “O Lord, really? Is it not too late? Have I not messed up too much?” But I already knew the answer. My sins were gone, purged. In His great mercy, He wanted to know if I would turn my heart back to my home.

From deep within me my cry rang out, “Here am I! Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8) I told the Lord that I was His. My hands, my feet, my heart – they were His. No more bitterness. No more discontentment. I wanted to go home. I could not wait to get home!

Please know God was not forbidding me that day to serve in ministries outside of my home. Nor was He telling me I couldn’t take breaks as a mommy. We all need a good break, times of sweet refreshing. What He was doing was dealing with some major heart issues. He was washing me with forgiveness and sending me back to my family with a heart prepared to serve.

Now I could try to put a cute bow on this and end it saying, “and they all lived happily ever after,” but that would not be truthful. There are still hard days. I still have to choose to serve the Lord with gladness. The laundry still piles up and my girls can still drive me a little nuts. (I am sure I drive them nuts too!) I still find writing more fun than scrubbing my toilets, and I still have to make sure I am teaching my girls about God’s Word and not just others. I am still learning. And, honestly, some days I do waaaaay better than others.

But I am forever thankful for and forever changed by the love He poured out on me that weekend. I am so glad He broke my heart. I am so glad God sent me home.

I’m finding out Dorothy was right – there really is no place like home.

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.”
Psalm 51:7,8 (NKJV)

“I know, O Lord, that Your decisions are fair; You disciplined me because I needed it. Now let Your unfailing love comfort me, just as You promised me, Your servant.” Psalm 119:75,76(NLT)

Trusting God With My Story

wheatI wonder what Ruth dreamed about when she was a little girl.  I wonder what her plans were, what her heart longed for. I wonder what life story she had mapped out in her mind. I am betting it wasn’t anything like her story ended up playing out.

Ruth who lost her husband.

Ruth who left her homeland and all that was familiar to follow her mother-in-law.

Ruth who chose the God of all creation over the gods of her family.

Ruth who went out to glean in fields unfamiliar to provide for herself and her mother-in-law.

Ruth who was diligent and humble and faithful.

I can’t help but wonder about her out in the fields. Did faith and fingers falter at all as she worked? Did any part of her heart cry out, “This is not my story! This is nothing like my dreams. O God, I do not understand what You are doing.”

I feel certain that is what my heart would have been saying.

Because I have been in that place before. I am in that place now. Where I have this story, this story of what I think I want most and how I think I want my life to turn out. But then painful situations come and things don’t go how I planned or expected and God calls me to do things that make no sense to my human reasoning. And I am seeing how I have this choice – the choice to trust God and His love and His ways and His leading OR I can try to go my own way, to forge my own stubborn path, to demand the pen to write all of this out the “right” way.

And while I may get what I think I want, I am seeing it will be a less than story.

Less than all He has for me and for my family.

Less than what He wants to do in and through my life. 

Ruth could have been angry. She could have refused to follow a God who would allow so much pain to come into her life. She could have thrown a fit, turned her back on God, and missed out on His plans completely. How thankful I am she didn’t. How grateful I am that she was an example for me – surrendering her story, trusting God with the details.

God was able to move in powerful ways in her life as she humbly and faithfully followed Him. He opened a door she never would have expected, placing her in the field of a kinsman redeemer, Boaz, who would take her as his wife. Placing her not only by Boaz’s side, but also placing her in the lineage of Christ. Welcoming a woman who was an outsider into His family forever. Welcoming her into HIS story. Tenderly tying her name to that of the Messiah for all eternity. (Matthew 1:5)

When all seemed lost, God still had a plan. When surely nothing made sense to Ruth, God remained sure and steady and true. 

I don’t know what is going on in your life right now. I don’t know if maybe you are having days, too, where you are saying to God, “This is not my story!” But I do know this – we can trust Him. We can trust the God Ruth trusted. We can trust a God who would send His own Son to redeem people who are covered in the filth of their own sin. We can trust a love that would endure the cross for us, a love that would go to such extreme lengths to restore us to right relationship with Him. We can trust a God who would write our names, the names of outcasts and outsiders, into HIS story.

We can trust Him. 

And that is what I am learning to do. When the days are crazy hard and don’t make sense, when God asks me to be faithful in the small things while my heart is wanting to run off and do “big” things, when He asks me to lay down things I want to cling to for dear life – I am learning to trust Him. To trust that His plans and His ways, they really are good – whether I can make sense of any of it right now or not. (So very glad tearful trust still counts.)

I love you, friends. May we trust Him with our stories. May we truly believe that His plans for us are far more fulfilling than anything we could ever imagine on our own. And may we be found faithful in the fields where He has us.

Blessings,
Kimberly 

Because God’s Word Is More than Comfort Food {Confessions of a Woman with Some Spiritual Fat}

There are posts that write easy. They fly off the tips of my fingers with passion and purpose. My heart pounds because I just can’t wait – to share the hope that I have, to share the revelation that has moved my heart to a place of joy overflow.

Then there are posts like this one.

Ones where maybe they are more for me than they are for you. Ones where I am not sure I want to make direct eye contact with my computer or with God’s Word before me. Ones where maybe it would be easier to just go about my day because once it is out there, it’s out there. And then I have to walk out what I’ve typed out.

But deep down I know it – I don’t want a less than life. I don’t really want to play it safe or easy. I don’t want to read God’s Word and walk away unchanged.

So we’ll start here – with the passage that stopped me in my tracks. Or, as you’ll see, maybe shoved me back on the track.

“Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through.That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” Hebrews 12:1-3, The Message

And while those verses are packed with more hope and truth than we could even begin to look at today, it’s one small phrase that gave me pause. It’s four simple words that made me start to squirm in my seat one morning last month.

No extra spiritual fat. 

No extra spiritual fat?

I had to stop and ask God what that even meant. And if I had any of it.

A conversation my daughters and I had just the day before came to mind. One of my girls had asked me what calories are, and we entered into a basic conversation about food and energy. We talked about how food is supposed to be fuel for our bodies, nourishing us and providing the energy we need to do things. I went on to explain that Olympic athletes have to take in way more calories than we do because of the crazy amount of energy they exert. Then we discussed how if we take in more calories than our bodies use up, that is when we gain weight. How turning to food for comfort instead of for fuel can be dangerous ground if we want to stay healthy.

And as I thought back on that conversation, sitting there with my own growing rolls of “extra me” folding over under my t-shirt (sigh), I started to feel very uncomfortable.

Oh, Lord, do we do this with Your Word? Do we put on race-impeding spiritual fat because we let it become nothing more than comfort food?

Conviction settled in because I know. I know I have eaten it before just so I can feel better. I have stuffed myself full before to cut the pain. I have been found eating it, hoarding it, and forgetting to use it – to bless, to step out in faith, to love, to reach others. Not realzing I am becoming spiritually fat because all I can think about is me and making myself feel better.

Yes, God’s Word makes us feel better. It comforts us. It heals us. It feeds us. It nourishes us. But His Word is meant to nourish us and fuel us. It is meant to give us the strength we need to walk, to run by faith.

How many times have I heard others say it? How many times have I said it? That a passage of Scripture moved me. Did it? Did it really move me? Not just my heart, but my hands and my feet and my life. Moving me to change. Moving me to love. Moving me toward others. Moving me to do His Will.

Because if God’s Word doesn’t move us to action, then maybe it never really moved us at all.

And I am not leveling this at anyone as an accusation. These are not meant to be hard and ugly words making you feel bad for turning to God’s Word for comfort. His Word comforts me and fills me and blesses me continually. I don’t ever want to stop turning to it for hope and help and healing and light. But I want to be sure that isn’t where I stop. Me, some spiritual couch potato, ever filling, never moving.

I write this today as a challenge. To myself. (For sure.) To you. (If you need it.)

Let’s ask Him to move us with His Word.

Not feeling a twinge of conviction and then going about our day.

Not shedding a few tears, writing in our journals, and then doing our own thing.

Let’s ask Him to move us. 

I don’t know what that is going to mean. Maybe for some it will mean being moved to forgive a hurt you have long held on to. Maybe it will mean sharing your faith with someone you keep feeling the nudge to talk to. Maybe it will mean going to another country or reaching out in your own neighborhood or loving in some hard and sacrificial way right there in your own home. Maybe it will be big. Maybe it will be small. Doesn’t really matter. We aren’t here to rate how we move. We are here to get into His Word, let it fill us and then let it fuel us. Let it equip us for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) Oh, and to do what the passage I shared tells us to do while me move – keep our eyes on Jesus.

I don’t want God’s Word to be reduced to spiritual comfort food. I don’t want to sit in my home and simply feast on it for myself. I want to be spiritually healthy. I want to run this race well.

I want God’s Word to move me. 

My husband is going to be home on vacation all next week, so I won’t be around the computer as much. But I will be praying about all of this – asking God how He wants me to move in response to His Word, asking Him to reveal my areas of spiritual fat. Will you join me? And if you hear from Him and choose to move in any way big or small, will you let me know? You can comment here or shoot me an e-mail.

People get excited all the time when they see others losing physical fat. How much more exciting would it be to cheer one another on in losing some spiritual fat? How exciting if we, this small group of people who gather around His name, moved? Who knows what kind of spiritual ripples we could make for the Kingdom.

And I would much rather make faith ripples than keep accumulating these lack-of-faith “dimples”. (Ahem.)

I love you, friends. Will it be a little uncomfortable as we use faith muscles we rarely use or that maybe we have never used? I am sure it will. Uncomfortable and maybe even painful. And I won’t lie, part of me is like, “Kimberly, do you really want to put this one out there? You do know that means you are gonna have to really walk this out, don’t you?”

But we have a God too good to keep to ourselves. We have a God too good to feast on alone. We have a love that should compel us to move.

Each and every day – move.

“Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear!” James 1:22, The Message

Asking Him to help me get up off my couch and move,

Kimberly