Saturday, October 29, 2011

Blessed Be Your Name

Today, because of God's recent calling on my life, was unexpectedly my last cross country race, and I was feeling pretty bummed about that. I love my team, and racing, and just everything about Beloit College cross country. I never thought it would be cut short.

But do you know what, the Lord met me. I woke up this morning before the race for a long prayer time, and He showed me the ways that He had fulfilled the desires of my heart before I even knew what they were. This call isn't just obedience (although that should be enough, and it was enough for me to follow it), but it was an answer to a prayer I hadn't thought of yet. How incredible is that? Even yesterday as we practiced on the course, I experience God in such a beautiful and holy way. I ended up praying for the Holy Spirit to move in the hearts of others the way He had in mine. Today, during the race, in the times I was most tired, I literally felt swept away by Christ's strength and sovereignty. I felt inhabited completely by His Spirit. It was so amazing, I hardly have words for it.

Before the race started, I decided to make Blessed Be Your Name the soundtrack for the race. It made me think about how blessed I am, and how much I have to praise God for. And it also reminded me that He gives, and He takes away, but through it all, we can choose to say: Blessed be Your name. The Lord just never ceases to amaze me.

This is the version I have on my iPod. Yes, I know this is the Newsboys and that Matt Redman is the writer/originator, but I love the Scripture he speaks at the end!

A man’s steps are from the LORD;
how then can man understand his way? Proverbs 20:24

and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:5-8

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fullness of Blessing

And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants, 'Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. Luke 15:21-22

I have always loved Luke 15, for the pursuit for what we love: the shepherd after his lost sheep, the woman for her coin, the way the father rejoices when his son returns home. But last night, I noted something completely different about the parable of the prodigal son, about the incredible way the Lord relates to us, His people.

We mess up all the time; it's nearly impossible not to recognize our own failures and unworthiness. In some manuscripts, the prodigal son asks to be treated by his father as a hired servant, not a member of the family. We too, come crawling back to God, wounded and desperate. And he far surpasses our petitions and expectations. He not only picks us up, but He turns us around and sets our feet on solid ground. He doesn't just fulfill our most basic needs, He gives us the fullness of His blessings!

It's amazing the ways the Lord blesses us. But most of all, He gives us Himself. Try as we might, we can't find joy outside of Him. What a God we serve who delights to fulfill our hearts.

“The reason why it can never succeed is this: God made us, invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on gasoline, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.” C.S. Lewis

He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
Psalm 40:2

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Listening to the Lord

Life-changing stuff coming here.

When I prayed about where to go to college, I was under the impression that I would be there for four years, hopefully taking a semester to study abroad, and then the Lord would show me the next step. But this line from Not A Fan, by Kyle Idleman keeps floating in my head, "When is the last time that you allowed Jesus to mess with your plans?"

This summer, Generations of Virtue told me they were going to be piloting a gap year program in the fall of 2012. As they explained the program, I nodded along; it sounded like an awesome idea. And then they asked me to consider coming out to write the curriculum/run the program. Honestly, at this time, I blew it off. I didn't want to think about it and I sure didn't want to pray about it. I didn't even want to hear what God might say.

Well, when I was out there for fall break, it became pretty clear this subject wasn't going to just disappear. I even sat in on a gap year meeting and did a little research. The whole time I was thinking, "Ugh! Why? Why can't I just go to school and be a witness here like we planned?' Of course, I could almost see the smile on God's face, "You mean, like you planned"

On Saturday, God gave me the verse Psalm 16:11. This verse is in 3 parts, and I felt Him highlighting the third part: at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. I understood that I can't have the delight of my heart apart from Him.

Sunday, it was time for part two: in your presence is fullness of joy. Ok, remain in Christ in order to have unshakable joy. Got it, I mean my life verse is Acts 17:28 after all.

And Monday, oh Monday. Monday was part 1: You make known to me the paths of life. But it didn't end there. We went to the amplified 1 Thessalonians 5:18b: For that is God's will for you in Christ Jesus (the Revealer and Mediator of that will) and Luke 5:11b They left everything and followed him.

I figured it was time to check in with my advisor to see if it was even possible to take the fall off and graduate on time. And wouldn't you know it, if I drop my French major down to a minor, I'll have exactly enough credits to graduate. How great.

I'm scared, I'm uncertain, and I'm working my way to excited. I know these verses don't leave room for argument, but this is not the easy road by any means. Breathe and relax, and rejoice in my Love one day at a time, I suppose.

Thank You, Lord, for all You've done and the ways You've chased after my heart to draw it closer to You. Provide for me clarity to know Your will and the strength and courage to carry it out. In Jesus' name, Amen

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11

And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him. Luke 5:11

Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

And He said to all, If any person wills to come after Me, let him deny himself [disown himself, forget, lose sight of himself and his own interests, refuse and give up himself] and take up his cross daily and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also]. Luke 9:23

Sunday, October 23, 2011

God Speaks

Yesterday I went out for a walk in the mid morning. Seeing the sun top the mountains is so beautiful. After all the emotion of the night before, I really wanted to hear what the Lord had to say.

This is what I heard from Him:

Kate, I am here. I am all that you need. I knew what I was doing when I gave you the family and past that I did. I know you sometimes wish that things had been different, but I have never left you. I have such wonderful plans for you, Kate. I had to create holes in your heart, that you would seek Me to fill them. I am with you, Kate, and I will never leave you. I think such high thoughts toward you. I am always open to you; I wait patiently for you to run into my arms and be quieted by My great love for you. I have written My cross on your heart, so that you would know the depth of My love for you. I am all that you need. Love, your Father, King, and very best friend.

The Lord spoke right to me to say that I am in Him. My life verse says that in Christ, we live and move and have our being. It's good to have this painted freshly on my heart.

"This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held"

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the LORD, "You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you."
As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.

The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.

The LORD is my chosen portion and my(G) cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

I bless the LORD who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me
I have set the LORD always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16

Friday, October 21, 2011

Save Me From Myself

Colorado has been such a blessing. Every time I come visit my friends, I am amazed at the new things the Lord wants to show me.

Like last night. A lot of the team has testimonies on the Culture Shock website (a book they wrote), about living lives in purity and walking with God. This week, it was decided that I was going to film a testimony. I started prepping on Monday and was scheduled to film on Thursday. I couldn't decide which way I wanted to tell my story. I kept getting blocked. I wrote it out, practiced, but it didn't feel authentic. So come film time, I was kind of a mess.

I went down to the studio with an amazing friend of mine, Courtney. I was supposed to pick a word that described my testimony (examples like mercy, redemption, faithfulness). I didn't even know my word yet! She gave me a look, but eventually I picked sovereignty. As we did the screen and audio tests, I got so nervous. I was not ready. What was the problem? I'd told this story before, even to Courtney. Ok, so she prayed over me (Thank You Lord!) and it was time to start.

My name is Kate, and this is my story. So far so good. But it went downhill from there. As I talked about some of the messy things growing up, like my parents, I kept crying. Now, for these videos it was ok to cry as long as it didn't interfere with people hearing your story. I could pause and regain composure if I wanted. Well at one point it was so bad, we had to turn the camera off. By the time I choked by way through the story, it was not very usable. She let me cry on her. She affirmed that this was stuff that had to come out, and I couldn't just shove it down. Once I calmed down some, Courtney remarked how I had managed to make a small, backless stool comfortable. I laughed and said that's what I do. She wisely said, making things comfortable doesn't fix the problem. We sat for awhile before she gave me some choices.Courtney looked at me and said I could either do it again, have someone else in the room with me, or tell it from the 3rd person. I told her I needed to get on prayer before anything else happened.

Exodus 15:26b says For I am the Lord who heals you. That's what God wanted to do. But He needed me to give Him my wounded heart. I could just hide things away; I had to draw them out into the open. And wow, do I hate doing that! I'm perfectly content to keep pressing forward pretending things are fine. But that's not how we grow. I am so thankful for this home, and for Courtney especially for allowing the Holy Spirit to move through her.

So I got off prayer, and it was time for dinner. After dinner was all cleaned up, it was time for Tim's testimony. His went off without a hitch. I was up for round 2. We did the screen tests, and shot the fluff footage. Then Courtney left the room and let me record by myself. Having her there highlighted the rawness of it all.

Later, Court and I were hanging out playing guitar. When we finally declared bedtime, she said, "Is it going to be ok" Me: "I think so". Court: "And not just push everything back down?" Me: "Noooo", to which she said, "Don't lie!"

Working through my past is a process. I don't get it out there once and that's that. I have to continually rely on the cross to define me and to shape my life.

Lord, thank You for saving me from myself and the hurt I try to hide behind. Thank You especially for Your faithful servant Courtney and all the ways You move in her. I love You, Lord.

Kiddo quote of the day "Sing a song in tongues! A worship song in tongues!" Alissa, age 10.
Only at the Generations of Virtue House

The LORD your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:16

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Child's Praise

I am not one to underestimate children. I take God at His word when He says that we are to have child-like faith (Matthew 18:3), and where do you learn best about how to do this than from children?

Yesterday, my friends and I were all around the house working on different projects when we received a visitor, 4 year old Mikayla from across the street. Since I am the novelty, it didn't take long for her to place herself right in the middle of my workspace. Kids are really good at entertaining themselves, so after she'd posed questions about my computer and the pictures she saw, she took to chattering happily away at the seat next to me. Then, as I was immersed in an article, she starts telling a story about God talking to her. She heard Him speaking her name, and she told me about how she wanted to listen to Him and spend more time with Him. This captured my attention. I was struck by how such a small girl could truly know a big God.

Then, at bedtime, she announced that she wanted me to put her to bed. For this one, bedtime is often a challenge. Getting pajamas on went smoothly, and we went back downstairs to say goodnight to everyone else. Mikayla got a bit sidetracked and had grandma read her a story before choosing another book to take upstairs. As I followed her up to her room, the other adults told me to take the angels with me, as now the hard part would set in.

I sat with her in a rocking chair and read to her about her favorite subject, horses. Then she asked if we could sing a song. I happen to know that she loves "The Wonderful Cross", so I queued my phone up to the part where the chorus repeats several times and we sang along. Then she got into bed, and I pulled the covers over her. I told her it was time to pray, and asked if it was ok if I prayed for her. She said yes, and so I prayed, "Dear God thank You so much for Your princess and daughter Mikayla. Help her to sleep well and have nice dreams that let her to see You. We love You so much, Father. In Jesus' name, Amen". Then it was her turn, "God, I love You. Thank You for Kate. I love her infinity. Help me fall asleep fast and have no bad dreams. Amen"

Simple things like this make me overwhelmingly thankful. I was recapping my last two days on my run this morning when I was hit by the sun rising over the mountains. I became so aware of how I lacked the words to accurately praise the Lord for all I was feeling. I can't say anything that He hasn't heard already. The words of my heart are nowhere near enough to give praise for His goodness. But it's all I have, so I lift it up, so aware of my own unworthiness.

There's no video for this song, and I don't feel like making one, but please listen to it. Or at least read the lyrics

I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant; for I crossed over this Jordan with my staff, and now I have become two companies. Genesis 32:10

Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Hebrews 13:15

Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, Psalm 50:14

Give to the LORD the glory due His name;
Bring an offering, and come into His courts.
Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness!
Tremble before Him, all the earth. Psalm 96:8-9

Monday, October 17, 2011

Forever Blessed

Nothing like a 2:30 am, wake up call to start fall break off right. I caught an early flight to see my friends in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It's been just one day, but I'm already amazed at how blessed that I am.

My friend Kate picked me up at the airport in Denver, and we had an awesome time just chatting as we got to the Springs. Most of the people I'm here to see live in two houses across the street from each other. I went to the first house, and got stuck. It's not that we were doing anything in particular; it's hard to describe what felt so good. Then I went across the street. With 5 girls from 4-17, things can be a little crazy so when I walked in, there was some ruckus already. Then the oldest said my name, and ran downstairs as the youngest heard from the living room and came running over. They'd sent me a video for my birthday, and Mikayla, their 4 year old said, "Happy birthday Kate the great! I missed it!" At dinner, she sat between her mom and I and said, "These are my favorites. I love them forever", as I had Hana, their 8 year old, on my lap. I ran errands with one of the big kids, Beth, which was great. She helps take care of the kids, so her and I hardly get any time alone together. Then it was family dinner where Alissa, 10, and Stacia, 14, tag teamed saying grace. After dinner, we had a "family activity" - puzzle wars. 2 teams each work on a puzzle to see who can get it done faster. Then I watched a movie with some of the big kids, after we figured out which movies we had Clearplay filters for ( it skips the inappropriate parts of movies).

And I went to bed, thanking the Lord with all that I am. I am nowhere near worthy of these tremendous blessings. I don't deserve any of this. I should be enslaved to sin and darkness, but Jesus took that upon Himself and instead gave me the freedom to bask in His life.

I woke up with this song in my head, "You are good, You are good, when there's nothing good in me...Light of the world, forever reign" Because God reigns forever, we are forever blessed by His presence.

Lord, thank You for all of this, of which I could never be worthy. You grace is a mystery, but it is also sufficient, Lord. I love and praise You forever for who You are. In Jesus' Name, Amen
For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. Isaiah 44:3

Saturday, October 15, 2011

In Christ

As I said before, I've had a really exhausting week. Today we left for our cross country race at 6:15am, when the campus was dead as a doornail. I don't leave my room without getting into the Word, so I read a few chapters of Hosea (by now, y'all should know how I feel about Hosea) and Psalms.

On the bus, as the sun was rising, I was continuing my reading of Hosea and one of my new favorite songs came through my headphones. I was thinking about how spectacular our relationship is with our Maker, that through the cross, we are made to be the bride of the Lord. We "play the harlot", acting as mistress to so many things and people. We look everywhere but to God, when He is truly the One that we need.

When I'm on the bus like that, I'm not totally aware of my location. But I always know that I'm in Christ, that He's called me His own. He chased after my heart so hard that He gave His life to win me over. And it was never about me; I think that's the best part. It was to show that there is one God and one love. And we live in Him.

I'm going to type out the lyrics that moved me this morning:

Dwelling Place - Gateway Worship

You excite me
You surprise me
You pursue me
You move me
Like a whirlwind You lift me
Like a whisper You kiss me

For in You I find my dwelling place
In You I find amazing grace
In You I find security
Jesus You're all I need

I am standing
And not falling
'Cause You're ending
What You're starting
You won't leave me
Or deceive me
You'll always guide me
Always hide me in You

For in You I find my dwelling place
In You I find amazing grace
In You I find security
Jesus You're all I need

“ I will betroth you to Me forever;
Yes, I will betroth you to Me
In righteousness and justice,
In lovingkindness and mercy;
I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness,
And you shall know the LORD.
“ It shall come to pass in that day
That I will answer,” says the LORD;

“I will answer the heavens,
And they shall answer the earth.
The earth shall answer
With grain,
With new wine,
And with oil;
They shall answer Jezreel.
Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth,
And I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy;
Then I will say to those who were not My people,

‘ You are My people!’
And they shall say, ‘You are my God!’”

Hosea 2:19-23

for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring' Acts 17:28

For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Nothing Else I Need

Last night, I was in a really drained place. It's midterms week and I haven't been sleeping very much at all. Add to that the fact that our cross country coach switched up our routine. We usually do two easy runs Monday, a hard workout Tuesday, and two easy runs or cross training on Wednesday. This week Monday and Tuesday were more or less the same, but Wednesday we went easy in the morning and then hard again in the afternoon. I was so sore and completely wiped.

When my friend came over to practice for worship at InterVarsity last night, I was minutes away from being asleep. She offered to just figure something out so I wouldn't have to lead and could just go to sleep instead, which I did appreciate her kindness. But when our other friend got there, I figured I'd see how things went.

And I was amazed. Even though I was running on less than empty, when we got our guitars and drum going, I could feel the Lord pouring Himself into me. His glory gave me strength and restoration. God gave me the ability to praise Him and be made new. At InterVarsity a bit later, it intensified. Lifting up my heart with my brothers and sisters fulfilled and sustained me like nothing else.

Jesus took the cross that in Him we would live an abundant life, filled with peace, confidence, and joy. He came to wipe out the pain our sin has caused us, to carry our burdens and remove them from our mind. The more I seek the Lord, the more I know Him. I crave this overwhelming sense of healing and restoration that only He can provide. I am so satisfied in His presence; I have no other needs.

And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. Isaiah 58:11

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Lord, You Move Me

After an amazing, crazy blessed weekend, things had finally settled down, and I was in need for some recharge time. I queued up my iPod to my soothing worship playlist of the moment, and set out for a walk. But as I was walking to the park, I was just completely swept away in how truly incredible the Lord is. The cross is the picture of eternal love, a portrait of redemption by a perfect Savior who was willing to take my punishment.

That kind of thing is so powerful, and something about tonight was making it extra special. Maybe it was because my sister visited this weekend, maybe it was spending time with my wonderful friends (and making some new ones), but in that moment, I'd never felt more loved. It wasn't enough to sing - I was compelled to dance. I took my sweater off, clipped my iPod to my hip, and just moved freely. I'm not trained in dance, but I took classes as a gymnast to improve my choreography. Lyrical dance to me is so smooth, and even though it's physically hard, it's relaxing for my mind. It didn't matter who saw me; this dance wasn't for anyone but the Lord. I was using my whole body to empty my heart in praise. So lovely, so wonderful, there are hardly words.

Lord, how I love You. You move the deepest parts of my soul. You amaze me more each and every day, Jesus. I want to touch You; I want to do something that makes You smile, Lord. I want to be able to pour out my whole self to You at all times, to just give You everlasting glory and praise and honor. Thank You for music, Lord, and for the song in my heart that demands a dance to go along. That was so beautiful; God I am in awe of Your beauty and wonder. In the name of my Savior I pray, Amen

Let them praise His name with the dance; Let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp. Psalm 149: 3

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Romans 12:1

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Faithful Blessings in Disguise

As a runner, not being able to run is not fun at all. Sure, we have highs and lows, but for the most part, we want to run. So when I got hurt on Monday, I was bummed. I was resigned to cross training (biking or aquajogging) for at least 3 practices, and the trainer said we'd go from there. I was not happy about this. Aquajogging is one of the most terribly boring exercises in existence, and a stationary bike, please!

But on Tuesday, my sister called and asked if she could come for a visit this weekend. Since I don't have a race, I said of course. And do you know what, my hour long aquajog session turned out to be an awesome time to pray for her and for this weekend, as did my double sessions on the bike. Being injured just gave me more time to seek the Lord, what a tremendous blessing. Only He knew that my sister would be coming, and that we needed some prayer. So faithful!

Lord, I thank You for being present in even what seems to me to be less than ideal circumstances. It's all part of Your plan; I am the work of Your hand, Lord. Bless this time with Jessica, and I pray that You would do whatever it takes that she would see and know You. Your love is better than life. Amen.

For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 1 Corinthians 2:11

O LORD God Almighty, who is like you? You are mighty, O LORD, and your faithfulness surrounds you. Psalm 89:8

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A New Song

What does the Bible mean when it talks about a new song? I did a search on and got 9 results: 6 from the Psalms, 1 from Isaiah, and 2 from Revelation.

I was mulling all this over. Why do we sing a new song? What's wrong with the ones we had before? What changes? Why sing at all? Where do we get this new song to sing?

I think the last result from Revelation is key

They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth. Revelation 14:3

This new song gets sung before the throne of God, of Jesus Christ our Savior. Only the redeemed are able to sing this song.


Because when we are redeemed, and we accept God's grace, we automatically want to worship Him. But we, in our broken condition, don't have a way to truly communicate with our Maker. So when we come to know Jesus as Lord, He gives us a new song to sing. It's His way of changing our hearts to make us want to give praise to Him the way He deserves it. We learn our new song by sitting at the feet of our precious Savior. He writes it into our hearts, a love song between Christ and His Bride.

Sing to the LORD a new song, And His praise from the ends of the earth, You who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, You coastlands and you inhabitants of them! Isaiah 42:10

He has put a new song in my mouth— Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the LORD. Psalm 40:3