Saturday, September 28, 2013


"While life is not always simple, Jesus is"

This quote is taken from Hillary Rain's boo, and it was so striking to me. 

Life is very complicated. You get weird texts from your family and your job changes what it expects from you and sometimes you just don't know. 

But Jesus saves sinners. 


Always saved, always being saved. 

Saved from sin to Him. 

Saved to life. 

Saved to joy. 

It's mysterious and crazy but it is, in its own way, quite simple indeed. 

When nothing makes sense, Jesus does. I can look to Him as the author and finisher of my faith and know that it is well. I know Him as the solid rock on which I stand and as long as that rock is there, I cannot fall. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


I am tired of seeing marriage as the end point, put in place by church culture. I love love. I love marriage. I think marriage and I think gospel and oh how I love the gospel. 

But if we're encouraged to look to marriage as our primary goal, we're going to miss out. 

Boundless is an online magazine for Christians on dating, relationships and marriage, run by Focus on the Family. I have grown increasingly frustrated with it. It is so marriage-minded that I think they're starting to miss the point. Their panels feature people in their 30s who constantly complain about online dating and how they're not married yet. They feature people who call their singleness spiritual darkness, but now they're married and life is good. 

Perhaps without even trying to, they are raising up a generation of the churched to seek a spouse instead of the Savior, to find contentment in marriage instead of Christ, and to love the image of the gospel more than the gospel itself. I think there's a word for that last point; oh yeah, idolatry, you know, one of those commandments written on those stone tablets by God. 

And then they wonder why church attendance is low and why marriages are failing and why it's so hard for couples to serve The Lord. 

How different would this message be if they said, "Single? Choose today to love Jesus" I think it's great to hang out with kids and to serve in ministry and to be wise with your money and learn skills around the house. But if you do this at the cost of Jesus as your first love, then have you really gained anything? 

In Revelation 2, the church of Ephesus is called out by Jesus through John. He sees what they're doing, he praises them for their works, but then what does he do? He tells them that they have lost their love they had for him. If things don't change, their future looks pretty bleak. 

This goes to say that I think there are ways single people can prepare for marriage, but if we are not actively pursuing intimacy with Christ as our first love, it would seem that we will have gained the world only to lose our souls. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Grace Upon Grace

For from his fullness we have all received grace upon grace. John 1:16

What a verse.

The fullness of God, manifested in Jesus, who walked among us and imparted to us His Spirit, while living ever to make intercession for us. There is saving grace that brings life and the presence of God, but there are also moment by moment graces that we become aware of through that saving grace.

As I've prayed for my kids, not only have I come to dearly love them, but I have also seen the specific way each one shows me the gospel.

Jacinda will run away from whatever it is I want her to do. But I will say her name, calmly, firmly, and she looks at me and she comes. I know her name, just as God knows mine. He calls out to me when I run and that is grace.

Ella cries. She is deeply hurt, and longs to be held. When she's shrieking, I can say, "Ella. Do you need a hug?" And she wraps her tiny arms around me and calms down. This happens maybe 10 times in a 45 minute class. The Lord knows my hurt, and He bends down to me and draws me into Him. And that is grace.

Aiden is easily distracted. And forgetful. It took a few weeks, but I discovered that if I ask if he wants to hold my hand, we can walk through the obstacle course and he will do everything I ask of him. My Father takes me by the hand and leads me along the way I should go and that is grace.

Leonie plays the victim. But of course she never does anything wrong. God is there to save me from myself and my hypocrisy and that is grace.

Sophie is openly defiant. She knows what is wrong and does it anyway. See Romans 7. Paul. Sophie. Me. You. And Jesus died for that and lives for that and that is grace.

Maliyah is timid. She wants to come and partake and enjoy but she inches ever so slowly. And God says to me Come (Isaiah 55). Jesus says Come (Matthew 11, 19). The Spirit and the Church say Come (Revelation 22:17). And that is grace.

I could go on and on over my lists of kids and what they show me but look at the graces! Isn't it incredible? Parents thank me for teaching their children, but I thank them for bringing their kids to class. And sure, I complain sometimes and the kids misbehave and frustrate me but thanks be to God for continually bringing me back to Jesus and showing me His grace every time I need it.

O to grace.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


This morning I went to the Anchor School class on the Pauline Epistles. The few, the dedicated, meet when Zoka Coffee opens its doors at 6am. It's a Bible study, but it's the most intense Bible study pretty much ever. It's all about what it really means to be the church, and to be a mature church, and to be making disciples. I'm super excited.

This is my binder. 

This is next week's assignment. The week after, we get to read 12 books of the Bible as homework. Intense, I told you. 

After class, I had oh, about 4 hours til work, so I went grocery shopping and then I came home and put the groceries away and did the dishes and then Elizabeth woke up! And then I was nerdy and did all of my reading right away. BUt I haven't done the project yet; that's up soon. 

Loving my kiddos more and more all the time. 

O to grace! 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Last time I focused on my need for Jesus as a coach, and how I need his grace to absolve my sins and redeem my speech and actions for his glory. 

Today I was struck by another dimensions of depravity. People who say kids aren't full of iniquity haven't spent enough time around kids. They lie, they push, they invent stories, they disobey. All sins. And I was thinking about how my kids this morning were 3 and I'm 22 and they probably sinned at least 15 noticeable times in the 45 minutes a day and if you do that every day for your whole life, that's a lot. 

And yet Jesus says, it is finished. 

God says to Paul, my grace is sufficient. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Hundred Times a Day

People were given a direction for their good. They refused to follow that direction and actively rebelled against it. 

The fall? 

My life. 

It seems like a hundred times a day, my children actively disobey me. They can tell me what they should be doing, they can promise me they will do it, and then continually run off in the wrong direction. 

People need to be pulled by the hand and lead to joy and life. They must be pursued. 

The gospel? 

My life. 

When a child runs the wrong way, I bring him back. I take his hand and lead him step by step. I show her the way. And a hundred times a day, when she runs, I will bring her back and show her the way. 

A hundred times a day, I see the gospel playing out right before my eyes. I know that my kids will get more lasting joy by listening to me but all they can see is the moment of fun set before them. So they pursue their wants and I pursue them and when they listen they say, hey, that is fun. Thank you for teaching me gymnastics. 

And then next week, we will start over again because I need to see grace a hundred times a day and if disobedient children can show me Jesus, then I want them. I want to know them and love them and show them all the grace an patience with which God has led me. 

I drew them with cords of kindness...

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Out And About

I went to the high school football game. My girls were so happy to see me there. I was also poked by a six year old from the gym whom I've never coached but she just likes me. She asked me questions about the game and hung out with me. Her dad came down to meet me. I ran into a coworker there as well, and she introduced me to some of her friends. 

I regularly see kids from the gym at the library or farmers market. I ran into a girl from the children's center at a flea market today. 

It feels good to feel like I'm a part of the community here. It makes a big city feel much smaller. It's nice to work in the same place we live. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Redemption Accomplished and Applied

Steadily I plug along on the list of books I've created for myself. With the exception of With Reverence and Awe, each one has become an instant favorite. This John Murray classic is no exception.

I read two sentences and thought about them for the next hour,

"The accomplishment of redemption is concerned with what has generally been called the atonement. No treatment of the atonement can be properly oriented that does not trace  its source to the free and sovereign love of God"

I was particularly drawn to the unpacking of "free" and "sovereign". These two words are often matched as opponents, but here, describing the love of God, they work together. The love is free because as a sovereign Lord, God is in control and is able to give himself and his gifts at his own will, and in that freedom, God showcases his sovereignty. It's a beautiful, crazy, complicated thing.

Other quotes of note:

"God appeases his own holy wrath in the cross of Christ in order that the purpose of his love to lost men may be accomplished in accordance with and to the vindication of all the perfections that constitute his glory"

"Ransom is the securing of a release by the payment of a price"

"Christ did not come to put men in a redeemable position but to redeem to himself of a people"

I've been thinking on the application of redemption especially. As a teacher and coach, I have seen my need for Jesus in interacting with my students. If only I could begin to show them the grace, peace and patience my Jesus has shown me! I've also been reminded about what kind of love agape really is: it's a chosen love, that is not based on the worthiness of the loved. That means that even when my kids are being difficult on purpose, I'm supposed to love them the same as if they were being perfect angels! Man, that's tough.

I really take this job seriously when it comes to being there for my kids. My coaches were the light of my life and I'm seeing that come back to me. I was invited to a high school football game tonight to watch my cheerleaders in a halftime show, and then yesterday, my 9 year old friend Rachel said, very matter of factly, "Coach Kate, in a few weeks my school is having a carnival" I replied, "Yes, Rachel?" Rachel, "I was wondering if you'd like to come" I'm going to the football game, and I'm going to that carnival because I don't want to be just another person they see once or twice a week and move on. I want to build relationships, I want to know them.

So much of my job gets me thinking about my salvation and sanctification and my Savior! It's so cool to watch this all play out.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


The world probably doesn't need another 9/11 blog post today, but this was crazy: 

My preteen girls came to class today eager to ask me if I remembered where I was on that day, because they'd read in their books that people recalled even the smallest details. 
They were amazed and sat awestruck in their splits while I told them everything I remembered. 

Because guess what? Some of my kids were born that year. A lot of them were born after. One day, they will relate to the mindset list that will say "September 11th has always been an auspicious date". It was pretty insane to think that I am now the one who lived the history they've only read about. 

I was young, but I knew a before.

They live in the after. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Amped Ephesians

Just in case you've never had the chance to read this slowly, amplified -

And you [He made alive], when you were dead (slain) by [your] trespasses and sins

 In which at one time you walked [habitually]. You were following the course and fashion of this world [were under the sway of the tendency of this present age], following the prince of the power of the air. [You were obedient to and under the control of] the [demon] spirit that still constantly works in the sons of disobedience [the careless, the rebellious, and the unbelieving, who go against the purposes of God].
Among these we as well as you once lived and conducted ourselves in the passions of our flesh [our behavior governed by our corrupt and sensual nature], obeying the impulses of the flesh and the thoughts of the mind [our cravings dictated by our senses and our dark imaginings]. We were then by nature children of [God’s] wrath and heirs of [His] indignation, like the rest of mankind.
But God—so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us,
Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomingsand trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation).
 And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One).
He did this that He might clearly demonstrate through the ages to come the immeasurable (limitless, surpassing) riches of His free grace (His unmerited favor) in [His] kindness andgoodness of heart toward us in Christ Jesus.
For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God;
Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.]
For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship),recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].
Ephesians 2:1-10 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Have We Forgotten?

I am struck every one of the dozens of times this phrase or a variation thereof occurs in the Bible, 

And you shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt. 

Because in our world, it is really easy to forget, and hard to remember. 

Desiring God posted a controversial post ( on Ariel Castro's suicide. But if you call yourself a believer and you aren't convicted by it, you may need to consider not just if you've forgotten, but if you ever really knew. If you knew that you were enslaved to powers of sin and darkness. If you knew you had been deceived. If you knew you needed Jesus to reach down and rescue you because you could never get out alone. 

Parnell writes, "Castro’s suicide calls our cards to the table on who we are. Do we stand at a distance — across the divide as beings fundamentally different than him — looking at this story and saying, “God, thank you that I am not a monster like this man”?

Or do we stop? Do we bow our heads in sincerest sobriety, and pray, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner — capable of crimes the same as this man if my sin went unchecked and unrestrained by your grace”?"

That hit me like a ton of bricks. And drove me straight to repentance. Because I remembered. I remembered that apart from the grace of God I am as depraved as he is; sin is sin. 

I call to mind There Is A Fountain, where we sing, 

"The dying thief rejoiced to see/That fountain in his day/And there may I though vile as he/Wash all my sins away" 

Do we really remember that away from the shadow of the cross, without the cleansing of the blood of Christ, we are vile? 

And All I Have is Christ makes its second appearance on the blog, 

I once was lost in darkest night
Yet thought I knew the way.
The sin that promised joy and life
Had led me to the grave.
I had no hope that You would own
A rebel to Your will.
And if You had not loved me first
I would refuse You still.

But as I ran my hell-bound race
Indifferent to the cost
You looked upon my helpless state
And led me to the cross.
And I beheld God’s love displayed
You suffered in my place
You bore the wrath reserved for me
Now all I know is grace.

What fools we are if we think anything we do will ever make us good. Our only hope is fully contained in Christ's righteousness and we now live to glory God in Him. 

With Reverence and Awe

Today I read in Deuteronomy, 

Take care lest your heart be deceived and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them. 11:16

I wrote in my journal, 

Oh what an admonishment this is! I know the deceitfulness of my own heart, how easily I turn and create idols for myself with which to replace the Lord. How easy it is to worship Him in word only, and in actuality worship the things He created for His glory. 

I've started reading With Reverence and Awe by DG Hart and John R. Muether. I really enjoy reading books on worship, because I know that true worship glorifies God and humbles the human heart. I love reading about the biblical grounds for worship, and always find my hands forming the shapes of chords as I read.

I seriously cannot more highly recommend reading all of the books from the Take Up and Read "list", from the song Shai Linne and others. Every book, combined with regular reading of the Bible, works truth into my heart. Amazing. If you want a copy of the list, I'd be happy to oblige!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Retreat of Silence

If you google retreat of silence, the first result is from InterVarsity. 

IVCF USA has made these retreats a part of its lifeblood. Although the extroverts among us like to call it hanging out with God because silence can be a scary word for those folk sometimes. 

The idea behind it, though, remains: spend extended time alone with The Lord. You leave your phone, your iPod, your distractions at home and you get quiet and real before your Father. 

I had my first ROS experience at Fall Conference two years ago when I served as an intercessor. I think I also had my second, third, and fourth ROS there too ;) 

I decided, after a day of projects like stool painting, chair upholstery, and table assembly that this was what I needed. 

Before I started, I sat down at a Starbucks and wrote, 

As I prepare for this retreat into God's presence, I think about where I'm at. It's not that I feel terribly dry or frail or far from Him; it's just that I want more. I feel like I'm in a pool that's about five feet deep and my feet are touching the bottom but I could still swim if I wanted, but I want to drown. I want to live submerged. 

I went out on the BG trail along Lake Washington and score a bench with a view. I stilled by it and poured out my heart like a stream connects to its basin. And I drank deeply from the fountain of Living Water. Isn't that something? In Lamentations we're urged to pour out our hearts like water before The Lord and then in John, Christ tells us He is the water and invites us to drink from Him and receive life! We give up ourselves to take what He gives us. 

I read 3 chapters, slowly, in that worn out, underlined/circled/starred beyond readability, falling into pieces Amplified of mine: Isaiah 53, Hosea 2, and John 16. 

Isaiah 53 always brings me to the deepest repentance - the confession of sin, the reason to turn from them. 

Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses and distresses) and carried our sorrow and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] consider Him stricken, smitten and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy]. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole. Verses 4-5

I know it is a bold claim, but Hosea 2 may be the most powerful proclamation of the Gospel in the Old Testament. I'm not saying this because Hosea's my favorite book; I think Hosea is my favorite book because this is true. 

For she has not noticed, understood, or realized that it was I [the Lord God] who gave her the grain and the new wine and the fresh oil, and who lavished upon her silver and gold which they used for Baal and made into his image. Verse 8. 

What did our parents do? They turned the gifts their Maker gave them into a form of self-worship. 

And what did the Father accomplish in Christ? 

Therefore, behold, I will allure her and bring her into the wilderness, and I will speak tenderly and to her heart. There I will give her her vineyards and make the valley of Achor [troubling] to be for her a door of hope and expectation. And she shall sing there and respond as in the days of her youth and as at the time when she came up out of the land of Egypt. Verses 14-15

And if we needed another reason for why Jesus came, there's always John 16...

Up to this time you have not asked a [single] thing in My name [as presenting all that I AM]; but now ask and keep on asking and you will receive, so that your joy (goodness, delight) may be full and complete. Verse 24. 

And this while reading A Call to Spiritual Reformation by DA Carson, a book that explores prayer in Paul's life. 

It made my heart sing all the way home. 

What a friend we have in Jesus 
All our sin and shame to bear
What a privilege to carry 
Everything to Him in prayer 

On Christ the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand

These are not tears of sadness or pain
These are the tears of one who knows grace