Saturday, November 24, 2012

How to Really Inspire

Mama's shouldn't just sit on the shore lines.

I sat there in a cheap lawn chair - watching my oldest two tinker with gulf water.

My shoes on and laced tight - they weren't coming off. I made a proclamation years ago - that I would never let the souls of my feet step on ground I couldn't at the beach. Because you never know when you will step on a jellyfish or a crab or a broken piece of glass or something.

Better safe than sorry.

But slothing there on the warm shore - watching my kids really live -  my husband walks up all barefoot and sandy and says, "Come on, babe. Take your shoes off."

And right about that time - I look up and see my oldest inching closer and closer to bigger waters - and farther and farther away from me. One of us is about to have a thrill - and it's probably not gonna be the one all safe in her cheap lawn chair...

So before I even knew what I was doing - I unraveled the laces and slipped off the socks. I rolled up my jeans mid-shin and I left the chair and headed toward the water - where my children had been playing silly and laughing happy all afternoon.

And this is huge. Normal and expected for most beach-goers, but new and brave for me.

After daring to step on unseen ground - and splashing in washed up water (and loving it!)....and basking in fresh sun...the Spirit spoke clear. (Because He tends to do so when we choose to step out into the uncharted. He tends to speak loud when we step in places we can't see - simply because we hear Him calling. God's presence seems to be thickest when we push past what's known, what's calculated, what's safe.)

Abandoned chairs and left-behind-sand-buckets and and swept-out-to-sea-sand-shovels are a good, beautiful thing. It means their owners decided to dive in - no longer content to just see the waves - but needing to feel them. It's all in the experience.

And do we have any idea what kind of an impact this has on our offspring? Do we have any idea the damage done and the limits drawn when we don't cannon-ball right in?

Our kids will go so much farther in life - when we are out there with them. Making a splash in the world does much more for our kids than clapping does. When you're sitting on the sidelines just yelling for them to go out and make big waves....there's really not much power in that. Children need to see their elders contributing, risking - to know how to do it themselves.

Mama's (and grandmama's and aunts and cousins and friends) should not just follow the babes around - making them the center of the universe. Mama's (and grandmama's and aunts and cousins and friends) should get out there and really live this wild journey. Because when kids see us serving and loving and focusing and disciplining and sacrificing and doing - they see a life lived out well....and they'll want to join you. And they'll want to surpass you. And this is good. It's what we should want.

All too often our children beg us to get up and join them - instead of us getting up, rising up, showing up - encouraging them to join us. And this is a travesty.

So let's start today.

There are great big seas to see. And great big waves to ride. And lots of children to inspire - three of them live right here under my wing. But am I flying them anywhere?

I must remember - while it might not be 100% safe - while it might make me weary tired at times....while it might mean that little bits of the beach will end up in every corner of my mini man - while it might mean that my clothes are gonna get least my soul won't run dry.

And neither will theirs.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


I'm sitting here listening to the whir of a ceiling fan thinking back on Sunday, and wondering what tidbits would be good to share here.

I think I'll start with cinnamon toast....

With the one hour time difference added to the time change - my children now think they should spring from their beds well before the sun breaks we got up pre-dawn, put some tea on, and made breakfast.

While I'm not usually a big fan of fatty cooking - I bent the rules a bit and made real cinnamon toast. I did, however, use less butter than the recipe calls for - just to make myself (and my arteries) feel better. It was devoured in a matter of minutes. Anytime you combine things like cinnamon and nutmeg and butter and vanilla and then smear it across a loaf of something only to bake and broil it in an's probably going to taste good. And it did.

So, with full bellies we ventured off to church.

And church was nice...just about as weird as I thought it would be...but we made it. There were no meltdowns. (There almost on.) The kids had super nice teachers. The sermon pierced me and I'm still reeling over it. (Sermons should tear at us for a while, you know. They should hang around long enough to change us for good.) The people were kind and I only freaked over one thing:

When I looked up on stage and saw six large cups filled with juice - I reasoned that we were taking communion that day. Awesome. But then I also reasoned that there were only six cups....and I got this picture in my head of everyone in my section going up and drinking out of the same one. Oh mercy....this would cause me to have fits. (Hello, germs.) So I leaned over to my husband and said....."There are only big cups of can't mean that we are all..." and before I could even finish he said, "They are for dipping.....not drinking".


Whew! Meltdown and fit avoided.


Worshiping with a different body of believers was a smidge brought some made me want to be at my old church - but all in all we grew as a result. And we will do it over again next Sunday.

Because fellowship and learning and congregating and corporate worship - they are all designed to be a part of the Christian life.

In Ohio and here. Help me with the change, Lord. I need it.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

This Sunday

I'm rummaging through boxes and suitcases tonight - looking for clothes that my kids can wear to church tomorrow.

And it feels weird.

Settling into our rent house - over a thousand miles away from the only church my little blondes have ever hits me hard....

I'll walk into a church building tomorrow and I won't know how to sign my kids up for class. I won't know what kid to drop off where. I won't hug hardly any necks and I won't be able to ask about anybody's Mama - because I won't know their Mama. I won't talk to anyone about last week's connect group, I won't speak to anyone about the next women's event, I won't leave my seat to intercede during prayer ministry time, and I won't wave at anyone on my way back out to the van.

And tonight....this makes me sad. A little excited to see what God has planned for us here.....but vulnerable and timid and nervous.....and sad.


(With Jesus there is always a 'however')

....when we bust out of what's known simply because we feel like God told us to.....He shows up in all kinds of crazy ways....

....peace, provision, calm, joy.

And this is what makes it all worth it. He's proven Himself so faithful to meet us out on the limb.

Nothing compares, really.

So tomorrow, I'll slip my Bible into my over-packed book bag, pray over services here and there, dress my kids in wrinkled clothes, drive down some highways with the help of a GPS, walk into a church building with that 'I'm new and completely lost' look, drop my children off with teachers I do not know, listen to a sermon with scriptures read from a different translation, inquire about all kinds of things from service opportunities to first and last names, and then I'll buckle all of my kids back into their seat belts - and we'll talk about what they learned that morning...and what they are going to do with it.

Because yes, He has us here to experience.... and He will accomplish those things even if I am feeling a tad out of it.

Especially if I'm feeling a tad out of it.

Because getting outside of ourselves is where He really wants us.

And He is giddy about revealing Himself to us there.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thoughts on James

I got up early and sat down in the corner chair. Dawn was breaking, and proof of it had already started to leak through the hotel curtains.

I sat there - with my ESV draped across my lap - knowing I needed some divine direction that day.

He must have known it too. Because when I landed on James 3 and my eyes scanned verses 13-18 - it was as if the text was in bold italics with a 'Dear Kate' prefacing the passage...

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

I couldn't get past the first verse.

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the     
                                                               meekness of wisdom.....

My husband tossed around in the bed and rolled over to face me...... and as I caught a glimpse of his open eyes, I read it aloud.... and even from a sleepy stupor, it hit him bold, too.

Because of our fresh situation - we had ready ears...and needy hearts. It was as if we had never visited that passage before....and our hearts received it with a nod of agreement and a complete understanding of it's pertinence.....

There we were - in a new city - scouting out our life, really....a rent house, a faith family, doctors, banks. The day before, we had visited a church and the people there welcomed us warm. They hugged our necks and gave us pointers and introduced us to others and invited us into their homes for dinner. These people - they lived these verses....they lived the 'by his good conduct let him show his works in the  meekness of wisdom' thing. Seeing scripture walked out - it teaches and convinces and loves like nothing else. We've got to get this.

And the rest of that passage - all the mentions of jealousy and selfish ambition...does that strike anyone else? It slaps me right across the face and back again.

The passage then goes so far as to say that the fruit of an envious, self-seeking heart.... is disorder and every vile practice. And it also goes on to say that these things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic.

That's pretty blatant language, friends. There's no beating around the bush here.

This scripture cuts right through. What's more - is that I felt the Spirit directing these words right at me. This does more than step on my brings me right straight to my knees.

And it should. I confess it. I've harbored a selfishly ambitious heart - even in ministry. I've exhibited such petty jealousy - even amongst friends. It's there. And if He is addressing it - I better, too.

Purity, peace, gentleness, an openness to reason, mercy, good fruits, impartiality, sincerity and peace will break forth if I do.