Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Preparing to Plunge

I am not under any allusions that the new year holds some magical ability to help strengthen peoples resolve to fulfill commitments and new goals that they set out for themselves to accomplish. Still, there is something so fresh and exciting about a new year, that it still makes me want to try new and exciting things.

So here I am. About to start a 40 day fast.

"Uh, so when was the last time you fasted Katrina?"

Well, if we don't count the forced fast from eggs and beans, part of my gallbladder episode that lasted over a year, then it would be about 3 years since I can remember trying to fast anything in a serious sort of way.

Yet my desire for more of the Lord is there, and physically there is nothing that says I can't (nursing/pregnancy/etc).

So here I go, plunging into purposeful poverty. I am choosing voluntary weakness as a means to seek more of the Lord. It is the way of the Kingdom of God.

Misty Edwards even sings a song about such things, the words go something like this:

The way of God is the wilderness, it's always been the wilderness,
The way of God is weakness, it is voluntary weakness.

I choose voluntary weakness in this season, because I want the best that God has for me in this next season.

My theology for why I fast is a little fuzzy. I don't have great principles to expound on here, I just know from history and my own past that fasting works to draw my heart nearer to the Lord's heart. For that, it is worth it.

Am I very intimidated by this fast?


Will I fail and slip up?

Maybe, but perfection is not the point.

Even if I do it completely perfect, that may not be any better than a flawed attempt. In fact, knowing how the Lord works, I may not get as close to the Lord if I do it 100% perfect, because then at the end of it I might say in my heart "look Lord, I did it" and He will be like, "Great, you think you earn something now."

Where as, if I do slip up a few times, or wallow in some pathetic moments along the way, then it just might show that I truly am weak and broken and I need the Lord's strength. Then, whatever is gained from the fast will be grace and a gift to me, and I will know it in my heart.

So then, should I set out to fail, so that grace may abound?

Certainly not - says Paul (Romans 6:1-2).

I will do my best to stick to what I am committing to do, while at the same time, understanding the grace and love of the Lord.

With that said, here is the fast I am preparing to start tomorrow.

I will be fasting social media (which for me just means facebook), sweets and treats, and movies.

I will be blogging every day to chronicle the journey.

I will fast one meal a day the final 7 days of the fast.

I will be happy sounding some days and pathetic the next, so be prepared if you plan to read about me during the next 40 days.

I hope you enjoy my honesty during this journey, and that it inspires you to try it some time.

Stay tuned for more.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Making Me Believe pt5

During the "Compassion training" step of the journey I had several dreams that highlighted my need for compassion and true discernment. (Read about the Compassion training part of the story here.)

For example. In one dream there was a demonic cat that kept showing up in my house. I kicked the crap out of that cat and kept throwing it out of my house, but then an authority figure came to me and simply rebuked the demonic spirit in the cat. Then the cat was tame, and we kept it as a pet. The lesson was that the problem was not the cat, it was the spirit behind it. I had been focused on the wrong thing.

This happened several times in a couple different dreams, and always the key was that I was not fighting against flesh and blood. I was to have compassion for the people in these situations, even those the enemy was using against me. To wield my sword effectively, I had to be accurate in my knowledge of who the enemy was, and then to separate the enemy from his weapon of choice (another person) not only in my mind, but to rebuke and bring freedom (if I could) to the person involved. 

Perhaps that is a little heady of an idea to wrap your mind around. It was for me too. I like things simple, but God does not make everything so simple. Here is another example/scenario to explain the picture I am trying to paint.

Imagine a child being used as a suicide bomber against you and your neighborhood. You have a weapon. What do you do?

Is the child the enemy? No.

Can that child still blow me and many others to bits? Yes.

The world would say, "kill the one to save the many", but that is not the way of the Kingdom of God. The Lord desires that not even one should perish.

So how do you do it?

In a perfect situation, you would neutralize the child so that he can not harm himself or others while you disassemble the bomb. It is a messy thing, fraught with danger. Then, in keeping with the Lord's ideas, you would welcome that broken child into your home and offer him food from your own table. 

That is the way of the Kingdom.

It was offensive to my mind, even my Christian mind, the first time the Lord began to show me pictures of this truth. I did not have compassion toward the bombers. I was ready to off them for the greater good to the body of Christ. How wrong my heart motives were? I did not have the things of Christ in mind.

So compassion. I must have compassion (for even the pawns) before I can move forward in spiritual authority.

Oh, and some of you may be thinking, "but how unreal is that example. Who, in your easy suburban life could be equal to a suicide bomber in your midst?" Well, perhaps that was a bit strong of a picture, but the enemy uses even my loved ones to stir up strife in my home. He likes to use those closest to us to try and wound us. Heck, he even uses my own emotions against me! The point is not to lash out at the one who is hurting us, or causing the problem, it is to lash out at the one behind the chaos and the pain. Does that make sense?

I certainly do not react the way I wish to all the time. In a pinch I will still strike at the one who is hurting me. When I am in pain, I am not very logical or compassionate. If I have time to pray though, the Lord will give me direction in the fight, and the outcome is always better when I act on the Lord's wisdom, and not my own. I say again, my fight is not against flesh and blood. Now I just need to train myself to always respond with that motto, even when I'm in pain.
I am still on this leg of the journey, to be sure!

Stay tuned for more.

Monday, December 23, 2013

A Garment of Praise

Texas has been our home now for over three months. We like it here, a lot.

In some ways this move was easier than our move from Kansas City to South Carolina, and in other ways, this move was harder and completely different.

One of the ways this move is so different is that once we arrived and got settled in, the Lord began to make it clear to us that the vision for why we moved was not actually what we would be doing. Well, not exactly. Texas was correct. I know that much in my heart. 

The rest......mainly, our involvement in the missions school, seems to not be so certain. I don't have clear direction on what we are suppose to be doing instead, but it seems to me, that the Lord has sealed the door shut on the missions school.....at least for now. Who knows. The peace I feel about that particular subject though speaks enough to me on its own. I'm fine with letting the subject rest.

So what are we here to do then, Lord?

I imagine Him sitting up there with a mischievous smile saying, "wouldn't you like to know..."

Notice I said 'mischievous', which is not 'malicious'. 

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to bring you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

So we are waiting upon the Lord.......and waiting is hard. Really hard.

"but those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they will mount up on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they shall walk and not faint," Isaiah 40:31

My strength IS finally feeling somewhat renewed today, for the first time in weeks. 

See, I had a melt down about 2 weeks ago, where I was filled with despair and doubts and fear. It nearly overwhelmed me and I had an emotional outburst about how I was feeling about our lack of clear direction. It was ugly, and even as I was spewing my emotional turmoil, I knew I was essentially having a spiritual temper tantrum.

Can we say 'pathetic'?

After it was over though, I felt the Lord's gentleness toward me. He wasn't shocked by my lack of faith, or strength, or hope. 

One of the accusations that I flung at the Lord that day was that I was tired of being 'the awesome missionary wife who use to be at IHOP and who walks in so much faith and has it all figured out, and is an awesome mom, wife, friend".

As if people actually hold me at some high, unrealistic standards and judge me silently when they see me struggling in any (or all) of those areas. 

But then the Lord whispered to me in the silence after my storm.
"Who thinks that unrealistic lie about you? Isn't it you?"

Wow....... yes..........me.

I am the one holding myself to that unrealistic standard. 

Since then the Lord has been speaking to me about why I had that standard for myself, and how valuable I am to Him even though I bring nothing to the table in our relationship. I am not lesser in His eyes just because I don't know what we are doing here in Texas. He knows, and when He is ready, He will make it happen and it will bring glory to His name. Not my name. I will not be able to take a bit of the glory, because I won't be making it happen. I will just be walking it out, and even that will require His help.

Sobering, freeing, beautiful, and lovely truth.

I feel as though I have been gliding through the last few days. A great weight has lifted off my shoulders.  Even as I write this I am realizing it is a fulfillment of a prophetic word I received only 3 weeks ago (about a week before the meltdown).

A very dear woman in our church referenced the story where David fasted and prayed for his son to not die, but when the child did die, he got up and washed himself and put on clean clothes. She also mentioned the scripture in Isaiah 61 where it says: "to give unto them beauty for ashes, joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness".

She asked if that was accurate at all for me. 

I nodded and we talked about the Lord removing that spirit of heaviness, and I confessed, even then that I was feeling heavy with our lack of direction. The fear of not knowing what we should be doing. That same day, another woman who doesn't know either of us gave a prophetic word to us about the Lord's direction for us, that He has a great adventure for us.

So the Lord knew my heart was heavy and He tried to tell me to give over my burden to Him, but I was still thinking that if I just fought a little harder, I could show Him what a good 'fighter' I am, what a faithful servant, what a calm and collected daughter I really in, and then the breakthrough would come.

I failed to remember that He sees our hearts, and my heart was exhausted and sad, and full of fear.

So I had my tantrum, the Lord took the opportunity to speak some hard things to me, and now I am lighter, happier, and ready to do some more waiting.

As if that isn't enough to cause me joy upon joy, today was a particularly beautiful day.

Today it was as if I could feel the Lord taking notice of me, from behind me, from across the room, from all around me. I could feel His eyes on me, and I felt so loved and valued. I knew that I wasn't doing anything special, but He lavished His love on me today in more ways than one.

My strength to wait upon the Lord has been renewed. Yet even in my weakness (weak moments) I am strong.

All I have to do is keep saying yes to the Lord. Today I say yes again.....to waiting upon the Lord.

PS. Since I experienced these things (the tantrum and then sweet revelation), I would like to also mention that the Lord has given us some direction and vision for this next season. If you would like to read about it, feel free to visit my husband's blog here.

Sunday, December 22, 2013


I haven't had a randomness post for a while.

These random thoughts were written back in October 2013, but I'm just now getting around to posting them. Still, when I re-read my randomness I found it slightly entertaining. Here is a snapshot of my life and what kinds of things I like, think, experience.

Anyhow - on to the randomness. (btw, randomness posts are just a bunch of random thoughts or snippets of stories that I throw together). Enjoy.

#1 Tonight we had small group, and Keith was already breathing heavy (on the verge of tears) by the time we walked thru the door. He has figured out that mommy leaves him in the back bedroom with the babysitter during small group and although he tolerates it once reality hits, the thought of going back to the bedroom to play hits him the moment we come through the front door and he is not happy with that thought. Poor baby.

#2 Keith is weaned, which means I have no reason why I can't begin fasting once a week again. Uh, this week, I worked on just weaning myself off all my snack times throughout the day. Step one toward fasting again.

#3 My children love bugs. Yesterday Kalei was befriending the fire ants and happily reported to me that she said hello and they didn't bite her and now they are friends. I'm thinking they probably weren't fire ants. Today, Kinsey befriended a couple of slugs, to which Kalei cried in my arms, because she didn't have any slugs and Kinsey had two, that isn't fair. Slugs, I'm not kidding you. Love these girls.

#4 I desire to paint creatively lately, but have no money to invest at the moment. Have been thinking seriously about taking over Kinsey's Christmas present from last year, a whole collection of acrylic paints. I bought it for her, why shouldn't I. Am I a bad mom? (update, I did partially take over the collection of acrylics, but if I use them all, I will buy her more...eventually)

#5 Lately I've been reading a lot about Common Core and I think it has only served to solidify why I choose to homeschool and why I feel it is so important to protect my children in this day and age. Not just from the 'evil', but from the unrealistic standards that the world may try to thrust on them at too early of an age.

#6 People here in Arlington love to fellowship over food. First Sunday at new church, we get invited out to BBQ afterwards. Go to a new prospective friend's house for the first time, and she invites us to stay for lunch. We've had lunch at her house every subsequent visit, and I am visiting a new mom friend tomorrow who has already asked if I like chicken salad sandwiches for lunch. I only usually offer snacks when friends come over to my house to play. Might have to up my game plan a bit, but I think I like the new trend!

#7 Texas can be cold. I was shocked the first morning I woke up and my feet required my slippers to feel comfortable going downstairs. I'm not complaining, just surprised is all.

#8 Growing grass in Texas is a joke. Our backyard looks horrible, and I can't decided if it is worth trying any harder to achieve the goal of grass. Maybe we should just mulch the whole thing.

#9 Lots of huge churches here in Arlington. Some of them look so beautiful on the outside, others are so, so ugly (on the outside). Glad to be going to a smaller church in this season. It is something that I didn't know I wanted until now, but I like being able to be recognized as a new person, since I am, in fact, new.

#10 Visited the Arlington Prayer Room and have fallen in love. At first I was afraid it would not be like the prayer room times I remember in Kansas City. That somehow I had perhaps romanticized the memory of the prayer room, but no, it was awesome! More awesome than I remember! It was like water to my soul and I can't wait to go again.

#11 Reading a book on marriage right now called "Love and War" by the Eldridges. I highly recommend it! Really real about the 'issues' in marriage, also has a lot to entertain. Real life stories are really funny, because, yeah, they're real, and I can relate.

#12 We are celebrating Kalei's birthday Friday, and she is so excited, but yesterday for the first time it hit her how far away we are from all her kid friends. I was asking her if our friends Scott and Kathy could come over, and she said yes, and then I watched as her mind formed the thought of who else to invite, and then she looked at me with a very sad face and said, "my only friend is Selah.......and Amber and Ailsa". It was a very sad moment. She realized they couldn't come and she was so bummed out. Then Kinsey, who is always resourceful, told her we could draw pictures of Selah and Amber and Ailsa and invite the pictures to the party! That cheered Kalei up, and then they went back to coloring. Devastation averted by Kinsey's quick thinking! Sigh.

So, those are my random thoughts and stories. Hope you enjoyed them. Goodnight!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Thrifting for Dummies

I'm sure someone, somewhere has come up with a manual on how to thrift store shop in the most efficient way, but here is my take on the subject.

In general, I feel as though I dress decently for my age, but I feel my style has taken a new edge of trendiness ever since the blessed creation of.......Pinterest.

Lets be real. I am not the trend setting type. I like modesty, and I like comfort. Those two details don't mix well in a recipe for the fashion trend setter in the 21st century. Still, to be fair, there are a lot of hip Christian women who pull it off and I like their style.

That is why I follow them on Pinterest. To see what they are pinning on their fashion boards.  Not because I want to look exactly like them, but because I am not creative when it comes to my wardrobe and I feel the need for a visual map. I'm also not brave in mixing colors in my wardrobe. Remember that post way back when? The one where I discussed my inability to make a cottage garden. My wardrobe is a similar garden color/texture mixing challenge.

So I go on Pinterest. I find 'outfits' already put together and then I figure out what I like about the outfit and work on how to recreate something similar. It is like the interior designers who look at a high end inspirational rooms and try to recreate it on a smaller budget.

First I have to figure out what I like about it. The colors? The textures and patterns? The cut of the clothes? A lot of time, I only like the colors. So when I begin to look more closely, the clothes themselves are nothing more than a colored tee shirt with a pair of fitted jeans and a cute pair of shoes and some earrings or a scarf in a contrasting color. That is so easy it is almost laughable, but I still would have never figured it out without the 'map'.

Back to thrifting. Once I figure out what outfits I am trying to recreate, then I go ahead and make a little list of what I'm looking for. The list is key, so when I'm out, I don't get distracted by all the pretty colors. I can just stick to my list.

A typical list might look something like this.....purple tee shirt, shirt with teal accents, grey sweater, buff colored shoes, floral scarf, etc. Vague descriptions are key, so that I can find something similar at the thrift store, not exact. You almost never find exactly the same piece as you saw on Pinterest.

Every once in a while you do.

So if I stick to my list however, I end up with more complete outfits in my closet, rather than a lot of random tops that can only be paired with jeans, jeans, and more jeans, and have no accessories to pair with them.

It also means I spend my money more wisely on the 'big' pieces. Like a few years ago, I dropped $100 (well, actually my mother did) on a sweater that I had fallen in love with on Pinterest, but that I knew I would never find in a thrift store. It was a big splurge, but its versatility and yet uniqueness made it worth it. I have never regretted that purchase. It wasn't a spur of the moment decision, I tried it on, thought about it, and came back the next day (with my mom) to get it.

If you don't have your list with you, don't buy anything, only browse.

So, when it comes to buying, I also never buy anything unless I try it on, even in a thrift store. If this grosses you out, then thrifting may not be for you. I find a lot of things that are sized as xl, but that have shrunk and fit me perfectly. Today I bought a 2x shirt that fit me like a glove, seriously, fitted and wonderfully soft. Glad I tried it on.

It goes the other way too, though. I tried on a large today that I couldn't even get my arms into the sleeve holes. Craziness. Now you know why people thrifted these things. Probably washed it the first time and it shrank like crazy and they couldn't get their arms in either. Or maybe not. Who knows.

Another fun thing about thrifting is that you get such a mix all in one store, and the selection changes as often as they set out new things. The key is to go often when you are looking for something specific, and not settle until you find that 'perfect' piece.

Today I spent less than $40 and got 1 amazing dress, 2 long skirts (my hippy side couldn't resist), and 7 shirts, most of which would be considered pretty hip/in style. Well maybe not the skirts, but that is my own little fettish.

Stay tuned, and I will show you how todays purchases completed some outfits, and what pinterest pins they were based upon.

Making Me Believe pt 4

When I finally counted the cost for the journey I was embarking on with the Lord, and I said a more confident 'yes' to His plans for me, the next step was also surprising to me.

I thought I was ready to start swinging my sword and hacking up the enemy and saving the defenseless and all that hero work. There probably was some of that kind of training in the next step, but I didn't really notice it because the Lord began to greatly emphasize my need for compassion.

Compassion, really?

I was annoyed, to say the least. I was ready to be a warrior. Do warriors have much compassion?

If they are in the Lord of Host's army, then it is a very real requirement. I must admit, my questions to the Lord were not very professional, or mature. 

Here is what I should have prayed: "Lord, how does compassion prepare me for battle and war? Why is this important to Your heart?"

Here is what I actually prayed, "Lord, You're kidding. Compassion! I wanna get to the good stuff, where I'm praying and demons are screaming and fleeing."

Just keeping it real here, folks! It is further proof that I had a lot of work to do before I was ready to be wielding a sword.

It was a huge lesson to me, on why the Church is so full of wounded people. Sometimes there are wounds from legitimate enemy attacks upon the Kingdom, but how much of it is caused by friendly fire instead. How many untrained civilians suddenly feel powerful holding their sword (the Bible in this case) and begin to swing it around in bravado, wounding people around them carelessly, or without even knowing it.

As the Lord highlighted these ideas to me, I became self-conscious of how many times I might have accidentally wounded someone by speaking out at the wrong time or in the wrong spirit. The tongue is likened to a sword (Prov. 12:18) as well as the Word of God (Hebr. 4:12) Both are very sharp and can be dangerous when used improperly. I'm pretty sure I've used both of my swords wrongly and wounded people in the past.

So next came a deep repentance. A very real sorrow as I realized the truth of the consequences of my own immaturity over the years.

Compassion began to become a very real ingredient to me in being able to wield my sword more safely. I could appreciate the wisdom now in this being the next step.

Stay tuned for more on my journey of "Making Me Believe".

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Making Me Believe pt3

I can say now I had no idea what I was really asking for at the time. I was just feeling bold from the prayer meetings and I felt lead to ask for what I thought would help me to be a better wife and mother in my home. Spiritual Authority.

It isn't like the Lord waves a wand and suddenly I know how to fight more effectively. It is training, and it takes time, and it is painful in some ways.
(new to this series, read the first two parts here and here)

Anything worth doing is usually hard and painful to accomplish.

So right away there is a major pause in the journey toward my new goal.

In the Women's Conference at MorningStar in November 2012, one of the speakers was talking about naive Christians who see big name speakers like Joyce Meyers and say things like, "I want to be like her" or "I wish I walked in that kind of authority". The speaker went on to admonish those 'immature' Christians for not knowing what they're asking for. They have no idea the price those speakers have had to pay for the authority they walk in now, or the price some of them are still paying.

Whoa! That caused the pause.

Did I even know what I was asking for? I certainly wasn't asking to be Joyce Meyers, but was I prepared to pay the price to attain what I was asking for. To whom much is given, much is required. Was I willing to pay the price? Did I even know what the price was? It took me two more months to answer that question. Until I could answer that question, my journey was at a standstill.

In that time of pause, I was really thinking hard about whether I had what it took to really go after this thing. Was I prepared to be under greater attack? Was I prepared for increased attack on my family, both near and far? The Lord gave me a picture during that time of a hornets nest being stirred up. As I became an effective tool in the hands of the Lord, the enemy would want to retaliate. Was I prepared for that? Battle is hard, tiresome, and there are casualties. Was I ready for all that?

Thankfully the Lord had already been preparing me, shoring up some of my weak places, through a series of unlikely circumstances (you can read about it here). The Lord had already been changing my appetites to help sanctify me for His further service. As one who wants to fight and be strong in the Lord, it was imperative for me to walk in a fresh level of purity and holiness.  

So, I guess I was more ready than I thought, but I still took a couple of months to really 'count the cost', which is wisdom, even according to scripture: Luke 14:28-35.

It was a very sobering time. The high that I had felt while praying out in the women's prayer meetings had subsided and I truly felt the weight of what I was asking for the Lord to train me in. For two months I played out worse-case scenarios in my mind, and at the end of each one, the Lord would ask me, is it worth that? I am thankful to report that I was able to say yes each time, although not always right away. I also had dreams in that time, and I can see now that they were also prepping me to be able to keep saying yes to the vision.

Finally, in December I was able to say yes in a closing sort of way. One of the things that the Lord pointed out to me that clinched my commitment to the goal, was when He showed me that if I wanted to live any kind of effective Christian life at all, the enemies attacks would come, whether I was properly trained to fight them or not. 

It is always the civilians who take the hardest hit in wars (in the natural), which is mostly women and children, who are left at home, living life as normal while the men are out fighting. The civilians are mostly untrained to be defensive for themselves. They are relying on the war not coming to them, but war is no respecter of persons. The enemy of our souls is the least merciful of all. No one is safe, not even at home.

I am not trying to be a pessimist, or use fear to make you feel the weight of what I am saying, I am trying to be a realist by pointing out that we really are a part of a Spiritual war. In this Spiritual war, there are those who are walking around vulnerable, like civilians. I was one of them for a long time (so no condemnation in my tone, just a sense of urgency), first by denying I was in a war, and then by relegating the fighting only to certain people (men, ministry leaders, pastors, missionaries).

When the Lord pointed that out, it was an eye opener to the obvious. There was no going back. I was living my life for the Lord, therefore attacks were inevitable, and so I had better learn to take the heat and learn to use my weapons of war effectively. We've all been given a sword and armor, but we have got to know how to use it!!!

If we are growing in the Lord, and the Lord is cultivating the fruits of the Spirit in our lives, then we are targets of the enemy. Period.

But again I say, to those much has been given, much is required. If you have never considered these things before now, then you are probably not being required by the Lord to steward them (yet). Until the Lord highlights a Truth to your heart and mind, you can not hope to effectively incorporate it into your life. Once He highlights a Truth to you though, then you are accountable on how you steward that information. Stewardship suggests an action is required.

Does that make sense?

So for me, the Lord highlighted my need for spiritual authority. First, I believe He made me want it. I began to ask for it. Then, He began to prepare me to actually receive training for the gift. Part of the preparation included stopping to count the cost.

Are you asking for something specific from the Lord? Have you considered what it might cost you to obtain the gift?