Romantic Jesus

“It’s not gonna be easy. It’s going to be really hard; we’re gonna have to work at this everyday, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, everyday. You and me… everyday.”
― Noah (Ryan Gosling) to Allie (Rachel McAdams)  The Notebook

enhanced-buzz-wide-5568-1423505338-17

Picture source

“Don’t forget I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.”
—Anna (Julia Roberts) to William (Hugh Grant) in Notting Hill

“No matter what occurs! I will find you. No matter how long it takes, no matter how far, I will find you.”—Hawkeye (Daniel Day-Lewis) to Cora (Madeleine Stowe) in Last of the Mohicans

Ahhh romantic movies.  I’m such a sucker for them.  And I’m not alone! Romantic comedies earned an average of $111 million EACH last year! (source)

We love romance.  It’s as if it’s part of our DNA.

Hmmmm….

There is an incompleteness that makes us long for these perfect
you-and-me-together-forever type of relationships.  As if part of us is missing without being the peanut to someone’s peanut butter.

How many of you swooned when Jerry McGuire told his wife “you complete me”

you had me at hello

Every woman, whether they admit it or not, so desperately longs for her heart to be romanced. For a man to tell her she is worth fighting for and for him to stop at nothing to win her over.

There is an emptiness, an ache within us where we long for this knight in shining armor to sweep us off our feet.  The only problem is we are looking for this fulfillment from another sinful human being.

A marriage can compliment you yes, and who you marry is no doubt one of the most important decisions you can make.  But a guy can simply not fulfill everything a woman’s heart longs for.

This ache within us to be romanced is actually formed in everywoman ON PURPOSE, to draw us back to the one who has been after our hearts from the very beginning of time.

The book of Hosea is such a beautiful love story that is insanely applicable today.  It is about a man called to marry a prostitute.

TIME OUT
Can you imagine how that conversation with God was like?

God: “Hosea you are such a honorable man, you seek me with all your heart and you are true to your word….I would like you to  marry a prostitute….don’t worry it will have meaning”
Hosea: “Ummmm, I was thinking maybe  I could marry a nice girl and have a sweet little family, could we try that instead?”

But there’s that whole “God is God and Hosea is not” thing so It looks like God won out on that.  But thank goodness because we are left with this truly captivating story that totally blows my hair back.

Gomer (yes it’s an unfortunate name) has this rock like, dependable, strong and trustworthy husband.  But she tells herself he isn’t enough and mostly that she isn’t enough to deserve this kind of relentless undeserving love. She is beautiful but she doesn’t see it. She is worth him fighting for but she tells herself she doesn’t deserve it.  She keeps leaving him to pursue what is familiar to her, what she told her self she deserves. And he keeps going to fight and even buy her back to be his wife.

Don’t miss how huge this is.  She is leaving the one true faithful and loving man in her life and giving herself back to men who use her and discard her.  It’s sounds crazy…but it’s really not any different than today.

hosea

The whole story is a picture of God’s unrestricted, unequivocal, determinate and Jealous love for us. His heart breaks and gets angry when we give our hearts to lesser things.

Therefore I will block her path with thorn bushes;
    I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.
She will chase after her lovers but not catch them;
 Hosea 2: 6-7

Just like a prince fighting for his fair maiden he will do anything in his power to win her over to himself.  The words in the scripture below would make more hearts flutter on the big screen than anything Leonardo Dicaprio every thought about saying from the bow of the titanic.

She decked herself with rings and jewelry,
    and went after her lovers,
    but me she forgot,”
declares the Lord.

 “Therefore I am now going to allure her;
    I will lead her into the wilderness
    and speak tenderly to her. Hosea 2:13-14

Grab a tissue

“You can live unafraid in peace and safety.
I will make you my wife forever,
    showing you righteousness and justice,
    unfailing love and compassion.
 I will be faithful to you and make you mine,
    and you will finally know me as the Lord.

 Hosea 2:19-20

Oh you guys it just gets me ya know!  I mean I am so that girl “prostituting myself” with a busy schedule, a worried mind, and lots of “good things” that are not usually the BEST thing.

A hunger for romance and to be desired is written all over the face of our thirst for money, status, and failed relationship after failed relationship. And I totally get it!  I was the girl in college who thought a boyfriend is what I needed to be complete and I am still that girl today telling myself I am too “busy” to invest my everything into the one true source of all my tomorrows.

Lord help us to fall in love with YOU all over again.  The true romancer of our soul.  It was and will always be only Jesus, my true love, my true romancer. The one who knows my every flaw and died for me anyway.

He is always looking to romance us, we just have to listen and notice.  How has Jesus romanced you lately?

To the little girl in all women

I was deep into kitchen experimentation mode when our 6-year-old little girl danced into the kitchen.  She (like always) was wearing a princess dress.  She floated around dreaming of being at a ball or a royal castle.

As she danced by the fridge she saw a snapshot of Bryan and I on our wedding day.  She stopped for a moment and then started day dreaming of being a bride.  She told me all about her beautiful dress and the glorious day it would be.

She danced a little more while singing to the princess music coming from her room.  After twirling about a little more she stopped her dance.  She demanded my attention for her next statement. With all the confidence and poise a 6-year-old can muster she declared, “I will marry someone that loves God…I will marry daddy.” Then proceeded to the ball taking place with her sister in the living room.twirl

I stopped measuring and stirring for a minute to smile as my heart was captivated by her words.  Should I tell her, that daddy is my man so back off?  Just kidding.  I love it that she thinks this way.

Every woman was once this little girl.  Day dreaming of being a princess who falls in love with the ONE “perfect” man.  She dreams of being adored and cared for and adoring him right back.

The desires of our heart are for romance, to be treasured, and to be part of something great.  Modern women pretend we are too “strong” and independent to have these desires.  Yet romance novels and movies still fly off the shelves.  These are the desires of the heart of a woman and they are put in us by the amazing God whose image we bear, there is nothing to be ashamed of. We do long for completion in a “soul mate” and our heart to be romanced.  I just think sometimes we get it confused…

Somewhere between the dreams of our youth and becoming an adult, something precious has been lost.  Somewhere along the way girls start to forget they are a princess.  When and why is this taken from our girls? When does it become ok for a little princess to lower her standards to a man that is doing anything less than chasing Jesus.  When did we lie and tell ourselves he was “good enough” to date a princess if he doesn’t protect your body for your future husband?

I think we trade the creator for the created.  We forget our first love, our true romancer and the only one that can complete us is the hopeless romantic named Jesus so we look for love in the arms of a man.
Boyfriends can be so tempting can’t they?  What with their good looks, cologne, and sweet nothings they whisper in your ear.  And not to put down the guys because I hope most the ones you date are legit, and truly falling for you (I mean how can they not let’s be honest).
For 22 years I looked for a guy to complete me.  I kept thinking if only I were prettier if only he was less of a jerk (that was mostly my sophmore year).  Maybe if I date a frat guy, maybe if I don’t date a frat guy….then I’ll find my happily ever after.

It wasn’t until I finally figured out none of that worked did my heart truly become whole.  God broke me, transformed me, and gave me a new heart my senior year of college. I had been transformed.  I wasn’t longing for a boy to complete me anymore, I was complete.  Of course, I still wanted to get married but I didn’t NEED a man.  I was whole.

Then God blessed me with the most amazing man I ever dated.  He was seeking the Lord, honoring me as we dated and pursued me in the most romantic ways you can imagine.   A year before I met Bryan we probably wouldn’t have never worked.  I was still convinced a guy was the only thing I needed to be whole.  How crazy to put such a burden on a sinful human to be my “everytthing”
In all my relationships, a guy couldn’t complete me, and I couldn’t complete him.

But when we met we were two complete and whole people, seeking the Lord together. It worked. 12 years later, we care for each other, fight for each other, and hold each other up when we are down but still Jesus is still the only one that can make us whole and it still works.

You are still His 6 year old in a princess dress day dreaming of meeting your prince.  He delights in the way you smile, the funny things you do and your determination do  it “all by yourself.”

Jesus has come to win you back to himself…All of you. God is in the business of setting his precious daughters free from the trappings, temporary pleasures, and many down right lies of this world.  Have you asked Jesus to come to win your heart over?

 

I wannabe a weirdo

We are all subject to peer pressure whether we admit it or not.  But when your peers are doing some questionable things its time to go against the grain.  Here is a snapshot of our typical “normal” peer in America:

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, at least 8 million Americans are at least one month behind on their mortgage payments at this point.

Average household debt in the United States has now reached a level of 136% of average household income.  In China, average household debt is only 17% of average household income.

Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.  Today,one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.

The average US household credit card debt stands at $15,216 

Average mortgage debt: $148,443

Average student loan debt: $32,054 (source)

Of all countries, the United States has the highest rate of obesity. From 13% obesity in 1962, to 35.7% in 2010 (source)

55 percent of all marriages result in divorce. (source)

Research indicates that people who live together prior to getting married are more likely to have marriages that end in divorce. ” The Boston Herald

The average American spends 2.7 hours a day watching TV (source)

“More than ever before, work dominates people’s lives in this country” –Joanne B. Ciulla,

One-third of children age 8 – 17 believe their parent has been always or often worried or stressed out about things during the past month.

weirdo

If the average “normal” American is financially upside down, unhealthy, overworked, in a bad relationship and stressed out…then I don’t think being normal sounds so fun.

Craig Groschel wrote a book (I highly recommend) called “Weird because normal isn’t working” that states, “when people describe his family as weird, he finds comfort.”  I couldn’t agree more.

The bible tells us: If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. John 15:19

“If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me first”.-Jesus

Living differently sometimes results in criticism.  Going with the crowd can be so easy that being “weird” requires seeking correct guidance and it isn’t always  the easiest route.  I don’t want our family to be a statistic.  I want us to be…well…weird.  

I want to be so WEIRD I save up to buy things and delay gratification instead of buying on credit.

I want to such a WEIRDO that I could stand living with less if it means I can have less stress and more time with my family.

I want to be the WEIRD family that guards the media that comes into our home.

I want to be so WEIRD that I eat food whose ingredients I can pronounce.

I want so be so WEIRD that I take INTENTIONAL time with my husband so we can still be in love years after the, “I do.”

And I want so be criticized for saying NO to something good so I can say YES to something great.

What do you think about all this weird talk.  Are you a weirdo too?

Imperfect “Quiet time”

Every Christian I have ever met gives them self a guilt trip for not having a proper or frequent “quiet time”.  I think we somehow think if the earth doesn’t shake and our bible doesn’t levitate while praying then we didn’t do it right.

I certainly feel  a little inadequate discussing a subject of how to grow in your relationship with the God of the entire universe. So don’t take this as a “how to guide” rather than just what works for one imperfect girl.

My quiet time has taken many forms.  I have learned which ways I learn best, and in which ways just put me to sleep.  In this stage of life my ideal quiet time looks like this:

First let me say the holy bible app has been the best thing that ever happend to my quiet time.  I will talk more about that in a second but if you don’t have that on any “Smart gadget” get it!

holy bible app

Get up, head to the kitchen for a bowl of cereal (yes I eat before I do anything else)  I bring my cereal to the couch where the house is still quiet.  I have the “holy bible” app on my phone.  I read the verse of the day (provided by the app) and write it in my journal.  I repeat it a few times, write anything I feel God telling me through this.  Often I write a prayer for what is on my mind and mostly WHAT I AM THANKFUL FOR.  I then sit in silence a few minuets just marinating on this.

After the kids have woken up, eaten breakfast and happy with a cartoon, I listen to the audio version of the “multiply reading plan” (also on the bible app) by David Platt and Francis Chan I can listen to it from my phone while I get dressed and ready.  The audio feature on this is app is, my friends, AWESOMENESS.

Not only do I learn so much more LISTENING to such a good story teller, but I can also listen while driving or folding clothes, putting on makeup, or any other mundane task.

IMG_1986

And lastly, On the way to pre-school, the kids and I sing (at the top of our lungs) YOU MAKE BEAUTIFUL THINGS by gungor.

This happens on ideal mornings.  Not every morning.   This is also just what works for this stage of life.  It wasn’t too long ago I was up all night with a baby and waking up even 30 seconds earlier than I had to was completely out of the question.

On days where I have stayed up too late or in a crazy rush, I can still listen to the audio version of the bible in the car.  Listening/reading scripture really does have a way of setting the mood of the day.

At a bare minimum, when I can do nothing else, I sing a few song lyrics (in my head less anyone runs in terror) of this song that just permeates everything I am passionate about.   These are they lyrics from a part of Hillsong’s Hoseanna song:

Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks yours

Everything I am for your kingdom’s cause
As I walk from earth into eternity

If I could have theme music I would want it to be this.  Repeating this as my “mantra” helps me to live up to my theme music.

In different stages of life and in different context our time with God may look differently.  Sometimes it is just sitting outside and marveling at his creativity, making a list of all of our blessings,  CHOOSING to be happy when circumstances are less than ideal, or journaling our prayers.

The short of the story is this:  Studying God’s word is absolutely important, sharing life and being built up by other believers is absolutely important.  But the intimacy that comes from just you and God, together with no one else around is incomparable.

God is not one of guilt or to-do lists.  He is a God of relationships.  More than a 3 hour bible study, a long and eloquent prayer,  or even serving others, he just wants you.

What does your “imperfect quiet time” look like.  What works best for you?

When you are not in control..on worry

It has been a crazy couple of months. I wrote about our terrifying adventure to the hospital with Hannah. In addition my husband had a skin cancer removed from his nose ,and I found I out I have a genetic condition that makes my body hold on to more iron than it should.
I kinda freaked out
I know Christians are supposed to no worry, we should rest easy knowing that God is in complete control. But my faith can be so weak.

I think I am driving everyone around me (especially my poor husband) absolutely crazy with my worry.
What if they didn’t get all of the skin cancer from Bryan’s nose? What if I eat too much red meat (loaded with iron)? And don’t even get me started with all the worry I have been doing over Hannah’s exposure to too many X-rays from her skull fracture.

During the middle of all this I have a dear friend who sent me this scripture:

A huge storm came up. Waves poured into the boat, threatening to sink it. And Jesus was in the stern, head on a pillow, sleeping!
They roused him, saying, “Teacher, is it nothing to you that we’re going down?”
Awake now, he told the wind to pipe down and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!” The wind ran out of breath; the sea became smooth as glass. Jesus reprimanded the disciples: “Why are you such cowards? Don’t you have any faith at all?”
They were in absolute awe, staggered. “Who is this, anyway?” they asked. “Wind and sea at his beck and call!” Mark 4:35

“This is so amazing to me. There was a huge storm. The disciples all thought the worst, they were (like me) FREAKING. And what was Jesus doing?? SLEEPING.

While I am thinking, “JESUS!!! Wake up!!! What in the world is going on!!?? Do something!!”

He is saying, “BE STILL Don’t you have any faith? I am in COMPLETE control here. This event is no surprise to me. The storm will pass, you are in good hands”

The storms are not fun. But they are inevitable. They come and they go, some are strong and terrifying. 

Storms get in the way of “our plans” and are usually very unwelcome.

If you’re like me you try to “control” the storm. After Hannah’s fall I am still a little skittish. I have seriously considered constructing a giant hamster wheels for our kids to live in where they would be protected from life. I’m sure they would be socially adapted don’t you think?

As crazy as that would be, it is just as crazy to think I am in any type of control of the storms of life. I have two options:

1)Live in fear of every possible storm: Lay in bed at night playing out worse case scenario. (not that I have ever done this…just sayin.)

2)Let my fears BE STILL: Rest knowing that I am NOT in control. Take joy knowing I am promised an eternity with Christ no matter the length of my life. And enjoy the present.

Most days I am NOT in a storm but worry is stealing the joy of the present.
Jesus knows what he is talking about when he said,

“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Matthew 6:34 (FYI this is one of the most searched verses in the bible…good to know I’m not the only one).

Jesus took on the pain of fear and worry(and anything else you struggle with) 2000 years ago. He painfully nailed them to a cross so we wouldn’t have to feel them anymore.

Thank you Jesus for such an amazing gift. And thank you for this present moment, where everything in life is just right. Let me enjoy this day, and let tomorrow worry about itself.

Love
Katie
myWPEdit Image

myWPEdit Image

If at first you don’t succeed (or get laughed at…)

The Rolling Stones performed their first United States college act on May 4, 1965 at my alma mater, Georgia Southern University.  The opening act reportedly “saved the show”  as the Rolling stones were reported “easily forgotten.”

Abraham Lincoln almost never won an election until he was elected to the white house.

Walt Disney decided on a career as a newspaper artist, drawing political caricatures or comic strips. But nobody wanted to hire him as either an artist or even as an ambulance driver for that matter.

Elvis Presley only failed one class in school, and it was music class.

In 1987 George Foreman was a 38 year old man who hadn’t boxed for 10 years. He was 70+ pounds overweight and literally laughed at when he made a comeback for a charity fight.  Seven years later, he was the Heavyweight champion of the word.

Actors Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood were fired after co-starring in the “Riverboat” television series.  Burt, recalled, “They said I had no talent and Clint’s Adam’s apple was too big,”

International singing star Julio Iglesias was discouraged from singing when he was a teenager. When he auditioned for the school choir in Madrid he was turned down. The teacher told him he couldn’t carry a tune.

Lucille Ball got thumbs down when it came to acting. Just one month after she started attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts her mother received a letter from the school saying, “Don’t put any more money into this. This girl will never make it.” (source)

In a high school art class, his teacher insisted “you will never learn to draw, Theodore (a.k.a Dr. Seuss). Why don’t you just skip this class for the rest of the term.” Later, he would reflect on this moment stating “I’ve capitalized on my mistakes, since I can’t draw, I’ve taken the awkwardness and peculiarities of my natural style and developed them. That’s why my characters look that way.”

I’m so glad these stars didn’t stop at their first rejection.  Failure is a natual part of of success!  Take this famous quotes for example:

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”
Michael Jordan

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
Thomas A. Edison

We were all created perfectly imperfect.  Just like Dr. Seuss I wonder if we “take our awkwardness and peculiarities” and developed them into something awesome.  We are all made with unique talents and skills, finding them is the fun part!
I love you perfectly imperfect people!

We all have junk

If you have ever seen a plane flying over head you might notice from a distance it looks beautiful.  Strong, steady, and powerful.  The plane looks light as air as it floats among the clouds.  However if you have ever actually been a passenger on a plane it isn’t always as smooth and steady as it appears from afar.  There is turbulence, the clouds are not as soft as they look, and if you have ever gone through a storm….let me just say lots of talking to Jesus going on in that situation.

The point is from afar many people seem to be smooth, steady, and put together.  Their marriage is perfect, their kids never misbehave, they have complete control of their finances, and they are extremely talented and good at everything you are not.  But inside that persons life there is “turbulence.”  I guarantee they have struggles no matter who they are.

WE ALL HAVE JUNK.  The reason I started this blog is because everywhere I go I couldn’t help notice this is such a common thread in all of our lives.  We are ALWAYS comparing ourselves!  I’ll say it again WE ALL HAVE JUNK but isn’t that what makes us who we are?

The friends I love the most are the ones who are “imperfect.” They are honest about where they struggle and don’t try to hide their flaws.

A dear friend told me the other day, “if someone you know appears to be perfect….they are miserable”  And she knew!  For years she had tried with all her might to have a spotless house, make everything from scratch and look good while doing it.  She was exhausted, and frustrated.

I secretly compared myself to her and wondered how she did it all.

When she came clean about it there was such relief in both of our ends.

“You mean you are not perfect?”  You mean I can stop pretending to be perfect?”

Oh what a wonderful moment that was!  Why don’t we do that sooner?

Choosing to cheat

I told my husband the other day I could stay up all night long and still have way too much on my to do list, to which he responded, “shorten your to-do list”

Profound!  Simple, maybe even obvious but I thought it was brilliant…he’s a smart guy.  I think all of us have expectations we place on ourselves that don’t REALLY have to be done. 

Andy Stanley wrote a book called “choosing to cheat” The premise states that we cannot possibly do everything so we must cheat in one or more areas of our life.  There are simply not enough hours in a day or days in a year to do and be everything we want.  We are then faced with the choice to decide what is most important.

Although we don’t see it this way it is even a little egotistical to think we are soooo important that we must get so much done.  If the world will keep spinning and no one will be physically harmed if we don’t complete the task then is it really THAT important? 

Cheating suggestions:

Housework:  Everyone has different “must does’” for a clean home.  I think it is essential to take a moment to define what a clean home is to you.  What is most important and what areas can you cheat? It will just get dirty again anyway!

The Internet:  Rescue time is a free internet service designed to keep you accountable for how much time you spend on the net.  On average it rescues people from almost 4 hours of time a week! 

Television: Along with the internet these are the two biggest time suckers for most families.  Be intentional with your television.  Ask is this show WORTH my time?  Give yourself a number you are comfortable with for hours spent per week in front of the tube. 

Extra activities:  If your kids are in soccer, dance, karate, football, and piano all at the same time you might want to take a step back and ask what is most important and what is not.  Or maybe you are the president of the PTA, the bible study leader, the volunteer and the helper for EVERYTHING in your city.  Just incase you need permission…It’s okay to say no.
(ouch I am so guilty of this)

Work more effectively:  No matter where you work: in an office or at home there are ways to work more efficiently.  4 hour work week  is a book dedicated to helping your work more effectively.

Barter anyone?:  You can’t do it all but together we can.  Babysitting is a great way to trade services.  You watch my kids and I’ll watch yours.  I have a friend that does all my monogramming and I make her little girls hair bows.  PERFECT!! 

What is a skill or service you can offer?  Trading is much more fun that spending money and is a helpful way to get what you need by “cheating” 

Share your thoughts: In what ways do you “cheat?”


My Imperfect Story via video!

Last Sunday at church I had the privilege of sharing what God is done in my life through a video testimony. 

Our pastor was talking about condemnation.  And being that I give myself a pretty hard time I guess it was a good fit for the sermon.  This makes me crazy nervous to share.  I don’t know, something about the video…I feel so vulnerable!  But as I say all the time there is so much healing in being vulnerable sooo….I hope you enjoy! 

My imperfect Story

Don’t miss a post! Have Imperfect People delivered to your inbox or your RSS reader.  I don’t know you have stopped by unless you comment so please do!

What is Christianity?

img_0416

Christianity is NOT:

What you wear to church on Sunday
Who you know
Where you are from
What church you did or didn’t grow up in
Pretending
A denomination
A pastor
A magic prayer
A ritual
A megaphone yelling about eternal damnation
A club
A church
Money
How perfect you seem or don’t seem
What you have or haven’t done
It is not hate.  It is the opposite of hate
It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship
It’s more than a relationship it is Love on a completely new level.  

Less rules, more love
Less pretty dresses, more dirty hands
Less getting it all right, and more giving it all away

The Jesus I know got in trouble for loving the “wrong” kind of people “too much.” While all the  “church people” sat on the side lines waving their finger at Jesus.

If I get anything wrong I want to love people too much.  I want to sit at the feet of Jesus washed totally in his grace leaving my selfish desires behind me and loving people so much that they want to know about this Jesus too.

Father forgive us for making it so complicated.  You gave your son because you loved us so much…even when we didn’t deserve it.  I want to realize each morning the amazing, self-less, sacrificial, BIG, romantic, and inspiring love that only He can show us, letting it consume me until I see nothing else but what matters to you.