August 19, 2009

My Treasure

video

Well, it looks like Max is finally really headed to IHOP! (International House of Prayer-not pancakes :). He had been feeling that the Lord was impressing him strongly that it was time for him to go soon. However we didn't have the finances for him to go. But soon after he got this impression from the Lord a precious lady we know approached Max one day and asked how much he needed to go. He gave the price for the Intro Internship tuition. She said, "okay", then walked away. Later that week she gave me a call and said she felt impressed by the Lord to give him a check for an amount that was just what he needed! The next week his truck broke down on the side of the road. We haven't fixed it yet BUT a sweet friend offered the use of her vehicle that she wasn't using. God is confirming all over that this is His will for Max to go. We will all go to the Onething conference in late December and then leave him there with our good friends the Neelys. He will live there with them. We are so excited for him... but on a human side, as his parents, theres that big ache in our hearts. We've already said goodbye to our eldest daughter who moved to St. Louis last year. (What is this with our children going to Missouri? :) But God has anointed Max to write anointed songs that lead people into the throneroom of God. He is also a powerful and authoritative worship leader for such a young age. We are very proud of him. He is a great son and brother and friend. He is very respectful to his dad and me. He has always been protective and kind to his siblings. But despite all this, we know God's hand is on him and we can't keep him to ourselves. We must sow him into the Kingdom. His destiny is bigger than our little family... But I am so thankful for the privilege to be his mom. I'm thankful to be the mom of four awesome anointed Godlly kids. God knew that I could never do this on my own as damaged and flawed as I was when I became a mom so now I'm a shining example of His amazing unmerited favor when people look at these awesome kids. All I can say is- Thank You Jesus! Anyway, enjoy this video that Max made of his latest song. The sound quality isn't the best but you can get the jist of it. God bless...

June 30, 2009

Relationship precedes fruitfulness

Our first date
26 years later

We’re back from vacation. I got my annual hives upon my return. I’ve decided that I am allergic to vacation ending… ;) Actually I think it is somehow related to the sun. No doctor has ever seemed to give me a satisfactory diagnosis but that’s the only consistent thing I have found. I use hypo-allergenic sunscreen and take all kinds of precautions. The rash doesn’t appear until I get home though! Crazy! But the prednisone has kicked in and I am no longer a raging beast… (itching can bring out the worst in a person) so thank God for that!

This past Thursday Keith and I celebrated 26 years of marriage together! I have been married to Keith most of my life! We married young and although it hasn’t always been easy, I wouldn’t be married to anyone else. Keith is a rock… Keith is a leader… Keith has wisdom… Keith is faithful… Keith is trustworthy… Keith is a protector… Keith is sensitive… Keith is a man of God... Keith is anointed... Keith has integrity... When Keith walks into a room, there is a feeling of peace and safety... (not to mention he's doggone good-looking too ;). Wow, I’m blessed! He married an immature, selfish, wounded little teenage girl. But he somehow saw something in me, he believed in me and he loved me unconditionally. Although he got right with the Lord after we married, I know that the Lord put us together when He did and used him in my life to show me the undeserving love of God. Not to make him out to be perfect, he’s had his faults, but overall, I know, I am one blessed woman because my husband loves me. And throughout the years, that opened my heart to the love of God. I have definitely grown and I am even now, growing in the knowledge of the love of God. I wonder if we ever will fully know it on this earth? But for 26 years I can truthfully say that I know I have been dearly loved. The value of that isn’t lost on me.

One must learn to receive love before one has it to give. 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because He first loved us”. He makes that first step towards us. I am convinced that most believers are not fully aware of the love of God. Because of experience, imperfect examples and our inborn fallen nature, sonship doesn't come natural to us. We may have been taught that God loves us our entire lives (how many of us sang in Sunday School, "Jesus loves me, this I know"?) and we may know it in our heads, but sadly few of us are truly settled, confident, secure and resting in that love. For many, it hasn’t made it to our hearts and consequently much of our soul wanders in uncertainty and much of our obedience is wrongly motivated. If we know we are loved and we love in return, we’ll WANT to obey. I don’t lose any sleep in insecurity over Keith's love. I don't bless my husband because I HAVE to out of fear, obligation or in order to earn his love, for I already know he loves me. But I rest and I bless him because he loves me and because I love him. Its just a natural outflow of being loved.

It is all about RELATIONSHIP.

No one will argue that the Great Commission to "...go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matt.28)" is high on the priority list in the Kingdom. And the Church has built many a program on how to accomplish this worthy goal. But truly- the Great Commission is meant to be preceded by another greater priority in the Kingdom- The Greatest Commandment.

Matthew 22 :37 "Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'[b] 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'[c] 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Relationship!

So much in the natural is a pattern for the supernatural. When the Bible talks about a husband and wife’s relationship, it often says “and he KNEW his wife and they begat…” Just as relationship/ intimacy precedes and produces natural children, likewise, true spiritual fruit can only come out of a love relationship with our God. In the spiritual also- intimacy/relationship/knowing precedes fruitfulness.

Jesus said it this way-

Matthew 7:21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!

He never KNEW them. There was no relationship. It was just religion. Even though they DID great things… and in His name too- HE didn't know them!

There are different levels of 'knowing'. Keith was in the Navy for 20 years and he worked for the President of the United States. He knew the President. He knew his name, recognized his face. He followed his orders and gave orders under his authority and with his approval. But had the President passed Keith on the street he'd not have known his name. Keith knew the President, but the President didn't 'know' Keith.

I know many people- Acqaintances whose name I know. Although I don't know them very well, on some level I can say, yes, I 'know' them. And I also have several close friends whom I know well; and family members also, and they in turn 'know' me. But I don't know anyone like I 'know' Keith. There is a level of 'knowing' there that is on a whole different level. We are one.

Jesus longed for that oneness, that unity, and He prayed for you and me in John 17. He said,

20"...I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. 22I have given them the glory that You gave me, that they may be one as We are one: 23I in them and You in Me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me...25"Righteous Father, though the world does not know You, I know You, and they know that You have sent Me. 26I have made You known to them, and will continue to make You known in order that the love You have for Me may be in them and that I Myself may be in them."

Our God wants to know us, for He truly LOVES us! Do we really believe that? How many of our problems and doubts and fears would be swept away if we truly BELIEVED this! How much more would the Kingdom be advanced and the Great Commission fulfilled if we first, KNEW Him and KNEW that love that motivates us with love to go after the lost. Not in order to earn His love, but because we KNOW we are loved and want to please our Daddy and to be like Him. If only more of His children truly believed. Forgive us Lord and help us to overcome our unbelief!

The very foundation of the Gospel is love. Romans 5:8 "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

But obviously not everyone has this revelation as clear as some. This is why Paul prayed for the Ephesians this way:
Eph. 3:14 "For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from whom his whole family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. "

So Lord reveal Your love to us in a fresh, personal way. May we truly KNOW it in our heart of hearts. At the very core of our being and may we be planted settled and motived by Your love. We already believe with our minds. May we believe with our hearts and deepen in our relationship with You and produce beautiful fruit that will last for Your Kingdom and Your purpose and Your glory. In Jesus name, Amen.

God bless. Kayla

June 16, 2009

Big Dogs


2 Cor. 10:4"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled."

I have two dogs- a German Shepherd (Zeke) and an Akita (Lucca). The other day I had Zeke's head in my lap. I started examining him. He's probably about 80 pounds, not the biggest German Shepherd I've seen but he's quite a large animal to have sprawled across my lap. He is about chin level to the kitchen table. If we ever decided to let him join us for supper, he could easily eat out of a plate without much effort.
His teeth remind me of the wolf rug my Papaw used to have hanging over his bed. Papaw was a trapper back in the 1950's and 60's. He'd trapped a huge timber wolf and had had the taxidermist make him into a rug (like the bearskin rugs you see in old Westerns). I always wondered why my grandparents had separate bedrooms... thinking about that wolf, I think now I understand why! A dead animal in the bedroom was probably where Mamaw drew the line. It wouldn't seem to me to be condusive to rest, plus the decorating factor alone... ugh!! But as a child, I was fascinated with it. I attempted to take many a nap in that bed while staring wide-eyed over my head at the fixed snarling mouth of that poor glass-eyed wolf. Those teeth were like something out of a horror movie. But looking into Zeke's mouth, I thought- his massive teeth look so like Papaw's wolf. Long, sharp, scary and created with the capability of breaking the necks and tearing into the flesh of prey. He is big enough, and his teeth strong and sharp enough to seriously harm a human if he were threatened... People usually hesitate when approaching a German Shepherd. Probably some of that is due to movies and how they are portrayed as Police and guard dogs. And with good reason. Their intelligence, strength and bravery are legendary. They are a dominant species of dog. They appear intimidating.
However..... somehow...... Zeke doesn't realize that. He doesn't understand that he looks intimidating and that he is....a big dog. He has no revelation that his jaws could easily defend himself and could even break the hand that feeds him. He is the gentlest dog I've ever known. One stands more of a chance of being attacked and mauled by a hamster than by Zeke. All he uses those teeth for is to eat and to tear up empty water bottles in the back yard. He doesn't know what he's capable of. The other day, Keith took him to the vet. As they sat in the waiting room a lady came in with a Chihuahua.... This Chihuahua didn't realize what it was NOT capable of. It didn't know that it was NOT a big dog. It proceeded to rush at Zeke, barking and snarling. With the Chihuahua being about the size of Zeke's head, Keith was obviously concerned for the foolish little fellow. He needn't have been.... Zeke ducked under Keith's chair and remained there, hiding and wishing the vet would hurry up and rescue him from the dangerous threat of Fifi... Keith was embarrassed.
Lucca, on the other hand KNOWS she's an Akita. Akitas are another dominant breed, known for their guard dog skills that can appear intimidating. And I pity the Chihuahua who would try to snarl at her. She's gentle and sweet to PEOPLE, but would have no mercy on smaller prey, or if her family was threatened. She walks with a confident air. She doesn't get anxious or nervous...She's at peace. She knows she's a big dog.
How many of us are like Zeke? We don't know what we are capable of in Christ! We are German Shepherds who think we are as capable of defending ourselves as hamsters. As Nick Callaway put it this past Sunday-we view our capabilities in warfare as if we were going into a gunfight with a Popsicle stick (haha).
Pastor has been preaching on spiritual warfare the past several Sundays. Then lo and behold Nick also speaks on it. Obviously the Lord is trying to get our attention. We, who are children of the Most High God are equipped with everything we need in Him to face our enemy, but we walk in unbelief and fear.
We have many God-given weapons, in our aresenal. One of our biggest weapons in overcoming the enemy is- surrender!
James 4:6 "But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:“ God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” 7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up."
So many times I've looked hard at the "Resist the devil" part and quickly skimmed over the "submit to God" part. But they are inseparable. We cannot resist the devil without first surrendering to God. The enemy is a legalist... He cannot take what we have not given him. When we truly surrender, we have moved off the throne and God has taken His rightful place as Lord of our life. Where God is enthroned, the enemy cannot hang around for long.
But the weapons of our warfare are mighty in God for pulling down strongholds. There is power and authority in a "not my will but Yours be done".
Prayer and fasting are also powerful weapons... Fasting combined with prayer is like throwing a nuclear bomb at our mountains... (Matt. 17:21)
The Word of God is our sword (Eph 6:17). Jesus used it against the enemy. (Matt 4).. Our Father is not a man that He should lie (1 Sam 15:29). Men will break their promises- they are promise breakers. But our God is the Promise Maker! We can take His promises to the bank. We can stand confidently on God's promises and use them as an effective weapon against the enemy. declaring"It is written!"
Praise and worship are powerful weapons- How many times in God's word did He rout Israel's enemies, when they worshipped their God, played their instruments, with the singers out front marching into battle (2Chron 20, Judges 7:19-22) Or what about Paul and Silas in the jail, singing praises to God at midnight. He brought an earthquake and set them free ( Acts 16:25-26). God is enthroned on the praises of His people (Ps 22:3). Again- when God is enthroned, the enemy can't hang around for long.
One of satan's most effective weapons against us is unbelief. He can't take our salvation, but he can sure get us so in doubt and confusion that we don't access God's available, powerful, rich promises. We could have an oil well on our property but live in poverty if we don't BELIEVE that it is there and take advantage of it. When will we believe God and His word? His promises are for us, today! Faith is a POWERFUL weapon. For without faith it is impossible to please Him (Heb 11). As believers, we have the 'mind of Christ' (1Cor 2:16). God is alive and He lives inside of us. That same Uncreated God who created EVERYTHING... including our little planet earth, that is like the size of a dust particle compared to this vast universe which He holds in His hand... He is INSIDE of us (1 Cor 6:19)... And we are In Him. (Eph 2) Wow!
So for those of us, feeling like a hamster facing a snarling Chihuahua.... let's see ourselves as one of the 'big dogs'... :) Not crazy about the dog analogy?. Well, how about seeing yourself as a dearly loved child believing in and protected by his big and strong, loving Daddy... 'Don't mess with my kid!' Those of us who are parents understand that! Lets run to Him, believe in Him, trust Him and stand confident against our Goliaths, not in our own strength, but in the all-powerful name of our Lord, our Daddy!
Have a great week, all you mighty warriors, dearly loved, protected and equipped by your Papa God!

KHJ

May 8, 2009

Semi-blogging

Got a lovely new laptop... Will be blogging soon I promise. Life has been crazy busy although I can't even tell you why exactly if you were to ask... Lots of life just being lived- kids to parent, Kingdom to advance, dog hair to sweep, jobs to do, things to learn... I'll try to sit down and tell about it soon (except for the dog hair part).

I've made more cool Facebook connections that just bless and amaze me daily. Its like a perpetual ongoing reunion... daily delving deep into my personal history, stirring up memories and emotions... Its been very rewarding for the most part although sometimes disappointing...

One thing going on is that Keith's happier than I have seen him in a long time. God has done something in him... Not in a way like- oh thank God, finally! ;). Keith's never stopped being a Godly man and awesome husband and father, but something life-changing has happened to him. It must be how it was when Moses came out after being with the Lord with his face glowing... Although he already was MOSES, who spoke to God like a friend, when his countenance changed, they knew that he had gone to another level... something special had happened between he and God. Keith has really experienced a deep down foundational change and it is obvious. I asked him what it was... when did it happen? He said, he doesn't exactly know. But he just really TRUSTS Him... He has just really let go, laid it all down... I've just never seen him happier. I am longing for where he is... I've had things on my mind; decisions to make, relationships to heal, things I need to understand... I've not yet found my way to that same place of peace that he's walking in...but I am still encouraged... for I know since we are 'one' that I'm headed that way. He's my 'head' so I'm bound to follow close behind... :)

Anyhow, its late and i'm tired but I wanted to blog something... More to come! :) God bless! Kayla

April 1, 2009

Mortally Wounded Laptop

Its hard to remain a faithful blogger when your computer is wacked... My poor old laptop. It already was slowly in decline. Seemed like every few weeks something else wouldn't work. First the CD drive stopped, then the files got corrupted and Outlook quit working, then Microsoft Word, then Excel... Its final illness was the image viewing just... quit. When I'd go to any website, where you would normally see pictures, there'd be a tiny box with an x. But that wasn't enough, I had to finish it off royally. For some reason since before Christmas, we've not been able to be wireless...(don't ask, I don't know why). We'd have to plug it into the router... well I was distracted the other day and I plugged it in as usual... but I did it upside down! I tried to pull the plug out but it just would not come... I didn't want to look as stupid as I felt so I wanted to get it out asap. So I pulled, and pulled and pulled... Well, it came out alright but now it has mortal internal damage.. I'm sure all of these combined things can be fixed but for the amount it would probably take to fix it, I can probably get a new one. So we are on the hunt for a good deal on a new laptop. Let me know if you hear any good deals...

I'll be back to blogging once I'm up and running again... Until then

God bless!

March 13, 2009

Homer Memories


First Grade. I am on the 2nd row first desk (sporting the lovely brown specs). Charlene is on the next to last row, 4th desk.


Charlene's birthday party. Me (with the glasses again). Charlene in the pink shirt. Cute!


The Rebel Review! Our 1st grade class getting our groove on as 20s flapper girls. I thought I was so hot in my green fringed mini-dress and headband. Charlene, all the way to the right, was bringing down the house sporting her smokin' red ensemble...


Hey there... sorry its been a while since my last blog... Blame it on work, children, an entire family catching the flu... excuses, excuses... :)

I have to say this facebook venture is getting more interesting every day! I've wondered at times- is it a distraction? Is it a God thing? As long as I'm not neglecting my family or my quiet time, I tend to vote on it being a God thing. I cannot tell you how many more friends I have found! And some of the conversations I've had have been amazing! Like the old friend of ours from our partying days who shared how he had been addicted to cocaine for 20+ years, how Jesus delivered him, restored his marriage and family and now he's a living testimony to the rest of our old crowd. Precious!

My most recent and greatest facebook blessing has been the recent re-discovery of my oldest friend Charlene Smith (Killgore now)! Don't get me wrong- SHE'S not old :)... (actually I'm older than her), I've just known her longer than anyone to date! We were kindergarten friends! Maybe even before that! But she found me on facebook! I still can't believe it! It brings back so many memories

I can remember pretty far back... I was born here in Baton Rouge when my dad was going to grad school at LSU (I don't remember that however), but we soon moved to Homer (not Houma) Louisiana in the northern part of the state when I was a toddler. My earliest memories were of going to church- First Baptist of Homer. I remember the Coke machine downstairs- the OLD type that held glass bottles. After putting in your coins, you opened the skinny glass door and the bottles were each in a hole. It took quite a bit of strength (for me anyway) to pull those suckers out. (I usually had to request the help of an adult). After popping off the metal top with the machine's bottle opener one was privileged to enjoy the coldest, most delicious beverage found in any church in America. When it was consumed, the empty bottles were deposited in a rack besides the machine. I realize that I am dating myself but does anybody else remember those old Coke machines? And why on earth did First Baptist Church of Homer have one?

I also remember at 8 years old, getting baptized at First Baptist (this memory comes in a close second to the Coke machine). Each year I lived in rapt anticipation of the annual showing of The Wizard of Oz on one of our three TV channels. And wouldn't you know-the night of my baptism was the date the obviously heathen station programmer chose to schedule it. I was torn- for about five seconds and my dilemma was quickly solved by my unmoving parents who never could see the significance of Dorothy's quest as compared to my following the Lord in the waters of baptism. Afterwards, I swore up and down (nobody ever believed me) that our elderly pastor wore pantyhose when he baptized me. It must have been some sort of wet suit or something but my childish mind was quite convinced he'd been shopping in the women's lingerie department of Homer's Morgan and Lindsey department store. I'm sure it distracted from my spiritual experience. (But don't worry- I got baptized again years later in a swimming pool in Hawaii. The pastor was properly clothed this time, and I was properly focused.)

Earlier than that I also remember my mom going to work when I was about three. We stayed with some poor old woman who had a nursery school in her house (God bless her soul). One of my very earliest memories is during naptime, sneaking int0 her closet with scissors and cutting a hole in the woman's dress. At least I was creative. I cut it in the shape of a crescent moon. I'm pretty sure my time at her nursery school was short-lived. I'll have to ask Cathy for her name. I'd find her and repent but she was nearly a hundred years old back when I was three... I doubt she's a hundred plrsyhfft now... Probably enjoying her eternal rewards for putting up with the likes of me...

And I remember my friends. I was such a tomboy that most of my friends were boys. I lived in the trees, the lake or in the ditch... My next door neighbor Greg was my constant companion. But finally the sad day arrived when we had start school and Greg and I parted ways... He went to Homer Elementary and I went to Claiborne Academy. In kindergarten Mrs.Moss was my teacher. I don't remember a whole lot of learning there like the kindergartners of today but I do remember a lot of finger painting and climbing on the giant red shoe in the classroom. I guess it was modeled after the nursery rhyme 'The Old Woman who Lived in a Shoe". But whatever it was, somewhere near that shoe Charlene and I began a sweet childhood friendship. She wasn't a doll player or bow wearer like the other silly girls in our class. Charlene had brothers, dogs and cows... it was a friendship made in heaven... She was my very best friend and we enjoyed many hours of good wholesome outdoor play. But when at 9 years old, my family decided to leave Homer for the 'greener pastures' of Ruston, we were heartbroken. Later, I returned to Homer to visit Charlene one summer. We slept in the hayloft and fed the calves and listened to Tanya Tucker on her built-into-the-wall radio (Charlene was high-tech for her time) and I was in heaven with my oldest bestest friend again. But despite our friendship, I guess life moved on for both of us and we sadly went our separate ways. Except for one brief meeting in high school, I never heard from her again..........until this past week!!! Yep- facebook again!

It has been awesome to reconnect with Charlene. You'd think after all this time we'd have nothing to talk about but we have had a blast writing lengthy messages catching up on 30 years of life since we last saw one another. She grew up to be a precious woman. She is the manager of a lab. She went to pharmacy school and graduated in toxoligy (I can't even spell it! :). My old friend Charlene is a scientist! She loves Jesus, is a tremendous mother and a loving wife. I am so happy to have found her again. Or rather- to have been found by her again...

You know it just goes to show you-nothing is wasted in the life of a believer! I have no doubt that now that Charlene and I have reconnected, we'll not lose each other again. Even from our barely remembered past, God was working and planning and setting in place things for our future in Him. It comforts me and warms me to think of His exacting, detailed involvement in our lives. He really cares about what is important to us. Yes our God is big, but He is also intimate. How I love Him! And oh how He loves us!

So much of my growing in God has been through His untangling me from my past, of His helping me face and be healed of past regrettable relationships and memories. But isn't it so like Him, to bless me, just for the sheer joy of it, by bringing back into my life one of the purest relationships of my early years when life was simple and uncomplicated? How precious that the wholesome friendship of two innocent little girls was purposed in the mind of God and was observed and enjoyed by heaven. Isn't that sweet? To quote my dad, it just 'warms the cockles of my heart'. (And by the way Dad- what are cockles?)

Anyhow, as soon as I find some, I'm going to try to figure out how to scan and post some old photos of my Homer era and me and Charlene... Stay tuned!

Be blessed! Kayla

February 6, 2009

Rejection, Belonging, Light and such

I just now told a friend whom I was IMing that I felt a blog coming on... :)

But which of the dozen or so things churning in my head do I blog about? Do I tell the dreams I've been having? Do I tell the revelation about rejection and shame? Do I share about the new song I wrote and why I wrote it?

I'll hold off on the dreams for now... Not time to share that yet.

But since the rejection/shame issue is pretty fresh, I'll go there. I have struggled with rejection for quite some time, I'd say most of my life. It's not something I feel non-stop 24/7. But when it hits me, its like a wrecking ball to the gut; sometimes out of the blue, surprising me. I've learned to recognize it instantly. I no longer have to ask myself- "what am I feeling just now?" If its rejection- I know! I heard someone say once that 'perceived' rejection hurts just the same as real rejection. I'm not sure if thats entirely true but I'm inclined to agree. Whatever it is, it hurts worse to me than anything I've personally experienced. The closer the relationship, the more the pain. But I think when it has become a stronghold, the enemy can yank your chain at the slightest hint of rejection from anyone. Because at it's core, rejection hits at our worth and our sense of belonging. I've seen people be rejected and I knew it was for their own good. To be 'accepted' would have been to get on the wrong path, or with the wrong person or group. But even knowing that, why does it still bring pain? We may KNOW that being rejected is direction or protection for us, but why does it still hurt? Again- there's a lie operating that our worth has been tested and has been found wanting.

Well, lately, rejection (or perceived rejection- not sure which) has been cropping up a lot in my life. I'll think I'm making progress then, wham- another wrecking ball... Whether or not this is an attack from the enemy, I don't know, but I do know that the Lord is allowing it. Why? Well I hope for several reasons- one being -me not being allowed to bury my head in the sand but being forced to deal with rejection face on and finally, once and for all, overcoming it.

If this is going to make sense I'm going to have to back up. I want to be honest here. I haven't always walked with God. I'm sure many of us have pasts we regret. I'm no exception and that's where the shame issue comes in. With this facebook venture I'm on, more emotions than I've felt I could handle have been stirred up. Its been a huge blessing to reconnect with these precious old friends, don't get me wrong. I am so blessed to see old faces again and to see where they are now. But there have been many reminders of my past that I can't get away from. Some of it painful and regrettable.

Just today something I read on facebook came up that left me feeling rejected. I had been excluded from something with people from a particular season of my life. Honestly, I'd have not even considered being a part of it, but as silly as it may sound, I felt hurt and those old painful feelings of rejection came to call. The wrecking ball was back. As I was texting a friend about it, I said this- "I know I don't belong there, but it still hurts." Then, it was like- wait! Hold on a minute- I don't belong there. I do not belong there. I don't belong there! And it was like a light came on in my head. It was like the Lord telling me- "Kayla you are not identified with that season. You are identified with Me!" Wow. The revelation hit me that I am a new creation! I am in a new season. Old things are passed away. I do not belong in that old season. So, of course! Its not rejection, its a revelation- I do not belong! And thats good! I belong with HIM. I am the righteousness of God in Christ. I am washed in the blood. My past is gone. I do not belong to it. No wonder I was excluded! But I do belong in HIM. In His presence. His family. His Kingdom. Hallelujah!

Now, don't get me wrong- I am not saying I am any better than anyone from my past These are precious people whom I love dearly. But I am no longer identified with that season. Just one word from Jesus is all we need to have light and truth and freedom. Praise God! Even when I've missed the mark as recently as yesterday, I'm not defined by that. I'm not identified with it. Even if others try to identify me with my failures, Jesus doesn't. He paid it all. Oh how I love Him. So as simple a revelation as that may seem, it is monumental to me. Its been one of those truths I did know in part, but now I know in a deeper place.

Which brings me to my song. For a while, I've been asking the Lord to shine His light into every part of me... As I've seen people fall, who once knew God, its become clear that there were unsurrendered areas of darkness in their heart that were never dealt with. I've been crying out- Lord, deal with me (and above is an example of how He has been, praise God!) But I've seen how even small areas of darkness, if not surrendered, can grow to where the light eventually is extinguished and darkness is all that remains.

The scripture the Lord has led me to is Psalm 86:11 "Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name."

When Israel sinned, the Lord compared them to a adulterous wife. What causes adultery? A divided heart! An area where there isn't wholehearted commitment to the spouse. An area of darkness that eventually divides and conquers. In my alarm at my former brothers and sisters who are no longer walking in the Light, I have prayed this. And the Lord has been revealing my own areas of darkness, compromise, rationalization... Its caused me to be desperate for His light and truth even more.

Proverbs 4: 18 says "The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. 19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble."

Pastor had a word recently about us giving God our whole heart. I thought of my dreams with the secret rooms. This has led me on a quest for my whole heart in the Light of God... And this led me to this song. I wrote it Sunday (while the family watched the Super Bowl :) On a whim, I practiced with the band Tuesday night, not expecting it to be ready to sing. They picked up on it immediately and seemed to embrace the message and spirit of the song. We sang it at altar call Wednesday night. I am singing it Sunday morning. The impact Wednesday night was powerful. I believe it is a song for this season (where I DO belong :) Here are the lyrics.

Face To The Son
Sovereign Lord, hear my prayer
From this earth, turn my eyes
Holy God, lift my head
To behold love's pure light

Sovereign Lord, hear my cry
Come and turn my eyes from me
Holy God, lift my head
Til Your face is all I see

(Chorus)

Your brightness like the noonday sun
The darkness flees, the shadows run
You're breaking through, oh brilliant One
Our hearts alive when glory comes

We turn our face to the Son (repeat)

Nothing hidden from Your gaze
Piercing to the deepest part
Relentless love come have Your way
Break us open, fill our hearts

(Bridge)
Glory glory send Your glory
Glory glory send Your glory


God bless. Kayla

January 26, 2009

Scotland...

Us at Dunnottar Castle 1992

Have you ever had something out of the blue come up, again and again. Perhaps it was something you haven't thought of in a while and something reminds you of it... then a little later, something else does.... And finally you start to wonder... God? Is this You? And why?

Lately, the Lord has been bringing Scotland back to me... And the resurrection of those memories is causing some deep, serious reflection.... During the years 1991-1994, we lived in Scotland. The movies don't exaggerate it's scenic beauty- the purple heather on the mountains, the sheep in the valleys, the breathtaking vistas, the wild North Sea, the rugged untamed Highlands. The village shops are like something out of Dickens. The people are truly remarkable. But above all of that, it was the place we met the Lord. It was the place where for the first time, church wasn't just a building or an obligation, but a living, thriving community. A family. When you are an American overseas there is a bond that takes place among believers of such depth as is uncommon in most environments. And God brought us to a Scottish church with a Scottish pastor but the congregation consisted of several American families from the base. We really integrated with our Scottish brothers and sisters. We shared their culture. They shared ours. We made life-long friends. The fellowship we had was something I'd only dreamed of. It was that sense of belonging I'd always longed for. It certainly wasn't perfect. But God protected us as young believers and we were blissfully unaware of any problems. We just loved and were loved... And God met us there.

Scotland is our spiritual homeland. Its where we were baptized in the Holy Spirit. Its where Keith learned to preach and I learned to sing and play. Its where our children first learned the word of God and where we discovered worship music. I was thrust into worship leading in our homegroup when our leader was transferred. I had been learning guitar for only a few weeks. I was terrified and I'm sure our home group was as well- haha. But somehow we made it. This group of people was unique. We were all pretty much at the same place- all green in the faith. All in our mid to late twenties with young children and hungry for the Lord. I have vivid memories of these precious families, holding their babies while we held ours, worshipping the Lord together. Holidays were spent together, so many hours laughing, praying, debating Scripture... it was a life-changing season for us. Seeds were sown deep in us that stayed and have become a permanent part of our foundation. I cannot hear the bagpipes or see pictures of Scotland without longing in my heart. I was heartbroken when we left. I wanted to stay. I really did... When the church disbanded not long after, I realized we had probably moved at the right time... but I left a big piece of my heart there... And a big piece of Scotland stayed with me.

We left Scotland the day after discovering I was pregnant. When Hannah and Joseph lament that they are the only ones in our family who haven't been to Scotland, I just smile... they were there, they just don't remember! :) But life moved on... The longing faded as our lives became busier... but recently, Scotland has begun reappearing in my life again. I see things that remind me of Scotland. I find pictures in random places. Memories pop up out of nowhere. About a week ago, for no reason, I googled Scotland images and downloaded some beautiful scenery pictures... I just stared and stared. How could I have forgotten the beauty? How could we have not kept in touch with all of those precious people who represent that significant time in our lives. We have kept in touch with some families but sadly we lost touch with most.
So lately, with Scotland on my mind, I have been Facebooking... alot! And I have found almost everybody! And my emotions have been working overtime!

There is something about an isolated period of time in your life. We didn't remain there to watch their children grow up and to see the changes... So everyone has stayed cemented in my mind just as we left them.... Same age, same hairstyles (Poor guys, it was the 90's- haha!), same family life, same walk with God... Since the shock of discovering them all again, I've been trying to sort through my conflicting emotions... Amazment at how the children have grown and how our looks have changed... elation at having finally found these people who were so tied to our beginnings in Christ. Alarmed at how the last 15 years have moved by so fast and how we have indeed gotten older! Thankful to see so many still serving Christ. Saddened and surprised at those who aren't. Sobered as I look at how our choices have affected our paths, our children and will affect the generations to come and their eternity. Confused, wondering how brothers in Christ, so close, sharing the same dreams for their families and with the same fervent hunger for God, walking side by side, learning together, fellowshipping deeply- could gradually drift apart, eventually going down two vastly opposing paths and ending up at totally different destinations... Realizing that it could have been us I am reminded of the scripture that warns to "take heed lest you fall". I just want to fall on my face before God and say- "thank You, thank You, thank You, for keeping us"... but then I also want to ask- "why God? Why them? Why? Why not us?" I don't know... and I am surprised at the depth of grief that I am feeling because of the path some have taken... So I pray. That's all I know to do. I cried on the way to work this morning praying for them....

Despite having the same beginnings and seeing the results of the different paths we've each taken, brings me to something I have been chewing on for some time...

After Christmas a group of us went to the Onething conference in Kansas City... The emphasis this year was the End Times and how God is raising up a Forerunner generation, radical, set apart to usher in His second coming like John the Baptist did for His first coming. Burning and shining lights in this generation. The urgency of the hour is hitting me like a sledgehammer. The futility of the things that have taken so much of my time and virtue and have occupied my thoughts and dreams is sinking in... Jesus will soon return to this planet earth! We have one shot at this thing called life. What on earth are we playing at? Where is the urgency? Where is the purpose? Life's purpose is not just for me to be happy and to be comfortable and to have my way... There is another Kingdom, and its not this temporary earthly one. He is coming back to rule and reign on this earth. ON THIS EARTH! Here! The word of God is clear that according to what we do with what He has given us, will we be rewarded in the Kingdom to come. He will actually say, "Well done so and so, I give you this city to rule. So and so, you were faithful even more, I will give you this country to rule". (the word is clear on this) I am just floored with the dawning realization that what we do today has consequences not just here, but in the hereafter, for ETERNITY! Each choice affects the paths of those around us, possibly for eternity. How are our choices affecting our future generations? As the days get closer to His return, the generations to come will need to have a rock solid foundation to build on... our choices today are the bricks of that foundation! Our children are our most precious gift... have we chosen wisely and secured that spiritual beachhead for them and the following generations? Or have we chosen selfishly and left them uncovered, alone to break their own path... Many do. Many of us were the first in our families to do just that. I believe there is a special reward for those who, against all odds, forged ahead despite having no spiritual heritage left to light their way. They ARE the forgers, the ground breakers, ground takers of their generation's heritage!. But I want to leave a legacy of faith to my children that they can build on for their children. My prayer has become. "Lord may each of our generations, until Your return to this earth, serve you more fervently and love you more wholeheartedly than we did! May the passion for You increase with every generation!" Because the days are getting more and more wicked, they will need it more. Being set apart for them will have greater consequences than it had for us. Are we really preparing them? We and our children have been born into this current culture and generation, at such a time as this, by God's wisdom and foreknowledge. I am honored and terrified at that thought... I want to follow, and for our children to follow, the unique path He has chosen for us in this generation... To truly entrust them to God and to not, in fear, overprotect them, projecting our fear onto them, causing them to not be bold and fearless, prepared or relevant in this generation- the generation that they've been born into and destined to be victorious in.

With the perspective of time, looking back at where we and this precious group of people began our journey together during a unique season in our lives, and suddenly rediscovering them and where they are now, is just...overwhelming and thought provoking. It makes me ask- "What will we find when we look back another 15 years from now? Where will we all be then? Will it be where You want us to be Lord?"! This recent stunning revelation of the swift passage of time has caused me to reflect on my life, my present, my future. It has shaken me up and has once again awakened me to my desperate need for Him TODAY.
But despite this sadness and bittersweet nostalgia, God has brought Scotland back into my life again for some reason. And I will pray for my Spiritual homeland and the Church there... and I hope, in the millinium, when all is finally set right, when He is reigning and He graciously allows us to reign with Him, that I'll be found faithful enough to maybe have my own little village to rule.... in Scotland :).

January 20, 2009

Dream...

I had a dream last night. It may have been that I ate supper too late or something but I just wanted to throw this out there if anyone wants to take a stab at interpreting it...

I dreamed that we were hiding in an apartment like we were Jews in Nazi Germany.... My children were little. They even looked Jewish... We were talking and then the children hushed me and pointed to the door... I opened the door to the hallway and there under the door was some sort of listening device indicating that we were being spied on. I don't know what we were talking about but obviously it was something that would incriminate us. I told the children to write me notes instead of talking... Then Keith appeared on the balcony, having climbed up to avoid detection. He wanted me to come out and see something (away from prying eyes and ears). There were some people on the next balcony trying to get us to invest in some water product... It was obvoius that water was scarce. It flavored the water to make it taste like lemonaide (weird I know). I asked if it purified the water, and they said "no, just disguises the taste". I said, "no, I don't want anything to do with that". Then Keith handed me a box that had been secretly given to him. It looked like a box of matches but I thought- "I bet its a secret radio, so we can listen to reports".... but when I opened it up, out popped a Jewish menorah blazing away. We were thrilled and said, "Praise Jesus" which made the people around us ask, "Why are you praising Jesus? I thought you were Jews?" We just smiled and I woke up. Weird huh?