Fear and Gloomy Mornings

The lie whispered this morning before I even opened my eyes and got out of bed today was, “God doesn’t love you. He has forgotten you. You must not be good enough to have God’s love.”

I woke up with a gloomy attitude about something that was going on that I was unhappy about. On top of that I had woken up late, with a headache and forgot I had plans with a friend this morning-despite the fact that I had said plans into my super-Ultra-expensive phone calendar. Grrr. It just seemed that my morning was going to dictate how the rest of my day went. Call it a wash and we’ll try again tomorrow. So I headed out to the kitchen and made my breakfast. I sat down on the couch in my desperation and just opened my bible. It didn’t matter where really. I just needed God to meet me somewhere along those pages.

I jumped around to many different verses, but found myself back to familiar ones that echoed I’ve been adopted as God’s daughter, chosen for His glory. Still wrestling I decided to scroll the Instagram’s of my favorite motivational “friends.” The one that yelled to my heart was one that said God’s plans for my life were greater than what I had planned.
Spurred I hopped into my daily devotionals that screamed God chose me. God wants me near to know Him.

To even further drive the point home God continued to reach me in my stubbornness through my personal reading. I just started reading “Clout” by Jenni Catron, and the first chapter was all about fears. Oh Jesus, you know. Fear is the root of the lies whispered to me. Fear that maybe, just maybe God HAS forgotten me? Fear is causing me question God’s sovereignty and goodness in my life. Fear is holding me back from the calling and purpose He has planned for me.

“…our greatest fear is true, but there is an even great truth to replace it.”
(Jenni Catron, Clout)

Today, I’m choosing to use the truth found in Isaiah 49-15-16 ESV, “…I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…” The Fear is very real, BUT my God is GREATER than the fear. See I know, because He met me on the pages today.

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Defining Moments

So this weekend I had one of those life defining moments, like for real. This glimpse of what could be SCARES the crap out of me. It’s MUCH bigger than me and will seriously force me to put my words into action. It will require me to be hot as fire, not cold, nor lukewarm. It will require me to cling so tight to Jesus. It will require me to be believe His promises more than the lies of this earth. It will take my feet into the ocean…with waves crashing all around. I don’t know about you, but that’s scary!

This last year and a half I’ve often felt like I’ve been in limbo…one foot here and another standing in the shadow. I couldn’t see just what God was doing. I’d take one step, see a crack in the door- come to my own conclusions, and then a door would close and I’d be back in shadows of limbo again. But the last couple months Jesus has been whispering to my heart. He has been asking me to let go of my plans, my dreams, my kingdom for His plans, dreams, and kingdom. We often raise our hands in worship singing to God that we want more of Him; that we are His…but are we really? I find myself in this place sadly oh so often. I do want more of Jesus. I do want His will for my life, but with my inclusions. The faint whisper is saying, “Kim, no more. You cannot have both. You are at a place where you have to decide. You can no longer be lukewarm. You can no longer live for me 90% of the time. You have to give Me ALL of you so you can really experience all of Me.”

In 2012 we left Georgia to follow after Jesus. That led us to Detroit. When we moved here we had some small visions of why, but for the most part had no clue of what God had planned for us here. In 2013 we went on an emotional rollercoaster with Jesus. Lots of tears, frustration, and confusion with where our life was at, and wondering what on earth God was doing. On January 18, 2014 God revealed to us why 2013 was needed. I thank Him for that. I have a million more questions for Him now. I thank Jesus for being patient with this mess of a girl. I’m so thankful for the cross. I’m so thankful Jesus sought me worthy of a relationship with Him, because it’s not something I deserve; but oh so thankful. He is worthy of much praise. He is worthy of all of our hearts; our lives.

Battle of the Mind

“…take every thought captive to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

This verse has been speaking VOLUMES to me over the past couple weeks. Truthfully, I didn’t get what God was trying to teach me with it at first. I’d heard the scripture before many times, but passed over it like a fool-a fool thinking she knew more than she really did…

Easter is always a good time to reflect on what Jesus did for us a the cross. But I found myself this Easter focusing even more on what the cross represents in my life. Jesus died so that I can have a relationship again with the Father. He died so that I can have freedom from sin and bondage. His flesh nailed upon the cross was my issues nailed up there. The question I feel God asked me this Easter was do I live in that belief on a daily basis? I believe the story, I know the story, but do I live out the story? Most days I’d like to say yes, but truthfully no, I don’t live in that mindset all the time. I fall victim to the schemes of the devil and allow my mind to wander into the places it shouldn’t go. I let my defenses down and he slithers right on in to my thoughts-negative thoughts, hopeless thoughts, wrong thoughts. That then leads to  negative words and actions.

Our Easter sermon this year focused on Luke 24 and the two men who were walking down a road to Emmaus. They felt hopeless talking about how they thought Jesus was the Messiah, but he died on the cross, and with that so did their hope. Verse 21 says, “But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel…” As they were discussing a man comes up to them asks them the events of the past few days (Jesus is the man of course). As they are talking Jesus keeps asking them questions. They finally arrive at their destination and they invite the man to stay the night with them, as it was getting late. He accepts and they have dinner. Now all this time they were kept from realizing it was him until over a meal the man (Jesus) breaks the bread and hands it to them. In verse 31-32 it says, “And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”

Just like those men I have believed that my current circumstances or thoughts were true. I’ve allowed in some areas of my life the hope to slowly fade away. But through all His mercy He opened my eyes! I knew my heart was burning when I was snapping at my husband, or gossiping, but I chose to walk on disobeying Christ and what He did for me on the cross. Just like those two men I have been thinking I KNEW what happened at the cross. My hope did not die up there with Jesus’ human body. My hope was renewed on the day He rose! There is HOPE for me! There is hope for you!

My prayer for right now is that God begins to BURN SO BIG in my heart when I have a negative thought. I want my eyes to be opened in that moment so I can take the thought captive and obey Christ.  I don’t want to be the fool who thinks she knows it all.

The ROCK that is Higher

Uncomfortable. Out of control. Waiting. Humility. Tension. Peace.

These are the thoughts and feelings rushing through my body these days. We are uncomfortable in this season of our life. We are not in control of our surroundings. We’re waiting on the promises of God. We are experiencing a whole new level of humility. We are being attacked and feeling the tension of war, but we also experienced God’s peace in the midst of battle.

God asked us to follow him into this unknown city, to love on it’s people, and know Him more. We took that giant leap of faith into the wilderness, but to be honest it’s HARD! Lots of days I find myself wiping tears and begging “Abba, Father!” reveal more of you to us. Most of time I find myself overwhelmed with the mission. There’s just so much brokenness here. Before we moved here I found this scripture from Jeremiah 8:21, “I am broken by the brokenness of my dear people. I mourn; horror has taken hold of me.” I asked God to break our hearts for what broke his. I am constantly reminded of that prayer here. The other day I was driving to meet my family out in the suburbs, and in order to get there (the most direct way) you have to drive along a very poor area of the city and depending on what time of the day, not very safe. This was 11am so I was okay 🙂 It’s literally freezing outside and I passed a man opening up trash cans for food. I walk from our building to the parking garage and my fingers feel like they are about to fall off, but this man had no coat and apparently no food. HEART BROKEN!!! This is not an uncommon scene here in Detroit…just turn your head to the left and then to the right.

That feeling is uncomfortable. This whole move has been uncomfortable: spiritually, mentally, physically, and financially. We were taken out of a life we knew, people we knew, culture we knew, and thrown into a completely different world.  We didn’t have any close friends, we didn’t dress hipster enough, and sometimes the lingo here still confuses me. This really bothered me to be honest-I felt like God chose the wrong people. I wanted to go back to what was comfortable. I wanted sweet tea, southern hospitality, open spaces, and yes even the smell of cow poop seemed enticing! I wanted to be back in control of my life, or what I thought I was in control of. I want our savings account to be back where it was. I want to have that house. I want a child. I still want that “American Dream”. I want, I want, I want. One day it hit me that I had it all WRONG. I just assumed that God would grant all my wishes if we just followed him here. I mean we want to know Jesus and follow him into the unknown, but I just thought it would happen suddenly. Why I thought this I have no clue…God never promises this in the bible. So I had to stop and asked myself what does God want of me? Really I have no right to ask for anything. Jesus died for me, so I’m in debt for my life. I’m still mapping out what this looks for me, but I’ve come to a couple conclusions:

1) He wants me to WANT HIM more than those things.

2) He wants me to be WHO HE CREATED me to be. I am not a hipster-nor do I really want to be. Give me a set a pearls any day 🙂

3) He wants me to LOVE on His people. That looks different here in some ways than it did in Canton, but the act is still the same.

4) I need to humble myself. I believe God has big things planned for us, but we must humble ourselves to be the follower, to be the quiet ones sometimes (easier for Ricky than me!).

These are daily battles for me. Some days are better than others. Never have I been more sure of just how important scripture is in our lives. I’m trying to commit verses to memory, so when I find myself falling into a trap I can say to myself, God does not say that. Peace then can enter my heart, even if the storm is crashing in. Please pray for us as we walk this journey day by day.

“For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose.” Philippians 2:13

“You will keep the mind that is dependant on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You. Trust in the LORD forever, because the LORD is an everlasting rock!” Isaiah 26:3-4

Praying, Waiting, & Contemplating

So we are just about done for now with unpacking and settling in. There are a few minor cosmetic things I would like to do to each room in the apartment, but since we’re a one income family now and just blew a big chunk of savings with moving here those will have wait! All in all I like our place and the area. Its a quaint few blocks…but step outside the “villages” and you see poverty, broken down buildings, and graffiti plastered all over the walls. It’s CRAZY to think literally Father of the Bride, half million dollar homes are two blocks away from poverty. No it’s kind of obscene. In church we’ve been discussing the early church and going through the book of Acts. One of my favorite thing about this book is the sense of community the people had, and they were all striving toward the same goal…

“All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity, all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.”
Acts 2:42-47
 
The last sentence is what it’s all about-saving people! Maybe that is what is missing in this city-besides a lot of other stuff 🙂 When you live in a city where the super rich are separated from the super poor you separate yourself from the goodwill in Acts. In just learning the history of the city we’ve come to discover that the start of the downfall was with mid-century racial segregation. Whites left with their business’ and left a city of other races struggling to survive. Throw in bad economies, other pitfalls, and you’ve got a perfect equation for what’s going on today. However, that’s NOT what Jesus wanted for us! He wanted “ALL” His believers coming together, unified for one cause-HIM!
 
So in all of this we’ve just been praying about how and what God will use us for here in Detroit. We knew when we decided to move here that God wouldn’t give us step two until we actually got to the city-so naturally day one I was asking God “what’s next?!?” One of my dear friends says I like to run before I walk 🙂 Over the last week in our prayer/quiet times we feel as if God is saying this is a season of rest for us-which honestly just feels weird. Rest? Really? God we’ve just moved here and you want us to rest? We feel weird “just” attending service. But after talking it over with God and even searching the scriptures I’m starting to see why He would want this for us. For most of our adult life and marriage Ricky and I have been knee-deep in ministry and constantly on the go. While these are not bad things in and of themselves, I think we often let it dictate our days-rather than the other way around. We were getting tired-joyful still, but tired nonetheless. That’s not a good thing when we know we’ve been called to this for the long haul. We were coming off the starting line blazing, and everyone knows it’s slow and steady that wins the race. 
 
One of the key books that God has been speaking to us about Detroit is Nehemiah. The other day I came across this scripture:
 
“The priests and Levites first purified themselves; then they purified the people, the gates, and the wall.” Nehemiah 12:30
 
Before the could start “doing” life inside the city they had to FIRST purify themselves. Our modern day version would be to take time to ready oneself, spend time with God, learn, etc. So, that’s what we’ve been and are going to do; and in the process we wait-yet again 🙂 God has been revealing to me that this is critical before He starts to really use us here. Throughout scripture BEFORE God did CRAZY, AWESOME things with people they often underwent a period of waiting and preparation. This is vital! They had to first purify themselves. Let’s look at some examples:
 
Esther-waited a year and underwent beauty prep (which was important for her task in alluring a king).
Israelites-waited 40 years before entering the promise land.
Nehemiah-waited 4 months before approaching the king and in that 4 months purified himself to God by fasting and praying.
Daniel-waited 3 years before entering the royal service and interpreting the kings dreams.
Jesus-waited 30 years before beginning his 3 year ministry.
Even life itself with a baby waits 9 or so months before entering the world! 
 
Not sure how long this season will last, but in the meantime we will wait upon you Lord. We will continue to search your heart and grow in you. Your timing is always better, and your ways are higher than ours. We are excited to see what the future holds!
 
 
 
 
 
 

Detroit

Wow…

It’s been a long time since I typed. So much has happened and so much I wanted to shout to the world, but alas I couldn’t share-until now…

So last we met Ricky had just got hired! Well that job has had a lot of surprises in store for us-in a good way :). So last fall after Ricky got hired and we finally had a chance to catch a breath Ricky brought up moving to Detroit again to me. Of course I was perfectly content with staying put and really it was/is a crazy idea! I wanted a house…I wanted to have a baby…I wanted to be comfortable in the idea of my little American dream. So turning down the idea (momentarily) we decided to look at houses (this was last December)…and we found the MOST beautiful house and I wanted it…BAD! The only problem was God said “No.” No reason in our minds, but just a “no.” Really bummed we decided that we would just keep moving on and whatever the reason He had just cause. About a month later (first of this year) Ricky really felt like God was impressing the city of Detroit on his heart. Now since BEFORE we got married he has always “joked” about Detroit as our city. I of course didn’t allow the conversation to go any further than a joke. This time was different, Ricky felt like God was saying no to the house here, because Canton wasn’t meant to be our home-Detroit was. So after both seriously praying over the decision we decided to make a trip up there and we begged God to show us if this was REALLY from Him and not just some crazy idea we were imagining. Over the next several weeks we still had this strong feeling like Detroit was going to happen, but still not 100% nor did we even know a timeline or how to begin. In April we made our 1st trip to the Motor City and God opened our eyes to the realities of our future. I remember the last night of our trip we were laying in bed thinking this was CRAZY, and Ricky said this is where Luke 5 comes to life for us.

“1One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee,t great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. 2He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. 3 Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon,t its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.” 5 “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.”6 And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! 7 A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking. 8 When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m too much of a sinner to be around you.”9 For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. 10 His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed. Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” 11 And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.”

See Ricky’s job was not suppose to be. It was the ONLY job he applied for that was not graphic design/video editing. He did not think he could get it…it was one of those what to have to lose applications. He had already thrown his nets down all night, and Jesus said try this. Not confident anything would come up-just like Peter. BUT-Jesus proved us wrong! He scored us an amazing job! That’s not the end of the story though…once they got to shore Jesus asked them to give up everything that was just caught-notice that? Jesus was asking us back in April for sure we couldn’t deny it to give up our life here-including the job if needed to follow him and become fishers of men. What was worth more to us? Our little American dream or Jesus? We sat there in bed that night at a crossroads…yes the disciples had tremendous trial BUT they also had tremendous JOY and went on an AMAZING adventure with the Savior of the world!!!!!!!! Once we got that there was no turning back…we were ready for our lives to be turned upside down with Jesus. So when we got home we proceeded to jump both feet in. Ricky approached his job and informed them of our plans and his boss approved him to work remote! WHAT?!!! God didn’t just give us this job for us-He gave it to us so we could be finacially secure to make this massive move to Detroit! The kicker was we didn’t realize that UNTIL we made the decision to follow after Him. See God wants our hearts first and foremost. I quit my job to start preparing things for our move-like finding a place to live and packing us up! It’s taken more time than we thought to actually find a place and get the logistical paperwork complete with Ricky’s job, but the time has come. We OFFICIALLY move on 10/4! As of 10/5 we will be sleeping in our new apartment in the city 🙂

I’m SO excited at this next chapter of our lives…its scary, but we are confident that God is going before us with clouds to guide us by day and fire to guide us by night. Please pray for our journey and that through all of this God will be glorifed in the highest!

 

Give Me Faith

Words cannot even begin to express my awe right now in Jesus. Today is precious. Today is holy. Today God whispered, “I’ve heard you’re cry my child.”
There are so many thoughts racing through my head right now that I’m still processing them all, but the one that plays the most is GOD IS FAITHFUL! At the beginning of the summer Ricky and I came before the Lord begging him to move in our lives. We prayed for Him to use us to glorify Him. We prayed for Him to move BIG in Revolution Students. We prayed for Him to provide the finances for Ricky to go to Theology school without taking out loans. We prayed for God to give us faith.

I will never forget July 2011. That was the month that God showed up and started stretching us. Revolution Students hosted the 1st ever Student Weekend where students recommitted their lives to Jesus and some even asked Him into their lives!!! That was the month my mom was in the hospital with chest pains…hello enlarged left ventricle of her heart. God so graciously provided the funds for Ricky to take 2 classes in the fall! That was also the month where Ricky stepped down from his position on staff at our Church. The schedule and demands of His position no longer fit to what we felt God was calling us to. It was such a difficult decision, not only because we LOVE our church, but it was also his paycheck. If your close to me then you know money and control our my issues. So, at the end of the month when all was said and done we were face to face with our Jordan river. God gave us the opportunity to have faith in Him…imagine that! He heard our prayers 🙂

God decided to reset our bones in some really uncomfortable ways. My flesh and I fought A LOT! Satan constantly whispered lies in my ear about my faith, my self-image, my marriage, etc. Needless to say I had many breakdowns with God and Ricky!!! Both are so patient with me 🙂 Thankfully, God provides us with a place of rest when we just need a moment to refresh. It’s in those moments that we recharge and refocus our situation. God was able to show me where I had been sinning in my life and where He could take me if I simply just surrendered control to Him. He kept showing me through scripture that He was working out a plan that was for my GOOD! Honestly, I didn’t always feel like it was, BUT we have to make a DAILY choice to believe it despite our situation.

I decided in August to go through the Psalms and write down verses I could remember, so when Satan tried to deceive me in a moment of weakness I could throw the word of God at him. The two that have become my favorite are Psalm 25:2a “Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame…” and Psalm 66:10-12 “For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out into a place of abundance.” Both spoke to our situation. We were waiting for God to answer our prayers and yet we had to BELIEVE that God had already prepared a place of abundance for us from answered prayers.

So flash forward to September. Three failed job prospects, countless applications submitted, and bills continue to stop by and say hi. Then one Monday night I broke down. I cried to God begging him to not forget his child, begging Him to show me He still had us written in His palm, because I couldn’t see it. Fail Kim. The next day Ricky got a call about a job interview for a job he just “happened” to apply to weeks earlier thinking nothing would come of it. God is SO GRACIOUS with us!!!! He picked me up once again to keep pressing on believing in His promise.

Flash forward to the beginning of October. Revolution Students has seen around 10 students baptized and more fresh faces! Ricky is doing really well in school, but still no job. The interview process at this company has DRAGGED on for weeks. Interview after interview after interview. This month was different though. This month I kept hearing God ask me “How much do you trust me?” I seem to hear it every time right before we wrote our tithe check. So the beginning of this month our Pastor felt like God was telling Him that He wanted more than just our money. He wanted ALL of us, so the decision was made not to collect tithes that week. Ricky and I sat puzzled…”Okay God well what are we suppose to do with this check?!” Oh Satan is all over telling us to keep it…like a free pass or something, but this is God’s money. With so much on the line we wouldn’t dare steal from God! God told us to give it away, so we did. Then the next weekend God started telling me that we needed to write another tithe check and give it the next day at Church. “Oh God I don’t think we need to do that…we already gave that check away…don’t you remember?! :)” HA! Like God would give up that easy! So the next morning God said “How much do you trust me?” Oh man…he’s not letting up! After about 30 seconds I sent Ricky a text telling him God said we need to write another check. Ricky is SO amazing and perfect for me (money isn’t his issue). He said “We’ll we should probably write the check then.” 🙂 So, we wrote the check. We stepped out on faith. A couple days later we sat down to do our budget for the next month…the numbers weren’t adding up to black. Insert Kim freaking out and worrying about how bills were going to get paid. Enter my friend Melissa and my loving husband setting me straight and reminding me of my verses. God was testing us. We were EXACTLY short the tithe check we just wrote. There are no coincidences…

The very next day Ricky got a call to do some temp work with his brother…God is FAITHFUL. Today Ricky got the call offering him the job…God is FAITHFUL!!!! To quote my very wise friend Melissa, “Continue being faithful in the small things and He will bless you with the big things!” The job is amazing. It’s so much more than we could have imagined. All this time we couldn’t see just how everything aligned for our good and His glory! At dinner tonight we laughed…ONLY God could move in our lives in such a BIG way! We begged Him to use us for His glory. We begged Him to move BIG in Students. We begged Him to provide the finances to go to school. We begged Him to give us FAITH. Well guess what he did 🙂

Psalm 25:2a “Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame…”

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