Thursday, April 29, 2010

Better than a Hallelujah

Bek shared this song with me the other day and I have been unable to get it out of my mind since. It's called Better Than a Hallelujah by Amy Grant. The chorus goes like this:
We just pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah
I find these words very comforting. I wish that I could stay at a place where the only feeling, the only words that come out of my mouth are full of joy, buts that's not the way life works. I am so thankful that God thinks my tears are just as beautiful as my songs.
My most recent quiet times have been spent studying the life of David. As I read through the events that took place in his life I began to wonder why it is that this man is considered a man after God's own heart. If you have ever read the story of David's life it is a messed up story. David was an adulterer, a murder, and failed miserably as a parent. He often followed his flesh and over and over again failed to be the leader he should of been for the nation of Israel. He constantly made the choice to ignore God, yet God Himself says that this is a man after His own heart. Why? How could God describe a man like this as a man after His own heart? His life sure doesn't resemble the picture I have in my mind of a man after God's heart.
I think that the answer is in the above song. If you read through the Psalms of David you will see a man who was a sinner, who messed up time and time again. He never claims to be better than anyone, never describes himself as perfect, never even claims that he is a worthy example of a follower of God. The picture that David paints of himself in the Psalm's is one of humility, and repentance. There is a honest plea to God for salvation. He constantly admits his failures and we see in him a true repentance of his sins.
Sure God loves to hear us worship Him and joyfully sing praises to His name but I think that it pleases Him just as much to catch our tears. After all broken hearts often make us easier to mold. It is when we reach that breaking point, the point where we cannot move without His hand on us that we allow God to do His greatest work in us. God does His greatest work in us when we are at the end of ourselves. It is this process of emptying ourself that God desires the most, and this process is often full of tears and broken hearts.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Rainy days

I LOVE rainy days. I love following asleep to the sound of rain falling outside my window, I love the sound of thunder rolling through the clouds, and the way the lightening brightens up my dark room. I even love being woken up in the middle of the night due to a sudden burst of thunder that shakes me from my sleep, I imagine the powerful blast of sound is just God reminding me that He is there, always there, and more important then even my sleep. I also love waking up and stepping outside to a new, clean world. There is something about the way everything looks after a storm. It amazes me how durable the tiny, delicate flowers in my yard are. The rain poured down all throughout the night and the winds were at times strong yet this morning everything was still standing, and they were better because of the storm. I have watched my tomato and green pepper plants grow over an inch taller in just the past few weeks because of the storms.

My growth in Christ is much like that of my plants. Yes, I water them almost everyday and with that small amount of consistent water they grow, slow yet steady growth. However, when the storm came and the rain poured out of the sky, saturating the dirt surrounding my plants, the new growth was enormous. Just the other day my plants looked as though they would never get tall enough to produce anything, now I see the great potential for a summer filled with fresh tomatoes and peppers. In the same way God works in the life of my plants He works in me. Sure I grow when life is slow and steady, but as I have seen numerous times it is the storms of life that bring about the best, and most effective change in my life.

On a lighter note, my drive to work this morning was beautiful. The sky was filled with dark clouds as more rain moved in, the sun peaked out through the dark clouds and lit up portions of the sky. The trees and grass looked extra green as the rain washed away all the pollen from the air. The streets were washed clean and everything had a shiny, clean look. Then I pull into my parents driveway to grab a bit of breakfast and visit with dad before I head to the lot. As I look past the house to the pasture where my two beautiful horses graze I see a sight that makes me laugh. Most days when I pull into the drive I see my lovely, chestnut mare who has been with me since I was a young child grazing next to towering horse of my dreams who is normally a beautiful creamy, golden palomino.

Not today, no this morning as I look across the pasture, eyes searching for those two blessings that God has so graciously allowed me to care for, I see them both, however my once clean, and handsome palomino is no longer a palomino. Nope, he is completely covered, from head to tow in mud. In fact he is now darker then the mare who is supposed to be brown. I just sigh and laugh it off. He is after all a boy, and horse or human, boys will be boys. In the year that I have owned Romeo I have come to learn that he is much happier when covered in dirt. I'm pretty sure that if I let him he would stay that way for his entire life. He is too funny about his dirt. Whenever I go to groom him and he is covered in dirt I swear the horse sighs and hangs his head. He is so disappointed that all his hard work is about to be washed away. It used to frustrate me, now I have learned to accept and even love this part of his personality. After all it makes me take a little longer to groom him, which allows me to spend more time outside enjoying God's creation. Romeo makes me slow down, he is young and his training cannot be rushed. He loves attention, and I like to think that he gets dirty sometimes just to force me to take a few extra minutes with him... it works every time:)

There is something so peaceful about owning horses. My heart longs for the day when I am able to once again have them in my backyard, apart of my daily life. I love the sound of Dutch's dinner nicker, which lets me know that she must be fed right now, no questions asked, and if I don't hurry she will not forgive me (that is until she sees the bucket in my hand). I love to just sit and watch them graze, I can't tell you the number of hours I have spent just watching them. It is hard to find time to spend with them at this point in my life. There are many weeks like this one when days that would be perfect for riding are spent doing yard work so that I have the money to keep their bellies full. I have to tell myself that someday, very soon, this will change and I will have time for them. One day.... in God's timing, not mine.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


If I had to sum up the past month in one word then freedom is the word I would choose. In the last three or so weeks I have fought, struggled, and wrestled with God on a many of different issues. There have been many tears shed, many hours of sleep lost, hours spent in the Word and twice as many hours in prayer. A few weeks ago I was talking with my dear friend Bekah about a rather interesting topic and she said some very wise words to me. I will not go into the details of everything as some things are not meant to be posted for all eyes to see. However you can know that I was very much on the fence concerning this issue. On one hand I was ready to move forward yet on the other hand I was scared to death and desperately wanted to run far away for the issue.

So I am sitting at her apartment complaining about the predicament that I was in when she stopped me. She said to me in a very calm and loving voice, "Kat you've asked God for this and when He finally said, 'okay,' you shoved it in His face and said, 'no, thanks, I don't really want this.'" Those words hit me like a slap in the face. That is exactly what I had been doing. I had been praying and asking God for several weeks for an answer to a question and I'm pretty sure the answer had been in front on me for quite some time. I just wasn't ready to receive it. As if I was expecting Him to say no, and when He said yes I was in denial.

So many times I spend far too much time talking and not enough time listening. If only I could learn to be still more often. I left her house that night with an overwhelming sense of peace. The answer to that question and my choice to follow God on the issue was the final step to a freedom that I was in dire need of.

Last night I was over at my friend Tracy's house for our weekly prayer time that we have started and she and I talked about this new freedom I have found. It amused me how her and her husband just laughed at my choice to move forward with this freedom and embrace it. That's what God wants us to do with the freedom He gives us... embrace it and allow it to change us. There is so much joy to be found in freedom. We have no need to run from it. God loves His children and when He says that He cares about our every need He means it. He finds great joy in giving us things that make us happy.

I often find it hard to receive His blessings.. that I think was the issue that kept me in bondage. I did not think that I was worthy, and still don't, of the road God was and is leading me down. Even now I find it hard to believe that God is saying yes, I can walk this way. This Sunday I finally said, okay. I committed myself to the road... to go wherever the journey may lead me. My Father is in control, I have no need to worry about my safely. Sure there might be some unexpected turns, maybe even a few logs to jump over. I know there will be many times when I am going to try and turn back. But, Sunday I held onto His hand and followed the road. Yesterday, I held onto His hand and followed the road. Today, I am holding onto His hand and following the road. My plan is to wake up tomorrow and the next day and the next day to do the exact same thing. It's a daily battle. One that I will have to fit every morning. The enemy will attack me, often. I must remain on my guard at all times.

If I told you that this choice was not scary I would be lying. This choice, at this point in my life is terrifying to me. There are some deep wounds that I have suffered that have caused me to very cautious in certain areas of my life. It's okay to be cautious and to guard my heart. However, my cautiousness cannot be allowed to interfere with my trust in God. At the end of the day I must be willing to fully rely on Him to lead me even if the way ahead looks dangerous.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

My monkey

Yesterday was Krista's youngest daughter's birthday. She turned 4!! It is hard to believe how much she has grown up in the last year. I stole her and her 5 yr old sister after lunch today and we have spent the afternoon eating pizza, taking naps, and now they are making a mess painting at my table...and having an absolute blast:) They are growing up into such pretty young ladies. I of course do not have favorite children. There are 8 about to be 9 very special children in my life. Of course my nephew Ryan is one, Krista's 6 and then her brother's newborn little girl, Lexi. My friend Tracy is expecting a little boy named Ben in just a few months. These kids bring such joy to my life. Since it is Brityn's birthday I am going to just write about her.. so no hurt feelings from any of you mom's out I remember like it was yesterday when Brit Brit was born. It had been a long almost 9 months. Kris was bedridden for a lot of it and oh was that an experience. I am just glad that Brityn is the last:) There had been many false alarms but one evening while at Bible study with some high school girls I was teaching Jared called. After the lesson I listened to my was Jared informing that my newest "niece" had arrived and that I had better get up to the hospital.

Oh she was soooo beautiful!!! A true miracle. How can you look at a newborn and not see God's hand written all over their face? Up to this point in my life I had never been extremely close to anyone who had a baby (my nephew wasn't born till the next year). I had been apart of the Pavatt family for about a year and a half by this point. I spent most of my free time between classes hanging out there and often spent weekends babysitting the 3 kids that were around at that point (now there are 6, two recently adopted). When I held that little girl for the first time I was amazed at just how much love I felt. Since then Brityn and I have been very close. She is very dear to my heart. She is the baby and spoiled to the core. She has been held and rocked and sung to sleep since she was born. She has all of us college/young couples/early career people or whatever you want to call the big group of 18-35 yrs old that hang out on Sundays at the Pavatt house, completely wrapped multiple times around her fingers.

(Okay.... I have to stop now and head over to start dinner at the Pavatts, so I'll have to finish this up later)

Tonight was bitter sweet.... Everyone showed up plus a new couple. There haven't been many new people here recently, I wonder what God is going to do next with our group...something crazy... I can just feel it.

Back to my sweet Brityn or as we often call her, monkey. So she is just about as rotten as a child can be but oh is she ever a sweetie. She loves to be held. She often looks up at me and says, "Kaffer hold you," and of course I almost aways do:) One of my favorite things about her is the way God uses her to make me feel so special. All the kids are very affectionate and give great hugs and kisses and say I love you all the time. Brityn does too... but she does it very differently. Sometimes she and I will be back in her room playing whatever and she will just stop, look up and say, "kaffer, I love you." Sometimes when I am holding her she looks me in the eyes, grabs my face with her hands and says, "Kaffer, I love you." Other times she will just simple remind me that I am her Kaffer. (Kaffer is the name that was given to me by Kailyn, now 8, when she was 2 and could not pronounce Kathryn). I don't think that a day has gone by spent with her where she didn't say at least one of those phrases to me.

I am amazed at the way God works. We read in church today from 1 Peter and the verse that says to cast all your cares on Him, for He cares for us. Do you get that last part. We don't cast our cares on Him just because He is strong enough to bear the weight. He wants us to because He actually cares...about me. Those things that I think are just stupid.... God cares about. Those worries I have about my future... God cares about. I really don't like this feeling of loneliness that has crept in my life here lately. I often drive up my driveway and sigh...another night of coming home to an empty house. All of my friends, but one, are married. One has 6 kids, one is expecting and the other married for almost a year now. I often wonder and ask God... when is it going to be my turn??

I was having one of those hard, lonely nights tonight. So I'm getting ready for bed...feeling sorry for myself and trying to have my own pity party and I look on my nightstand and see evidence of two sweet little girls all around my house... and I just smiled. Then I opened my computer to this page. I sat down to finish this post and as I began writing about my sweet little monkey the tears just started flowing. God cares about that loneliness inside of me. He may not be ready to fulfill that need the way I think He should but He so in His own way. I hear His voice in the form of a little one whispering I love you Kaffer as I tuck her in and sing to her. God uses a small little girl to remind me that I am special, that there is a reason why I am where I am. Yeah maybe I come every night to an empty house but God is here. He doesn't think that this struggle that I am having is silly. Tonight will not let the enemy win. Maybe I'm not where I think I should be at 24, but I am right where God wants me to be. So the plans I have/had for my life are a little different then what is actually taking place, but God is preparing me for something amazing. So tonight, I am casting my loneliness on Him, because He cares about me. I am also throwing away my plans, His are far better, even if they don't make any sense right now. I am going to choose right now to trust in Him. Completely trust in Him. I can hold my head up high, Satan has no foothold in this life. My Father loves me and is here with me. He is all I need, more than I could ever want, and I'm going to rest in His faithfulness.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bitter sweet

Well I turned in my last research paper last night. I don't foresee this as my very last one though... just for this degree:) Who knows what God will have me do next. I am trying to stay clear of putting my foot in my mouth, lol, likes thats even possible.

There is now only one class that stands between me and my Master's!!!! I am so excited to be near the end. On one hand I am looking forward to school being done, and on the other hand I can't believe that I am almost completely done with school (for the foreseeable future that is). I am really going to miss it. I remember in high school that there was no looking back, I had no desire to stay there nor do I miss it at all. The feeling towards college and grad school is very different. These last 6 years have been wonderful. There have been many, many hard and trying times but I see how God has used them to make into the person I am today. I am so thankful that He has opened my eyes to see His hand on me even in the rough patches. I am so thankful for the joyful few weeks that I have had recently. God has been freeing me of so many things here lately, which makes me wonder what He has in store for me next:)

On a completely different note my baby brother leaves tomorrow evening for basic training. I can't wait to see the man he will be when he returns. Of course, as his big sister I am worried about him. It is going to be a hard few months for him and I from the stories I hear not at all enjoyable. I can't believe how grown up he has gotten. It is hard to imagine that he is old enough to be doing this. I have watched him grow up so much in the last few years and cannot wait to see what God has in store for him.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A lesson on love from a very wise church father

So it has been awhile since I lasted posted. This is not for lack of material to write on. It is because I currently have a research paper due tomorrow night by midnight. I am for the most part done. I still need some advice from a friend before I submit it. You see in seminary they look at every aspect of your paper. It is not like undergrad where some profs didn't even bother to read it. No, I have to be extremely tedious in my writing for this degree. It's a good thing I like to write, and I am thankful that this paper is actually on an interesting subject. Saint Augustine was an outstanding man and a prolific writer. I can't wait to be done with this class so that I can actually read his works without looking for paper material. I have thoroughly enjoyed the parts of Confessions that I have read while writing this paper. Today as I was finishing up some research I came across this section in the latter part of Confessions. The majority of this book is about Augustine's life before his conversion, now as I am nearing the end of the book he writes about his relationship with his now Savior.
This short segment on the love he has now for his Savior is raw, intimate, and extremely honest. He says,
"But what do I love, when I love You?
Not beauty of bodies, nor the faint harmony of time.
Not the brightness of the light, so welcome to our eyes,
Nor sweet melodies of varied songs,
Nor the fragrant smell of flowers, and ointments and spices.
Nor manna and honey, nor the embrace of arms in fleshly pleasure.
None of these I love when I love my God.
Yet this love is a kind of light and melody and
fragrance and meat and embrace.
When I love my God, the light, melody, fragrance, meat,
and embrace is experienced by my inner man.
Love shines into my soul, where space cannot contain it.
Love speaks with sound that does not fade into silence with time.
Its smells are not disperses in breath, and its tastes do not grow stale.
Love clings, and its satisfaction does not break my connection to the experience.
This is it which I love,
When I love my God."
Beautiful isn't it!!!
I love that His love cannot be contained. I love that His love never satisfies me, it always leaves me wanting more. I love how it never grows old, it never fades, it never grows stale. Oh to love the way He loves me. If only I could grasp just how much He really does love me. I'm pretty sure that were I to fully see His love that it would kill me, but I wouldn't mind that, really. I can't wait to be in His presence. To see Him face to face, to be held in His arms, to hear Him say my name. How I long to be rid of my flesh that so often draws me from Him. How He can go on loving me is a mystery that I will never understand. I do not deserve any of it. I deserve to be abandoned by Him, I deserve His full wrath, I deserve to die and live without Him. Ah, but there is grace, grace the sweetest word I know, and one that I will never fully understand. I wish I gave it more freely. I am glad that He does not give it the way I give it. I am so thankful for His love, for His grace that enables Him to love me. There is no one, nothing that I love as much as I love my God, my Father, my Abba, my All.