Looking in the Mirror

I feel behind. Behind on being in a relationship, behind on the trends, behind on getting a job, behind on knowledge, behind on traveling, behind on getting my life together... so I hope and pray for the future me but all the meanwhile I haven't noticed the beauty I am standing in. Our culture is constantly looking to improve. We as humans are constantly trying to upgrade to make our lives be better. And don't get me wrong it is good to set goals and have dreams but it becomes unhealthy striving when you miss out on the sacred ground you are standing on.

Leanna Tankersley says it perfectly: "Usually the relief from all this hot pursuit arrives because we finally stand still long enough to let ourselves be loved." I used to look in the mirror at my body and critique/criticize every thing about it. After admitting this to my friend one day, she challenged me to change the way I talk to myself in the mirror. She challenged me to look in the mirror and say "Kailey, YOU are beautiful right now. All of you. Every last inch of you. You don't need to change a thing because I love you just how you are." That was very difficult for me to do at first but this soon became an unforced rhythm of grace in my life. Each time I said it the more I truly believed it. Each time I spoke God's truth over me I loved myself more and more.

What if we do that with our whole life? What if we hold our lives in front of the mirror and whisper the true words of sacredness and belovedness into the places where we feel behind, dull, and lacking. If you were to hold your life up in front of a mirror, where is the place that you critique/criticize and find less than beautiful? For me it was my relationship status. Maybe for you it is a shortcoming of your ideally perfect career or the standard that is hanging over you to have a perfect body or something as "little" as an overwhelming list of house chores. Whatever it is, I want you to tell that part of your life that it is loved in all its flaws, just like I did to myself in the mirror. Form an unforced rhythm of grace so that when you find a fault, you can hold it up to the mirror and speak belovedness into it.  

We are never going to reach perfection as a human. Perfection is waiting for us in heaven. Therefore striving for perfection on this earth will only leave us disappointed in ourselves. We must dare to love ourselves and let ourselves be loved right now where we are, even in our shortcomings.        

Finding Your Voice

Do you ever just go into bookstores when you are bored? No? Ok, maybe I am the only one but it is one of my favorite things to do and I do it more often than I want to admit. When I was in Barnes & Noble this past week I was sitting on the floor and spotted a hot pink book starring right back at me as if it was calling my name.The page that I opened to was a long list that caught my attention because every line started out with "I love____". Some of the things the author loves consist of fountains, Scrabble, crab legs, hot showers, faux fur, laughing with her family, hennas, documents on celebrity chefs... the list goes on. 

Something occurred to me in that moment... I can't make a list like that for myself. And if I tried, it would be very difficult. After I had this realization, God spoke so clearly to me. He said that I had been so concentrated on listening to people all the time that I had forgotten that I have a voice too. Right there in the Christianity aisle of Barnes & Noble sitting on the floor with children running up and down the hallway I started crying. It wasn't a sad cry, it was more of a release cry... like I had been trying to solve a mystery and I finally found the murder weapon.

The psychology lover in me started to think about who in my life had maybe pushed this voice down or if someone along the way had said something that triggered the subconscious thought that my voice isn't worthy or good enough to be spoken or heard. Isn't it funny how I automatically wanted to blame someone. However, the reality is, is that it is my fault. I had decided that I am a listener and that's what I am good at so I chose to stuck with that and along the way reinforced my brain to think I didn't have a voice but was made to just listen to others voices only. The reason why this message God whispered in my ear in the middle of Barnes & Noble released something in me was because someone had finally given me permission to have a voice.

From God to you I want to give you permission to run toward what you love with unapologetic abandon.  

Generations cultivate trending hobbies and interests and opinions and I automatically think that I need to swim with the stream and subconsciously tell myself that I can't swim against it. I don't give myself permission to do otherwise. To be honest, a lot of times I don't even realize I have the choice. Part of finding your voice is figuring out what it sounds like and what is has to say. What you have to say is valued and people do want to hear it. Don't let yourself or anyone else tell you otherwise. Because if you are like me, I tell God everything... we have THE BEST conversations and I share with Him what I think. And as with me, He is your proud Father too. And He wants to show off your voice to the world.

He is just waiting for you to find the gift of permission that He has given to you. My gift was wrapped in a hot pink bow in Barnes & Noble but I pray that yours is wrapped up in these words. 

 

  

The Importance of Reading God's Word

Proverbs 4:20-22 "My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh." 

The Word of God should be as important to us as the very air we breathe. But I think we have lost the weight and significance that it should hold in our lives. 

Im going to be bold and maybe even step on some toes by saying, DO NOT let people tell you it is ok to not read your Bible everyday. Being in a Christian community I have witnessed so many conversations where someone will say that they feel bad because they haven't read their Bible in a while or that they don't like to read it and other people will encourage them and console them by saying that it is fine and that they don't need to read their Bible all the time to be pleasing to God. And while it is true that you don't have to do anything to please God, that IS NOT the response that should be given.  

We must be Christians that are rooted deeply in the Word of God and have a community of believers around us that are reminding us of the importance of reading Scripture and encouraging us when we forget that truth. Not people telling us it is ok to not be in the Word of God. It is crucial.

  • It is the most powerful tool and defense that we have.
  • It guards our minds and equips us and strengthens us and renews our very hearts.
  • It is what anchors us in Him. 

We MUST be in the Word of God everyday meditating on it because the enemy has planned an attack on your life and your mind but our God loves us so much that He has given us His Word as the "sword of the Spirit" so that we can stand firm and be strong and victorious children. (Ephesians 6:17) 

When I was praying over this blog, God reminded me of the woman that got caught committing adultery. Jesus responds to her by saying, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more" (John 8:11). Notice how Jesus doesn't just stop after He says neither do I condemn you but actually goes on to say go and sin no more. He gives grace with correction. God loves you too much to let you stay where you are. He wants you to grow and flourish. This post is not meant to condemn you, but to inspire you and I pray that through it,, the Holy Spirit would convict you. I know that that lady went and sinned a whole lot more because she was human, but if she were to keep coming back to Jesus He would say the same thing. He would keep giving her grace. Just like he keeps giving us grace every time we fail. He never stops giving us grace and another chance. But He also keeps saying "Go and sin no more."

Even I go days without reading my Bible. But I am always reminded of this story. This story of grace and conviction that Jesus spoke over the woman and speaks over me and over you.

Don't let people tell you it is ok to not read the Bible. Surround yourself with people that will push and encourage you to meditate on it day and night and remind you of it's significance. But know that if you don't somedays that Jesus speaks grace over you and whispers forgiveness in your ear and that there is nothing you have to do to gain His approval or love or acceptance. He desires for you to read and abide in His Word (John 15:7) because He loves you and He has given it to you as a gift to strengthen, refresh, and sustain you. It is your choice whether you leave it on the shelf or not. The enemy will try to place the lie in your head that it is too big of a task to open it, when in reality it is the ONE THING that you need. In reality it is simple and easy and refreshing. The Word of God is the solution to the problems that Satan will try to place in your lap and the truth to the lies that he will try to drop in your mind. And that is exactly why he will do everything in his power to get you to not read it.  


Psalm 119:9-11 "How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your word. With my whole heart I seek You; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up Your words in my heart, that I might not sin against you." 

John 6:63 "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life."

Psalm 119:105 "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."

Matthew 4:4 "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God."

Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." 

Joshua 1:8 "This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success."

 

4 Things Christians Need To Know

1. Be slow to speak & quick to listen.

Lately, I have been noticing how few Christians (and people) practice this. For some reason, this is looked down upon in our society. Everyone needs to give their opinion and partake in the discussion. And listening is viewed as a weak role to take on. I have especially noticed, that if someone is listening and not interrupting they are most likely thinking about what they are going to say or how it relates to them. When you are quick to speak, you are quick to glorify yourself rather than Christ. How do you have time to ask God what He wants to say or what will glorify Him ? How do you have time to let the Holy Spirit speak through you if you are trying to rush past Him and say what you want to say ? Jesus intently and earnestly listened to people. Furthermore He asked them questions about what they had said. And He patiently and calmly let the Spirit speak through Him, and the words that came out of His mouth always pointed back to the Father and glorified Him. If we are to represent and become more like Christ, we should take this statement more seriously and make it of higher importance in our day to day interactions. It is one of the simplest ways to love people. 

2. The Lord is your banner. 

We each have a banner that we put in front of us (metaphorically). What we put on that banner is what defines us...it is a proclamation that states who/what we represent. Whether we realize it or not, whatever is on our banner is what we bow down to. It is what controls us. We as humans put all types of things on our banners; sports, looks, schools, boyfriend/girlfriend, grades, friends, our reputation or personality... the list goes on. I even see people put their church on their banner. In Exodus, Moses states, 'The Lord is my Banner...'" (17). When I read that, it was as if God asked me ... "Kailey am I your banner everywhere you go...in every conversation, environment, room, etc. ?" The more and more I became aware of this concept, the more I realized that my banner isn't Jesus all the time. I realized how we as humans change our banners like they are dry-erase boards. We step into a room or a conversation or even the grocery store, gauge the environment and who is in it and change our banner to fit that environment. When in reality, the Lord should be your banner ALL THE TIME. And I promise, when He is... things change.

 

4. False Prophets are real. 

1 John 4:1 "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world."

2 Corinthians 11:13-15  "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds."

I have unfortunately come into contact with false prophets more than I would like to admit. And I have been deceived by them. But thanks to God, it has made me stronger in my faith and I now realize that they are not just history but they are now. They are real. Just like the scripture says, the enemy disguises himself as an angel and demons disguise themselves with righteousness, as apostles of Christ!!! That used to scare me. But it doesn't anymore and it shouldn't scare you either. Christ is your strength and He will protect you. "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil" (Ephesians 6:11). Ask for wisdom and discernment and He will give it to you freely. And last but not least (in fact, I believe it is the most important) BE IN THE WORD EVERYDAY. 1 Corinthians 16:13 "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith...".

5. The gospel is a simple gospel. 

1 Corinthians 2:2 "And I, when I [Paul] came to you... did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ..." Don't let anyone lead you astray from this truth. Jesus needs to be your foundation. Paul goes on to say, "...my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God." There will be people that will try to come to you with lofty speech filled with lots of knowledge, but Paul did not do this because he knew that it would lead them astray from the message of Christ. Do not let shiny words and lofty knowledge lead you from the simple gospel of Jesus. Our sinful nature made it so that we can't approach a holy God, so Jesus came to live a perfect life, die and take our sin upon himself and raise from the dead, conquering death and sin. We are forgiven. Thanks be to Jesus. We can have a relationship with God. Thanks to Jesus. We are not bound by the law. Thanks be to Jesus. We do not have to fall back into a yoke of slavery. We are free. Thanks to Jesus. 

A Letter to my Faithful Mom

Dear Mom, 

Lately the Lord has put the desire to honor you on my heart. When asking God what the best way to do that would be, He reminded me of my blog. You are my biggest supporter. You patiently and expectantly wait for me to publish my next piece, so I thought that this one would be in honor of you. 

I want to start out by saying, thank you. Thank you for being strong. You give away a rare passionate and unapologetic love for the people that are closest to you. That love makes you into the fierce woman that I so greatly look up to. You didn't know this earlier in your life, but that love came from God's love for you and His love pouring through you. He has always been with you, even when you didn't know Him... and I thank Him for that everyday. 

Thank you for deciding to follow Jesus with me. When I met Him, the love of my life, the first thing I wanted to do was introduce you to Him. And when I did, you welcomed Him in, even though you had feelings of fear and doubt. Thank you for trusting me that I was introducing you to the love of YOUR life. I remember you knocking on my door one night and coming in to ask me your first question about Him. Everyone's faith looks different, but I knew then that yours would be that of a child's faith. When you left my room after our conversation I got on my knees and thanked God for your child-like faith because that is His favorite kind. 

I remember your first prayer: God... would you take it slow with me? I hope you know that when you cautiously whispered that in His ear, His heart skipped a beat in excitement. By doing that you were inviting Him to pursue you in a more intimate way. When you slow things down you get to soak in every moment. You are able to not speed through the experience. And God took the opportunity not to take it fast with you but to bring you in close and slowly but sweetly love you. 

Thank you for praying for me. I know that so many things in my life that are happening and that will happen are because of your faithful prayers. Thank you for praying for my future husband and my future children and for my career and my heart and more importantly, for my walk with God. 

One of the greatest opportunity's has been being able to watch you love your husband loyally, excitedly, and intensely. You are patient and loving and devoted and warm. And it is all because the desire of your heart is for God to love through you, and that is exactly what He does ... and oh how evident it is. You love Jimmy like Christ loves Him, whether he knows it or not. I have always known that when he is in heaven, God will remind him who brought him there, his faithful bride... you. 

Thank you for coming to me with your questions. Thank you for throwing away the labels in our relationship and always reminding me that we are above all else, sisters in Christ. I am so grateful I get to walk through this journey with you, laying you at the feet of Jesus everyday and watching where He takes you and the things He teaches you and the love He lavishes so abundantly over you. 

Thank you for loving me all the days of your life. You are God's beloved daughter. You are a precious diamond in His hands. You are His bride. He sees you as white as snow. He delights over you and so do I. My prayer is that you would always and forever abide in Him and He in you. Jesus is our Shepherd and I pray and hope that we would always remind each other of that truth. 

Your daughter, 

Lulu.