Monday, October 25, 2010

I stared out the window absent-mindedly; a blank, vacant look probably clothed my face. My mouth may have been open... I do that sometimes. I think I start to say something and I never do. You may as well have hung a neon, flashing sign over my head, that said "Kaitland is a looney!". I'd probably never notice anyways.

I was immersed (quite literally) in the task at hand. The vicious bubbles spun from Dawn dishwashing soap clung to my arms, all the way up to my elbows. A rag hung limp in my hands, being sort of rubbed, sort of flopped against whatever dish I was holding. My phone sat on the the window sill, playing assorted contemporary Christian songs, compliments of Pandora.

All this to get to the main point. A song came on. "True Love" by Phil Wickham. As it began to play I listened. But it wasn't long before I tuned out. I began remembering a verse. At the time I didn't know the exact reference (it's John 15:13, in case you were wondering). I just remember thinking "Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." When I was younger I thought I knew what that meant. Death, of course. Jesus died, and so we must be willing to die. I thought "Of course I would die for a friend! After all, I know I'm saved, but I don't know that they are." And only recently (the past year or so) have I begun to realize that that verse doesn't specify how we are to give up our lives. It dawned on me that giving our lives doesn't simply mean ending it to save another. That's giving our deaths. Giving our lives is so much more. Our life is each second that we are breathing and our heart is beating. There are two ways to give that up. We substitute someone else's for our own (i.e. taking death for another), or we give of those seconds to others. We give the life that God has given us, and rather than stealing it for our own selfish motives and purposes, we freely give of it to those that ask it of us. For if we leave this life having lived for ourselves, we take nothing but our souls with us, and we leave nothing behind. We take our life with us. But if we leave this life having acquiesced to the wishes of others, and giving them love by giving them our lives, we take love with us. The hearts of those we gave our lives to. We leave having left smiles and tears, memories and laughter, love and heartache. We leave a life behind.

As I thought on all of this, I decided to think of love in its true form- God. I then thought of God manifested as man- Jesus. It began to click in my somewhat slow, thick head, that love had lived among us. He had shown everyday what I was just now finding out. I had always thought that his legacy of love was his death. But I was wrong. It was his life. It was the constant giving of himself to his disciples and followers. Never was he angered by their questions and requests for miracles. He gave his life over to them. He gladly instructed them and spent time with him. It wasn't about what was on his agenda. He made his life about the very people who put the nails in his hand. And he knew it. He knew as he spoke to them what they were going to do. But despite that knowledge, he instructed them anyway.

So I realized that every time I see a face running to me, asking me to come see this, or please do that, to sigh and say "I have a life to live, too!" is such a waste of the love that I have, through God's presence in me. I saw that I was, in truth, sinning, to put myself before others, because the Bible commands us to do just the opposite of that. That isn't to say that we can never again do what we need/want to do. But if it isn't the priority, we shouldn't make it. People will remember the giving of yourself to them far more than the day to day minutae of life. And so I will close with a verse from the chorus of the song "Legacy" by Nicole Nordemann.

I want to leave a legacy, how will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough?
In Christ and Of Christ,

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I was praying one day- frustrated, exhausted, pleading with God for a magic fix-it potion.The cause- my family relationships. They aren't bad- they definitely don't rival most family relationships across America- but that doesn't make them good. By God's standards they are far from their proper place. So here I stood, washing dishes and pouring out my "Why does so and so do this?" and "Why can't they just do it right, God?" or "God, they can't treat me like that! How am I supposed to keep being nice if they are going to have no respect?!" "God, why can't I just have a chummy relationship with them all!!!". I ranted and I raved. I continued on. And He listened. When I was done and I stood quietly, washing a plate, rinsing a cup. And it came. In the silence He spoke to my heart.

When I was younger I never looked towards the future. All I could think of was "What can I do now?" The farthest I ever looked was three years at the most. And when I looked ahead I didn't see how I would stand with people. All I could see was what I would be doing. Would I be able to drive? What kind of car would I have? Would I be married? (I wanted to be married at 16). Would I be rich? These were the only things I looked to the (near) future for. Never once did I think of what my future relationships would be like. I never saw then the damage done now. Now I look and see, instead, a long road of building, and repairing the little I do have of many and most of my relationships. But really, it's deeper than that. God revealed to me the true root. It wasn't my actions or words, my tone or my choices. While each of those affected my relationships, those were not and are not the root. The root laid in the fact that my walk with my Savior wasn't where it needed to be.

Something that I have not grasped until recently was what a walk with my Savior meant. I was so caught up in thinking that walking with him meant a long list of do's and don'ts and can's and can'ts. I preferred just believing in Him. That's all a saving faith was anyway, right? I was too overwhelmed by my definition of the narrow path, that I gave up. I stopped reading my Bible. I couldn't understand it anyway. I only prayed when I needed something. I could spend all day praying, at any rate. My view point was so wrong. So I played the good girl. My life was a hollographic image- turn it one way and everyone could see my good girl image. I went to church, I carried my Bible around, I sang beautiful, encouraging worship songs, I talked the talk, but when you turned the image the other way... I wasn't walking the walk. The other side reflected... well, what the first side reflected. Me. But in a different light. This was the selfish me. This is where I gave up Bible reading for fiction reading, and I spent my prayer time talking on the phone. This is the side that I wrote only my fiction works, rather than what God was putting on my heart to write. That side... that side was my side.

But God wasn't finished with me. Isn't that the most beautiful thing? Even when I was a hopeless case, He still kept peeling. He peeled away slowly, layer by layer. The bitterness, the stress, the fear, the confusion. He peeled away the sorrow, the pain, the stubborness, and the lies. He worked year, after year, using different people and things. Slowly and gently, but persistently. And finally, a month or so ago, the light broke through. I could see the painful truths that I had been previously blind to. The first being that my definitions of walking with Christ and a saving faith were wrong. Very wrong. Faith and love are not exuberating emotions that must be felt in order to want to do what God asks of you. Faith and love are commitment. It's a commitment to do what God asks no matter what. Even when you don't feel like it. And the end result is always the same. You don't feel like it in the beginning, but you are stronger and full of joy at the end. Never does God leave you empty upon seeking Him. Never. I realized that it's the effort God wants. He wants you to read His word whether you understand or not. He wants to reveal it to you. He's not asking you to read ten chapters a day if you can't. He's asking you to read. One chapter, if that's all you can handle. I realized that praying isn't some religious chant or monotone talk time. It's a conversation. Sometimes one sided, but never alone. Quiet prayer time is good, yes, but God likes to hear you all day. Not just during prayer time. He doesn't mind having His hypothetical ear talked off!

I thought I was good to go. I now knew what walking with Him meant. But it still wasn't the end. (There never really is an end until death). Now He was showing me a new level. Showing me that I was still in the beginning of the road with Him. I needed to start walking. I needed to catch up. And He showed me that until I learned how to love Him- how to love love itself- I couldn't know how to love anyone else. I couldn't show them what I didn't know. He showed me that if I get it right with Him, other things begin to fall into place. It reaches out and touches those daily things. Once I put my focus and attention on the root, once I watered it and carefully tended it, allowing it to grow and multiply, then I could finally begin to see the fruit on the branches. Fruit doesn't grow on dead branches. The branches need to root to be alive and thriving. I was so focused on tending the dead branches of my life I had forgotten to care for my root. For my beginning. My lifeline. My Savior.

It's been a hard lesson to learn. It took 18 years to learn it. I still am only beginning to put it into action. In some areas it may take another 18 years before I reap what I am trying to put into effect now. But God is so good! He is gracious and merciful, loving and kind, He never lets us go! And by His grace, and with His strength, I will continue to grow; continue to walk with my Savior. For it is by grace that we are saved. It's His gift to us. For that I am eternally grateful.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Where, oh where, has Kaitland gone?

^That is something you might be wondering. If not, then, *sniff* that's okay... doesn't bother me none. ;P

If ya'll (you all, whatever) would like to know, I have been busy with lots of new things, and old things, and old things that are seemingly being added to, making them new(er). Now I do the family grocery shopping, still do my regular chores, teach little kids, run the family chauffer service, and still try and make time to read and try (very desperately) to write. Guess what? I have been working on a blog post that I will post whenever I get it finished. I got a whole paragraph done.... and it only took me three days!!! Between all of the above listed things I will be considering and, based upon the answer, possibly looking for, finding, and working a job. :) I'm going to be up to my NECK! But that's okay... I have Jesus, right? Right.

So, to update ya'll on some things, we went to visit my grandparents last weekend.... most amazing weekend of my life. (Seriously). Also, God's been teaching me some things, which is contributing a lot to my absence from that somewhat familiar, can't put a name to the face.... oh yeah, internet. I want to get back to writing for my blogs... I love to write and I want to share it all with you guys, but my God and my family come first and foremost! I want to make sure that I am practicing what I preach and that I am growing in my walk with God and letting it touch the other areas of my life. I need to get this right and I need to get it right now. Not later. Now. This is where I draw the line to "I'm fixin' to". So as much as I love you guys, posts will be sporadic. But hopefully a blessing. Hopefully showing where my heart is and in what state it lies, and hopefully it will be a good state. I do love your comments, though.... I do like talking to you guys, and I do want to be back at it soon!!!

Love in Christ Jesus,