Not about a kitten

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I heard a kitten crying frantically, and found it hiding under a dumpster.

I wanted to help it.

It was lost, and alone, and terrified.

So I got a bowl of milk and tried to lure it out. Spilled some on the ground for it to smell.

It still wouldn’t come near me.

I sat and waited and spilled more milk. Tried to get it closer to the kitten so it would know what it was missing.

After quite a while, I realized it wouldn’t come out without some persuasion.

I went to the other side and lightly pushed a stick under the dumpster so the kitten would run toward the milk.

Instead, it ran to the side, slipped around the corner, and darted to the nearest building.

Leaving reason behind, I followed it with my barely-any bowl of milk.

It kept crying, and I kept trying to get closer, but it saw me as a threat and refused to be held.

Sometimes, we keep crying, and God keeps trying to come closer, but we see Him as a threat and refuse to be held.

Sometimes, God allows things in our lives in order to help us run to Him, but all we see are big scary sticks so we run the other direction.

Sometimes God’s heart breaks as He offers life to one lonely, lost, and forgotten, and help is refused.

As He bends down to search for us and replaces reason with compassion.

Sometimes, the most merciful thing God can do is to trap us in a corner to save us from ourselves.

“Therefore, I will hedge up her way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her, so that she cannot find her paths.” -Hosea 6:2

To love and be loved.

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I Love You

“I love you, Ms. Krista.”

A second grader whom I’ve known for about two hours hands this to me, scratched out on a sheet of paper above a typical 7-year-old drawing.

And this isn’t the first time.

Over and over if I give a class the chance to draw, I end up with a stack of papers filled with hearts and “I love you”s. These children, who barely know me, are so eager to give their love.

I haven’t known how to respond to this. Substitute teaching in an impoverished school district, where the majority of the kids either have behavioral problems or difficulty paying attention, is… exhausting.

Maintaining discipline in the classroom means responding to improper behavior swiftly and consistently. I often find myself just trying to stall- to hold their attention long enough to make it to the next P.E. or computer class when I can flop down in a chair to catch my breath. To stand in front of the classroom making the reading lesson an hour longer than it probably needed to be, in order to avoid kids breaking into arguments amongst themselves or deciding to gallivant across the room.

So it’s become far too easy to take the paper, say, “Aw, thank you!” and move on.

And miss a priceless opportunity.

When the realization hit me, it hit me hard. “I love you” isn’t simply a statement. It’s a request- a call to action. The truest expression of our longing to love and be loved.

Saying “I love you” is also saying, “I hope you love me too.”

And these kids, living in broken homes and caught in a struggling school district, desperately long to be loved.

When a scholar asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was, He replied,

“The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:30-31)

God Himself is crying out for you to love Him.

The most important thing: to love and be loved.

The next time I see or hear the words, “I love you,” may I be overwhelmed by the generous offer of love. And may I look into the eyes of my neighbor and sincerely reply, “I love you, too.”

Opposition

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Serve Live Love

 

Sisters, we are called to do a mighty work:
To equip our men to go forth and conquer.
Serving is an honor and a privilege.
With my support,
my man can take on the world.
The enemy sneers-
enraged that I could make a difference.
And opposition comes.
It will come.
Subtle snares that trip and confuse
Hurts and heartaches that steal our joy
and prompt our flesh
to rise…
When the self rises, building ceases.
And that’s exactly what the enemy wants.
Don’t let the pain
keep you from your work.
Look to the One who brings healing.
Prepare yourself to fight.
Fight for your man.

 

“Now when Sanballat heard that we were building the wall, he was angry and greatly enraged, and he jeered at the Jews. And he said in the presence of his brothers and of the army of Samaria,

‘What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore it for themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they finish up in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, and burned ones at that?’

…when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs and the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem was going forward and that the breaches were beginning to be closed, they were very angry.

And they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it. And we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night.”

-Excerpts from Nehemiah chapter 4, verses 1 through 9

 

This is the second part of a series called “Build the Wall.” To receive an email notification when the next piece is posted, click the “Follow” button in the upper left corner of your screen if you’re on a computer.

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Thanks for reading! Be blessed

Broken

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We live in a broken world.
A people caught in darkness.
But God sees, and He knows, and He is working.
Sister, you and I have seen the light.
And He has brought healing.
Now we are called to a spiritual battle.
Have ears to hear this truth:

Our man is broken (just like we are).
Surrounded by worldly lies, he strives to cling to his Savior.
We are called to build him up.
Slowly but surely, relentlessly,
Christ can restore him through our actions.
Through our words
Through our trust
Making sure to always build up
And never tear down
What an honor and a privilege.
To empower him
to become all that God is calling him to be.

 

“Now it happened… that Hanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem.

And they said to me, ‘The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.’

As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

…Now I was cupbearer to the King.

…And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ graves, that I may rebuild it.”

…And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me.”

-Excerpts from Nehemiah chapters 1 & 2

 

This is the first part of a series called “Build the Wall.” To receive an email notification when the next piece is posted, click the Follow button in the upper left corner of your screen. Thanks for reading! Be blessed.

Broken Girl

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Broken girl
in a broken world
Eyes turned inward
Can’t you see
you become free
by letting go?
Live right now,
not in the past,
not in a week ago.
Look past yourself
and see the truth-
You’re caught up in His grace.
Then let His love
just overflow
Run faithfully your race.
Die to self
Put others first
Your hope is in the Son
No need to fret
about your rights
Because you’ve already won.
Serve well.
Live well.
Love well.

Words on a Page

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When do words on a page become worship?
When do actions in my life start being praise?
When do thoughts in my head become holy?
When do the motives in my heart promote your name?

…when did words upon my page stop being worship?
…when did the actions in my life stop being praise?
In everything, in all I do
My whole life should worship You
An offering: my life to You I raise.

Right here, right now. Without a voice, without a sound. Let love come in and sweep me out.

God, let these words upon the page become worship.
Help the actions in my life to become praise.
Lord, touch the thoughts inside my head to become holy.
May the motives in my heart promote your name.

In everything, in all I do
My whole life, I’ll worship You
An offering: my life to You I raise.

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A beautiful thing just happened. I was caught up in the depravity of man. Agonizing over the struggle and seeking for a way out, I began to pray a prayer out of desperation.

“God…”

And then I paused, remembering that the one I am crying out to is Sovereign. Realizing that I haven’t spoken to Him all day, and when chaos struck my soul, I only called to Him in pain and desperation.

So it shifted.

“Maker. Lover. Conqueror. One whom my sin greatly offends, who has been cut deeply to bring me life.

You see me. You understand me. You know my heart.

Be with man. Teach him to turn his eyes to You. Help him to love You with all of his heart. And help me to do the same.

Only You can bring about change.”

Now my heart is at rest. My soul is at peace.

And if I can make this choice weekly, daily, hourly- to tear my eyes off of my problems and look sincerely at my Lord- I will always be able to find peace. My heart will be full of joy, full of love, full of light, even in the darkest of places.

Maker. Lover. Conqueror. One whom my sin greatly offends, who has been cut deeply to bring me life.

You see me. You understand me. You know my heart.

Only You can bring about change.

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What are
all these doubts, fears,
Emotions coursing through
my veins and
Why
am I finding it so hard to breathe
Really breathe, deep in and back out
Instead I feel tight inside
It feels
wrong and I don’t think
I can stand on this shaky ground
Ground
That’s the problem, isn’t it
I’ve stepped off the rock
I’ve been standing on,
traded it for something that held my fancy and
now I’m here broken again
Turns out
when you aren’t pressing forward
you’re backsliding and
life is more like swimming upriver
than floating in a lake
So wake up, sleeper and
don’t fall back asleep
Cling to the rock you can stand on