I moved…and forgot to tell you.

Hello readers,

It has been quite awhile since I last wrote on this blog post because I decided to go out on my own and start a blog site separate from the women’s ministry I lead at my church.

Please head over to my new site and hit follow so you can continue to join me on my journey to find Jesus.

New Site Name:  kinitaschripsema.com

Sorry for any inconvenience.  Blogging and writing has been such a learning curve for me and I find great joy in sharing with you what the LORD has been laying on my heart.

Blessings,

Kinita

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Food for Thought

Food inspires me. Cooking it, watching someone cooking it and just simply eating it!! I love food.
We are now coming off a summer full of fun summer foods. Fresh fruits and vegetables, lots of grilled foods, potlucks and picnics filled with a variety of dishes to sink our teeth into. I enjoyed food so much this summer that I was inspired to start a pictures file of some of the dishes I made.

Spices for selling in a market in Nepal

Spices for selling in a market in Nepal

Then it happened. God used food to speak to me. Chicken. Not cooked but raw. It happened one day when I had chicken on the dinner menu. I was going to marinate it with a spicy chicken masala for the those carrying adventurous tastbuds, myself included, while doing a mild barbecue sauce for the less daring in the family. I chose chicken breasts fileted, them so they would grill faster and we would have more pieces to stretch the meal. Yes, I’m frugal too!!

What came next, I wasn’t ready for. As I fileted the chicken, I felt a lump in my throat and tears filled my eyes. No, I’m not a Vegan. (no offense to my vegan friends). I like meat. This was not a “sad moment for chickens” thing. But, to be honest, I didn’t know what it was. I had fileted chicken breasts so many times over the years, so why tears? Why now?
When I laid the first fileted chicken breast into the marinade, it was in the shape of a heart. Truth be told, I did not know that was going to happen either.

Here’s what God showed me as I journaled on the experience later that night.
A chicken breast fileted does in fact take the shape of a heart. Just like a chef prepares, marinates, seasons the chicken for cooking, the LORD does the same with our hearts. He cuts into our hearts with His Word and encourages us to marinate in it until we are ready for what He has in store for us. His plan, His calling.

Sometimes the “marinade” might look like a long painful life experience which we have often referred to as a “valley”in our personal journies. The longer the meat soaks in a marinade, the better the taste and more tender the dish. The deeper the valley the greater the lessons for our lives. God prepares us just the way He wants so we are ready to be “served” for His calling. If and when we submit to His authority as “Master Chef” then that painful life experience doesn’t necessary go away, but we grow in our trust of God.
I believe He also blesses us through a sweet aroma of spices that give great contentment and pleasure. Imagine yourself coming in after a long days work and your favourite dish being crafted just the way you like it. Your palate is being enticed before you even enter the room. Its still not as good as the first bite but you already know how content you will be and what pleasure you will experience when you do get to taste it. That is how it is with God. He prepares a plan for us so that we can in fact, “taste and see that the LORD is good”. When we first step into the plan we are unsure and yet enticed by the Holy Spirit. But we quickly find ourselves experiencing what we might call a “mountain top” experience in our lives while sometimes forgetting what it took for us to get there. When things are great and we are feeling full and perhaps even over-flowing with His goodness.

Some “marinades” are rich in spices while others call for a sprinkling of sorts. Throughout our lives, God uses His Word and whatever else to sprinkle varying amounts of His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control to prepare us for the work in a place that He has prepared in advance for us. When the right amounts of those come together than we are ready for the next step. He chooses the necessary ingredients for our journies, in carefully measured portions so we can carry out His call in our lives.

Do we allow Him to do that? Do we be still long enough to allow Him that kind of access to our hearts? Are we resting in the “marinade” of God’s “ingredients” for our lives, or are we making up our own recipe as we go?

At the beginning of the summer I read a great book called “Tattoos on the Heart” by Father Gregory Boyle. Throughout the summer the LORD did open heart surgery on me. Sometimes the pain was unbearable and I was distracted from seeking His medicine. Other times I was truly able to rest in His presence and heal. Now, at the end of this summer I can say that I now have “Tattoos on MY heart” by the Author and Perfector of my faith.

Did you know that God is the Master Chef who has a plan for you to avoid Hell’s Kitchen?

Signing off now because I need to make dinner for my family. Yup, we are having chicken!!

May you continue to hunger and thirst after God,
Your Sister At Heart,
Kinita

Inside Out

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On a recent trip to Nepal, our team witnessed the baptism of 58 men and women – young and old. It took place in a river that had receded since the monsoon several months prior. Down river a man was washing his bull, while up the river two women chose that day to bathe. All the while these new believers stood patiently in line, waiting their turn to take a step of obedience for the Jesus they received and loved. They were ready to show on the OUTSIDE what the LORD had done on the INSIDE. The LORD had washed their hearts with the blood that Jesus poured out at the cross for their sin. Now as a response of their confession, they were ready to make their faith public.
Why is that so important you ask? Well, in the country we were in, Hinduism (idol worship) is the prominant religion. In fact, Nepal was the first and only Hindu Kingdom until the king was dethroned in 2005. When a person comes to faith in Jesus Christ out of Hinduism, he / she might be shunned from their family, friends, workplace, or worse yet, be killed for such a decision. To make their faith public could be more costly than for those of us who live in the west.

This got me thinking about the price Jesus paid for me.

God did a lot of things INSIDE me on this trip. He shed His loving light on so many things INSIDE my heart. Good, bad and ugly. (I know I’m not alone with those things). But there are some people in my life that feel so alone with the things they carry on the INSIDE. They have great fear and trepidation if those things were revealed on the OUTSIDE. But the truth is, eventually what we carry on the INSIDE eventually starts to show up on the OUTSIDE – in our behavior, through our actions, through our words.

Years ago, I had anger management issues. I was truly living out the verse “out of the abundance of our hearts, the mouth speaks”. Not in a good way either. I was speaking a lot, but there was a very pungent layer of anger and growing bitterness that coated all of what I was saying….especially around my children. Not cool!! Anger was covering up hurt and pain that had taken roots from things people had said about me. Allegations and accusations that pierced my heart. I was now reliving those moments with my children and my husband.
As I poured out my heart to God for healing and comfort, He graciously revealed the large heap of unforgiveness that had formed in my heart. I first needed to confess my pain and sin of unforgiveness and then not only receive His forgiveness but then extend that same forgiveness to those who had caused me such pain (whether they were asking for it or not).

I like the way Don Henley (a former member of The Eagles) puts it in his song “The Heart of the Matter”.

“There are people in your life who’ve come and gone
they let you down, you know they hurt your pride
You better put it all behind you, baby; ’cause life goes on.
You keep carryin’ that anger, it’ll eat you up inside

I’ve been tryin’ to get down to the Heart of the Matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it’s about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if, even if you don’t love me anymore”

Scripture teaches us to clothes ourselves with Christ – to grow in pure thoughts, a pure heart, pure actions. I don’t always get it right, but with God’s help, my OUTSIDES are doing a better job lining up with what I value INSIDE.

I want to live a life that shows on the OUTSIDE what I value on the INSIDE.

I believe the first step in building the bridge from the INSIDE to the OUTSIDE is Honesty. With ourselves first and then with others. If we value honesty, then we will not only be honest with others, but with ourselves first.

When we value honesty, then what we say and do on the OUTSIDE comes from a foundation of truth on the INSIDE. We don’t get hemmed in by what others want us to say, do or think. We are honest and we live by that conviction. If we aren’t living out the honesty we have in our hearts, then we aren’t being real. It might be time to check our internal bridge to see what work needs to be done yet.

In closing, I want to share another small story about one of the women that was baptized that day in Nepal. She was a ninety year old woman who had specifically requested that she get baptized that day. So the pastor’s wife from her church borrowed our jeep and driver and drove to the woman’s home to pick her up. We were all wondering about the back story. There is always a back story…an INSIDE story I should say. It was simple. Her request to be baptized that day was personal, yes. She simply valued her relationship with Jesus so much that she wanted to be baptized before she died. That’s it. At ninety. A very rare age to reach in the Nepali culture. What a sight to behold. Her frail body supported by the pastor’s wife as they, together, walked to the spot where the pastor stood ready to baptize this faithful believer in the “Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”.

She did it. God did it.

He did something else in me. The Holy Spirit challenged me to consistently think about the things I value on the INSIDE. How were they showing up on the OUTSIDE? Was I controlling them so they wouldn’t come to the OUTSIDE, or be visible the way I wanted them to?

That day I chose to celebrate once again the healing God did INSIDE me and continue to reflect that healing on the OUTSIDE.

How about you? What do you value on the INSIDE? How is it showing up on the OUTSIDE?

Your Sister At Heart,
Kinita

The Tree

Our daughter's bear went on the trip...and climbed a tree!

Our daughter’s bear joined me on a recent trip to India…and climbed a tree!

Remember that song we used to sing in Sunday School (if you went to one)?

“Zaccheus was a wee little man, and a wee little man was he. He climbed up in a sycamore tree for the LORD he wanted to see. And as the Saviour passed that way He looked up in that tree. And He said, “Zaccheus, you come down, for I’m going to your house today”.

Well, it’s based on a story from Luke 19. It’s a simple and yet profound story all at the same time. Simple because it’s about a tax collector from that day. A short little man who simply wanted to get a better view of the Savior. Zaccheus knew Him to be someone important and influential and didn’t want to miss seeing Him pass by. A few years ago, I heard a sermon based on that story and the challenge was presented. “What tree do you need to climb so you can get a better view of Jesus?” That is the profound part.

You see, I know that Jesus is important and I never want to lose sight of Him in my life. I guess you might say I want a front row seat whenever He is present. I know He will never leave me and He walks with me faithfully; however, I sometimes can’t see Him very well. Too many things in the way, too many distractions, etc. So sometimes I need to strain my neck and stand on my tippy toes…in other words, “climb a tree.” Not only am I, like Zaccheus, short, but I am a sinner in need of a Savior. Knowing that I’m saved by Grace wasn’t helping much during a time when I was struggling. I really needed to SEE Jesus. I needed a clear view of His hand. It was as if I needed to feel so close that I could touch the hem of His robe.

I am a mother of four. Our firstborn has been a challenge since he was in the womb. Now as he prepares to enter adulthood things have gotten even more challenging…or so it seems. It doesn’t help that he is taller than I am. (At least Zaccheus had a tree to climb. I often find myself looking for my own tree.) I carry some regret from the early years of parenting him. I need to SEE Jesus.

BUT God is a God of second chances, right? Well, he has given me a second chance – our adopted daughter who is half his age, exactly. She comes well equipped with a very strong will; the strength of Samson in her mind and heart it seems. I get to apply all that I learned from the challenges that came with our firstborn (assuming I learned some things). Sounds easy, right? Except that she also comes with hormonal challenges that are blooming a little early for my liking. A double whammy if you ask me. As I’m learning, however, just because I’m teaching what I’ve learned it doesn’t necessarily follow that I am someone she wants to learn from. I need to SEE Jesus.

This morning in my devotions I happenend to be reading Luke 19 again. Coincidence? Not so much. It’s God showing me what I was going to need to do today….”climb a tree.” So I took the first step and asked God to show me where the tree was…what it looked like so I wouldn’t miss it. So I could SEE Jesus in full view!! I needed clarity and a new perspective. I needed to SEE Jesus.

Little did I realize that by asking God for His help I was already climbing a tree…the Cross. His tree. One that is secure and will hold me no matter what. After all, my sin is already hanging on it. Maybe that’s why the challenges I faced with my daughter on this day were uncovering some pain in my heart. I felt prickly. I was remembering my failures when I was raising my firstborn at that age. I was remembering the growing frustration with his failures and struggles and that I couldn’t do anything about them then, or now. I needed to feel the blood of Christ soothing my wounds from the past years of parenting as I clung to that tree. I needed to hear Him call my name and tell me I was ok. I needed to SEE Jesus.

I climbed the tree. I saw Jesus. He saw me, called my name, and reminded me Whose I am. That I have been redeemed. That I am not the mom I used to be. Even though I didn’t think to seek Jesus when I first became a mom, I am so grateful for His Grace that covered my mistakes, filled in the gaps. I have grown to appreciate less of me and receive more of Him. As difficult as it is to parent someone else’s biological child, I knew I couldn’t do it without the permanent presence of God in my life. I find comfort in the fact that He created her. He knows what she needs. He knows how she is wired. He even saw that I was the right mother for her as He chose us to be her forever family. When I question that He reminds me that when she joined our family I prayed God would always show me His thumbprint in our story. I guess He’s doing just that. He did that by changing my heart, changing the direction my heart was facing. Instead of facing my own abilities, He has taught me to face Him…through thick and thin. He has also taught me to stay honest and real about this adventure of parenting. I’m not a perfect parent, and I’ve never claimed to be. There is only one perfect parent and that is Jesus Christ. Today I SAW Jesus. He SAW me. He came to my house.

How about you….

Which way are you facing? What “tree” do you need to climb? Have you asked Him to come to your house? Are you sensing Him inviting Himself into your story? Where are you seeing His thumbprint in your life?

Would love to hear where and when you SEE Jesus!!

Your Sister At Heart,
Kinita

Let Freedom Ring

Former Tharu slaves

Former Tharu slaves

On a recent trip to Nepal, as a speaker for their first ever women’s conference, I made some startling connections to the Christian faith. One in particular that resonates deep in my soul took hold of me when we were visiting one of the villages in the Western region of Nepal. Even though a person has been freed from physical slavery, it doesn’t mean they know how to live out that freedom. They need to be taught. They need to learn how to live in a new and free way. But who will tell them? Who will teach them? While in country we primarily served the Tharu people – a people group that has lived as indentured slaves for several generations. In the mid-to-late 1990’s this type of slavery came to an end, and by the early 2000s it was considered illegal to continue the practice. The ministry with which we served has been buying and freeing slaves since 1996. From our understanding, they have bought and freed 92 families. They brought the gospel of Jesus Christ to them and watched as God’s hand transformed the lives and hearts of many, both young and old. As a result, many churches were birthed throughout the eastern and western regions of Nepal and are led by pastors who were trained by this ministry.

I’m not sure which part of this story had the largest impact on me personally – if it was hearing about people being freed from slavery, or so many coming into relationships with Christ in such a short time, or the fact that 36 churches were formed in the past 15 years or so – but my heart was overwhelmed because each aspect displays how the hand of God has prevailed in a country that was labeled as the first Hindu kingdom in the world.

After being freed from their slavery the Tharu people changed their name. They were no longer to be referred to as Tharu, but as Rana or Chowdry. These new tribal names were given to signify that the old had gone and the new had come. Also, when the practice of indentured slavery for the Tharu people had legally ended, the government gifted the said slaves with pieces of land that were each 18,000 in square footage. Many of the newly-freed slaves appreciated the gift and received it gratefully, though perhaps with some skepticism. As generous as the gift appeared on the surface, there were some problems….major problems. The land wasn’t farm-able and there was no drinking water on the properties. The ministry helped pipe in water to some of the houses, which meant that neighbors would have to share with one another, and they did. Even more remarkable to me, many of the ‘freed’ people built their small huts on one little corner of the property. With all that land available, they continued to live as though they were still enslaved and only ‘allowed’ to use a certain amount of space for living. I was extremely disheartened by that because I didn’t understand why they would choose to continue to live as if they were not free. It was explained to me that although they were set free legally and physically, in their hearts and minds they are still enslaved.

As this reality hit home with me, tears began streaming down my face. I saw, with my mind’s eye, faces of brothers and sisters in Christ who are living with that same mindset. They have been redeemed by the blood of Christ, set free, but living as though they are still enslaved. Oh, how my heart ached! It brought me full circle to the day I closed my hair salon of 15 years, knowing I was experiencing the abundant life as a Christian, and wanting, even deeply desiring, the same for others – people who call themselves followers of Christ – with their hands still firmly gripping the things of their past and their idols of the present. And all the while they are hoping for the abundant life God promises, wondering why they aren’t experiencing it. In that moment I was also reminded of a prayer I have prayed many times over the years:

“Lord please break my heart with what breaks Yours! In Jesus’ Name, Amen”

My heart breaks for people who are spiritually and emotionally enslaved…when they don’t have to be. Christ went to the cross on my, on our, behalf. He paid that price ONCE and for ALL. He came to give life and give it abundantly. Yet, some hands are still too full to receive that incredible gift of salvation, of freedom in Christ.

That day my heart was breaking all over again. I wondered, “LORD, why don’t they understand? Why don’t they obey? Why aren’t they following You with all their heart, soul, mind and strength?” I can only imagine how God’s heart breaks when one of His children, although redeemed, still (desperately or stubbornly?) clutches the very things that keep them from an uninhibited relationship with Jesus Christ.

We often use the phrase “strength in numbers.” Well, I wonder how it would impact our relationships, our families, our communitites, our nation, the world, if we had a growing number of believers being set free from the things that keep them enslaved. (I switched the sentence order around – feel free to switch it back.)

Speaking to the tribal Rana and Chowdry women was a privilege and an honor. They are first-generation Christian women. Our team went there because the LORD was showing us that He was indeed expanding our territory. Now that we are home we are tempted by the pressures in our lives to stay in our little corners. I won’t. I can’t.

How about you?????

1. What is enslaving you? Remember, we don’t know what we don’t know. Ask God to show you. He will be faithful to meet you there.

2. Who or what is keeping you from experiencing the abundant life?

May you learn how to live your life with your hands free and your hearts open.

Your Sister At Heart,
Kinita

Deep Cries Out

Went to a 4-day long prayer conference recently. I went reluctantly. Don’t get me wrong, I love prayer, I love Jesus, I love engaging both of those in community. I just didn’t want to ‘fill my head’ with more information. Stuff. However, what God had in store for me in the coming days…I was blown away!!

On the morning of departure, during my time of Bible reading, the LORD brought me to a very powerful verse I had never read or seen before. Exodus 23:20. It says, “See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to a place I have prepared. Pay attention to Him and listen to what He says. Do not rebel against Him; He will not forgive your rebellion, since My Name is in Him. If you listen carefully to what He says and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you”.

This prayer conference was set up so we could learn to acknowledge, embrace and eventually dance with the third person in the trinity, the Holy Spirit. Not at all a new concept for me. I chose to camp on that particular verse over the course of the four days to help me grow in expectancy of what the LORD was going to do. I figured that since He lead me to that passage, He had a very specific plan for how it would unfold in my journey. Ironically, it became a time of emptying, not filling….and yet filling of another kind. From the dynamic worship to the dynamic teachings – all dancing with the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit….there produced a filling in me that I find very hard to put into words. But I will try.

I learned, more intimately, how to dance with the Holy Spirit in the ways that I have been wired – to go to the places (near and far) where God is calling me. I really thought I was to focus on my upcoming trip to India and Nepal. Once again, I was wrong. Imagine that!! But I (perhaps as some form of rebellion of wanting answers my way) continued to focus hard on connections being made and watched how they connected me to the speaking I would do to a culture group of women on the other side of the globe. As time went on and I was being lead by the Holy Spirit in my own personal dance, I began to see how /God was gently moving my focus off the trip and onto my heart. We had some heart business to take care of. Fear, doubt, unforgiveness……my “deep” began to cry out.

What is your deep soul cry? What is your heart / soul longing for God to answer?

I needed healing. But first I would need to open up my heart before the LORD. Just like that song says, “we bow down, we lay our crowns, at the feet of Jesus”. My hands were full of my stuff. God was asking me to empty them. My heart was full of fear, doubt and unforgiveness. God was asking me to confess and surrender. So I did.

Then it happened…..
That “place” HE prepared for me to be in. On the last morning of the conference we had been praying corporately for the healing of various congregations. Exposing and confessing the obstacles that were interfering with the beautifully choreographed dance the Holy Spirit was desiring to have with the local church. Generation groups were represented and prayed over and blessed. Then the LORD said to me….”the multi-ethnic / multi-cultural church is not being represented up there and you need to say something”. I thought I was going to pass out!! So I quickly told God He must be mistaken (don’t judge please!!).
Since He is NEVER mistaken, He simply and gently repeated what He said. I was paralyzed in my seat. I was being asked to take a stand for those of us that have (over the generations of the organized church) been marginalized, not included, not accepted, perhaps even blatently rejected.
This was no small task. I was going to have to bring the obstacle of racism within the church to the attention of the three (very tall and intimidating) white men “of the cloth” in hopes that they would receive what I believe the LORD has impressed upon me? (even now, I’m shaking at the thought of that moment).

So I prayed, I shared my thoughts with two other Jesus-lovers and truth-tellers, in hopes that they would support my fears. They didn’t. Instead they nudged me on to the dance floor. I was scared. Slowly and gently, the LORD began to show me that the four days of this conference was going to culminate into this one moment. If only I would take the step and go foward. They were teaching us to listen for the Holy Spirit, address obstacles, obey what the Holy Spirit was telling us, step into the situation we were being called to, confirm what the LORD was telling us through scripture and other believers. These are things I have practiced faithfully for the past several years and yet somehow this particular moment seemed absolutely humungous!!

Well, I did it. I took the step and approached the leaders in charge. I shared with them what the LORD had laid on my heart. Even though I received push-back by one of them, the LORD raised up a confidence in me to gently but firmly repeat what I had just said. As I affirmed their leadership, I knew without a shadow of doubt my heart was really submitting to The Leadership of the Holy Spirit in my life.
So they came to me a few minutes later and agreed that I would be the voice for my sisters and brothers that have also been marginalized, ignored and rejected. I took the opportunity to speak out for those of us who have experienced such pain in the church. As a result, several people came forward with words of confession, repentance, seeking forgiveness for themselves and on behalf of those who oppressed various groups of people. What healing, what peace, what freedom. It doesn’t mean our hard work is over as far as racial reconciliation goes, but that day God used me to stand-in-the-gap for all those I described in the midst of generations of Christ-followers. To bask in the freedom that comes from forgiveness…..is really just a glimpse of the peace that passes all understanding.
Before leaving that day, a woman who had been marginalized for several roles in her life spoke up and said she was ready to leave yet another Chrisitan event that wasn’t addressing the need for racial reconciliation. WOW!!! Go God!!
I don’t even want to imagine what it would be like if I hadn’t done the work to confess my fear, doubt and unforgiveness.

I want to sign off with a quote from the event.
“In our dance of cooperation with the Holy Spirit, He is the director of the whole process: He calls us into the dance, leads the steps and directs our movement toward His purpose. At the same time He leaves room for our full, responsive, joyful participation.”

Where is the Holy Spirit calling you to dance? How will you respond?

Your Sister At Heart,
Kinita

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What inspires you? I find myself being inspired when I’m in the strangest places.  The shower is one of the more common strange places for me, but the world misses out on some really great stuff because I never have anything to write with in there.  I’ve often been inspired in the car while driving from one place to the next, only to find I don’t have my voice recorder with me.

 Recently while brushing my teeth I saw the remnant of toothpaste smatterings all over my face as I looked in the mirror. Turns out they weren’t really on my face, but when looking in the mirror they appeared to be part of the same landscape. 

That got me thinking…….

Mirrors are made for reflecting images.  That day the image was of stains, markings and scars…all made out of toothpaste droplets.  I don’t know about you, but so many times I have found myself primping in the mirror all the while lamenting that my hair doesn’t look the way I want it to, that my once perfectly-waxed eyebrows are now needing much attention, my blemishes are showing, and then there are those dark circles under my eyes….ugh! 

 Seriously, what did I think I was going to see in the mirror?  Some air-brushed version of what I really look like?  Come on now…..I’m a mother of 4, married for almost 20 years, and working very hard to manage all of that and then some!!  Reality bites.

 If mirrors are for reflecting images, good or bad,  then what does my reflection say about me?  Is it accurate? Don’t get me wrong, bad hair days really are just that….bad hair days.  But do I see my heart in my reflection?  Sometimes I wonder.

Soon I found myself being challenged with thoughts of how my life is a reflection to those around me.  Do the people around me see my heart when they look at me?  Who or what do I reflect?  I’m a Christ-follower, so I ‘should’ reflect Him, my Saviour and LORD, right? (yes, I ‘should-ed’ on myself).  As a side note…for those who don’t know me, I’m one of ‘those’ women who wears her heart on her sleeve.  I decided years ago that I wanted to live a life that showed, “what you see is what you get.”  Unfortunately, what some saw they didn’t like.  Fortunately, that didn’t stop me from being me.  The truth-tellers and Jesus-lovers in my life accepted me the way I was and prayerfully encouraged me to keep surrendering and trusting God with those areas of my heart that needed his attention.  To those ‘sisters’ I am forever grateful.

 Those times of rejection led me to discover more intimately how God sees me.  I recently read a devotional sent out by “Revive Our Hearts” which was written by Nancy Leigh De Moss.  I’m just going to quote what she said, since I really don’t think I could have said it any better.  It’s taken from her book, “How To Fall & Stay In Love With Jesus.”

The key to a healthy self-image is coming to see ourselves as God sees us.  With our love, purity, and Christ-like responses to trials.  God has planted us in this thorny earth to make a difference, to reflect His beauty by how we respond to thorny people.”

As a child of God, I am redeemed.  He loves me and sees me as perfect.  He thinks I’m so special that He chose to die on the cross for my sin.  Who would do that?  ONLY a forever-loving, perfect, selfless God, Jesus Christ.  No other religion has a solution for sin as permanent as the blood of a perfect, unblemished Lamb.

 I met someone the other day.  Our conversation was too lengthy to reprint here, but I think it makes my point. We exchanged a cordial greeting and to his “How are you?” I answered, “Blessed.” To my surprise he asked, “Why?” I responded with, “Because Jesus died on the cross for my sin.”  Moments later, I think to test me (which I failed according to his standard), he then asked, “What is your only comfort in life and in death?”  To that I answered, “Jesus.” He laughed, and perhaps you might too.  That is a commonly-known question among believers of a particular denomination.  It’s part of their foundational theological document.

 There is a specific answer that is to be memorized for that question. It starts out, “That I am not my own…” On that particular day that particular answer didn’t roll off my tongue (as expected).  So I said, quite confidently, “JESUS.” Again to my surprise he said, “That’s wrong; it’s not good enough.”  That man is a pastor.  I get that he was trying to illicit a certain response. I get that my response could have been received somewhat flippantly because there are two commonly-expected reponses in the history of the church….”Jesus” and “the disciples.”

So he might have been right for not accepting my answer.  But I was right too because JESUS is ENOUGH for me and I want to live a life that reflects Him every day, especially in the midst of the blemishes and other imperfections that I carry. That man doesn’t know me at all; he doesn’t know my heart.  I don’t want to have ‘perfectly’ memorized responses that come out as swiftly as my name when I’m asked.  Barring scripture.  (Make note:  I don’t have anything against those who do.) I don’t want to display an image that others deem acceptable either, but it did make me wonder how deep our responses go either way?  

Are your responses just skin deep?  Or do they go to the very core of who you are? 

 Imagine the next time you are in front of the mirror and no-one is looking…… 

What does your image say about you? What does it say about your relationship with God?

What is God showing you of yourself? 

What do you need to surrender so that you look more and more like Him each day?  So your life reflects Him? 

Are you someone who is more concerned about your image and how you present yourself physically?

Are you willing to settle for the status-quo, or do you want more of Him and less of you?

As a follower of Jesus, does your life draw others to Jesus or just to yourself?

It really is a thorny world out there….and ‘out there’ can sometimes be in the comfort of our own homes.  The children, the spouse, the in-laws, the out-laws (sorry, couldn’t resist…I’m just calling it like I see it…). 

 Be brave, have courage and go into that world with your Spiritual Armor on (Ephsians 6).  Know that God will be with you every step of the way.

Your Sister At Heart,
Kinita