Loneliness

Do you ever feel lonely?

If you’re like me I am sure you do.  Allow me to ask you, what do you do when you feel lonely?  Do you try to stay busy with distractions so you don’t have to face your loneliness? Yep, I do that too and I’m pretty sure that is the wrong thing to do.

A friend of mine recently told me that she was trying something different when she feels lonely.  She tries to just sit with her loneliness instead of distracting herself with this or that.  I thought that was an interesting approach so that is what I am attempting to do today.

As I think of the word loneliness I remember what God says about the concept.  The first verse that popped into my head was part of a verse in Psalm 68.

Psalm 68:6a  God sets the lonely in families…

Family…

I used to think of family as a mom, dad and kids— but the older I get the more I redefine that word. Family doesn’t have to be by blood, adoption or marriage.  Family to me means people that love one another and are committed to shaping each others lives through time, attention and love.

That sounds hopeful I think.  Especially when you read Psalm 68:6a  “God sets the lonely in families…” God.  God who so loved the world he gave his one and only son to save us.  ALL of us.  I know I write about that a lot but it amazes me if I pause long enough to really consider what it means.

Pause.  Sit in your loneliness and consider the love that God shows to you. I know that if you look around you will see the family that God wants to place you in if you will allow it. Maybe it’s a neighbor with no one to talk to, a young mother that rarely leaves the house or an elderly person that merely wants someone to remember them.

Family doesn’t have to be blood and you don’t have to stay lonely if you accept the gifts that God wants to freely give to you.

Psalm 68:3-6

“But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the Lord. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.”

Even the rocks

Everyone has a purpose, everyone has a mission,  and everyone has people to love and someone to love them in return. That is the truth in a nutshell.

On the screen it is so black and white, so easy to say that it is true.  But why isn’t it that simple when we try to live it out?

One word:  distractions—  some big and some small. Some are by accident and some are by design.

What could we become if we knew our true worth?  Not just for ourselves but for the good of man.  Would we achieve grand and noble things?  Would we make a difference?

Friends, are you like I was when you read the previous two sentences?  Do you think that to make a difference you have to achieve grand and noble things? Do you even stop trying just because you can’t do it perfectly?  Do you think that you are not smart enough or good enough? Do you inwardly belittle yourself and your efforts?

Please don’t.  You matter to someone.  You have just the right gift for your purpose in the world.  Purpose is hard to figure out sometimes.  I wish I could help you figure out what yours was…

Well I was going to say that I have a hard enough time figuring out my own purpose…

But then I remembered something:  something I heard somewhere or maybe I read it.  Just now in the middle of this writing, I dusted off the memory enough to be able to search for what I was thinking. Our purpose on earth is to praise God.

You can read below about Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. It is Luke Chapter 19: 28-40.  The part I was remembering was if we as God’s people don’t praise the Lord the very rocks will cry out his praises.

Creation is meant to sing the praises of God.  Earlier when I wrote “everyone has someone to love them” did you pause?  Did you think, “Well, not me!”  I know!  Sometimes I feel the same way.  Sometimes it’s so easy to be distracted by everyday things like our jobs, our family and friends and even social media.  But looking at the bigger picture I believe that some of the distractions come from the devil.  Yes, I believe that if he can keep us so wrapped up in business, loneliness or in the search for significance or a number of other distractions he can keep us from our true purpose: praising God.

I don’t know about you but I would like that job!  I don’t want to pass it off so that the rocks need to praise Jesus for who he is.  I need to see truth, I need to read truth and I need to hear truth so that when I feel worthless and empty I can find rest in the fact that I am loved.  I am loved and I have a job to do.

The Triumphal Entry

28 And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.29 When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’” 32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 And they said, “The Lord has need of it.”35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

One of a kind

I am ashamed to admit this, but since I want to live an authentic life… here it goes… just the other day I was looking at a group of people in judgement and feeling superior. Immediately these feelings caught my attention and I felt shame. I mean, who do I think I am?  I am nothing if not for the grace of God. Nothing on my own.  Nothing.

In those moments of feeling remorse and apologizing to God my mind was flooded with ways that we are all the same.  All of us, 7 billion people riding around the sun together.

Let’s start with the obvious. We all breath air and need it to live.  Same with food, water and shelter— these are all things we need.

Next only to the basic survival items I believe that we all want and need to be loved. Sometimes that need leads us to God and other times it has us running from God.(Although he alone is the answer.  Always.)

Another similarity is that we are all dying because our bodies are broken.  Even those in the best of health are dying.  Every day is closer to the end.  I’m not trying to sound pessimistic it is simply the order of nature.

So I am wondering why is it that I think I can ever look at another human being as not being as good as I am.  Ludicrous!  Just ludicrous!  Can you just imagine what God must think of this foolishness?

God made us all one of a kind even down to our DNA. However, we are very much all the same in our need for God’s love, forgiveness and grace.

I need to remember this.

— Kate

Ephesians 2:1-10

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,  in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,  in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Love

Do you long to hear the words, “I love you”?

Maybe you are blessed to hear them often. Do you hear them as often when you mess up? I hope so. Do you doubt when you have hurt those you love, when you snap at them and say mean things… does it seem like you just might hear them a tiny bit less.  What about if you lie, cheat, steal or whatever sin you deem as worse than another?

Well I have some very important news for you…God is abounding in love!

Abounding?  Does that word seem a bit unused or odd?  How about the words teeming, abundant or bountiful?  God’s love is teeming, abundant and bountiful!  But not only a characteristic of God it is God’s love to YOU and to ME!

Yes!  When we are good (meaning when we “behave”) and when we are bad!  When we hurt people, when we hurt God.

The scriptures below are in the NIV version and they ALL describe God’s love as ABOUNDING!  Ah such good news!  Remember that friends!  God loves you in the good and the bad.  God loves you not because of what you have done. God loves you because that is who is IS.

Because I want to be sure you read those verses about God’s love I will write them below.  They are good, they will help you see God for who he is and for who you are NOT.  You are not powerful enough to stop God’s love for you, no matter what you do.

Friends,

Go today believing that God loves you.

With Love,

—Kate

Psalm 86:5. “You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.”

Psalm 86:15 “But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”

Numbers 14:18a “The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion…”

Joel 2:13 “Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.”

Pain

Why does God allow pain?

“I DON’T KNOW”,  I respond in anger.  I don’t want to be in pain…EVER!

It is miserable.  It often causes tears.  It can take hours from our days and years from our lives. You can see it on our faces and in the way we walk, sit or stand.  Most of our energy is spent just trying to make it through the day let alone try to be nice to anyone.

We spend time, energy and lots of money trying to… Make. It. Go. Away!

I am young (or at least I like to think I am) and  I hope I have many years left on earth to make a difference…umm…well…maybe I hope that.  Honestly though somedays it is pretty hard to go on.  Oh don’t worry— I am not considering anything drastic!  What I am talking about is Heaven.

Because you know what?

Revelation 21:4 is says…

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (KJ21)

Doesn’t that sound marvelous? Don’t you long for such a time and place?  I know I do!

I also know that God has a purpose for your life and for mine.  God is all knowing and for some reason he allows pain in our lives. Physical pain and emotional pain.  I don’t pretend to have all the answers or even some of the answers.  But since I am not as young as I like to think I am, I’ll admit that in my many years on earth God has taught me a thing or two.

I can’t speak for your lives but I know in mine God uses my pain to draw me near to him.  If left on my own on the days I feel good I don’t think I need God.  Well, I at least don’t ACT like I need God.  I go around trying to manage my life with my own power without asking for help.  Without leaning on God. Without asking him what he would like me to do with my life.  Maybe that’s just me, maybe you don’t do that.  If that is the case I applaud you and your faith.  You are a bigger person than I am. But, if you are like me and you do try to do it all yourself then you know what I am talking about.

So what are we to do?

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us to “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

Give thanks..ok easy! But give thanks in ALL circumstances…HARD! Sometimes nearly impossible it seems.  If I try to do it on my own then yes, it IS impossible.  But with God’s power all things are possible. Even giving thanks for our pain.

Today I hurt and today I will give thanks.  I will look for God’s will in this difficult situation I am in.  I hope you will do the same friend.  I continue to pray for you daily.  I don’t know you now but someday I will stand next to you while God himself is wiping the tears from our eyes.

Love,

—Kate

Storm

Unease, worry, anxiety, dread, and horror

These are all synonyms for the word fear.  Seems strange to me.  In my opinion there is a big difference between unease and horror.

Perhaps something happens and you start out feeling uneasy and sometimes, thankfully, it ends there.  The situation calms down, a solution is found and there isn’t a need for another word.

Unfortunately, at times unease can build to worry, anxiety, dread and even horror.

Many things come to mind that might cause such a response… bills you can’t pay, a loss of a job, an illness, a divorce or the death of someone who lights your world.  This list is endless.

As I describe these scenarios I feel my emotions build just imagining the pain.  So I am going to switch gears and switch them fast!  I want to talk about another set of synonyms…

Harmony, tranquility, quiet, stillness….all wonderful words that mean PEACE.

Today I want to encourage you to read Matthew 8:23-27 in any version you wish.  I have chosen the NIV. The NIV is special to me because it was the version of the bible that I owned when I first met Jesus.  I have absolute faith that no matter the version God can speak to you in the moment you need to hear his voice.

Please read below and then I’ll pick back up afterwards.

Matthew 8:23-27 NIV

23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

Can you even IMAGINE?  A storm sweeping over a boat you are in?  I am sure your synonym for fear would be on the side of HORROR not merely unease.  Don’t you think?

Are you currently going through something that makes you afraid?  Do you need someone to calm your storm and save you?

Just remember that at a moments notice God can speak the word to save you.  If he choses to let you go through the storm please remember he’s in the boat with you!

I am praying for you today.  I don’t know your name but God does.  He knows the storm you are in and he is holding your hand.

With Love

—Kate

Fear

There sure is a lot of hate all around lately. It makes me feel afraid.  How do you feel these days? Angry, stressed, afraid  or all of the above?

I have been spending a lot less time on Facebook in recent days and more time in the Bible.  I find that the more I realize my need for a savior the more I find one. THE one.  Oh my goodness how we all need Him.

Please join me in the search for assurance.  Here are some great scriptures to help us find our way to Him.

Psalm 91:4-7

    He will cover you with his feathers,

    and under his wings you will find refuge;

    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

    You will not fear the terror of night,

    nor the arrow that flies by day,

    nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,

    nor the plague that destroys at midday.

    A thousand may fall at your side,

    ten thousand at your right hand,

    but it will not come near you.
Here’s another…
Isaiah 41: 9-10 NIV

I took you from the ends of the earth,

    from its farthest corners I called you.

I said, ‘You are my servant’;

    I have chosen you and have not rejected you.

So do not fear, for I am with you;

    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you;

    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

God chose us, he does not reject us and he will help us.  He will hold us up.

That is good news.  I don’t know who reads these words I share but friends know that I am praying for you.  See you tomorrow.

-Kate