Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Living On the Bridge Through Life's Seasons




God's given a clear word to me. The word keeps resurfacing in small group discussions, bible study, news articles.... the word is season. In this season, God has definitely tilled the soil and is doing a new work. I am so thankful my little haven is in a season of peace. I'm back to work full time in the speech rehab world. I ain't gonna lie!  I love what I'm called to do. But ya'll, the struggle  IS REAL to balance single motherhood, work, and home life.  I'm most definitely right where I am suppose to be ministering, but not exactly where I thought I'd be this season last year. 

During this season, God has taught me:

1. God gives vision and His chief desire is for us to be obedient. 
This time last year I created a LLC with the vision of training church leaders and educators on organizational leadership and on how to create safe sanctuaries. A vision to help bring awareness and a plan to protect children from sexual and emotional abuse in churches. Can I  get a witness? Our headlines every day beg and scream this is a need. Yet, apparently it's not the season my for family. 

If I'm honest, I've been through Satan getting in my head. He has spoken condemnation. "Who do you think you are? What were you thinking? See your vision did not come to fruition!" I've journeyed to contentment now knowing I was obedient and if Roots & Wings Educational Consulting is to take flight, God will open doors in his time. 

In your season of waiting, don't grow weary or give up beloved! You will reap what you sow, later than you sow, and more than you sow! Galatians 6:9

2. God can use the hardest trials to help us walk into His destiny.
I've had to sit back and watch; watch my curly headed boy wrestle with a season of hardship. My John Davis, he has been handed a Goliath size, suffering cup no mom would ever want her child to bear. I found myself apologizing to him over and over that he has to endure this mountain.

I clearly heard God whisper, "Hush, just hush". I realized this very suffering may be what shapes him for his God-calling. If this thistle is taken away, he may not be changed into God's likeness and step into all his heavenly Father has for him to become. And then right there in His word:

REPENTANCE + REST=SALVATION  &   QUIET + TRUST= STRENGTH!!!

Isn't what we all need? To humble ourselves, cast out our idols, and rest in God's saving grace? And sometimes our silence can be the loudest remark! Closing my mouth and trusting God will give me strength to know He is working the hard, painful times into good that will glorify Him.

In repentance and rest is your salvation, 
in quietness and trust is your strength,...Isaiah 30:15 





3. We are all living on a bridge.
In this haven we are most definitely in a season, a season of matrimony. In our little corner of the globe 2017-2018 ushers in 4 weddings .  As a spectator of planning and showers, I watch brides juggle dreams with family dynamics. I have become keenly aware grief has you live on a bridge, a bridge of time; a never ending  time continuum between past, present, and future.

Any given day, I walk John Davis and Joy across the bridge through several time continuums...sometimes even multiple times. 

The bridge to the PAST takes my kids back to enjoy visiting their earthly father, to know what their Dad was like; to remember and hold on to memories, and makes him tangible in his absence.

The bridge of the PRESENT  keeps us focused on what is right in front of us. Focusing on gifts in the present unlocks joy. Joy produces contentment. 

The bridge to the FUTURE  fills us with hope. Our prayer is  for wherever God plants us we will walk in His light and be a vessel to bring him glory.  We pray for whoever God brings into our future will allow room for us to bring the past along where we will cherish them both simultaneously. For we are all a sum of our past. People who speak encouragement spur us on to love and good deeds. We treasure and hold them dear. Those that caused pain and destruction also compel us to vow to love justice, seek mercy, and walk humbly with our God. (Micah 6:8)

Beloved, embrace your walk on the bridge through all of life's seasons! Knowing He is the unchangeable God of each step you take through all the changing seasons will set you free. He is the God of all of your days! 


Until the whole world hears,
Katie


Music:

God of All My Days by Casting Crowns

The Very Next Thing by Casting Crowns




Monday, January 30, 2017

Kenny Rogers Theology: When It's Time to Get Out of Toxic

If you don't happen to have a knack for reading and listening to Christian psych, this debate I'm about to weigh in on might not even be on your radar. Call me a weirdo! I really wasn't going to weigh in on this Christian Psych debate I see unfolding in podcasts and media. However, since helping abused women out of toxic is my greatest passion second to creating safe sanctuaries (measures in place to prevent sexual abuse) for children, I've prayed and couldn't hold my tongue.

And since I recently wrote about having Kenny Rogers theology and knowing when to hold em', knowing when to fold 'em, knowing when to walk away, and when to run.... And then my girl Jen Hatmaker apparently got the same memo and writes the same message! Well......I just have to go there.

After Smalley's (Michael rather than Gary) broadcast on January 10, Healing in the Midst of Being Wounded, where he answered a listeners question, I cringed. Listeners question:

"Why do the churches preach forgiveness, but nobody discusses verbal abuse, and most christians make other christians being verbally abused feel like they are in unforgiveness when the reality is, the abuser never repents for his ways, and never owns their behavior, they just continues to be abusive, while their spouse is made to believe that they should turn the other cheek, forgive 70×7. Even God demands repentance, a change of ways so why do christians think it can come another way, and that healing can even occur when no change has occurred. If someone has a knife in my side every single day, it would be impossible to heal, so why do we expect spouses to heal in the midst of being wounded daily?”

Smalley you had some wonderful points, did a great job of weighing in and describing what is emotional/verbal abuse. You did an excellent job of citing statistics that indeed, emotional abuse leaves scars far worse than physical and leads to self harm in most cases. What stabbed my heart?

I think, if I might take the liberty to translate for her, the lady was not asking for someone to determine whether she was or was not in an abusive relationship and I'll admit that would be hard since she was not in the studio with you. She obviously feels like she is in an abusive relationship or she would not  have taken the time to ask you.  I'm concerned she truly needs help and this is her cry. And after hearing the broadcast, my concern?  She might feel she has to stuff her need to get out of TOXIC rather than get help.

I interpreted it to ask or hear her say:

As a Christian:  1. She has stayed because she has heard her pastors convey from the pulpit in addressing forgiveness and grace she needs to suck it up and take it. 2. She has exhausted all efforts and the relationship is not better because her abuser will not work on himself or admit that the way he treats her is wrong.

Mostly she is asking, "Is there EVER a time to WALK away for self preservation? And if so when?"


The answer my dear is: ABSOLUTELY!!!!

At this point, I'm going to hand the mic over to Jen Hatmaker to answer your question.( she recently pulled this post out of archives )

**************************************************************************
When Is It Time to Walk Away?
by Jen Hatmaker on April 21st, 2013

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to make toffee. Again. The first attempt, despite scant instructions and just three ingredients, emerged like a sheet of sand and made me resort to violence and hatred.

Round two: sand again. $&*%!!!!

So I consulted the interwebs to discover the error of my ways. Let me condense the instruction I received:

Keep stirring. Stir constantly. Stir occasionally. Don’t stir once it boils. The temperature is too hot. It’s not hot enough. Too hot, too fast. Oops, too long. Keep a steady boil. NOT A ROLLING BOIL, YOU MORON. Use a whisk. Use a spatula. Use a wooden spoon. Recalibrate your candy thermometer. Don’t use a candy thermometer. Pour immediate at 285 degrees. Drop toffee into ice water and it should be brittle. Oops, while you were doing that it reached 286 degrees. Dump contents. Don’t cook if there is rain within 500 miles. 12 minutes exactly. 7 and a half minutes. 4 minutes and not a second more. If it separates, add water. If it separates, keep stirring. If it separates, turn the heat down. If it separates, turn the heat up. If it separates, I’m sorry to tell you, but your life is in shambles.

This inspired a new Toffee Doctrine I’d like to discuss today, catalyzed by a Facebook comment of unusual depth: “Girl, sometimes the juice ain’t worth the squeeze.” And I bowed my head and said amen.

There is something to be said for hard work, diligence, for pushing through obstacles and emerging victorious. Heaven forbid we’re people for whom failure is a chronic deal-breaker. Some best things are won through perseverance, and there is simply no other path. Often triumph is seized on the 77th try, and every last effort in Attempts #1-76 was worth it, and not only do we emerge successful, but the false starts and failures became our greatest teachers, and no amount of instruction could replace them.

But there is another narrative to consider, which doesn’t smack of the Protestant Work Ethic we champion or provide a lovely headline, but it is no less essential to health, and confusing the two approaches is not only dangerous but destructive. Help a sister out, Kenny Rogers:

You got to know when to hold ‘em…know when to fold ‘em.

I recently discussed this with my 7th grade daughter. (Fact: 7th grade exists as an evolutionary natural selection process to weed out any tender, confident, precious traits from the adolescent species. Eat or be eaten, kids.) This has been a Challenging Friend Year, and she found herself on the outside, and I don’t even have to tell you what that means because we are all 7th Grade Survivors, am I right?

After a year of working and crying and trying again and crying and taking a different approach and crying more, I finally said, “Baby, some things are precious and worth the work it takes to keep them alive. Plenty of good things require hard work. But some things are too hard, and it’s time to cut bait.”

There is a tipping point when the work becomes exhausting beyond measure, useless. You can’t pour antidote into a vat of poison forever and expect it to transform into something safe, something healthy. In some cases, poison is poison, and the only sane answer is to move on.

Relationships, careers, churches, friendships, expectations, roles, tasks, organizations – these structures and connections can be the most life-giving elements on earth. They can lend meaning and purpose and belonging like nothing else. Within them, we find our tribes and passions, we come to life.

But anything that powerful has a downside, for they are the same things that can drain us dry and leave us for dead. When an endless amount of work and blood and sweat and tears leaves a situation or relationship or even an ambition (Perfect Mom, Size 4 Human, Person Who Has It All Together) as unhealthy as it ever was, when there is virtually no redemption, when the red flags have frantically waved for too long unheeded, the alarm bells receding into white noise after sustained disregard, sometimes the healthiest possible response is to walk away.

Assessing a circumstance as worthy of the toil is a discarded skill. Our culture doesn’t value safe boundaries like it should. We hold private disdain for the one who quit, the one who pulled out, drew a line in the sand, the one who said no more. We secretly wonder if they shouldn’t have tried harder, stayed longer, if this isn’t an indicator of their flimsy loyalty. Surely we would’ve done better in their shoes.

Locked in a toxic relationship or career or ambition or community, the levels of unhealth and spiritual pollution can murder everything tender and Christlike in us, and a watching world is not always privy to those private kill shots. It can destroy our hope, optimism, gentleness. We can lose our heart and lose our way. And here is the key: we can pour an endless amount of energy into the chasm, and it will never matter.

There is a time to put redemption in the hands of God where it belongs and walk away before you destroy your spirit on the altar of Futile Diligence. Not every battle has a winner; sometimes it is all losers, carnage everywhere. When healthy options exist, and there is a safer alternative right…over…there, often the bravest thing we can do is stop fighting for something that will never, ever be well.

Walk away gracefully; we need not fire parting shots over the bow. That only creates more losers, and you're better than that. Take your dignity and self-respect and precious humanity, and be proud of the way you handled yourself one year from now. You don't need to be proven right; much more is at stake than validation. You'll never regret being gracious, but you might deeply regret burning a bridge that might one day be safe enough to venture back over.

It is not ungodly to evaluate critically; it is the wisest thing we can do. Reaching a point where you say “enough” to a toxic environment is not cowardly – it is so very brave. It will free you up to expend your energy in worthy ways, protecting you and maybe even your people from brutal coping mechanisms. (Do we really want to teach our children that “identifying with your captor” is the best way? When all we do is defend our imprisoner, it’s time to take a hard look in the mirror.)

What is the tipping point? There is no formula here and I can’t give one. This requires honest self-evaluation, safe and wise counselors, the close leadership of the Holy Spirit, a sobering assessment of reality. Ask, “Is the juice worth the squeeze here?" and sometimes it is. You might discover signs of life and possibility rising up through the efforts, or the task at hand is simply too worthy to abandon, regardless. There may be necessary work left to do, and it’s too soon to assess. Or maybe the Spirit holds you in place for unclear reasons, which you may or may not ever know, but you will find peace in obedience and continue to listen for marching orders.

But the Toffee Doctrine bears adherence too: you got to know when to fold ‘em - for your health, your heart, purpose, family, your precious life. Certain goals are unattainable, and the means will never actually reach the end. And so often if you just turn a quarter degree, you’ll discover a healthier version just within reach. You’ll find the underlying value intact in a context that fits like a glove. You’ll hear yourself say, “Oh! I didn’t know it could be like this!” The toffee is still good elsewhere; maybe just need to rethink how you get it.

As for me, homemade is out, store bought is in. Now everyone is happy, the kitchen is no longer a war zone, and I know what I’m having with my coffee tomorrow morning. But there was that one recipe involving a microwave…

Someone stop me before I jump back into the crazy.

~

If your instinct is to counter with all the times we must stay the course, I’d ask you to carefully reread the blog and notice I already did that. My advice is for scenarios in which walking away is the right and necessary thing to do. My aim is not to lead a revolution of irresponsible quitters but of discerning disciples.

How are you struggling? Or when did you walk away for the greater good?

*************************************************************************
Until the world hears,
Katie

Resource:
http://abusesanctuary.blogspot.com/
*helpful but not meant to self diagnose, seek counsel from a professional.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Anchored in Love




When darkness seems to hide His face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My ANCHOR holds within the veil
--Hillsong United ; Cornerstone


First weekend in October ......these Jackets swarmed home, home to my birthplace . Went to watch our Jackets take on the Hurricanes. Went to escape, get away, away from what keeps knocking, landing in family and on advocate desk;  litigation and broken busted souls.  Above all truthfully, "the Main Thing" ? We went home to see blazin' friends and their brood of boys.

While there I find myself under blue skies a short drive from McKendree Elementary walls and close to hospital where I birthed first born. Born preemie, 5 weeks early with a throng of residents, OBs, nurses, and NICU team waiting anxiously to help a life coming too soon.
Ha! So much for privacy!

In middle of Central Black Knight territory standing beside white church within "Fairview" of Hwy 316, instead of green pasture as far as the eye can see, there is now a Home Depot, a Target...the terrain much changed after 37 years gone by. Also hard to believe it's been nearly 12 years since this "Prospect Walk Wayers", Weyerhaeuser crew left these "Roots". "Wings" took us back to South GA.

What hasn't changed is my memory. Memory of those that loved me, my anchors, who made me who I am . Standing in cemetery,  three of my anchors lay on that hill next to beloved rose buds none the less, under earthen Gwinnett County clay. Ones that made my first birthday cakes, who took me weekly to pick up fried chicken on Sundays after church with a wad of tabbacco in his cheek, watched me ride little red tricycle, and taught me to catch fireflies in Mason jars.  Names?  Peoples and Ash. They are MY people and my Mama Jacque made beauty out of her broken busted ASH.  

My heart needed to go home. Home sometimes holds some harsh memories, but I needed to go home to remember truth, rediscover myself. Earthly anchors, actual bodies who show God's love and are conduits for Him; they create healthy identity in hearts. Anchors hem you in so that when lies and voice of the enemy try and creep in and steal, you can throw up the hand and z-snap it away and say , "No you can NOT penetrate this breastplate of righteousness or helmet of salvation and steal my heart and mind."

More anchors dwelled at the center of downtown close to my buddy's Brand Bank under steeple, ones that showed us The Way. I watched from choir loft as ONE TIME ONE man stepped out of pulpit, spirit led, and broke free from order of worship to comfort hearts in pew shattered by homicide; to look in eye, give a hug, and whisper, "I'm so sorry."

Yes! But God! What we need in our shattered stained glass moments are anchors, hand holders, and Chief Footwashers. Within safe sanctuary walls we were taught love, what love looks like in action; "Love is a win-win proposition, love expects the best with no strings attached ." (Chappell )

Now here we sit in January. The month on the other side of Advent when sometimes things seem dark and hushed after all the bustle (Ha hmmm....I mean materialism) of when we are suppose to preparing for the Christ child.

During an afternoon, Joy riding her bike and my feet pounding pavement in gray Sketchers,  ear buds ring. Calling? The Chief hand holder , Chappell pastor . I make confessions, bring him up to speed,  we travel down memory lane... warm moments of special people , a time in music and ministry shared. Some time frames of life can't be resurrected or recreated, can't go back to what was ,  but they forever change the geophraphy of your soul and shape how you implement ministry in your present.

I proclaim to him in some fashion, "I'm U-G-L-Y! Really my only alibi?" Grief and hand holding for many trips around sun, through more dark and litigation than I can count has made me angry, cold, ungraceful ugly at times. Unbecoming as my onion girl proclaims!!!  We agree over coffee, it's our life, always been daughter of judge and PK life. We may be gifted, even good at it but it might not be good for us. Volleying between two parties has a way of making one unbecoming. Joining daddy judge's prevention passion outside the courtroom hopefully is a more becoming option.

Chappell man affirms, "Katie the suffering find those that have suffered much!" And he confirms what my heart already knew. Officially, here we have arrived, arrived at my Jonah.... life interrupted .

Somehow, while my feet are stuck in the muck, I needed an anchor that has a 16 year clear, aerial view of my life. One that has journeyed with through infertility, camp meetings, birthing babies, and birthing a church. I needed confirmation to hear the words uttered, the directive to unlock the confused, divided heart, and find faith to obey.

The Collins Hill Eagles, Pride of Peachtree Ridge Lions, Region 8 born, #6  Fernbank/Winnona Park girl?  ....hears,  "It is time!" Time to take the "Road Less Traveled", because  the road divided makes all the difference to being healed . Here is to  embracing the staircase I can't yet see and allowing God to fill in all the blanks as Lysa recently penned.

In this season of love where shelves are lined with sweetheart candy, father/daughter dance posters deck merchants doors,  and florist advertising specials on boquets of roses, the real "Roses in December" are our anchors, the ones that make you feel loved in their presence.
I challenge you to choose to be present with those you love today!

 Love defined? Well..... I'll leave that to the Chappell man. He can deliver and articulate love better than I ever can . "Let those that have ears, let them hear".

Love is....Magic and Mystery of Life (Davis Chappell)
https://youtu.be/n9a2EhThK5k

Lauren Alaina: Road Less Traveled
https://youtu.be/j-NAEvc-b6E

Rascal Flatts: Movin' On
https://youtu.be/fz1N8W8phec




Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Truth About Normal







You single moms out there know you have the toughest job on the planet. Juggling kids, schedules, work, planning meals,  bills, running kids to practice.... You are playing a doubles tennis match as a single. Nice big package of demands and stress under even the best circumstances. If your life consists of broken covenant, the living death, divorce then you might happen to have ex husband drama, co-parenting manipulation , narcissism, menopause, and hormonal teens to add to the mix!   

My heart's desire is that I could whip up a Mary Poppins moment girlfriend and tuck all that hard mess in playroom drawers, pop up the umbrella, and whisk you away so your present is more peaceful. In reality? BAM! Will light up your sky like the 4th of July! Fireworks! 

In my widow world, two kidos feel it's their duty to question every decision made, even what route to take to Wal-Mart? For the love, have I let the ship sink so far? You may have been in diapers and do not recall that ONE TIME ONE family used to manage a whole manufacturing plant full of people and women's ministry simultaneously! We got people skills and multitasking down! I got a good handle on this ship and there are only 3 peeps aboard! Calgon take me away! 

Feel alone? Before you fall into a heap of self pity and sit in your closet doing the ugly cry and eating chips like War Room chick, please know you are not alone! Take heart! There are 9.9 million single moms out there! If you still insist on being in the closet ring my digits! I up for making a chocolate or Blizzard run for you sister! 

Sometimes I get in above my parenting head and the temperature of the fatherless house gets too hot for me to handle. So when I get to the point I want to put John Davis in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) Octagon? The local "correctional man" gets called in to give this fam some counsel.

Counselor ? He is best of the best. Been knowing him in ministry for 21 years (he had hair back then 😊). He's one of my college ministry peeps. I am telling you, keep going full circle, full circle. My collegiate ministry folks keep showing up all over the place. They took that "go and make disciples" and ran with it! (Way to go Blazin' Techie pastor you taught us well! Be proud! ) I am proud of where they have all landed to make an impact for God's kingdom!

Counselor buddy... his analogies to movies and metaphors  my intelligent boy really digs and bring home his psychological and biblical points. My favorite philosophy is to raise kids to recognize friends that bear fruit, bad company corrupts good character, and to flee from the fruitless. Have tolerance; tolerance defined is to disagree with respect. Raise kids to be wise and there are no teenagers. Teens? Nope! Because he will tell you the Jews got it right! You are either a child or accountable. Teen is an excuse for foolish behavior.

Counselor and I.....our vocations and ministry paths criss-cross and thus we share the same criminal justice, psychology, therapy , advocate lingo. Could talk 5Love Languages, love tank debate, 5Apologies,  Chapman, Smalley, Boundaries, and the empty chair til the cows come home. However, during wrap up he lost me! I declare:

"Dude, come again? You know you think on a different plain and need to dumb it down for me. Hey, I've learned recently this lingo may seem the norm, but it ain't the norm for most. "

I think to myself: Normal? What is normal anyway? Every time I think I'll have a normal day, or nothing else will surprise me? God expands my borders!

"You know you don't deal with normal, are not normal, and really live up in the stratosphere right?!"

"You know Katie, back in the day (VSU BSU college days that is) I used to think we were the normal people!"

To which I say to him, "You want to know the truth? The whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God? You do realize in our daily life, we live DAYS OF OUR LIVES and God tells us we only got  ONE LIFE TO LIVE and I want to live it BOLD & BEAUTIFUL with ALL MY CHILDREN holding hands up in the GENERAL HOSPITAL and I ain't got no more time for the YOUNG & the RESTLESS!"

Until the whole world hears, 
Embrace who you are!
Square Peg? Triangle? Whatever fits!
Represent Him well!
Help make the world go round!

Katie


Square Pegs by Kelsea Ballerini
https://youtu.be/P8_MF8y9RPM


Monday, January 9, 2017

Who You Are is REDEEMABLE!





You ever been at that place? You know the place you felt like you messed up so bad, spent too much, caused so much pain, tongue set your life on fire, reacted out of anger that you had fallen too far? Too far from those you love and God's arms. Been there, got the t-shirt many times over! Take heart my friend, there is no such place. God wants you to know this day, this day that you may have already broken your New Year's reSOULutions and you are only nine days in.... The real truth is you are REDEEMABLE!

For all (Jew and Gentile) have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). As humans, we judge, we categorize sin. God? Sin is sin. He calls us to repent. "Repent, ( turn from , do a 180) change your ways! Turn to face God so he can wipe away your sins, pour out showers of blessing to refresh you (Acts 3:19).  Conviction can be a catalyst to change! Regret, guilt?  That's no place for His child to hang out! His mercies and grace (unmerited favor) are new every morning! You don't have to perform or prove yourself to get back in his graces!

"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way." (James 1:2-4)

Joy, my girl, she has taken me back, way back, like all the way to middle school back. My adopted grandparents in Decatur came to visit me in 7th grade during a rough patch in my life. This #6 soccer girl broke her leg--6 months in a cast and off the field, crutches, PT, lot of x-rays, and way more of Dr. Harris' office than I every wanted to see. All the way to South GA from Avondale Estates they traveled. What they brought and put in my hand?  Changed me forever, Michael W. Smith's (Smitty) album Eye 2 Eye.

My Joy, she found Smitty's albums on iTunes. The music, the lyrics have brought back a flood of memories and God's truth. Smitty has reminded me,  "Go West young man and let the evil go East!" Joy's two favorites? "Do You Dream of Me".....and yes your heavenly Father does dream of you. The other "Picture Perfect". Beloved, know that "you don't have to be picture perfect" and you do have "A Place in This World" just be "Who You Are" . He wants you to be free and flooded with His joy.

Until the whole world hears,

Katie


Go West Young Man by Michael W. Smith
https://youtu.be/YCfD7sxwdf0

Picture Perfect by Michael W. Smith
https://youtu.be/8OGO_B7hdDc

Who You Are by Unspoken
https://youtu.be/Sa7PrjpE8dY




Sunday, January 1, 2017

Beauty and Brutality: Out of ashes He will bring beauty!

As I stood in front of mirror this morning,  I was contemplating mascara or no mascara? That is the question! What surrounds, lays in heart? Fact is it's brutal; yet what I know is but God! God is here and God is present and God will mend. Some of what we are facing is not repairable. We have to learn to remember, learn how to move forward, but we will never move on. He promises beauty out of ashes. Really what impales is not so much for me, but those souls that surround.

From the pulpit under our vaulted beam ceiling and stained glass this morning, sermon delivered, echo words spoken to my heart too. There are harsh realities all around, yet God. God is present and God always wins! And God uses this message to reaffirm: when he whispers to His children, His spirit moves in us the same way at the same juncture in time.

Post Advent,  the text takes us to Matthew 2 today: Jesus is dwelling among us and the brutality that Herod is killing, killing all the babies. And Rachel? Rachel is in grief and mourning. My crew and this world? We are most definitely there too! Aleppo, bloody boy, accident in headlines, drug bust.....And really if the Advent story is modernized? The headline might read: "Teenage Mom Aborts Baby! " Beauty versus Brutality!' Muscially, pastor says the text is reminecent of Simon and Garfunkel's Silent Night and the 7 o'clock News.

As this new endeavor, Roots & Wings Educational Consulting gets started, I know if you don't know my personal, ministry, and vocational testimony this merging of many hats looks strange. Truth be known I'm a singer, dancer, writer, speech therapist, parent advocate, victims' advocate, Mothers of Preschoolers International leader and a recovering PK (preacher's kid). Our house doesn't announce our gifts in ministry as Chappell pastor, and pastor of The Way taught us not to boast and to not let the right hand know what the left hand is doing, to seek justice, love mercy,  and to walk humbly with our God. And for those hands we hold, we lift up and say, "God hear our prayer!"

Honestly I wish I could go back to those days under white steeple and sing with First Praise and sit round classroom with our GIFTs (Growing In Faith Together Sunday School Class). Where our weeks were composed of rehearsal time, what Delta flights were booked, what IEP meetings were on the schedule. When our household lingo was Paralam, Timberstrand, IJoist, and Chick-Fil-A package.

Life then was easier, less stressful, less messy. I distinctly remember a Davis sermon, "Ministry? Ministry is messy business." That man who also declares above all else out there on that Lawrenceville First sign? "I would rather it not be a title of Bishop, Pastor, Reverend of Dr. I want to be known as the Chief Footwasher." Yes, the Chief Footwasher. The one that holds hands and holds hearts and loves whoever God puts in your path by divine connection like Jesus.

The hand holder/chaplain/victim's advocate? That is me. What I am called has no eternal significance for I know the ONE that has called me. So yes, I wish I could go back to the "future now". Reality is since I was little I've been surrounded. Surrounded by public administrators, men in blue, judges, those in telecommunications/news crew.  So we know both sides of trauma and our household has processed much.

So our lingo now? Our lingo looks like: time-barred, statutes of limitation, murder, rape, warrant, indictment, arrest, trial, protective orders, flight plans for abused women, sex offenders. Miscarriage, infertility, NICU, rainbow babies, ICU, cancer, domestic violence, suicide, infidelities, burying children (we are currently up to 2 whole hands full), mass homicide with fire to conceal, exparte, 1013s, litigation, addiction, pornography, families destroyed by those who didn't know the entire scope of situation and thought they were doing right by DFACS reporting. For the love, break my heart! This John Grisham- criminal justice- salad? I wish it were a figment of my imagination. My life is what it is, real life. Adulting is what one of my trauma mama calls it.

My beautiful blonde blue eyed nurse friend and I agree recently, those of us that have done therapy in projects on southside floors and care for those in ICU, our eyesight, our lens of life, is vastly different from others. Different is ok! We might be square pegs, or even triangles! Different does not equal cray cray! (Song: Square Pegs by Kelsea Ballerini). Kelsea says square pegs "make the world go round" and we think out of the box!

Many of us get to drive to a nicely decorated office from house every day and have not had to process any of the former scenarios mentioned. If that's the case, count yourself blessed. This life? Not what I would have chosen, but as one of my men of the cloth pats my shoulder and says, "Katie often we don't find our calling our calling finds us!" And there you have it! True dat! Word! This PK (preacher's kid) would have NEVER chosen it! So God nudged me there I suppose.

And just as this morning Adams declares "Christ asks: Will you help ME grow? Grow in this world?" And Fisherman Daddy will be sure to make known you are to be Christ in the world, but not dare be of it. To which I tell him, "10:4, Aye, Aye Captain, I want to be in it for HIM!" And he says, "SUPER" and I say "FANTABULOUS!"

Ministry leaders, educators,  judges, men in blue, my daycare and after school program peeps ? They understand where the Roots & Wings ship will port one day. The many hats I wear and passions I have? Come all from my basket of varied experiences professionally, in lay ministry, and personally.  He called. I said,  "YES! I will be a voice and help the least of these!" In the end, my prayer is I have offered more encouragement and love than I have caused despair!



Until the Whole World Hears,

Katie


*And for the love I don't know why the links won't embed anymore--cut and paste if you want to listen**



Silent Night and the 7 o'clock News: Simon & Garfunkel

Square Pegs by Kelsea Ballerini

Friday, December 30, 2016

2017? What's your Target(goal)?

Roaming aisles of Target this week, there she was. My curly headed, spunky MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) mama. You know the one you sit round your kitchen table, drink coffee, study the word with, take off your stained glass masquerade, and get really real with.

She confesses right now, she feels lost, uncertain, a little directionless, invaluable. Haven't we ALL!Quite the symbolism that we are in Target! We are discussing that we are not sure what our TARGET of 2017 is as New Year's Eve is approaching. What will next year hold?

A memory comes to mind to share with her, encourage her, tell her she has worth even staying at home wiping snot, changing diapers, and carting kids to preschool. See her life mimics my previous married life. Being corporate wifey, the woman that stands behind public man to support and take care of babies at home so his work is made possible with work and ministry peppered throughout.

In Target, I was transported back in time, back to a plant board room in April 2011. Several entities of professionals surrounded after Micah went to heaven. We were there to take care of business, the business of death. Life insurance, making heads and tails of hospital bills. Lots and lots of hospital bills. Packing up an office. None of us wanted to be there. None of us wanted to complete the task at hand, complete the paperwork, sign the documents. The documents that closed out a lengthy manufacturing career. We were suppose to be packing up Micah's office and moving him to CFO at Cotton Corner headquarters. Instead, here we were round conference table.

"The Main Thing" I remember is this: Tall lanky owner, he profoundly declares as he has lost his visoneering, processing acquisitions friend, "I have come to realize we are not just body with souls, but souls walking around in a body."  And he makes a very generous gesture.

"This. This is really more. More than you are legally obligated to do for us at this point in time. You don't have to."

"Katie, what we know is that it takes a woman behind the man and the family to free him to do his job here."

And that is just who he is, who they are as company and family; generous, benevolent, but likes to be behind the scenes quiet.

So MOPS mama? The lesson is this:
You may feel lost and directionless, but you are PRICELESS.
So 2017? God will show you! I pray it's a "Glorious Unfolding"!

My 2017? I thought I knew what it was going to look like. Honestly 2015-2016 have thrown more curve balls that I could have ever counted on. So I sit back, wait, and listen. He will show my team the next step. So Roots & Wings Educational Consulting, LLC? That venture will take flight all in God's time friends, all in God's time. My steering team, we now realize we have more legal aspects to conquer before this ship can sail. I am A OK with that!

Roots & Wings might not be launching right now. The heart and vision for the ministry? My steering team knows is still on TARGET.


Mission/Vision Statement: Roots & Wings Educational Consulting, LLC is committed to investing in schools, parents, educators, MOPS leaders, and church leaders to effectively create peaceful, safe environments for families and children as we minister to the least of these.

Truly I tell you,
whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine;
you did for me.
Matthew 25:40

Happy New Year!
Until the whole world hears,
Katie

Glorious Unfolding by Steven Curtis Chapman
https://youtu.be/GKMjEvF2Fkw