Please take a few minutes before you continue to read to listen to this song by Mercy Me.

We would all like to believe that when things in life get tough that our convictions will stand strong. Well, things are tough right now. I’m waiting for the locust and frogs to show up (a little comic relief). At this point, there is so much out of my control, things I can’t just fix, that all I have to lean on is my faith. My husband and I hold on to each other and our belief in a God who is bigger than all our worries or concerns.

Are we perfect in remaining constant in our faith during the storm? No. On any given day or hour, there is an internal struggle between ego, self, and selflessness. This time in our lives is just as much about how we walk the journey in faith, and what we learn in the process, as it is about just getting to the other side.

We believe that every season, good or bad, is the opportunity to learn a little more about ourselves, grow personally and spiritually, and eventually be ready to encourage someone else in their journey.

On one level, going into the Thanksgiving holiday we have much we could wallow and moan about. But on more important levels we have much more to be thankful for. We have what we need, and those we care about are healthy and safe. Those are the things we will focus on tomorrow and each day after.

Be encouraged today, and reminded for tomorrow as you are enjoying time with family and friends (or being driven crazy by them), that there is always far more to be thankful for than to complain about. Stand firm in your beliefs even if things are not going as you planned.

Happy Thanksgiving. (#happythanksgiving)

KK

 

 

 

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There is a tree with gifts. Cookies have been made and there is more baking to do. Hopefully we’ve made our last trip to the grocery for the year. Not having many little ones around, our trip to the toy aisle was fun but didn’t take long enough. A few clicks on Amazon and gifts for others were ordered. So this year is a little different.

The reflection of the year hovers but doesn’t shadow our holiday. On the contrary, there is much peace in my heart and in our home. There have been extraordinary moments recently that I have treasured more than gold.

A few weeks ago our family went downtown to the Palace theater to watch a Christmas classic movie, White Christmas. It was on the big screen just as it had been made for in a theater built before the movie was made with ornate antique design.

Last weekend, we finished decorating the tree and watched A Christmas Story. Each year when we travel, we purchase a Christmas tree ornament. So as we are decorating the tree, we share memories.

The other night, I came in from work pretty tired, but my son wanted to play a game. When your teenager suggests a family game night, you do it. My tiredness melted away as we rolled the dice and enjoyed the friendly competition of Yahtzee!

There are many other treasures a mother carries in her heart. Treasures not wrapped in a holiday season. Be encouraged to pay attention to those moments so they don’t escape. Capture them and hold them close.

Merry Christmas,

KK

On Saturday, everything was quiet. Jesus was dead. The disciples didn’t know what to do, so they hid. When we feel like God is silent all we can do is cling to the cross. Listen to this,

old rugged crossKaoma’s amazing version of The Old Rugged Cross.

The sun is so hot. It’s been a long day. I’ve run around following Jesus as he was dragged by the soldiers. I’m tired, but he is half dead hanging on the cross now. Sitting here is the closest I’ve been to him. The crowds have been huge and being a young girl, I keep getting pushed to the back. I’d always find a way to at least hear him. But today there was no more listening. Today, there have been accusations and beatings. Oh, the beatings. I, of course, didn’t see any of it. But I did see my Jesus when he was forced to drag his cross through the streets. Why did they have to beat him so severely? When he passed the stench made me want to turn away. But somehow his compelling spirit kept my attention focused on his eyes. There was something about them – almost like he had something to say with them. 

at the foot of the crossNow he hangs on the cross above me. The excitement is over so the people have started to leave. This gave me the opportunity to come close to this man who has taught us with parables and demonstrated grace and mercy in his healing touch. Here I sit at the foot of the cross. He took his last breath and offered up his spirit to God. He is still hanging there. I don’t know what to do. I’m just sitting here below and I know I should go home, but I can’t bring myself to go. He was so gentle in his spirit.

It was merely in his midst that tears were stopped, pain was relieved, and healing came. People who had been afflicted their entire lives. I remember something in his voice that brought comfort. His message made me feel like I have value. Me, a female, in a culture of male dominance. Just a few days ago the crowds pushed me to the rear. But now they are all gone. There are no more words from the teacher; no more stories to be explained. All the people have gone home. It’s so quiet. So here I sit at the foot of the cross. Finally, a little shade. My Jesus is hanging above me, the blood and sweat dried on his cuts.

I’m sitting in the shadow of Jesus. It’s so hot, and He provides shade. Like the comfort of his words. I need to go home. My mother told me to stay away from all of this. But I couldn’t. I have followed him whenever he was in our town. I am drawn to him. He talks of a new kingdom, of peace, of forgiveness – a new law for living? I am hungry to learn more, but now he is gone. He even said I could have a new beginning; he didn’t tell me, of course, but he told some others. My entire life has been planned – I’m to be a wife and a mother. If that is what God desires I will do it, but what I’ve heard from Jesus will stay in my heart no matter what. 

Now he’s gone and here I sit. With all the people stirring today, I am more dusty and dirty than usual. It doesn’t normally bother me. Look at my dress, it’s a mess with dirt. As I lower my head into my hands I notice a drop of his blood has covered a spot of dirt. I can’t stop staring at it. His blood on me as I sit in the shadow of the cross. A part of Him now permanently on me.

My mother will know where I’ve been. Maybe she won’t tell my father. I heard some of the men who followed and helped Jesus say that he’s going to come again. Something about him raising from the dead on the third day. Oh, if that were true…

Blocking the sun with my hand I look up at him, hanging there lifeless, Will you raise from the dead in three days?  The sun is setting. I have to get home. Looking up at my savior – please come back. I need to hear you words again.

Standing and dusting off my dress, the blood stain is smeared, but remains. I want to stay, but I have to go. I have to leave the foot of the cross. This is the closest I’ve come to Jesus. If I could stay here, I would. The soldiers are coming to take down the body. As I begin to leave, I hear the soldier in charge say something about him being the son of God. Did he believe? I feel like I’m leaving a part of me at the cross. What will the third day bring?

spring imageEaster much like Christmas is a wonderfully holy time for believers. And like Christmas, I struggle to find the reverent feeling that aligns my heart and soul with the massive significance of the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Like Christmas, there are many preparations to be made for family and friends to come over. It’s too easy to be distracted.

Tomorrow is Thursday – the day of the last supper – can I merge my thoughts for our own family supper with that of the message of Christ on that last eve?

Friday is when he was crucified and died – Matthew 27. This lends itself to me having a quiet, reflective day. Or perhaps, I will fast something on Friday in order to remember the day’s events.

Saturday is tucked in the middle. Jesus was buried before the sun set on Friday and Saturday was the Sabbath by the Jewish people. There were guards posted at the tomb.

Sunday started early with Mary Magdalene and the other Mary going to the tomb to do the final burial preparations. From there the events began to unfold. There was the angel who told the women to not be afraid (we’ve heard that before), and the guards report to the chief priests (and they still didn’t recognized prophecy fulfilled).

Just as his birth marked a new time beginning, his resurrection marked another significant moment in time. We have one more moment we continue to wait for. It’s not a moment we will plan a holiday or family meal around. His return will be in power and glory and will stop time and complete His purpose.

So this is Holy week, how will you recognize and remember the profound change in human history Christ’s death and resurrection gave us?

Blessings,

KK

 

The first Bible verse I remember having to memorize is Isaiah 9:6 which reads:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (NIV)

It was the first year I was in a Christian school (6th grade) and we memorized this verse to be presented at our Christmas program. I don’t remember what songs we sang, but I remember the auditorium, where I was standing and how wonderful it felt to have one verse of God’s word tucked away in my heart. Our class was small and many of the others students had grown up memorizing scripture so this wasn’t new to them. For me it was like opening a treasure box.

Over the years that followed, I memorized many other verses from the Bible; some motivated by grades to be earned and others memorized out of hunger and thirst for the Word. Many I can still quote. But Isaiah’s words were planted in an eager young person’s heart and have never left. These seeds that were planted took root.praying santa

At Christmas, I am reminded of the awesome miracle in Christ’s birth. I am also reminded that his birth was the beginning of a 33 year journey that includes the hardest times any human could imagine and the most glorious moments that only God could ordain; all of which was revealed to me with Isaiah’s words.

Merry Christmas.

KK

I went to the grocery Tuesday (yes, two days before Thanksgiving). My primary purpose was to pick up the fresh turkey gobblewe had ordered. Admittedly, there were a few other items, but nothing major. As I walked in there were people exiting with heaping cart loads of groceries. The store was abuzz with shoppers. There was a hustling energy much like gift shopping on Christmas Eve. It made me wonder if Thanksgiving was a surprise to these shoppers much like Christmas is to those who shop the day before. Or instead of shopping early, they chose to just wait and risk the possibility that the cranberry sauce in a can might be sold out or the pumpkin spice might be gone. Just wondering.

Truly friends we have much to be thankful for in this life. We are rich in friends, family and opportunity. There probably will not be any shortage in the grocery you find yourself in tonight at 10 p.m. (there is always that one key ingredient that was forgotten).

God bless,

KK