Do Not Try This At Home

•June 21, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I recently was strongly convicted to fast. I’ve always been a bit of a negative nancy when it came to the concept of fasting- having never experienced it myself, I assumed that not eating food would ultimately lead to hallucinations rather than divine encounters. I wouldn’t say that I didn’t think God could show up in a fast- but rather that people might perceive a hallucination to be the voice of God simply because of the lack of nutrients. In my studies in college I have done a lot of reading on this subject, so I had a lot of head-knowledge when it comes to fasting- but never had the actual personal experience. A slew of events lead me to the realization that God needed me to sacrifice in order to hear Him as I longed to. I have been on a wonderful journey the last several years of learning how to listen for the voice of God. I have learned to look for consistency and for affirmations and now I feel like I can recognize more clearly when God is speaking (and He always is, by the way… the issue really is: are we listening?)

When I decided to fast- I didn’t tell anyone for a couple of days. Don’t mistake this for a humble act, however- ha! I probably did this more because I wasn’t sure if I could make it. By the end of the second day and the third day I was forced to tell some people because it was so hard- and it consumed my thoughts. I wanted so badly to follow through on this conviction to fast- because I had a new outlook and believed that God had something to express to me that, otherwise, I could not get the joy of knowing had I not been obedient to fast. Most of the people in my life would initially think it was great- but the more we talked- the more they expressed their concern. Honestly, I can’t help but think that people thought this was probably more of a crash diet kind of thing and they were concerned about my physical health. I think this is a common misconception of fasting… but as soon as fasting becomes about the food… the point of fasting is missed. Food is not the enemy. Food is a gift from God (Amen, fellow Baptists?! ha!). However, by not eating- one can spend much time with God, one can focus on God’s word and God’s love as the only sustainer of life, and it is a literal act of obedience and an act of worship.

My fasting experience was nothing short of amazing. I count that week one of the hardest and one of the best weeks of my life. I joke that I lost a lot of my common sense thinking skills— but… the voice of God was so clear. I had spent much time praying in preparation for the fast. This is key. You can’t prepare yourself physically for a fast but spiritually there is a lot of work to be done. I spent a long time searching my heart for what things I needed to specifically hear God speak on. I spent a lot of time just asking God to meet me during the fast… and just confessing my love for Him and how I longed to spend that time with Him. By the time I started the fast- I had a strange mix of feelings: nervousness & peace. Being nervous isn’t so bad I’ve learned though. Encountering God and expecting Him to move is something to get nervous about.

The struggle of fasting is not really something I want to talk about. I don’t want to make it about the struggle not to eat – but I also don’t want to portray that it was a piece of cake. (PUN INTENDED! ha) For now, let me just say that the first day is exciting, the second day you feel really weak, the third day is the mental and physical breaking point, and if you can make it through the third day- the rest of the journey is much easier. A couple of tips I can give is to drink a lot of water… even more than the suggested daily requirement. Also, make sure to get much more rest than usual- your body needs to sleep a lot. Lastly, if all you find yourself thinking about is not eating food- then I suggest doing a different type of fast where you just eat organically and still spend most of your time in God’s word and in prayer.

Now, the spiritual aspects of fasting— the good stuff! Like I mentioned before, I had several questions and points of interest that I wanted to specifically listen to hear from God. He was faithful to reveal much of what I needed to hear… but also… much of what I don’t think I could have ever prepared myself for! ha! The whole experience was incredibly overwhelming. God didn’t just want to reveal things of importance in my life now- but things of importance as in— years from now. Life changing things. Career, Marriage, Family, Friends, Church, Ministry, and Worship. I received answers to questions I could never know would pertain to my life! haha! There were times where I could literally feel like God was holding me and talking to me. There was a special time where I could practically see God right in front of me and it was as if He was telling me the good news of a certain aspect of my life— and I won’t say that He was giddy…. but.. well.. yeah… He was giddy- He was excited to reveal to me that He is a God who wants to bless the desires of our hearts! He gave affirmation of certain relationships that I have… which I desperately needed to hear and He gave the promise that relationship would be restored in my life. I received great insight into the future of the ministry that God has placed on my life- and I now have the joy of knowing that God is working and moving in lives around me to add to this ministry and that God wants me to work and encourage people around me to find their own ministry calling– because– we are all called into the ministry. Most importantly, I found the strength I needed in my LORD and in my LORD alone. I was able to surrender all my control and all my strength and rely only on God’s… and once I found my rest in the hand’s of God I realized that only then can I tower above the world of sorrow and struggles. In the hands of God we stand tall!

I wish with my whole being that I could end this post here, but I cannot. The day I was going to quit my fast I found myself in mourning. I no longer had any desire to eat just because the experience of God was sweet enough. That sounds mushy-gushy-romantic almost, but it is true. I didn’t want to have to eat again because food can never satisfy like our LORD, Jesus. Unfortunately, since the ending of my fast I have been battling a rough road of depression and dealing with significant feelings of loneliness. Most would look at my life and wonder how on earth I could feel lonely because I have some amazing people in my life… but… I can’t help the way I have been feeling. I am incredibly sensitive to all things going on around me, I am easily thrown into guilt for things I may not even need to waste time and energy feeling guilty about, I have felt very trivial and unnecessary to people and things in my life. There isn’t just jealousy in my heart- but extreme jealousy, and I have anxiety about not only my long time future but about what could happen even in the next hour. I have no peace. No rest. My world is chaos to say the least. I have pushed some great things out of my life this past month. I have pushed away one of the best people that God, no doubt, brought into my life. My world is spinning out of control and I fear that it is not only effecting me but the people I am to be ministering to.

There is no real happy ending to this post. It is what it is… and sometimes we go through these “dark nights of the soul”. However, I do know that God is perfect and always faithful. And I am trusting that God has to have Mountain Peaks and Valleys in order to teach us and move us. The plan now is to ask for forgiveness, to ask for strength, and to ask for restoration and redemption – Not only from God but from the people that I love.

God is good… all the time… This, too, shall pass.

Its Official: God is a Metal Head

•May 15, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Sometimes God speaks… and then Sometimes… He screams. Let me share:

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You ever feel lead to share something with someone that actually ends up being something you needed to hear? Today I experiences just that–This is part of a message I sent to my sweet friend Beth after she had a long & strenuous week that left her not feeling well.

“I just wanted to drop you a note to let you know that I am praying for you. And to share a verse from the Invitation song we sang this past Sunday. I just cannot get it out of my head ((for the life of me! lol!!)) and I hope it will bless you!! May you be reminded of His full love and the perfect rest we have in the hands of God as I have been reminded! One day we will have a spirit clothed immortal- all to sing praise to our Lord who was faithful to lead us… shew… get’s me crying every time I think about it!!! Bless you, sweet sister!

All the way my Savior leads me,
Oh, the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father’s house above.
When my spirit, clothed immortal,
Wings its flight to realms of day
This my song through endless ages:
Jesus led me all the way;
This my song through endless ages:
Jesus led me all the way. ”

But… I, too, needed to be reminded that God wants to grant us perfect rest- and that the strength of our fleshy bodies here are nothing compared to what God has in store for us in Glory! The *REST* is what I cannot seem to escape from… Ask Pastor Mike, when he asked in his sermon Sunday if anyone needed to find rest in Christ- I couldn’t keep my hand down! ha! And I shared with him even in the parking lot that morning how the theme of *REST* has beenpopping up all around me…

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Things haven’t been particularly hard or anything– I am blessed beyond all measure– but I just have a terrible, nagging, un-easiness in my Spirit. It has left me questioning a lot. This morning, my tired body became vulnerable enough to share with a dear friend of mine that,
“I just worry that maybe I don’t have what it takes to be in the ministry after all”.
Clearly- it was a moment of pity and self woe, haha, but there was truth to it, though a bit extreme. Her response was nothing short of God breathed,
“You don’t – and that’s the point.”…..
How amazing is that? Read it again if you didn’t catch what she was trying to teach me… because it is pure gold. *WE* don’t have what it takes to do ministry… and that’s the point… ministry has to be from God. And God alone.

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Later today, my momma came home and we were in the Kitchen just talking- and she got serious and looked at me and said, “Kendal… what is this song…” and she began humming a tune I instantly recognized. I mean, I AM the world’s biggest Steven Curtis Chapman fan, right?! Apparently mom had the tune of this song stuck in her head all day long but couldn’t seem to place any words to it- so I began singing:

“I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength,
But sometimes I wonder what He can do through me;
No great success to show, No glory on my own,
Yet in my weakness He is there to let me know . . .

His strength is perfect when our strength is gone;
He’ll carry us when we can’t carry on.
Raised in His power, the weak become strong;
His strength is perfect, His strength is perfect.

We can only know
The power that He holds
When we truly see how deep our weakness goes;
His strength in us begins
Where ours comes to an end.
He hears our humble cry and proves again . . .

His strength is perfect when our strength is gone;
He’ll carry us when we can’t carry on.
Raised in His power, the weak become strong;
His strength is perfect, His strength is perfect.”

I pretty much sang the whole song, much to mom’s dismay because I kind of let loose on some of it and went crazy!!! ha! but… look at those lyrics! This song was just *coincidentally* laid on my mom’s mind – and now causes me to reflect upon the lyrics.
“…sometimes I wonder what He can do through me…”
this is the cry of my heart
“…Raised in His power, the weak become strong”
and this is His response.

Thank you Lord for Steven Curtis Chapman- who creates beautiful lyrics that are so scripture based.

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And, just in case God’s scream to me wasn’t clear enough… He prompted Jeremy (who had just gotten off the phone with me) to call me back and say that he read a scripture, that may have been for him too, but he thought of me when he read it. Hold on to your seats for this one:

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

10That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

When he called and told me this- I was in shock- I couldn’t even begin to express to him how God had just used him to put a big exclamation point on all that He was teaching me today. God’s lessons can be so overwhelming- so scary- so intense- so wonderful.

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Disclaimer: This is where I just type- there may be spelling & grammatical errors & the like but- I just want to type and see where God takes my thoughts for a minute.

We serve a limitless God- his strength knows no limits. But boy- mine does. Maybe.. when we start to feel tired and drained from our ministry- it is the sure sign that we are doing things in our own power and strength. Maybe when we start to think we have all the answers – it is the very time that we have lost the meaning of what it’s all about. I don’t have the strength and I don’t have the answers- but my LORD does. May I decrease and He increase- so that in my weakness I would be made strong through His strength in me. It is only when my strength becomes less that I think can be stronger than ever- IN HIM.

Clearly God is here- talking to me- saying, “Why are you feeling so weak, so tired, so restless?”

— then maybe I point to my weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions, difficulties- and say, “God look at all that’s around us- it is so awful- I can’t do this anymore”

— and He says, “Great… Let me.”

It seems like a “DUH” kind of thing- of course we should “Let go & Let God”… but what if we really did.

What if we let go of being bound by depression and let God handle it.

What if we took the sick and dying and lay them at the foot of the cross.

What if we let our broken hearts be mended by the perfect and full power of our LORD.
What if we took our sins and guilt and released them in the name of Jesus.

What strength would we then know?

I’m Just a Girl

•May 13, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Well, I’m just going to jump back into the swing of “blogging”. No cutesie little blog about how I’m REALLY going to do this again (you can see how great that worked back in January???) but I’m just going to get right to the grind.

I’m Just a Girl… It’s a song I listened to thanks to my totally awesome and cool big sister. If you don’t know it, well, one- shame on you. And two- it’s “old-school” No Doubt from their CD Tragic Kingdom. Here are some lyrics that speak loudly and profoundly to me tonight

I’m just a girl in the world…
That’s all that you’ll let me be!
I’m just a girl, living in captivity.

Granted, I doubt Gwen Stefani was dealing with persecution about leading as a woman in the church when she sang this song… but those lyrics scream the words I long to just stand up one day and say. I realized this when I was talking to Jeremy tonight, bless his sweet heart, as I vented to him about this and that- things got heated as I became numb to this situation and was saying how none of it is a big deal. I mentioned that I was so excited because I got to talk with a new youth girl who wants to join our church. And after Jeremy’s response (which… I will keep to myself… hehee!) I broke down into tears knowing that girls need to know that they are not just girls trapped in captivity.

Do you realize that we serve a limitless God? I think we are taught that… but this is a truth that I recently have found inescapable. God has no boundaries… yet we are constantly trying to fit Him into a box. The thing about the box we (consciously or not) try to stuff him in is that it is based off of what WE are comfortable with. Not comfortable with the idea of speaking in tongues??…. great- put a limit on God and say that it shouldn’t happen. Not comfortable with the power of healing by God working through the touch of a hand??…. great- put a boundary up on God’s almighty power and say its a fake. For these people, I have some good news for you though… the God we serve has no limits and has no boundaries. I have some bad news, too though… He is working outside your box and therefore you are missing out on a blessing and word from the LORD.

Where does all of this stem from with me personally? I’m just a girl… a girl who has had supernatural encounters of affirmation after affirmation of being called into full time ministry. The problem? Some people want put God in a box and say that He can’t use women to teach certain people. I could get into my own thoughts (and probably will eventually on this blog) about the scriptures regarding this view point… but for now- let me offer up some insights from other scriptures that encourage girls to know that they are not to be held down in captivity- just like we should not hold our LORD down in the things He can do ((Like His ability to call a woman into the ministry, just saying! ha!))

Galatians 3
26) You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus,
27) for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
28) There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

…. Slave nor Free… Male nor Female… for you are all ONE in Christ Jesus.
THIS is a picture of what the Church is to be. ONE in Christ. This is an interesting part of God’s word not only because Males and Females are one through Christ Jesus- but also because the slaves and the free are one in Christ. I refuse to be enslaved to the idea that because I am a woman I therefore cannot serve my LORD as He calls. I am free- thanks be to the blood of Christ. And by the blood and the word of my testimony- I overcome all things this world may throw at me. Please don’t get me wrong- I am (believe it or not) NOT a feminist- I see the BEAUTIFUL picture that God’s holy and breathed word presents of the head of the church being a man and the head of the family being a man— and thanks to positive examples of this- I see how God created us to work in this way- But I still cannot escape the fact that- WE SERVE A LIMITLESS GOD. And most importantly, we serve a God who longs for us to find freedom.

He longs for us to freely worship Him.
He longs for us to freely serve Him.
He longs for us to freely submit to Him.
He longs for us to freely love Him.

And I don’t know about you, but I need freedom. I want to feel freedom in Christ like never before. And my guess is that you have something that you are enslaved to in your walk with Christ- yet, our limitless God is there waiting to give you that freedom He wants us to fully experience.

Galatians 5
1) It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Stand Firm.
DO. NOT. LET. YOURSELVES. BE. BURDENED. AGAIN. BY. A. YOKE. OF. SLAVERY.

There is your freedom. Do not let yourselves be burdened again. As I say to my momma, “Release yourself of the burden”! God gives us the chance to experience life freely here on earth. Why would we burden ourselves with captivities, limits, and boundaries?

Oh- I guess I should share one more scripture- especially if there happens to be others who are feeling the burden of being persecuted like myself… This is a scripture I am now choosing to live by… I may be just a girl… but…

Galatians 6
17) Finally, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.

Thank you Jesus for bearing the cross… for us all.

Ah, Ah, Ah, Ah- Staying Alive!

•January 14, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I need to do this more. Not for you… but for me! 🙂 I have to admit, I find myself thinking – oh! I should blog about that…. but as we all know, I haven’t! But I will try to do better!

Since the last post- things, of course, have been busy! Our youth went to an awesome Mission Trip to Caswell, NC… to say the least… it was life-changing. For me & them! Things were so in sync… the music, bible studies- everything was matching up to things we had done in the months prior! The theme of the week was, “Are you Listening” and the youth were all encouraged to be actively listening for how God is moving around them… and they heard a lot! We came back a completely different group…. one that loves God more, loves God’s word more, and loves God’s people more…. man, thank you Lord! 😀 So if I’ve seemed even MORE perky & happy than usual- that’s 90% the reason why! 😉

Other than that I’ve just been enjoying my job, most of school, and my family & friends! Now perhaps we can add that I’ve been “enjoying my blog” to the list 😉

A Year Ago Today…

•May 22, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Maria Sue Chapman- Blog

The Chapman Family- Blog 2

Our Hope Endures- Blog

(written yesterday…)

It’s hard to believe it has been a year since the Chapman Family’s adopted daughter, Maria Sue, passed away. I remember on May 21st last year when Kristopher called me and we were talking and by the end of the conversation he asked, “so are you doing ok?” and I was just like, ummm… yes?? I didn’t know what he and others knew. I had managed to not get online or around a TV or radio to hear the tragic news of the accident. And little did I know that my mother and Ashley had decided not to bring it up to me. I got off the phone, and began watching news clips online. Have you ever been so devastated and shocked that you can’t even cry? I just felt hopelessly overwhelmed with pain for the Chapman family like so many others were feeling. As time passed, there is no doubt that the Chapman family has held tightly to their faith and promise from their Lord to be reunited with their little Maria. As SCC has said, their future with Maria is for eternity and how blessed they are to know that this little girl came to know the Lord as her Savior at such a young age. The Chapman family has had a busy year as well with Emily’s Wedding, Caleb’s Wedding, the SCC/MWS tour, Maria’s Big House construction, and I’m sure so much more. They are such an inspiration to us all, and “us all” is now including more than just the CCM fans… with their appearance on Larry King and Good Morning America, they have expanded their witnessing field to those around the world suffering and dwelling in pain instead of trusting in the Lord, Jesus Christ.

A year later and I still have to turn the radio when I hear “Cinderella”… and I still look at this beautiful and adorable little girl and get teary eyed. Let’s make a special effort to lift the Chapman family up during this week for them…

maria_sue_chapmans_life_3

I Simply Can’t Write Another Word

•April 22, 2009 • Leave a Comment

 

… so what else would I do but blog? Ha. I am ‘contradiction’ personified. 🙂
(Romans 7:14-25)

ANYWAY… 🙂

I am currently printing out TONS of research that I must read, comprehend, create an opinion, (a scholarly thoughtful opinion at that) and write 2 research papers that are due on Thursday. Oh, and tomorrow is Wednesday… as in… Church day.

Normally this is where I would allow everyone to fuss at me about procrastination and how its my own fault- but I really am not feeling guilt as much as I am exahustion- so don’t waste your breath. I have been too busy cranking out dozens of papers in the last month- I have not had time to worry with these.

As I wait for these papers to print one could argue that the best use of my time would be to go ahead and start reading the research that has already printed. But I really don’t think my brain can take any more information tonight. I must get on here and vent some of my thoughts out in order to make some room for more information I will read about after about 4 hours of sleep. Don’t judge me. lol

The end is near. I just have to make it 3 more weeks. I am looking forward to having my sanity back. Everything is going so well- if only I had some mental capacity to trully enjoy as God is unfolding such awesome stuff right now! haha! Anyway, I’m blessed to have such awesome people surrounding me as I deal with this school stress. I have had a lot of the coolest people in the world come into my life… but right now I am feeling even extra encouraged by the people in my life now. Like never before I feel myself being raised up by friends and mentors of a higher level than myself- and I just long to be in their presence, on the phone with, or texting them all, all the time! ha! I love that after six hours of being with someone one on one I left feeling like a better person… like I had just experienced the actual love of God. have you ever just been so overwhelmed with the love of God? Man… I feel like I am getting to know God in a whole new way— I am loving this season in my walk with God… If I could be so bold to quote the greatest artist of them all, “Its all about love, love, love, love, love”- Steven Curtis Chapman

Late Night Youth Love

•April 20, 2009 • Leave a Comment

2s0ketz

In a message written between 3-4am on Saturday, April 18

“Its officially 3am. I am sitting in a not so comfortable recliner in an absolutely beautiful mountain house that is full of absolutely beautiful sleeping young ladies (and one smoking Beth-a-roo! (wait she doesn’t really smoke… I just mean she is beautiful too! Hah!)) I am tired; just finished some much needed time power pointing for church on Sunday (Since I’m going to be a tad on the busy side on my Saturday night! *wink*) and I feel like I have nothing left to give as far as mental capacity goes because my school load has been un. real. ugh.

But… I sit here tired, drained, uncomfortable, and happier than ever before. Earlier today Addison came in my office at church, laid down an iPod with headphones and said, “I brought you something to listen to.” I put the headphones on- hit play- and said, “You have got to be kidding me!” I was listening to the first finished track from their recording session.

Words cannot describe how extremely proud and moved I was. Before I knew it I had a handful of people watching me crying at my desk. Mind you, our youth’s band is a hardcore band with screaming and everything- so crying at it really makes no sense- but it happened before I even realized it. I hope the boys forgive me for crying at their hard rock song… it certainly wasn’t the song that made me cry… it was the amazing talent you possess and that you recognize it as being a gift from God and you use it for good and not evil. I’ve said it before but I will say it again- they rock my face off 🙂

Now, I am here with my girls, and as muuuuuuuuuuch as I love my boys (They all know I am crazy crazy crazy over them I do believe!) there is just something so special about spending time with my girls. We have had the best time with Beth’s big surprise plan to take us all up the mountain for our retreat! We’ve played the coolest games and had the coolest discussion sessions… it’s so nice to talk and laugh and be real with each other. Its times like these that I will never forget.

As much as I want to be a mom and as much as I already love my little girl from China that God has for me- I already am starting to feel like a mom. Not that I act like one to the youth or that I am some good role model or anything for them- but in the love that I have for them. I guess I am just experiencing my heart growing more and more like a new mother’s heart grows to love her child.

I have always been close to my youth group- and I have always enjoyed planning events and taking an active leadership role even when I was a youth myself sometimes… but something has changed… *gasp* maybe I’m even growing up myself some. But, I’ve always heard new mothers say that you begin to realize and become overwhelmed with how much God loves you once you finally have kids yourself. Not that I think the youth are “kids” actually, they know I strongly feel the opposite especially when I am only 22 myself. (whoa… I just realized when I typed that- that I told someone yesterday that I was 21. Man. lol)

but it’s more of the WAY I love the youth now. I am protective of them. I am possessive of them. (and boy are they protective and possessive of me… maybe even more than I am of them!! Hah!! (which I love by the way!)) I care about them more than if they were just my friends, and in a different way than if they were just my brother or sister. I care about equipping them for the real world, and about laying some foundational stones in their life that they can continue to look to as they grow older and their faith is, undoubtedly tested. I want to know about their relationships, their family, their plans, their pet peeves, their hobbies, where they are going, what they are thinking (or not thinking! Ha!) I want to know everything. I even told my girls as I was talking to them tonight that I often catch myself talking about the youth with my friends and family as if they are my children and I am bragging on them and am all but obsessed with them. 😉 creepy? yes. thank you! lol. 🙂

Working with youth is such a blessing. I have always loved this group of people and found it almost easy to be able to create relationships with people in this age group and have been blessed to have had the chance to connect with tons and tons of youth throughout my life. Who knows, maybe youth ministry will play a bigger part in my future than I would have guessed.

One thing is for sure though— I love my CVBC youth and I am so so so so so so so so blessed and humbled by the fact that they love me in spite of the times I can be unlovable. Youth: if you happen to be reading this… I want to thank you for teaching me more about how God loves me and for being real with me. Your friendship and love is truly treasured by me… and I will never ever stop believing in all the wonderful things that I see God using each of you for. If nothing else, I will always love you (cue the Whitney Houston song)- and you can bet that if it’s a new day… you have been prayed for by your “momma K” 😉

-Shalom Out 😀