Not Unredeemed

… living the beautiful tension between what is, and what will be …


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Lean In

She stood at the end of my line, quietly. I only briefly noticed her as I rushed through the waiting children. Spiderman, rainbows, a cupcake, and more super hero’s. My relief was barely contained as I announced to the children that the other volunteer would be taking over the face painting.

Wait, where was she? The middle-aged lady at the end of my line? I peered through the crowded room and caught a glimpse of her sitting down back down. Her face screaming disappointment. Feeling responsible and a bit guilty I made my way over to her as my stomach screamed its protest. I had officially reached the hangry stage, and was annoyed at having to reach out. Breakfast was more hours ago than I could count.

I pasted a smile on and began to convince her that the other face painter was way better than I was and her children would be in wonderful hands. Her voice finally broke through the fog and protest that were creating a harmony of discord in my brain and stomach.

Wait.

What?

She wanted ME to paint HER face? I wasn’t anyone special. And I was definitely NOT an artist. I was the pinch hitter volunteer. The one they called over when they couldn’t find anyone else, or while the artists took their lunch breaks.

And painting an adult’s face? That was a scary proposition I had no courage for. A kid you could mess up on and they either wouldn’t know any better or be too respectful to tell off an adult.

I wanted to faint, not paint. My stomach growled again. But her face! It was filled with hope and with a confidence in me that I didn’t have for myself.

What’s one more? I shrugged as I told her. And besides I hadn’t eaten in hours anyway.

The Spirit whispered

“I go after the one more too Katie”.

One more. Right. Ok. My stomach quieted. We got this. Right?

Nope.

I picked up the brush and froze. She wanted me to paint Olaf the snowman from Frozen?!? Frozen became more of my mental creative state at that moment than a mere movie title.

You gotta be kidding me! I couldn’t free hand to save my life. Full face painting where you could smear with a sponge was my type of face painting. Not detail color work.

My hands began to shake at the very thought of having to keep my hand that steady. And circles? Right. The only circles I could draw where the ones that wrapped themselves around my brain in protest.

Have fun lady. Sure you don’t want to wait for the other face painter?

Nope. Oh course not.

Well this was about to be an epic fail.

I braced myself and picked up the brush again. Fail, and then run away to lunch. It was a bad plan, but none-the-less a plan. And at least the lunch sounded comforting.

I froze again,  brush paused in mid air, as it hovered just below her cheekbone.

“Lean In”

What?

“Lean In”

The Holy Spirit repeated, again, stronger this time.

“Lean In?” I asked back. What?

‘What?’ seemed to be the only thought and word my brain could come up with since this whole drama began.

‘Stop thinking about what you can’t do, who you think you aren’t, and simply lean in. Lean into the beauty.”

Beauty. More than the way Olaf did, my heart began to melt at the sunshine of that word. Beauty. Beauty was my safe word. The song my Father had written into the deepest chambers of my heart. The parts of my heart I was just discovering with Him, long buried under the layers of dust and busy, rushed, neglect.

Beauty. Lean in to the beauty.

Yes!

My heart overflowed in love for this grown woman. The one who was brave enough to want to be a little princess adorned with glitter and pink again. The one who wanted to delight in a happy snowman.

Casting aside the fact that I couldn’t create circles or shade, I leaned in. Pressed against the Holy Spirit and breathed. Breathed beauty, breathed delight, and let go.

Frozen got something right. Let go.

My hand moved with a steadiness I had never experienced before. My heart laughed in delight as Olaf took shape.

I couldn’t believe it. I was actually drawing, painting, creating. The fear was replaced by the love of beauty.

Creating beauty, creating art, being an artist, is not about perfection, and who we are not. It’s about being aOlaf co-heir, and a co-laborer with Christ. He is perfect in beauty (Psalm 52). He is already the beauty, the art, the perfection. We are invited to lean in, to create with Him. It is the delight of the Father to share His creativity and joy with His children. We are His children. Invited to let go, and  lean in to the art He has placed in our hearts to discover with us.

We are invited into deep measures of freedom when we create art and beauty  from  the understanding that we are heirs, children, co laborer’s of Christ.

My heart IS His art. 

She walked away with a picture that will wash off her face in a few hours.

I walked away with a picture that will forever change my life.


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Space

“To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wildflower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour.” – William Blake

For the past several weeks I’ve been struggling for words to encompass a concept the Lord has been working in my heart. It centers around one word: Space. Up until earlier this year space wasn’t something I understood, had any use for, or knew how to handle. Space was something I feared. I fear it was wasteful, unproductive, and even lonely. Pragmatism was something I hid behind, afraid to explore that the Lord have give me the personality to be both the “bottom line, get it done Maratha” and also the “softer intuitive Mary”. I was so wrong. I do not yet fully know what space will bring or all that it is – but I’m in the process of discovery.

If you have been reading along in this series I’ve sprinkled in things that space is beginning to unravel in me (She Gave Him Her Beauty and From the Keurig to the French Press)

This morning Sara Groves posted this video and began to put into words what has only been stirring in my soul. Pause and watch? The video is short. Embrace the space to be and let your soul hope.

To read the article Sara Groves is referring to click here. (Its on the scholarly side, but it was the perfect blend of logic and beauty which spoke deeply to me.)

In the Kingdom of God there is a lot less of “either/or, and a lot more “both/and”. Space can mean that we aren’t as “productive” in the traditional sense, but it can also mean that we are “productive” in deeper ways. I wish I could better express what “space” means not only to me, but also in general. But friends I still don’t have adequate words to completely express this chapter in the story.

In DeepRight now space looks  like an undefined place in my soul to explore with the Lord the softer, more beautiful, side of who He is and the treasures He has laid for us in life because He delights in us. It’s the unsettling idea that in beauty, art, music, laughter and the quite spaces in life, there may be just as much power to change the world and know the Father as there is in our theology and producing, church culture.

Thank you for reading this draft of a chapter not yet finished in my life.

What does space mean to you?

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“Space” is Day #12 in “In Deep” a 31 Days Series


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More Stubborn Than I

We laughed and buried our faces in the blankets as we giggled over face time. I was helplessly trying to relay a story in my week when I blurted out:

I’m so thankful Jesus is more stubborn than I am!

When we were done laughing at how emphatically I exclaimed it, I realized just how true it was.

I’m so thankful that the Lord loves me enough to pursue me with what is best for me. He knows my heart, and knows that I want Him and what He has for me more than anything else. But I get in the way at times and man, I can get stubborn.

In DeepThe Lord is a perfect blend of stubbornness and gentleness that gets me every-time.

Today the Lord’s irony and stubbornness are my favorite things about who He is. What do you love about Him today?

Bestie face time dates are the best!

Bestie face time dates are the best!

The front yard of the D House. One of the guys got creative :)

The front yard of the D House. One of the guys got creative 🙂


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Yellow Beauty

perfect in beauty

My Favorite Fall Picture (2012)

In most beauty we can find something wrong, a blemish, or something wish different or added. But the Lord is perfect in beauty.
Flawless.
Complete.
Beautiful.
And the Lord shines forth from Zion. He allows us to see and experience perfect beauty – if we will but stop and see it. – Perfect in Beauty.

Today I stopped and saw the beauty littered about on my favorite brick street. A day off, a latte with a friend, and yellow beauty everywhere? Fall Bliss.

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And that moment when your outfit (unplanned) perfectly matches the day? That glorious moment!

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On the weekends during the 31 Day Blogging Challenge we rest at Not Unredeemed. Enjoy the pictures, enjoy the beauty. May you also discover and notice some beauty today!

 


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She Gave Him Her Beauty

Paint dripped down the handle of the brush all over my fingers – and I didn’t care. Not one drop. I stepped back and surveyed the mantle over the fireplace; the stencil was taking hours longer than I thought it would. Balancing on a step ladder with a stencil in one hand, and paint in the other should be a gymnastic sport!  Joy bubbled up and I smiled at my own antics. My soul was literally dancing.

Beauty. It’s the melody of my heart, and what my heart responds too.

FireplaceThe students were set to move into the Discipleship House in 48 hours, and I was given free-reign to turn a big empty place from a House to a Home. Instead of being stressed out,  the opportunity was a gift. A delight. The limited time and recourses only fueled the adventured.

In those moments of creating beauty, I felt a kind of closeness with the Lord that I hadn’t felt before. It was if we were doing this together – making beautiful things. Discipleship and teaching were gifts I could offer, and things I could produce, involving other people that benefited the Kingdom of God. But creating beauty? That was my gift to Him.

For years beauty and any pursuit of beautiful things have felt like an extra to me. An extravagance.  They were not necessary to the Gospel or sharing the Gospel. Sure, I liked beautiful things, but only if I had time should they be appreciated. And time was not something I had a lot of. Oh, I’ve missed so much!

As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. Luke 7:38

I’ve probably read this passage from Luke 7 about the sinful woman who pours perfume over Jesus at least a dozen times, and heard many sermons on it. But during that week of decorating the D House, something brand new struck my soul.

This woman? She gave Jesus her beauty and her extravagance. She wiped his feet with her hair (which was considered a woman’s beauty), and anointed Jesus with her perfume. Perfume that cost a year’s wages – if that isn’t extravagant I don’t know what is.

In Deep:

In DeepAs Christians we talk so much about surrender and giving the hard things to the Lord and there is so much worth and truth in that! But what about the easy things? The ones we enjoy? What about sharing those with the Lord?

We were created in His image and so have the ability to create in the image of our Creator. What do you enjoy? What are the softer things in life that you like? Not just love, but like?

Picture that thing. I give you permission today to enjoy that. As much as the Lord wants our surrender, He wants our joy.

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 1 Tim 6:17

Ah friend, everything that you possess, be it material things or talents, He has given TO YOU to enjoy.Living Room

The D House Living room – Whirlwind Make Over

(Many thanks to the friends that let me boss them around for a few days – “nope, move that here”, “hmmm a little to the left?” 😉 Living room 2

“She Gave Him Her Beauty” is Day #9 of “In Deep – a 31 Days Series”


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Yielded or Tossed?

“Katie, surrender is like floating on the waves. Riding them up to the crests and then plummeting to the depths with them. Surrender is about flexibility and letting yourself be carried by the waves, rather than resisting them. Like beautiful sand glass, the waves can rub the rough edges off of you, making you into a thing of beauty. Or you can freeze and clench against the waves, fighting them and becoming rigid but the result will be the waves breaking and bruising you.”

I choked back the tears as the truth rolled over me.

Deep calls to deep

at the roar of your waterfalls;

all your breakers and your waves

have gone over me. (Psalm 42)

Oh, how I resist those waves! Preferring seasons of calm pools I can control, frustration was making me rigid as the waves crashed over me.

Reality is that life happens and waves come. I told a girlfriend the other day that I needed a word that encompassed or described both ‘good’ and ‘hard’. She replied simply, “life”. Life has high highs, and low lows. Waves crest and carve, equally carrying deep truths and beauty as joy and pain call to each other.

But in those waves, I’m learning there is a difference between being tossed and being yielded.

Being rigid and stubborn doesn’t just result in bruising, it’s end is also double mindedness and being tossed about.

For the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.  For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 2:6-8

My personal stubbornness and resistance to the flexibility of surrender comes from a lack of trusting the Lord (fear). For different folks it may be different strokes and circumstances; but fear, stubborn control, and a lack of trust will always result in doubt – which is to be tossed.

Yieldedness begins with acceptance, (at times repentance), and surrender. Spurgeon said

I’ve learned to kiss the waves that slam me into the Rock of Ages

It’s in trusting that He IS our rock, that there is an ocean floor and a foundation under the waves that gives the ability to be flexible and yielded to our Father. The amazing thing is though – waves don’t just smooth out our rough edges, they create beauty in our foundations.

O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires. Isaiah 54:11

If you feel storm tossed and afflicted dear one, the Father hasn’t abandoned you in the waves. Deep calls out to deep to explore the unique depths of His love found only in the space craved out by the wave, or the exhilarant joy found in the foaming freedom of the crest.

Adventure is born,

life is lived,

AS we ride the distance between the depths and crests.

Waves will always come. It’s what we choose that will change the ride – tossed or yielded, stubborn or surrendered, the choice is ours.

In the crashing waves, hear the rest of Psalm 42:

By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,

and at night his song is with me,

a prayer to the God of my life.

waves


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A Different Kind of List

Yesterday I asked the question “If you lived as a single, with the same intentionality that you plan to live as a married person, how would you live differently?”  I’ve been encouraged many times to make a list of qualities I would want in a future spouse, but today its time to make a different kind of list. A list of what we would and could do differently to live fully alive today as a single person. (Or a married one!) Contentment and joy do not come with a specific season of life, they come with a specific choice of the heart to trust the One who is Always enough

always enough

always sufficient

always loving

always trustworthy

always faithful (even when we are not)

always gives good things (right now)

My journey to living my list began with several mental decisions, heart shifts, and counseling. It was messy. Painful. Hard. But beautiful. They resulted (are resulting!) in much more freedom, fulfillment and joy than I would have imagined.

As promised here is my list. The ways I started to live differently, and the ways I want to.

As you read this,my prayer is for you to be encouraged, but this isn’t a magic list for you. This is what the Lord led me to do. The Lord will prompt YOUR heart in the areas He wants love and free you in.

A different kind of list

1.Stop waiting for my life to be different and choose to make it different.

2. Stop waiting for a husband to do things I’ve always wanted to do like travel, shoot guns, cook gourmet foods (you are allowed to enjoy the food you cook for yourself. It’s not a sin I promise!)

3. Plan weddings. I may not get to plan my own, but man do I get to have fun as a wedding coordinator planning other people’s. I used to believe it was cruel irony that I was becoming a wedding planner and planning everyone else’s weddings but my own. Then the Lord whispered, He was giving me these opportunities not as a cruel joke, or a dangling carrot but because I loved to plan! He was blessing me with joy of planning not just one wedding as most people do, but with many.

4. Choose beauty. Even over practicality and what others think – like pale pink skinny jeans in a redneck town. Oh well I never really fit in anyway!

5. Take a dance class.

6. Pursue a lay counseling certificate

7. Clean out my Hope  Chest. This was a tough one, when I did it.  I wept not just because of deferred hope, but because I had waited to start living in so many ways. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great thing to save beautiful dishes till you get married. But my house is full of people now. Today. People I love and want to bless, and serve food to on beautiful dishes.

8. Stop living for the approval of others and the Lord. I’m already chosen and approved by Him.

9. Learn to have more fun. I can be much too serious at times.

For me, my list to live differently has been a process of letting go of what might be, to embrace what is. Ladies, Gents, a significant other does not bring beauty and joy into our lives, they add to what is already there. In direct answer to my own question: “If you lived as a single, with the same intentionality that you plan to live as a married person, how would you live differently?” My answer is: To stop waiting for a man. (That’s scary to say out loud!)

Because even more than I desire a family and a husband, I desire to live the life the Lord has blessed me with. To live it with gusto, to look at what He has created in me and for me, and agree with Him when He calls it good.

So what would be some of the things on your list to live fully today? I’d love to hear your ideas. And seriously, please share them! I want to learn from you 🙂

Today's the Day: Being Single and Fully Alive

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“A Different Kind of List” is a part of Today’s the Day: Being Single and Fully Alive, a 31 Days series. For more posts in this series please click here.


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Dim Reflections

Have you ever seen a view that took your breath away? One where the vibrancy, clarity and beauty could not be accurately captured on your camera? I have a love/frustration relationship with those views. They frustrate me because I want to capture the scenery to preserve it, and I can’t. Yet there is something wildly appealing about the fact that they are too beautiful to be captured.

On the other hand, as much as I love raw vibrancy, I’m also a fan of different artistic filters on photos. Think Instagram. Therethankful is a unique beauty in the simplicity of dim filters creating an artistic look. While I love these filters in photos, when I read about looking at dim reflections in Scripture (1 Cor. 13), I think of it as a bad thing and a frustration. But is it always?

Tonight I had a long, much needed chat with one of my besties. Right now it seems that in parts of our lives that we can’t make out the view. Everything is dim and frustrating. I want the Lord to turn on the floodlights and instead He leads me to the dark window where the view is only lit by the dim moonlight shadowed even more by the obstruction of the glass.

I want to see Him clearly, and hear Him loudly. But in this desire do I miss Him in the beautiful dusk?

 There are those who claim that it is impossible to know what we are supposed to do, or who we are supposed to be. But the folks who say that tend to be living for a God who shouts, and completely miss the One who whispers.

But I side with Paul who wrote, “we see only a dim reflection, as through a glass, darkly. But one day we shall see face-to-face. And what we now know in part one day we shall know fully. But in the meantime, these three things Remain: Faith, Hope, and Love. And the greatest of these is Love.” -ending scene from the movie “Finding Normal”

The Father shouts in the vibrancy we cannot capture, and whispers in the dim reflections we can see. The greatest of all things is love, and do you know where it remains? In the dim reflections.

The point He has not left us in the dark. Love remains. And sometimes it’s the dim filters that create the most artistic beauty. For that I’m thankful.

31 DAYS OF (13)Living Fully Alive Today meant staying up late to talk to a dear friend and in doing so, my soul was refreshed. I may not know anymore about the parts of my life that do not make sense right now. I don’t have any more clarity of vision than I did before I talked with my friend. But as we discussed the quote above, the Lord reminded me of how His love remains in the dimness of my sight. His love is artistic, vibrant and beautiful, and it’s the dim reflection that creates the backdrop for His whispers.

“Dim Reflections” are apart of Today’s the Day: Being Single and Fully Alive, a 31 Days series. For more posts in this series please click here

P.S. –  Pomegrant Rasberry Tea was the flavor of this blog post, brought to you by my favorite mug.


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Beauty Is

“I challenge you to post five pictures of yourself that you feel beautiful in and then nominate friends to do the same”. As my facebook news feed fills with women posting their pictures and asking their friends to do the same – I want to ask each women the same question: Why?

“Why do you feel beautiful in the photos you chose?”

Beauty in the outward form is something that shifts and changes for each person based on individual taste and creative expression, yet it is something we all feel. More than an individual view of perfection or a circumstance, beauty is a state of being and a feeling.

Beauty is realizing what “is”. What we really have in that moment. Beauty is the recognition of reality (what is) and embracing that – whatever it looks like. Beauty is hair that is finally cooperating, or it is wind blown madness – each moment beauty is found by embracing the experience of what we hold in our hands. They only time we can experience or feel beauty is in the present moment. We can remember how beautiful we’ve felt in past moments, and we can hope for beauty in the future, but the only time we can experience the freedom of beauty and feeling ‘enough’ is in the present moment we are in.

Tweet: Beauty is the recognition of reality (what is) and embracing that http://ctt.ec/Wte0Z+ @notunredeemed

Beauty is the recognition of reality (what is) and embracing that

I’ve dressed to the nines before and still wished for more and did not feel beautiful. I’ve also been 25 pounds heavier and walked with confidence and felt on top of the world. I love being and feeling beautiful because for me, beauty is a celebration of what the Lord has given me. It’s realizing what I have and being thankful for that – friends, family, time on the lake, messy hair, mud, good make up, a great dress or a dang good pair of heels.

Beauty has also meant a pile of snotty tissues for me in ugly moments of brokenness and surrender before the Lord. Beauty is realizing what is, and with that comes a rawness that spans intense joy and pain. Raw pain can be beautiful because it’s in those moments that we truly come to grips with our humanness and His magnificent grace. Jesus is “Immanuel, God with us” and “I AM, the present God”, its feeling His presence that makes pain beautiful. Sometimes beauty looks like tear streaks just as much as it does perfect mascara.

To be honest, when I was nominated to do the beauty challenge I didn’t want to. Most of the moments where I have felt truly beautiful, where not ones captured on film because I was experiencing them. I also didn’t want to dig though other pictures and remember the times when I’ve wished I could have been more ________ (fill in the blank). How sad is that? But it’s honest and raw – so in a way – beautiful. Because in the recognition of the lies I’ve believed about beauty (and myself), comes the freedom that truth brings when it confronts those lies.

The more I learn what beauty is and how to walk in it, the more thankful I become for truth. Part of recognizing beauty right now is going back and looking at the pictures I don’t like and thanking God that I was enough in all of them because He was enough. That’s the beautiful truth my friends.

I’ll post to the beauty challenge on Facebook not because it’s about me, but because it’s about realizing that Beauty is. Let’s celebrate what the Father has given us.

Beauty Is

Did you* join the beauty challenge? Why or why not?

~ Disclaimer, I have six photo’s in this collage and not five and I wanted to have  about 10 more pictures in here. After writing this blog I went through my photos to find pictures to post and found way more pictures that I felt beautiful in than I expected, after redefining what beauty was to me. Redefining Beauty is a process of recognizing the truth and I am overwhelmingly grateful for the beauty in my life that has been felt in moments of living in His presence and finding that there I am enough. ~

*Gentleman readers, while the challenge on facebook was directed towards the ladies, you posses not only an incredible eye for beauty, but a heart that is full of it as well. If you want to think about it (or comment on it) – What do you find beautiful, and why is it beautiful to you?