Not Unredeemed

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


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Desti… What?

Destiny. Destination. Predestined.

These words always seemed a bit mystical and useless to me – Christians argued over them, and New Agers smoked over them. I wasn’t interested in either.

In August when I left my prior job and the ministry I’d been involved with for almost a decade, the most profound thing happened at my goodbye party. It both released me and freed me not just physically, but spiritually. My boss listed all of the different hats and roles that I had worn and served in over the years, and then released me back to be only “Katie the Pure”.  Not Katie the Costumer, Katie the Counselor, Katie the Administrator, Katie the Event Planner or Youth Leader. Just Katie the Pure. My name by definition means “pure, or pure one”.

Look at these definitions:

Destiny: the predetermined, usually inevitable or irresistible, course of events.

Destination: the place to which a person or thing travels or is sent.

Predestined: to destine in advance; foreordain; predetermine.

In life I frequently mix up my destiny with my destination. My destiny was predestined when I said “yes” to Jesus, and when He chose me at the cross. I became a child of God, a pure daughter of the King. My destiny is to be a daughter. My destinations have included the roles of working as an Administrator, or an Event Planner. But they aren’t my destiny, just destinations along the way as I walk out my destiny as a daughter.

Life will travel on, and I’m sure there are many more hats I will wear and roles I will gladly fill. Destinations will be traveled through or camped at for years, but the one thing that will always remain constant is my destiny.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—  to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace  that he lavished on us. Eph 1:3-8a (Seriously – go read the whole chapter!)

Over the years I’ve been pretty disappointed at relationships that didn’t end as I would have hoped, or destinations that tarried years beyond what I would have wanted – but I’m thankful. In that stripping, in the waiting, and in the frustration the Lord in His profound love purified the destinations that warred to steal the place in my heart that was for my destiny as His alone.

In Deep:

In DeepIn waiting for redemption it’s all too easy to miss out on knowing our Redeemer, and in pursuing our callings and destinations, its all too easy to mix up our destiny. Friend, destinations are incredible adventures! And redemption of broken dreams is a reality in the Kingdom of God! But don’t pursue them over knowing your Redeemer, or understanding your destiny as a son or daughter of God. Knowing your Redeemer and your destiny makes the destination so much sweeter.

What’s your current destination? Where are you traveling to or being sent? Is it to be thedestiny vs destination best Mom you can be? Student? Husband? Accountant? Musician? Are you sent to the coffee shop? Or to the church? Maybe you are putting in job applications. Wherever you go today, whatever relationship you answer too, whatever you do – know that what you do, is not who you are. You are first a Daughter, first a Son. Your Father is lavishing love on you. That is your destiny – carry it into your destination!

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:3

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“Desti… What?” is Day #7 of “In Deep – a 31 Days Series”

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Dear Faith {Letters From My Heart}

Dear Faith,

Yes. YOU are beautiful. You asked me recently if I thought you were pretty and I said yes. But I didn’t get to tell you why.

You are pretty, but you are also beautiful. Pretty has to do with the form of your face and the color of your hair – you are pretty!

Beauty is something a little more, it has to do with you as a person and it comes from the inside out. Every day I meet pretty people that are ugly and plain people who are beautiful.

You see, beauty has more to do with our state of being and less with a set of circumstances. Circumstances change – the cute jeans you just bought will be out of style next year. Beauty however never goes out of style. It is two things – a state of being and  a feeling.

Beauty in the eyes 1There’s an old phrase that says “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.  What it means is that I may think a geranium is beautiful but
you may not. So we naturally place the value or worth of the geranium on our own personal opinion of it, and it’s use to us.

This is the way our world and society view both “beautiful” and “pretty”. They are standards and measurements that will always change based on every. single. persons. different. opinion. This is how beauty becomes something subjective and circumstantial.

However, beauty always lies true in the eyes of the beholder who created it.

Psalms 50 tells us that He (The Lord) ‘shines forth from Zion perfect in beauty’. The Lord is perfectly beautiful and who was made in His image? You. You, Faith were made perfectly beautiful in His image. Genesis tells us that after the Lord God created us, He called His creation (You!) ‘good’. You know what ‘good’ means? Pleasing to the eye. And so once again beautiful. This is why beauty is a state of being. We were created beautiful and then called beautiful by the only One whose opinion really counts. The beauty He gave us changes only when it is marred by sin (that’s why pretty people are ugly). Even marred by sin, He still saw so much value and worth in us, that Jesus was sent to redeem us and make us beautiful once again.

Beauty is your state of being. It does not rest in the number of guys who do or don’t talk to you, it’s not valued in your grades at school or measured in the length of your hair. You are beautiful because you were created and called beautiful by the Author of beauty. People can say what they want, but I would trust the Expert.

Beauty is also a feeling. We both know that we can know in our heads that we are beautiful but we don’t ways feel beautiful. To be honest, the times I’ve felt the most beautiful was not when I’ve worn my prettiest dress or put on my make up just right. I feel the most beautiful when I am doing the things The Lord created me to do.

I’m sitting by a pond right now as I write you this letter. I’m hot and sweaty, and who knows where my make up went. But I feel beautiful. Why? Because I’m writing to you. The Lord made me to teach and to share about His love. It’s often after the longest hardest days I feel the most beautiful, for they are the days I have spent my all for Him. We feel beautiful when we do what He created us to do.

So what about all the make up and pretty clothes and hair styles?

Why I’m glad you asked! They are simply wonderful! When our outward get up is a celebration of the enjoyment of the beauty we have been given, getting dressed is fun! There is a big difference between adding to the beauty that is already there, and trying to create beauty. When we add to the beauty it’s a freeing celebration. Both a hoddie and a dress feel beautiful.

When we look to clothes or make up or the things we are a part of to satisfy us or make us feel beautiful, we will come up empty every time.   

Things aren’t supposed to make us feel beautiful, they are a way to celebrate the beauty we already have. <— Click to Tweet

When we let our circumstances, the scale, or fashion tell us we are pretty or beautiful their voices will be empty and fleeting. We can’t receive life and meaning from from things that do not have life.  Life is beautiful. And you have been given Life. So add to the beauty, but know that what you add does not determine your worth, value, or beauty.

Faith, you are pretty when your hair is in that adorable messy bun, and your trendy black rimmed glasses grace your nose, but you are also beautiful when you quietly serve the family and gently straighten up a room.

I want you to stop reading this letter and get up and go into the bathroom. Look into the mirror and pause.

No I mean it, go do it now before you continue reading.

You’re back? Good. The freckled girl you saw looking back at you IS BEAUTIFUL. Yes Faith you are pretty. And as you grow out of your teenage years into a women, I don’t doubt you will become even more pretty. But you are also beautiful. And not because I say you are. You are beautiful because you bear and reflect His image and He calls you beautiful.

Hear me again because we all need the reminder: You are beautiful.

 

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The Most Important Thing About You

“Who is Jesus to you?”  The question of who Jesus is, without a doubt, is one of the most important questions ever to be asked. And who Jesus is personally to us, is a question that cuts through everything – sick kids, stressed lives, mental fog, complacency, self-focus, and pain. ‘Who is Jesus to you’ is a question that invites vulnerability and realness as it cuts to the core of what is really important. It cuts straight to reality – what really is.

Who Jesus is to us in the moment we answer that question, says more about us, what we are going through, and our spiritual state than hours of conversation could reveal.

Tozer, in The Pursuit of God states:

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”

Who Jesus is to us – to me and to you – reveals the basis of truth in our lives. It IS the most important thing about us.

Answering the question of who Jesus is to us, forces us to either:

–        Refocus and remember who He is (and that becomes a comfort in our present circumstances).

Or

–        Rejoice and spread the joy of where we are seeing Him move in our lives, and praise Him for who He is.

It’s a question you can’t go wrong with, and it breeds growth and community. As we grow in our understanding, knowledge, and love of God, who Jesus is to us will change with the season we are in. Sharing Jesus in us, cannot fail to encourage anyone hearing or responding to the question.

Tonight, after several weeks of not talking to my close friend Trina (who blogs over at trinaholden.com), I shot off a quick text to her asking her this question.

 Katie: “In one word, who is Jesus to you right now?”                                                                                              Trina: “Jesus is enough . . . Though Seth vomiting at dinner means I won’t get to go to church tomorrow. His grace covers even this”.

Her response not only reminded her of the Lord’s grace amidst vomit, it encouraged me to remember that Jesus was and is enough for things I’m dealing with too.

Who is Jesus to you

So friends. Pause. Today, right now.

Who is Jesus to you?

In this moment, when you hear His name, what is the first thing you think of about Him? Let that truth* penetrate your heart and the knowledge of it anchor your day.

Right now? Jesus is a Protective Warrior to me.

Who is He to you? I’d love to know and be encouraged by it. I would be honored if you shared it with me in the comments.

 *The truth in the answer to the question “who is Jesus to you?” has not always been pretty in my life. It’s ok, if it’s not in yours right now either. There has never been a more wonderful time than now to repentant and thank Him for revealing Himself to you.


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“Gram – I am Happy!”

Her beautiful wrinkled hands reached up and gently cupped the sides of my face “Katie, I just want you to be happy!” Bewildered, my brain scrambled trying to comprehend what it was I had to be sad about. I didn’t remember being upset at anything.

A slow smile spread across my face as I looked around the room and realized what my grandmother was referring to – I was alone. Alone in the sense that I had not brought someone home for the Family Thanksgiving dinner. My siblings were gathered in clumps around the room with their wives, boyfriends or “special friends”.  Grammy wasn’t the first one this year to reference the fact that I was “alone”.

Chuckling now, I hugged her back tightly and said with emphasis, “Gram, I AM happy.” It was now her turn to look as bewildered as I had moments earlier. As I looked into her dear surprised face, and those of other family members who had come to offer their condolences of my single state or wishes that I could be happy with someone, I realized they all believed the same lie that I had believed for a long time. The subconscious lie that our identity is derived from our relationship status.

“Married”, “single”, “dating”, are words that describe our relational status for taxes and doctors offices. That’s it. Singleness may describe me, but it NEVER defines me.  My happiness and security does not come from a man, but from my relationship with Jesus Christ, and the status of that relationship is the only one I need to worry about.

only one relationship

For years I subconsciously believed that a change in my relational status would make me happier. I thank God I was ‘alone’ for many more years than I deemed acceptable, so He could strip me of those lies, until my identity lay in nothing but Him.

The further I get into my mid, (and quickly approaching!) late twenties, I’m more and more surprised and blessed to be single in these years. But that wasn’t always the case. In my late teens, I was sure it was the biggest travesty to be an “older single”. This dread came largely from not knowing any older single women who did “singleness” well. They walked around with long faces bemoaning their state, doing little with their lives. To some extent I believed that singleness was a bit like a holding pattern in life akin to the punishment of purgatory. Laughable? Oh yes! In writing, lies are so easy to detect, unlike the actions and emotional thought patterns on a lonely or hormonal day.

To be honest I don’t really enjoy blogging on singleness for a myriad of reasons, but the Lord has been prompting me to write on it for sometime. I believe, it’s because through Jesus I have learned that living as a single in my older twenties is not purgatory in the least! In truth I can tell my grandma that I am happy because in His presence there is a fullness of Joy. I don’t want to wait till I’m married and then write on singleness and tell you all how easy it is. I want to write from the heart of it, and be a testimony to what the Lord can do with a little surrender.  So stay tuned and feel free to suggest aspects of “Singleness” you would like to hear about.


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From Victory For Victory {Part 3}

From Victory For Victory Part One 
From Victory For Victory Part Two 

Victory, for the Christian, comes down to worth, trust, and position. To start walking in victory we must believe that we are His sons and daughters. We must trust Him that we are what He says we are – not what we feel and think we are.

The most incredible thing about faith and belief is that they are gifts from the Spirit and we can ask for them (1 Cor. 12)! Even here the Lord does not ask or require that we do it on our own. He says, “You need faith to understand your position in Me so that you can fight from victory for more victory.”

He doesn’t ask anything of us that He doesn’t provide the answer for. <— Tweet this

Our greatest stumbling block to fighting from a position of victory is trying to fight on our own, or trying to take over what God is  doing. We often don’t trust Him to finish the work He has started in us. We mask it by saying “I don’t trust myself to not …” And while it is good to have a healthy respect for our weaknesses, what we are really saying is “God, the work you are doing in my worthyheart isn’t enough, I don’t trust that the work you are doing in me will stick.” That line of thinking will handicap us far greater than we can ever imagine!

While God wants to take us to new heights and depths with Him – gaining victory over new territories, we are stuck guarding a piece of ground long conquered and the presence of our distrust (aka –pride), opens that territory back up to sin because we are back to fighting for victory again, thinking we can do this by our own determination.

Twice in the books of Timothy, Paul urges him to guard the deposit that was put in him. We do have to guard the things the Lord does in us but Timothy is instructed to guard them by the power of the Holy Spirit – not by his own strength and or will. The Lord has impeccable judgment. He will not waste His time or cast His pearls before swine. If He is doing something in you – enabling you to fight from victory – than He has counted you worthy. 1 Tim 1:12 says that Timothy was judged faithful for ministry.

Oswald Chambers in his book Approved Unto God says:

“If we have the idea that we must face the difficulties with pluck, we have never recognized the truth that He has counted us faithful; it is His work in me He is counting worthy, not my work for Him.”

He counts His work in us worthy. Why shouldn’t we? <— Tweet this

Counting what the Lord has done for us as enough, worthy and true is what makes the difference of whether or not we will be able to fight and overcome sin in our lives. It is the difference between fighting for victory and fighting from victory.

What position are you fighting from right now?


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From Victory For Victory {Part 2}

From Victory For Victory  – Read Part One Here.

We will only win the war against sin when we understand who we are and what sin means to us now that we are His.

“We did not believe that [the sin] this man had done was evidence of his true identity. Paul said we once were darkness, and we now are light. Just because you have darkness in you doesn’t change your true identity.” (Danny Silk – Culture of Honor)

You see, sin is a bit like a nail.

“…as we were walking, I stepped on a board and a nail went through my foot. I lifted my foot and saw that there was a board attached to the bottom of my shoe. I could clearly see that a nail had entered my foot. But never once did I think. “I’m a nail!”  I was however very interested in getting the nail out of my foot. And when a child of the light discovers darkness in him or her, it does force the issue: What are you going to do?” (Danny Silk – Culture of Honor) <— Tweet this.

Our fight against sin comes down to our identity in Christ. Knowing and understanding who we are in Christ determines what battle position we start in. Do you start thinking “I’m a nail!” or do you start thinking, “I’m a child of God and He has the power to change me.”?

In our battle against sin these are the mindsets of the different positions:

Fighting for victory thinksFrom Victory For Victory

  • I’m a sinner
  • I’m not worth it
  • I’m broken
  • I’m getting /doing better!
  • I can do this!
  • I’m not good enough
  • I must…

Fighting from victory thinks:

  • I’m a saint
  • He died so I can change
  • I’m whole
  • He is changing me!
  • God save me!
  • He redeemed me
  • He did…

When we start fighting from victory, for more victory, we start by abiding in Christ and what He has done for us. Ecc 3:14-15 says:

I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.

Think about these verses in the context of victory–they depict a beautiful picture displaying part of God’s character. The victory that the Lord has endures forever – it’s complete! We can’t add anything to it or take anything away from it. <— Tweet this.

God bought the victory so we would fear Him and understand that He is God and we are not.

If we could bring about the change we wouldn’t need Him. Striving for victory on our own is trying to be God. It’s pride, and God resists the proud! No wonder we can’t change on our own no matter how hard we try. We will fail because the Lord is resisting us! (James 4). He, however, gives grace (the ability to change) to the humble. The ones who says, “God I can’t do this – I need you!”

A humble person is one who sees themselves as God sees them – both as weak and yet strong. In weakness we see His strength. The victory (our position in Christ) already is, has been, and will continue to be. And when sin drives the victory away – God seeks it for us. He renews us! The victory remains, when we walk out of it and drive it away, it still remains. He died to bring it back to us and now reminds us that the victory is already ours!

From Victory, For Victory concludes  with part 3 – read it here

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From Victory For Victory {Part 1}

Life is a battle, whether we realize it or not and we are only given two choices for the battle:

(1) Whose side we are on.

(2) What position we fight from.

The letters of 1, 2 and 3 John draw very clear battle lines – either you are for Him (the Lord Jesus) or you are against Him and with the Devil. There is no in-between in this life. In 1 Timothy (1:18) Paul encourages him to “fight the battle well” and Ephesians 6 calls us to “put on the armor of God.”

All throughout Scripture, life is defined as a battle. for or from

As a Christian and follower of Jesus Christ, there are only two positions we fight from. We either:

(1) Fight from victory.

(2) Fight for victory.

The choice is ours. Christ chose the victory for us – and now invites us to walk in it. He invites us to fight from a place of victory, rather then always fighting for victory.

While the Lord asks us to fight new areas of sin in our lives, what we most often forget is He already won the battle against that sin. His love is stronger then death (Song of Solomon 8), it broke the curse of sin that brought death. He died to FREE us so we could walk in victory.

We must fight with the knowledge that only the Lord changes us and the victory is already ours, or we will lose the battle.

When we fight against sin from a position of victory we have all the power in the world on our side. When we are simply fighting for victory, we have only the power of our own determination. For a time, our determination may be able to change our behavior; but it does not change our hearts or our emotions (the way we see and feel about things).

Only Christ can change those things.

In Psalm 51 when David prays “create in me a clean heart Oh God” the Hebrew word for create here is “bara”. It means to create without a physical starting point, with only God as the subject. Essentially what it means is we cannot, in and of ourselves, create a clean heart. When God comes in and creates a clean heart in us, He doesn’t use any of us in the creation of our heart – He uses only Himself. He gives us Himself.

That is why we can fight from victory – because He does the work. Our behavior will always follow our hearts. We must fight for victory in our lives, but in order to do that in Christ’s strength and not our own, we have to start fighting from victory – which is what Christ has done for us.

Too often, as Christians, we know the Lord wants us to change and to fight against sin, so we immediately jump to position 2 – fighting for victory. We don’t realize that by missing step 1 – fighting from victory, we are now fighting sin in our own strength – missing the point of what Jesus did for us on the cross.

We are told to fight against sin – I’m not saying that fighting from victory means that we don’t fight sin anymore – we dobut how we fight changes. In Hebrews 12:4 we are told to fight even to the point of bloodshed against sin. But we can’t effectively fight against sin for victory, until we fight from victory. Fighting from victory means we start fighting from our position in Christ – as sons and daughters of God (John 1:12)- which gives us the position and the power to fight for more victory.

If we fight for victory without fighting from victory, we won’t win the battle. It’s only from within our position in Christ that the battle against sin can be won. <—- Tweet this.

Read part 2 here.

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