Tuesday, July 18, 2017


This post is not intended to judge the depth of anyone's relationship with the Lord but to share how God worked in MY heart after a conversation with a friend about prayer.

Our Saturday Bible study group usually begins with our leader asking for accounts about how God worked in our lives during the previous week. As I walked in my neighborhood early that morning, I thought about my week and what my contribution might be to the group. Mentally, I reviewed each day, the scheduled events and people we saw. It seemed busier than usual, and I quickly realized why. It was!

My husband says I make it look easy, but arranging seats, making coffee and printing agendas are only a few of my duties. Our calendar included meetings with one State Representative and his administrative assistant, one County Judge, 16 pastors, 15 elders, five Christian businessmen, one toddler, six children from my art class at church, and a 2-night stay from my daughter and very active grandson.

Additionally, we transported friends to and from the airport, enjoyed a theater matinee, the Splash Pad and exhibits at the newly expanded Texas State Aquarium with the kids. We visited the retinologist, my favorite hair salon, shared dinner with our pastors, met our new next-door neighbors, and last, but not least, celebrated our wedding anniversary. Somehow meal preparations, kitchen duties, bathing, laundry, and nursing care, not to mention phone calls, emails, texts and social media managed to fit into the schedule, too. According to my Pedometer app, I also walked 26.47 miles! Who knew that retirement would be so busy!

However, one conversation from the week convicted me. A weekly lunch in our home with Christian business men and women is filled with rich dialogue of how God uses them in their workplaces. Our discussion centered around prayer, and one man shared how an associate declared that he used his driving time for prayer. Our colleague commented, "Isn't it a shame that in our busyness, we make time for other activities and confine God to the commute? My coworker is missing out on so much in His relationship with the Lord."

At that moment, I thought I was being efficient with time on my prayer walks. It's a special time when I'm alone to hear God. I pray and listen to my Bible app while walking in my neighborhood. I admit my deeper study has suffered these last few months with illnesses and activities. As busy as I was helping my husband in ministry, I realized how easily I, too, was tempted to pigeon-hole my quiet time and had relegated God to the curb.

In the daily devotional,  Jesus Calling for July 17, Jesus, speaking to the author, Sarah Young, during her quiet time, says, "You live among people who glorify busyness; they made time a tyrant that controls their lives...They have bought into the illusion that more is better; more meetings, more programs, more activity." I found it to be true for me that busyness and fatigue are the enemy's most effective tools to "kick me to the curb." And those are only two of his subtle and cunning strategies for sidetracking believers from fulfilling their God-given destiny. Busyness is the world we live in today, but it doesn't have to be. The Lord has called each of us as pilgrims to a "solitary path," to come away with and follow Him. Calendars and clocks are superb God-given tools for creating order, but making time alone with Him and keeping the appointments are paramount for a reverent, righteous, and abundantly joyful life. 

My husband says, "True devotion requires sacrifice, and a sacrifice isn't authentic until it affects my lifestyle, schedule, and relationships." As I pondered the comments from the lunchtime conversation about time alone with God, Holy Spirit brought a sweet conviction and asked for more of my time. I feel no condemnation, no guilt or shame as worldly sorrow brings, but a godly sorrow that brings about true repentance for my changed heart, mind and schedule. God's grace and mercy remind me to pray without ceasing and give thanks for everything. 
Now, that's a full calendar!

(c) 2017 Kate Browning Word

Friday, April 7, 2017

What's Your One Thing?

            I never wanted to own a beauty salon, but I spent 43 years behind a styling chair in countless salons where God was never mentioned except in crude language. I vowed that my salon would be different and it was. People confirmed their encounters with God’s Presence often when they came for appointments with my staff. It was a “Steel Magnolia” meets “The War Room” kind of place. Before those years in leadership, I worked in a boutique and as a cosmetics consultant/sales director for a major direct sales company. Later I managed an accounts receivable department for four years at an automobile dealership. These early jobs prepared me for ownership and management including many lessons about how I would lead if given the chance though I shunned every opportunity.

            During my career, God helped me survive difficult circumstances and marital relationships. Some were consequences of my poor choices and others were situations beyond my control. God, in His mercy and grace, used every experience and today, I thrive only because of His Spirit at work in me. Of my accomplishments, my proudest trophies include my marriage to William, three adult children and six grandchildren. But apparently, God destined me for His domain of Beauty. I retired from cosmetology four years ago and I spend my discretionary time in the studio painting or at the computer editing my photography. I write occasionally.

            In this post, I want to emphasize three words as I ponder the gifts and callings of God on our lives: transition, suspension and sustain. Since my last name is Word, God grants me creative license to use words. At our house, we challenge, teach and encourage each other with words. We especially employ synonyms to amplify deeper understanding and I’ll demonstrate as I go further.

            Every life experiences transition. All humans face states of flux and instability during passages. Jobs, relationships, educational pursuits, births, serious illnesses, and eventually death involve process. Seasons change and even plant life endures dormancy and pruning. As creatures of change, we potentially respond in two ways: resist or yield. Speaking for myself, I naturally resist the very thing to which I should yield.

            Generally, people know their most common reaction. We either rebel, refuse, ignore and ultimately delay God’s purposes with our kicking and screaming, and our lives become like suspended particles in liquid. Or we surrender, submit, and our collaboration with Holy Spirit sustains us through the process. This soul tension between resistance and surrender teaches us to trust God for the outcomes and His greatest works manifest as we obey.

            The Biblical phrase, “glory to glory” perfectly describes a transition moment in the middle with a two-letter word, “to.” As Holy Week approaches, imagine Good Friday “to” Resurrection Sunday. Not much is said about that Saturday, and we can only assume the paralysis Jesus’ disciples felt as their hopes for deliverance from Roman rule died on Golgotha. While everything seemed suspended, the stone at the tomb merely served as a gateway from one reality to another, and Jesus Himself experienced this mysterious “glory to glory” transformation.

            Are you held in suspension right now? Is your life disrupted? Your goals inhibited? Dreams hampered? Do you feel cramped, hobbled or trapped in some situation? Take heart because as horrific as Good Friday was, a victorious Resurrection Sunday arrived! The gifts and calling on Jesus’ life were irrevocable as are ours recorded in Romans 11:29. Irrevocable means irreversible, unchangeable, binding, permanent and carved in stone. Psalm 139 also reveals our gifts and calling as predestined and predetermined having been written in the book of days before our birth!

            Sadly, some people live their whole lives in suspension, never knowing their life purpose, gifts or God’s calling. Last year when I attended the Global Leadership Summit, I heard John Maxwell speak and purchased his book, “Intentional Living.” I recommend it highly if “Suspension” is your potential epitaph.

            In his book, Maxwell writes about discovering your “One Thing.” I know that I am a creative individual. I spent my professional life as an artist, albeit behind a hairstyling chair. But as a child, it wasn’t my dream to be a beautician, an artist, a nurse, or a number cruncher. I wanted to be a mother, and oddly enough, life assaulted me here in my “one thing.” I suffered a hysterectomy at 26 and later adopted two babies. Divorce from their father strained our relationships as did geography when they chose to live with him and his new wife 500 miles away. Patient, intentional pursuit of my kids transformed our distant relationships though I grew weary many times.

            Today I know God uses my passion for motherhood to express the “Mother’s Love of His Father’s Heart” like a heavenly umbrella. Everything I do while nurturing family, life-coaching, mentoring or sharing art with kids expresses not only who I am, but Who God is in me. Motherhood is how He sustains me. Synonyms for sustain include strengthen, support, comfort, help, encourage, hearten, endure, or to give someone energy and hope. Holy Spirit ministers all these and more when I recognize and embrace the beauty of surrender.

            You can know God’s purpose for your life. His purpose is the same for everyone in His Kingdom.

1. Give Him glory, thanks and praise for your life whatever the circumstances, no matter your failures and mistakes.
2. Live a transformed life, not merely a conformed, religious likeness. Godly sorrow brings true repentance.
3. Be a voice of redemption. God’s redemptive plan always uses people.
4. Be a voice of hope.

Share how He called you out of darkness into His Marvelous Light (1Peter 2:9). When you do, you grant hope for the mystery of Christ that rolls away the stone and inscribes “Sustain” across a heart’s door.

Saturday, July 23, 2016


         I heard some awesome news this week. My former husband is getting married! Now, this is "awesome" because he said he'd never marry again. (Well, I did, too, for that matter.) But God had different plans!
         I'm really happy for him and his new bride because everyone should be as happily married as William and I are. I want that for you, divorced reader, but I especially want that for my former husband. I remember how much I shut myself off from others to live "safely." I didn't date. I worked, went to church and Bible Study, but I lived an isolated life. A self-imposed isolation that seemed to protect me from my relational lot in life, "hurt and be hurt." 

         Last week at Bible Study, our leader asked our group some provocative questions about our progress as Christians. You know, how are you doing in this area of your life? He began with, "How do you know you have forgiven someone?" The discussion approached the typical responses of "forgive and forget," plus more. 

         Jesus and Bill helped me to remember the good memories of my past marriages because there were many. When a painful memory surfaced, I quickly recalled, "Oh, but I have forgiven him for that." I learned that if I am bitter and resentful when I think of a person or an event, then I have not fully forgiven and there's more work to do. But when I remember the wound or the offense and I have total peace, then forgiveness is complete.

         The second question he asked is the title of the blog post today. "How do you know you've been forgiven?" The best response came from a young woman who said, "You know because they don't remind you of what you did." 1st Corinthians 13 says that Love, unconditional love, keeps no record of the wrongs done to it. OUCH! 

         Today I marvel at how God restored and is continually restoring my life. Over three years ago, He spoke to me through a dream, and its interpretation shook off my hermit life to create a community life that I could never have dreamed of. It could not have happened had I not been willing to yield to His Will and to risk experiencing “hurt” again. And so, I am happy beyond words to hear that my former spouse opened his heart to romance again and yielded to God's Will for his life.

         It's never too late to live happily ever after. So, "Dare to dream!"


Thursday, July 7, 2016


This message from Bill Johnson is vital for our country right now and is based on 1 Timothy 2:1-4. It will transform your prayer life for our nation and just maybe, effect change in our culture. These verses command us to give thanks for ALL in authority and to give them honor. Yes, it's hard to be thankful for people you don't honor. I'm guilty of this, to be sure. Listen to the entire message, only 22 minutes. Well worth it to know HOW and WHY to pray for our national, state & local leaders even though we don't agree with their platforms.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Thank you, Brazil, for ranking #2 in my all time readership history! I speak LIFE to Brazil today!

Last month, a local pastor invited Bill and me to teach on a Sunday morning while he enjoyed a birthday celebration with his family out of town. I had shown him the patio plants that God had restored. I wrote about it here and you can find it in my 2014 archived post titled, "Transitions". 

Please use the link below to view the testimony, "The Invisible made Visible." (I apologize for the poor sound quality and for moving out of the camera's view. I didn't realize it was a fixed camera. https://youtu.be/oenmBSda2GY

Branch out from where you are!

Saturday, December 20, 2014


            I recently heard a Christian brother ask this same question at a storytelling festival. Have you ever thought about the phrase, “…and Jesus stretched out His hand?” Truthfully, I had not.

            But since I am a visual learner, I had mentally painted numerous pictures of Him at the Bethesda pool inviting a crippled man to his feet. On another occasion Jesus reached up from the mud toward a blind man’s eyes and restored his sight. He also gently touched an unconscious girl and commanded her to awaken from her lifeless coma. There were loaves and fish to serve, bread to break, and wine to pour. He used His rough carpenter hands to touch people’s lives. Every time Jesus extended His open hand, He invited their response.

            “Do you want to be well?” He asked.
 Many accepted His invitation. All who responded received healing, deliverance, and forgiveness!

            Today when people say “yes” to an invitation, they know it’s frequently an offer to come or go somewhere pleasurable and hospitable. William has been singing a short chorus lately that goes like this,

“Father, glorify Yourself,
Father, glorify Yourself,
Father, glorify Yourself in me.
Whether pleasure or in pain,
o’er my life I give You reign,
Father, glorify Yourself in me.”

            It wasn’t until Bill recently asked me about “suffering” that I recognized the fullness of Jesus’ invitation when He extended His hand to me. It was far from hospitable and pleasurable.

            We all have our perspectives about the sufferings of Jesus. Usually people automatically think of His crucifixion and the natural pain of scourging and the horror of being nailed to a cross. He thirsted for water but was given gall on a sponge. It’s said that in order to breathe, He used His spiked feet to leverage His body up enough to inhale.

            These examples can hardly describe the depth of His physical agonies. Consider the emotional and mental anguish that terrorized Him in advance. So much so, that He sweat drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. What about the incessant mocking? False accusations and a close friend’s betrayal? The judicial interrogations, the disciple’s abandonment and His own family’s unbelief? What about His Father who rejected Him because God couldn’t bear to look at sin? Our sin….my sin.

            Your afflictions may be a terminal diagnosis, chronic physical pain; a lawsuit, office politics or slander in social media; the death of a loved one, a separation, divorce or the absence of a friend when you need them most. Many personal distresses in life are the crimes others commit against us and dealing with the consequences is an ongoing reality. In my past, I found it difficult to admit the crimes against me were self-inflicted wounds from the poor choices I had made. More evil was an enemy that continually assaulted me with temptations to unbelief that God or anyone, for that matter, really cared.

            My life genuinely changed when I discovered an authentic fellowship with the person of Jesus. Now I understand, if only in part. The fullness of accepting His outstretched hand does include suffering. More importantly, responding consistently in faith, trusting and obeying, no matter the circumstances or outcome, matures and sustains my relationship with the Lover of my soul. This is the marvelous mystery of a life in Christ and Christ in me. A well of Living water that I’m invited to drink from and I "get to" pour out to others.

            His invitation isn’t just about the fellowship of His suffering. His outstretched hand provides an opportunity for becoming “partakers” in a community of victorious overcomers. My life changed when I gave myself to a community of like-minded Jesus Becomers who are loving me to wholeness.  From Revelation 3:21:

            “He who overcomes (is victorious), I will grant him to sit beside Me on My throne, as I Myself overcame (was victorious) and sat down beside My Father on His throne.”   
            “Have you ever considered the times when Jesus stretched out His hand to you?” He waits with open ears that hear your every prayer. He waits with open eyes that see every tear. He waits with an open heart that feels your every wound. He longs to grasp your life with the mighty grip of His outstretched hand.  

“Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father, except through Him.” 
John 14:6

With an outstretched hand, He is waiting for you.... to choose. 
How will you respond to His invitation?


Friday, October 24, 2014


      In spite of his pressing health issues, my desire to introduce my husband at our family reunion prevailed and we changed our plans to attend at the last minute. A quick getaway trip over a long weekend was “just what the doctor ordered.”
        Afterwards, William and I returned home and resumed the daily routine. Our custom is morning devotions before breakfast. Armed with warm coffee, our Bibles and two devotionals for guidance, we settled comfortably into the wing back chairs by the window. And like most mornings, the reading stimulated dialogue for possible life applications. From October 20 in Sarah Young’s “Jesus Calling,” I read aloud,
          “I am your living God, far more abundantly alive than the most vivacious person you know. The human body is wonderfully crafted, but gravity and the inevitable effects of aging weigh it down. Even the most superb athlete cannot maintain his fitness over many decades. Lasting abundant life can be found in Me alone.”
          I finished the page and Bill asked,
           “Kate, what does abundant life look like?”
        It is his way, asking what something looks like to further our understanding. I remembered the Amplified translation of John 10:10 and I heard myself repeating words like, “full, to the fullest, till overflowing.” Our discussion turned a corner when Bill looked squarely at me and said,
          “In my adult life, I’ve never been to a family reunion quite like yours.”
           “What do you mean?”
          “Kate, if I were asked to describe an abundant life, I’d begin with kitchen counters filled with rich meats, vegetables, breads, appetizers and desserts with coffee and teapots that never emptied. As absent soldiers’ pictures stood like sentinels guarding the chow line, proud parents and siblings paid tribute to their military family members as they milled freely about. Against a panoramic view of the Texas hill country, a table filled with homemade craft items and baked goods competed for the highest bid to help fund the next reunion. River walks, tractor rides, skeet shoots, hula hoops and rope toys, scrabble games, wildflowers, centipedes and dragonflies enhanced the menu as well as cows mooing, dogs barking, children laughing, men whistling, and women chatting. Aunts, uncles and cousins alike perused the family albums and told memorable stories to help bridge the generation gaps. These are the conversations that cannot fit on paper or paintings fit for a canvas. This picture of abundant life is a colorful palette of variety that could never be improved with Photoshop."
          For a moment, I was speechless, but it was true. He had just described the reunion. Our family works hard to create these Kodak moments that anyone would covet. I never realized how covetous until Bill shared his observations.  I am a part of a family that can’t be owned, but ours is a true wealth that can be possessed. This is the prosperity of my soul.
          Bill continued,
          “Many people acquire these relational opportunities, but few truly apprehend them. Just like some folks never truly apprehend their divine identity and enjoy a genuine, relational life in Jesus.”
          I confess I have taken my earthly family for granted. Some of these relationships have been white water rapids and others, placid tidal pools. You probably have similar relationships in your life. In either case, an abundant life begins with an invitation “to dive in,” a permission “to look around and see what you find.” But “life exchange” requires a response to the invitation.
         As believers, we said, “Yes” to His outstretched hand when we were drowning. Then the Lord gave us to a spiritual family that continually invites us to safely wade in deeper. Hopefully, you are finding refreshment and leading others to the River of Life. From the Gospel of John, we read,
          “Now on the final and most important day of the Feast, Jesus stood and He cried in a loud voice, ‘If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me [who cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me], as the Scripture has said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow [continuously] springs and rivers of living water.’” John 7:37-38 AMP                                                                
Come on in, the water is fine!



PLEASE NOTE:  This post is not intended to judge the depth of anyone's relationship with the Lord but to share how God worked in MY h...