Saturday, December 29, 2012


      They predicted, whoever “they” are, that 12-21-2012 would bring the end of the world as we know it. The infamous date came and went, but also brought to mind a distant memory…12-21-1968, the day I married my Prince Charming. 
      It could have been the “end of the world” for a young girl marrying with a child on the way. My baby and the marriage miscarried and I began a lifelong quest pursuing LOVE and motherhood in other ways.
      After that first miscarriage, hormones ran amuck and endometriosis wreaked havoc in all the natural plans for birthing my own children. During a third marriage, a complete hysterectomy at age 26 permanently closed every door, even though doctors were titillating my dreams with artificial insemination as they wheeled me into surgery. Yes, it was shocking to wake up to that barren reality, and once again, I thought my natural world had ended…
      If you’ve read all the previous posts in my blog, first, let me say “thank you” and I pray by now, you’ve sensed the common thread I hope to convey. Whether I am writing from a painful memory or declaring a praiseworthy victory, my purpose is to share an intimate knowledge of God’s very real Abiding Presence in our world today, in your life and mine. Of course, not knowing you, the reader, I can only write about my experiences of His Providence in my life. Almost five years ago, as I sat with my Bible, pen and paper to outline my “goals” for the coming year, I read my morning devotion from the apostle Peter’s letter to us in 2 Peter 1:16.
“For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eye witnesses to His Majesty.”
      “They,” the apostles and other followers, didn’t have to make up stories about Jesus because they had seen Him, touched Him, walked and talked with Him. They KNEW Him and His workings in people’s daily lives…they had been eye witnesses.
      During the interim years of goal setting, I continued to take baby steps, but I resisted His call to write because I felt sorely inadequate and insecure. I was much more confident in the visual arts, but recently, I discovered that God’s purpose and desire for the writing does not depend on my clever “word craftsmanship.” He would rather that I merely share with others about His Abiding Presence in my daily life. Someone else might define or describe this as “His Faithful Working.” After all, He is faithful to me and to YOU even though we might not see or perceive it as so. I am an eye witness to His Workmanship in my life. I am still breathing and able to proclaim, “Jesus is Lord!”
      As for 12-21-2012 or some other calamity, and even if the world as we know it ends, He is still Lord of Life. As the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah wrote to us in chapter 31:2-4,
“The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness—Israel, when it went to find rest. I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have drawn you with loving kindness. Again, I will rebuild you and you shall be rebuilt…”
      The rebuilding of my life (and yours) is a lifelong process. Along the way, God has fitted together several key relationships to fill critical gaping cracks in my edifice, primarily, my two adopted children who I know without any doubts, God chose for me and me for them. 
      One other miraculous blessing was birthed through another painful marriage, BUT GOD delivered another daughter to my life who will be 43 on her next birthday, the same age of the child I lost all those years ago. And today, we forge ahead as two women completing my chapter of loss and salving her painful recent miscarriage. Together we grieve the loss of a little boy she will never know…until God “fits” another boy into her edifice walls, or perhaps places a future son-in-law who needs mothering in ways that only she can deliver…successfully to term!
      Yes, God builds our lives in these ways…not just some times, most times, but ALL times. Character, integrity, trust, genuine love, and His Abiding Peace are being built in my life that could only have been built THIS WAY. Understanding, accepting, and embracing this truth has been a great challenge. Sorting through the world’s ideas, other’s opinions, my own stubbornness, making sense of it all, finding God’s purpose and searching God’s Word for a deeper meaning is a quest worth embarking upon.     
      As I read about King David’s despair in Psalm 40, I felt I was in good company. Here was “a man after God’s own heart” sharing about his deliverance from miry clay to a secure foundation with new songs of praise in his mouth for God who inclined His ear to hear his cries. I have no way out of the clay pit by myself. (God knows, I’ve tried!) The question is, “Will I trust God or man, my church, my family, my career or government?” The answer is, How blessed is the man/woman who has made the Lord his/her trust.” Jeremiah again shows us a comparison in 17:5-8 of a shrub in the desert contrasted with a green tree. Faith in mankind reduces me to a mere shrub in my wilderness while faith in God makes me a SURVIVOR …even while taking “baby steps.”
“For he/she will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will NOT fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to be fruitful.”

     And so, I end the year as I began it, with my Bible, paper and pen in hand.  I find myself pondering about the fiscal cliff, drought, farm bills and the price of milk. Gun control legislation, mental health issues, social security, retirement, and most importantly, “Who will be in the Super Bowl?” But as Martin Luther wrote,

“Sola Fide” by Faith alone

“Sola Gratia” by Grace alone

“Sola Scriptura” on His Word alone

“Sola Christus” because of Christ alone

“Sola Deo Gloria” to the glory of God alone

Lord, chisel this on the doorpost of my soul and help me apply myself to LIVE this manifesto!

(c) 2012-2016

Monday, December 3, 2012


Though applicable to both genders, this post will appeal primarily to women. 
     Not a woman alive awakens in the morning without a check of her body’s profile in the bathroom mirror. We are obsessed with belly bloats, flat bums, fat cheeks, saddle bag thighs, saggy skin, droopy eyes, crow’s feet, turkey necks, flabby arms, thin hair, gray hair, “upper lips” and hairy chins…and that’s just at first glance!
     I recently discovered a rare find…about 10 of my mother’s personal diaries. One can only imagine how special but difficult it is to read these journals. Evidently, she, too, was consumed with her reflection since the first item in the daily entries was a record of her bathroom scale.
     Spa memberships, cellulite creams, body wraps, weight loss and nutrition plans, cosmetics, jewelry, clothing, shoes & purses, accessorized her “fashionable debt” giving her the appearance of prosperity. I say all this, not to dishonor my mother’s memory with this criticism, but to address our culture’s obsession with “image.” I wonder if she ever pondered “why” as she struggled with “losing her looks” and “hanging onto her man.”
     Now, someone might ask, “Aren’t you in an industry that helps people improve their appearance?” Yes, I admit I have made a comfortable living helping people feel good about themselves. I observe a definite change in a client’s countenance as they arrive and depart from my salon. A mirror’s reflection has an effect on both inner and outer realities, which brings the deeper message of my post. 
     “We are easily distracted by the superficial, pretentious details of living life while our inner soul hungers and thirsts to be fed.”
     Before I commit words to paper, I always pray and ask God what message He wants me to share in this forum. And it is always about the MESSAGEnot about me, I hope you understand. I am just willing to be transparent about how the message manifests in my life. That day, as I stared at my own “fluffy” reflection in the bathroom mirror, God was observing my shallow heart. With my human eyes, I can only see my external appearance, but He sees the inner intentions and discerns every motive for everything I do and say. God sees every insensitivity and judgment I make.
     Our small group from church discussed this subject not long ago after our pastor’s “Sermon on the Mount” series. It’s our custom to review the message from the previous Sunday and dig deeper as people share from their personal experiences. “Do not judge lest you be judged…” from Matthew 7:1-6 led to a time of sharing that I won’t soon forget.
     One woman told about an unexpected layover in the Atlanta airport several years ago while traveling with her young children in tow. Flight after flight was delayed and eventually canceled which meant an overnight stay. Frantic, distraught and frustrated conversations with gate agents were for naught against unforeseen circumstances. 
     While standing at the desk, a tattooed young man approached her and though he wasn’t the sort of person she ordinarily would have “connected” with, his words changed her entire outlook about the layover. 
     “Ma’am, it seems you have an opportunity here to make this a real adventure for these kids!” 
     And she did. They booked a hotel, ordered pizza, rented movies, jumped on the beds and probably enjoyed a pillow fight or two. Now, her children are grown and have a few tattoos of their own! So much for judging by appearances… I could write a book about the responses I’ve had to the tattoo on my wrist, even a few refusals to shake my hand!
       “Did you REE-A-ALLY want that on your hand?”
Or my personal favorite, “You don’t seem like the type to get a tattoo…”
     Okay, so what type do I seem like? What concrete details define someone? Is it clothing, expressions, characteristics or behavior that we base these judgments? What exactly does an artist look like anyway? For that matter, what does a pastor, teacher, doctor, banker, attorney, car salesman, secretary, homeless person, or an addict look like? Except for the aid of a mirror, none of us would ever really know what we look like or have any semblance of who we are to the world. 
     Relationally, we are mirrors unto ourselves. I can see the best or worst characteristics in others that I am unable or refuse to see in myself. I preach condemnation for acts against me that I seek mercy for! This is hypocrisy at my soul’s core and I perpetuate the lie when I refuse to be real with myself about myself. 
     God desires His Word to be The Mirror. Because He loves me, it is for Kingdom Goodness and for my benefit that He reveals my spiritual flaws and shows my greater need for His Time, His Wisdom and His Restoration. “Do I just give The Mirror an occasional glance only to step away and forget what I saw? Or fail altogether and truly see what is really there? Am I so caught up with my outward appearance that I ignore the spiritual condition of my sinful heart?”
     Religion is like this to some people. We unknowingly abandon our personal relationship with God and become more focused on the outward appearances of “doing” church with our attendance, giving tithes and teaching Sunday school. While these actions are vital for our growth, the apostle Paul compared them as “clanging cymbals.” I did all these things but with the wrong heart motive. I realized it was more about “being seen to be seen and speaking in the group to show how much I know.”
     God is not interested in my appearances of holiness as much as my willingness to repent and bow before His Holiness. To do this, I must have a devoted heart and a disciplined life to stand before the Mirror of His Word. If someone ripped open the curtain to reveal my inner walls, what would be written there for the world to see?
     These “walls of my heart” are ever before a Holy God to be exposed and examined. Isaiah 49:16 (Amplified) is a picture of Christ’s sacrifice unto death and holds an even more personal meaning for me. Feel free to plug your name in there, too.
     “Behold, I have indelibly imprinted (tattooed a picture of) you, Kate, on the palm of each of My hands; your walls are continually before Me.”
     This scripture has assured me at times when I felt so utterly lost and forgotten. Colossians 1:22 assures me that I can stand before Him blameless and without a single fault. Because of my belief and trust in Christ alone, His Right Standing with Father God is the only mirror I need. 
     Though I am reminded forever of the consequences of a tattoo that serves as a permanent marker of a time in my wayward life, I am finally able to like who I am becoming when I look in the mirror.…


           (c) Copyright 2012-2016


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...