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.


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...