Sunday, June 9, 2013

Kisses from Katie

"Kisses from Katie" by Katie Davis with Beth Clark

Alright, this might be one of the most amazing books I've read.  I was told about this book and told I had to read it.  Well I read it and now I'm telling you to read it.  It's amazing and convicting and sad and beautiful and amazing.  Katie Davis is a 18 year old girl who feels like God has called her to Uganda.  She takes a short trip there and finds herself.  She is now living there and has adopted 14 girls.  She is just 18!  She truly understands what it is to live out her faith.  She certainly puts my faith to shame.  "And even though I realize I cannot always mend or meet, I can enter in.  I can enter into someone's pain and sit with them and know.  This is Jesus.  Not that He apologizes for the hard and the hurt, but that He enters in, He comes with us to the hard places.  And so I continue to enter."  Sometimes coming alongside is all that we can do.  "Why do I care so much? The answer is simple: Because the Lord who created you loves you.  Because He created you for a purpose and He wants you to fulfill that purpose.  Because the God who knows every hair on your head desires to lift you out of this dust and into His glory."  We care because He cares, because every single one of us was created in His image.  "Adoption is a redemptive response to tragedy that happens in this broken world.  And every single day, it is worth it, because adoption is God's heart."  Adoption isn't easy but it is worth it because it is God's love displayed just like He adopts us.  "Frederick Beuchner writes, 'The last place God calls us to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.'" I think that is a beautiful picture of doing what God called a person to do.  "I was learning that the powerless, broken, dependent place was actually the place where the Lord was closest to me."  Funny how He finds us in our brokenness, a place where we feel along, He is with us.  "I want to give my life away for Christ.  I want to exemplify Him in my every day.  I want to live an open and expansive life, giving myself freely to all those around me for His glory.  God answers this prayer every day of my life with new opportunities.  I want to live openly and expansively, loving my neighbor as myself, until Jesus comes back."  I think this would be a great prayer for the start of every day.  I say I want this but then I question myself and think, do I really want this?  "The assurance that I must obey and be faithful only to what He has asked of me, even when tangible, earthly results or successes are not seen."  Just doing the next best thing that He asks, no matter the results, just obedience.  "God's love made known is worth it, even if only to one.  I will not save them all.  But I will keep trying.  I will say 'Yes.' I will stop for one."  If we only share His love with one other person at least that is one more soul saved. We must love, one person at a time, one heart, one soul at a time.  "Courage is not about knowing the path.  It is about taking the first step."  And that first step takes a whole lot of courage, but God is there and He will not let me falter, He will pick me up, He will guide me.  "I have learned along my journey that if I really want to follow Jesus, I will go to the hard places.  Being a Christ follower means being acquainted with sorrow.  Joy costs pain, but the pain is worth it.  After all, the murder had to take place before the resurrection."  Those are some deep and hard words.  In this life we try and avoid pain, at all cost but, we will never know true joy without that pain.  When we go to those hard places with others we can share that there is unspeakable joy after the pain.  "Suffering.  Rejoicing.  Squalor.  Beauty.  Love.  Pain.  These are the things that surround me, and all of them are from Him.  This life is beautiful and terrible and simple and difficult, and He is using it for His glory."  All of it.  All of it is for His glory.  I can endure when I know that His glory will be shown.  "They are the least of these, they are His heart, and He is coming for them and for us."   

Thursday, June 6, 2013

In Every Heartbeat

"In Every Heartbeat" by Kim Vogel Sawyer

In this book three friends that grew up in an orphanage together go off to college.  They each have their plans of what their futures will look like.  Once so bonded by their circumstances they find themselves with different hopes and opinions.  One of them finds out a shocking truth about the others family and they end up finding what true friendship is all about.  This was another book that took a few chapters to get into.  I often don't have the patience for that but I am usually glad that I persevere and I wasn't disappointed with this book.  "Temptation will plague you, so you must resist temptation.  One slip, just one time of allowing immoral thoughts or actions to seize you and you can fall into a pit of ruin."  It's a slippery slope.  And our sin affects so many others.  "Some dreams are meant to be that-only dreams, dissipating with the morning light.  But you won't know for sure until you've tasted them."  We have to take steps to try out our dreams, willing to risk.  Sometimes we find out they weren't meant to be but sometimes we find out that they were and the adventure that God had planned for you begins.  "No matter what I'm doing-whether it's throwing a baseball or working on my assignments or sitting here talking to you-God's Spirit is with me.  I represent Him.  And I want to represent Him well.  When people look at me, I want them to see God's love played out before their eyes."  What a great statement.  We all represent Him, the question is do we represent Him positively or negatively.  I yearn for God's love to be seen in my life.  "But He's here, right now, loving both of us just like He always has.  Our problem is we've been trying to find Him in the midst of our own selfish wants instead of realizing He's waiting in the middle of where He needs us to be."  Sometimes we look for God and it seems He isn't there but He is always with us.  We often look at the problem that seems so big we can't see the small details of God's hands.  This book teaches the values of friendship and how our early lives affect how we view who we are in this world.  It talks about a loving God who is always with us and pursuing us even when we are running the opposite direction.  Good messages and a good read.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Though Waters Roar

"Though Waters Roar" by Lynn Austin

It took me a couple chapters to get into this book but, once I got into it I didn't want to put it down.  It isn't a fast read and you have to keep track as the story goes from present to past back and forth a lot.  But I liked that the flow was a little different, it kept my attention.  A woman finds herself and jail and looks back on her life to figure out how she ended up in this place.  She never wanted to be like her beautiful sister and mother or join their social circles.  She loved and wanted to be just like her Grandmother Bebe. Her grandmother fought for justice and had meaning to her life.  Harriet wanted her life to mean something but she was afraid that she landed herself in jail for all the wrong reasons and would break her grandmothers heart for those very same reasons.  "But someday when you're all grown up, God is going to give you a task to do in your own time and place.  Then you'll have to put your faith in Him as you follow your conscience."  We all have a task that God has given us, each different.  What He has called me to isn't necessarily what He has called my children to.  We must help each other realize what that task is and encourage one another in it.  "When the sun comes up, we need to ask the Lord, 'What would you like me to do for you today?' That's how you'll find contentment."   We find contentment in doing the work of The Lord not in our own agendas.  "It's a wonderful thing to fall in love.  But make sure that both you and the man you marry love the Lord even more than each other."  He is what will hold you together because love ebbs and flows.  "We can't expect other people to meet all of our needs, all of the time.  Only Christ can do that perfectly.  That's why I know that if you turn to Him, you'll find contentment."  Another reason that God be the center of your marriage because we fail each other, we can't meet all of our spouses needs but God can.  "When we don't get our own way, and when our life doesn't turn out the way we think it should, we face a choice.  We can let bitterness grow or let the love of God grow."  It is so very easy to let bitterness grow, but that only hurts ourselves in the long run.  Life rarely turns out the way you thought but God can use is all.  He always turns beauty from ashes, always. "Ask God to heal your broken heart.  He can put the pieces back together the right way so you'll be able to love your husband the way God does-forgiving him seventy times seven and wanting only the best for him.  Ask God to give you Christ's love for him, not your own imperfect love."  We can only love like this with God.  We can only chose to forgive and love after hurt with God.  "There is no shame in changing direction.  In fact, once you've see the warning signs, it's always wise to turn around."  Nothing wrong in admitting you are wrong or that you took a wrong choice.  If you know its the wrong path, turn and take the right one.  "God loves her, even if I find it hard to.  And I'm responsible before God for how I treat her."  Some people are hard to love and may not be kind but we are only responsible for the way we treat them.  "Love isn't always a feeling.  Sometimes it's a decision."  Sometimes it's a very hard decision and that is why we need God.  "Harriet has to find her own happiness in life, and living to please another person is never going to accomplish that.  Living to please God is what matters.  Meanwhile, we have to trust that He'll arrange the events in Harriet's life in order to lead her to the purpose He has for her."  When we live to please others we always fall short but when we live to please God we are always enough.