Cleanse

Cleanse.
There seems to be a health craze lately about cleanses for our bodies. I am not discounting the health benefits from a cleanse. It made me think more about our hearts. Our hearts need a cleanse more than our bodies. After all in the end that is what matters the most.

I’m tired of olive branches being extended out only for them to be cut off. I’m tired of verbal abuse, guilt trips, manipulation and blame cast upon the innocent. I’m fed up with toxic words spoken over those I love, and over our nation. Lies. All these lies will crumble revealing the truth of hearts involved.

When all is exposed what will your heart reveal? Will there be toxic ooze? Will vile & rotting flesh reveal a broken heart that chose to blame cast and tear down others? Or will your heart reveal purity, love, gentleness, joy, and beauty?

Everyone has a choice. 

“But Kara you don’t know how hard my life has been!” 

Hog wash! I’ve been through hell but my God saved me and has continued to turn the ashes into something incredibly beautiful. I’ve experienced my deepest sorrows and deepest pains being touched by my healer. His love and his joy have set me free from not only the fires of hell but he has touched the scars from the battle on my way back up.

He is not done with me yet. 

He certainly has not forgotten about you nor is he finished with you. He took your pain to the grave after dying on the cross so that you wouldn’t have to carry it. Just as he rose you have a choice to choose the same destiny.

A heart cleanse. Get rid of toxic thinking, toxic words & toxic relationships.

Stop casting blame. 

Repent. 

Forgive. 

Choose love.

Choose truth. 

Choose joy.

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An Epic Coloring Devotional

                       

I absolutely love Picturing Heaven: 40 Hope-Filled Devotions With Coloring Pages! The illustrations are by Lizzie Preston while the book was written by Randy Alcorn. One of the sweet surprises were the gold detail on the pages. Not only does this add a gentle detail but it enhances your own coloring of the pictures. 

The daily devotions are Randy Alcorn’s own thoughts and interpretations of the scriptures about heaven. I may not fully agree with every detail that he presents but it still is a fascinating study. The most important aspect of the book is that it is so full of hope. Not only did it affirm my longing for heaven but I found that I enjoyed imagining what my eternal home will be like while I was coloring the pages. I imagined walking with Jesus, having everything restored & being with family & friends who are already there. 

This is a fun devotional that adds further interaction from the artist or amateur. The other suggestion that I would have that would add to this book is to have a journal or reflection page where readers and artists could either draw a picture or write out thoughts. This addition is not necessary but while I was reading and coloring I wanted to add more to the picture as well as take time to journal. Heaven is so near yet it is still a mystery to those of us waiting to go home. 

God is preparing a place for us. He loves us. Picturing Heaven is a great reminder to us all to live for eternity even before we get there. We are just travelers passing through. There is so much to look forward to!

I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers and these thoughts are my own.

Punch the Darkness: Love Mercy

Mercy.

My amazing husband and I were talking the other day about mercy after reading Micah 7. This followed a conversation I had with a good friend the night prior about how I was living in His mercy every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). It is an amazing truth!

It is hard to see heart-wrenching things happening all around us. I have asked, as have many of you, why God hasn’t done something sooner to help a situation or specific person. 

As I was processing out loud with my hubs I said things like, “I know God doesn’t like it when people hurt his kids. I know he is for our daughter but I don’t understand why he hasn’t switched things around more?”

His response was wise and it hit me in my gut, “He is extending mercy to her Mom. It took me 30 years to finally give my life to him and he extended me mercy over and over again. Why wouldn’t he do the same for her?” (I am so blessed by him!) 🙂

Finally it made sense. I need to extend mercy more. My Mama bear heart can contend for justice but it also can extend mercy to someone who is really in need. I can speak truth in love and still extend mercy. When it is hardest to love mercy (Micah 6:8) get on your knees & pray.

I need mercy. You need mercy. My enemies need mercy.

God is a good God. He is faithful. He waits for each of us because he loves us so much.

 You are worth it (even my enemies).

Working For It!

I have to be honest for a moment. There are so many things that I want to write about but I am hesitant to because there are some things better kept quiet for this season. Eventually there will be a time when I can write about all sorts of triumphs & victories after mighty battles. If you sense that I am being vague, it is to honor certain people I hold dear as well as protect those that are innocent. Our words can cause so much pain even if the truth is being told. I want to write words that speak life, and encourage readers in times of great struggles yet address great difficulties at the right time.

In church today I realized how much my mind is changing. Getting rid of toxic thoughts and surrounding myself with non-toxic people have led me to a place of such joy & freedom. I still have a lot of work to do but I can honestly say that I have noticed a change in my life. Praise is on my lips even amidst trials. Truth is in the front of my mind rather than lies. Because I know whose I am and He is good & mighty & powerfully loving, not wanting any sin to taint me, or someone to mess with me, I am able to rest. No matter what happens I rest without fear of tomorrow.

Life can be hard but my joy does not depend on my circumstances. My joy comes from the One that never changes. He is always faithful, is always good & never gives up on me. He is my constant one. He is the only one I need to look to for my worth. He is always there when I am alone. He understands every tear & speaks life into my identity so that I can slay the enemy once my feet hit the ground every morning. 

Grace is extended during imperfect moments when my emotions are on overload & pain is expressed outwardly. Every time I invite him into the mess, healing occurs.  A new level of confidence grows and new levels of joy flood my soul after failure or heartache is turned to victory.

Surrender and healing is worth the hard work. Just like others work hard for that hot body, I am working on my soul. 

My Response 


My prayers shake the atmosphere.

Beauty rises from the ashes.

Dry bones come to life.

In life and death, in joy and sorrow, in acceptance and rejection I still need you God.

Tears may fall but I know that you love me.

You are good.

You are love.

You are joy.

I will live for you all of my days.

                                                         

Enemy Slaying & Justice

Several weeks ago a certain part of my life was met with some serious confrontation. It began with the injustices over certain things happening with my daughter. I remember dropping her off after having a full two weeks together. When we made it home I cried myself to sleep. I love my girl so much & the battle she endures tears my heart up inside.

The following weeks I began praying differently. I was filled with boldness & confidence knowing God wants justice. And all of a sudden it hit me. I didn’t believe God wanted justice for me. This realization hit me so hard that it almost felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. I grieved the fact that for the majority of my life I did not know my worth. For years I allowed people to treat me awful, always with the thought that it was my fault. I figured that since they said I was to blame that it must be true.

Be careful who you listen to. Be careful the ones you allow to sow things into your soul. 

It can be hard when those in your life that are supposed to love & care for your heart fail miserably. When it comes down to who matters, Gods opinion of you is the only one that will have eternal impact. 

Several days ago I was able to have a pep talk with my daughter. I told her that just because important people in her life place conditions on their love for her & treat her awful does not & will never decrease her value. Her value only increases. She is priceless. Because of Jesus she is able to know that her value is not & will never be dependent on other people loving her back the way she needs them to in return. God has her back. With God she gets better with time just like fine wine & in that case her value increases everyday no matter who neglects or abuses her.

The day I shared this with her was also a reminder of the enemy slaying I had just done the weeks before.

Therefore, this summer has been an epic one, slaying the enemy left & right! 

Justice. 

Justice for my daughter.

Justice for my husband.

Justice for me (I finally believe it)!

Weapon Against the Enemy


Do you know who you are? Do you understand your purpose?

My entire life has been filled with admiration for super heroes. I enjoyed watching epic fight scenes, characters defying impossible odds, and fighting from a deep sense of purpose. They knew who they were after conquering their own struggles. They loved others. From the beginning they were destined to be the rare, unique person called to greatness. Possessors of power & an authority I often felt I lacked in my own life they somehow performed the impossible.

I was born with a calling on my life. All my life the enemy has done his due diligence to lie, cheat, steal & thwart this destiny of mine. Cheap shots have been taken. For a little while I even believed the lies that he intended me to believe in order to create in me an identity other than the one God intended. I have had enough of this!

When one realizes that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in & through us it is hard to ever return to sugarcoated, wimpy Jesus Christian living. Being comfortable is a lie. Sitting back is intended for those that do not understand who they are. When one that is unified with Christ & filled with Holy Spirit, a fire blazes with love for all people headed to hell to live free, victorious & joy filled lives! 

Because of this I do kingdom work battle. I am strong. I know who I am & to whom I belong. 

Fearless. 

Courageous. 

I am a weapon against the enemy!

Waterfall

When you have hiked the trails to a big waterfall have you just stood there and marveled at its beauty? 

I love the smell of the water in the air. Even if I stand a fair distance away I can even feel the mist upon my face. It makes me feel close to the Creator. I long for closeness. It is what drives me everyday.

Life right now reminds me of a waterfall and I am standing in awe. Many circumstances that often cause an ache in my heart still remain the same. I have much hope that these things will turn into good. Why? Because God has literally made impossible things possible.

For so many years whenever something good started to occur an intense season soon followed. It occurred like this so often that I used to live my life flinching, waiting for the next negative and hurtful thing to happen. Instead of enjoying the waterfall up close I was content just feeling the mist on my face. 

I have chosen to live differently. Fear is gone and I am getting drenched under the waterfall.

BAM! What?


Have you ever gone so long in a season that you literally just thought that life would always remain that way? I ask this question because my husband and I have gone through season after season of intensity. Seasons were filled with yucky slime and we often felt robbed. Despite this we chose Jesus and chose to laugh, chose to remain steadfast and choose love. All we have ever desired was to please God and be faithful to him in all things. We still desire this knowing that we may have to walk through heart wrenching things. Life is tough but I have been realizing that because of God I am stronger and tougher than what may happen in this life.

Recently we have been living in a new season. It came slowly, and steadily until one day… BAM!! We were walking right into a miracle. What?! This was something so new and so surreal. God had laid our path in order to walk out impossible things. We have always believed this about God but never did we dare to even dream what he wanted to give to us. As I write this, tears well up in my eyes because I feel so overcome with his love for us. 

Our entire married life has been filled with miracles. When we needed a car, one was given to us. When we had no money for food or rent, a check would show up in the mail or groceries would be delivered to our door. When we were in desperate need God always provided. He was never late and never too early. His timing was impeccable, perfect.

Not only does God care about providing your physical needs but your mental and emotional needs as well. When you need people in your life to love you just like Father God, he will either send them or lead them to you. As we have walked in miracles God has given us the biggest one: family and a home. We no longer feel like we are wandering. Our hearts swell real big with gratefulness and a deeper love for others. 

Through it all, God remains faithful. The greater question through every season whether good or bad is, will you remain faithful to him? Will you praise him no matter the circumstance? 

Our answer has always been, “yes, God” and I pray that it always will.



A Step Mom Post

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I literally have three different Step Mom posts in my draft folders. There are several reasons for this. My fellow Step Mom friends will understand that the role we choose to take on is full of rejection, back stabbing and hard holy work as we love and cherish our kids. Sometimes we struggle with our roles because it can change depending on what our child needs at the time and what family gathering we might be at.

To begin I want to talk about honor. Too often honor gets dumped out as things get messy sharing kids back and forth between homes. Our daughter has three and you can just begin to imagine how difficult that is. Ever since the day I officially had the privilege to start my Step Mom role I wanted to make sure that my daughter’s Bio Mom was respected and honored. This can often feel difficult when it is not reciprocated. I have walked through a constant grieving process as I have honored her Mom and Grandma’s role. I would be quiet at mutual gatherings, stand back and watch rather than introduce myself, and go without hugging my daughter.

I would be careful with every word and every action because I feared any backlash upon my husband and daughter. Fear kept me from being fully myself. But I am so sick of this. I am sick of believing lies about myself.

I used to believe the lie that I made things worse. It seemed like the more I loved her, and supported her Daddy, the more both of them would receive backlash. For that reason, I hid in the shadows and remained quiet. But I felt like I was the big elephant in the room no matter what I did.

We are not welcome and our daughter continues to pay tremendously just because we are in her life.

I used to cringe at the thought of knowing that by showing any love for her in person would end poorly for her later. It made me want to stop anything just to protect her from the verbal and emotional abuse later. But why would I choose to not love when she so desperately needed it? Which one was better for her to go without? Why would I choose both lack of love on my end as well as the other end?

So I choose to love no matter what. I pray and weep knowing what she often faces for our love but at least she knows love. At least she knows the difference. I hope one day, ashes will fall and she will rise victoriously courageous knowing who she is and that she is deeply loved even if other people show her and tell her the opposite. I hope that what she remembers is that we chose her. I hope she remembers love, the unconditional love that remained through every trial, heartache, and joy.

Yes, daughter, you are chosen. You have been fought for. You are loved. You have been made victorious!

freedom birds