Being a Water-Walker

Just another WordPress.com weblog

The Precious Gift of Tears July 26, 2007

Filed under: Praise — judgedbyhim @ 10:21 am

What do I do when language lacks the strength to express my praise and adoration? How could I possibly open my mouth and let words flow, knowing they will fall far short of my true feelings? Words do not hold the power to express the heart. For such a purpose, God has blessed us with tears.

Yesterday, I clutched the phone and wept joyfully as my mom told me that the adoption of my baby sister is almost secured. The most difficult element of the legal matters has been resolved quickly: parental rights have been terminated, which usually takes months and several delayed hearings. And and added blessing: rights were terminated on the condition that our family adopts her. She may be legally ours in as little as three months.

As Mom told me about the court hearing, tears stung my eyes and overflowed. I was surprised at myself as I struggled to speak through the lump in my throat and failed, too choked up to be coherent. I was amazed at the wonder of tears. I am not one who cries easily! Yet I realized as I cried that my heart was so full of praise it had no way to express itself but through tears.

I once heard the quote, “Tears are what happens when your heart overflows.” I think it was a child who said it. How true it is! Whether in pain, sorrow, or joy, the heart will overflow when it is full. And let me tell you, that overflow can make you very soggy! I poured out my heart in my journal after getting off the phone with Mom, but the true relief of the strain on my emotions was not the feeble scratching of pen on paper; it was the tears that came as fast as the words I wrote.

In the Bible, people often wept to release the overflow of their hearts. Many of these instances were grief or sorrow, such as David in Psalm 6, where he floods his bed with weeping and drenches his couch with tears because of his guilt before God. The most striking account of weeping in Scripture for me, however, is not a man weeping in sorrow, but rather, a man weeping with gladness and joy. Genesis 45 finds Joseph revealing himself to his brothers many years after they betrayed him into captivity. Verses 1-2 say, “Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, ‘Have everyone leave my presence!’ So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it.” Later, in verses 14-15, he continued to weep: “Then he threw his arms around Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin embraced him, weeping. And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them…”

My 14-year-old brother would call this a “sob-fest”. I would call it beautiful. The joyful overflow of a heart is a lovely thing. At that moment, Joseph sureveyed all that God had done through his sufferings, he regained precious fellowship, and he restored harmony in a broken family. His heart was so full of awe, praise, and adoration at God’s marvelous plan that he could not control himself. His heart overflowed with weeping.

I feel like Joseph now. I look back on the last two years with my baby sister, Sara, and I can finally see what God has been doing. There has been suffering, but now I can see why. I am given the strong hope of a forever bond with Sara, which is more precious than I can say. Unity and peace is brought to a tumultuous but blessed young life. All these things build up within me until they overflow. I weep and I praise God. All I can say is, “Praise you, Father. Thank you, Father.” But God does not mind. He knows a language deeper than spoken word. He knows the language of my heart. And in my heart, I am writing novels full of praise, adoration, and glory.

I praise God with my weeping!

Advertisements
 

The Great Preparation July 19, 2007

Filed under: Dating/Courtship,Marriage — judgedbyhim @ 9:31 pm

Peter, thank you for stimulating my writing hand! I knew my last entry needed something else to go with it, but I couldn’t decide what it was. You put your finger on it in your last comment!

I mentioned in my last entry that I should concentrate on being the woman that Christ wants me to be. This general statement held volumes of meaning that I somehow expected my readers to be able to interpret. I should remember that you cannot read my mind. 😛

As I wait for the Father to bring me the man He has chosen for me, I do everything I can to prepare for him. I would like to learn his favorite foods, favorite colors, pet peeves, and personality quirks. I want to find out what values are important to him, what issues make him passionate, and what his deepest struggles are. Despite this longing, this knowledge is impossible while I do not know who he is. However, there are still ways I can ready myself to be a precious gift to my husband. Just as the Church should do in preparation for Christ’s coming, I must prepare for my bridegroom.

First and foremost on my “To-Do List for Marriage” is to be a woman who submits herself to Christ. He is my first love and must be first in my allegiances. The willingness to follow His perfect path even if it is difficult or not what I want is the essence of submission. If I submit to Him, He will bring about His perfect will in my life. If I submit to Christ, it will be easier to submit to my husband when I am given to him. It will follow a path of logic: Christ is already my head, and he has placed my husband as my leader, then it only makes sense to submit to my husband. Even though it will be hard, if I go at it with the mindset of submission to God through man I may find it possible.

Second, I must remain pure for my husband. When I think of my future husband, I hope he will be pure. Even if he has slipped in the past, Christ’s love is sufficient for all sins, therefore my forgiveness should be as well. I consider that he is certainly hoping the same. However, I do not want my husband to have to forgive me. I would rather be given to him pure and undefiled in the eyes of God and man. Therefore my purity is one of the most precious things I have. Committments and vows I have taken testify to the standard I hope to maintain. On my wedding day I plan to give myself to my husband pure, telling him he is worthy of the effort and trials I have withstood to make it so. That much he deserves. Maintaining my purity is a constant, vigilant effort in our culture, another thing I do daily to prepare myself for God’s chosen partner.

Third, I nurture a spirit of meekness. My definition of meekness is not weakness; instead, it is the idea of contained strength. Christ was meek. He had all the power in the universe, but he knew when to use it, how to use it, and who needed it. He controlled himself instead of controlling others. I work on this to prepare for marriage. Christian marriage is not with the idea of the woman being a weak and broken servant ruled by a dictator, as many unbelievers would see it. Instead, it is a beautiful picture of delegated responsibility, of distinct and separate roles. Though a woman is submissive to her husband, she is not weak. She is a strong and steady influence in the home, but she gives her strength through meekness. This is one of the traits I most desire. I want to be the kind of woman that people look at and think, “What a quiet, gentle spirit, but what strength contained within it!”

Fourth, I must learn respect. For women, this can be quite a struggle. It goes hand in hand with submission, but is different in its own way. It is the thing that my husband desires more than anything. My pastor preached on this and was very honest (and got many nods of agreement from men in the church) when he said, “Women, did you know that most men would rather be respected than loved?” To women, that is such a foreign concept. Love is the ultimate gift to women. To men, perhaps respect is far greater. What better gift to give my husband than my ultimate respect of him?

 Fifth, forgiveness is such a monumentously important piece of the “perfect marriage puzzle”. Without forgiveness, a relationship begins to deteriorate at the first conflict. Knowing God has forgiven me for my sins and knowing all the filthiness of those sins allows me to fully and graciously forgive anyone who wrongs me. I must concentrate on controlling and obliterating my anger and letting it give way to the sweet grace of God. I know I cannot forgive within my own human nature. It must be God working through me.

I believe these five things are the foundations of my preparations for marriage: submission, purity, meekness, respect, and forgiveness. Out of these come a thousand small things I may put into practice every day in my friendships, family relationships, and encounters with strangers. These are the large branches of a great tree, and the smaller branches coming off of it are numerous. However, the trunk is something greater than any of these, that will cause all of these things if practiced as Christ practiced it. It was named the greatest of three great virtues in Romans. Yes, it is love. The main trunk of the “tree of marriage” is love, love as a choice and not a feeling, which will give strength, nourishment, and inspiration to all of these other virtues.

However, if love is the trunk of this great tree, what is the root? Why, the one from which all these things spring! It is the very Creator of all these preparations: God Himself. The root of all my preparations for marriage once again leads back to one being: God. Everything on earth and outside it traces back to God. So it is with my great preparation for marriage. As I wait patiently (and occasionally impatiently) for God to reveal the one He is preparing for me, I will love God with my life. I, as part of the Bride of Christ, will love my bridegroom with all that I have. Then He will prepare me as He would have me f0r His will.

 

The Joy of Feeling Unneeded July 18, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — judgedbyhim @ 2:12 pm

As I mentioned in my last entry, I love the book “When God Writes Your Love Story” by Eric and Leslie Ludy. A statement by Leslie in the book hit me with the force of a freight train. No, a few freight trains at once. She writes an imagined dialogue between herself and God. God says of her concern about finding a husband, “…can you also believe I am the God of all creation? I know you better than you know yourself, and I am perfectly able to bring this man into your life in My own time, in My own way…and I don’t need you.” “I don’t need you.” “I don’t need you!”

It had never occurred to me that God did not need my help to bring my future husband to me! In other areas I had already told God, “Yes, I know you can handle this far better than I can; I know you can do it without me. You only choose to use me because you can.” In some areas I am still struggling to do that. Yet it had never crossed my mind that the area of my own romance was an area in which God does not need my help!

After reading this statement, I wrote it down in a notebook and thought on it very hard (I could not underline it because it was not my book!). This has always been the most personal part of my life. Was I to let God control it? It was not as if I had been holding it back consciously; it simply had not occurred to me that He wanted involvement in it. I want to honor God in my relationships, do His will, and respect His guidelines, but I had always thought it would be up to me to find the person He planned for me.

No! Instead, God has told me through Leslie Ludy that He does not want me to be searching for a life partner. He wants me to wait on Him, to wait expectantly but not impatiently for Him to bring that person straight to me. He wants me to love Him with my life before I try to find someone else to love. I am completely unneeded in the process. The only thing God needs me to to do is do nothing. If I concentrate fully on being a godly woman, someone Christ is honored to have as part of His bride, the Church, then God will bring me someone who will appreciate who I am in Christ.

What pain I am spared, what heartache and bewilderment I will avoid! Such a stress reliever it is that I do not have to concern myself with looking for a spouse. God will bring him to me in His time, in His way, or not at all; whatever is His plan. What blessed joy there is in feeling unneeded!

 

Best Books Pt. 2: Non-Fiction July 15, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — judgedbyhim @ 9:47 pm

Here’s the continuation of the previous list: the non-fiction section. Before I begin the list, I must say that “The Bible” by God (with around 40 scribes writing it down for Him) is the best book I have ever read. I shouldn’t need to say more!

1) “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis. The absolute best exposition of the Christian faith I have ever heard. Lewis presents the logical, orderly side of God and His plan in a way I have never seen before. He shows how God has planned everything about our lives to point back to Him, starting with the simple reality of who we are as humans and how we function and leading logically into the existence of our Christian God. A wonderful book to read as a Christian to strengthen your faith and give you answers; also a great book to suggest to someone searching for truth. An absolute necessity! If you have never read this book, you are really missing out.

2) “Every Young Man’s Battle” by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker. I’m sure that the other books in this series are just as good. I know you might be thinking, “Why did this nutcase read this–she’s a girl!” Um, yeah. That was my thought when I was told to read it. Several dear friends (all male) told me every woman should read this book (or “Every Man’s Battle”), because it gave them insight on how guys think and what I can do as a woman to help the guys defeat the temptation. I took them at their advice and read the book. Wow! What a reality check for me! It’s hard, as a female, to grasp what guys go through. Definitely, every girl should read this, although it’s meant for guys. Every guy should read it, too, because I could see how the advice in it was strong, wise, and practical. Read it! I’m planning on reading “Every Woman’s Battle” soon.

3) “If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat!” by John Ortberg. I’m only a little more than halfway through this one, but it is definitely wonderful. I love it! Refer back to my first blog post for an explanation of the virtues of this book.

4) “When God Writes Your Love Story” by Eric and Leslie Ludy. I recently read this book and found it absolutely wonderful. The authors were saying that God will bring His choice of partner for me into my life in His time, in His way. Then they said, “He doesn’t need you!” Wow! The thought that God didn’t even need me to help find my future spouse was amazing to me! It had enver occured to me before. I need do nothing bu be obedient. My next entry will be about that, I’m sure.

4) “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” by Joshua Harris. (Peter, I’m sure you’re familiar with this one!) I read this for the second time about a year ago and was impressed with the thoughtful exposition. I know some people shy away from this simply because of the title or the things they have heard about it. I would encourage you to read it even if you are wary of it. I think you will find he is not some fanatic trying to obliterate dating as we know it. He wants to redefine Christian dating (calling it courting) and show that Christians are different from the world and separated–sanctified.

5) “Boy Meets Girl: Say Hello to Courtship” also by Joshua Harris. This was even better than the last. What a beautiful picture of romance done right! I thoroughly enjoyed this book as I learned volumes from it. Definitely read this one, too.

6) “Jesus Freaks” by D.C. Talk. This is a compilation of true short stories about persecuted Christians. I cried all the way through this, and I don’t cry easily. Beautiful, powerful, and excruciatingly painful. Every story I read gave me a mixture of joy and sorrow. This is a fantastic book. One of the counselors here at camp reads these stories to her girls every evening in cabin devotions. The girls love these stories of sacrifice–I do, too.

–Katrina

 

Best Books List Pt. 1: Fiction July 14, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — judgedbyhim @ 6:01 pm

I am an avid reader. No, voracious would describe me better. Once I start a book, you’re unlikely to see me without it until I flip the last page. Therefore, I have amassed quite a selection of books that I absolutely love! I’ll start with the fiction section and try to keep it managable.

1) “The Left Behind Series” by Tim Lahaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. This is a magnificent series, one of the best I have ever read. The pace is fast, the plot complex, and the events well thought-out. Each book is gripping from start to finish. I was often awake into the wee hours of the morning, unable to put the book down until I finished it.

2) The “Lord of the Rings” trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. OK, I’ll admit it. I am a Lord of the Rings nut. I’ve read all three books, all four of the appendices, The Silmarillion, and several other resources on the world of Middle Earth. I even tried to learn an Elvish dialect and actually remember some! It was worse a year ago than it is now, but I still have great affection for these books. The writing is not the best (Tolkien was a linguist and not a writer), but the plot is so complex and deep. The spiritual applications and allegories are endless. Every time I read them (three or four times so far) I get something new out of them. Very impressive works; definitely the fantasy epic of the century.

3) “Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis. It’s hard to classify this as fiction, although it is set fictionally. The truths and teachings in it, although presented in a backwards manner, are so clearly presented that it simply seems like enthralling non-fiction. Lewis gives incredible insight into the way our spiritual enemy thinks, the ways he deceives us. I have a copy that is underlined and dog-eared all over the place and it’s less than a year old yet.

4) Anything by Lori Wick. Alright, so I’m a hopeless romantic! Her Christian romance stories have all purity and present the Gospel clearly as well as showing the characters’ growth in faith. I have not read very many of her works because I only discovered her a few weeks ago. I have read four so far, because that is the most I have access to at camp. I can devour these books! For girls, a definite read. Guys might not be so entertained.

5) The “Door Within” trilogy by Thomas Wayne Batson. These are young adult books that are so simple and easy to read that they are thoroughly delightful. They are a wonderful allegory to Christ’s unchanging love and our final destiny with him. I read them to my siblings and they were hooked from start to finish, begging me to read more! I recommend them to anyone, adult or child.

 6) “Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis. Honestly, how could I not put this on here? I read these when I was six after getting the set for Christmas. It did not take me long because they were so enchanting! Since then, I have read them countless times. I need a new set. The old one is scattered in a thousand places and is so “well-loved” (or tattered) that the books can hardly stay together. If you have not read these books, do it now! Right now! NOW!!!

Despite having only 6 numbers, this is a good collection of books, since many of them are series. I love those!

Peter: I cranked out my last few posts in about fifteen minutes. There was no one waiting for the computer so I had a little more time. I write really fast because the ideas just pour out of my head. If I don’t write them down, *poof* they’re gone! My fingers have learned to fly on this keyboard!

 –Kat

 

Neglected Family, Neglected God July 12, 2007

Filed under: Family — judgedbyhim @ 10:49 am

I started thinking about this subject after reading Peter’s June 11 entry (see Blogroll for link). The state of our American culture typifies the state of our hearts towards God.

In the colonial times, when most of the new inhabitants of America feared and worshipped God, the family was a huge component of everyday life. Parents were involved in every step of life, from choosing a career (quite often following in the father’s footsteps) to choosing a spouse.  Children told their parents what was happening in their lives. Mother and fathers were respected, honored, and listened to. Their opinion mattered and children usually realized they only had Mom and Dad for a limited time, so they had better absorb all the wisdom from them that they could in the time they had. Not only parents, but the family itself was a major focus of life. Siblings played together, stayed close throughout their lives, and helped each other in times of need. Often, unmarried siblings lived together for their whole lives.

God has designed the family as a picture of the way we are to relate to Him and to our fellow believers. Just as with parents, we should be in constant communication with Him, telling Him everything that is happening in our lives and keeping Him involved in every step–from choosing a career to choosing a spouse, just as with the parents He has placed in our lives to guide us. He is to be respected, honored, and seen as the greatest authority, the wisest Father we could ever have. We are to relate to our brothers and sisters in Christ in the same way we relate to our siblings, loving them unconditionally, bearing one anothers’ burdens, and staying close throughout our lives. What a perfect picture God has given us of what our relationship to Him is supposed to be! 

However, as our culture has “progressed”, this perfect picture has been defiled and twisted. Let us look for a moment at the state of our families today. Parents are resented, hated, and pushed out of childrens’ lives. Their authority is undermined and thwarted at every turn. Children complain that “if my parents would just leave me alone, I could do so much better”. The advent of cell phones, Internet, and iPods have turned kids’ brains off to their parents’ advice and drawn them away from fellowship with these people that God has placed in their lives. The last thing most kids today want to do is involve their parents in their romances and other life choices. The wisdom that their parents would pass on to them and the value of the time they could spend with them is completely lost on them. They cannot even see it anymore. Their eyes are blind. The same has happened with siblings. They are disconnected from one another, constantly arguing and bickering, hating each other and tearing one another down with their words. Kids (and adults) do all they can to get away from their parents and siblings, instead of embracing their fellowship and loving them wholeheartedly.

 The parallel to America’s relationship to God is glaringly clear.  God’s love is spurned, His authority ignored, His care resented, and His plan blamed for everything bad (“If God would just leave me alone, I could do so much better!”). Satan’s lies through media, other people, and our own sin nature have completely turned off our brains and hearts to God’s guidance and love. We tell God to keep out of our romance, our careers, our hobbies, and our life in general. We cannot see how precious and valuable His fellowship with us is. We are so blind. Our relationship to others, even Christians to Christians, is suffering as well. Many churches are calloused and hardened to the needs of the people in their congregations. Our brothers and sisters in Christ are neglected. We bicker among ourselves over the tiniest things (what color should the church carpet be, folks?). We have lost the love. Our hearts are being desensitized.

And unbelievers are even worse.

Yes, all of this I have seen in the Christian world. We want a free ride to heaven without showing our gratitude. We are like children who want a long vacation to Disney Land but don’t want to identify with the parents who paid dearly for that vacation. How dare we be so cold?

 The further downhill our families slide, the further our hearts drift from God. Look at the state of your family and let it be an indicator. How far have you and your family fallen? How far does that mean you and God have fallen?

 

What God Is Doing July 11, 2007

Filed under: Growth — judgedbyhim @ 7:28 pm

This post is on what God is doing in my life right now. I cannot possibly cover it all because this is such a time of spiritual and emotional growth for me.

Right now I am working as kitchen staff at a New Life Bible Camp in Buffalo Mills, Pennsylvania. Our theme this year is “Knights of the Quest”, concentrating on the armor of God as laid out in Ephesians 6.  Each day the kids study a different piece of the armor. There are eight camp weeks and the same lessons are repeated each week through the summer. The campers might not get all of it, but the staff at least is bound to learn it! I have heard these lessons so many times by now, and in so many different ways as I work with a different counselor each week, that I have learned the lessons so well. I can easily apply them to my life now, because they are present in my mind everyday.

 This camp season has been a time of strong spiritual growth for me, especially in the area of devotions. I have been so often lazy with my personal time with God. I read the Bible in Sunday School, every day with my school Bible curriculum, and often with my siblings or at youth group. With all that, I often blow off personal devotions. Here at camp, time with the Lord each day is something I have to do. I have to rely on God so heavily, as camp is a time of emotional, spiritual, and physical stress. I just can’t do it on my own. I have been reading a Proverb a day, plus a devotional for summer camp staff with three Bible readings. I often read Psalms as well. I have been amazed at what I have been missing when I do not spend time in God’s love letter to me! I find myself wanting to read more and being disappointed when I have to put it down to go to work in the kitchen. I had not realized how much I needed this. Praise God for keeping me dedicated to the reading of His Word!

 I have also been learning to see a bigger picture of God, as Job did. My devotional had me read in Romans 5 the other day. The subject was God’s love, but I got stuck on verses 3 and 4, when it talked about suffering bringing perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. I did not understand why character brought hope! As I thought it out piece by piece, I realized the answer. One attains perseverance by sticking it out through hardships. Why stick it out? Because we know God has a plan and we learn to rely on Him. That brings a godly character. That character is more Christ-like and more inclined to remember God’s sovereign plan for one’s life. Because of God’s plan, we have hope for our future. God has a plan far bigger than my understanding. In fact, He is so much bigger than my understanding! The night after I read this devotion, a camp leader spoke on seeing the bigger picture of God. He said that fear cannot hinder us if we realize what a mighty God we serve. He read through several chapters of Job, where God drives home to a suffering Job how big He really is. How can we doubt the hope we have in a God that big? As I mentioned in my last post, fear is an issue I deal with daily. Here I see that I need not give in to fear in any way. My God is so much bigger than that!

God has also been teaching me how to rely on Him as not only my Savior, but also my best friend. At camp, I am three hours from my dear friends and family, with a ten minute phone limit, no cell phone, Stone Age internet, and a 10-minute computer use limit. I feel so cut off from all the people I love so dearly. My heart aches for my 22-month-old baby sister, for my best friend I normally see twice a week, and my parents to whom I can tell anything. I long to talk to my 14-year-old brother, who is almost as close, and closer in some ways, as my best friend. Yet I realize that I should be relying on God as my very best friend on earth. There is no limit on the time I can spend talking to Him. The connection is always available, never slow or busy. He knows me far better than Mom, Dad, best friend, or close brother. He knows exactly what I need to hear when I come to Him feeling heartbroken or defeated. He is the one person who will never let me down. Why, oh why, should I feel lonely?

I thank everyone who has prayed for me as I seek to work out my “issues” and my struggles. They have encouraged me so much. Most of all, I thank my God and my Savior, for He is the One who will always be there to catch me when I fall (and oh, man, I do fall!).

 I am such a chatterbox! I’ll check in soon with more on how camp is going. That 10-minute computer use is going into effect and there’s someone waiting!

 In Christ,
Katrina