psalm 36

As one might do on a Wednesday night, I started to go through photos on my phone to delete unnecessary screen shots and memes that have already been shared with my friends. I wasn’t expecting to stumble upon notes from a podcast I listened to in January that brought me to tears:

notes from the podcast “Fun Therapy” with guest Annie F. Downs

Side note: if you don’t have a whiteboard somewhere in your living quarters, were you even raised by a coach?!

“God is not eager to dissappoint* me.”

*don’t judge me for my hasty spelling

I have used the word “eager” a lot this week. Merriam-Webster defines the word as: marked by enthusiastic or impatient desire or interest.

I have very impatient interest in a lot of things currently. I am looking forward with great eagerness for moments on the horizon. And what January Kayla reminded April Kayla of tonight is that, in the midst of my anxious eager energy, God’s eagerness for me is way more kind that my eagerness for myself.

He is not eager to disappoint.

Psalm 36:7-9 says, “How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights. For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.”

God is eager for my good. He has enthusiastic desire to shelter me, care for me, pour out His abundance on me.

Often, in my own self-pity, I can project the belief that God is eager to let me down. Like a playground punk that takes every slide, swing, and climbing wall out from under me.

But that’s just not His character.

His character is that of a loving, kind, generous Father that allows His children to drink deeply from His fountain of life.

So tonight, I’m saying thank you to past-Kayla because she has ministered to present-Kayla’s heart. And I’m going to curl up under the wings of a faithful, loving, kind Shelter who is eager for my good.

Tagged

psalm 35

A couple years ago I started writing through the Psalms in an effort to work out my finger muscles and then, well, I just got lazy and stopped.

So I thought tonight would be a great night to pick it back up with Psalm 35.

This psalm shows how the faithful people of God should pray when malicious people are seeking to harm them. It’s an interesting one to open up to on a day like today, where our nation’s capital has, essentially, been attacked.

It would be easy for me to take these verses and put a nice American twist on them, focusing on how God should rescue America from those that scheme against us (and let you interpret for yourself who the schemers are). But, may I remind us that God is not under America’s control. America is under God’s control. Because all of time and place is under God’s control. And the Bible does not exist to justify, or satisfy, our political or national agendas.

The plea of verse 1 – “Content, O Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me!” – has nothing to do with national imprecation.
Sure, David was singing this song of prayer while he was being pursued by enemies. He was crying out for his God to intervene and save his life. But David is not America.

This psalm does, however, have everything to do with God’s people being confident enough in the One who says He will, and already has, fight for His people. The One who defeated death so that we might have life. And, follower of Jesus, you belong to a Kingdom that America will never fully understand.

The cry of verse 1 is that God will take up the cause of His people.

This feels really disjointed and floppy and just not well written, but my finger muscles are starting to get worked out again and sometimes the first workout back is always the choppiest.

So with that in mind, I end with this prayer:
Holy, Just, and Righteous God – take up the cause of Your people. Give me, and those reading, consistent desire to hand our cause over to You – to be molded by Your Word, Your Spirit, and Your Father heart for us. When we ask, “How long, O Lord, will you look on?”, remind us that you are continually with us – that nothing catches You off guard. Remind us that You are still God and You are still good. That your mercy endures forever. That You will not be put to shame. And that Your Kingdom will reign eternal.
Amen.

Tagged

done with hope

Did my clickbait title get ya?

Before anyone gets too worried, I’m not done with hope in the way that I’m not hopeful. I’m just done with hope as my word of the year.

If you’ve been around for very long (at least a year), you’ve been through my word-of-the-year recap blog. For 2019 and 2020, my word stayed the same: hope. You can read about my 2019 adventure with hope here.

Rather than resolutions, I pick a word or theme for my upcoming year. It typically changes, but for many reasons, last year it stayed the same. A carryover from the year before. Because my hope was different. In 2019 I was hoping for a certain thing. I was expecting a big event to turn my life around. And when I was faced with the thing I hoped for, I realized my hope was misplaced.

While I was tricking myself into thinking my 2019 hope was rooted in the Lord, long story short, it wasn’t. It was rooted in material gain.

And at the end of 2019 I knew I still needed hope, but specifically renewed and restored hope.

I needed honest hope.
I needed hope that wasn’t afraid to admit hopelessness.
I needed hope that could tell others when it was drowning in despair.
I didn’t need hope that just put on a happy face a looked forward to the next great thing.

And that’s what 2020 was about.
Restored and renewed hope.

**Insert quip about a global pandemic here**

For me, 2020 has been difficult, but in a lot of ways it hasn’t. Sure, aspects of my job changed. I didn’t get to spend as much time with my family as I wanted. I wasn’t able to see Hamilton OR Mean Girls live (still grieving those losses).

But on the upside: Friendships grew in holy ways. I set a personal health goal and crushed it. I got a new tattoo as a reminder of how kind the Lord is to me through His people. I welcomed 2 new miniBFFs into the crew and am anxiously awaiting the third. I met with Jesus in more honest and vulnerable places than I ever have before. I let Holy Spirit teach me lessons about my mind, heart, and body that I didn’t know I needed to learn. And I’ve settled into knowing deep in my bones that God is good, He is kind, He is for His people, and I’ll never fully understand Him. And that is okay.

In a lot of ways, this year of hope has felt like a really kind and patient farmer preparing His land for planting. Not harvesting, but planting. He dug up old roots, aerated the soil, mixed in some fertilizer, and is letting the ground lie still for a bit before putting the seed in.

And the main ingredient that will help that seed flourish is hope. Eager expectation that the Good Farmer plants exactly what needs to be planted and cares for the seed until it is done flourishing.

Romans 5:5 says, “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Spending 2 years with hope has not put me to shame.
Spending 2 years with hope has consistently reminded me that God’s love is constantly pouring out into His people in the most unexpected places.
Even in the midst of a global pandemic.

I’m ready to see what soil filled with hope will give me in 2021.

Also, I started this blog 7 years ago today. Happy birthday, my friend. I hope 2nd grade is treating you well.

Tagged , , ,

the gift of presence

First of all, this will not be a Christmastime Jesus Juke about how you shouldn’t buy presents. I’m too shallow for something like that.

Still buy presents.
Presents are fun.

And this really is not specifically tied to Christmastime anyway. It’s tied to my refrigerator.


There is no secret about what I thought my life would look like at the age I am now. I thought I would have a husband, at least one kid, and at least one house. To-date, I have no husbands, no kids, and an apartment. Like most single people that I know, my heart longs for a family that I create with a man that loves me enough to give me his last name. (That unintentionally sounds like a potentially bad country song. My apologies.)

I grew hearing things like, “Well, work on being content in the Lord, and once you’re fully satisfied in Him, He will bring you the right man!” and “Just keep working on being the best wife you can be so God can bring you a husband!” And, as far as I can tell, that’s a load of B.S.

You don’t eat dinner once to the point of satisfaction and never eat a meal again.

God doesn’t work that way. He doesn’t dangle the deepest desires of your heart out in front of you, just waiting for that magical moment when your chakras align and He can send Mr. Right to your doorstep. He is not waiting for me to reach some point of maturity, signaling that I have earned a right to get what I want.

But He is faithful, even when my deepest desires remain just that – a desire. Desire means “to long or hope for.” A definition that insinuates you don’t have the thing.

And the thing my refrigerator is telling me right now is that He, indeed, is faithful.
And that it is okay to continue hoping for that which I do not have.

He is faithful in His ordinary presence.
He is faithful in the gift of His people.
He is faithful in unexpectedly fulfilling the desires I so deeply long for.


I told my friend recently that I truly don’t know what to do with all of the love inside of my body for the miniBFFs in my life. (Shoutout to Annie F. Downs for that oh-so-appropriate term.)

It is difficult to comprehend why God would allow me to be ordinarily present in their lives.
That I can show up on a Tuesday night because I forgot my coat and be tackled by a toddler.
That another can ask his mom why I still haven’t taken my picture from his house to bring it to mine (even though he told me I had to keep it there…).
That with just a look these little people are the face of God Himself to me.

The gift of presence is that my longings matter.
My wants matter.
My heart matters.

And God is not unfaithful to give me what I want.

He gives me exactly what I want in ways I never knew I wanted them. And my refrigerator is reminding me of that tonight.

bonus points if you can pick the 2 that say happy birthday.
Tagged , , ,

bear the burden

I’ve been thinking a lot about burdens this year. 2020 itself has been one of the biggest burdens most of us have faced in our lifetimes. I’ve been thinking about how we are so quick to do everything we can to alleviate all burdens, to throw off everything that is hard and painful and takes some work to deal with.

The word “burden” as defined by the internet mean: “a load, typically a heavy one.”

So, by using context clues, we can arrive at the conclusion that burdens are not fun.

Everyone has burdens. Sickness, loneliness, financial stress, a job they don’t like, a bad piece of meat that gave them stomach cramps…you get it. Anything that we can say is hard or heavy is a burden.

Burden is also, apparently, a movie released in 2018 starring Usher. You’re welcome, I think?

And typically, we work really hard at skirting the burden. At the first sign of something heavy, we run in the opposite direction, often (for me) using coping mechanisms that I think will take the burden away.

We accumulate wealth to ease the burden of financial want.
We drink to ease the pain of another night alone.
We numb out on any form of entertainment to disengage from the world around us.

And the funny thing is, those things just become another burden.
We cannot live a life burden-free.


I’ve been reading through the Gospels this summer on a loop and I can’t help but notice that as Jesus is introducing the Kingdom of God, He isn’t introducing a Kingdom of absence. He is introducing a Kingdom of abundance, yet that requires some work.

He says in Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT), “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Did you catch that? Jesus isn’t removing every burden. He is giving me His burden.

A light one.
A burden that – rather than being heavy – actually gives me deep, soul rest.


Too often when things get heavy I keep the yoke of my own burden on my shoulders. And, even though I’ve got those solid outfielders shoulder-arms, the weight becomes too much. My soul gives out, falls over, and can’t go on.

But when I intentionally take upon my shoulders the burden of Jesus – the burden that declares the work is done, the penalty of sin is taken care of, and the grace for each moment of my life is freely given with no strings attached – when I put that burden on my shoulders, it is light.

It is easy.
It is good.
Because it’s from Jesus.

Don’t eliminate the burden.
Bear the burden of Jesus.

Tagged , ,