Tag Archives: Jesus

the light house

I like to name things. My first car, a 1996 Chevy Monte Carlo, was appropriately named Bernice by my high school friends and every car since has been blessed by a name that most certainly fits her personality. Yes, they’re all ladies. ‘Cause who run the world? Girls. Duh.

And I like to name the places I’ve lived that have not been owned by my parents or universities.

We’ve had 67 David, the Thrifty Apartment, and the House on Winona.

I’ve been in my current living space for over 3 years and have never been able to land on a name that felt right, until recently.

I give you, The Light House.

I took this picture one morning while sipping on my coffee. I’ve sat in this exact spot many times over the last 38 months, but it wasn’t until month 37 when someone else called out the light pouring in that I began to realize just how much light truly pours in.

If there’s one thing that’s not a secret about me, it’s that I deeply value my friendships. I don’t know how to live life alone. Which is a good thing, because I can often slip into the lie that I am, indeed, living life alone. It’s easy for the enemy to gently remind me that at the end of the day I fall asleep by myself. I make meals for myself. There isn’t a spouse/roommate/sibling/etc around to casually have eyes on me in the mundane space of life to make sure I’m okay. Taken at face value, it makes sense that I would feel alone. That things would feel dark, bleak, and well, sad.

But that’s where the Light shows up.

I got this image tattooed on my body – where one gets tattoos – at the end of a really weird and hard season:

It’s a form of prayer called visio divina – divine seeing. The artist, Scott Erickson, has this caption on his Instagram: “May I be gifted with loved ones who remember who I am when I forget; because I will forget.”

And that’s what the enemy forgets about. The father of lies forgets about the Father of Truth. He forgets about the people of God that come in with the Light of Christ to reignite my truer identity.

The identity of friend.
Of sister.
Of Beloved.


Month 37 in the previously unnamed Light House, my friend sat on my couch as I unleashed scenarios that were ripping at my core, trying their best to dim the Light. As she prayed, she said, “God, I’m just now noticing the light that is pouring into this place…”

And that’s when I began to realize that all these months, all these years, all these days spent confused and muddling around have actually been time spent of Light just pouring into this place.

God has been in the business of exposing darkness.
Of literally and figuratively pouring out His Light into the space that I inhabit.

It really hit me the next morning when I woke up and noticed His actual sunlight pouring over the list of prayers I had written out for 2022, hanging in my bedroom:

It’s not lost on me that a tattoo I got a year and a half ago is literally a bunch of candles re-lighting the center candle.
It’s not lost on me that no matter what time of day, rays of sunshine can be seen illuminating my home.
It’s not lost on me that the ones who remind me who I am when I forget are anchored into the true source of Light – Jesus – and are unwilling to let me forget that my anchor holds strong in Him as well.


John 8:12 says, “Jesus spoke to them again: ‘I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.'”

This is all I have.

Light.

Darkness has done it’s finest work to try to snuff it out, but no matter what, the sun rises and light pours in.

And also Light pours in.

So, this is The Light House.

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2021 – the year of abundance

It’s time for a word-of-the-year recap! The only consistency this blog has offered in the last 3 years!

2021 saw me leave behind hope in an effort to move forward with abundance. 2021 was going to be the year that I watched God grow up out of the ground all of the things we had been planting together over the last few years. It was going to be the year that I asked, of every person/situation/choice/etc, “Is this life or death? Because if it’s death, I want nothing to do with it.”

The verse that I sat with for 365 days (2021 wasn’t a leap year, right?) was John 10:10 – “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I (Jesus) came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

I said to myself over-and-over again…

iykyk

“Is this trying to steal, kill, or destroy? Or is this bringing me life?”
One is from the thief.
One is from Jesus.

And if it’s from Jesus, abundance will follow.

The tricky thing for my heart in leaning in to that line of thinking was/is – does declaring something as God’s abundance mean that I think He is some kind of genie? That all along it’s just been up to me to ‘name it and claim it’? All God has been waiting for was for me to say some magical word and then He would open the floodgates of heaven?

Youth group worship song session, anyone?

I used to think that abundance would have to show up as grand, big, and uncontainable. But it doesn’t. Turns out, God’s abundance – the kind of life giving abundance that Jesus came to give to His people – found it’s way in to my life in really small, ordinary, what some might call mundane things.

His abundance was found in a condo with friends making homemade birthday potstickers.
His abundance was found in a new pair of cycling shoes.
His abundance was found in my nephew seeing himself as Iron Man on a poster for his third birthday and losing his mind in the best of ways.
His abundance was found in weeping on friends couches because I’d been delighting myself in the Lord for so long and yet He had not given me the desires of my heart and nothing makes sense anymore.
His abundance was found in a vacation in the mountains with my family.
His abundance was found in a thousand small ways that prior to this year I would have never given Him credit for.

The thing I learned from this year is that I need to keep asking, “Is this trying to steal, kill, or destroy? Or is this trying to give me life?”
Because if it’s life, it’s from Jesus.
And if it’s from Jesus, abundance will follow.

And if simple life from Jesus is all the abundance I ever get, I think I’ll be set.

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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.

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a time to sow

A few weeks ago a friend asked if she could call me her farmer friend. “If someone asks, ‘Where’d you learn that?’ I can say, ‘my Farmer Friend Kayla told me!'” To which I said, “Absolutely. I am your farmer friend.”

My parents may get a kick out of that one because the 14 year old that complained every time she was told to weed the garden did not expect to ever lay claim to the title of ‘farmer friend’ in adulthood. She wanted to flee the 90+ acre plot of land and make sure she always brought her nice jeans back with her whenever she visited so she wouldn’t have to do ‘farmer friend’ type of work.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve given quite a bit of thought to farming and planting and growing and all the outside things that I grew up around. There is definitely something spiritual about getting your body outside and your hands in the dirt.

Scripture has a lot to say about the agricultural process. Historically, it makes sense, because the people the words of the Bible were written to were agricultural people. They didn’t have Twitter or blogs or digital billboards. So, good on you God for meeting Your people where they were at!

Books can be (and have been) filled with the connection between the land and our spiritual lives. It is good – as a farmer – to let your land rest so that it can replenish and continue to produce. It is good – as a human – to let your body rest so that it can replenish and continue to produce. See where I’m going?

But the earth-to-spirit line that God keeps bringing into my mind is that there is a time to sow and a time to reap. A time to plant and a time to uproot.

Right now, seeds and plants are in the ground. A few weeks ago, all you could see was the dirt that covered them. As days progress and the seed dies in order to reproduce, tiny sprouts begin to emerge. It will be quite a while before any of the things that went into the ground give us something that we can pick, wash, and eat/enjoy.

In many ways, this is exactly what is happening in our lives. Right now is a time to sow into our hearts/bodies/minds/spirits/homes/etc. I feel so deeply that Jesus is inviting us to plant Him into the soil of our lives, cover Him up with dirt, and let Him do a work. What better time than now – the season of spring, where new life is budding up all around us – to let our Redeemer bury Himself into us and see what happens. As we will do with our plants, we check in every day: How’s the soil? Does it need water? How are the plants? Do they need pruned? What do the leaves look like? Are there bugs? Disease? Things that need to be guarded against?

And as we put in the time to tend the earth around us, as well as tend to our own lives, we will see a harvest. It won’t be tomorrow. I can promise that. Nothing real and valuable grows that fast. But we will see a harvest.

So, sow. Press in. Let Jesus take root in your life and see what kind of fruit comes to the surface.

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easter sunday

Well, team, we’ve made it. It’s here! Easter Sunday! Christ has risen from the grave, crushing the head of the enemy, defeating death and conquering the grave once and for all!

The reality of a Sunday Kingdom – where life wins over death – is upon us. We are a people that belong to the One who is found among the living.

Yet, this morning, as I read through and thought about the Gospel accounts of the third day, I couldn’t help but hang out with Thomas for a bit.

“But Thomas (called ‘Twin’), one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples were telling him, ‘We’ve seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘If I don’t see the mark of the nails in his hands, put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will never believe.’
A week later his (Jesus’) disciples were indoors again, and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and look at my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Don’t be faithless, but believe.’
Thomas responded to him, ‘My Lord and my God!'” – John 20:24-28 CSB

If you’ve spent about 2 minutes in a church, you’ve probably heard about Doubting Thomas. I grew up picturing him as this snotty dude that rolled his eyes at his fellow disciples and was about as sarcastic as I hope to be when I grow up. He just has a bit of a bad rap with the church folk.

But over the last few months, and especially today, I find myself seeing Thomas in a different light, having more compassion for the guy.

Today I read these verses with a little color commentary in my own mind that went a lil somethin like this: “Guys, I can’t. I have put too much hope into this to be let down. Please do not fill my head and my heart with this if it isn’t true. I cannot continue to put hope out there and get hurt again. Friday crushed me. He died. Unless I touch Him, I can’t put myself out there for Him again.”

And then, a whole friggin week later, Jesus shows up (JUST BY WALKING THROUGH A WALL MIGHT I ADD), and gives Thomas what he needed.
“Here, Thomas. Put your finger here. It’s me. Don’t be afraid. I’m here.”

Thomas’ response hits my heart today. He needed the physical Jesus to ease his pain and fill his heart with hope again. He couldn’t just take someone else’s word for it.

And the most beautiful thing is that Jesus does show up again, and gives Thomas exactly what he needs.

He didn’t give him a 45 minute sermon on doubt and disbelief.
He didn’t tell him to find an accountability partner to ask him how he’s doing with trusting the Lord on a regular basis.
He didn’t shame him for having feelings that Christians “aren’t supposed to have.”

He gave him the Messiah he needed.
He gave him the Bread of Life.
He gave him his Resurrected King.

And that’s what I’m leaving Holy Week with – a Resurrected King.

But I’m also leaving Holy Week with a little bit of Thomas, asking Jesus to renew my hope by showing me Himself.

And I have no doubt that He’ll do just that.

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