Hey all! It’s Kat. Thanks for stopping by. Glad you’re here to celebrate my 50th blog post with me. I couldn’t have done it without you!
To see the full video, please check out my Rumble channels. Links are below. It’s all free and all for you.
Kat and Andee: https://rumble.com/v2e5x6u-its-a-long-run.html
Kat Controversy: https://rumble.com/v2e5xro-its-a-long-run.html
Until next time, stay happy, stay healthy, stay in the know.
Hey all! It’s Kat. Thanks for stopping by. Still working on something very special for my 50th blog post. In the meantime, I made another compilation video of past articles. Check out the promo for it below.
To see the full video, please check out my Rumble channels. Links are below. It’s all free and all for you.
Kat and Andee: https://rumble.com/v2d3ts2-blogs-still-arent-blah.html
Kat Controversy: https://rumble.com/v2d3tvo-blogs-still-arent-blah.html
Until next time, stay happy, stay healthy, stay in the know.
Hey all! It’s Kat. Thanks for stopping by. I’m working on something very special for my 50th blog post. It may take a little while. In the meantime, check out this promo for a short video I made featuring some highlights from previous articles. To see the full video, please check out my Rumble channels. Links are below.
It’s all free and all for you.
The topic of revival has made headlines recently as students from all over are gathering for prayer, praise and worship on their college campuses and elsewhere. Their outpouring of faith and hunger for the presence of God inspires me. I realize, however, there are many people who may not know or understand what is happening. This piece is my humble attempt to add to the conversation and, hopefully, help bring some clarity.
A sustained movement of a group of people fervently seeking and worshipping God together is often labeled a revival. The size of the gatherings usually starts fairly small and grows as news of what’s happening spreads. It doesn’t typically have a set structure or formula. Its origin is typically an ordinary meeting that suddenly becomes something far greater. Revival is when God interrupts the plans and programs of men.
A common thread in revival is people come and don’t want to leave. They find something in that atmosphere which compels them to stay. As they pray, sing, and meditate, they lose track of time and any burdens they were carrying.
As someone who has been blessed to live the experience, it’s hard to describe. To say you come in feeling one way and leaving another is far too simplistic and trivial. Revival goes far beyond an emotional reaction. Revival can be life altering. You go to another place in the spirit, for lack of a better phrase. Your body is physically in the same space, but your spirit has entered into God’s presence. This is why you may see people laughing, crying, bowing, kneeling, or even silent. It’s a whole different world, no exaggeration. And it’s a place of perfect peace and joy. Who wouldn’t want to stay there?
In the natural, revived means you either lost consciousness or worse, and some outside measure brought you back. Your body was failing you, and some outside intervention caused it to reboot, to start again.
The same is true when we are spiritually revived. Our spirit is weak, failing. We need a Jesus intervention to get us back to the place of passion and purpose in our faith.
As wonderful as it is to see so many young people choosing Jesus over the lame offerings of this world, this is only the first phase. Think about it. If you lose consciousness and are revived, it doesn’t end there. Either you need further medical care for full restoration, or you are now able to carry on with your life.
The same is true with revival. It’s meant to reignite believers, draw others in, and show a weary world God still cares.
Large scale gatherings such as those on the college campuses can go on for an extended period of time. But they’re not designed to be forever. They’re meant to be for a God-appointed season. It could be days, weeks, month, or even years.
The challenge becomes what do we do after the initial outpouring is over? When the hoopla dies down, is it business as usual again? Sadly, sometimes that does happen. I’ve lived through insanely miraculous, powerful seasons of revival only to be followed by dry, stagnant seasons.
I firmly believe in the power and necessity for collective gatherings to worship the Lord. But that is not and cannot be the only avenue. We must realize God can meet us anywhere at any time. I may never get to any of the campuses, but that doesn’t mean I can’t experience revival in my own life, even in my own living room.
Just as natural fire needs tending or it will die out, our spiritual fire needs attention too. We can be inspired by a movement, but we can’t be spectators. We can’t live vicariously through another person. They can be a catalyst for us, and light a spark, but it’s up to us to fan the flame and keep it growing in ourselves. We can then help spread it to those around us.
We are to take what we gain in those meetings, in those moments in God’s presence, and use it in our daily lives. This takes discipline, self-control and perseverance. We can’t water it down to emotions and what we feel. Because there are plenty of days we just won’t want to do it. We won’t want to pray or meditate, or worship, or go to service, or read the Bible, or anything. And our fire gets a little dimmer each time we choose to not do something.
What we do after the first wave, is where real change can take place. Will we use what God has shown us or put into our hearts? Will we accept the challenge of walking differently from the world around us? Will we be bold and take a stand and not go along with anything that doesn’t align with the will of God? Will we be a lit flame, smoldering ember, or a heap of ashes?
I’ve been a flame. I’ve been an ember. I pray I’m never a heap of ashes, but I know God is able to revive me in any of those states, if I seek Him. I also know that a roaring fire is better. It can be scary at first. You’re often going against the world and culture. But God will never leave us. You know I brought receipts. (Any and all Bible verses, unless otherwise indicated, are from biblegateway.com NIV, emphasis added.)
For this is what the high and exalted One says—He who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite. (Isaiah 57:15)
After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will restore us, that we may live in His presence. (Hosea 6:2)
When we’re feeling intimated by the world around us, may I suggest reading Psalm 119. Many verses are dedicated to asking God for personal revival. Here’s an example. Check this out:
Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things and revive me in Your way. (Psalm 119:37, NKJV)
Let us not be witnesses of revival. Let us be active participants, whether we’re on the campuses, on our jobs, in our homes, or any and everywhere we go. Let us be a flame, a beacon of light, for all to see and come to know the One who loves them and came to save them.
Until next time: stay happy, stay healthy, stay in the know. Light ‘em up.
Look forward to hearing from you,
Author’s note: Last week I wrote the first article in this two-part series. It covered the definition of and need for repentance. I recommend, if you haven’t already, please read it before going any further. It’s not that you can’t read this now. I just believe there are some foundational blocks in that piece you should keep in mind as you read this article. Ultimately, of course, the choice is yours. But I digress.
I’m not going to lie. When I felt deep in my heart that I needed to discuss difficult subjects such as: our sinful nature, the need for repentance, and the reality of judgment, I was nervous. These certainly aren’t popular topics, and their serious tone doesn’t leave much room for humor. But my motto is: humor, heart, hope. I can’t always stay on light-hearted topics, especially in these times.
Even the most apolitical individual has to be feeling something is off. Things aren’t right. The amount of: anger, division, lawlessness, depravity, degradation and disrespect is spreading faster than a stage 4 cancer.
We’re being funneled through an endless tunnel of crisis after crisis. One can argue who or what are the authors of these calamities. Are they natural or manufactured? I will make a bold declaration here by stating regardless of what force is generating the problem, God is sovereign. This means He’s aware of and permitting certain situations to take place. This next statement is where I’ll earn my Kat Controversy nickname for today:
Let me make one thing perfectly clear: God absolutely loves you. He IS love. Yet He despises sin. Sin has real consequences, some immediate or in the near future, others eternal. Jesus came and took that final punishment, the eternal wrath, for our sins. This was the only way to restore us back to God the Father. That’s why we call Jesus our Savior. Without His death on the cross, and resurrection, we would be eternally separated from God because of sin. Sin kept us from God. Jesus’s sacrifice reunites us with Him. We are rescued from an eternal sentence, but we may still have to serve a short term or pay some form of penalty for our sin on this side of heaven. Sometimes we’re spared any consequence and merely warned of what could have happened. Other times, we have to experience a taste of it. God has this in place by design to help us learn, grow, repent. Any good parent knows sometimes you must let the unfortunate choice your child makes play out for them to learn the lesson and become wiser and more mature for it.
People filter themselves through the lens of being a good person. But how do you define what that is? We may have our own interpretations based on our experiences, cultures, etc. My definition might not completely match yours. Here’s what I do know (and where Kat Controversy kicks it into high gear):
Let’s take a deep breath before anyone turns into a keyboard warrior and attacks. As a Christian, I do believe faith without works is dead. We are to try and conduct our lives according to the example set by Jesus. They didn’t come up with the slogan WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) all those years ago for nothing. It’s a simple reminder to consider how the Lord would handle situations. Be slow to speak and quick to hear. Do everything in love.
The fact remains, however, that no amount of good works could ever repair the divide between us and God because of sin. Only the finished work of Jesus on the cross could bring us back into God’s presence. Why? Because God hates sin. He can have no part of it.
Here’s another hard truth: we can still sin even after being saved and repenting. How can that be? Because we’re still human, and as such we’re imperfect and sometimes weak. But God! Because of Jesus’s sacrifice on our behalf, God can look upon us and not see our sin. (Of course, this is in no way a suggestion or endorsement to continue to sin.) It is just an assurance of His great love for us. His perfect plan was Jesus died once for all our sins.
Now let’s transition to the subject of judgment. (Insert dramatic music here.) We just covered how all of us have the capacity to sin (and probably have sinned more than we realize). Yet many of us feel emboldened to judge others for their sins. I’m not too prideful to admit I’ve been guilty of this too. It’s simple to do sometimes, isn’t it?
I could say a lot on this, because as I just mentioned, I’ve definitely had many judgey (my new word) moments. But I never want you to take my word for it alone. You know I brought receipts. (Any and all bible verses, unless otherwise indicated, are from biblegateway.com, NIV, emphasis added.)
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. (Romans 2:1)
Yup. Started out with a gut punch, I know. But take it up with the Lord, not me. If you thought that one was rough, check this out:
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5)
That last scripture is a quote from Jesus himself. Yes, the same Jesus who loves you no matter what. Do you feel the conviction as He so eloquently compares the speck in someone else’s eye to the plank in your own? Other translations call it a log! And you know He meant business whenever He used the word hypocrite.
There are more verses I could cite, but I think we’re starting to get the point. We can’t afford to be judgmental. Let’s just say to be judgmental could be detrimental. (I like that. Feel free to use it too.)
But please don’t get it twisted. If God hates sin, we should too. You may have heard the expression to “hate the sin but love the sinner”. Isn’t that the example Jesus gave? He didn’t agree with anyone’s sinful behavior. But He loved them enough to come and offer them the opportunity to be delivered from it. He met people where they were and called them to repentance, to the turning away from sin back to the Father. I believe that’s the posture we are to take. We don’t deny sin or excuse it, but we don’t sit in judgment over others because we’re not exempt from the possibility of sinning too.
Something troubling I’ve noticed in the faith-based community is a propensity to judge others while forgetting we too will stand before the Lord when this world ends. It’s as if they feel since they accepted Jesus, they somehow get a free pass. They’re on the express VIP line. Except that’s not true at all.
Please feel free to doubt me. Check this out:
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10)
Did you notice it doesn’t say some or even many? Nope. It says all on purpose. Each of us will stand before the Lord and have our life reviewed. As Christians, this doesn’t mean we’ll necessarily be denied entry to heaven. What it does mean is our reward in heaven is determined by what we did here on earth. Think about it. If it was only about accepting Jesus, then every person would go back to heaven after they did. Mission accomplished. Buh bye. Except that’s not what happens, is it? We have work to do while we’re here. We have an assignment. Check this out:
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)
We get a crown! How fun. You know I love me a tiara or two. But all jokes aside, there is a gift coming our way based on how we lived here. Did we love? Did we tell people about Jesus? Did we forgive? Did we talk nonsense? Check this out:
But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. (Matthew 12:36)
Gulp. This verse gets me every single time I read it. Idle, foolish words – I’ve certainly said more than my share. How about you?
We can pretend it’s not going to happen, but if we believe the Bible is the Word of God, then we know it will. Check out this powerful imagery in the book of Revelation:
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. (Revelation 20:12-13)
We make it complicated. We are to: Repent, Confess, Declare. Repent for our sins and recognize we need a Savior. Confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of our lives and without Him we are lost, doomed. Declare to the world who He is, what’s He’s done for us, that He’s coming back soon, and invite them to come to know Him for themselves.
So, as I close this article and this series, I need to leave you with this somber verse as a powerful reminder. Check this out:
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
Sin is real. We must repent of it and turn back to the Lord. Jesus made the way. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
If you’ve never received Him, I invite you to do so today. If you are saved but in a judgey place, please join me in repentance for that sin and any others. Let all of us stay mindful of His impending return and be about our assignment.
Until next time: stay happy, stay healthy, stay in the know. Get back to work.
Look forward to hearing from you,
As much as I do earn my nickname Kat Controversy, for the most part I am a rule follower. I suppose the rules just need to make sense to me in order to win my allegiance to them. But when instructions are clear, I can usually accomplish the task. I understand the assignment. When they’re poorly given, or not provided at all, then it gets complicated. If directions are murky, it’s up to me to interpret them. What I think they mean may not be what they actually mean. My performance may fall short and not even come close to the goal. I missed it. I failed.
At times I feel so helpless as I see people I’ve known for years going off on different ideological tangents, straying from the Truth. I’m not so prideful as to sit in judgement. I’ve been distracted at times as well. I suppose that’s why my heart hurts. I understand how easily we can lose our way and no longer understand our assignment.
This burden in my heart is what motivated me to write this two-part series. This week I wanted to focus on repentance. If there is one area of neglect and, by extension confusion, I believe it is this. Many pulpits don’t even speak the word, let alone teach on it. Sin and sinfulness also seem to be taboo subjects lately. I suppose if you water down the reality of our sinful nature then you really don’t need to speak on repenting from it, do you?
You may believe that to be a bold statement. You’d be correct. It also happens to be true. But we’ll go deep on that in a minute. First, I think we should define repentance in its proper biblical context. I did a quick search through several online dictionaries, and they all used terms such as feeling: regret, contrition, sorrow. They’re not wrong but those definitions are incomplete. When you repent, you do far more than feel bad or change your mind. You literally change course. You turn your back on whatever sinful act you were engaging in before. You go a different way, a better way, God’s way. You turn from sin to God.
If you doubt me, that’s great. I never want you to just take my word for it. You know I brought receipts. (Any and all Bible verses, unless otherwise indicated, are from biblegateway.com NIV, emphasis added.)
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, (Acts 3:19)
I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus. (Acts 20:21)
As someone who has sinned more than many, I can assure you the only way to avoid going back to your old ways is to repent. Turning your whole life over to Him is the key. Do I still sin? Yes. Does this mean repentance isn’t real? No. It just means my humanity, my flesh arises from time to time to try to drag me back. But its hold on me isn’t what it used to be. I can make my boast in Christ about that. My areas of sin have decreased. My areas of repentance have increased. Here’s the secret: because He loves me so profoundly and unlike any other love I’ve ever known, I want to change. Thank you, Lord! And my story is far from unique. Our God is so loving and filled with grace and mercy. He offers each one of us the same opportunity to start over, begin anew.
Jesus put it so beautifully in this verse. Check this out:
Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32)
Before I came to know Him as Lord and Savior, I was lost in my sinful nature. I wasn’t spiritually healthy. I was sick in my soul. On the surface I seemed fine. I had a lot of the trappings of this world: career, finances, etc. From the outside I looked OK. I could even convince myself I was most of the time. But then there’d be those moments, usually at night when I was alone. I’d begin to look at the totality of my life and wonder Is this all there is? I had friends, family, a job I enjoyed, but there was something missing. Back then I just didn’t know it wasn’t something; it was and will always be someOne.
We have access to a God who loves us. His love is everlasting. He accepts us as we are, yet because He loves us so much He can’t allow us to stay broken, sinful. Check this out:
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. (Revelation 3:19)
He will bring correction to our lives, just as any loving parent does. Though we may not enjoy the correction in the moment, I can assure you from personal experience, it is for our benefit. He sees all. We don’t.
In a word: YES! But again, please don’t take my word for it. Check out these two verses:
Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. (Revelation 2:5)
But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. (Romans 2:5)
In another word: YIKES! In the verse from Revelation, God wasn’t speaking to just anyone. The message was directed to (wait for it) A CHURCH: the church of Ephesus to be precise. I encourage you to read the whole chapter. In earlier verses, He tells of their good works. But then it’s time for the disciplining. Seems this church has strayed from first love: love of Him, intimacy with Him, strong connection and relationship with Him.
The verse from Romans is rather intense as well. As much as we don’t like to think about it, this world has an expiration date. Only God knows the exact timing (even Jesus doesn’t know). And when this world is ending, God will come to judge everyone.
I’m going to go in deep on the Final Judgement in next week’s article, the second part in this series. But suffice it to say that no one will be spared judgement. Sadly, I see many Christians believing since they’re saved, they’re exempt from standing before the Lord and having their whole life judged. They’re wrong.
I sometimes say I’m like John the Baptist, minus living in the wilderness eating bugs and wild honey and wearing animal skins. I’m pretty sure I understand my assignment at this time. It’s to call all of us (myself included) to repentance and keep us mindful of the final judgement. Of course, John said it way better than me. Check this out:
In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” (Matthew 3:1-2)
Jesus came once to save us. He’s coming back again. Are you prepared? What are you doing until He returns? Do you understand the assignment?
Until next time: stay happy, stay healthy, stay in the know. Stay in a posture of repentance.
Look forward to hearing from you,
(This article first appeared in Calla Press http://callapress.com back in November 2022. Encourage you to visit their site and check them out on Instagram @callapressandkin Great values. Great content.)
If you ever studied Shakespeare in school, this title may sound familiar. It was inspired by Richard III. It came to mind as I was preparing this article. I’m not sure about you, but I have spent many winter days in a discontented state. I’m not a fan of bitterly cold weather littered with gray skies. And please do not get me started on the subject of snow! Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate its beauty and stillness as it drifts down, blanketing the landscape. There is a kind of innocence and purity to it. A gentle silence fills the crisp air as if nature itself has stopped to take in the view. But the next morning when I am confronted by 6 or more inches of the dreaded white stuff that I must shovel to engage with the world again, I am anything but calm or content. I try to convince myself it’s a good workout but to no avail. With each shovelful of snow, my body and spirit grow weary.
Wintertime can feel very isolating and lonely. We tend to withdraw and hunker down until the first signs of spring. When I used to work in an office, I often felt I never saw the sun. I would leave for work; it would just be rising. I might catch a glimpse or two of that beautiful, yellow ball during lunch. But by the time I was ready to head home, it was setting. I used to call us mole people. If I didn’t make plans that were taking place directly after work, it was highly unlikely I would be going out at all. Once I got home, that was it. There is no way I’m putting that heavy coat, scarf, hat, and gloves back on to go outside in the now even colder weather. See you in April. We can chat on the phone until then. Now excuse me while I go put on some flannel pajamas and crawl under the covers. Wake me up in three months. The bears got it right. Let the hibernation season commence!
I remember as a child learning that the sun constantly goes through its cycles. Just because we don’t see it due to a cloudy or stormy sky doesn’t mean it’s not there. It rises and sets each day. I struggled to understand how that could be possible. How can such a powerful object seemingly disappear from view? Is it really there if I can’t see it or feel it? And what do I do with myself until I see it again?
We need the sun. It gives both psychological and physical health benefits. One obvious example is that our bodies use sunlight to assist in the production of Vitamin D, a vital nutrient for our bones and health. We need the sun.
Just as we need the sun, we need the Son. We profit from daily sunshine. It helps us in body, mind, and spirit. Isn’t the same true of a daily dose of the Son? But sometimes we can feel as if he’s very far away or not even there. Our hearts and minds may be clouded over with gray skies of thought preventing us from seeing him clearly, if at all. We’re dealing with a major storm of life. The Son seems distant, absent. We don’t feel his love. We may feel cold without his warmth shining down on us. If we stay too long in that place where our eyes are on the storm, and our thoughts are cloudy, we may begin to feel disconnected, discouraged, and discontented.
In nature, you have to wait for the sun to break through the clouds to see it, unless you’re in a plane. I find it fascinating how once the aircraft reaches a certain altitude, you see the sun in and through the clouds. On the ground one might say it’s a cloudy day. It may be raining or snowing. But from your seat, you see the sun. You can even feel its warmth as it streams through the window. In this example, which one of you is correct? You both are. At ground level the weather is unsettling, but up above it’s bright and sunny.
You know I brought receipts. (Unless otherwise indicated, all verses are from biblegateway.com, NIV, emphasis added.)
“…and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:6, ESV)
One of the beautiful aspects of Christianity is God gave us his Word to help carry us through dark days. If you’re feeling in a winter of discontent, open up his Living Word.
Do you want to feel the Son? Elevate your perspective. Seek and get seated with him in high places. Make a daily commitment to spend time in his presence. I realize it may be easier said than done. We all lead busy lives. Scheduling time alone with God can be challenging. My suggestion: start small. Perhaps it means setting the alarm a few minutes earlier or not hitting the snooze button. Be kind to yourself. Set an achievable goal. Once you reach it, move forward. If at first, it’s only 5-10 minutes, that’s a good start. Do you know why? You started. You’re no longer just talking about it; you’re actually doing it. Dedicate each morning to welcoming and thanking him. Open the Bible and ask God to speak to you through it. He will because he loves you and he is faithful. Put on some praise and worship music, if you can. Fill your room, your heart, and your mind with thoughts of him. If you enjoy singing in the shower, let your songs be full of gratitude and praise.
You can and should check back in with him throughout the day but seeking him first thing in the morning sets the right tone. On days when I hit the ground running, I have little peace. It seems like everything works against me. I become irritable and easily agitated. But if I start by joining my church family at 5 a.m. (yikes) for prayer, I may still face a lot of adversity and struggle, but my heart and mind are prepared. My perspective is elevated. I’m not seeing the storm the same way anymore. My seat is high above the clouds. I see the Son.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6, ESV)
God is not a liar. Perhaps what you perceive as him being distant is an invitation for you to draw closer. Sometimes it is us who have moved away, not him. He will never reject or neglect you.
Let his name be the first and last words that come out of your mouth each day. A simple way is to say this as soon as your eyes open in the morning and just before they close at night:
Thank you, Lord.
That wasn’t so hard, was it? Start small, but please start now. I’m praying for you. I know you can do it.
Until next time: stay happy, stay healthy, stay in the know. Stay above the clouds.
Look forward to hearing from you,
Recently, my niece and her young son came to visit. I found myself fixated on him, not because he’s incredibly sweet, funny, smart and adorable (which he is), but more because of his carefree attitude. After his initial shyness wore off, he was showing us how many push-ups he can do (significantly more than me, that’s for sure). He was laughing, joking, and just having fun, pure, innocent fun.
Some of us never had that opportunity. Life came crashing in early on and we had to grow up quickly. Others, like me, were fortunate to live through a season where our biggest issue was whether Mom had washed our favorite shirt or not.
When we’re little, we shouldn’t have to worry or be anxious about anything. It should be a time of exploration, learning and wonder. Is there anything more pure and joyful than laughter from a small child? There’s something so precious watching them play in the snow, or seeing their eyes get big as they take in their first movie in a theater.
Their innocence and excitement can be contagious. As they open that one special gift they asked for, and they scream with delight, you find your own cynicism melting away. You tap into their wholesome energy and joyful spirit, if only for a few moments. It’s a wonderful feeling.
When I was growing up, there weren’t any cell phones, computers or social media. It wasn’t exactly medieval times, but technology was still in its relative infancy. I’m sure I sound like an old fogie, but I do believe we had it easier and, dare I say, better. Why? Because we didn’t have all these distractions at our fingertips. We spent more time with each other, not hunched over an electronic device. We played games together as a family. We got into spats playing games together as a family. Someone (usually me) would quit the game we were playing together as a family.
We lived outside. I remember Mom would basically usher us out of the house on beautiful days. It was too nice to be stuck inside in front of the TV all day. Sure, she may have had an ulterior motive and just wanted a few minutes peace from four crazy kids, but she was right nonetheless.
Obviously, everything wasn’t always perfect. I’m nostalgic but realistic. I know there were some hard times too. But I appreciate the fact that I was able to be a kid. I didn’t have to worry about serious matters. We didn’t have a 24-hour news cycle. We could be shielded from some of the ugliness of our world.
Some may say kids are better off today because they’re more informed, more aware. I would argue that may be part of the problem. Our little ones are being exposed to subjects they can’t possibly really understand. They’re getting all this information thrown at them without them having the necessary coping skills to process it. Think about it. I know there are stories I see and read that concern me, and I’m a grown woman with 54 years on this planet. Now imagine those same stories in front of a 5-year-old. Suppose the story is about war or a violent crime. I can be troubled by it, but I’m old enough to think it through and handle my reaction. The 5-year-old doesn’t have the mental and emotional developmental skills to work through what they’re feeling. All they’re left with is feeling afraid. Over time, if those fears multiply, the child may end up feeling frequently anxious or even depressed.
“Go play. This is adult conversation.” We heard that phrase quite a bit when we were children. I resented it back then, but I get it now. The adults were trying to protect our innocence, preserve our sweet naivety for just a little while longer. They knew one day we’d be the adults at the table with the cares of the world on our shoulders. They didn’t want to burden us yet because they knew we were too young and might get crushed under the weight of it all. Our time would come soon enough. No need to rush it.
If you’ve ever read the Bible, you know God cares deeply for and about children. Don’t believe me? Great. You know I brought receipts. (Any and all verses, unless otherwise indicated, are from biblegateway.com, NIV, emphasis added.)
Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court. (Psalm 127:3-5)
Jesus embraced children. His heart was to bless and protect them always. Check this out:
People were bringing little children to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, He was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And He took the children in His arms, placed His hands on them and blessed them. (Mark 10:13-16)
Did you know God wants us to be childlike in our faith and love for Him? Check this out:
He called a little child to Him and placed the child among them. And He said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Matthew 18:2-6)
I’m sure I’m earning my Kat Controversy label with this article, and that’s OK. I’m willing to stand up for our little ones. I know I’m not alone. I pray you’ll stand with me as we protect our kids and safeguard their innocence. Less technology more family time. Less discussion of topics beyond their comprehension, more encouraging them to use their imagination, to dream, to wonder, to create. And maybe just maybe as we nurture and support their innocence, we might stir up our inner child to come out and play too.
Until next time: stay happy, stay healthy, stay in the know.
Look forward to hearing from you,
This phrase is far more than the partial title of a famous song from Boyz II Men. It’s perhaps one of the most basic truths we encounter. Goodbyes can be rough. First, let me be clear, I’m not talking about the casual ‘byes we exchange with friends and family on a routine basis. I mean the ones that signify the end of something, or at the very least, a season of separation, of being apart. These goodbyes are typically more serious, packed with mixed emotions. Both parties may be excited for the changes coming but are still sad for the current ending. Then there are those goodbyes filled with sadness and loss. This last category is what I chose to focus on for this piece.
Unfortunately, I’ve had to attend some wakes recently. Though the individuals we were honoring were older and had lived good, full lives, it’s still sad. We who are left behind find ourselves wanting just one more day with the person. We don’t know how to say goodbye. It’s so hard.
Over the past few years, I lost several important people in my life, including my two parents. It felt like the hits just kept coming. I’d barely be recovering from one loss when another one would happen. I really can’t believe they’re gone. There are still times when I want to tell my Dad a crazy story or show something to my Mom. Gratefully, I was able to say my goodbyes to them, but it still wasn’t enough. In my opinion, it’s never enough.
In my first book, I included a chapter called Woulda Coulda Shoulda. A similar title could have been Gravesite Regret. When someone passes away, everything stops. We now have no way to change or improve our relationship with that person. We can’t tell them one more story or share one more memory. We can’t get clarity on any outstanding issues. We can still choose to forgive, but we can no longer seek forgiveness.
In this same chapter I covered how there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting barreling down a dark, self-destructive path is a great idea; it isn’t. But I don’t believe anyone gets to dictate how we should grieve or for how long. No two people may grieve the same way. I even notice I’m mourning my Dad’s passing differently from my Mom’s. They were both my parents. They were both loving and supportive, yet my grief for each of them is different. They were individuals and my relationship with each was unique. It makes sense, therefore, that I’d have separate, distinct expressions of my loss.
I don’t know how many times I started crying for no apparent reason. At first it was unsettling. I began to wonder if I might be losing it altogether. I’d be going about my day: in the car, at the store, any and everywhere and boom! The waterworks would start and I couldn’t stop them. Believe me, I tried. I came to realize I needed to just pray through it and ride it out.
I believe there are acute and chronic phases of grief, but no timetable is ever observed. There’s its initial invasion when the loss first happens and includes the days and weeks shortly thereafter. For some, it can be the most devastating phase, particularly if the loss was unexpected or sudden. For others, there may be business to attend to: making arrangements, hosting, possibly handling estate matters, etc. There’s no room for grief. There’s too much to be done, too many distractions.
Whether we feel its impact right away or some time later, grief will make its presence known. Though I’m certainly not going to tell you how to grieve, my best advice is to make room for it when it shows up.
I would also suggest you try not to isolate. After the initial influx of people and support, things can get very quiet and lonely. People need to get back to their lives and routines. It’s not their fault, but then you may feel left to grieve alone. In those moments, please reach out to someone. If you can’t, please consider reaching out to God. He’s always there to take your call.
As a Christian, we are fortunate to have hope amid great loss and sorrow. I know I will see my loved ones again. I am certain of it. For believers, we see death as a transition from one plane of existence to another–from this life to the next. We believe we are spirit. Though our natural bodies perish, our spirit lives on. Our years spent on this planet are but a blink of an eye compared to the eternity that awaits us.
You know I brought receipts. (Any and all bible references, unless otherwise indicated, are from biblegateway.com NIV, emphasis added.)
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (1 John 5:11)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;” (John 11:25)
What these verses so powerfully demonstrate is how Jesus conquered the grave. His sacrificial death and resurrection offers us the opportunity for eternal life. All that is required of us is to accept the gift He gave. You doubt me? Great! Check this out:
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)
My prayer to you, dear reader, is if you don’t know Him, let today be the day you do. If you do know Him and you’re struggling with grief and loss, my prayer is He would send His Comforter (the Holy Spirit) to help you navigate the rough seas.
Jesus lived on this earth fully divine and fully human. He experienced every emotion and temptation we face. He did not give in to sin, but he was tempted. He felt everything, just as we do. You doubt me again? Great! Check this out:
He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. (Isaiah 53:3)
God knows what you’re going through. You don’t have to go through it alone.
As I mentioned earlier, I struggled but I am grateful. No matter what I faced (or will face), I have a Father in heaven who hears me, loves me and will always be there for me from now through eternity. And I have His promise that I will be reunited with my loved ones one fine day. May God’s love comfort you in every difficult situation and goodbye you face.
Until next time: stay happy, stay healthy, stay in the know. And please remember there is One who will never say goodbye to you.
Look forward to hearing from you,
I was recently reminded of elementary school gym class. (No, I wasn’t having a nightmare or some PTSD-like flashback, but I can see why you might think that.) As you may recall, the teacher would often choose two captains and then the rest of us would stand awkwardly in a line as they selected their teams. I don’t know about you, but I was not anyone’s first draft pick, or their second, third or fourth for that matter.
Whether we want to admit or not, we all want to be accepted. We all want to fit in somewhere. Even those of us who enjoy being alone want to know we have somewhere to go, people to be with, when we’re feeling so inclined. Everybody wants to belong.
I’ve been known to become a chameleon and take on whatever appearance or attributes were necessary to get me in good stead with a certain person or group. Have you ever done that? I can recall many times at work where I’d laugh at a senior executive’s lame attempt at humor. I’d smile and nod my head as they rambled on about some insignificant point completely unrelated to the meeting’s agenda. In short, I’d play the role to keep the gig. I’d become what was necessary to keep me employed and, hopefully, promoted. Sure, I’d blow off steam after hours because it was hard pretending for so long, but I took comfort in the fact that when I was allowed to just do my work in peace, it was a great job.
I’m also not ashamed to admit that in my youth my low self-esteem and insecurities caused me to betray my true self in order to get or maintain a romantic relationship. Once again, I morphed into what I believed (or was being told) was how I should be. I played the role to get and keep the gig. I’d love to say I abandoned this folly as I grew older and wiser. I’d love to say that.
When you’re playing all these different roles, it can be exhausting. You start to lose touch with who you really are. For me, I began to resent Relationship Kat because she was needy and weak. I could rationalize Work Kat because she was paying the bills and wasn’t fully compromising her integrity. There was also Family Kat, not to be confused with Friend Kat. Friend Kat was probably my most authentic self. Family Kat was a close second, except she learned there were certain forbidden zones of conversation and interaction. Needless to say, she’d still end up dancing on a mine field or two at holiday gatherings.
Friend Kat is typically the one at the table asking everyone else how they are doing. She’s quick to deflect any intimate subjects away from her and back to someone else. But when it’s one-on-one or small group settings, she shares her heart. She’ll open up and be vulnerable. Most of the time she doesn’t regret it. Most of the time.
I met someone recently who embodies the chameleon mindset, so much so I began to wonder if he even knows who he is anymore. I’ve watched him become whatever he needs to be in any situation to try to get what he wants and be included. I’ve seen him compromise and flip-flop on almost every issue. I got so tired trying to keep up with his mental gymnastics routine. I’m not judging him. I remember all too well what it was like to juggle all these personalities and behaviors. It’s downright draining. In quiet moments, it’s also painful and lonely.
I remember there came a point in my 20s when I couldn’t quite look myself in the mirror anymore. I was in a toxic relationship, not that I would ever admit it. I had a boyfriend. I was in love. I was going to make it work. I wanted to be chosen so desperately that I started losing myself. I changed my hair, my clothes, everything. When the relationship finally ended after two tumultuous years, I had to rediscover who I was. I’m sure that sounds melodramatic, but it’s true. I’d played a very specific role for so long; it was a hard habit to break. The scariest part was running into my ex with his new girlfriend a year or so later and seeing how he had made her look like me: similar hair and clothes. I made a hair appointment the very next day.
I’m talking about somewhere you can be at your lowest, feeling your worst, and not have to hide or disguise it. Do you have someone who really knows you and has seen you at your ugliest (and I don’t just mean when you first wake up with bed head)? Do you have a relationship with someone you know will never end no matter what you say or do? You might think that’s impossible because no one would stick around after (fill in the blank with whatever you think would make them leave) or if they knew you did (blank).
The truth is even the best, most loving people can disappoint us. As humans we are fallible, and we will let one another down. So instead of changing ourselves just to fit in or putting unreal expectations on others, wouldn’t it be great if we had an assurance of complete, total love and acceptance?
Spoiler alert: WE DO!
You know I brought receipts. (Any and all bible verses, unless otherwise indicated, are from biblegateway.com NIV.)
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. (John 15:16)
For many are called, but few are chosen. (Matthew 22:14, ESV)
Now at first blush these verses may seem to contradict each other. I see it more as complementary. The Lord chose us from the beginning. His love is freely available to each and every one of us. This symbolizes being called. The offer is there. It’s always been there. You don’t have to do anything to earn it. You can’t buy it or act a certain way to obtain it. You don’t have to change anything about yourself to get it. It’s a free gift. The only way to possess it is to accept it. When we receive God’s love through Jesus Christ, we are part of His chosen. Sadly, many hear the call but few will answer. Few are chosen.
The call goes out every day to all the world. Will you answer it? Will today be the day you stop being a chameleon? Will today be the day you truly believe there is One who loves you no matter what you’ve done or will do. Will today be the day you realize you don’t need to become someone you’re not just to fit in because you’re already loved and accepted by the Creator of the whole universe? Will today be the day you say yes and rest in God’s love? It’s up to you.
Until next time: stay happy, stay healthy, stay in the know. And make today the day you join the real dream team.
Look forward to hearing from you,