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Undone

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
    my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
    as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
    beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
    my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
    in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
    and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed,
    and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
    and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
    your right hand upholds me.
But those who seek to destroy my life
    shall go down into the depths of the earth;
they shall be given over to the power of the sword;
    they shall be a portion for jackals.
But the king shall rejoice in God;
    all who swear by him shall exult,
    for the mouths of liars will be stopped.
Psalm 63

You may be wondering why I have simply copied an entire Psalm here. Why this Psalm? What a weird way to start a post, Kimmy. The last two days have been rocky for me. But if you were to look at my life, you wouldn’t be able to tell because all of the rockiness has been happening on the inside. God has been hammering away at my heart and it’s not comfortable to say the least. Imagine with me for a moment a shelf full of idols. These idols have nametags like control, self-sufficiency, reputation, eloquence, pride, desires, knowledge, etc. God has been going along and one-by-one, tipping those idols off the shelf and breaking them into pieces. Some of them- I didn’t even know were in my heart!

Right now I feel lost and broken. My world has been turned upside down as the Lord has shown me my sin. I cried all through this morning’s sermon. The conviction was deep.

But more than that, I feel UNDONE. The lyrics to one of my favorite songs go like this:

I’m undone by the mercy of Jesus
I’m undone by the goodness of the Lord
I’m restored and made right
He got a hold of my life
I’ve got Jesus
How could I want more?
(Selah- I Got Saved)

With my idols and sin staring me down came an even stronger realization and image of our Savior. And accompanying the words of the Psalm- that his steadfast love is better than life, that I SO thirst for him, and that my soul clings to him– there was a resounding YES in my heart.

So I wept but I wept because of his great love! Because I realized that my sin was so deep but his love was deeper still. He knew it all and loved me enough to take down those idols.

UNDONE, people.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2020 in encouragment

 

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Blind Spots

We were in the middle of a discussion and I needed backup for some point I was trying to make. I looked directly at my best friend and said, “I mean, I’m a pretty clean person in general, right?”

She hesitated for a moment and then my BEST friend (who usually isn’t this honestly blunt) calmly said, “Well, I don’t know if I would call you CLEAN. I would say you are incredibly tidy, but I don’t think that’s the same thing as clean.”

And in one moment, my whole image of myself fell.

What??! What do you mean I’m not clean?? Every single person I know (except her, apparently) thinks my apartment is always clean! Nobody has EVER, in my entire life, called me a messy person!

But it only took me a minute to realize the truth of her words. My apartment is VERY tidy. There is rarely stuff just hanging around, waiting to be put away. Dishes get done immediately, coats are hung up, bed is made every day- it’s tidy because I like it that way. But with a small amount of guilt I started to think about how often I actually CLEAN. I realized I hate cleaning. Looooooove to organize, hate to clean. I despise cleaning the shower so it doesn’t get done until it’s desperate. Dusting gets done when I can see a layer. Mopping is accomplished when something sticky is on the floor. And the top of the ‘fridge- well, I never see that so why in the world would I clean it??

People, this was a shock to me. I guess I’m not actually a clean person, simply a tidy one. Everything LOOKS clean, but it’s really not.

And sometimes I think our spiritual lives are like that. We are really good at keeping them tidy. We know all the right things to say and do and on the surface level, everything LOOKS clean, but it’s really not. Like the Pharisees that Jesus spoke to, we become like whitewashed tombs, that look clean and beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of nasty things. (Matt. 23)

This is where accountability with believers plays such a key role in our relationships. Sometimes we have blind spots. I don’t think I ever would have come to the conclusion that I need to clean my house more if someone hadn’t been honest with me and pointed it out. I would have continued in the bliss that my life was fine. Our hearts are the same way. Many times there are areas that WE can’t see because we are blind to our own sin. We need other people to come alongside and lovingly point those things out to us. We need to do the same thing to those around us.

Otherwise you may end up with a life that very tidy on the surface, but not truly clean underneath.

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2020 in encouragment

 

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I KNOW Him!

What you need to understand is that while I’m about to reference a Christmas movie, this is not a Christmas post. I feel like I would lose a whole crowd of people if I blogged about Christmas right now. But I do need to use a Christmas movie to get an important point across.

I’m doing a study of 1, 2, and 3 John right now and my lesson for this week had a really neat analogy in it. Have you seen Elf? If not, it doesn’t matter what time of the year it is- go watch it. Elf is actually my older brother’s favorite Christmas movie and I usually end up watching it more than once throughout a Christmas season. It’s just that good.

But the scene below is really the one I want to talk about today so rather than me typing it out, it’s probably better to just watch it:

In 1 John 1 we read this:
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.”

The author of that passage KNEW Jesus. He had seen him, had touched him, heard him. Can you feel his excitement as you read this? There is almost a “Buddy-the-Elf” like eagerness to proclaim Jesus to his readers so that they too could know. He wanted them to know that Jesus isn’t a myth or secret; he is so very real.

I’ve been thinking about this analogy all week. Do I have that same kind of excitement? Whenever Jesus is proclaimed does my heart cry out, “HEY! I KNOW HIM!!” Buddy was so sure of Santa and loved him so much that he seriously couldn’t contain his excitement- am I that way about my Savior?

But more than that, do I follow the example set by John? While I’m not an eyewitness to Jesus during his time on earth, I have a testimony about him that shouldn’t be kept to myself. Words of truth and love to share with the world. I hold the truth about who Christ is, what he has done, and how he’s worked in my life. I am an eyewitness to those things.

Like John, that I will proclaim.

P.S. My current devotion is Abide by Jen Wilken. I owe the analogy to her! Highly recommend the study!

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2020 in Devotions

 

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Answering Charlie Brown

I hear people say all the time that they have stopped watching the news because it’s just all bad stuff happening anymore. It’s too depressing. Admittedly, I can be one of those people. In the past couple of months, it seems like every time I open my local newspage, there is a tragic story that indirectly affects me. And every time I’m reminded:

This world is broken.

As I sit and listen to young women tell me their life stories at our local pregnancy center, I hear things that should never happen. Stories of abuse, drugs, sexual immorality, distrust, hurt, and loneliness. My heart aches with pain and I’m reminded:

Our hearts are broken.

When I talk to people about their beliefs and hear the mixed up lies in their heads, things they have been taught by the world since their birth, I get overwhelmed. I hear the disconnect and confusion in their hearts that they refuse to even admit and I know they long for a Savior. I’m reminded:

Our souls are broken.

Sometimes it’s really overwhelming. Where do I even begin to unravel the mess in this world? When someone drops their whole life’s problems at your feet, where do you even start? How do I combat the lies, the evil, the utter brokenness that’s rampant everywhere I look?

And then I’m reminded:

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” Galatians 4:4-7

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” Romans 5:6-11

One of the best words in the whole Bible is BUT. The world is broken, our lives are a mess, and our souls are desperate BUT God has made a way to heal that which is broken. For his glory, God sent his Son to deliver us from our brokenness and despair, to reconcile our sinful hearts to himself, and to redeem our souls for eternity. The only hope I have to offer anyone in this world is that of Christ and fortunately that is all any of us need.

And THAT’S what Christmas is all about. Merry Christmas, friends.

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2019 in salvation

 

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Study for the Sake of Study

Last week my small group got on the topic of envy and jealousy. I actually can’t remember how; I think it had to do with one of the verses we were discussing. And someone asked what the difference between the two was. Do you know that not one of us really had an answer to that question? It’s not like they are deep theological concepts or Hebrew words! They are plain and simple English words but we couldn’t tell you the difference between them. We all admitted that we use them mostly interchangeably. So one person suggested that it might be a good idea to do a word study on envy and jealousy.

AHA! And that’s when I got excited! If you don’t know me, there’s nothing I like better than studying God’s Word and discussing it (calmly) with others! So I went home last week and did a word study. If you don’t know what that is, it basically just involves looking up each verse that has the word (or a related word) in it and reading it in context to get an idea of the meaning. It involves research and a lot of cross-referencing and I love it. By the time I was done I had four pages of notes on envy and jealousy.

You can bet I was READY for Sunday night. I was real close to bringing a couple books I have that talked about envy and jealousy but decided to make notes from the sections and just take my notebook. Better not OVERDO it. 🙂 But I know something about myself: I have this bad habit where I’m super excited to discuss something and no one else cares….so since this wasn’t actually our main study, I decided I was not going to bring it up. I would let someone else bring it up and if no one did, that just means our focus was on our book study. But since I figured everyone must be eager to discuss it too, it would probably come up, right?

Nope. We went the whole night and not one word on envy or jealousy. We had a great discussion on our book, but everyone seemed to have forgotten about the previous week.

When I got home that night, I suddenly remembered a quote that I recently heard from J.I. Packer in his book Knowing God:

The fact we have to face is this: that if we pursue theological knowledge for its own sake, it is bound to go bad on us. It will make us proud and conceited. The very greatness of the subject-matter will intoxicate us, and we shall come to think of ourselves as a cut above other Christians because of our interest in it and grasp of it; and we shall look down on those whose theological ideas seem to us crude and inadequate, and dismiss them as very poor specimens. For, as Paul told the conceited Corinthians, ‘knowledge puffeth up… if any man thinketh that he knoweth anything, he knoweth not yet as he ought to know’ (1Cor. 8:1 f. RV). To be preoccupied with getting theological knowledge as an end in itself, to approach Bible study with no higher a motive than a desire to know all the answers, is the direct route to a state of self-satisfied self-deception. We need to guard our hearts against such an attitude, and pray to be kept from it. As we saw earlier, there can be no spiritual health without doctrinal knowledge; but it is equally true that there can be no spiritual health with it, if it is sought for the wrong purpose and valued by the wrong standard. In this way, doctrinal study really can become a danger to spiritual life, and we today, no less than the Corinthians of old, need to be on our guard here.

To say I was convicted would be the understatement of the century. I should probably print that out and stick it on every wall of my house. I think a lot of my life has been pursuing theological knowledge just for the sake of it. Although I would never tell you that at the time. I always feel like my motives are in the right place but most often they are rooted in pride, instead of a love for my Savior, a desire to know him more, and to live practically for him.

Was that word study worth the time and effort? You better believe it. Because NOW I can see areas of envy and jealousy in my own life that I need to work on. Instead of it just being about the knowledge, it’s actually about the application of God’s Word; to God himself, to the world around me, and to my own life.

“If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.”
1 Corinthians 8:2-3

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2019 in theology

 

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Pros of Memory Loss

I’ve shared before that I have a lot of trouble with memory retention. I used to have a superb memory but after I started having seizures and headaches, my memory level dropped waaaaayyy down. Part of it is because of the seizures and part is because of the meds. I already know all this. Some days, this really bothers me. I feel like an old lady but because I’m NOT old, I’m not given the same grace from those around me.

Today though, I’d like to talk about the UPSIDE of having less memory. Believe it or not, there are several things I’ve just recently started to notice that are great side effects of NOT being able to remember things!

  1. I have become an expert in mnemonic devices. Don’t know what a mnemonic device is? It’s a memory device, usually a pattern of letters or numbers, that you associate with something else that helps you remember things. For instance, I could never remember the letters in my license plate. I knew they started with an H but the rest eluded me. Finally I came up with a mnemonic device for it. The letters are HNS. The was I remember it is He Never Stops. Which in my mind is short for He Never Stops Loving Us but I just realized it could also relate to people on the road. 🙂 Whatever way you go with a mnemonic device, it just has to be something that triggers YOUR brain! I have so many of them that people at work joke that I have one for everything!
  2. I can surprise myself. I don’t normally consider myself a funny person but sometimes I write funny little notes on instructions for other people and then months later I find them and get to laugh at myself! I have also started putting a short note inside books I’ve read this year that recap the book for me so if I pull it out again I can remember. Those will be great to read when I forget what I wrote! This year, I went to decorate for Christmas and found that I didn’t have any lights so I went and got some. Later, not only did I find the lights I bought at the end of last year, but some decorative lights that I’ve been meaning to buy for FOREVER! It’s great when you can surprise yourself because you’ve totally forgotten what you’ve done.
  3. I can reread books and re-watch shows. To be honest, I’d rather not have to reread books. There is a surplus of good books in the world and I always have too many on my hands to read. But the same cannot be said for TV shows. One of my favorite shows is The Great British Baking Show. A couple weeks ago, I went back and re-watched the first season, which I’ve already seen, just to get some baking inspiration. As all the bakers arrived, I suddenly realized I had NO CLUE who won that season. So I kept watching. People, I got all the way to the final on a show I’ve already watched and still didn’t know who was going to win! You might think this is really sad, but for me, I just enjoyed watching a show again that I really love.

And so while some days I stand and stare blankly at a customer who comes in every day, desperately trying to remember their name; other days I laugh at a hilarious password I created, use a mnemonic device to remember the differences between S and C corporations, and go home to watch a show I’ve blissfully forgotten. God has shown abounding grace towards me in this journey and I’m so thankful for that!

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2019 in epilepsy

 

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Put off, Put on

Most people are surprised to learn that I’m an introvert. But really, I am. I can choose to be extroverted and I recognize the value of that, but on the inside, I’m very introverted. On the other hand, I’m also very opinionated and can be outspoken (no wonder everyone is confused) so this week has been really convicting for me. Keep reading….

My small group is working through The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges. Which is a great book by the way! I read it in high school but I really don’t remember much from it so this is a good refresher. Last week’s chapter was on having Holiness in Spirit because we all know that you can’t just change outward behavior and be holy. It all begins in our hearts. I was cruising through the chapter when I suddenly hit this line:

“One of the most difficult defilements of spirit to deal with is the critical spirit. A critical spirit is rooted in pride. Because of the “plank” of pride in our own eye we are not capable of dealing with the “speck” of need in someone else.” pg 110

The paragraph goes on but I wrote in my book in large letters: STRUGGLE! I really struggle with a critical spirit! I can be very opinionated (no really?) and quick to point out the flaws in others without regard to their needs. All rooted in pride.

Which brings me to my second punch in the gut for the week. The sermon on Sunday was on Ephesians 4:25-32 and he outlined loving ways of communication. I just wanted to cover up my head and hide. I’m terrible at good communication! It takes me a long time to figure out what I’m actually feeling and by then I think it’s too long to bring it back up but it’s still bugging me and so I sit in silence and brood. Anyone else have this issue? No? Just me? Okay.

Anyway, one of his points really his home with me (ALL of his points were very practical and useful!) He said to ask yourself if YOUR attitude is right before approaching another person AND to ask if this is what the OTHER person needs.

Many times I approach people to get things off my chest. It’s weighing me down, driving me nuts, and so I bring something up (usually from weeks ago because I couldn’t gather my thoughts) so we can talk through it. But maybe that’s just what I selfishly need, not what is most loving towards that person. If it’s not sinful or harmful for our relationship, I should really cover it in love. (1 Peter 4:8, Proverbs 17:9) SO hard to do when you’ve got a prideful, critical spirit to deal with! But that’s loving my neighbor as myself.

Over all, a pretty convicting and challenging week for this outspoken girl. However, just keeping my negative thoughts to myself isn’t enough. That’s not what the Bible calls us to. God has loftier things in mind for his children. Not only am I to put off my critical self, but I’m to put on gentleness, compassion, and encouragement for others. (Col. 3) It’s not enough to just empty myself of a sinful habit if I’m not also filling my soul with a righteous one.

The beauty of it is that the more I fill myself up with God’s Word and I practically apply what it says, the less negative thoughts even come to mind. What a blessing the Holy Spirit is! Reliance on him is the key to overcoming any sin habit.

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2019 in encouragment

 

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Listening to Rap

If you had told me ten years ago that in 2019 I would be writing a blog post about Kanye West, I would have laughed in blissful ignorance and then asked, “Wait, who’s Kanye West, anyway?” If you had told me five years ago that I would be writing a post on Kanye West I probably would have said very seriously, “So how bad is it?”

And yet here I am. Not only writing a post on the famous singer, but writing it after having listened to his latest album 4 times in the last week.

To give you some background, Kanye isn’t my style. To say the least. I held out for a long time on this album because I was sure I wouldn’t like it. I despise rap music and have exactly ONE rap-ish song in my running playlist. That’s all. I don’t even know any others. But eventually all the various opinions on his album got to me and I decided I needed to hear the music myself. If you aren’t quite up to speed or have NO IDEA who I’m talking about, maybe do some research on this man. It’s fairly interesting.

So last week as I was driving home from work, I bravely opened Spotify and searched for Kanye’s Jesus is King album. And I started it. I quickly discovered that THIS is the kind of music subwoofers are built for and mine needed to go all the way down. 🙂

I. Was. Floored. As I listened I sat in amazement at the words I was hearing. Had I really picked the right album? Was this the same person? By the third song I was wiping tears from my eyes as I thanked God for the incredible ways he changes hearts! Over and over again I realized that is a brother of mine in Christ! This man literally had another song where he sang “I am a god” and now he’s singing “Jesus is Lord!” from the rooftops!

There has been a lot of criticism from the church about the theology of his lyrics. But what I heard was a new believer working out his faith. To be honest, I heard more direct gospel and more about Jesus in his songs than some other Christian artists I listen to.

I’m so thankful I listened. Rap music isn’t my style but Christ-music always is. It caused me to pray harder for this believer and it made me cry out praise and thanksgiving to our Savior! Who would have thought??

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2019 in music

 

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Superficial Friendship

If you’re a friend of mine and actually know me, this post is probably going to sound really hypocritical. It’s not something I’m very good at and yet here I am- writing about it. That’s usually the way it goes though. I write about the things I’m learning and being convicted of, not the things I’ve “mastered.” So just know that I really am preaching to the choir right now.

I promise this is my last post on Because He Loves Me, but there is one more point I wanted to pull from that book and share with you all. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while but the way she put it hit me hard.

Have you ever noticed that all humans desire intimacy? Every single person I know WANTS to have deep, meaningful relationships and every single person I know struggles to have them. Personally, I have a really hard time communicating my thoughts and that gets in my way sometimes but other times, it’s my pride. And that’s something I’ve seen a lot. We all want deep relationships and friendships but pull away from the only things that leads to them: transparency and vulnerability. I have tried SO many times to have deep, spiritual conversations with close friends, only to get superficial responses to my questions. But I know that I’ve also been on the other end of that line, doing the same thing to friends. Both leave me frustrated.

So this section in Because He Loves Me really stood out to me:

“As I’ve traveled around the country, speaking at good Bible-believing churches, I’ve discovered that the kind of biblical relationship to which I think the New Testament call us is almost nonexistent. For example, I recently spoke at a conference that was well attended by women who were serious about their faith. They weren’t ‘playing church,’ and they wouldn’t have thought of themselves as tourists. But when I asked for a show of hands of those who were in a biblical relationship with others to whom they regularly confessed sin, expected accountability, and regularly confronted the sins of those same others, only a smattering of hands went up. That’s not to say these dear sisters weren’t eager to follow the Lord. It was just that this kind of relationship, this depth of biblical fellowship, was way beyond their normal practice.
This kind of fellowship I’m enjoining flies right in the face of our American individualism and desire for privacy. We don’t want anyone poking around in our affairs, and we certainly don’t want to be accused of poking about in anyone else’s. This idolatry of privacy and individualism is one of the greatest detriments to sanctification in the church today. God has placed us in a family because we don’t grow very well on our own. It’s still not good to be alone. We need the encouragement, correction, and loving involvement of others who are willing to risk everything for the sake of the beauty of his bride.” pg. 177-178

I’ve been mulling this over for weeks and I still believe she hit the nail right on the head. Have you ever tried to have a confession or accountability time with friends? It can be like PULLING TEETH from a wild dog. It’s probably the fastest way to silence a room of chatty believers.

And it’s because we believe it’s our own private business. But the reality is that our faith is personal, but it’s not private. We DO have a personal relationship with Christ but NOT a private one that is meant to be kept to ourselves.

There is a verse in Proverbs that just keeps popping into my head, “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.” Prov. 18:1 Deep, meaningful fellowship with other believers is vital for spiritual growth. I’m learning this more and more. It takes work and humility but it’s worth it for the glory of God’s kingdom.

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2019 in books

 

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Embracing Sin

I know a lot of people that wrestle with doubt. Dear friends of mine that doubt their salvation, doubt God’s love for them, doubt their beliefs. For a long time, I struggled with these friends. I struggled with how to respond to this kind of doubting. How can you be unsure of the ONLY sure thing we have? How can you doubt the Words of our eternal, sovereign Lord? If he says it, it’s true. I was not a very patient person to a hurting heart for many years but God has shown me some things since then. 🙂 I’ve learned how to better respond to doubts, even if I don’t always understand.

However, all of this has caused me to be very interested in doubting and where it comes from. So let me ask this question: How many times have you listened to a gospel presentation (or maybe given one) and glossed over the part that we are all desperately, evil sinners? I’m actually very curious in this answer. Have you heard someone present the gospel as a way to be saved but you aren’t even sure what you are being saved from?

Romans 3 talks about how every single one of us is unrighteous and no one does what is good. 1 John says that if we say we haven’t sinned, we are liars. Isaiah 64 says that we are unclean and even our righteous deeds are like filthy rags. And all you have to do is read the Ten Commandments (or maybe Jesus’ interpretation of them) to realize that we haven’t kept them at all.

So why is that part of the gospel, the part where THERE IS A DESPERATE NEED FOR A SAVIOR, skipped over so much? Because it is uncomfortable. Because people don’t want to be told that they are in the wrong and are sinful.

But don’t you see? Without that, there isn’t a need for the gospel at all. Without a deep realization of your sin, you won’t have a deep realization for what Christ did for you! You will be caught up in thinking you have to earn your salvation instead of realizing it was never based on you to begin with. Let me share from Because He Loves Me:

“Many people struggle with feelings of condemnation and guilt today because they’ve never really understood what Jesus did for them on Calvary. They think that their relationship with God is predicated on the fact that they’re not really all that bad, and then they wonder if God still loves them when they struggle with ongoing sin. They wonder if they were ever really his. They don’t see the depth of the sin that Christ bore in their place and so they can’t comprehend the righteous fury he withstood for them nor the riches of the grace they’ve been given. I’m encouraging you now to fully embrace your sinfulness for one simple reason: so that you can fully embrace this great exchange, our ‘justification.'” pg71

YES! If you never fully embraced that you were an utterly sinful person who was incapable of rescuing yourself, then you won’t ever be sure of your salvation. That doubt will remain. But once you realize that your salvation was never based on you or your performance, you can be sure it will never fade away. Christ is eternal, his love is eternal, and his work is eternal.

And that, dear friends, washes away all doubts of this world.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2019 in books

 

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