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Year-End Recap

2020. What a year. The amount the Lord has accomplished this year is overwhelming so in this post I just want to pull out some highlights.

In case you don’t know, at the beginning of every year I pray for the Lord to teach me something. It’s usually some area of my spiritual life that I’ve found very lacking. So on New Year’s Day, I spend time in prayer and then focus on that area throughout the year. Every year, God has been faithful to answer that prayer. And I guess I didn’t post it this year (so you’ll have to take my word for it), but this year I prayed for the Lord to teach me gentleness.

I’m not a gentle person by nature. At. All. I know it’s a fruit of the Spirit but I think it gets overlooked some. I’m more of a you’ll-be-fine, get-over-it, brush-it-off, drink-some-water kind of person. [Ouch] The more I realized this and the more I saw gentleness in others, I knew I needed to work on that in my own heart. So that was my prayer on January 1, 2020. I started studying it in Scripture, wrote down definitions, and watched closely people that I knew were gentle.

WHAT A YEAR TO PRAY THAT. There were SO many opportunities where gentleness was required this year! And sometimes I would think, “Lord, that’s it. I’m at the end of my gentleness here. I don’t have any more.” But always he would remind me of how gentle and patient he is towards me and my heart would soften towards those around me.

A pandemic requires gentleness. Dealing with the wildly differing opinions of others, the pain of suffering, the strokes of loneliness- I needed a tender heart. For effective ministry to occur to those around me, I could not have a harsh heart towards their opinions or feelings.

Dating requires a gentleness I did not expect. You actually cannot just plow your way into someone else’s heart, especially not a heart that has been deeply hurt before. I had to come in a gentle and understanding way. (And since Shawn is such a gentle person, it only magnified to me how un-gentle I was!)

Dating someone with children requires an extra dose of gentleness. I knew I needed to be mindful of their emotions and thoughts. I also knew the importance of fully and unconditionally embracing and loving those kids, knowing that I could get hurt in the process.

The more I practiced gentleness towards those closest to me, the more I realized this is how I should have been living all along. How harsh of a person I really am. And that gentleness grew and spread out. I’ve been hurt a lot this year (not by Shawn or the kids, lest you think that) and yet responded in ways I didn’t think possible. Instead of withdrawing (my natural response) from those hurting me, I moved closer. I was constantly reminded of Christ who came to US, to ME, and so I moved towards the offenders, not away. I was reminded that if not for Christ, I would never have come to faith and since he makes the first move in reconciliation, we as his followers do the same. We are called to be peacemakers.

In case you are sitting there thinking I did that every time, let me shatter that belief to the ground. Ohhhhh no. There definitely were times where I responded in anger. Times where my heart raged within me. If I struggled with anything this year, it was anger and selfishness. Or rather, the anger and selfishness I have in my heart were CLEARLY revealed. And it wasn’t pretty.

But I am thankful for the gentleness that God gave me where I certainly didn’t have it before. Like I said, THIS was the year. Little did I know how gentle I would need to be this year but of course God knew.

And so this Christmas I celebrate the One who comes to us to create peace. The Author of reconciliation. Oh come, let us adore Him.

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2020 in encouragment

 

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Hello New York

Do you ever have those times when you think of a blog idea and then that wise voice inside your heads say, “Uh, bad idea…better not.”? But the idea nags and nags and eventually you find yourself at your laptop typing it out in spite of the wise voice? That would be this post.

I’ve been hearing a lot lately about righteous anger. And I’m a little tired of it to be honest. I understand where Christians get this from. Ephesians 4:25 says (quoting Ps.4), “Be angry and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your anger.” And so you hear often about how you can be angry and not sin and I even heard today how sometimes we are commanded to be angry. People will use Christ as an example and talk about how he cleansed the temple and how God gets angry.

ENOUGH. I looked through the Bible and as far as I can tell this is the only verse that even comes close to “commanding” anger. I can quote several for the opposite. I also can’t think of a single time in my own life that my anger didn’t lead to sin, whether that was actually an action or just thoughts. I think for humans it is very hard to be angry and not sin. So let’s look at this verse in its context (the whole chapter would be best but for space…):

“Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Eph. 4:25-32, emphasis mine

I find it really interesting that immediately after saying, “Be angry and do not sin” the Bible warns us that anger gives the devil an opportunity in our lives. It further tells us to put anger and bitterness away from us and to be tenderhearted (not an American trait for sure) to each other.

That being said, I really do understand what believers mean by righteous anger. Being angry at the things that anger and grieve Christ. But I think we use it as an excuse WAY too often. Anger can easily lead to sin and bitterness which is why Ephesians says that all anger should be put to rest at night.

Why all the angry talk? Most of my good friends have been really angry recently. New York’s decision to allow abortions up to birth has blown fuses in believers around the country. And they haven’t been shy about expressing it.

Before I continue, let me outright declare that I am pro-life. I despise abortion and it kills me to no end. I volunteer with my local pregnancy center. I believe all life is God-given, is precious, and worth fighting for.

But I DO NOT believe in hating those that believe otherwise. I have been utterly shocked by my friends’ responses to New York. The sarcasm, bitterness, and rage has been rampant on social media. A good friend of mine commented on Facebook about a New York senator, “There will be a place in HELL for you!” and I sat there in shame as I read it.

This is not righteous anger. This is rage leading to sin. This is hatred and bitterness, all of which the Bible clearly condemn. How we have responded to this event tells unbelievers whether there is hope in the church (and in Christ!) for them or not.

SO

Hello, New York. Hello, abortion-minded women. Hello, post-abortive women. Hello, men that have been hurt by abortion. My name is Kimmy. I am a believer in Christ and I stand on the truth of his Word. I am pro-life and therefore I believe every. single. life. is precious. You might not agree. You might be hurting from a decision made in your past or you might be contemplating a big one right now. Whatever the case is, YOU need Christ as much as I need him. He gives the hope and life that you are so desperately missing. And I am sorry if Christians have ever made you feel unwelcome. You are welcome here, with me. Let’s talk.

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2019 in politics

 

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