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The Empathetic Psalm

Did you know there is a difference between empathy and sympathy? Yeah, I didn’t either (nor had I really thought about it) until a couple years ago. It was around that time that my best friend (Natalie) found this video which, you really should watch:

Empathy vs. Sympathy

I’m going to let you in on a personal secret. Whenever Natalie or I are having a particularly bad day, we will usually whisper to the other person, “It’s dark down here.” We both know the reference and know what the other person needs.

It’s been pretty dark lately. There hasn’t been any big, terrible event. I’m just flat-out depressed. I feel numb, emotionless, and worn. When other people say they are running on Jesus and Coffee they usually laugh, but for me, that is dead reality. No joking.

Psalm 88 is one of the unusual and rarely read Psalms. It’s not like the others. It doesn’t start out with the author in pain, despair, or depression and end with him full of hope. It actually starts and ends pretty much the same. I would really encourage you to read the whole thing but here are some snippets of it:

“I cry out day and night before you” 

“For my soul is full of troubles and my life draws near to Sheol”

“I am a man who has no strength”

“You have put me in the depths of the pit”

“I am shut in so that I cannot escape”

“O Lord, why do you cast my soul away? Why do you hide your face from me?”

“I suffer your terrors; I am helpless”

And on it goes. You read that and tell me that the author didn’t struggle with depression. You read most of the Psalms and tell me that. It’s pretty low.

But when I read these words, I feel empathy from men that lived thousands of years before me. Men who firmly believed in God’s perfect will but struggled with their hearts and minds. The author even admitted (I love this) that God was loving, faithful, wonderful, and righteous in verses 11-12 of this Psalm but only to say that he wouldn’t be able to tell of these things if he died.

It’s even encouraging to me that this Psalm doesn’t end the way all the others do. We don’t like to sit in darkness and depression and we DEFINITELY don’t like to sit with others during those times. But sometimes that’s where God has placed us or those around us.

Sometimes empathy is asked, not sympathy. Sometimes life is more like Psalm 88 than Psalm 89.

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2019 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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Secured by God

I’ve had a lot of conversations recently on salvation, mine in particular. Whenever I used to tell people my testimony, I would always start it out with, “Well, it’s pretty boring…” But one day I was really convicted by that. I realized that ANY time God takes a dead person and breathes new life into them and gives them the gift of salvation, it’s INCREDIBLE! It’s MIRACULOUS and AMAZING! Who am I to call God’s work boring??!

So I’m here to tell you a story of Amazing Grace. To be quite honest, I don’t remember a time when I didn’t believe in Jesus as my Savior. I know there must have been, but I don’t recall that. I actually remember being in 1st grade or so and my Sunday School teacher told us the gospel and asked who all in the class believed it. Well of course I did! So I raised my hand. And then she had all of us close our eyes and pray “THE” prayer after her. You know what I mean. And I literally remember sitting there and telling God that I thought this was silly and didn’t understand why I needed to pray this because I was already saved. Those 6 year old minds. 🙂

It’s only been recently that I’ve realized what a huge blessing I’ve had all these years. I know A LOT of people that struggle with doubt and I never did growing up. Ever. God says it. That ends it. It’s true. God is who he says he is. It was pretty simple. I never doubted the Bible or my salvation.

2018 was hard. God and I alone know it. And let me tell you folks, it’s extra hard to be on three medications that cause depression. A sinful heart is enough to handle without that! And I struggled a lot last year. In my loneliness and desperation to be close to God, I worked so hard. I worked myself to a frazzle praying and doing my devotions because I so desperately wanted to feel that Presence that was once there.

And there came ONE awful day. The first and only day in my life where I have questioned my salvation. Suddenly I looked at how hard I was “working” and verses and sermons flew through my mind and one single thought crept in out of nowhere, “You don’t understand salvation at all.”

I have been through many bad days but none as bad as that one. I can’t even describe the hopelessness and darkness that I felt on that day. And I felt powerless against it. No matter what Scripture I read or what I forced myself to think, nothing helped.

It wasn’t until very late that night that God gave me the thought I needed:
“You know what? I don’t understand it. It’s waaaay beyond me. But even if I wasn’t saved before, God can save me right now.” With a rush every assurance came back. And with a immensely grateful heart I thanked God that my salvation was secured by him and not by me!

As I reflected the next day, I wrote in my journal that I never wanted to have another day like that again. It was terrible and confusing. But I can see how God has used that one day. I have NEVER been able to understand how people doubt God or salvation. But now I have a small point of reference, of empathy, of feeling. A way that connects me with my friends and helps me pray for them better, with a hugely humbled heart.

So take heart friends! I know the journey can be hard and thoughts creep in! God is ALWAYS faithful- that’s the ONE thing I’m positive of.

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2019 in salvation

 

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The Pit of Despair (Link)

I really enjoyed writing this guest post! Lamentations is soooo under-rated. Click below to head on over to Guys With Bibles and read it!

The Pit of Despair

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2018 in Bible

 

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Video

A Daily Prayer

So I have started writing a post numerous times but every time I just get so tired that I never get to finish it. This is not that post. That one will come. 🙂 Sometime…

I have had a lot on my mind lately and this prayer by Matt Chandler has been one that I have said often:

“My prayer, then is, ‘Lord, help me rejoice in You in this moment. Because I know You are in control. I know You love me; I know You love my family. And I don’t understand what You’re doing, and I don’t know how things are going to work out. But help me to acknowledge that if I have You, I have everything.'”  -Matt Chandler, To Live is Christ, to Die is Gain

I love that quote. I say it to remind myself that it’s okay not to know how it’s going to work out. I remind myself that God’s love is unchanging, undying, and he won’t leave me. I remind myself that his sovereignty is my hope and that somehow, with Christ, there IS a way to rejoice and find that hope in the midst of difficulties.

And that’s what I have for you today. That, and this beautiful song to encourage you to find your hope in Christ and what he has done for you.

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2017 in encouragment

 

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