Burn the IOU

by Kari on January 26, 2015


“What is it, Lord?”

There’s been this battle, you know, off and on over the years. Sometimes it seems gone, then it wells up, wild again, snagging my stability and dragging me down into the mire to wallow … then drown in my own self-pity. It’s ugly.

You think I’m exaggerating? That’s how it feels, right? When something slide-tackles us we go from sure-footed faith to–whoops-a-daisy!–flat on our backs in one fell swoop.

It was this that I was hashing out with the Lord, asking Him to reveal His perspective, my sin, what the root was–you know, all that ugly heart stuff that has to be worked out. His answer:

Burn the IOU.

Oh … that. 

Just the day before I had read Matthew 18. Here Jesus tells the story of the master who forgives his servant a MASSIVE debt, equal in today’s wages to about EIGHT MILLION dollars. Um, yeah. That’s a big debt. So after this debtor has been forgiven this insane amount, he goes and finds someone who owes him a pittance (relative to the other debt it’d be equivalent to about thirteen-thousand dollars) and …

… seizing him, he began to choke him saying, “Pay what you owe.” (Matthew 18:28)

This picture is etched in my mind whenever I think about forgiveness. Whenever we hold a grudge against someone, it’s like we are seizing them and choking them, saying with our hearts and attitudes, “PAY WHAT YOU OWE!”

Whenever we hold on to unforgiveness, we are that man, seizing and choking those around us because we can’t just let it go.

Forgiveness burns the IOU.

burn paper

Whatever it is that someone owes you, forgiveness takes their IOU and sets it on fire. Burns it. Destroys it. Lets the person go free.

But here’s the thing, sometimes we’re the ones who wrote the IOU.

What I mean is, sometimes that person doesn’t even know they are “indebted” to us. So often we have expectations of others, what they “should” give us, what we expect from them, what we want from them, and then when they fail us (inevitably!) and don’t deliver the goods that we expected (love, acceptance, kindness) we write ourselves an IOU and clutch it, white-knuckled, holding onto that grimy, tattered IOU because we think they owe us that love, that acceptance, the kindness.

The picture isn’t pretty, huh? I don’t want to go through life clutching onto an old ratty, wadded up IOU, inwardly demanding that person pay me my due.


(I won’t burst into song, “Let it go! Let it go!” but it does come to mind.)

As long as I think that another person owes me acceptance and love, I’ll be miserably clutching that IOU.

But freedom comes when we burn it, release the debt, let that person free and we will find …

that we are free as well. 

Jesus says some wild things about forgiveness, friends. We do well to take them to heart and consider any way we are clutching old IOUs. Chances are, we wrote them ourselves.

Jesus clutches no IOUs.He paid our debt with His blood when He said, “It is finished.” Paid in full.  More than eight-million dollars, a lifetime of debt, more than could ever be paid. He did this for us.

I don’t need to seize, choke, demand. I can forgive, let go …

and burn the IOU. 

“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matt. 6:14-15).

{Praying this freedom for you, for me, this week. Thank you for reading.}


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What a real homeschool day looks like…

by Kari on January 23, 2015


So here’s the thing: This is a real day.

I’m always tempted, when doing this day-in-the-life-deal, to write a sort of conglomeration of various days melded together to create what I consider “typical.” This is well and good, but unfortunately, by trying to share “typical” I wind up sharing “ideal.” And the truth is that my biggest challenge with homeschooling is that my real day does not match up with the ideal day in my mind.

So scratch the ideal day, or even the “typical” day … here is a real day.

Wednesday, January 7th, in all its mundane glory:

(Read the rest over at Simple Homeschool … thanks!)


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Forget Not

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New dream, new dream-come-true

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Just Enough for Today

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I still remember the day my dad firmly said it: “Kari, don’t ever worry about money.” He wasn’t making a promise of his personal funding, but he had watched my anxiety over the years and finally stepped in. It was a loving rebuke. I received it. That year, 2008, many things turned around and one […]

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The only way to not lose heart…

January 12, 2015

I clicked and there she was–her wide smile and beautiful four young children–and I couldn’t breathe. I wanted so desperately to close the computer. Close my eyes to this unthinkable suffering. I cannot read this, I kept thinking. I can’t even look into the face of her horror. She writes of peace and gratitude, but I […]

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For whatever reason, Wednesday was the worst day. Nothing truly tragic, just the garden variety of fatigue and frustrations, discouragement and disobedient children. It was Jeff’s day off, the day I usually take to write and study in preparation for speaking. But for whatever reason it just wasn’t working. And we fell into the funk. […]

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On grieving, growing up, and living wide awake

January 7, 2015

I pull down the D.  Oh God.  Breath catches. Eyes fill. Why is this so hard? This was what I hoped for, for them ready to have their own space, for this next step. In a world that hurries childhood and pushes independence prematurely, I didn’t want to. Why not let them be little? They loved sharing […]

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A Worthy Resolution: Life poured out

January 5, 2015

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering … —Paul the Apostle (2 Tim. 4:6) Paul may be the MVP of Christianity. He was awesome. We aren’t all called to live lives of such severe suffering and service as missionaries, but we are clearly called to follow his example, his pattern of life […]

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