Great news! Super-sale on Sacred Mundane AND …

… The day before Thanksgiving we got to hear the sweetest sound, a sound we’ve longed to hear for such a long time:

The sound of our baby’s heartbeat. 

Yes, I’m sharing now. It’s still early, and I know it’s not “safe” to share. But if I’ve learned one thing from this life — nothing’s safe that’s not committed to Christ, everything’s safe that is. 

So I share with you, faithful readers who patiently follow my meanderings and ramblings, and ask you to please pray for this sweet child of ours, who even now is being wonderfully knitted together by the Maker, in my womb.

And, this Saturday is my last speaking event, as I’m taking all of 2018 off speaking. It’s been 10 years teaching, exploring the sweet Scriptures with so many of you dear and wonderful women, and I’m so unspeakably grateful …

… but this mama is ready for a season of rest.

So this is our year of jubilee, of sorts. We’re letting the ground lie fallow. Giving ourselves a little more space. And celebrating the goodness of God these last 10 years and shifting gears for new seasons ahead. I’ll still be writing here, of course, so stay tuned, and I may do a weekly podcast so I still have an opportunity to rant and rave about the goodness of God! 😉 Lord willing, I’ll be back to speaking in 2019.

Lastly, we are SUPER excited to offer you a super-duper SALE on Sacred Mundane, right here, just in time for Christmas. From now through December 18th, while supplies last, we’re offering Sacred Mundane for cheaper than Amazon (or anywhere else! Even cheaper than kindle!) with free shipping! I only have 188 copies left in my garage ;), so when they’re gone they’re gone, but I’d love to get them to you! It’s a great time to snag one for your sister, mom, friends, neighbors.

Below you’ll find the book trailer, if you’d like to share that’d be great! Also, if you have read the book or know others who have: Would you consider writing a review on Amazon? (Even if you bought it elsewhere.) Reviews are a huge blessing to me!

Thank you so much for journeying along with me this year. It’s been hard and good. I hope this book has been and will continue to be a blessing to you. Please consider sharing it this holiday season!

Get the book here.

(If links above won’t work for you, simply copy-and-paste either of these links:

https://squareup.com/store/sacred-mundane

https://mkt.com/sacred-mundane

Thank you!)

{Thanks for reading.}

Sacred Mundane: an Invitation to Find Freedom, Purpose, and Joy

Walking in the Rain

I stood at the window, considering.

The kitchen, behind me, was still a mess from the night before. The rain poured against the glass. I was so cold. My soft, cozy chair and quilt called for me, offering their comfort. I considered the evidence, Yeah, maybe I’ll just skip my walk. Stay in. Get the kitchen clean. Stay warm. 

But the day ahead promised to be demanding, and deep down I knew, I need that walk.

“Ok, kids, I’m headed out. Do your chores and be kind to each other.”

I put on an extra sweatshirt, zipped up my raincoat, pulled up the hood.

It was pouring hard, but the fresh air filled my lungs and shocked me awake. Instantly refreshed, I strode out up in the hill, quickly warming up, breathing deep, whispering my prayers to God, letting every ache and need and concern and fear and petition pour out freely, confident of His listening ear.

It felt so good to walk uphill, in the rain.

And with each step I listened, and the word came and it made sense why this walk was so important:

Don’t just take the path of least resistance. 

*sigh*

So good. So true. These words spoken to me by the One who knows that that is exactly what I am prone to do. So prone to back off at the slightest opposition. So prone to deviate when I see an obstacle. So prone to lose heart when things don’t go as planned.

It was good to walk in the rain. It was good to know that rain didn’t have to ruin my walk. It was good to know that, in the days and weeks ahead, challenges and obstacles and delays don’t have to discourage or derail me from plodding ahead into the good plans of God.

It’s so small, I know. A walk. But how often do I take the easy route, the wide way, the short-cut, the path of least resistance, instead of pressing on in the good way, the narrow road … that leads to LIFE.

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matt. 7:13-14)

{Friends, every day we have the choice to enter by the wide or narrow gate. Every day we can choose the path of least resistance, or we can go the good way, trusting Him to make our paths straight (Prov. 3:5-6). Praying you have a rich thanksgiving week walking the narrow way and enjoying His love, His LIFE, along the way. Thanks for reading.}

It is good for me…

Recently, as I drove home from a speaking event, I was worshiping in the car, singing at the top of my lungs, and so clearly in my mind’s eye I saw a picture:

It was of Jeff and me. We were standing side-by-side, holding hands, looking ahead, faces resolved. We were covered in soot, ash. Our hair was singed. And I heard:

You made it through the fire.

Tears welled up. A release of relief, emotions washed over me.

This year has felt like a fire in so many ways. In ways I’ve shared, in ways I haven’t, it has felt like a fire.

And although I know more challenges will inevitably come, there is a peace and joy and relief in sensing that at least this particular season has come to a close.

Later that weekend, Jeff and I sat on the couch, reflecting on this year. I told him how I kept returning to Psalm 119, the psalmist words echoed my own:

“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.

You are good and do good; teach me your statutes…

It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes. “

It is good for me.

I thought of the other psalm I always cling to, hold to, trust:

The Lord God is a sun and shield, the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. (Ps. 84:11)

No good thing does He withhold … even trials. 

And no, I’m not saying miscarriage is good. Not saying death is good. It isn’t. God’s good plan is always LIFE. We never have to wonder what His will is in this, it’s crystal clear in His Word.

But in this warped and fallen world, where tragedies happen and sorrow’s a steady companion, God will WORK FOR OUR GOOD, every bad thing.

He lets the devil do his worst, then flips it all upside down and uses it ALL FOR GOOD. 

Our God can win with any hand.

And I can see this so clearly this year. There were things God had to allow in my life, in order to uproot, to prune, to break. Sometimes we have to be broken — really broken — in order for him to break in to those deep places and bring healing, wholeness, freedom.

Broken hearts bring breakthrough.

See, Psalm 119 highlights an important truth we don’t talk about that much: discipline.

Sadly, we tend to think of discipline only as a sort of spiritual spanking. We go through something hard and we’re like, “What did I do WRONG? Why are you punishing me?”

But discipline isn’t necessarily punishment. Discipline is training. Discipline is proactive, intentional shaping of character, sometimes through difficulty and trial, for the purpose of Christlikeness.

And, it’s important to note: discipline is done for children out of love because the parent cares enough to put in the effort to train them. Permissive parenting isn’t love, it’s a lack of love. Ignoring our kids’ misbehavior isn’t estimable, it’s deplorable. They deserve discipline because they deserve the very best we can give them. They deserve our loving, calm, gracious, and consistent discipline so they can thrive as self-controlled, kind, generous, hard-working adults. (Lord, help us!)

God loves us so much He’ll go to great lengths to make us more like Jesus. He says this in His Word.

But notice what parts are present tense and which are past:

It is good that I was afflicted.

The Psalmist is writing this after the fact. At the time it didn’t seem good. But now it’s good. Now that the broken bone has been set and healed stronger than ever. Now that the season has changed and those pruned limbs have born beautiful fruit. Now that I can see in the rearview mirror His faithfulness through it all.

So what do we do in the middle of it all?

Worship. Wait. Wonder. Wrestle. To name just a few.

We wrestle with the questions and the sea of emotions. We wonder why on earth God would let this happen. We wait on Him, trusting that somehow He will take us through. And we worship Him in the midst, knowing that He is good, right, and perfect.

You are good and do good.

{Praying you know His love for you this week, with whatever you’re going through. He can win with any hand. Tuck yourself into His love and KNOW that He will work all things for good. You are so loved. Thank you for reading.}

 

No-shame November

I stepped outside for my morning walk and could feel the date … it was now November. Overnight we went from crisp and cool and sunshiny–kids wearing t-shirts jumping in leaf-piles–to damp cold, grey skies–kids inside curled up under quilts.

I pulled my bare hands into my sleeves to keep out the cold.

Moments earlier, as I’d sat under a quilt and soaked up the Scriptures. I’d flipped through my journal, reflecting, remembering…

Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything to hard for Me? 

I had hesitated. I had read the Words of God, spoken through Jeremiah. The words has stopped me.

Was anything too hard for Him?

I knew the right answer, but also knew that the only way to know what I really know is to see how I act

That is, my actions are the only real indicator of what I actually believe.

I knew which actions spoke loudest — the ones no one sees: My prayers.

As I sat and searched my heart, I realized that there were things that God had called me to pray for, to believe Him for, to press in and intercede for … and I had started strong, then petered out. 

Funny that we call a gradual diminishing, a dwindling to nothing — to “peter out.”  I know it has nothing to do with poor Peter the Apostle, but it is an apt description. The disciple who started strong then later “followed at a distance” and eventually outright denied Christ.

A little drifting, a dwindling faith-flame: Peter petered out. 

The question rang in my mind:

What things are you tempted to believe are too hard for Me?

Immediately 3 things came to mind. Those three things God had clearly called me to pray for, to give all my heart and concerted effort to intercede for.

But my prayers had petered out.

The things seemed too hard. Too many obstacles. Too much lost time. Too many factors. I already felt ashamed, I felt foolish, felt stupid for having believed in the beginning. Naive Kari always believing the best and looking like an idiot. All that’s happened this year is disappointment after disappointment. It feels like every battle’s been lost.

Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?

I shut my eyes tight. Wiped away the tears that had welled up.

NO. NO. There is NOTHING too hard for my God. 

But … I hesitated again. How do I KNOW if these things are Your will? What if I’m wasting my time praying for things that aren’t Your will?

So clearly I hear:

What does MY WORD say?

Of course. His Word is so clear. These things are clearly His will. They line straight up, through and through, with the heart and will of God as revealed throughout His Word.

He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

I opened my eyes and looked out the window as fresh resolve arose.  All I could think was how glad I was that it was now November. October had been so busy. No time to reflect. But November stretched ahead, wide-open spaces of blank calendar pages and potential.

No-shame November. 

What? The phrase popped in my mind, I’m not sure why, but it rang true. Back in college all the guys had declared No-shave November and had fun sporting scruffy beards.

Why no shame?

I’ll tell you why. Because THAT is the emotion that the enemy wants us to feel when we encounter trials of various kinds.

You’re stupid for believing, you’re foolish for having faith, can’t you see your prayers are useless, can’t you see that all your efforts are in vain?

FOOL.

IDIOT.

And so we eventually internalize these lies and the shame hangs heavy upon our shoulders …

… and the prayers peter out.

Outside in the cold, damp air, all alone in our wilderness with no one to hear but God, I cried this out — LOUD — to Him. And heard His Word answer back:

Those who wait for Me shall not be put to shame. (Is. 49:23)

No-shame November.

The time to believe God is now. The time to take God at His Word is now. The time to sell the farm and go for broke and throw ourselves at the mercy of our great God and pour out all we have in reckless abandon, for His sake and His glory and the good work that He is doing on this earth, in our lives … in theirs.

Wait for the LORD and keep His way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land. (Ps. 37:34)

{Don’t give up. Thanks for reading.}