Sunday, September 30, 2012

Praise the Lord

The sun is coming up. 
It's a beautiful day. 
Don't forget to praise the Lord. 

David knew how to praise the Lord. 
He praised the Lord in the evening in the morning and through out the day. 
That's what we need to do. 
If I spent the whole day praising the Lord, well.....that doesn't leave much room for sin.

Praise the Lord!

Friday, September 28, 2012


"Eva Abdullah, 17, welcomed Christ into her life three years ago, though she grew up Muslim. After her conversion, her parents disowned her. A group of radicals in her hometown of Bagamoyo on Tanzania’s coast sought to convince her to give up her new Christian faith. When she refused, they falsely accused her of urinating on a Quran, Islam’s holy book. Eva was arrested and put in prison and many Christian leaders were too afraid to get involved in her case because of Muslim dominance in the district. At her trial on July 23, the judge, who was allegedly bribed by the Islamic militants who accused her, sentenced Eva to two years imprisonment." -taken from

Although God has shown me that my mission field is here, I still believe that God is calling each and everyone of us to pray for our brothers and sisters over seas. This young lady is facing imprisonment for her faith in Christ. Her story leads me to ask myself, "If I were in her shoes, would I be as bold as she was?"
Please keep her in your prayers!
If you would like to read more and find out ways that you can encourage her, click here.

These brothers and sisters need our help. We need to keep them in our prayers.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

His Strength

There are days when I feel tired. Not just physically tired, but mentally and emotionally tired. This morning was one of those mornings. I would rather have slept than spend my time in the Word. Shameful though it may be to admit, it's the truth. Sometimes we go through what I call a "spiritual high." That's when I'm on top of the world. There are no worries or cares, Christ is my all-in-all and that is all that matters. And then the emotional part fades away, and I learn that my faith still has a great deal of strengthening to do. So many people become discouraged when they go through a spiritual high that begins to wear off. The problem is, so often, we rely on our emotional state rather than relying on Almighty God. How I feel does not change who God is or what He is doing. When I am tired, I learn to live in His strength. When I am weary, I learn that He is enough. When I am frustrated, I remember that His ways are far better than my ways. Then I learn how to have faith. Because it is not when I am living in my own strength that I learn how to trust Him more. It's when I'm tired that He teaches me the most about His wonderful self.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Passage For The Day

Deuteronomy 10:20-21

"Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God; 
him shalt thou serve,
and to him shalt thou cleave,
and swear by his name.
He is thy praise,
and he is thy God,
that hath done for these these great and terrible things,
which thine eyes have seen."

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

All In My Head

"What is the point of this? I'm tired of trying to be content with all of this."
"The point is that God has called you to do this. "
"But, I don't get it. I feel like I'm not accomplishing anything at all!"
"You are. You are accomplishing exactly what God has called you to do at this moment."
"What if I don't like what God's calling me to do at this moment."
"Then you aren't living a life fully devoted to God. You're still holding back what belongs to Him. You're still trying to control your life."

Sometimes I feel like I have two people living in my head, like the cartoons with the angel and devil on either shoulder. I have the one person who loves God with all her heart, has a passion for serving Him, and wants to fully devote her life to Him. Then I have this little annoying person that is always trying to discourage me and get me to believe that this life, this beautiful life God has given me, is really not what I was meant to do.  (I know that sounds bipolar, but it really isn't. You must believe me.*grin*)

A friend and I were discussing the uncomfortable conversations that come about when people find out that we aren't going off to college after graduation. It's difficult to stand and watch a persons good opinion of you drop several hundred feet. But for me, the one person I battle the most is myself. The culture all around me is screaming at me to follow them. I'm supposed to ditch this keeper-at-home thing and go off to the world, get a degree, find an amazing job, land an apartment, and live life selfishly seeking all the things that this world calls success. I see it, I hear it, and I know that this is what people expect. The silly thing is for some odd reason I don't even need anyone to tell me that, because I tell myself that every day. And everyday God asks me the same questions. "Am I enough to satisfy your heart? Do you trust My perfect plan for you?" Then, somehow, everything becomes clear again and I know the truth.

The truth is, being a stay at home daughter, serving her family, helping her father, and contentedly following the path that her Savior has chosen for her, is way more successful than what the world calls success. Why is it that we trick ourselves into thinking that the hand that rocks the cradle is somehow less than the hand that attaches a PhD to her signature?  It's not. Doing what God has called us to do, and doing it joyfully is success. Nowhere in Scripture am I called to go to college and get a degree. However, I am told to love the Lord with all my heart soul and mind (Matthew 22:37). Sometimes, loving God that much means being willing to step outside of the box, and I mean really step out of the box. Here's a quote my friend sent me that I think is so incredibly powerful!

 "The heroes of the Bible did not emerge from a cookie cutter factory. They were all unique and distinctively different. The world is full of mimics. Fearing the opinions of others, we fall into the rut of conformity. We need mavericks.  When I read the Scriptures, I see pages full of mavericks. They would not let the culture or the times define them. They refused to fit into a religious box, even if it was an acceptable box for most folks. What made them mavericks? Faith. They weren't afraid to leave a country, walk on water, confront false prophets, rebuke kings, or pray for miracles." Michael Catt

College isn't inherently wrong. But, the idea that you have to do it just because that's what everyone else does, is wrong. We have to do what God has called us to do. Sometimes God calls people to go to college and sometimes He doesn't. I believe God has called me to serve in my home, under the protection of my parents until He brings the husband that He has planned for me. I am NOT sitting on the couch eating bonbons! In fact, there are so many ways to serve, things that need to be done, and people that need my help, that it would be absolutely ridiculous for me to leave it all behind to go off to college! This is where God has called me to be. And I am not sorry if this upsets people. I am getting a huge college education here at home. Trust me, if you love to read and you are the daughter of a book seller....there you go; college education. That's only one teeny aspect of my life. God has filled my life with so many opportunities to learn and develop new skills that I honestly think I would find any other life boring. My mission field is here. All these doubts and all these fears; they're just in my head.  God did not give me a spirit of fear. (2Timothy 1:7) I'm tired of being afraid. God's doing something big in the heart of families across America. God's doing something big in the hearts of daughters! We're getting a vision. But we have got to stop fearing man and start fearing God. We need to ignore these doubts and lies in our heads.

Psalm 18:2-3
 "The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies."

I'm Scared of Mistakes

"Do not fear." I read it over and over. Each verse a different example of a moment where someone was told not to fear. Every verse a message to me for the same. "Kaila, do not fear." I'm not a fearful person....most of the time. But, as I read a bit from Grace Mally's book, "Will Our Generation Speak," (about our generation being bold for Christ and witnessing) a wee bit of fear creeps up. I read about how our inadequacies should not stop us from sharing the gospel, and how when we make mistakes that helps us learn. I don't like being inadequate, and I don't particularly enjoy making mistakes, especially when I am witnessing. Suddenly, I feel afraid.....which doesn't make much sense being that I was lounging in bed reading it. Nonetheless, reading about inadequacies and mistakes brought more fear than the thought of witnessing to someone. But God tells me "Do not fear," the moment I pick up the Bible. And as I read His word, I am reminded of how He used people's inadequacies and mistakes to bring about His glory, over and over and over again. Believe me, I'm all for the "always be ready to give an answer," verse in the Bible, but you don't always know what a situation may present. You could be the best theologian around and someone with the right question could stump you. But, we can't afford to let fear of mistakes stop us. (I just keep telling myself that.)
Really, if I get down to the root of the problem, the only reason I'm afraid of making a mistake is because of pride. And that my friend, is a very humbling thought.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy

Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love and power.

I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
O there are ten thousand charms.
Come, ye thirsty, come, and welcome,
God’s free bounty glorify;
True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings you nigh.

Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
Lost and ruined by the fall;
If you tarry till you’re better,
You will never come at all.

View Him prostrate in the garden;
On the ground your Maker lies.
On the bloody tree behold Him;
Sinner, will this not suffice?

Lo! th’incarnate God ascended,
Pleads the merit of His blood:
Venture on Him, venture wholly,
Let no other trust intrude.

Let not conscience make you linger,
Not of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requireth
Is to feel your need of Him.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Pray for Them

Do you ever walk into a store, look around you at all the people, and wonder about them and their lives? I have a habit (not sure if it's good or bad) of wondering about different people. I wait in a Starbucks line and see all the different people in line and around the room. There's a group of girls laughing and giggling, an old man by himself, a few different men and women rigorously typing on laptops, and I wonder who they are. I wonder if they know the Lord, if they are struggling right now, or if they are celebrating.  It really is none of my business what their lives are like, but somehow this wondering helps remind me to pray for them.

I wait in the check-out line at Walmart. The lady keeps swiping different cards; none go through. She had to take her groceries to the customer service desk. My heart goes out to her. I pray that God will provide for her. I don't know her situation, or why none of the cards worked, but I know it's frustrating and I pray.
The cashier mentions something about getting back from maternity leave and the man in front of me says, "Did ya have twins or triplets?" She replies that she only had one to which he replies with sarcastic shock, "What! Only one. You should have had twins or triplets." She looks away. He leaves and her face is downcast. She looks sad and discouraged. I pray for her and her baby. I pray for the man that needs to learn a little tact. There's not much I can do to help her. So I pray and make sure I congratulate her about her baby. She smiles.

Everyone has struggles. Even the toughest cookie you meet has struggles and moments of discouragement, regardless of whether they hide it or not. It's not my job to pry and make their business mine, but I can pray for them. It's not that I have some amazing, compassionate heart. No, it wouldn't be hard for me to just ignore them like I used to, but God has changed my heart. Rather than dwelling on my own circumstances, He has helped me to think about others and pray for them. I will probably never know if that lady was eventually able to pay for her groceries. I will probably never know how the cashier and her baby are doing. But I can pray for them. I can pray that God would lead them and that they would come to know Him if they don't already. God doesn't always place witnessing opportunities in your lap. Sometimes you only have 30 seconds to tell someone something before they're gone. But that doesn't mean we can't pray for them. They need our prayers and love. We need to get over ourselves and start thinking about others. Sometimes it's hard. I know, I've been there. Let me tell you though, it is far more fulfilling to spend that time praying for others than thinking only about yourself.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Living Every Moment in Light of Eternity

I hear a lot of stuff about "moments" these days. It seems that thanks to Ann Voskamp's book "1000 Gifts," more and more Christians are starting to catch the vision of living every blessed moment we are given full of gratitude. Then there are those who are also living in the moment, but in a pleasure seeking, whatever-feels-good-now sort of way. Each feel they are living in the moment and living life to the fullest. But it just can't be the same. There has to be a difference between the mother thanking God for the gift of the sweet grubby face of her little boy, and a homosexual who lives in the moment, satisfying his messed up desires whenever he wants. They both claim they are living in the moment, focusing on the here and now, and living life to the fullest. But it can't truly be the same thing, can it?
I think not.
I think what we need to keep in mind as we focus on living in the moment, is that while this moment is beautiful and a gift, it will affect our future. What we do now will shape us into who we will become. We need to live in the moment, but live the moment in light of eternity. What will this moment in our lives look like at the judgement seat of God? Will it be a moment where we can know we were basking in our Father's love and praising Him for all His gifts? Or will it be a moment that causes God's heart to grieve over our sin? If every sin will be brought forth, what will that small complaint look like?

It is so very important to live a life of love and gratitude towards our Savior. Every breath that we take, and every moment that we are given to live is a gift from Him. We need to live in the moment, but live it with a view of heaven in mind. The world's version of living in the moment is so badly corrupted. They don't realize that giving into every pleasure and doing what makes them happy now, will only lead them to a empty, fruitless life of a hunger and longing that can never be satisfied. They will destroy their own selves in an attempt to live in the moment, because without Christ there is nothing to live for in any moment. It is only in Christ, that we find a purpose and calling that will fill our heart's deepest yearnings.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Please Read and Pray

Let's keep this school in prayer. These kind of "small" issues in small towns tend to grow and become huge nation wide issues.

It Starts At Home

Witnessing is not my forte. I always feel rather awkward about it and unsure of where to begin. I've been thinking about it a lot lately though, and I know that God is calling me to be bold in my faith, I just need Him to help me overcome my own fear. I have begun praying more that God would open opportunities up for me to witness to others. I know you have to start somewhere, but my question was "Where?"
Although I wasn't expecting it at all, God's answer for me was "Here". In one 24 hour time period God gave me two different opportunities to witness in my home, to my brothers and sisters. That may sound strange because we live in a Christian home where we are taught about God everyday. But that doesn't mean that all my siblings are saved. That doesn't guarantee assurance of salvation. God very quickly showed me that if I want to witness to others, then I need to start here at home. One of my sisters and I spent an hour crying together and praying (the Swiss chard only got a little burnt...). I knew she was struggling, but I never cared to see how deep the roots of those struggles were. We are called to go out and make disciples. We need to be witnessing and sharing out faith with others, but we can't afford to ignore the ones in our own homes that need salvation. Really, if you think about it, we should so desire for our siblings to go to Heaven and to know the Lord, that their salvation should be a HUGE burden on our hearts. But so often we don't even bother asking because after all, they heard the same sermon we did, they read the same Bible chapter, and they memorized the same verse.
God loves using us for His glory. Maybe, God wants to use you to reach out to your siblings. Witnessing starts at home friends. If we can't witness to the people in our home, how can we ever witness to the ones out side?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Just a note - I was told to make sure that those looking for the post I wrote about Joy scroll down, it's the one I wrote yesterday. Supposedly there was a Facebook link error. ;-)

Now for today...
Galatians 5:13 "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another."
So, how many presidential candidates do you suppose use this verse as their campaign slogan? I haven't seen any and its a huge shame. What if all of our politicians had a goal to use liberty to serve one another and the people rather than use their office to fulfill their own ambitions? What if we used that liberty to serve one another? I don't want to get started talking about the election or Democrats and Republicans, but I do think that before we cast a vote we should be thinking about how each candidate is using the liberty that God has given our country. Are they using it as George Washington did, to serve others? Or are their using it for their own flesh? It really is something we need to think about and consider.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Please Pray for Joy

Photo Credits Samantha McIntyre

This beautiful little girls is one of my dearest friends. She has taught me so much through her life and I am so blessed to know her personally. Right now she is heading into open heart surgery, and I would like to ask for prayers for her and her family.

There is something very special about Joy that's hard to put your finger on. I've always loved being with her as she comes up to me and says, "Hi Kaila, can I sit next to you? You're my friend." Then she smiles really big as she sits by me. Her name is so perfect because Joy is so full of joy that it just shines from her smile. And it's her smile that makes her so special.

I was working on a drawing of her. I kept switching the picture that I was using as a guide because I just couldn't get it right. Something just wasn't working and it was frustrating me. When I draw faces I always start with the eyes. I like to give them a little sparkle and make sure they're both looking at me. Then I work on the nose, which is usually very hard for me to get just right. Once the eyes and nose are drawn the rest always feel much easier. But for some odd reason, I was able to draw her eyes and her nose, but I could not draw her smile. I have tried over and over again and I simply cannot get it to shine as brightly as hers naturally does. You see, Joy's smile doesn't seem to be a fake, "someone's taking a picture" smile. It's a real, radiant smile. It's so far from fake that I'm struggling to capture it with a pencil. As I worked I thought of what a testimony the little girl is. For me, Joy's smile is what makes her stand out. Not her down syndrome, not the way she talks; it's her smile. A smile that I just cannot draw, but that draws me closer to God. 

I'll still be working on that smile today, maybe longer depending on how long it takes, but I've realized that I will never be able to draw her smile as beautifully as God did. Only God can draw a smile as big as that on someone's face. Mine is only a cheap imitation that just doesn't compare. God can give you that smile too. If He can fill Joy's face and heart with that much joy, He can fill you up too. You just have to be willing to let Him.

So again, I'm asking for my friends to please pray for Joy today. Please also keep her family in prayer. 
I pray you are inspired by Joy like I am. 
God Bless!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Trusting in Him

I've been doing a word study lately on the word trust. I really enjoy doing word studies to see what Scripture says about a particular topic. I always learn a lot from it. The word trust is one of those beautiful words that I knew I would find lots of verses on, but just didn't realize how many.

(Gracious!!! I hear gun shots coming from the lake.....has goose hunting started already?)

Anyways, one thing that has really stood out to me so far is that nowhere in Scripture thus far, have I found a verse telling us to trust in anything other than God. He is the only one we are ever told to place our trust in and  we are told of the blessings that come from trusting Him.
One of my Grandma's favorite passages of Scripture is Proverbs 3:5-6 which says, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."  This verse really sums up what many of the verses on trust say. God is the Author and Creator of the world. With a flick of His hand He could wipe out an army. It almost seems silly when you think of it, to trust anyone or anything besides Him. Sometimes it's hard to take in, but the fact of the matter is, even our godly Christian friends will let us down at some point. The people we love the dearest will frustrate us. The ones we trust the most will break our hearts. That's life because of our sinful state. But God is bigger than all our unrighteousness. He conquered sin and the grave. He will not let us down. In Him our trust is secure.
Learning to trust wholly on Him has been a journey. I really think it's a life long journey of learning to let earthly things go and learning to cling completely to Christ.
But it is truly beautiful to know that the One you have put your trust in will never, ever let you go.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

All Things DO Work Together

My, my, yesterday was the first day in a couple weeks that I missed posting. Sorry 'bout that y'all. We were in the lovely land of Madison for the day and since we had to leave around 5am, I just couldn't do it. I'm back this morning, though I won't deny that I'm a little more sore and achy, and I am so excited to share what God has laid on my heart this morning.

Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose."
 It's a verse that I tend to read in one of two ways. 1. Read it while basking in the awesomeness of who God is and His perfect plan, or 2. Read it with frustration and skepticism, wondering how on earth everything could possible work out for good because this situation is just too awful!
Now obviously, the first one is much more honoring and glorifying to God, however, when in the midst of trials and tribulations it is very easy to lose sight of who God is and what He has done and what He will do. (At least for me, maybe y'all don't have that problem.)
As I look back on the past year - something I enjoy doing at birthday time - there was one particular trial, a midst others throughout the year, that lasted nearly all year and that I questioned God about continually. It would come in spurts, but I found each one just as frustrating as the next. What I did not see as I was going through it, was that God was using this trial to make me question a lot of things about life and about my future. In fact, I was so confused about what my future would hold as I headed into the week of my 18th birthday, that I was struggling to hang onto the vision that my family has had for a long time about older daughters staying under their father's protection and working with their families. I did not see that God was preparing my heart for all the answers to all the questions that I had asked Him in the last year. Then on Thursday night He dropped them on my lap. (The last post explains all that.) Had God not taken me through these emotional, frustrating situations my heart would not have been ready to hear the answers, nor would I have ever asked those questions.
At this moment in time, I am reading Romans 8:28  as I bask in God's awesomeness! But I have not forgotten how I struggled with this verse before. God really does work ALL things together for good. The verse does not say that "all things are good to them that love God," nope, it says, "all things work together for good to them that love God." God takes a bunch of "things" (good things, bad things, uncomfortable things, frustrating things, emotional things) and He works them together. It reminds me of when my Dad and I were constructing my loft bed. Some parts were easy to put together, some of the bolts were really hard to get in, some we extremely frustrating, but in the end they fit perfectly in place and I have a wonderful bed that I am writing from. My Dad took all those different pieces and frustrating moments and he worked them together to create a bed. That's what God does for us. He takes the tears, the confusion, the pain, the pathetic cries of, "What are you doing here?????" and He creates something beautiful.

My brothers and sisters, if you are struggling through a time in your life where you don't see how God could ever work this situation together for good, let me tell you that oftentimes the bigger the trial, the higher the hurdle, the more exhausting the excursion.......the bigger and better the end results. Other Christians have struggled. Other Christians still struggle. There are things that my family still struggles in seeing how God can work it all for good, but we know He can.
Although I may not know the situations that all of you face, I am praying for you. Because of this sinful world we live in there will always be trails and temptations, but who can ever find a Friend so faithful? God will lead and guide you through these times. He may have to mold and soften and confuse, but in the end you will find out why.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Best Gift

I received an early birthday gift last night. It was not wrapped and it was not handed to me, but it was the greatest gift I could have asked for today. For the past couple of months I have really struggled knowing where the Lord was taking me. I was really aiming towards graduating and going into missions of some sort. There were a few different ideas going through my head of what I might be interested in doing, but it really didn't seem like God was giving me any clear direction in that area. My parents went to a marriage conference last weekend that Scott and Deborah Brown (from NCFIC) did for our church. While there, my Mom had talked a lot to Mrs. Brown about me and my frustration with knowing where God was leading me. Mrs. Brown really gave my Mom lots of advice about what I can do and how I can continue getting an education and being a missionary right here in my home.
I won't lie, when Mom got home and told me everything, my brain went on automatic overdrive. It was actually almost frustrating to me. I knew what my Mom and Mrs. Brown were saying. I've watched, "Return of the Daughters," and I've read all the books, but when I would look at my life, I never saw how I would fit into that role. I would look at other dear girls around me that were staying at home and living under their Dad's protection, but I just never saw them as being me. Don't get me wrong, they lead beautiful lives, just very, very different lives. This really frustrated me because I do want to remain under my Dad's protection, but this culture we live in does not make it very easy and it is especially hard to know what God is calling you  as a young person to do.
So, my Mom had seen a poster at Culvers on Monday night advertising a bluegrass concert at a nearby church. She didn't write anything down she just remembered the church name. For some very strange reason, she went home and went on this goose chase trying to find the info for this concert. We shouldn't have been able to go to that concert. With as crazy as our lives have been, and with the just shouldn't have happened. But God somehow got my Mom and I out the door and to the church. The concert was actually a Christian school fundraiser, but the family that did the concert was a homeschool family with 10 children. As we found out, even the Bontrager's found it humorous that a Christian school would have a homeschool family like theirs do a fundraiser for a school. (Their family actually puts on the Homeschool Family Camp with the Wissman family and their oldest daughter has worked with Sarah Mally at Bright Lights conferences.)
The concert was so amazing. God has really worked beautifully through their family in their music and in their lives. As I sat listening to their music and watching their children I was very suddenly struck by their oldest daughter. I watched her and listened when they introduced their family and suddenly God showed me what it would look like for me to be a stay at home daughter living under my Dad's protection. I cannot describe to you the feeling that went through me since never before have I seen something quite that clearly, but it was as if God just dropped my future in my lap.
The way Chelsey Bontrager served her family was such a testimony of what God can do through daughters. Their whole family was a testimony!

I wanted to see what it would look like for me to serve in my home. God let me see someone that I could see myself in.
I wanted to know how to get my family to use our singing for God's glory. He sent a family that has done so and I saw how the older children taught the younger children music in such a beautiful way.
I wanted to start memorizing Scripture, something I have really gotten away from. Their 16 year old son has a goal to memorize the whole Bible by the time he is 20. He memorizes 5 chapters a week. If that's not inspiring I don't know what is.
I wanted to know how I could be a missionary from my home. The Bontragers spent the whole evening sharing the Gospel in some way. I also bought a book by Grace Mally on witnessing that looks so full of Godly wisdom in the area of witnessing.

So much info hit my head last night. Talking with Mrs. Bontrager and their oldest daughter was delightful. I cannot express my thankfulness and gratitude for them. God has given me a vision and a goal far bigger than I ever thought. I finally got a chance to see what it would look like for me to serve the Lord at home, just as my parents have always hoped I would.

Friends, seek the Lord. He WILL give you the answers that you long to know, but He has to do it in His timing. Trust me, God had to allow some pretty frustrating circumstances to break me down so that He could give me these answers. Wait on the Lord, He will give you a new song.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

One Day More

Today is just a day. Tomorrow is just a day. The bridge between the two is just one day more to be added to my life, but in essence it is a much larger bridge. Our culture tells me that in crossing this bridge I will be taken from childhood straight to adulthood. And although I believe becoming an adult is a process of time and maturity, I do look at tomorrow as an important day. The number 18 has always seemed to large and far away. Now that it's here it seems even larger, and yet in a way smaller. In all reality, tomorrow I will simply be one day older than I am today, but if I let my mind step back to when I was 6, 11, or 14, suddenly the day seems bigger. Turning 18 is a goal way too many young people just can't wait to reach. So much time can easily be spent dreaming of the day when your life can finally start, that it's easy to miss the fact that your life has indeed already begun and what you make of the first 18 years, will determine who you will become in the years to come. A person cannot assume that it's okay to be a lying, rebellious, child who hates living under authority, and somehow by turning 18 and moving out on their own, they will have solved all those problems and now be headed to glory and fame. It just doesn't work that way.  Yes, I will officially be considered an adult tomorrow, but I will be no more an adult then as I am now. Becoming an adult is a process of time, training and much work from my parents and the Lord. I have so much room to grow and improve.I pray that the Lord will continue to work in my life, molding me and shaping me for His glory.
Today I'm 17.
Tomorrow I'll be 18.
It's simply one day more.
It's what I do and who I am today, that will determine who I am tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Life is a Poem

The sun hasn't risen just yet. It's working it's way up, sending bursts of light through the clouds. I'm still a little tired, but in a good way. Last week I was listening to a talk by Becky Morecraft . She said something extraordinarily profound that has really made me think a lot these last few days. What she said was that our lives are like poems being constructed by the Master Author. His goal is to make a beautiful, flowing poem of our life. Sometimes that means taking out or adding in a noun (a person, place or thing in our lives. Sometimes He crosses out a verb (something we would have done). As He writes, He strategically places "words" in whatever place necessary to make the poem flow better. Somehow I find this picture of my life very comforting. I have a bad habit of wondering often why God allows the things He does, why He puts certain people in my life, why He allows hurts to happen, etc. Perhaps the answer I have been looking for all this time is simply that He is writing a more beautiful poem. To me that is such a great and wonderful honor. To have a gently flowing poem, with all the beauty and emotion that poetry holds, all written about me is an almost incomprehensible thought. To think that He can take something as messed up as me and turn it into poetry is amazing.
He is amazing. Let His pen flow. Trust that the words He adds and removes will in the end, make up a more beautiful poem. He's making you a beautiful piece of poetry.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Live Like You're Dying

What if you were told you had a month left to live? What would you do? 2Corinthians 6 is a beautiful passage of Scripture. One of the verses tells us to live as if we were dying, but are alive. I always wonder how people with occupations that see death frequently live. Does seeing death so much make life more valuable to them? Or does it become just another part of their lives? When I think about death it makes life seem so fragile. I start to feel a strange urgency about life. We only get one chance to live for Christ. One life, that's it. Once it's over, it's over. There's no part 2. We need to feel that urgency for the lost. We don't know when they are going to die. It could be tomorrow or in 80 years. Either way, just as we only have one life, they only have one life. And just as we need to being living that life to the glory of God, they need to be living their life to the glory of God. We're running out of time. Some days life seems very slow, but when I look back at how much time has passed I realize how quick it will all end.
Don't waste your life.
You only get it once.

Monday, September 10, 2012

To My Brothers in Christ

Genesis 3:16 "Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee."

When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the garden of Eden,  it was made clear that there would now be issues between man and woman. Since that day, women have had a desire to be over men. We're born with that desire embedded in our sinful hearts. The hard part is, not only do we have this desire, but in today's culture we are surrounded by people who tell us that this is okay and that since guys are slacking we should be taking charge. It's a messed up world.

For young ladies like myself, it is a huge struggle to fight that feminism that rages inside. Following the Biblical role of womanhood is a battle of overcoming that desire to be over men that we are born with. I struggle the most because I read Proverbs 31 that tells us that a Godly woman is far above rubies, but in the church setting I don't always feel this way. In many of the epistles we hear mentions of Godly women in the church who were hospitable to the saints, were supportive of their husbands, who raised children, and who sewed clothing for widows and orphans. These women were doing things in their homes. They weren't going out and preaching the Gospel like the apostles were, but yet when you read the letters from the apostles you see that these women were highly valued. They were far above rubies.

We young ladies are told that we need to encourage our brothers in Christ to be men. We try to encourage our brothers in Christ to be leaders. All I'm asking is, could you do the same for us. As we work on being encouraging sisters in Christ, would you encourage femininity? I think most young men miss the battle going through young women's heads. Often, it's easier to become a valuable woman in the world's eyes than it is to be a valuable woman in the Church's eyes. In the world we can go to college, get into the business world, get high up careers, and pick up slack left by unmotivated men. Today's culture tells us that this life is way more valuable to our country and economy than the life of a Proverbs 31 woman. Sometimes, this makes it really hard to be content with taking a back seat. We have to bury a lot of plans and dreams in order to help our brother and fathers in their visions. And it really is worth it if we are still equals in Christ and far above rubies.

Being a man that follows the Lord is difficult; I know, I have five brothers. Being a woman that follows the Lord is difficult; I know, because I am one. We need each other. We need to work together, and we need to encourage one another. If a boy is treated like a man, he will usually act like a man. If a girl is treated like a lady, she will usually act like a lady. If a man is treated like a leader, he will usually lead better. If a lady is treated like she is valuable, she will usually embrace that God given role. That's all I'm asking of my brothers in Christ. Yes, I have made huge mistakes. I have been unladylike, I have undermined young men, and I have  have lost my patience with them. But I have also repented and the Lord has forgiven me. Just as you are being shaped and molded into Christ's workmanship, I am too. We don't live in an easy world. We really do need each other to make it through.

I don't want anyone to think that I'm trying to rebuke and undermine you by writing this. I simply want to make a plea. Guys have struggles and battles too, I know and I pray often for the young men and young women that I know.  We're not looking for praise and glory, just for a little encouragement. We can go back to the Biblical roles of manhood and womanhood. It's an uphill trek, but we can make it in the strength of the Lord. God has not given us a spirit of fear. He has made us strong and given us the ability, in Him, to overcome the wicked one. Let's not try to do it all on our own. Let's encourage one another as we go.
Then we can advance the Kingdom of God at a much higher speed.

~Just as a side note, I live in a wonderful household where I really do feel very valuable to my family. I am tremendously blessed to have parents that go out of their way to let me know that I am a blessing to them. I love them so much!!!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Desiring the Greater Things in Life

I'm a dreamer.
I love to look way past the present, into the future, and think about all the things that will happen to me.
I like to plan things.
I like to plan the way I think my life should go from now til I die.
I want to to do big things.
I've always dreamed of bigger, better things, of stepping beyond the average life and going to heights and depths that seemed impossible.

But maybe, just maybe, there's a chance I've been wrong. Maybe the greater things in life are really quite small. Maybe the big dreams have to be started with a small seed. Maybe the simple life is sweeter.

It's hard to think that I've been wrong. It's hard to face that all my great plans for spreading God's Kingdom were wrongly based. Then again, they were always my plans and I was still waiting for an answer from God about them. I try to swallow back frustration and see the truth. The truth that God might be choosing to answer contrary to my plans. After all, He is the Creator of the universe, the Author of all life. It is He who writes the story of my life, not me.

So maybe I need to quite stacking my hopes upon my dreams.
Perhaps I need to learn to simply live day by day and not in the dream world I've created in my head. Life is not about pawns and pieces, it's about real people and real events that happen ever day. I can't control other people or their future, just like I can't control my own.

Maybe, desiring the greater things in life, means embracing the smaller ones.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Don't Limit Yourself

Life is full of limits. You can do this, you can't do that. Some limits are very good and are put in place for my own safety. Then there are the limits that I put on myself because things are too hard or I am unsure of myself. I place up limits because of fear and pride. Sometimes life is scary and sometimes I am just afraid to fail. This is often the case in my walk with the Lord. I see people that write books, speak at conferences, have ministries and I would truly love to do all that. But I hesitate and I am unsure of myself. I doubt what God can do through me. Why? Because of fear. Because it's a lot of work. Because it might fail. Because my ideas might be rejected

My favorite Bible verse that has helped me through many times is Joshua 1:9 which says, "Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest." 
No matter where God leads me in life He is there. He is leading and guiding. He is making the impossible happen. I don't need to have a spirit of fear. What I really need to do is quit limiting what God can do through me because of fear. God didn't limit Himself. So I don't need to either.

Here are two videos that inspired this morning's post. The first one is of a professional pianist playing a song that he arranged. My little brother Andrew loves watching it over and over and tells me that he wants to play it. Actually, I really want to play it, but it looked rather intimidating to me......that is, until I watched the second video of a little boy playing the song. I was instantly inspired. Surely if this little fella could play that song, I can to. That's when I started thinking about how I so easily limit myself and think of things as impossible when they are not impossible. I thought about how I could apply this spiritually and the above is what God gave me. 
I thought you would enjoy watching the videos too.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Inventive Faith

Well friends, I will admit I have a weakness - one of many -  and that is rainy Friday mornings...... Yeah, I'll let your heads do the rest. So, it will be very short and sweet this morning. I was reading in a book about inventive faith. It's the kind of faith that makes men break through a roof in order to get to Jesus. I never thought about the fact that faith sometimes means inventing or taking risks in order to see it through. Those guys didn't just believe it could happen. They acted on that faith and made sure their friend was dropped right down in front of Jesus. Truly, that puts my faith to shame.
Just a thought to share this wonderfully, rainy, Friday morning.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Paul's Mission

Acts 26:15-18 "And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. But rise, and stand upon they feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee and minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me."

Isn't this simply the most amazing mission statement? "To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God..." Although these are the words spoken to Paul, I believe that these are words that each and every Christian should follow and claim as their aim and goal. When Christ saves us and makes us His own, we become ministers of the Gospel for Him. We become the tools that He will use to chisel the lives of others. Our job is to help bring hope to a helpless dying world because Jess did that for us. The words above weren't spoken to some good ole guy. They were spoken to a Christian killer! God turned his life around for the purpose of Paul turning other men to Christ. The same is true for us, because although we may not have been murderers, we were still just as lost in our sin as Saul was before Christ gave him a new name and a new purpose. 

Here's a question: When you look at wicked people in the world, what do you see? Do you see wicked, evil people, or do you see sick and dying people? It's easy to only see the wicked and evil, but if we can step out of our pride to see that they are simply lost and dying people, we see our mission clearer. Our job isn't to take down the wicked, but to open their eyes to the light that their lives are missing. We have to be willing to take those risks though. There are times when conflicts will arise, when even Christian friends will misunderstand, but we can't let that stop us from sharing Christ with unbelievers. That's what we're called to do. Way too many people keep trying to save the saved. We need to be willing to step out of our comfort zones and start ministering to those in our lives and communities that do not see the wondrous light of Christ. That's what Paul did. I pray that God gives me the strength and courage to do the same.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Got Faith?

It's a catchy phrase, "Got Milk?" "Got Music?" "Got This?" "Got That?"........"Got Faith?" Christians often life to take catch phrases like that and turn around to have a good message, but I wonder if we're losing the point because we dumb it down do much. Really, having faith is not the same as having milk, or anything else for that matter. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus did much work healing and aiding those that had faith and working on the faith of His disciples. I always find it interesting that the people sick and dying, who should have been in the depths of despair, were the ones who had the faith to believe that Jesus could heal them. However, the disciples who walked with Jesus everyday and saw Him perform tons of miracles, they were the ones who Jesus chided because of their lack of faith.

I wonder why the disciples struggled with faith so much. They saw the things Jesus did. They knew He could heal these people, but they were the ones who struggled to believe that He could. I also wonder if I am not just like these disciples. I see God's hand all through history. I know and believe in what Jesus did. I know that Christ is able, but I still doubt. I doubt that His plans are good. I doubt that He knows my every need. I doubt that He still heals and gives strength to those that believe He will. I wonder if the reason those that were blind, sick with leprosy and lame had the faith to believe that Jesus could heal them, was because they had nothing else to believe in. There was no one else to save them. All their plans had been ruined and stripped from them. They had nothing else to cling to but faith.

I have everything. I have plans. I have people to take care of me. Maybe that's why having faith is hard. I need to start putting my faith in Christ rather than the things of the world. My plans, my possessions, the people in my life; they will pass away, they will let me down, they will not last. Only Jesus will! Faith isn't something I can just grab. It's a process of letting go and believing in my Lord and Savior as my All in All.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Confident Contentment

The fair is over and reality is slowly returning. It's hard to believe that the summer is over all ready and school is starting back up. I'll be a Senior this year which is so exciting. It seems like time has flown by so fast though. When I was younger I had a goal to graduate a year early. It was something I really wanted to do, but for some odd reason the Lord didn't seem to have the same goal. He kept allowing things to happen or life to get busy so that it just didn't work out. That really frustrated me for a long time until the Lord opened my eyes to why He wanted me to still be in school this year. Suddenly being a Senior instead of a graduate this year was a wonderful blessing. I only have a couple classes left that I have to take so I'll be able to help my Mom teach some of the kids and I'll get to graduate with many of my friends, which will be really fun too.

One thing I have learned over the years is the blessings of being confidently contented with where the Lord has placed me. Whenever I fight His will for me, I end up being miserable and unhappy. However, when I am content with where I am and know that this is exactly where He wants me, my life is filled with a much greater joy. Of course there are times when God does call you somewhere else, but if He is not calling you elsewhere then why not rejoice in where He has placed you?  If I am serving the Lord where He placed me, I can accomplish so much more for Him. It's like a hammer and nail. The nail can try to replace the hammer all he wants, but the progress is going to be WAY slower than if he were doing what he was supposed to do. That's how I feel sometimes. Like that little nail wanting so badly to do the amazing job of hammering all the other nails in and not seeing my great importance in holding a structure together. Nails aren't any less important than the hammer. They just have a different role.

I have learned that I am the happiest when I am following the Lord and am confidently content with where He has placed me. That truly is the happiest place on earth to be. That is where I belong.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Don't Forget

Psalm 32:1 "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered."

When all is well and life is good it's easy to ignore the truth of who I am, the truth of what I've done. I don't believe that Christians should live mopey, hermit lives, always dwelling on their sin and damnation, but I also don't think that we should ignore what God has done for us. Every day that I live to serve my Maker is a blessed gift because there are so many people out there who aren't serving the Lord and who don't have any purpose to life.
What Christ did for me on Calvary was HUGE. He covered my sins! Even if that was the only act of kindness that He ever did for me, it should still be enough. I didn't deserve that forgiveness. Christ was not awarding some sort of merit on my part. He was giving His life for someone who didn't even see the depths of their own sin.
That's not something to mope about; that's something to celebrate. Don't forget what Christ did for you. Live like you are redeemed!!! Don't live life full of regrets because of your sin, let Christ take them, cover them and give you newness of life!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

One Year Ago Today......

One year ago today I ran for Walworth County Fairest of the Fair. It was a very neat experience and I learned so very much. I am so glad that I do not have to go through the nerve racking moments of standing with my Dad and waiting to go on stage. If he hadn't been there to hang onto, I know that I would have either passed out or locked my knees I was shaking so bad. But in typical Kaila fashion, once I got up there and started talking I was in my element. The Lord was with me and I had a mission to accomplish.

Even though winning would have been really exciting, I didn't go into it with a mindset to win. I knew that God had a message that He wanted me to present. I prayed that I would be given questions that would be channels to share my faith and God was so good to answer my prayers. I remember watching many fairest competitions where the contestants were "all about me." I really wanted my speeches to be different. I wanted them to be all about God and others.

As I look back on that day I notice a few things.
I was the youngest girl to run for fairest.
I spoke longer than the other girls.
I spoke about God way too much for a competition with judges picking winners.
I wasn't excited and bragging about the college I would be attending in Madison - because I won't be attending. :-)
I was homeschooled.

But you know what? I wouldn't change any of it. Not one bit. Because I had a purpose and a mission for being on that stage. Really, when I think about it, that competition stage is the biggest platform that the Fairest ever even has to share her faith on a large scale. Yeah, if I had been Fairest I would have gotten to ride in parades and talk about the fair events, but on that stage I was able to share my faith with a whole crowd of people. It was there in that moment that I was given the biggest chance to reach many people and the Lord took away my fear when I got up there and helped me to do just that.

Being on that stage was a wonderful experience but there is one moment I know I shall never forget. There is a little, tiny old lady that comes to watch the competition every single year. She's as sweet as pie and always wears pink and uses her adorable duct tape cane. When the Fairest is chosen she's the first to get a picture with her. It's kind of a big deal and it was something I had watched happen every year. When that competition ended she didn't go to the Fairest first like she had done every year I had watched. Rather she came right up to me and thanked me getting up there and being bold in my faith. Then she asked her friend to get a picture of the two of us. In that moment, I might as well have been Fairest. It may not sound like a big deal to the average person, but it was a lot to me.

A few people asked me if I was doing it again this year. I didn't close the idea in my mind, but I knew that it wasn't what God was calling me to do this year. God's ways and plans are amazing. I didn't want to share this to brag about me, but rather to brag about God and how awesome He is. When we are willing to trust and follow Him, He will lead us to places we didn't think we could go. He helps you meet people that you never thought you'd meet. And He helps give you the words you never had. Don't be afraid to follow where He leads you - even if it terrifies you for a little.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

My Portion Forever

"Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever." Psalm 73:25-26

To some people Psalm 73 might be low on their list of favorite Psalms, but at this moment I can think of no more comforting Psalm. It talks a lot about David's struggle as He saw the wicked prosper in riches and glory here on earth. As the chapter goes on, he sees that although the people of the world seem to prosper their end is not so sweet. God is David's portion and He is far more lasting than the portions of the world.
I know so many young people who's main goal in life is to just have fun and they do a good job of it. I was thinking about this a bit yesterday and the Lord showed me that often these people live lives of just having fun because they are trying to fill a void. A void that's there because they don't want Him. When you don't love and desire God life doesn't have much purpose. Life ends up being lived for self rather than for God.

God's portion is far more satisfying. Learning to desire Him more than the world may sometimes be hard, especially when the wicked prosper, but I don't want to be of this world. My home is not on this earth. My home is with God forever and there the wicked do not prosper.