Category Archives: Deeper Trust

What Women Want

 

If you are a woman reading this, what is it that you want most? Anything jump to the forefront of your mind?

For me I’d have to say I most want to be appreciated and understood and at the least acknowledged as a positive life form (thought well of) from those I consider close to me. I don’t expect these things from anyone else. How about you. What do you really want?

Remember one of Mel Gibson’s movies entitled “What Women Want”?

 

The movie came out in 2000 about an extreme ladies man who gains the ability to hear women’s thoughts after he has a freak accident. One particular woman he hears at his office is a file girl played by Judy Greer. She is well aware that she goes unnoticed day after day in her work place. Mel Gibson’s character now hears her thoughts. She believes her life matters to no one. She’s contemplating suicide.

The world the file girl lives in is fast paced and people are not paying attention to her, at least not until Mel Gibson’s character hears her dangerous thoughts. Most of us live in this same type of hurried situation day in and day out.

You’ll have to watch the movie or google it to see how things resolve but do you ever feel like the file girl? Like you don’t matter in this rat race life? That no one sees or cares about the details of your day to day existence? Perhaps you are facing something tragic or challenging? Don’t try to run, hide or worse.

In Genesis 16 Hagar was running away because her situation with Abram and Sarai was difficult and complicated. She was a servant used as a surrogate mother and now that she was pregnant she felt resentful. Used, unwanted and abused she probably felt a lot worse than the file girl in Gibson’s movie.

But as Hagar hid in the wilderness, God found her and spoke to her about her life and future, giving her hope. Genesis 16:6-12. Hagar responded by calling God El Roi which is a Hebrew term meaning “the God who sees me”.

I am extremely grateful that God is never too busy or preoccupied to notice us, His children. All we have to do is call out to Him and He hears us. He knows everything about us everyday, every minute, every second. Only an all-knowing, almighty God could keep up with so many people and love each of us as if we were HIS only child.

Today remember HE sees you! Focus on the truth of HIS abiding presence. HE is available if we want Him, He’s only a breath away, call Him. He sees you. He’s waiting.

If I am seen, known and loved by my Lord that really is all this woman wants. What about you?

Shine on. . .
karan k

Call the Midwife!

“Never trust anyone completely but God. Love people, but put your full trust in God.” —Lawrence Welk

I admit I know very little about Midwives. I did try to watch the popular tv drama “Call the Midwife” once but I was too squeamish to finish even one episode. But I do have a little story to share involving a Midwife.

Over 35 years ago I had a friend who was adamant about not wanting to have children. She never gave details as to why. She complained when women’s magazines printed articles on children and parenting. She felt they over focussed on childrearing and took personal offense. I listened but didn’t know what to say that would not offend her further. So I remained silent and let her vent whenever she felt the need.

This same friend also claimed to be an Agnostic. She believed there was not enough evidence for or against the existence of God. We had many discussions over the years about our differing belief systems.

In the late 80s she divorced her husband and later remarried. Imagine my surprise when she told me in early 1992 that she was pregnant! I couldn’t believe it!  Was this the same woman who complained at length about children?

Nine months later as she gave birth in a local hospital she experienced a change of heart and mind. Seeing the birth of her daughter was proof  enough to her that God does indeed exist. She adored her baby and became a loving mother at age 34.

Shortly after her daughter turned one, she moved several hours away to a sparsely populated area in the North. We continued to keep in touch and I visited on occasion when time afforded a road trip. I encouraged her and her budding faith as often as I could.

In 1995 she told me she would be having another child the next spring. This time she wanted a more natural child birth experience at home with a Midwife. I admired her for her courage.

Months rolled by and one day I got a frantic call from my friend. Her delivery time was approaching and her husband was out of state on a business trip. She was scared because the only Midwife in her secluded mountain area had taken a full-time job and could only assist with delivering babies on certain days during certain hours. She asked me to pray that the baby would come when the Midwife was available.

So I took her urgent request to my ladies Bible study group and asked them to join me in praying. Now I must tell you these dear women loved the Lord. They were older mentors for me and each of them had gone through childbirth themselves, some several times. I was the only one in the group who never experienced pregnancy.

So when I made my request, they snickered. One of them even said, “A baby will come when it’s good and ready.” I could tell they thought my prayer request was foolish. But I was not deterred.

I knew that our great God cared about my friend. HE cared about the fears that were trying to dampen her faith. HE cared about her struggle. I knew HE alone was in sovereign control over the exact moment that baby was to be born. So I prayed for the baby to come when the Midwife was available, believing, inspite of what the other ladies thought. I trusted in HIS best for my friend.

What do you think happened?

When her labor came and proper dilation occurred she called the Midwife. By the grace of God the Midwife had just finished her shift and was able to attend to my friend immediately. My friend successfully delivered a healthy baby boy to join her toddler daughter. Her faith was strengthened by this specific answer to prayer and so was mine!

So never let anyone discourage your faith in God’s care for you! Trust HIM above all others, even those you respect and your faith will FLURISH!

 

 

“It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.” Psalm 118:8 New King James Bible

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

Supernatural Snow Day

“Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest is a faithful messenger to those who send him; he refreshes the soul of his masters.” Proverbs 25:13 English Standard version

yeeha!

 

If you happen to live in cooler climates, you might be well acquainted with the term “snow day”. Those of us who grew up in the Northeastern area of the US probably remember listening anxiously to the radio or tv as kids early in the morning waiting for the announcement of school cancellations due to weather conditions.

Now our own kids or grandkids look forward to “snow days” just as we did—A free day with no school. Of course in the scheme of things, a snow day was followed later by a “make up” day to replace the required school hours that were lost during the “snow day”. But kids don’t care about such future details.

The good news for us as adults is we don’t have to wait for a snowstorm to grant us a “free snow day”. We  can schedule our own every now and then. We can take some time to just BREATHE. We can put all the responsibilities on hold for a day. It will recharge our minds, bodies and souls.

We also are not forced into a “make up” day. We just trust and expect our Heavenly Father to help us with anything that piled up during our day with Him. I have found Him to be faithful each and every time I do this to help me catch up on whatever work I have. It’s a supernatural thing!

Relaxing with JESUS

The trick is to actually TAKE a “free day”. To entrust your myriad of responsibilities to the Lord who loves you for one 24 hour period and not fret over them. HE actually expects us to do this once a week not once in a blue moon. HE gave us the Sabbath to refresh us to better serve and worship Him. HE knows we need it it whether we realize it or not.  (Luke 4:16 for any desiring New Testament proof—Jesus is our ultimate example) We need to incorporate this into our weekly lives no matter what our work schedules dictate.

I have worked weekends for 29 years now and it has been a challenge to take my “snow days” or Sabbath days. Sometimes corporate worship with other believers cannot take place the same day as my “snow day” time with Him due to my work schedule, but that’s ok.  He sees my heart and knows my desire is to be with Him so I proactively plan to do it as regularly as I can. This will be different for each of us.

Let HIM melt your heart of stone

For many years I didn’t carve out a 24 hour Sabbath for myself and burn out would overtake me. When I was young it took longer to burn out but now I grow tired faster which is actually a blessing since it forces me to physically rest.   Illness sometimes created forced “snow days”. But now I want to be proactive and obedient to HIS command. I don’t always do too well but I keep trying because I know HIS ways are higher than mine so I trust HIM rather than what I think or my schedule dictates.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9 English Standard Version

Our world is so busy and everything seems important. The more complicated our world becomes the more we NEED weekly undivided time set apart with Jesus in addition to daily communication with Him.  We need to rest, to refresh and to refuel to FLURISH!

February 2018

 

Today I’m taking a “snow day” supernaturally as well as physically!! When was your last “snow day”?

Shine on. . .
karan k

 

Sent from my iPad

 

Sweet Trust

“Every word of God proves true. HE is a shield to all who come to Him for protection.” Proverbs 30:5 New Living translation

When I returned from my anniversary trip to Hawaii I went to visit my Mom at the nursing home as soon as I could. She never did well when I was away. So I was concerned and when I saw her she did not look good— slumped in her  lift-recliner, pants down with depends showing and sweater struggling to cover her bulging belly.

Mom’s wedding in Hawaii 2001

I woke her up and when she saw me, she asked if I had gone to Hawaii yet? My heart dropped. I had been gone 3 and a half weeks without her cognizance. I fought back the tears. She hated it when she couldn’t remember. I knew her dementia had progressed.

Somehow the Spirit of the Lord showed me my time with her was short. We had three good visits together in the next two weeks. The last one being Christmas Day when she spent the afternoon at my house with family. She told me it would be the last time she leaves the nursing home because it was just too hard on her. But she said “It was a nice party” and was glad she could come one last time. That was Monday Christmas Day 2017. Little did I know what the next week held.

I saw her Thursday the 28th again because I was concerned about her. She seemed a bit better but two days later the nursing home called and requested I talk her into going to the hospital because something was terribly wrong. I hated to push her but it had to be done.

Mom’s speech was slurred when she came to the phone and she did not want to go to the hospital but by the grace of God I convinced her to go. Two hours later I met her in the emergency room at the local hospital. My husband Dwight stayed with us as two different paramedics tried to insert an IV at various locations to no avail. Mom screamed in pain because her veins were so tiny due to immense fluid retention. We requested lidocaine numbing spray and an IV specialist was called.

Mother Daughter Banquet

In the meantime the hospital ran some tests and a a chest catscan without contrast revealed something we never considered. Lung cancer. Massive tumors filled her lungs so every breath was a struggle for my precious mother. A year prior she developed breast cancer but was adamant about no mastectomies. So the surgeon did his best to remove the cancerous tissue. However, unbeknownst to all of us, cancer cells were missed and spread quickly throughout her lungs in a years time.

The doctor in the emergency room was kind and showed me photos of her lungs in 2016 as clear and less than a year later riddled with cancer. I went back to Mom and asked her if she wanted to know what the doctor said and she said she did. I told her it was lung cancer and she cried a little.

I held her hand and said, “This is what you’ve told me you wanted ever since I was six years old; to die and go to Jesus.” She looked at me with her little girl eyes and said, “Well, when you come right down to it, I’m not s sure.” She cried a little more. “So you are playin chicken with me my whole life,” I said trying to add some levity? “No, I wasn’t,” she said whimpering.

My 50th Birthday with Mom

I told her I would stay with her and we sang the hymn we sang together when my father died suddenly 30 years earlier.

‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word:
Just to rest upon His promise;
Just to know, “Thus saith the Lord.”

(chorus)

JESUS, JESUS, how I trust Him,
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er.
JESUS, JESUS precious JESUS!
Oh for grace to trust bHim more.

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious JESUS, Savior, Friend:
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.

JESUS, JESUS, how I trust Him,
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er.
JESUS, JESUS precious JESUS!
Oh for grace to trust Him more.

 

“Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus
Louisa Stead and William Kirkpatrick
1882 inspired by Proverbs 30:5

That was the last day Mom was able to communicate completely even though every breath was difficult. They were precious hours spent together and I stayed the next two days with her in the hospital. Hospice was called in but due to it being a holiday weekend, they never got to help her. She passed from this life into the arms of Jesus late New Years Day night still holding my hand.

Together to the end

God’s amazing grace helped me as HE and I were all alone in that hospital room once she went home. Be encouraged for HE never left my side! Praise His glorious name! His words are true!

“. . .and be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b New Living translation

Shine on. . .
karan k

 

 

Eulogy for My Mother: Celebrating Romayne Part II

 

After I spoke what you read  at my Mother’s funeral service in Part I, my dear husband spoke. As I held the mike for him my eyes scanned ahead on his notes, which he barely used. Love and pride swelled in my mind and heart for this man and his caring words which so totally captured the essence of my Mother. The following is a written copy of what he said at her Celebration service.

“My memories of Romayne I’ll share focus mainly on her ‘words of wisdom’ that would sometimes suddenly appear out of nowhere. I like to call them ‘ROMAYNEISMS’.

Those of you who knew her and spent any amount of time with her know that she was rarely at a loss for words. Maybe not a lot of words at times but those snippets of profound truth impactful all the same. . . and impactful for different reasons.

There are three expressions or truths I heard from her often over the last few years. The first being, ‘That’s the way the mop flops’. On the surface this may sound a little superficial maybe even somewhat cavalier. I think though it speaks to Romayne’s acceptance of whatever life threw at her. As Karan just said, Romayne’s life wasn’t always easy or happy, but inspite of difficulty you have to keep moving on, keep living life. That is what I saw her do.

She became a mother at 17, then raised four children, lost two husbands, and a son. She also struggled with multiple health issues throughout the years and did it with little or no grumbling or complaining. In fact, I’m told she did not like complaining or hearing complaints. She accepted life as it came and persevered, because ‘THAT’S THE WAY THE MOP FLOPS’.

Romayne Christmas 2017

Another truth I heard from her and Karan often told me Romayne expressed was ‘They’ll get good again’. This can go hand in hand with the previous quote, but I think more so she meant it as she was going to live life on her terms. She was her own person. Again those of you who knew her would have to agree, if how she decided to live bothered some folks well. . . ‘they’ll get good again’. She was not going to allow others to affect the way she chose to live. She had her life to live and her decisions to make, as we all do, and if others are upset by that, well. . . ‘THEY’LL GET GOOD AGAIN.’

The final Romayneism is not so much a truth as just a comment she made regularly in the last few years as her physical body was failing her more and more. Simple things like sitting down or standing up and walking became increasingly difficult for her— not to mention trying to get her in and out of a car to take her places. Every movement was a painful battle.

She would often cry out ‘Oh Jesus! Oh Jesus!’ Sometimes I secretly thought depending on where we were, I hoped that people around us wouldn’t think she was swearing! Those of us that know her, know that could not be farther from the truth. Romayne simply knew where her strength to go on came from.

I would like to imagine for a moment a different circumstance:

Imagine with me, if you will, what Romayne was doing this past Monday at 11:46pm. . .
There she is. . . she can see Jesus. Maybe from a distance at first. As she moves closer to Him she begins to sense the awesome glory of where she is.

She’s moving toward Jesus and her steps become hesitant because she is so overwhelmed by the presence of our Savior. Jesus sees her hesitation as He is now standing before her.

He has the biggest, widest smile on His face and with His arms outstretched He says, ‘C’mon, come here my beautiful daughter. What took you so long? . . . I was waiting for you! Don’t be scared. Come here! Walk to Me! I gave you those new feet and those new legs, and knees and hips so you could come to Me!’

She looks down at herself and realizes she’s been given a new and perfect body, without defect. She looks up at Jesus’ smiling face and runs to His arms and one more time she cries out, ‘OH JESUS’!!”

 

I hope your heart is blessed by this even if you didn’t know my Mom. For someday Jesus will welcome each of us who knew Him!!

Shine on. . .
karan k

Romayne’s Eulogy: Celebrating Romayne Part !

Mom’s loves:
Leon R. Buffenmyer–my Dad
Dale E. Carpenter –my second Dad
Romayne and her children
Hawaii

For those who could not attend any of the funeral services  for my mother Romayne, here are a few glimpses for you.

Funeral service at Reamstown Church of God

It is my complete honor to celebrate and share with you a little bit about my mother that you may not know. Romayne, as she liked to be called was her middle name and forever wanting to be different she refused to spell her name according to her birth certificate. She felt the “Y” rather than an “I” was much more distinguished. However, it was never legally changed.

Young Romayne at 15

I am not going to place my mother on any pedestal, the Lord knows how frustrating Mom could be at times. She was strong but stubborn. Loving but certainly not gentle. She was loud in manners and louder in her fashion choices. But we are all flawed human creatures in need of His grace and I am happy to say Mom received that grace when she was 15 years old at St. Pauls EC church also in Reamstown.

Up until that point in her life, she struggled in a broken, unhappy home. Her mother suffered severe depression and little Romayne was scared of her father. Her search for happiness began early and she dreamed of moving out West and living on a ranch. She never wanted children.

At 16 she met my Dad while he worked on her parents well and they were married that same year. Motherhood arrived early while my father was serving our country. Depression overtook her young life. Romayne gave birth to 3 boys and much later, a little girl.

 

She sought happiness in music throughout her life, first cowboy music such as Hank Williams and later she discovered one of the loves of her life— Gospel Quartet music. She liked it loud and “peppy”. The music used today were her personal favorites. When she wasn’t coaxing my father to take her to Gospel concerts in the tristate area, she was blasting her Quartet music thru her five foot long stereo.

A special shout out today to those of you choosing to honor Romayne with your apparel choices of Hawaiian shirts or her signature colors of pink and black. She loved to have fun and she wanted her funeral service to be a celebration of her life so she pre-planned some of the details of this service.

 

 

Because her early years were dark, lonely and depressing a common theme for my Mom’s life was Heaven:

She sang about it often when I was a little girl. The song “I’ve Got A Mansion Just Over the Hilltop” was the one I heard her sing the most and she wanted it played for you today as her casket entered the sanctuary.. She also loved hearing others sing about Heaven.. Vestal Goodman was her favorite soloist so thanks to YOUTUBE, we could share that with you as well.

Vestal Goodman

 

My Mom loved to laugh. She wanted a Happy funeral service. So some may view this service as irreverent but it is what she wanted and I know if God allows her to see us, she is happy over every detail.

Contagious laugh!

Speaking of laughter, during my high school years when I participated in plays, my director wanted my Mom to come to every performance because he knew her infectious laugh would stir laughter in others even if the play itself was subpar.

 

Besides laughing, Mom also loved hugging and kissing the people she loved. Often unsuspecting loved ones left her presence carrying her special brand of a hot pink lipstick kiss mark on their cheek.

Mom’s youngest great grand daughter, Maya

 

I think Mom wanted to escape this world of pain and sorrow and go to the place Jesus prepared for her. So she focussed on Heaven. I am so grateful she taught me about Jesus at a very young age. He is the ONLY reason I am able to stand before you today and can speak to you at this time.

I was extremely close to my mother for many reasons and I’ve been asking Jesus for years to prepare me for the day when He called her home. I know there are bawling sessions ahead… had a few already but she is no longer suffering and I know I will see her again. But I have also had some laughing sessions as I remember so many funny memories of her. I hope that in the days to come you will remember her smile, her laugh and her hugs because she truly was a unique individual and will be missed.

Last lucid pic of Mom and me
Christmas day 2017
She crossed over to Heaven New Years Day 2018

 

In one hour we will commit her physical body to the grave but the real Romayne is dancing on the streets of gold with Jesus next to her pink mansion!

God bless us, everyone!

Shine on from Heaven Mom!

karan k

 

 

Red Light Isolation

 

STOP!

“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back to back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12 New Living Translation

Do you like movies? If so, what are some of your favorites?

Spencer Tracy in Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde 1941

I love movies, all types. Most genres except Horror and Westerns. But even some of those I enjoy. For example, some of the old Horror films that have become cult classics like 1931’s version of Frankenstein, or Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with Spencer Tracy in the dual role. The Mummy from 1959, and for Westerns I like McClintock and The Magnificent Seven with an all-star cast (Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, Eli Wallach, James Coburn and Horst Buchholz) from 1960.

 

The Magnificent Seven 1960

Some of those older movies have such great scripts and since I aspire to one day write a successful screenplay, I take notice of the dialogue used. For example, I like this line from an old Cops and Robbers movie in 1949 called Red Light:

“You know Johnny, when you play Solitaire, you only beat yourself.”

Solitary pain

 

The line made me think of how many of us play Solitaire with our lives. We don’t let anyone close enough to know who we really are. We don’t allow anyone to help us when struggles and hardships enter our game. We insist on suffering in silence. But where does that get us?

Our loving Father designed us for relationships and community not for isolation and living as a one person team. Instead of Solitaire we need to play life INTERDEPENDENT on others not independent of others. Consider a team mindset like in  team-handball, soccer, football or baseball. A small close knit group that plays as a team to win. Each depends on the other to help the team move forward to victory.

Team Handball

So as the New year approaches ask yourself, am I playing Solitaire or a team sport? Do I need to stop isolation? Give it the red light and become a team player? None of us knows what we will face good or bad in the coming year but we truly need each other to FLURISH!

Let’s help each other

“This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.” I Corinthians 12:25 & 26 New Living Translation

Group hug

Shine on. . .
karan

In the Pink

 

What do you envision when you think of the word Christmas? Are you a Scrooge who only sees it as a money stealing holiday to rob one’s pocket every 25Th of December?

Or do you have fond memories from childhood? A special gift you received one particular Christmas perhaps? Or the annual Christmas pageant you were forced to participate in at church or in school? How about all the glorious lights and colorful decorations adorning the houses and the fresh scent of Christmas trees?

Does your family have any special traditions that they continue to practice year upon year? Growing up in dysfunction left little room for any warm fuzzy traditions.

My family was distraught every year when it was time to set up the Christmas tree. My Mom would pull out the fake tree and adorn it with only two things, pink tinsel and pink satin balls. My three older brothers and my father hated the tree. I think all of them hated pink ever since the first year she set up that peptobismal tree. Pink was and still is my Mom’s signature color.

Mom would wear hot pink lipstick with every outfit and dressed in pink, carried huge pink pocketbooks and come to think of it, we even lived in a pink house. So I can’t blame the guys in our family for their aversion to pink.

I never minded pink. In fact, I love pink and sometimes I wear it in honor of my Mom. When people stare at my bright pink lipstick or clothes I have to chuckle to myself because I don’t care what they think. I’m enjoying remembering my Mom and her glory days.

This year Christmas with Mom was hard. Her dementia is increasing. She’s in pain from a weird rash,the beginnings of cellulitis and congestive heart failure that causes her to retain fluid. Normally affectionate, she’s in pain if you hug her too hard.

Her body and mind are deteriorating and I am praying for grace for her so she doesn’t suffer. She was always such a strong woman. But now she is eaten up by fear and paranoia. She cries at imaginary things and screams for no reason.

I am grateful she could come to my house to celebrate Christmas yesterday even though it was uncomfortable for her as well as for other family members at times. She told me it was “a nice party” but that she knows this will be the last time she can go out of the nursing home bar a miracle.

Mom and I have lots of stories to share with you but right now I ask that you pray for her to be at peace in her mind and be free of pain in her body. Thank you so much!

Shine on into the New Year!
karan k

Got Mask?

 

Masquerade party 2017
Everyday wear 2017

How many of you like masquerade parties or attending events requiring a costume? I love to dress in costume and pretend to be someone else for a day. It can be a fun challenge and definitely entertaining. What I don’t enjoy is wearing a mask. I find them confining, hot, stuffy and can cause dizziness. I’m sure some masks are better than others but I am steering clear of them.

Of course there are times when masks are absolutely necessary and not an option. Protection is a main purpose of masks in todays world. They’re an important part of certain outfits. Masks are regularly used in certain sports for protection such as hockey, baseball and skiing. Football requires helmets with face guards. Motorcyclists sometimes wear shielded helmets for protection and masks for warmth. Face masks protect us from germs. Oxygen masks can keep us alive.

But masks are usually not meant to be worn daily, are they? And yet if we look close we see masked people all around us everyday. People hiding true feelings or character, countless numbers afraid to reveal their true selves. Are you one of them?

If yes, can you identify what you’re hiding? Is it Insecurity, inadequacy, shame, regret or something else? Don’t ignore this if you suspect you are wearing a mask. Ask God to reveal the truth to you.

 

I once heard of a woman working in an office setting who frequently mentioned to her coworkers that she had a very strong work ethic. Turns out this was only a mask she wore to hide the truth: She often came in late to work, made many personal calls and surfed the internet on company time. She wanted to hide her laziness. But she was caught in a mask. Her co-workers were not fooled.

worst mask of all

Or the familiar story of a more insidious mask. A smiling facade that leads you to believe he or she is your friend. You begin to trust them and their smiling face. But the reality of backstabbing and exploitation leave you with painful scars and you are tempted to pick up your own mask to protect yourself from being hurt again.

But masks are fake. There is no real protection for the wearer. They only provide a false sense of security which will eventually backfire into deeper pain.

This is the cycle of entrapment that masks our genuine selves. God alone knows who we really are and HE created us to be completely free in our own identity. Masks bind us not free us.

“Wearing a mask wears you out. Faking it is fatiguing. The most exhausting activity is pretending to be what you know you’re not.” Rick Warren

 

Got mask? Jesus invites us to rip it off, cover ourselves in His righteousness, and depend on His Holy Spirit within us. HE will guide and protect us daily as we allow our real selves to emerge and ultimately FLURISH!

Free at last

“For the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.” Proverbs 3:26 English Standard Version

Shine on. . .
karan k

People Pleaser Burnout Remedy

 

Ever have a day all to yourself to do exactly what you want? To do what makes you jazzed, relaxed, happy? What did you do? Or what would you do if you haven’t taken one of these extraordinary days?

As a people pleaser it is beyond difficult to steal an entire day away from others, but believe it or not, it’s not impossible and it’s a command from God.

 

The fourth commandment says in the Amplified Bible;
“[Earnestly] remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy (withdrawn from common employment and dedicated to God). Exodus 2:8

Suffering burnout from People Pleasing? You can prevent it.

I recently heard a message by Jeff Henderson from a DVD series called Life Apps* that focussed on the subject of REST in a believers life. Most of us were taught the Ten Commandments from a young age. I thought the fourth one about the Sabbath was a day we should set aside for worshipping God, which is entirely correct. What I didn’t understand is the various forms of worship.

Worship doesn’t always have to take place in a church. Worship doesn’t always have to be reserved for Sundays. Worship can be more than reading the Bible, praying and singing to God. Are any of these thoughts foreign to you?

 

What I happily gleaned from Jeff Henderson’s message is that setting time apart to be with God can and should be not only restful but fun. One of the ideas of the Sabbath is to relax and find renewed energy and passion for the things of God. So sometimes we have to do something else to recharge. Something we enjoy. Something like reading a good book, playing golf, taking photographs, whatever it is that you find fun, relaxing and renewing.

“So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of GOD. For who can eat or enjoy anything apart form Him?” Ecclesiastes 2:24 & 25 New Living Translation

 

Our God wants us to enjoy the life He gave us. He instilled personality and interests in each of us that we need time to develop to become His whole and satisfied people. As individuals we can shine and FLURISH for God wherever we are but we must take time for His Sabbath rest regularly. And that comes down to trust.

 

Trusting Him to help us get all our other responsibilities finished in six days. After all, since He created the entire universe in 6 days and took a rest on the seventh, we should take at least that much.

Will you trust Him? Put people pleasing aside or any other hindrance.  Take a 24 hour sabbath getaway once a week. This is God’s time management for you. Is He Lord of your time? I’m trying this twist on it and so far it’s freeing and fabulous!

When we obey and do things His way we can can come back to our regular duties after resting and they may no longer seem like duties. His Spirit will have adjusted our attitudes and our priorities. We will be more energized, passionate and replenished to do His work.

Ponder Mark 2:25-28 Share your thoughts.

Shine on. . .
karan k

*(DVD series Life Apps by North Point Resources—- highly recommended if you are in search of a study for a small group).

Proper Support

“For I hold you by your right hand—I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid, I am here to help you.’ “Isaiah 41:13 New International version

Have you seen this new sculpture crafted by Lorenzo Quinn, son of actor Anthony Quinn? The giant 5000 pound set of hands appear to support the 14th century Ca’Sagredo Hotel in Venice. It will remain in place until November of 2017 in case you are in Italy.

The key word here is “appear”. The hands are only props of fake support revealing artistic expression. Real support would be much stronger and substantial. Nothing fake about it.

Sculpture  entitled “Support”  in the Grand Canal of Venice on display until November 2017

A piece of art named “Support” I find incredibly interesting. We all have art of some sort in our homes representative of things we love. Finely crafted furniture is also art.

One of my favorite pieces of furniture in our home is a 9 foot mirror which rests against the wall just inside our bedroom door. It’s always my last stop before I go sailing off into the unknown. Just a quick once over to avoid any public embarrassments and I’m out the door.

When we first bought the pricey mirror, we planned to hang it as an ornamental piece on the framed out stairway landing wall. We hired someone to hang it but the mirror was too heavy for the wall to support it. It dawned on us at this juncture that we were attempting to HANG a piece of furniture that was created to LEAN.

What’s your favorite piece of art in your home?

 

In our humanness we often attempt to HANG onto our ways, our intellect, our strength, and our experience to progress through life. None of these things can realistically support the weight of our journey. We were created to LEAN.

But sometimes we LEAN on unhealthy things and fake supports just like the sculpture in the opening. We are fooled into thinking we need this or that to get through the day, the week, the year etc.  We can lean on food (which is a struggle for me),  prescription drugs, alcohol and in some cases adulterous affairs.  Christians are not immune to these deceptions. Beware the age old warning about reaping what you sow (Galatians 6:7). LEAN on the truth that stands the test of time.

Lean even one handed as a first baby step

Life’s curves and twists, tests and trials are all specifically designed to be encountered with support, never alone. It’s the shared experiences that build relationship. A lifelong deepening relationship with us is what our loving Lord desires. Like a leaner mirror without a load bearing wall, we cannot expect to stand and succeed without leaning on Jesus.

Don’t fight against your design by believing that you can support yourself. The result will not be a pleasant one for you. Rather embrace the truth and learn to lean on the God who created and cares for you. (I Peter 5:7)

Lean on the ROCK

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and LEAN NOT on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5+6 New International version

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

Successful Failure: Part II

What is success for you?

“. . . This is what the LORD says: ‘When people fall down, don’t they get up again? When someone turns away, do they not return?’ ”

Jeremiah 8:4 New Living translation

How do you view success? Do you see it differently for others than you see it for yourself? Can you recall a time when you failed? How did you respond? Can you recall a time when you felt you succeeded?

In 1987 my father died suddenly. I was 24. My mother needed support financially and emotionally. I decided I should take care of her. We tried to sell her house and move where she could walk to work since she didn’t drive. It was a disaster and two years later I couldn’t take it anymore. I needed to move out. I failed in my plan to take care of my mother. I certainly didn’t FEEL like a success.

As I explained in Part I, I feared failure and any sort of risk. I lacked the knowledge and experience of independent living apart from renting a room when I moved away from home at 19. As with any new venture, alot of unknowns accompanied having my own place. But I was desperate to be independent and I chalked up the failure with my mom to lack of planning. I was not gonna let that happen again.

So I carefully counted the cost of moving out on my own. (Luke 14:28) After doing my homework and seeing my budget on paper I felt a degree of confidence. I prayed and moved forward finding a snug 2 bedroom apartment the week between Christmas and New Year’s.

Scheduled to move at the end of January made it difficult to find volunteers to help me. I didn’t have much money but I remembered I had an insurance policy I received when my father died. He had taken it out when I was born. I figured my first apartment was cause for cashing it in to help with the move.

The Prudential building intimidated me with its vastness. The insurance agent who handled my policy seemed kind and trustworthy. When he found out why I was cashing in my policy, he asked if I had help to move. I told him “No” and he immediately made some calls. He told me he and a few friends from church would help. Yes, I was naive to trust a stranger but I had no one else and so I trusted God’s provision.

The night of my move two big flat bed trucks arrived right on time. Two men and the insurance guy made short work of loading all my belongings onto the trucks. My middle brother also lived at my Mom’s and he sat on the sofa and watched while these men carried my possessions passed him time and again. He never lifted a finger to help and as I carried a box out, he said, “You’ll never make it.”

He said it with such a sneer that the pain shot deep in my heart. I could never forget his words and lack of confidence in my ability. Inspite of what he said, the Lord helped me to live successfully for 12 years in that apartment and then go on to buy my own house.

That failure with my mother became a bundle of lessons learned to help me move forward to succeed on my own. I worked hard through the lean times. I sacrificed when necessary. And no bills were ever late or unpaid. I felt good about what I had accomplished, just me and Jesus.

We can turn every failure into success with perseverance and the Lord’s help. Or put another way; “Whenever you fall, do it forward and get up again as soon as possible.”

So what is your definition of success? Please feel free to share it in the comment section. Here’s my favorite definition of success;

“To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Shine on. . .
karan k

Breaking the Chains of Loneliness part III: Dating God?

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 New American Standard version

Dating God. . . let that sink in. Have you ever thought of Him this way? He desires us to know Him, to pursue Him, to spend time with Him. Isn’t that what we do when we date someone? We want to know all about them. Their past and childhood. What they value. What goals they have, etcetera.

To discover the answers and who this person is requires time and effort. It’s the same to get to know God. For someone who is lonely, the time and effort aspect can be difficult because you struggle to see beyond your own pain. This is the “chain” of loneliness. It’s a bondage the enemy uses to weight and drown us into the sea of despair. The chain must be broken by faith. By trusting God and doing things His way, all the way.

Read Psalm 34:18 again (opening verse above). Focus on the truth of this verse. The Lord IS near to the brokenhearted. If you are suffering from loneliness, you definitely qualify as brokenhearted. So the Lord IS near you. That’s the reality the enemy wants to hide from you. Break the chain by refusing to believe anything but the truth that God IS NEAR YOU!!! Then in faith act on that truth.

Begin by dating God. Sounds a bit strange but it helped me through some very lonely days. Basically, I would pick a place and off we’d go.

 

A park date consisted of packing a picnic lunch, a blanket and my Bible. I drove or walked to a park and found a nice welcoming spot. (Of course this date needed some good weather to succeed.) I’d spread the blanket across the grass, lay out the food and open my Bible. I usually brought a notebook as well to record anything God chose to tell me on our special date. Things He would whisper in my spirit as I sat with Him.

A mall date is good for when the weather is contrary. Pick a comfy seat and people watch with God. Talk about whatever comes to mind. You may want to converse silently in your head while in public places although passersby may assume you’re on a bluetooth.:) Again, take a notebook to record any words He speaks into your heart. You will treasure them later. God may even direct you to a hidden bargain while you’re there.

A similar date can also be done at a bookstore or library. Read books together with God. Ask Him what He thinks about new ideas you discover in the text or just enjoy a novel together KNOWING He is right by your side. Remember Psalm 34:18.

One of my favorite dates was going to Disney’s Animal Kingdom with Him. Sharing the wonders of His living creation with Him was one of the most fantastic experiences of my life. Being fully aware of His presence enhanced every ride we took and every show we saw. Similarly, you can do a zoo date or go to a botanical garden with Him.

Remember to talk to Him to and from the date as well because He IS still near you and through His Holy Spirit lives in your heart so you are truly never ever out of His presence. You just have to intentionally be aware of Him.

Tree of Life—Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Florida

These are just some ideas to get you started. If you do this consistently, in time His presence will naturally, or I  should say, supernaturally be a conscious part of every waking moment.

When you’re ready for a deeper understanding and connection find a book on or google THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD to learn more about His character.

Over time your mindset will change but that’s not all. Join FLURISH for part IV of this series to find out more. Until then, start dating and share your ideas so all of us can learn and benefit.

“So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.” James 4:7 & 8 New Living translation

Shine on. . .
karan k

Breaking the Chains of Loneliness, part II: First Love

“I love those who love Me, and those who seek me diligently find me.” Proverbs 8:17 English Standard version

Do you remember your First Love? Probably have warm feelings recalling that special someone whenever they come to mind. We all have fond memories of someone even if the person was totally unaware of our affection. Do you realize God wants to be your First Love? It was part of His His divine blueprint.

In the garden of Eden, God created man and woman to know Himself. He created Adam FIRST and then He created Eve. The Bible says He brought her to Adam which means she also knew God FIRST before she met Adam. We don’t know the time frames for when Adam and Eve met but they both knew God, their Creator first.

Adam + Eve

God understands human loneliness. He created Eve because He knew it was not good for Adam to be alone forever. (See Genesis 2:18) So at some point God brought them together after they both knew Him. This remains God’s perfect design. For each man, for each woman to know Him FIRST before they come together as a couple.

If we are lonely as Christians, I believe we should start with pursuing God. Knowing Him intimately first before we try to involve ourselves in deep human relationships will widen the foundation for success from which we build any relationship but especially marriage.  This is true no matter our age. If we plunge ahead driven by loneliness to any source other than God, there will be needless pain involved.

Needless pain resulting from reckless and irresponsible behaviors. Drinking, which can lead to alcoholism, illicit relationships, job loss, DUI arrest and more…Loveless sexual relationships, leaving a person empty, unfulfilled and endlessly searching for more,  not to mention possible unwanted pregnancy, disease or abuse. Compromising convictions and being unequally yoked. What does being “unequally yoked” mean? Involving yourself in a relationship or even marrying someone who is not a believer. There is a long list of negative consequences for the believer who does this, too long to list here. The Bible warns of this in II Corinthians 6:14. All I will say in this writing is, I’ve walked that path and trust me, it does not work! God is not a killjoy…He simply wants to spare you from all this heartache. None of the aforementioned activities are a cure for your loneliness.

In building this foundational relationship with God first through Jesus His Son and His Holy Spirit, you will have your priorities in the proper order. ( Matthew 6:33) Then you can grow as a person and become whole in Him. At the right time, which only He knows, He will bring a partner to you just as He did for Adam, whether it’s a friend or a marriage partner. This process takes time and it’s different for each of us. Remember, healthy people attract healthy people.

God will not be selfish with you. He will not withhold any good thing from you. (Psalm 84:11) He loves you beyond imagination, but He does want what is best for you and so you MUST JUST TRUST Him and His timing.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 New International version

Learn to enjoy your time with Him, your First Love, so all who come into your life will experience the best of you because of who you have become in Him and the time spent with Him. “Take delight in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 New International version

As I said earlier, many of us have learned the hard way that attempting to defeat loneliness on our own by chasing human relationships first, ended in pain and heartache. But no matter where we are in life, we can begin the process to date our magnificent God! Stay tuned for part III where I will share some ideas that helped me.

For now increase your faith by reading the story of Ruth and Naomi in the book of Ruth. Ruth chose to learn of God through her mentor, Naomi and in time, the Lord provided a faithful partner for Ruth. A beautiful example of the principle of First Love at work.

Shine on. . .
karan k

“But grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” II Peter 3:18 English Standard version

Breaking the Chains of Loneliness part I

 

“I am lonely, like an owl living in the desert, like an owl living among old ruined buildings. I cannot sleep. I am like a lonely bird on the roof.” Psalm 102:6+7 Easy to Read Bible

Heart wrenching seasons of loneliness visit all of us. How do we FLURISH through these times?

As a child I spent a lot of time alone because my siblings were much older and my parents both worked. Every year I dreaded the summer months because it meant being alone for an extended period of time. I enjoyed the social aspect of school and wished it continued year round.

At an early age I recognized and invited Jesus as my Savior to come into my heart. Soon I began making up plays, dramas, dances and songs that I would perform in our backyard to an audience of one. I knew God was watching. I could feel His presence and pleasure. This greatly helped me through the lonely times. So Jesus and I went out to play together as often as possible.

But as I grew older I forgot these precious moments with my heavenly Father. I stopped spending creative times with Him. I even thought at one point in my life that it was just foolish child’s play.

As a young adult I spent 15 years living totally alone. It became agonizing at times. Then one day I remembered the loveliness of the moments spent as a child dancing and singing in His presence where I could be my complete self. Loved for exactly who I was. I realized what I did as a child was not foolish but something led by God. I needed to lay down my pride and begin to recognize His presence and respond to Him as I did when I was young.

I began believing what the Bible says; He is ALWAYS with us. (Matthew 28:20b) The Bible also says to “Never stop praying” in I Thessalonians 5:17. So if HE is always with us and we are to talk to Him all the time then we had better learn to practice His presence.

One of the first things I began doing to practice His presence was to pick out music that spoke to my heart. I’d crank the volume and dance around my apartment with a fair amount of abandon. Praising and jumping for Jesus’ sake. Sometimes I did cheering type moves or ballet. Probably only a God who is Love Himself could enjoy it? I do know it always released stress for me and gave me a supernatural joy. I could be a carefree kid in His presence. Of course this is easiest to do when you are alone because others might try to have you committed somewhere other than to Jesus, if you know what I mean?

Years later when I bought my first home I had an upstairs Rec room with laminate hardwood flooring. One day while having devotions, I felt a still small voice in my heart calling me to play. At first I dismissed it as my imagination. But it did not stop. So I got up from my sofa and put some funky praise music on my stereo system.

As the first notes hit my ears I felt like moving. In my pajamas and socks, I discovered I could slide across the laminate. Jesus was calling me to slide with Him. Laughing and zooming across the floor, we had a great time. Later, I rearranged the furniture so there would be maximum sliding room. I created a little track and slid around it with Jesus often.

When my young nieces and great niece visited, I taught them to slide with Jesus too. I didn’t care if they thought I was crazy. I was crazy about Jesus and He was the only one who filled the lonely void in my life. Being seen acting crazy about Jesus is nothing new. Consider King David:

“And David danced before the Lord with all his might, wearing a priestly garment. So David and all the people of Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord with shouts of joy and the blowing of rams’ horns. But as the Ark of the Lord entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she was filled with contempt for him.” II Samuel 6:14-16 New Living translation

Notice that David “leaped” and “danced” before the Lord. He simply delighted in the Lord and the return of the Ark to the City of David. David laid aside his royal garments to dance before his Lord. HE was willing to look foolish in the eyes of anyone for the Lord’s sake. That is a tight relationship. So powerful that it can destroy the chains of loneliness.

If you find yourself lonely take advantage of being alone, where no one can see you. Put on some music you love and surrender your pride as worship to your Lord. Dance, jump, sway just do whatever you can. Trust me, HE will love it and you may be surprised at the results on your end.

“God can’t give us happiness and peace apart from Himself because there is no such thing.” C.S. Lewis
Shine on. . .
karan k