A new guest post! Another voice to listen to & learn from - I love that!
Today, I get to introduce you to a woman who has become a great friend of mine over these past few years. We've spent a lot of time chatting over cups of Starbucks coffee (or more recently Nando's chicken & then Zoom calls). She is a woman who loves Jesus & her family & humbly serves the church. She would be the first to tell you that she doesn't have it all figured out, but she has gained a wealth of wisdom throughout her years as a Christian. And I'm so glad she chose to take the time to share with us today!
So, here's Kathleen (or Kat, as she is called by many of us who depend on her to keep our church working!) in her own words.
My name is Kathleen, I am 42 years old and I have been married to my husband, Keith, for 23 years. (Do the math, we were young!) We have two daughters together, Raven, a 21-year-old and Rowan, an 18-year-old. (Do the math again, we were so young!) We are also raising our niece, Cheyanne, who is 14. So, we have three young ladies, at home with us now but we are very near to the days of sending these little birdies out of the nest. No rush in that, mind you. I’m just recognizing our season of life. I serve as the office manager for our church here in Maryland and I find myself in the middle of many home renovation projects. The Lord knows I love a project.
My parents were both hard workers. They each worked full time jobs to provide for our family. We didn’t have cell phones, but video games and MTV were my companions in addition to the neighborhood kids. I was not raised in church but I did have a few friends who were and I would sometimes attend with them.
Keith and I got married after his boot camp experience in the Navy. The Navy took us out of our hometown in Georgia to North Carolina to Florida to Texas to Italy to Rhode Island and finally to Maryland. It was in Florida that I worked at a hotel and befriended a very joyful hotel clerk. We hung out and chatted often. But then one day, she asked me to go to church with her. I had no desire to go to church at all. I loved my friend, but church… pa-lease. I tried to come up with a reason I could not go – “I have no church clothes.” was the best excuse I had. And this friend being her joyful self says, “Wear jeans. We will all wear jeans.” God bless her. I couldn’t say no. So, I went to church, three-year-old and three-week-old in tow. We sat in the balcony with my friend and her family. My oldest was playing up and down the stairs during the sermon while I was trying to feed my youngest and not flash the whole sanctuary. Needless to say, I was not focused on the sermon. However, the pastor started talking about how we all fall short and how we all have a need for a savior and that Jesus was the one and how He died for my sins. The room went dark and the spotlight was on me. Not really, but that’s what it felt like. The pastor then asked those of us who had accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior to identify ourselves by raising our hands… and I did. And then this man asked if we would all join him at the altar to be prayed for… and I did. Jesus had drawn me in right there. It later came to my knowledge that this joyful friend and her husband had stayed up all night the night before church praying for me. For me? The Lord surely pursued me and used these amazing people to do it.
It’s usually when I have just flown off the handle about something… that small voice reminds me that I am still in need of a savior. Thankfully, He doesn’t leave me there to dwell on my faults. God reminds me (by His Spirit, through His word, prayer, and community) that because Jesus is perfect and because He took on all my sins I am not seen by God for my faults. God sees me as beloved and perfect. My identity is that of the beloved and perfect Christ. I need this reminder so often. When I think about this truth, I am better able to love those in my life. Not that I do that perfectly all the time, but because of the love, mercy, and grace shown to me in the Gospel, I am better equipped with love, mercy and grace for life’s situations.
Well, I’ve told you that I love a project. And I think the reason I love a project is because of the satisfaction that I get from working hard and accomplishing something. My parents ingrained that good work ethic into me. There is this moment in Cast Away when Tom Hanks finally gets a fire started and shouts, “Look at what I have created!” - That’s totally me when I have finished a project or even a small task, for that matter. I love to see the fruits of my labor and relish in the moment of completeness. And I think it is very easy for me to try to carry this desire into my walk with Christ.
Enter Jesus with this truth, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” John 6:29.
Ok, wait a minute. Who says, “Look at how well I believed in Jesus today?” Nobody, because you can’t really show off your belief… and also, it’s weird to say things like that. In her Finding I AM bible study, Lysa TerKeurst says this in regards to this verse,
“Believing is the work. And that can be hard sometimes because you can’t measure belief. Belief can’t be seen and praised by those around us. Belief is in our hearts. Only God truly sees what we believe.”
This truth has really thrown me and my whole idea of having a good work ethic for a loop. But God is so merciful to me and He has been lovingly unraveling this verse for me. He is helping me to just take Him at His word and encouraging me to truly believe that BELIEVING IS THE WORK. And it is this work that leads to the ultimate satisfaction that is only found in Him.
When it comes to growing your faith in Jesus, you need community. Get around some people who know Jesus and want to know and love Him more. Put yourself in situations that hold you accountable. Bible or biblical book studies are great resources for accountability and if you can’t find one, start one.
For me, a SUNSHINE DAY includes literal SUNSHINE! I love to be outside in the garden or out by the pool soaking in the rays with a book, bible study, or podcast. If one or all of my girls join me, all the better. And if the husband has a plan to grill for dinner that would just push it over the top for me because NO KITCHEN MESS! Sitting outside with the hubs as the sun goes down is the perfect ending to this day, minus the mosquitos, of course.
Kat, thank you for candidly sharing your heart! And for encouraging us with the reminder that we are beloved because of Christ's redemptive work.
I don't know about y'all, but I LOVE hearing the testimonies of others. Today, I'm particularly reminded of how important prayer is!
Don't forget to leave a quick comment below to express your gratitude for Kat's post!
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