And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wrestling with Papa.

Jake and Cody are wrestlers. You can see their intimidating faces in the picture above. You would think that with a dad who was a former wrestler (and coach I might add), I would have some skills in defending myself. Believe it or not being around these two wrestlers, I have found myself consistently pinned in less than 10 seconds when I am legitimately trying not to get pinned more times than I care to admit. Slightly demoralizing, but funny nonetheless. But there's one more person I have found myself wrestling with lately and that's Papa.
Now, to many people the thought of wrestling with or "challenging" Papa is sinful and something to be feared, but I beg to differ. In fact, I would propose that wrestling with Him is actually bblical. Check out Genesis 32:22-32. Jacob. What's he doing? Wrestling with the man upstairs. It is a pretty cool story and as I have been meditating on it the past few days I was challenged to see what else the Bble says about wrestling.
Which led me to Colossians 4:12 where Paul describes his buddy Epaphras as one who wrestles in pr@yer for the brothers at Colosse. Pretty cool picture. And if he is wrestling in pr@yer there probably isn't anyone else besides Papa with whom he could be wrestling.
So what does it mean to wrestle with Papa? I think to wrestle with Papa means to demonstrate how badly you want what you're asking for. Jacob wrestles ALL night with Him and then, even with a broken hip, refuses to let go until Papa blesses him. Pretty dedicated eh? I know I'm challenged. How often do I really wrestle in pr@yer? How willing am I to wait on the L0rd for His blessing, even in the midst of immense struggle? See, I think Papa wants to build in us endurance and steadfastness. He wants us to persevere in the most adverse circumstances. And the only way to learn endurance, steadfastness, perseverance? That's through practice. He's the ultimate coach! He wrestles with us, makes us work hard, pushes us to our limits because he knows that that is the only way to truly prepare us for the real battles. Wrestling with Papa is preparation for the bigger battles in this world.
Check it out. Ephesians 6:12, a passage most of us are familiar with. And in the KJV it words it this way, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
I see it this way: Wrestling with Papa does two things-it prepares you for spiritual battles, even the most difficult ones,and in the process He draws you even closer to Him. Can you think of any sport that is more physically and mentally demanding than wrestling? Or how about this, think of a sport in which the competitors are more physically close than in wrestling? Not any that I can think of (and even if you can, bear with me...that's besides the point.) Cause that's the L0rd I serve. He trains me for this battle called life way better than anyone else could even imagine. He demands my best. But in the process he draws me in so close I can hear feel his presence and hear the beating of His heart.
If I haven't convinced you that wrestling with Papa is good yet, let me leave you with this. Wrestling with Papa is the best thing I have done. My pr@yer is that each day I wrestle with Him. And maybe, just maybe, in the process he'll train me well enough to pin Cody and Jake before our time together is over ;)
Have peace, be loved, and wrestle with Papa.
Katie :)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Blinders.

Tonight I am heartbroken.
Holy anger boils inside me. I wish I knew how to tangibly express it.
Because nothing makes me more infuriated than someone gift wrapping injustice in the name of Papa.
So I sit here in worship and pray.
Praying for patience. Praying for blinders to be taken off. Praying for JC to come back. 
Most of the time, praying is the only thing I know how to do.
Peace and love brothers and sisters.
May we all become painfully aware of our own blinders.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

lost at sea.

This song's chorus describes how I feel in a much better way than I could descibe in my own words. Papa has still been teaching me quite a bit here. i am learning that even though we don't see exactly why we are doing something...like serving in the Middle East...He can still use us. I want to be used by Him daily in ways that I cannot see or understand. I want to be used wherever He wants me. I want to be used in my absolute weakness.
We are moving to a different city on Sunday. Goodbyes are becoming all too familiar because of these past few months but I know and trust that His plan is much better than my own. this season of life has a purpose that is higher than I can see. It is difficult because goodbyes here mean that there will be more relationships built and even more goodbyes before we leave. I am learning that is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. May you be blessed to love on everyone you encounter even if you dont know where the next season of life will lead.
papas peace and love!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Meet the team :)

Sonya, Stephanie, Nicole, Annemieke, Jake, and Cody :)
 I wanted to do a blog about my teammates so you would get a better idea of the wonderful people I get to share this experience with. My awesome sister Sarah has really cool blog and she did a spotlight on her puppies that inspired this post. Not that my teammates remind me of dogs haha...just that she told a little bit about each puppy. Unfortunately I don't know how to make the format as awesome as her, but alas, I shall try! :) (PS- You're a legend Sarah!) So here they are...my awesome team! Introducing...
STEPHANIE
Nickname: The Paleontologist (We don't actually call her that. But she loves dinosaurs.) Leader (Don't really call her that either but she's our amazing leader :) )
Age: 21. (She likes to say 22, but she's lying. Her birthday is February 11)
Country of Origin: USA. But she's practically a Kiwi
How I've seen Papa use her: She is an incredible leader. Truly. I have to admit (a little shamefully) that I was a little nervous that she was going to be the only leader on our trip since this is her first time leading. Honestly, she has done an amazing job! She has worked incredibly hard to keep our schedule busy doing things that we all thoroughly enjoy doing...which isn't easy with a group as diverse as ours! Not only that but she goes out of her way to do extra special things for us-like make chocolate chip pancakes EVERY Saturday! She truly is a servant-leader. Matthew 20: 26b "Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant." She is GREAT in my eyes and, more importantly, in Papa's eyes.

SONYA
Nickname: Twitch. haha. She LOVES it.
Country of Origin: USA-Montana!
[One of] my favorite memor[ies] of her: During our first week here we randomly met a woman on the street and she invited us into her house for tea even though she barely spoke English! Since then we have had the pleasure of going over to their house on numerous occasions for WONDERFUL food and good conversation. It has been a privilege to pour into their lives even though they have a different religion than us. But they have a 3 year old grandson and since we don't speak Arabic he was quite skeptical of us at first, but Sonya wasn't deterred! She wanted to play with this little boy so she was popping out and playing a sort of peek a boo/hide and seek game with him. Well, one time she popped out and the poor kid got so scared he backpedaled as fast as his little legs could take him right into the wall. It was so funny. Sonya has such a good heart, but in that instance it didn't quite turn out so well. But guess what? Now she's the only one of us he'll play with! She must have done something right :)
How I've seen Papa use her: Sonya is our extravert. She does a great job of talking with everyone here when the rest of us are socially awkward. Without her with us we would not have nearly as good of relationships as we have. Papa truly uses her love for people here and she challenges me to love others better! "Love your neighbor as yourself." Leviticus 19:18.

ANNEMIEKE
Nickname: Mama Mieke. (I came up with that one haha)
Country of origin: Holland-She is a proud Dutch woman!
Favorite quote: Man in the market: "See this dress?" He points to an ugly dress that looks like its bigger than a table cloth." It costs One Million dollars! For you 100!"
Annemieke: "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Yeaaaaaa..."
How I've seen Papa use her: Annemieke is a woman after Papa's heart. Every morning she is up spending time with Him before the rest of us our up. She is always open to learning more about Him and to learning how to draw nearer to Him. In addition, she has is one who takes initiative (something I definitely need to work on!) and found numerous opportunities not only to help others medically (she is almost a doctor...she only has 6 months of medical school left!) but she has met contacts who have created tons of opportunities for us!

MR. JAKE
Nickname: Mr. Jake or Jakey
Country of Origin: USA-Montana!
How I've seen Papa use him: Jake. Man. I don't know where to begin. He is a joy to be around! He truly spreads Papa's love to each one of us and to everyone he encounters! It's difficult to describe how much light he brings into every single room he is in. Not only that, but both he and Cody have been amazing brothers to us. They are so protective and such gentlemen. "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of J3sus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." 1 John 1:7


NICOLE
Nickname for everyone else: Habibi (she calls us this and gives us hugs all the time...I love it!)
Country of Origin: Contrary to popular opinion here she is not Arab! She's from Canada. And America (she has an American passport) 
Best quote: Oh goodness. There are way too many. I think my favorite so far. "I don't eat jello because it's made from dinosaur bones." She was serious. hahahhaa
How I've seen Papa using her: Nicole is blessed with the ability to love on children! She easily plays with the children here while the rest of us look on in amazement. It is inspiring to see her pour out Papa's love on all the little children. I'm reminded of the verse in Mark 9 that says, "Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me." Nicole is truly welcoming J3sus here!

CODY
Nickname: Elf. (Sonya and Jake are elves too. They all eat maple syrup like it's their job.)
Country of Origin: USA-Montana!
Random fact: Cody has a cereal box cover collection decorating his wall from the cereal boxes that Jake and him have eaten here. It is legit.
How I've seen Papa use him: Cody has incredible wisdom! I always think of Job 32:7-9 "I thought-Age should speak and advanced years should teach wisdom. But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty that gives him understanding. It is not only the old who are wise, not only the aged who understand what is right." He always knows what to say at the right time. When he led a study on the Word at a young adults group everyone was amazed at his knowledge and wisdom! And he is only 18! His hunger for Papa's Word is incredible and I can't wait to see how Papa uses him in the future.

Our team has come together in ways that only Papa could orchestrate. We laugh a lot! I think we spread Papa's love simply by just being together :) Our team verse (we decided on it back in New Zealand) is 2 Corinthians 13:11 "Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the Papa of love and peace will be with you." Papa's peace and love has definitely been with us. It is through his grace and love that we have been able to pour out into others. I am so thankful for my team and that Papa has chosen US to serve here in the Middle East. 
I love you guys :)
Papa's peace and love!

Just a little extra...Here are some pictures of the mural we did in one of the Sunday school rooms :)