Silence and My Lack of Faith

Silence.

That's something that rarely happens in my world, as I'm sure you could say the same. We all have things that fill up our day with noise, whether it be jobs, school, family, traffic, a neighbor who has a dog that won't stop barking, you name it, we have noise.

As you may already know, I am currently pregnant with my second child and have a beautiful, yet crazy to the core, two year old. I am a stay at home mom and it's very easy to get overwhelmed with the day to day actions and emotions necessary to make our house function, which most definitely includes patience (oh lordy, the patience). The past few days though, I have found myself more overwhelmed than usual.

My family and I enjoyed an amazing Christmas break. Half the time was spent near our home and the other half was spent at the beach. I know what you're thinking about, “aww poor Katie, she had to spend time at a relaxing beach.” Now listen here, mom's of young kids know and can attest that “vacations” aren't vacations when you have little children.  I mean returning from a vacation alone and back to reality is sometimes more stressful than going anywhere. I need a vacation for my vacation (can I get an amen?)

So anywho, as we've returned back to reality, I've found myself with so little patience and a whole lot of anxiety.

Let me give you a little glimpse into why.

We are currently selling our house and have to be moved out in a few short weeks, we are trading in our car for a family, friendly SUV (yep, no van), I have a rather large deadline for a client that needs completed before I have my next child, and we are currently doing a ton of stuff this month for the youth ministry. To add on to the fun. My second child who is growing nicely in my belly, wants to make his appearance a tad bit early. I went to the doctor and they explained that he literally can come at any time. (ANYTIME. Cue freakout) I have cervical issues that caused me to be on bed rest with my daughter and now the cervical issues have returned with my son. We just need him to be in there at least 3 more weeks so his lungs will be fully developed. Oh, all the while I have another child to raise, a house to clean and a husband to love. Talk about completely overwhelming.

So in walks anxiety. Nice to see you again.

With all of this going on, I found myself lacking faith. Faith to trust that God is in the midst of this crazy with me. That He sees me and is walking with me through this bomb of busyness and noise.

I began to read Exodus 14. The story of Moses parting the Red Sea. Let me give you a little brief summary of the story of you don't already know it.

The Lord spoke to Moses after freeing the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and asked him to lead them down towards the Red Sea to get the Pharaoh to pursue them. Once the Pharaoh was to send his men to find the Israelites, God was going to make His glory known to the Egyptians. So Moses obeyed the Lord's command and led the Israelites down a different path towards the Red Sea. Once the Israelites saw that the Pharoah's men were on their way with chariots, they immediately began crying out to Moses.

“They said to Moses, "Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: 'Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians'? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness." Exodus 14:11‭-‬12

Then Moses said something that struck my heart in that moment. Out of all the times I have read this story, I have never had that verse come and slap me in the face.

And Moses said to the people, "Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord , which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent." Exodus 14:13‭-‬14 ESV

Wow….The Lord is fighting for me. How could I so easily forget that the One who created the moon and stars has my back. That He is in control and loves me with a love that is unimaginable. All I need to do is trust in His plan. He's fighting for me. He's working out everything for my good whether I see it or not.

Well if you don't know the end of the story, the Lord led Moses and the Israelites to the Red Sea so that it could be parted in such a glorious and majestic way that only the Creator of the universe could pull off. The Israelites were led to safety as the Egyptians were consumed by the waters. The Israelites were in awe of their Creator and had such fear for the Lord and His glory was on display.

After being slapped in the face with Scripture and God's faithfulness, I began to re-read verse 14 over and over. It states that all I need to do is to be silent. Silent. Sit in the still security of my Lord and Savior’s presence. The very thing I so easily forget or write off with the excuse of busyness. The very thing that sometimes I don't think exists. The very thing I avoid at times to just be entertained by things of this world. Silence. But how could I forget that my stillness brings His presence and His presence changes everything. Literally everything.

I caught myself feeling like an Israelite, wondering where is my God and the whole time God was crying back saying I never left, you did. Come and spend some time in silence with me. Sit in my presence a little longer. Enjoy my loving embrace and allow yourself to feel grace. Rest upon my shoulders, Beloved. You need time with me.

Cue the ugly tears.

In the middle of my unfaithfulness and terrible self discipline, the Lord is faithful. He reminded me that He IS INDEED fighting for me, but the beautiful thing is the battle is already won. He just wants me.

Wow. Cue more ugly tears (pregnancy hormones, man...they'll get ya)

It's amazing though what a small still moment did to shatter my overwhelming, complaining, anxiety-filled emotions and blow them all away. Now all I'm left with His grace, love and patience.

So if you're where I'm at and you have a thousand reasons to complain, grumble, and be anxious, please meet with Him. Spend some time in the stillness with Him. How easily we forget the feeling of His presence. Just get yourself a taste, He is faithful and fighting for you, just as He is fighting for me in the midst of this craziness I call my life.

His love is and always will be enough.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38‭-‬39 ESV

 

Loving in the Midst of Tragedy

In light of the past 2 weeks, tragedy seems to be flooding our world. Mass shootings, tragic deaths, miscarriages, abortions, people being killed for their faith, children dying, and I could just go on and on. Literally, this has been just a trying time, not only in America, but around the world. It’s easy to see how many are questioning “Where is God? Why is He allowing this to happen? Where is the love in this?”

I have seen many remain silent the past 2 weeks, including myself. I decided to stay silent because honestly, I’m scared to offend, hurt or even push someone further from the Lord. So The Lord brought me to a scripture:

"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.” -Isaiah 61:1-3

Wow. It’s amazing how a simple scripture can convict and empower you in the same moment. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me” Then the scripture continues by telling me I am anointed to bring the good news, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, to comfort all who mourn, to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, and on and on. Reading this scripture, The Lord spoke to me and said, “Why would I want you, someone who has hope, to remain silent towards people who have lost hope? Where is the Love in that? I have called you to love even when you don’t understand how. Let Me help you. Even when you don’t have the words to say. Let Me speak through you. Even when you are to tired to. Let Me give you rest.”

Oh God, why have I ever doubted You? Why would I even forget that You are the strength inside of me? 

I urge you brothers and sisters in Christ, please don’t be silent. Spread the hope of all nations. Don’t hide your treasure under a rock when times get tough, and bring it out when ministering is easy. Love those you don’t understand. Pray with and for those who need the Lord. Serve one another. Give all that you can so that at the end of the shock and awe of all of these tragedies has faded away, what’s left is an understanding that there is a God, who has a Love so deep, that He sent His only Son to save the lost and brokenhearted. There is a God who loves you beyond comprehension and is pursuing a relationship with you. There is a Father waiting to comfort His child. 

There is always hope and His name is Jesus. There is always Love and His name is Jesus. 

If we as Christians remain silent, how are people supposed to hear the Good News? Our lives are our greatest testimony and if we fall back in tough times, what does that show? We need to be pursuing those who are mourning, pursuing those who are brokenhearted, pursuing the lost, because that’s what Christ did for us. He pursued us. He loved us. 

Let’s love those around us even if they are different, even if their tragedy looks different, even if we don’t understand. We are called to love. So let’s do it. 

"We love because He first loved us." -1 John 4:19

With love,

Katie

Christianese and the Christian Bubble

I was reading a blog the other day, and I am going to be honest, I was having trouble keeping up with the Christianese that was being said. I knew it was one of those times as a Christian where you were like “Amen, girl”, but in the back of your mind you’re like “I ain’t got no idea what she just said, but it sure sounded nice.” It got me to thinking, “Have I placed myself in a Christian bubble where the common language is Christianese?”

First, let me explain Christianese to y’all that don’t understand what I mean. Some examples of Christianese would be instead of saying “we are hanging out”, we say “we are doing life together”. Instead of “let me pray for you”, we say “let me lay hands on you” (cause that doesn’t sound creepy). Instead of “I’m forgiven”, we say “washed by the Blood of Jesus” (cause that doesn’t sound creepy either). Instead of “the struggle is real”, we say “this has been a real battle of the flesh”. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with saying any of those phrases. I am just saying there is a time and place to use these phrases and we need to be aware of who we are using them to.

I recently was catching up with one of my old friends the other day, hearing all about his life and what he’s been up to. He is not a Christian, nor really knows much about it other than there’s a dude named Jesus who people read about and listen to what he says to do with your life. He was telling me about a pretty rough patch he’s been going through; asking for prayer and encouragement. So me, the churched girl that I am began speaking Christianese. Thankfully, he just told me straight up, “girl, I ain’t got no idea what you are saying.”

I stopped. Thought to myself, “wow. I can’t believe I just said “spending quiet time seeking His face” instead of “spending time reading the Bible and praying.” That’s a heck of a lot easier to comprehend for someone who hasn’t had a quiet time in his whole life nor even knows what that means. I spoke so much Christianese that he got confused.

There is nothing wrong with how I said that originally but speaking Christianese to a non-Christian is like a Latino trying to speak to me in Spanish, which I can really only say about five words, sadly two of them are foods, which I don’t even pronounce right apparently, and one is cat (meow).

This takes me back to my original question “Have I placed myself in a Christian bubble that I don’t realize I’m speaking Christianese?” Is God’s story of my life getting lost in translation?  Am I so prideful that I have to sound the most legit when I am speaking about Christ? Am I trying to sound like I got it all together?

Y’all. Dang. Wow. Welp, that was a blow to my ego.

I catch myself, even now while I am typing this, truly thinking and manipulating what I want to say to sound more in depth with Christ. Like I get it. I get Him. We on that level.

While I am here on Earth, I will not be on that level. I will never fully comprehend Christ and all His goodness, so why not be honest about it. That’s why I am always learning. I am always challenged, because He is that awesome.

God reminded me of many stories about Jesus meeting people where they were. He dined with the sinners, the lame, the undesirables. When everyone else was “too good” to reach these people, Jesus met them where they were. He met them at their level. He wasn’t confusing, nor prideful. He was patient and loving.

“When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, "Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?"  But when Jesus heard this, He said, "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.  "But go and learn what this means: 'I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners." – Matthew 9:11-13

Has Christianese become one of those languages that is used to show off how “spiritual” we’ve become instead of expressing what He’s done?

I might be the only one that has caught herself trying to sound legit. Like I got my life all together, but I want to let you know I don’t.

I want my words to encourage, not confuse. So why would I try to purposely do that? Pride. Insecurity. Yes, peeps. I am that prideful to flaunt my Christianity to non-Christians and I am that insecure to want to sound deeper than I am. How’s that for transparency? (another word for honesty, but we like to refer ourselves as transparent, clear like a Ziploc bag, so errbody can see our junk).

My prayer now is that I won’t get so caught up in the comfortable “Christian bubble” that all I speak is Christianese when I talk about Christ. My prayer is that I won’t be confusing to sound legit and like I have it all together, but I would be real and upfront about what Christ has done in my life.

God is doing a work in my heart and continually showing me areas that need to be chiseled and molded for His glory.

(What I really mean is “Dude, I need Jesus”). 

 

With Love,

Katie Smith