Do you see what I see?

From my heart:  It’s been awhile since I last wrote.  Life has been very full and very complicated and I haven’t been able to blog the way I have wanted.  I decided I wanted to finish out the year better than it started. I have many pieces waiting in the wings.  I hope you will continue on this journey with me and that you will receive peace and insight for yours. 

I love to write and share what God has put on my heart and I THANK YOU for joining me!!!! 

“I’m looking at the man in mirror, I’m asking him to change his ways…”

You might recognize those lyrics if you, like me, are a child of the 80’s.  “Man in the Mirror” was one of Michael Jackson’s most critically acclaimed songs released in 1988 and nominated for “record of the year” at the Grammy awards.  Many radio stations continue to play it today, nostalgically taking me back in time.

A song I turn up in the car and sing along to my hearts delight.

Truth be told, I was a huge Michael fan growing up and even remember seeing him in concert when I turned 13.  Sadly, his life ended at the age of 50 leaving behind a legacy of music, fashion and talent that no other artist has ever measured up to.  He was aptly named “the king of Pop” for those reasons.

In the past several months, the lyrics of this song have taken me into deeper intimacy with Jesus causing me to have a lump in my throat and tears to follow.

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Here’s why.  I have been asking God to change His ways.  I have had more requests for Him than affirmation, praise and gratitude for Him amidst the many storms surrounding me and many others in this country.  I sat with these lyrics and God showed me something different.  He changed the lyric for me to read, “I’m looking at the man in the mirror and He’s asking me to change my ways”.  Who is this man you ask?  Please read on.

I look in the mirror and see a woman.  A woman of strong convictions that aren’t always received by those around her.  A woman with scars, blemishes and character qualities that aren’t always welcomed, accepted or admired. That’s ok, because God isn’t finished with me yet.  More importantly, He loves me just the way I am.  I don’t spend a lot of time looking in the mirror.  But the glimpses I get I haven’t liked because the messages of rejection seem to be louder.  I confess, surrender and ask God to show me what He wants me to see.  To show me how He has created me and what He wants me to do with it all.

That’s when it happens….

Amidst the pain and struggle in my journey, I see the Man in the mirror.  It is Jesus.  The King of kings.  I see the tenderness of His eyes and He is smiling and delighting in me.  He tells me I’m beautiful and reminds me of His healing in my life.  He shows me His scars, on his hands and feet as He reminds me that I have been crucified with Him, therefore I no longer live but He lives in me (Galatians 2:20).  He reminds me that I have a Companion and Comforter in the Holy Spirit especially for all those times I feel alone.  I feel the Holy Spirit’s presence while I look at this Man in the mirror and He has become my Advocate.  He points me to the things I need to think on as He has written them in Philippians 4:8, “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and whatever is admirable.  If anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.” 

Do you see what I see?

This Man in the mirror is asking me to change my ways.  Not because He doesn’t love me just the way I am but because they aren’t ways that reflect Him.  He loves me more than I will ever know yet for today I receive that correction and walk in the way He wants me to.  I tell Him it is hard to change some of those ways in my own strength and He assures me that when I am weak, He is strong (2 Corinthians 12:10).  I need to surrender to Him and He will do the changing.

I am learning to sing out those verses to my heart’s delight as I grow forward (and older) on this journey to find Jesus in the small moments of life.

A song written the year I graduated from high-school has become a landmark in my heart for the woman I am and the woman I am becoming as God grows me to hopefully reflect Him more and more each day.

Look in the mirror.2013-04-16-23-06-56

 REFLECTION:

What do you see?

Who do you see?

Is God asking you to change your ways? How will you answer Him?

Is God asking something of you that you feel is impossible to do / change?

 

 

 

“Be the change you want to see in the world” –Mahatma Ghandi

Thank you for taking this journey with me,

Kinita

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Brokenness Shielded

1 Peter 1:5, “…who through faith are shielded by God’s power”.

My iPad screen shattered. The worst part was that it happened a few days before we left for a vacation and an already expensive week of the summer.

Brokenness Exposed.

Brokenness Exposed.

The shattered glass was held safely behind the screen protector my son insisted I buy a few months prior. (Lesson #1: Parents listen to your tech savvy kids). As I slid my finger across the screen to access my accounts, I felt miniscule shards of glass slipping out from under the on/off button.
With a sick feeling in my gut because of the damage, I talked it over with my husband and decided to get it fixed before leaving on vacation. After paying the $135, I left the store with a brand new screen and a tempered glass screen protector. Not only was I relieved but I was also ready to be even more careful with my treasured device.

A few days later I was still plagued by the whole thing. I kept reliving the whole situation over and over in my mind – from the accident of dropping my iPad, to the unexpected dollar amount, the timing, and the fact that I’m so attached to it. Don’t judge. I know – not healthy.

That’s when the Holy Spirit intervened for some much needed teaching.

Brokenness. We all have it. Whether we want to admit it or not.
Mine is shielded. Not to be mistaken for hidden. There is a difference you know. Let me explain.

If we hide our brokenness (aka. Flaws, weaknesses), we are quicker to get defensive when it is threatened to be exposed. Several blogs ago I shared about having an anger problem. Appropriately titled, “Anger Management”. Back then, I was hiding my brokenness and my struggle. The Enemy knew it and pushed harder on my weaknesses. My flesh followed suit and I sinned in my anger. Leaving shards of pain with my words and sometimes my actions.

With God’s help, I learned that I needed to allow Him to shield my brokenness, allowing Him to protect and guard my heart. So when I did get angry and felt weak, I knew that He was my Shield who was covering me and I could endure whatever the situation at hand.
In essence, He holds my broken pieces together. He will hold yours together too, if you let Him.

Once in awhile, when my spiritual armor (Ephesians 6) is not fitting properly (probably because of unconfessed sin in my life), a small shard of brokenness breaks away and falls into your life.
I am sorry. It is sharp and imperfect and it might make you say more than “ouch” or “eww”. But don’t worry, others have had a front row seat to your brokenness. You may need to ask God to help you love your pieces back into place.

Our brokenness is God’s job to keep together. He is my Shield. Is He yours?
Over the years as the LORD has revealed my brokenness to me, I have come to recognize Him as the more-improved “tempered glass” kind of Shield.

Remember my shattered screen from my iPad? Yes, the store did replace the broken screen and the tempered glass screen protector. When I got home, I noticed a fingerprint that wouldn’t come off. I quickly realized that it was under the protective screen. As I was tempted to get angry, the Holy Spirit calmed me and gave me this idea – the fingerprint would be a reminder of God’s Fingerprint in my life because it is by His Hand I am put back together, shielded and protected.
REFLECTION:

When does your brokenness show up the most?
What or who is your shield?
How do you feel when your brokenness spills out?
How do you respond when your brokenness is exposed?

Thank you for accepting me in my brokenness.

Kinita

He Leads, I Follow

While vacationing at a friend’s cottage for a few days up in the Northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan, my devotions were centered around Matthew 11. Specifically verse 28.
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”.

I love how God times His Word to be the exact thing I needed on this vacation. We were entering this vacation after a several exhausting few months for our family. I was continuing the work of recovering from the effects of the Nepal earthquake. We had recently buried my sister after she lost her battle to brain cancer. My first book, “I Am Hagar: Forgotten No More,” was published and released (you can find it on Amazon.com). And a plethera of other situations that required my attention. The ups and downs of my emotions and the hard work I had done to cope has been exhausting, to say the least. This road, amidst it’s great joys and disappointments has been very treacherous!!
Without my supportive and loving husband, my children and friends who have been genuinely walking this journey with me, I think I would have been fit-to-be-tied months ago.

There was actually a time during those weeks where the “ride” seemed fast and furious and left my head spinning. I remember just closing my eyes and asking God to show me where He was in the midst of all this. At that precise moment, He gave me a picture of me sitting on a roller-coaster chair/bench and the lap bar was His arm. As I held on to His arm (the lap bar), I began to stroke it and had peace that He was holding me in place. I was assured that He would not let me go and would see me through to the end. That day (and since) He gave me an inexplicable peace that I was going to make it.

Back to the verse…I love this verse because it is very direct. For those who know me personally, I love direct communication. When I hear indirect communication it makes my brain work harder to have to decipher what looks like hidden meanings.

Jesus says, “Come to Me”….not, take a bunch of detours and then come. Yet, even if we have taken those detours, He still wants us to come to Him. If Nike was the speaker, they would say, “just do it!!”.
“All who are weary and burdened”, I think that everyone reading this and those we know have been weary and burdened at one time or another. I wonder what would happen if all of us who have obeyed this gentle command “Come to Me”, were to share with those who are currently weary and burdened, the Hope and rest they can find in Jesus?
“I will give you rest” is a promise from a promise-keeping God!! The kind of rest we can have in the midst of the fast and furiousness of our lives is uncompromising and available to all of us.

He lead, I followed very close behind.

He lead, I followed very close behind.

Our vacation ended with a day on Mackinaw Island. My time on the island started with a bike ride on a tandem bike with my husband. We rode the 8 miles around Mackinaw Island with the family and had a great time while learning a lot about us and other areas of our lives. Ken was in the front and I in the back. He did all the driving and I was along for the ride. I just held on. When he changed gears and went faster (than I would have liked), my heart raced and my muscle spasms (a result of the earthquake) kicked in with a vengeance. But I held on (perhaps muttering a thing or two under my breath). He would check on me every now and then and my answer was the same everytime. “I’m doing ok”. I’m not sure what He wanted me to say, because I really didn’t have a choice but to keep trusting him.

That gave me the beautiful picture of journeying with Jesus. I am doing ok and I don’t have a choice but to trust Him!!
He is leading, guiding and taking me on the ride of my life. I choose to rest in Him and hold on to see what other great adventures lie ahead. So, no matter how “fast” and “furious” your journey may be right now, know that God will lead you safely through it all.

REFLECTION:

What are you going through right now that needs more faith?
How do you respond when things don’t go your way?
How have you been responding to Jesus’ invitation to “Come to Him”?
Maybe you say that “God is leading” but are you following Him?

Thank you for joining me on this leg of my journey!

Kinita

Be Prepared

(It has been three weeks since I have been home. Today in my devotions was Luke 21:19, “…by standing firm, you will gain life”. I wrote this blog post three days ago. I love how God keeps me on track)

As I write these blogs about my experience in Nepal, specifically during the time of the earthquake, I have been reviewing my journal entries leading up to that day. There was an undeniable connection between those entries and the day the ground shook beneath my feet. From Scriptures to Oswald Chambers’ comments, the LORD was preparing me for that day. Through the following scripture passages and quotes from Oswald Chambers, God was preparing my heart to, “stand firm” so that I wouldn’t give in to the chaos around me.

Journal entries:

Oswald Chambers’ comments

— “the burden is lightened by the sense of companionship.” (with the Holy Spirit).

— (based on Matthew 11) – “No power on earth or in hell can conquer the Spirit of God in a human spirit, it is an inner unconquerableness.” (yes, that is a word).

— (based on 2 Kings 2) – “do not forecast where the temptation will come, it is the least likely thing.”

— “you have remained true to God under great and intense trials, now beware of the undercurrent.”

— “unguarded strength is double weakness.”

— “kept by the power of God” is the ONLY safety.”

— (based on 2 Corinthians 1) – “our capacity in spiritual matters is measured by the Promises of God and not by our education or intellect.”

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Scriptures:

Psalm 55:9, “…destructive forces are at work in the city…”

— Psalm 55:16-18, “As for me, I call to God, and the LORD saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and He hears my voice. He rescues me unharmed from the battle waged against me, even though many oppose me”

2 Chronicles 15:7, “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.

2 Chronicles 15:15, “…they sought God eagerly and He was found by them. So the LORD gave them rest on every side”.

(Morning of the earthquake)

2 Timothy 2:3,endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus”.

2 Timothy 2:4, “no one serving as a good soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer”.

2 Timothy 2:7, “reflect on what I am saying, for the LORD will give you insight into all of this”.

2 Timothy 4:2, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.

Practicing spiritual health, spending quality time with Jesus, is the only thing that can truly prepare us for a crisis. Be it physical, financial, emotional, relational, or whatever. Basically any kind of crisis.

With the help and companionship of the Holy Spirit we are able to see, with our own eyes, Christ in the middle of any crisis.

I write like this because I want to share what the LORD has done in my life and to give you an eternal Hope in your journey.

I don’t expect all my readers to agree with what I write, but I do expect that somehow what God poured into me and how He prepared me through Oswald Chambers’ words and various Scriptures, would also encourage you in your journey as you not only face the crisis in your story, but also live.

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REFLECTION:

How do you prepare for what life throws at you?

What are some lessons you have learned from crisis’ that you have experienced?

How has God’s Word impacted your life?

Thank you for joining me on my journey.  Blessings on yours.

Kinita

I LOOKED UP (Part 2 – the story continues…)

This was my fourth trip to Nepal to serve with a ministry that buys and frees slaves. We hold women’s conferences in a church and as the speaker, I encourage the women to grow in their relationships with Jesus Christ through various topics that lend themselves to the Discipleship process already going on there.

I am very intentional in preparing a team for the ministry, opportunities and experiences we might have there. The number one way in which I insist they prepare is to, “stay in The Word“. God is writing each of our stories and as we stay in His Word, we will grow to see how it weaves into the fabric of our lives. I cannot stress enough how important it is for ALL of us to take time to “seek first the Kingdom of God…” (Matthew 6:33).

This trip would prove to be one that would challenge each of us to rely on God through the unique relationship we had cultivated with Him during that preparation.

In the hours following the initial earthquake….. (excerpt from my journal on April 25, 2015, following the Nepal earthquake).

“Fear, anxiety and emotions are running high. I think I am internalizing them now. I pray, I sing, I claim the power of God. The aftershocks continue as we sit outside the church. We are being encouraged to move to the open field behind the church to seek greater safety”.

As I walked out to the clearing I began to sing, “I’m gonna go with Jesus anywhere, no matter the roughness of the road….”, a worship song we have often sung in our church. The Holy Spirit reminded me of Psalm 91:1, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

That day, I also chose to trust God with every shaking fiber of my body.

 

field for squatters and animals running wild. Lots of human and animal waste and trash littering the area.  A very rough place to walk.

field for squatters and animals running wild. Lots of human and animal waste and trash littering the area. A very rough place to walk.

Once in the field, I look up and see power lines criss-crossing the sky, which presents more danger and uncertainty if they were to fall. But before more fear can take hold, the Holy Spirit showed me what He wanted me to see instead.

"I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from?  My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.  He will not let your foot slip..."

“I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip…”

For the first time, in a few hours, I felt a twinge of peace in my soul that “everything was going to be alright”. God was truly present and He would see us through this. No matter how uncertain the circumstances were going to be, I could be certain that God would continue to be faithful in this situation. Looks like He chose to calm His child instead of calming the earth storm.

We hung out in the field for awhile and once it was “safe enough” (which was debateable), we headed back to the church site.

By now you might be thinking that “Kinita is really good at memorizing scripture”. I assure you, I am not. I can usually remember the words of a passage but not where it is found. Or I will remember that a certain book and chapter of the Bible is significant but can’t remember why.

A random white bird landed on a branch near by during this time.  Perhaps as another visual reminder of the Holy Spirit's presence.

A random white bird landed on a branch near by during this time. Perhaps as another visual reminder of the Holy Spirit’s presence.

That day, I believe the Holy Spirit gave me the help I needed by speaking those words into my ear. When I got home, I looked them up and found them in print.

Believers in Jesus…..here’s how it works. When we say, “we died and we are now hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3), it means first we have died to our own desires, passions and expectations and that God is our protector, shield and guard. The Holy Spirit is our companion. Unfortunately, so many people say this and then in a crisis, run and hide behind idols. That day, something died in me for good. Even though I can’t quite put into words what died in me that day, I can say with more clarity and vigor, that God’s Words and His Presence became more alive and palpable than ever before in my life.

We have an incredible gift of His “Shadow” (Psalm 91) and yet some still choose the things of this earth.

Please understand, I haven’t arrived. God continues to refine me. My prayer is that God will use this experience in my life to give you the Hope that He wants for you.

That day as Kathmandu was lifted approximately 1 meter in the air (statement made in a report I read), I believe I was lifted onto God’s shoulders as a reminder of His care for me (Luke 15:5 was prayed over us before we left on the trip).

Although I continue to deal with some physical ailments from that day, my heart is stronger today because of how God showed Himself to me when I looked up.

“Shoulders” by King & Country …was a great inspiration and a song I held in my heart throughout this particular trip and as I prepared for going.

Thank you for journeying with me. May the LORD be gracious to you when you look up.

REFLECTION:

Where is the earth moving under your feet and causing you uncertainty?

What is the earthly storm you are going through?

Where are you looking?

How do you respond to the “aftershocks” surrounding the crisis in your own journey?

 

Gotta Have Faith

When the earth moves beneath my feet and the mountains (threaten) to fall into the sea. (Psalm 46)

I gotta have faith.

That happened. No really, but the earth did move beneath my feet while on a recent mission trip to Nepal. By now it’s all over the news and for some people it is just that – news. They have moved on and are now addressing the “next big deal”. But for some of us, it is still a big deal because not only has it changed our hearts forever, but because people we served with and love very much are still digging out from the rubble and doing their part to continue serving others who are suffering the ongoing effects of this tragedy.

Inside the church

Inside the church

I was in CrossWay Community Church in a church service when this life altering experience took place. We had just experienced some of the most exhilarating tear-filled time of singing, worship, and prayer minutes before. The Holy Spirit was so present. My heart was overflowing with praise to God for the amazing 2 weeks of ministry in East and West Nepal that had ended the day before.

Celebration dinner the night before

Celebration dinner the night before

I was getting strengthened for what was next and my heart was open to the LORD for His leading.

Pastor Arbin Pokharel began preaching on Acts 1&2, beginning a new series on “Discipleship” and the importance of it in the life of a believer”. I wrote in my notes that day, “God has given us the keys to the Kingdom”. I don’t remember if he said that, or if that’s what the Holy Spirit was telling me as a result of the message he was speaking on.

Then the lights went out – typical Nepali fashion – so no one seemed concerned. Within seconds everything shook. (As I recount this story, I continue to feel that shaking. The triggers are still strong and unpredictable). It was as though we were all in a doll house and the (giant) child outside was shaking it. We scrambled and some screamed. My teammate fell and I grabbed her to pull her up. I was not about to take another step before making sure we were all safe. In doing so, I wrenched my back, only to find out later that I pulled my trapezius muscle and popped a couple ribs. Ouch.

After huddling by a wall and praying fervently we were encouraged to exit the building because there were cracks on the opposing walls and it wasn’t clear if they would topple at any second.

So much was uncertain.

You see, when the earth moved under my feet, I experienced an immediate sense of loss. Loss of balance, loss of understanding, loss of direction, loss of time, loss of reality, loss of safety, loss of nerves. But all the while, I was certain that God was with me every wobbly step of the way.

Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God”. I was trying to be still alright. It was a little hard, physically, because the force of the tectonic plates shifting the earth beneath us was more than my body could sustain. My soul however, remained still amidst the encroaching fear. As a team we had celebrated the night before the reality of God’s obvious presence during the previous two weeks. Now I was in a valley of uncertainty. BUT I was determined to claim this same truth. He was present. How did I know? Because His Word says, “I will never leave you or forsake you…” (Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:5, Hebrews 13:5). I chose to put my trust in Him and His Word.

I was certain of God and His Promises.

We all made it safely to the clearing on the outside of the church building. It was like running out of someone’s basement and onto their front lawn. Once we arrived there, we experienced another 6.9 scaled quake. Without having time to recover from the 7.8 in the church, the emotions just piled on.

The clearing outside the church  (far left of screen)

The clearing outside the church (far left of screen)

While on the front lawn of the church it felt like we were standing on a wobbly card table. Not cool.

Over the next few hours we sang, we prayed, and I journaled what I could. I took some pictures because I didn’t want to miss out on what God was going to tell me later about those moments. Yet, taking pictures felt a little awkward because I wondered if I was violating a sacred experience somehow.

As a result of this experience, I am more sure that the keys to the Kingdom are Faith, God’s Word, and Prayer. Do you have them?

To be continued……..

REFLECTION:

What elements of faith do you hang on to in the midst of crisis?

Are you in a crisis right now? Where, to whom or to what are you running to?

Thank you for journeying with me

Kinita