via Thirsty

How’s your coffee?

I have 2 coffee makers on my kitchen counter. I’ve had the Keurig for several years. It works great and does exactly what it’s supposed to do. It’s fast and takes very little effort to make coffee. I received a fancy Ninja coffee maker as a gift this past Christmas. Initially, I took the Keurig down and gave it to my daughter to take back to college. I started using the Ninja immediately after unpacking it. It took a few coffee morning sessions to get use to the new way of making my coffee. It has so many coffee options. You can make iced coffee, cappuccinos, classic coffee, rich coffee, & it even does espressos. Plus, it can froth which I haven’t quite figured out yet. I know how to do it, but not sure why I should do this. I must not be using the right milk or creamer🤷🏼‍♀️.

Anyways, a few weeks after getting use to the Ninja coffee maker my daughter transferred to University of Memphis. She moved home and brought the Keurig back too. So, I now have 2 coffee makers in my home. I plugged the Keurig back up and placed it next to the Ninja. It didn’t take long for me to start using the Keurig again and completely stop using the Ninja. Why would I go back to the Keurig?? I’ll tell you exactly why…The Ninja takes more time and effort to use. I have to measure coffee, think harder, & push more buttons to get it to produce coffee. The Keurig is the easier option that requires no thinking at all. I can practically turn it on in my sleep. And it is right in front of me, ready for me to push 1 simple button, so it can make a cup of coffee. So what if it doesn’t make great coffee, it’s easy and produces a mediocre cup of coffee. I know the Ninja coffee is better, but I’ve settled for the Keurig coffee.

So, Why am I writing about these 2 coffee makers? I don’t work for either company nor will I get any promotions for plugging these coffee maker names into my blog. I am writing about this because having 2 options is not better than one. I thought plugging the old coffee maker back up was a good thing. But, in all honesty it was a bad thing. It gave me an easier option to make my morning coffee that produced a bad cup of joe. The Ninja makes WAY better coffee than the Keurig. Sure it takes a little longer to prep and clean up, but it tastes 1000% better and can make more than 1 cup if I want it to!! So why would I settle for 1 cup of mediocre coffee? Because I am human and it’s the available easier option. The Keurig takes less work and less time to make coffee than the fancy Ninja. It’s human nature to want the easy option. Especially, when we have 2 options staring right in front of us. As I starred at my coffee maker options this morning I realized having 2 options was not a good thing if I wanted to drink the best homemade cup of coffee possible. If I only have the Ninja on my counter I would be forced to use it or go without coffee, but who does that 😝😂?! Therefore, I need to toss the Keurig, start using my Ninja again, and get back to drinking amazing homemade coffee.

How can this silly tale of 2 coffee makers apply to us in a more serious way? Most people like to have options and want to keep things instead of letting go or tossing to the curb. We hang onto relationships that are not good for us because we think we need them. Or maybe we don’t want to let them go because it feels too hard. We think it is easier to keep them in our life instead as we try to make new changes . Or maybe like me, you didn’t realize having 2 options was a bad thing because it gave you an easier option to choose from that produced a mediocre outcome. We won’t fully embrace the new possibly harder option as long as we have an easier option. We will always go back to what’s easy if it’s available. Let go of it. Get rid of it. It may be hard, but it’s even harder to settle for a mediocre life. You were created for an abundant life in Jesus Christ. It’s not the easy way. But neither is living an ok life you settled for just because the other way was harder. You will have to work hard and put more effort into this life, but it’s worth it. Doing hard things makes you stronger and prepares you for even harder things to come. Life is hard! We need to be people who choose to embrace hard things instead of wanting the easy way. Let go of whatever is enabling you to choose the easy way. I’ll go first by getting rid of my Keurig today. Otherwise, I will keep settling for mediocre coffee and never fully embrace all that my fancy Ninja coffee maker can do.

So, who wants a Kureig??

CAT

Unfinished Glory

Unfinished Glory

Have you ever started a project that caused you to question the end result? Well, I have!! I am in the process of building an in-ground pool. I hired a reputable local pool company. I did my research, prayed about it, & finally chose this company because I trusted their reputation. The very first day the project started I began to second guess myself…what I had signed up for? I came home from work to see mountains of dirt throughout my backyard. It was only 8 hours earlier my yard was filled with beauty & lots of grass. How am I supposed to deal with this for 45 days?!

All I see is dirt, large equipment, & constant noise from all the work. I have strangers in my backyard at 7 am until 6:30 pm. All of this chaos started on day 1 and hasn’t stopped yet. I am constantly cleaning the floors due to my dogs tracking in dirt everywhere!! The pool building process isn’t what I imagined. I thought it would look a lot less messy. Not really sure why I thought that, but I did! I’m on day 17 now. The mountains of dirt have been removed & leveled out. I see the concrete shell, the skimmers, the jets, seats, & the area where the concrete decking will be poured. It sounds like it’s starting to come together, but It’s still not a pretty picture like you might be imagining.

As you can see it’s an ugly, empty concrete shell with lots of dirt all around it. It doesn’t quite look like a beautiful inground pool at this point. But, I can see it has potential of looking like the pool I envisioned when I took on this project.

Have you ever looked in the mirror or felt like your life was an ugly mess? I sure have plenty of times. I remember when I first became a follower of Christ. I was excited. I had a new fire inside me. I was a new creation in Jesus Christ. The old was gone and the new had come…Right? Well, yes & no. I was a new creation in Jesus Christ, but the new had not taken root in me yet. I needed to replace the old self with the new by reading the word of God. As I started to renew my mind the Lord began a sanctifying work inside me. It wasn’t fun, exciting, or pretty. Honestly, it was kinda painful at times and even messy. God was pruning the old dead parts of me, so that new life could spring forth. I can remember thinking I am never going to change. My life is a mess. I am a mess. I can’t live this Christian life like I’m supposed to. I am never going to get it right or stop sinning. Which is partly true…I cant stop sinning completely, I won’t get it right every time because I am not Jesus Christ. Only Jesus is perfect and without sin and only He got it right so we don’t have to. God sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for us once and for all. Therefore, our sins have all been forgiven for those of us who are believers in Christ.

A believer’s life can look similar to my pool project. Day 1, we placed our faith in Jesus Christ & shortly after wondered what in the world we got ourselves into. Our lives can look messy, ugly, empty, and dirty at times. It can be overwhelming, especially if you think you are supposed to get it right, never sin again, or complete the work yourself.

Remember the God who saved you is also the One who is working in you to sanctify you and change you day by day. You can’t see the end result of your life today, but you can live in freedom knowing that the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light also began a good work in you and He will also perfect us until the day of Christ Jesus. God knows the outcome of our life. He knows the story He is writing and it’s for His glory & our good. All the good, ugly, exciting, messy, pretty, difficult, painful, & scary unknown parts are being fitted together to form one beautiful masterpiece. But, we don’t get to see it until the day of Christ Jesus. Did you catch that? We won’t know what our life looks like until the end. So that means we aren’t supposed to be a finished project today or tomorrow even. We won’t be perfect or a finished work of art until the day of Christ! I don’t know about you, but that takes a lot of pressure of me. I can take a deep breath in & let it out knowing that my life today may look messy because God isn’t finished with me yet. And, He isn’t finished with you either!! Can I get an Amen?!

So back to my pool project…I know it’s not finished yet. It’s in the middle stage which looks kinda ugly right now. I would be worried about the outcome if it was up to me to finish the pool. But, it is not up to me. It’s the pool company’s responsibility to complete the job they started. And, I am confident they will finish the work they started because I trust their reputation.

I want to challenge you (and myself) to let go of our fears and doubts about the end result of our life. Let us be a people who trust our God who started a good work in us and will also perfect us until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:6
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

CAT

Thirsty

Have you ever been thirsty or dehydrated? Typically, the brain will send signals to our body when we are thirsty before we get dehydrated. My mouth gets dry if I am really thirsty and I can’t seem to get enough to drink! Nothing will quench this kind of thirst except water. But, I can ignore my thirst and eventually it will turn to dehydration.

Did you know you can be dehydrated without even knowing it? Yep! Scary, huh? Our brain sends all the signals, but many times we don’t respond to it. The first signal is usually being thirsty. If you ignore it for too long more serious signals occur such as fatigue, bright yellow urine, foggy brain, dry mouth, confusion, dark circles under the eyes, dizziness, organ malfunction, and even death. This is how your body is letting you know it’s in the danger zone. Once you get in the danger zone it takes more than a cup or two of water to quench your thirst and get you re-hydrated.

Our spiritual life goes through a similar process when we ignore the signals. Many times we don’t even know our spiritual life is in the danger zone because we haven’t paid attention to our thirst. We fill ourselves with everything else except Jesus. We run hard after our career, kids, responsibilities, social lives, and or fitness goals. Or maybe those aren’t the things you pursue, but you pursue something. Whatever fills your time & mind, that is not God, that is the thing you’re chasing. We give Jesus our leftovers if even that much. We end up tired, weary, stressed out, & empty. These are the warning signals letting us know we are thirsty for Jesus.

I normally start my day by reading the word of God and praying. But, I can read the bible and still miss Jesus.

Especially if I am reading just to mark it off my list. Or, If my heart is not right within me and my mind is distracted by everything else I need to do. I can easily miss out on experiencing Jesus. I am guilty of all of the above which is why I know we can be thirsty for Jesus without even knowing it. We ignore the signals such as being tired, irritable, stressed, anxious, exhausted, empty, etc…these are indicators of a life that is spiritually thirsty. If we ignore these signals for too long we will end up in the spiritually dehydrated. Don’t get me wrong I know we have to manage our responsibilities and juggle many things to some degree. But spending quality time with Jesus is more important than anything else on our to do list. If I run myself ragged to get all my to do list accomplished, which I do at times, but miss Jesus what have I really accomplished?

Recently, I visited a friend’s church. The sermon was just what I needed to hear. It was not a feel good type of message. It was quite convicting. And it was uncomfortable to some degree because it shed light on my sin (which is a good thing). I had been chasing after everything, but Jesus. It was a powerful message because it was the very word of God being taught which spoke directly to my heart. I went to lunch with my friend after church. We talked for a couple of hours in booth at Newks. I could have continued to talk to her for hours. I could not get enough of the fellowship we were experiencing together that day. God used that particular Sunday to show me some things missing in my spiritual life.

My soul was thirsty for ONLY the Word of God being taught & community with other genuine believers. I did not even realize these things were missing from my life until I experienced church in a different way that day. I go to church regularly. I have godly friends from church & outside of church. I read the Word daily. But, something was missing in my spiritual life and had been for several months. I knew it in the depth of my soul due to all those warning signs, but I had not been able to identify the missing link. The signs were right in front of me daily. I was tired, exhausted, quick to anger, empty, & stressed out. So, how did I not know? Because I had not slowed down long enough to hear what God was trying to tell me. I had been filling myself up with all the things on my to-do list. I chased after more work, fitness goals, productivity over relationships, significance from other sources, etc…These things are never enough and will never be enough! These things leave me feeling exhausted, stressed out, & weary most days. If I am being transparent, I will always want more of something other than God to some degree because I am a sinner. But, God in His mercy created us with a hole in our heart, so that we would pursue Him to satisfy our wondering hearts. We were never meant to be satisfied by the things of the world. If the things of the world could satisfy us, we would never seek God Almighty.

These things even the good things we do daily to fill us are only temporary. Let us be people who seek the Lord, pursue the things of the Lord, and be filled up with the One true source of living water that will satisfy our thirst for more. He won’t leave us feeling tired, weary, stressed out, etc…He actually gives us strength, comfort, peace, & rest when we cast down our idols & seek Him. When we are filled up with Jesus Christ our hearts should be content with whatever God has given us. We may still want more, but we can trust God will provide it if we need it. We don’t have to run ourselves ragged in order to make it happen. God is the only One who can and will truly quench our thirsty souls. Let His love fill you up, and remember His love is not temporary, it is everlasting. Taste and see that the Lord is good.

What about you? Are you thirsty? Are you tired, stressed out, or feeling empty these days? Are you spiritually dehydrated? Evaluate your heart’s desires…Ask God to show you what’s in your heart. Do these desires align with the truth? Are you seeking eternal things or running yourself ragged for temporary things? If so, ask God to show you what He wants you to pursue. Pursue the things of the Lord, seek Him and His kingdom first and all these things will be added to you.

CAT

On Demand…part 2

Waiting-Staying in expectation. Waiting on, attending; accompanying; serving. Waiting for, staying for the arrival of. Waiting at, staying or attending at in expectation or in service. In waiting, in attendance.

Did you read the definition of waiting? That’s not how I would have defined waiting. My definition reads more like waiting on paint to dry, waiting for something to never happen. There is not much expectation in waiting for paint dry or waiting on nothing to happen is there? I usually paint one coat, leave, come back a few hours later to put the 2nd coat on. I don’t stay in expectation or wait in attendance. I paint it and I leave it to dry. However, waiting for a promise to be fulfilled is a lot different than waiting on paint to dry. I know the paint will dry. I don’t know when or how the promise will be fulfilled or even if it will be fulfilled here on earth. 
The waiting period is an active process in which we should be hopeful. We should wait by staying in expectation for the Lord to deliver on His promises to us. The phrase staying in expectation sounds to me like it’s filled with hope & maybe even a hint of excitement. I can assure you that I haven’t waited for my husband by staying in expectation lately. It’s looked a lot more like waiting on paint to dry. I pray for a husband. I leave it. I come back to pray again from time to time. But, I get frustrated with the process and stop praying about it. I stop expecting and hoping for the Lord to fulfill His promises to me. I try to stay positive. I try to focus more on what I have than what I’m missing out on. I throw myself in work, helping others, & settle down into the life I’ve been given. I do honestly believe those things too. I am very grateful for the life I’ve been given. But, I do want to be married again. However, I have more hope in the paint drying than my future husband arriving. 
Why is that? Well, I’ve been married before. It was a long time ago. I was 19. I did not have a clue about marriage and definitely not a God centered one. Some days, I think the reason I don’t have a husband is because I totally sucked at being a wife the first time around. And God knows I’ll be a horrible wife, so that is why He isn’t answering my prayer for a husband. Sounds a little absurd when I type it out. But, that is one of the big fat lies Satan tells me over and over again.

I don’t know what promises you are waiting on the Lord to fulfill, but I do know God doesn’t hold our past against us. Those thoughts that cause you to doubt yourself, God, & His promises are from Satan. Scripture says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:17‬) Therefore, I am a new person in Jesus Christ. My past is no more. He wiped my slate clean when I placed my faith in Him. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, He has done the same thing for you. You are not the old person from your past. You have been made new. Our past has been redeemed by the grace of God. He can use the things from past for our good and His glory. The past was a learning experience for the future. It was training ground for the next chapter. Those failures do not define you or me. We can learn valuable lessons of wisdom from these past mistakes. Failure is the hands on experience gained so we do not repeat our past mistakes. The enemy wants you to believe your past failures define you in order to defeat you. But scripture says, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” (Genesis‬ ‭50:20‬) Don’t believe the lies the enemy tells you anymore! Rebuke those lies in Jesus name! Replace the lies with the truth of God. I know it’s hard to stay on top of all the lies bouncing around your head, but it’s the only way to truly overcome the lies and believe the truth. 

I realize I need to do a better job at this myself. Let’s help each other by praying for one another & encouraging each other. If you are struggling with anything or just need prayer, Shoot me an email, text, or fb message. I will pray for you & encourage you as long as you need me to. Friend, our God is faithful and He loves us. God knows what is best for us. So whatever it is we are waiting on God to provide for us, let us wait by staying in expectation. Let’s expect the best from our Heavenly Father who only gives His best. 

CAT

On Demand

We live in a world that doesn’t have to wait for anything. We can DVR tv shows or watch an episode on Netflix. We have apps that allow us to order fast food from our smart phones so that we can avoid waiting in long lines. These resources have caused us to be so impatient. We won’t wait for anything because we don’t have to. Don’t get me wrong, I have used all these helpful resources. I’m all for technology that helps us utilize our time. But, are these things actually doing more harm than good? 
Currently, I feel like I am waiting in a line that never moves. I’m waiting on my husband. I don’t even like typing those words. I am exposing my most vulnerable places to the world right now. So, be gentle. Don’t judge me. I feel like I’ve been waiting here for a lifetime. Sometimes, I get out of the line. I say to myself, just forget it. Chris, you don’t want a husband anymore. I tell myself, I’ve waited entirely too long and he isn’t worth the wait. You won’t even like him after the honeymoon over? I have days where I believe those lies to be the solid truth. But, I also have days where the Lord gently whispers the real truth to me. Scripture says in Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” This scripture has been a reoccurring verse the Lord has used to speak to me about my future husband. People have randomly prayed it over me over the last 3 years without even knowing what this verse means to me. Today the Lord reminded me of His promise during worship at church. This verse was spoken and I was immediately brought to tears. I cried because my heart hurts. I cried because it was exactly what I needed to hear today. The Lord knew I needed a word of encouragement. He knows I am tired of waiting. He knows I want to give up. My emotions are all over the place lately. I feel like I’m riding the bipolar express. I wish I could just turn off my desire for a husband. Believe me, I’ve tried. I’ve even lied to myself a time or two. But, It didn’t work. The desire always comes back. Each time with a deeper longing for a spouse than before. I’ve had to get honest with myself & the Lord about this desire. A desire that He put inside of me. My prayers have gone from nice little compliant prayers to real, raw emotional pleas for God to provide the man He has for me. I wish I had an app or something I could use to speed up this process. I truly hate waiting on anything especially things I really want. But, I believe the Lord has told me He has a husband for me. I believe He will provide me with a husband in His timing. Therefore, I will wait. 
What are you waiting on from the Lord? Trust Him with your desires. He is faithful. I know the waiting process is hard, but the Lord is faithful to bring about His promises to His children. 
CAT

I have been staring at my kitchen walls for weeks trying to decide on what color grey to paint. I have not had much luck narrowing down my search.  I hate the yellow tint illuminating off the walls every time I turn the lights on. But, I don’t know exactly what color grey to paint it. I have replaced kitchen chairs, lights, & even painted my table in hopes that the yellow would fade out a bit. But, it hasn’t really changed anything. I still hate the yellow walls! I know I want a bluish-grey color. I can see it in my head. I just can’t find it in the gazillion grey paint swatches I have looked at…it’s quite overwhelming. So for now, I am stuck with the ugly yellow tint on my kitchen walls.

Thankfully, kitchen walls can be painted and transformed rather quick and easily. But, what about the walls of our hearts? What do you do when there is something ugly inside of you that needs to change? But you don’t know where to start or even how to change it. I hate to tell you, there is no magic paint you can apply to change the condition of your your heart. It takes hard work, soul searching, honesty, & applying God’s word to your life in order to make changes. In the last 7 years, the Lord has shown me the ugly walls inside my heart. I tried to ignore it & cover it up for a while. But, that only kept me stuck and hindered any growth in my life.

img_5384 I had a choice to make. I could either willingly get to work on myself or continue to work at hiding the ugly inside my heart. Both choices required work one way or another. By God’s grace, I chose to work on myself. I prayed, repented, & acknowledged my sin. I had to be honest with myself about my sin & the ugly parts of my heart. Next, I had to confess my sins to the Lord, turn from my sin, & turn to the Lord. Scripture says, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
I was broken for so long, and did not know how to repair my soul. I could not fix myself on my own. I needed the Lord’s help to do it. The Lord is faithful to forgive & heal us when we come to Him with a contrite & crushed spirit. I desperately needed forgiveness & healing. I poured out the good, bad, & ugly mess that was in my heart. And there was a lot of ugly in my heart, kinda like my ugly yellow kitchen walls. But, over time the Lord healed me & transformed me into something new. Something beautiful. I was not the same. I no longer desired the sinful things of my past. I still struggle with sin, but not like I did before coming to really know the Lord. I didn’t even know I was sinning back then. I thought I was a pretty good person. Wrong! Scripture says, “As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one” (Romans 3:10-12). Did you know that? Not even one person is good on their own without God. It is the Lord who makes us good. He loves us so much. He believes in us and knows who we will be one day. He loves us too much to leave us in our sin. But in order to change the ugly walls of our hearts, we have to humble ourselves before the Lord and be willing to let the Lord refine our hearts. It is a painful process, but it’s more painful to stay stuck with a heart that has ugly walls.
Isaiah 66:2…”These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.”

 

CAT