I’m the Older Brother & You are Too

“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. My son, the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” ~Luke 15:28, 31

Recently, I was feeling a little grumpy thinking about some upcoming events. I had the pretty common complaint, to myself, about people showing up late, but still getting the “prize bag”. You know, that feeling that you have followed all the rules, and someone else just breezes by you and gets the same prize as you. And as I was congratulating myself on being such a ‘good person’ I came to the uncomfortable realization that I am the “older brother” from the Prodigal Son.

We all know the parable of the Prodigal Son, and we love it! Who doesn’t love a story where someone screws up royally, sees the error of their ways, and then heads home to forgiveness and open arms? We love that story because we know that we are the prodigal son! We do have our screw ups, and we do come to see the error of our ways, and the Lord is always waiting with open arms and forgiveness. However, the other side of that is inevitably we may have our days when we become the older son.

There are days when we feel like we have it all together. We just know that we are doing everything the way that we should, and it is easy for resentment to creep in. There we are following all the rules, doing the right thing, just rocking at life, and then some rule breaker just skips past us to get the same thing! And we begin to wonder if it’s really worth it. Yet, the story tells us that the father welcomes and loves both. The father goes outside, and pleads with his older son- “Everything I have is yours.”

We can be the prodigal son and the older son. So, despite the difficulty, if we keep working at that older son’s path God tells us that everything he has is ours. Sounds pretty good to me!

God Bless,
Kim

 

Close Encounters

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
~Matthew 28:20

I encounter Christ in the smiles and laughter of my children, and the embrace of my husband, and those encounters fill my heart with joy daily. They blend seamlessly into my days, almost without notice. I think it can be easy to let our joy-filled “Easter” encounters with Christ fade into our memories. Not because they aren’t profound, but because joy seems so transient to us, something that we can’t quite hold on to.

The times I remember an encounter with Christ more vividly are often the painful, heart-wrenching days when I feel that I cannot go on anymore- Good Fridays of my life. The days when I just don’t have any more patience, when I don’t have a plan; the day when I want to channel Pontius Pilate- wash my hands of everything, and go build a blanket fort and eat cookie dough!

I  remember the encounter with Christ very profoundly on those days because those are the days when I can’t, and HE must. Those are the times when Jesus picks me up and carries me down the beach- or as it more accurately feels- carries me through the minefield of stressful situations, unfinished tasks, and drama-filled arguments. He carries me toward the times I know are right there waiting for me, the times I vow to value more, and hold closer to my heart. Towards the smiles of my children and embrace of my husband- my extraordinarily ordinary daily Easter encounters.

Where do You encounter Christ?
~Kim

Where’s your sign

So Gideon said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who speak with me.” ~ Judges 6:17

We are trying to sell our house. It’s not impossible- but the conditions are such, that timing needs to be perfect. As time pas passed pieces have fallen into place, and I keep wanting to think that this is a sign!

God wants us to move into the large brick house that I love! But realistically, it doesn’t necessarily mean that! I do believe that God has a plan, and if it is meant to be, then it is meant to be. But, God didn’t say, stand around waiting for a sign. God said to live a prepared sign.

So as much as I would like to wait around gushing over this small event falling into place, I need to live my life, and let it go, and let God!

God Bless,
Kim

Just moving some mountains

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
~Matthew 17:20

Size matters- we hear that all the time in advertising. Bigger is better! Supersize it! But when it comes to faith, many people don’t feel like their faith is big enough…

But we’ve been told that we don’t need to have our faith supersized! We need only have faith as small as a mustard seed to move mountains. Great news for all those times that we feel less than holy, or those days when everything is going so wrong, that we figure God must be on a coffee break.

I don’t know what the divine break schedule looks like, but I do know that as long as our faith is this big:

 We’ve got this covered!

Blessings!
~Kim

Can anybody turn on the light?

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.”
~Matthew 5:14

We have all heard the gospel about the Pharisees who made a big deal out of their faith- putting on a big show and “suffering”. So, it could be easy to make the mistake of thinking that your faith is something that shouldn’t be “seen” outside of church. However, there is a big difference between making a show of your faith, and a being a light for your faith.

Don’t make your faith a performance, make it normal! Faith is not the “sparkly” noticeable actions of giving up something and making a big deal about it- yes, give something up if that is helping you feel closer to God. But complaining about that action of prayer is not helping you get closer to God!

God is not Hollywood, full of empty promises of glitz, glamor, and perfection. God is waiting for you to come home, and turn on the light for everyone to see.

God bless,
Kim

No Giant Fish

 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai, saying, “Go at once to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before me.”  But Jonah set out to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. ~ Jonah 1:1-3

This may come as a shock to some, so prepare yourself… Are you ready?
There are days I don’t want to talk to people.

(Insert shocked emoticon here)

*Play ominous music- Dun, Dun, DUH!*

I get that I am outgoing, but I have to tell you that there are days that I am so tired that it seems like too much effort to smile, let alone talk to people. And now you want me to be nice to them too? Give me a break… I don’t want to be the Youth Minister today!

Many jobs have weekends. No one really bother’s each other on Saturday and Sunday- they are kind of off limits- good! Everyone gets a break! However, for those of us called to serve the church community there isn’t a traditional weekend. Our pastor is amazing, and he insists people take their weekends on other days if not Saturday & Sunday- but since the majority of people are not “off” the idea that I might not be available on Thursday is a foreign concept.

I try to be accepting of that with good cheer, but there are days when I feel like I need to run off to Tarshish with Jonah just so my phone will stop ringing! Everyone needs a break, some people just have an easier time of it. I suppose, despite the many frantic phone messages and e-mails (Because even after 8 years of NEVER being available on Thursday everyone still forgets it 🙂 ), I should be grateful…

Even if I don’t show up to work one day, I am probably not going to get swallowed by a giant fish!

God Bless,
Kim

PS- Take a day off and do something fun! Chances are your vacation days don’t roll over anyway!

Chosen

“For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you.”
~ 1 Thessalonians 1:4

It can be easy to forget in the daily hustle and bustle of life that we are beloved of a mighty king. God doesn’t have a Facebook page to claim us as family and he doesn’t have a Twitter to #family an old picture of us all together- in fact- he probably doesn’t have an old picture of us… I don’t think heaven is “LinkedIn” just yet. However, we are in the amazing position of having been chosen by the Almighty Creator of all to be his beloved children. I, personally, am all for having a king for a father, but instead of claiming us publically with fanfare and rejoicing, we must claim him.

As our Confirmation students continue on their journey toward the sacrament, they are publically, with at least a little fanfare, claiming God as their own. Each candidate has recognized that they have been chosen by God, and by accepting that call to full membership in our church, they are in turn claiming God as their own.

May each day be a reminder that we have been chosen by an Almighty God, and may we each return the favor by claiming God as our own.

God Bless,
Kim

Where is the joy? Jeanne knew…

Then, wiping away the tears, she said to her, “Take courage, my daughter; the Lord of heaven grant you joy in place of your sorrow. Take courage, my daughter.”
~ Tobit 7:16

This blog title had been sitting in my Drafts folder for a few weeks, and then sadly today, I was inspired. I say sadly because I was inspired by the life of a member of my church community who passed away in a tragic accident this past week- she was always full of joy.

Every community has those “church ladies”, the kind, smiling, usually older women who look to chat with everyone before and after mass- Jeanne was one of those women. I don’t think I ever saw her at mass when she wasn’t smiling- seriously! I try to be cheerful and say hello at church, but she always appeared to be the happiest woman in the building.

I know that she had her trials and struggles. Jeanne cared for her mother and husband during their long illnesses, and then lost them both with 18 months of each other. Yet, she continued forward, caring for her family during these times of sorrow by reminding them, “The Lord doesn’t give you only what you can handle, he helps you handle what he gives you.” She continued forward in this manner until the day of her tragic death. In short- Jeanne knew where the joy was- in the Lord.

I will miss Jeanne each time I pass her “seat” at church without a smile, but I am going to smile as I pass, and hope that I too can show people where the joy is at.

God Bless Jeanne’s family, and I know that she is up in heaven, smiling on us still.

God Bless,
Kim

Got Prayer?

He said to them, “This kind can only come out through prayer.”
~Mark 9:29

When is the last time you talked to a friend? Probably in the last 20 minutes! I’m sure that your conversation was probably pretty short- because you talk all the time! There was no need to go over your life story, because your friends are with you often through your life journey. God has also been with you on your life’s journey- ALL THE TIME! But when is the last time that you spoke to God the way you speak to your friend?

It is easy to yell at God when things are going wrong, but when is the last time you had a conversation with God- one that included no swearing? God is with you always, and he always wants to be with you, yet he is often alone in the shadows.

Take a few minutes today to have a conversation with God. He sent his only Son to save us, so I think it is a pretty sure bet that he wants to listen!

God Bless,
Kim

Resolutions

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. ~ Jeremiah 29:11

About this time is usually when my New Year’s resolutions become a memory. By now I have forgotten to go to the gym, my eating habits have wandered closer the Chez McD’s than I may like, and I have probably lost my temper a few more times than is best no matter how many times I have counted to 10!

At these times when I begin to feel like a failure, I like to remember that even when my plan is falling to pieces God has a plan. I may not understand how it works, or even like the way that it works, but it is there- a plan! And on those days when having a plan seems to make everything else run a little smoother, I am glad that God is better at plans than I am… and that I should probably go to the gym anyway.

God Bless,
Kim