Fully Yielded

**Picture is from my bible**

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not whither. In all that he does, he prospers.” Psalm 1:3

I’m think a lot about this tree David is speaking of and asking myself, what kind of tree am I? This tree is fully yielded to the place it is planted. It’s in good soil near fresh water so its root system must be good and strong. It’s consistently bearing fruit right in time for the season. It’s beautiful and lush because it’s leaves are not withering up. This tree is prosperous because it is thriving and operating at its best all the time. I don’t know about you, but I definitely want to be this tree!!!

Now the reality sets in, the tree doesn’t have free will. Bummer! The tree is perfectly planted by the Master gardener and so long as it never moves, which it won’t just pick up and move on it’s own, it will thrive and be prosperous. Our lives aren’t that steady, or at least mine isn’t. I have the choice to not stay in the perfect will of God. I have the choice to move out from where He planted me or to bend one way or another. This perfectly planted tree doesn’t have those choices.

Here’s the other thing the tree doesn’t have, redemption. If an earthquake or storm hits and moves the tree, it can’t get back to the place where it is perfectly planted, fully yielded and beautifully prosperous. It’s stuck right where the natural occurrence left it. Not true for you and me, our free will offers us the opportunity to return. That’s the glorious grace of God. 

I want to be a woman like this tree. I want to stay in the perfect will of God: nourished, radiant, fruitful, prosperous. God wants me there too, that’s why He put me there in the first place. I may get distracted by things around me or knocked off my spot a little by external forces, but I am always able to reach out to God and He will bring me back to the right place, His place.

If you’re right where God wants you, awesome! Stay firmly rooted and be prosperous in ALL your ways. If you aren’t where God wants you, ask Him to correct your path. You can’t be all you were created for if you aren’t in His perfect will. You can still have a good life, good outcomes, but they won’t be as amazing if you are off center. 

Let’s all strive to be this tree!! Fully yielded to the perfect, loving, gracious will of God and producing th perfect fruit in the perfect season.

Shalom!

KA

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Letting Go: Parenting

Being a parent is funny. I don’t mean funny as in “ha ha”, I mean funny as in weird. Of course, it does have loads of ha-ha moments as well! I think parenting is weird because we focus so much energy in holding our children tightly to keep them safe, that it is nearly crushing when we realize we really have to let them go.

This week I put my teen daughter on a plane headed across the country. She’s with a small group of peers who are all involved in musical theater and they are headed for a whirlwind adventure in the Big Apple. My daughter has never gone on a trip like this without a parent. She’s never had to be fully in charge of money. She’s never had to be fully in charge of when and what she eats. She’s experiencing a whole new level of freedom and choice and she doesn’t have to share any of it with me. 

As someone prone to anxiety, letting her go and loosening my grip is terrifying. I think letting go is probably unnerving to all, or at least most, parents. Some parents choose not to allow increments of letting go, they dive head first into the deep end when their child turns 18 years old and abruptly walks out the door. Or on the flip, they wonder why their child is 30 years old still living at home afraid to launch. Some parents choose to never hold their children as children, never hold too tightly. These parents never have a good connection with their kids so whether they stay or go becomes irrelevant because the parents are doing their own thing all along. I’m trying to parent somewhere in the middle where I’m educating as I can, while still providing some safety and cushion for my child. All the while, trying not to lose myself and my identity into her.

So as I sit here today on day two of six of letting go, I’m having to face my self and my Savior. I’m horrible at self care, I just don’t do it well at all. I wrap most of my life around work and my daughter’s schedule. Running between home and job and theater, I’m exhausted by the time I get home. I used to spend hours each morning in time with God, now I spend about 30-minutes and even that isn’t every day. I pray throughout the day and I listen to praise music, but I don’t spend as much time in study and listening. It’s time to get God back central in my life.

I have been losing focus in the past couple years on my dreams and my calling. If God has a call on my life AND a call on her life, there must be a way for both of us to walk in His way. More letting go. More letting go of me planning and more empowering her to plan. More letting go of me plotting the next step and more equipping her to research. More removal of me as Conductor and more reliance on Him for us both. You see, I can’t set my daughter up to believe that her safety and her identity is found in me. It’s not! I can’t bear that pressure and honestly, she can’t afford for me to try. I have to show her what faith in God looks like, what listening for His voice sounds like and what stepping out in His call feels like so that she sees how God leads her. Oh, I’m still needed to help shape, I’m just not the architect, God is.

The beautiful thing about this week is that it is a gift for us both. She gets to see the world of musical theater in the city that doesn’t sleep. She gets to feel more of God’s tug on her heart and see more of the dreams He has placed in her. And, I get to do the same. I get to focus on self and Savior. I get to let go of anxiety and feel the peace that is beyond understanding and is perfect. I get to listen again to where God is calling me and ask Him to stir my heart more. I get to hold my daughter a little more loosely which gives me margin to hold Him a little more tightly. I get to step down from a place of control and step into a place of freedom. 

What are you holding on to tightly that you need God to help you let go of? Letting go doesn’t mean the person or item leaves your life, it just means you experience more freedom and less anxiety. Anxiety is sometimes a symptom of a controlling personality and it’s a trigger that there is opportunity for you to increase your faith. God will never leave you or forsake you, trust Him. He has a plan for your life that is better than your plan, trust Him. 

Let go so that you can experience freedom. Ask God to show you where you are holding your children too tightly so that He can free you AND them. He will show you and He will lead you. 

Shalom,

KA

Firm Faith


Faith is tricky. By definition, faith doesn’t make sense. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”. It doesn’t make sense to put your faith, your security, your trust in something or someone whom you cannot see and that you only hope is there. And yet, faith is the currency of heaven. Faith is what makes your life firm.

As I get older, I appreciate the disciple Thomas more and more. Here’s a guy who traveled with Jesus daily and knew Him well. Thomas saw the miracles and heard the teachings straight from Jesus. He was an eye witness and yet, when faced with the opportunity to have faith, Thomas couldn’t muster it up. 

Picture this: It’s been a wild weekend for Thomas and the other followers of Jesus. They are terrified and in crisis. Jesus has been killed and they have every reason to believe they are on the executioners list as well. Everyone is gathered together and I’m sure that the slightest noise makes the room jump. The windows are shut tight and the door bolted shut. No one is coming in or going out and no one has for three days. The fear was palpable.

Then Jesus shows up. Wait, what? Jesus is dead! The door hasn’t been opened! No window is cracked and yet, Jesus appears in the midst of the huddled group living in terror and confusion. He just appears with them and they are dumbfounded I have no doubt. He speaks peace over them and they are forever changed. Our dear Thomas, however, has been off hiding somewhere else and he doesn’t have this encounter as the other disciples do.

Can you imagine how Thomas felt when he comes home and his friends tell them what has happened? Here they have had this amazing encounter with the crucified and resurrected Christ and he missed it. Common sense takes control and Thomas refuses to believe their story. Common sense says it isn’t possible that Jesus is alive. Common sense is the enemy of faith. Thomas declares that until he is actually able to touch the scars of Jesus, he will never believe He is back.

Several days later, Thomas and the gang are still locked up in the room, uncertain of their future. Going out into the town is still believed risky as the talk of Jesus’ body missing, possibly stolen or possibly resurrected, is I’m sure the top news story of the week. Jesus, in His amazing power, again just shows up in the midst of the fear. This time our dear Thomas is in the room and he sees his Friend, his Savior for the first time since His death. 

Jesus has a couple options here when He sees Thomas. He could chastise Thomas for not believing the others when they had said they saw Jesus. He could make Thomas feel ashamed about not trusting. As He always does, Jesus chooses to love and not to shame him. Jesus knows Thomas is having a crisis of faith so without hesitation, He shows Thomas exactly what he needs in order to have faith, His scars. Thomas, I’m sure, falls apart. He then declares his belief in what he has hoped for, he declares his faith.

Aren’t we all so much like Thomas? Faith requires that you believe the impossible is possible, and that often goes against what many call common sense. That there is nothing God can’t do. Nothing! That not only can God save you from an eternity without Him, He can also provide for all of your needs, all of your healing, all of your love. Without faith, you have no footing. 

If you are not firm in your faith, when storms come you get bashed about. Fear, doubt, negativism all reign when we don’t stand firm in faith. Faith is hard. Faith is mocked. Faith is a choice, not a feeling. When we choose to believe God can heal when the doctors say it is hopeless, we choose faith. When we choose to believe that our wayward child will return home, we choose faith. When we choose to believe that our marriage can be saved, we choose faith. Faith is what makes our lives able to be lived without falling apart. Faith makes us firm in God.

Faith isn’t a magic potion though. Faith doesn’t mean things will work out just like we want them to. Faith simply means that we are trusting the One who orchestrates it all and loves us more than we can imagine. Faith is believing that God is with us and empowering us to face the challenge ahead knowing that He is in control. Faith is firmness.

Shalom,

KA

God’s Image is Love

I sat at a summertime street fair yesterday and I watched hundreds of people walking around, listening to music, eating good food and laughing. There was a lightness and joy in the air as strangers said hello to each other and bonded over some cute dog in a backpack. I was struck by how truly easy it is to drop walls when the setting is just right. I was loving the community atmosphere everyone was creating. 

I was overcome with awe at just how diverse people are physically. Clothing. Hair. Skin. Number of limbs. Inability to walk. Dog owners. American. Not American. Age. This small community gathering covered the spectrum of differences and those were only the differences I could see! No hate, at least not outwardly. People were free to move about and enjoy the moment. 

And then I got home to hear about the exact opposite atmosphere happening in Virginia. The same opportunity for community and love turned into destruction and hate. A group of people covering the spectrum of differences, hell bent and hell driven on destruction. No joy. No freedom. Only violence and evil.

So, here’s my question: what about us is made in the image of God? Can’t be skin tone, there are too many shades. Can’t be body type, there are too many variations. Can’t be ethnicity, there are too many countries. Can’t be religious beliefs, there are too many cultures.

I believe we are made in the image of God made manifest in our capacity to love. If God is love (1 John 4:8) then we are love because we are made in His image and likeness. Love brings light to darkness and the only thing darkness knows to do is lash out in evil. Darkness can never drown out the light, but it sure tries. Darkness is hell on earth and it is all about tearing down and ripping apart. We have to fight to love when darkness has run amuck like it did this weekend.

Fight to love. Fight for love! As we move into yet another day where someone like me, a white woman in the Pacific Northwest, is trying to figure out how to make a difference on a larger scale, we have to fight for love in small ways. Love the people around you regardless of the differences. And by the way, stop calling out the differences. Love doesn’t come with a caveat. When darkness knocks on your door, greet it with love and justice. (Guess what, justice IS an act of love.)

Let’s live out Micah 6:8: act justly, seek kindness, walk humbly. Differences don’t inherently have to divide, they can add. 

Love doesn’t have a caveat.

Shalom,

KA

Joy In Mourning

Grief is a strange and hard process for me. I’m guessing it’s not really easy for most people. Society sends us messages all the time to be strong, let it go, get over it and be tough, which make stopping to care for our hearts and minds feel like weakness. Grief is painful and for the most part, we understandably try to avoid pain. Many people never engage their stories and traumas from life because it hurts. We have a tendency to say, “hey look, I get up every morning and I function just fine, why go back and stir stuff up?” Again, totally understandable and yet, the going back and engaging the darker parts of our stories helps us create a healthier present self.

When my mom died, I moved into full on survival mode. It should have been a sign that something was wrong that I never went into a depression and I seemed to just keep moving right along. My mom lived with me and took care of the household so a little falling apart would have been OK. Addiction was a great facilitator for creating what seemed like a life put together. A few comments made to me by folks of, ” Well, it’s about time for you to be an adult and live without your mom”, just cemented for me that asking for help was not something I could do safely. So I didn’t enter my pain, I shut it down.

When we have trauma and we don’t address it, it doesn’t just go away. Our hearts and minds get bruised and bashed and their is a healing process that needs to be walked through, but we tend to stop when we get to the deep pain which is the mourning. Mourning is a necessary and critical step in healing because grief is what helps us figure out our new reality and process the new landscape in our lives. We never “get over” anything because trauma reshapes us each time it happens. We are forever changed by trauma, and we are forever changed by grieving the trauma.

A couple days ago I engaged the mourning that had been waiting for me around the death of my mom 9 years ago. I had been pushing grief out of the way and living in various degrees of anger and denial. You have to move through anger and denial as part of the grieving process, I had just lingered longer than I needed to. It was much easier and way less painful to be angry or irritated with my mom and the negative things about our lives together. I was giving power to unengaged trauma and it was keeping me from fully healing. Without walking through the sadness of loss, you aren’t fully healed. I had seen the pain and sadness and looked the other way several times. On this particular morning, I accepted the invitation to enter the pain.

I woke up crying. Two nights before I had a dream where my mom showed up, gave me flowers and we had a long hug. Up to that point, any dream with her in it had me yelling at her. This was peaceful and lovely. The feelings of love for my mom lingered and by Saturday, I couldn’t stop the floodgates. I suppose I could have stuffed the emotions down and not engaged but here’s the deal, I was tired of the trauma having control. I wanted to just face the pain and walk through to peace. God was with me and He knew I needed the healing so I put my faith into action.

I went to the park where I had released my mom’s ashes a few years earlier. It’s on a small beach and has a lovely view of the lake. I flattened out my blanket, turned on my praise music and I just sat. I cried, I laughed, I praised and most of all, I made peace with the pain. For the first time in the 9 years since her death, I let myself miss my mom. And then something strange happened…I played.

Now, I love to laugh and have fun but playing isn’t something I do a lot of. I’m not one to goof around. On this morning though, I was drawn to the water. It was a warm and sunny summer morning, so I rolled my jeans up a little and stepped in just ankle deep. I kicked the water around, watched the ripples and enjoyed the refreshing feeling. Then I did what I have never done before…I went deeper. Before I knew it, I was thigh deep in the lake, in my jeans, throwing water around and getting soaked! I was splashing and laughing and playing. Best of all, I was healing. God had truly turned my mourning into dancing, loosed the pain and gave me gladness. What a feeling!!

God wants to do the same for you. If you are carrying the weight of unengaged trauma, would you be willing to pray and ask God to show you how to move through the pain into peace? It’s scary because pain is an unknown. We all process differently and your pain in healing may last longer than mine. However, life on the other side of pain is joy, dancing and gladness, and God wants all of that for you. He will walk with you through your grief but He won’t push you to walk through. It’s your choice. 

Don’t let trauma have a hold on your life. Engage it. Meet it head on and bless it so that you can be free. Message me if you need a prayer partner.

Shalom,

KA

Finally Grieving

My mom died almost 9 years ago and this morning, I am finally grieving the loss of my best friend ever. For 40 years we were always close, even if we lived in different states. I never had to worry about a thing because I knew my mom would be there. Now she’s gone and I’m feeling the pain.

Now, let’s not elevate this relationship as better than it was. My mom was tragically traumatized as a child and she was wounded. She knew she was wounded and, she would admit she didn’t want to process the trauma. Her “treatment” was Prozac and cheap wine and she was OK with that plan. I was never my mom’s daughter, always her best friend. I was her confidant, roommate and drinking buddy from age 13 and on. Before that, I was her constant companion and mini-me. In both roles, I was in over my head and it wasn’t healthy. She always called me her “perfect child” and told me that no one loved me like she did. No one wanted me and adored me like she did. I believed her always and felt the weight of her needing me, and I needing her.

My mom left my life suddenly. It was a Wednesday night and we were having dinner just like every other night, her, me and my daughter. My mom had retired early to be my daughter’s primary caregiver, I worked and we all lived happily. After dinner that night I went up stairs for about 10 minutes and when I came back down, an aneurysm in her brain left her alive but non-responsive. She went into a coma the next day and passed away 5 days later. 

At the time, the shock was so thick I could barely move. My only concern was for my daughter and making sure she navigated well. She was 7 years old and my mom was truly like another parent for her. I made sure all of her teachers knew what happened and made sure that she was seeing the school counselor. 

I made sure for myself that I drank enough alcohol to keep the feelings at bay. I had been drinking since I was 13, I was 40 at the time so I was a pro. In one moment I went from having a live-in nanny and house manager to no one. My mom managed everything so I was lost without her. Alcohol became so much more important, and it was what kept me from processing. 

Fast forward several years and I found myself 3 years sober, in a much healthier state and in a class to get my trauma counseling certification. It was there that the facade started cracking and I had to face the anger over my life with my mom. I didn’t get to have a normal or even pleasant childhood. I got to be part of an alcoholic and violent step family, moving every couple of years and too much emotional weight for a kid. In my classes and therapy groups, I had to start facing that everything wasn’t alright and that I did have trauma to process. So I started a slow journey, weeding through the muck and mire of being my mother’s daughter.

Fast forward almost 3 years from that and we come to this morning. I’m 48 now and finally crying over the death of my best friend, my mom. In the almost 9 years since she’s been gone, I have never shed a tear of sadness. I’ve rarely ever thought that I even missed her. In the past couple weeks God has led me to processing the anger out so that what’s left is the pain and heartache. It’s good to be here, but it hurts.

My mom was beautiful and funny. She had a smile that could light a city and a laugh that could incite a riot. She was the life of every party I ever saw her at. Her name was Barbara and she was truly the Queen B. She loved me more than any other person she ever loved and I never doubted that for one split second of my life. She was always available, day or night, even when we didn’t live together. She was what my life was built on and while that is too much for any one human, that was how she wanted it. 

I miss my mom. Truly, for the first time ever, I miss my mom. I’m so thankful she’s in heaven and not in anymore pain. I’m so thankful that God is bringing healing to my life and helping me process it all. He is an amazingly good God and I love Him more than I loved my mom.

Processing grief is hard and, God is faithful to heal our broken hearts. 

Shalom,

KA

Plans and Dreams

I’ve been in love with New York City for as long as I can remember. No joke, easily over 40 years and I’ve never even been there. My favorite movies take place there and my heart pretends I’m the lead character. My favorite songwriters are from there and I imagine sitting on a stoop with them singing. I dream of a day when I will walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, sit silently in Strawberry Fields or take in the energy of Times Square. All of it makes me a kind of homesick just because I truly love it. 

I believe part of God’s plan for my life is to live there. I think God gives us dreams that help us catch a glimpse of His plan. I just don’t understand the timing. I’m almost 50 years old and I’m sure I could have pulled off a visit there by now, but the timing has never worked out. It hasn’t been part of God’s plan yet.

My daughter gets to go there this summer. I am so thrilled for her and yet, there is a part of me that feels pain at watching God’s plan unfold for her that is so intimately connected to my own dream. Why don’t I get to go? When is it my turn? Ah yes, enter the voice of the monster envy. 

Here’s what I’m learning about God’s plan…God’s timing is part of His plan. I don’t have any comprehension of His timing and honestly, I don’t think I ever will. Not knowing when helps to keep me dependent on Him and trusting in His perfect will for me, which is nothing but love. It’s hard to wait, to watch someone else get to do what you want, to feel sidelined and, to believe that you are equally loved by a Father who has a perfect plan and perfect timing.

I know my dream of living in New York is coming. I also know that someday I’ll understand the timing of it all. Right now, I need to keep dreaming, keep pursuing what God has planted and be faithful. I get the honor of watching my daughter’s dream come true this summer and that’s crazy beautiful! And I love how God is weaving our stories together and also apart. What I mean by that is, I see the designs are in the same peice of art and, they are different designs, different colors…different plans.

What are you dreaming about? Are you trusting in God’s perfect plan and perfect timing! My invitation to you is to not give up your dream because it feels too hard or feels too big. I believe fully that dreams are the seeds that when planted in our hearts by God, bloom into the beautiful plan of God for our lives.

Shalom,

KA

Time for Something New

It’s time to hit reset. Time to allow God to stir and make pathways and rivers so that dreams may flourish. Today I’m declaring reset and speaking “new” over my life and my dreams.

Here’s the deal, I work hard when I know for certain what the outcome will be, when I’m in my comfort zone. When things get uncomfortable or uncertain, my response is to freeze up and sit down. I think of all of the amazing possibilities if I did what I need to do and then, I keep sitting because possibilities of success also have possibilities of failure. If I get lazy, if I don’t move into the direction of my dreams, I can’t really try and fail. I fail in secret because I never try. This is a rut devised by darkness and today is the day of Light!

I’ve been reading through old journals this weekend. I’ve been dreaming and praying about being a full time author and speaker for 5 years. FIVE YEARS!! I am nowhere near where I need to be and now I find myself in the wilderness and desert needing God to provide and path and a river. These dreams are from God, I’m as sure of it as I am sure of my name. God isn’t going to just hand these dreams to me without my engagement. I’ve been living in this space of comfort and “someday” and I am not being a good steward of the gifts God has given me. 

How about you? Are you trusting God and working to make your dreams reality? Or, are you sitting on the side and waiting. Waiting for a someday that will never come and yet, is always here because today is the someday. God plants dreams and abilities in our hearts and minds and they are gifts, gifts we need to use and enjoy! When we don’t, it’s like receiving a beautifully wrapped package and never opening it. What a waste.

Will you join me? Will you allow God to do something new, clear a way, bring a river and move through you? It’s scary, I’m terrified! I might fail and, I might not. And honestly, with God on my side my failure is not moving forward. With that in mind, I can only succeed now!!

What’s the dream you’ve been too scared to step into? Let’s partner and pray and move together.

Shalom,

KA

Humility

Humility. Putting someone else ahead of ourselves. Allowing someone else to get the credit. I don’t know about you, but humility is sometimes hard. It can feel defeating like we are never going to get the recognition we are certain we deserve! We place a value on the recognition, based on historical data from what we have seen happening around us, and we decide our lives will be less than if we don’t get it. 

Let me share my latest brush with humility. I work at a company that has a very strict rule about being in a position a certain length of time before being able to move to another position or get a promotion. When I hired in, I was overqualified but I needed a job and a friend hired me. After four months, I was promoted to supervisor. This felt good considering I knew that our director must have had to present a reason to promote me in less than a year. I was no longer working for my friend, now we were peers.

A manager position opened up and I couldn’t apply because of the timing, so my friend got the manager position. I love this friend like a sister so I was happy for her, but in all honesty I was jealous and irritated. I was every bit as qualified and I feared that I wouldn’t shine as brightly now because she was raised up and I wasn’t. I stewed on it, not upset with her but the situation, for a while. Then my stewing turned to praying. In time, and it wasn’t even a long time, I was able to engage humility and just be happy for my friend. Did I still hope for a promotion? You bet. But I put God’s timing above mine.

Here was my primary driver behind my lack of humility…fear. I was afraid that my needs weren’t going to get met instead of just trusting God. I was afraid people weren’t going to recognize my leadership qualities instead of just believing my leadership ability doesn’t come because of a title. I was afraid I wouldn’t get the praises of man instead of just seeking the praises of God. Ah humility, you are ever elusive aren’t you. I was too focused on me.

John the baptizer seems to have had an easier time being humble than I did. Here he has spent his life thus far proclaiming the coming Messiah. He’s lived in obscurity doing the will of God and now Jesus shows up and steals his followers. What’s worse, John’s followers come up to him and point it out, as if John can’t see what’s happening. My imagination pictures a scene in a high school hallway where 3 or 4 friends walk together to one friend standing alone. They form a circle of indignation and say things like, “Who does he think he is? How can YOUR people now follow him? How rude! Why doesn’t Jesus tell them to come back over here?” Silly, I know, but you see what I’m saying. 

John’s reaction is amazing to the point of irritation. (Or is that conviction I feel?) Basically, John says, “Ya, isn’t it great! My message has been getting through and people are turning to Jesus!! Sweet!” John knows that he has to allow Jesus to take center stage. It’s what he has been saying his entire life. He doesn’t get to pout or stomp his feet, it would have gone against what he believed. John valued the recognition of God above the recognition of people. Humility. 

Recognition will come, don’t worry. If not here on earth, in heaven. Seek humility. Ask God to reveal areas in your life where you may be harboring bitterness. Then pray and seek humility. God’s got you and His favor is more than anyone else can ever give.

Shalom,

KA 

Rule Breaker

Jesus didn’t care about the cultural rules, He cared about people. In John 4, we find the story of the woman at the well. If you don’t know this story, here’s the summary: Jesus travels through Samaria which is enemy territory as far as Jewish culture was concerned. Not only does He stop there for some water, He talks to a Samaritan who happens to be a woman. (Insert double gasp here.) Jewish men would never stop in Samaria for water and would certainly never talk to a woman. Jesus broke the cultural rules in a big way! Yikes!

So right off the bat we see that Jesus doesn’t care one bit about the rules, He cares about the people. He knows the woman is an outcast if for no other reason, because she is at the well by herself and culturally, women went together. He also knows she’s an outcast because He is God and He knows her entire story, which we see Him recite to her as they spend more time together. He is seeking to lift her burden and bring her life, in spite of the rules. He isn’t breaking any laws or going against God, He’s going against man here. 

We can end right there and write books and sermons on how we need to support the outcasts in our modern day Samaria’s, and people have. It’s an amazing story of unconditional love and it is quickly becoming a story I live my life by, but I don’t want us to stop at the encounter with the woman, I want to go a little deeper.

Jesus changes this woman’s life and in what is typical fashion when we encounter God, she runs and tells everyone in town what happened. Clearly she isn’t known to be a liar because many people believe her testimony and they run out to meet Jesus. Those who were willing, also encountered the love of Christ and their lives were changed. Awesome! Now here comes the kicker…they ask Him to stay with them and He agrees. Talk about being a rule breaker!

We already know that just stopping in Samaria raises eyebrows. Then we add talking to a Samaritan woman on top of that and well, it’s tabloid worthy. Now Jesus is actually going to stay with this riff raff for a couple days. Can you just see the eye rolling?! In saying yes to staying and spending time with the outcasts, the unwanted, Jesus breaks the rules and shows us that love trumps reputation. Loving the Samaritan people, ruffling the feathers of the establishment by building relationships, being in the “wrong place” didn’t shake Jesus at all, so why does it shake us? 

Here’s the deal, there are no “those people”, there are only people. Jesus doesn’t just ask us to love our neighbor, He shows us how. He doesn’t care how it will look or what others will say and we have to follow His example. We must be willing to go wherever He leads, even if people in our lives don’t understand. 

Here’s my prayer for you and me, “Jesus, show us where our “Samaria” is and show us how to love them with Your love.” Some rules have to be broken because they cause such amazing amounts of harm. Love breaks those rules every time.

Shalom,

KA