Rend Your Heart

Rend your heart blog

“…and rend your heart and not your garments.”-Joel 2:13

Rend. The dictionary defines rend as: to remove from place by violence (Miriam-Webster Dictionary). Rending is a Jewish custom that involves violently tearing clothing at the news of a death. It is an expression of grief and mourning and it is meant to allow for a release of anger that doesn’t harm anyone.

When I say the word, rend, it feels like a kind word and it’s most definitely not. Right before this verse, God has used Joel to tell His people to return to Him with fasting, weeping and mourning. This is clearly not a joyous reunion. The people have turned away from God and decided that they are better able to live life without Him. They have allowed other gods hold places of authority in their lives and God is rightly upset. This plea is directly from God that His people would come back, give up their sin-filled lives and love and follow Him again before there is any punishment.

This returning isn’t going to be easy. It isn’t going to be simple. God is directing His people to return with fasting, weeping, mourning and rending, it is a safe bet to say that there is going to be pain and heartache involved with this return. They have set up new habits and new rituals and fitting God back into their lives is going to mean giving those up. Even though they are sin and hurting the people, it is still going to be a hard process.

I completely understand where these people are at in their plight. They’ve turned so far away from God and filled their lives with sin, shame and pain, that they can’t see the benefit initially in turning back to God because the pain is in the forefront of their minds. There was a time in my life where I was so disillusioned with God and how He was working in my life, that I turned to things like alcohol and partying to sooth my pain. For over a year I begged God on a regular basis to release me from this life I had created and every time I asked, he said, “rend your heart, return to me with fasting, weeping and mourning and I’ll greet you with love and compassion”. I couldn’t see past the pain that was consuming me far enough to see that it was best to return. All I could think about was the pain of giving up my sin.

God used an arrest for a suspicion of a DUI and a health issue to get my attention and turn me around. He had to give me a foreshadowing of what was headed my way…jail, loss of my family, loss of my health. I was faced with a choice point: turn back to God and go through the pain of losing my sinful state or keep going in the direction I was headed and risk losing my life. And now, when I look at it from the outside, it seems like a no-brainer; TURN BACK! But in the midst, it was terrifying to trust God to first of receive me back, and secondly to restore me.

Once I said yes to God, rended my heart, tore myself violently away from alcohol and people who were the wrong people to have in my life, He rushed in and gathered me up in His amazing arms. He restored my physical health. He allowed me to get a lesser sentence and not a DUI. He released me from addiction. He set me on a path that has led me right here and I am so blessed, honored and humbled to be used by Him.

So now the question is for you…what do you need to rend in your heart before God and allow Him to remove so that you can live close to Him again? Are you willing to travel through the fasting, weeping and mourning in order to return to God? This is not a 10-step plan I’m inviting you to, it’s a violent removal of whatever is standing between you and God. And actually, I’m not the one inviting, God is. Will you go with Him and step into an unchained life?

If you need a prayer partner, please email me at jesusreliant@gmail.com.

Shalom,

KA

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Choose Life

Choose Life

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and length of our days,”- Deuteronomy 30:19-20

In every moment or season we have a choice: life or death, blessing or curse. Our choice is critical and impacts every aspect of our lives in that moment, in the season and in the future. Will we follow God and trust Him, or will we take control back from Him and do things ourselves?

I left a wonderfully stable career a year ago to follow God. In the past year, I’ve had mind-blowing opportunities to serve Him and help people that I couldn’t have imagined. It’s been tremendous! And now I see my earthly provision, my savings account, just about empty and I’m faced with two choices: will I choose life and blessing and trust that God is fully aware and working to provide, or will I choose death and a curse and get scared and take over looking for any job I can find?

I believe fully that God is asking me to wait and have faith. I feel that in my core. And yet, even as I read those words, there is a tremendous battle waging. Let’s just be honest with each other right now, we can say all of the upbeat, positive words we want and there is still that nagging little fruit fly buzzing around your head trying to get you to give in to the lie that God isn’t faithful and He won’t come through. Those fruit flies can’t be caught in your hand or crushed with a swat of a paper, they typically only go away when you remove the fruit or food that brought them there in the first place. For us, that is doubt.

Challenges bring doubt and doubt brings death. I don’t need to beat death, Jesus has already done that for me. God has released me from addiction, grief, abuse, fear, and brought me to a place of ministry that is my heart’s desire. I would be a fool to give up now! I refuse to be a trophy for the enemy and so, I choose life and blessing. I choose to believe that though I have NO idea what God is up to and my current situation is looking more and more challenging, my breakthrough is a breath away. My God is not going to leave me stranded, He’s going to overcome because nothing is impossible with Him (Matt 19:26). My God isn’t going to leave me in my old ways, He’s starting something new (Isaiah 43:19). My God isn’t leaving me alone, He’s going before me and He will never leave me of forsake me (Deut 31:8).

The enemy, death and curse, can’t withstand the Light of the Lord and that Light is God’s Word. Today I’m choosing to believe His promises and believe in His character and that brings peace. I don’t have to know the answers, I just have to choose Him who does. Today I choose to hold fast to God knowing with every fiber of my being, He’s got me and I will shout His praise as loudly as my lungs will allow!

Whatever you are facing today, know that God is fully aware and in control. Listen for His guidance and do what He’s asking. Choose life and blessing and hold fast to God. He’s never going to leave you or forsake you. Don’t allow the enemy any foothold in your mind with doubt; crush the doubt with the Word of God.

If you need a prayer partner, please email me at jesusreliant@gmail.com.

Shalom,

KA

Choose Weakness!

Choose Weakness!

“And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

When I read these verses, I realize how radical and counter-cultural the call of Christ really is in today’s world. Everywhere we turn, we’re told to be strong, don’t cry, don’t show our weaknesses and yet, Paul’s direct message from God is exactly the opposite! Boast your weaknesses and challenges so that God can bring strength.

Have you ever considered boasting about your weaknesses? To boast about something is to talk about it in a manner that sounds like it’s an achievement. Typically, people boast about winning a game, receiving an award or overcoming a challenge; rarely do we hear people boast about a loss. And yet, all of our strength is in our weaknesses and therefore, all of the power comes from boasting about our weaknesses and God’s greatness over them.

Here are some of my weaknesses:

  • I eat to make myself feel better.
  • I’m a people-pleaser.
  • I jump before I think.
  • I am terrified of elevators and airplanes.
  • I love to be the center of attention.
  • I doubt God’s provision.
  • I doubt God’s love.
  • I judge people on outward appearances.

In all of these areas, and I’m sure more if I thought harder, I see God stepping in to fill me with His power and His strength so that I can move in His plan. Christ dwells in the center of my life and moves through these weaknesses and either makes them strengths to be used in ministry, or He helps me see how to overcome. In both instances, for Christ’s sake, in my moments of weakness I always have the option to turn it over to God and allow His all-sufficient grace move through my life.

Our weaknesses only have power when they are kept in the dark. It is in the dark that the enemy has a voice and a foothold in our lives. Once we call our weaknesses into the light of God, they become an area of strength because we allow Him to release us from the chains of shame. Our weaknesses proclaimed provide the avenue for the Holy Spirit to move in and be our Strength.

Shine the light of Jesus on your weaknesses by praising Him for His greatness and His grace! If you need a prayer partner, email me at jesusreliant@gmail.com

Shalom,

KA

Grace in Anger

Grace in Anger meme

“If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.”-Proverbs 25:21-22

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I only want the middle section of these verses, “for you will heap burning coals on his head”. I don’t really want to be kind to them, I don’t want to help meet their needs and I’m not looking for a reward. If I’m being honest, I want them to hurt as much as they have hurt me. I had to face that very truth this morning in prayer and it dropped me.

I consider myself a kind and loving person. I spend a lot of my time on other people and meeting their needs and that’s not to get any kudos, it’s simply being who God created me to be. But this morning, as I was lying face down on the ground in prayer, my heart actually asked God to make a particular person hurt as much as they are making me hurt. I’ve never seen that side of my personality before! It was raw, unhindered and damaged.

As soon as I prayed it, it was like God looked at my heart with this lovely smile and asked, “Do you really mean that?” And truth is, yes and no. Yes, I do because I don’t believe this person has a clue how much destruction their behavior has brought. No, I don’t because I would still give this person food and drink if they needed it because in the end, I still have love in my heart and I want to see reconciliation. So while I was being fully honest about my feelings, I quickly realized that it was equally as honest to ask a blessing on them and in that blessing, a hope for restoration.

People will hurt us, there no way to live a pain-free life and no way to know by whom or when pain will come. We have to be mindful of how we react to that hurt because therein lies our challenge and our witness. We can always lash out and typically, that brings us down to a level of a child with no reasoning and basically just throwing a tantrum. In that moment, we are truly trying to inflict a pain on the other person to help knock them to where they’ve knocked us, eye for an eye. However, that’s not the response Jesus wants us to have.

In Matthew 5:39, Jesus directs us to “resist an evil person” and to turn the other cheek when we are hurt. He isn’t saying not to feel our emotions honestly. He isn’t saying to be a doormat and allow abuse to be heaped upon us at the hand of someone else. He’s simply asking us to resist engaging further into the conflict. Man, that’s hard!!! It’s hard because at its core, this mandate is asking us to show grace in anger to someone who truly doesn’t deserve it. Wait, isn’t that what God has done for us? Ouch.

1 Peter 2:23 says, “and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously”. Jesus was abused, battered and beaten and never once did He pray that the people hurting Him feel the same pain He was feeling. Instead, He pleaded for their forgiveness. You and I were the ones inflicting His pain. You and I were the reason He was on the cross, bleeding and broken, and we deserved for Him to condemn us to eternal hell and damnation and instead, He loved us to death.

Yes, right now I’m hurting because of someone else’s behavior but I have no right to add to that pain by asking God to hurt this person. For my own heart’s sake, I have to resist that temptation because it is from the pit of darkness, and I have to pray blessings on this person and hope for their salvation and then reconciliation. My praying for them turns the focus off of the temporary and puts the focus on to the eternal and there is power in that shift. I have no idea reconciliation will ever come and guess what, it doesn’t matter. By shifting to the eternal and to grace, I open the door it healing.

If you’re holding on to anger and pain because of the actions of another, will you please consider allowing grace in anger? It’s ok to be angry, it’s part of our human experience, but pour grace into that anger and see what God will do. This piece of your journey isn’t about the other person, it’s about you and your heart.

If you need a prayer partner, please email me at jesusreliant@gmail.com

Shalom,

KA

Unchained Landscape

Unchained Landscape

“For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, but My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, and My covenant of peace will not be shaken,” says the Lord who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54:10

Do you ever read verse like this and think, “hmm, really? Is God REALLY going to be with me no matter what?” I do. It is a challenging truth to hear, grab hold of and live in that God loves you so much that no matter what is going on in your life, His lovingkindness and peace will never be removed or shaken.

My life right now has mountains being removed and hills be shaken more than I’m comfortable with. I’m in a season of deep growth and with that is coming with some deep pain. My emotions are extremely surface and little things trigger me and open the flood gates of tears and emotion. God is leading me through a valley of healing and while I’m thankful, I’m also hurting. This morning as I was doing some writing, I was sobbing and feeling of no value; utterly unremarkable. As I’m starting to process why I feel like that, it’s causing some serious upheaval and I’m facing some truths that I’ve kept safely buried. Through my tears, my heart deeply desires connection to God. I want to believe to my core that God has chosen me. ME! I want to live unchained to the thoughts that say I’m unremarkable and I want to live in the truth of God’s word that says I’m chosen.

More than feeling chosen, what I really want is to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that no matter how dark this valley gets God isn’t leaving. As my landscape is changing, mountains being removed and hills being shaken, I have to stand firm in the knowledge that God will not remove one tiny drop of His love and peace and that He is walking with me in complete compassion. If I can’t believe that, I can’t grow. If I can’t believe that, I can’t walk through this valley. If I can’t believe that, I can’t be unchained.

Over the course of our lives, the landscape will always be changing. Life isn’t a static experience, it’s dynamic. You must ask yourself if you’re going to believe that God won’t remove His love, peace or compassion because the answer dictates the next step. If you aren’t able to believe the truth of Isaiah 54:10, then ask God to help you believe. If you are able to believe the verse, then ask God to help you step into an unchained landscape with His hand leading the way.

If you need a prayer partner, please email me at jesusreliant@gmail.com.

Shalom,

KA

Unchained and Prostrate

 

Unchained and Prostrate“And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God,”Revelation 7:11

To be prostrate means to lay face down on the ground, in submission and reverence. It is also a position that takes place when a person is reduced to physical weakness due to distress or illness. This morning, I came into my usually morning time with God feeling distressed. So much of my today and my tomorrow are completely unknown to me and I’m struggling to stay present with God in all that He is doing and I’m weary.

I’m weary from the work in my life. I’m weary from the work in my daughter’s life. I’m weary from the work in the lives of those closest to us. I’m tired of the enemy finding new entrances and I’m tired of doing the deep work with God that is disrupting the ground that I had so carefully laid over things I didn’t want to process. I love God so deeply and I want with every fiber of my being to be all that He created me to be and, just being honest, I thought it would be easier.

I was sitting in my chair this morning just soaking in praise music and I heard God invite me to lay prostrate before Him. I immediately responded with no, that’s weird. Why do I need to lay on my face before you when I’m more comfortable sitting my chair? As a few minutes passed, I had this internal argument on why, or why not, to lay prostrate before God in my living room. In the end, I decided what I truly believed was God’s invitation. I got down on my face in my living and I fell apart at the feet of the One who knows me better than I know myself and loves me more than any other being every could. I was undone and wrapped in love.

God is absolutely in the business of tearing down our walls, covering us in our vulnerability and rebuilding our lives in Him. This is a terribly painful process some days and yet, He provides these amazing moments of peace and rest. I believe we are offered these beautiful opportunities often and we always have the choice to say “no”. I could have stayed in my chair this morning and I would have had a fine time with Jesus and we would have both known I wasn’t willing to fully submit. Instead, I ignored the voice in my head that was being rebellious, I got on my face and I met my Heavenly Father in a totally new space, unchained, prostrate and more deeply in love.

Say yes to God, I’m nearly begging you. Nothing you are holding on to is better than what God has for you. Nothing. No one’s approval is better than God’s. No earthly security is better than God’s. Nothing is better than God. Moving into an unchained life is not easy and, it’s worth all the pain and discomfort because it’s where He created you to live.

If you need a prayer partner, please email me at jesusreliant@gmail.com.

Shalom,

KA

Community, Unchained

All coming together to live stronger in Christ.

All coming together to live stronger in Christ.

“And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales and lay them at the feet, and they would be distributed as any had need.”-Acts 4:32-35

I’m a communal living hippy at heart. I love the idea of a large piece of land or a huge house lived in by many different families and people, all putting into the support of each other. And I don’t just mean putting money in, I mean putting time, giftings, support…the whole kit and caboodle. My heart is almost obsessed with serving people and showing the love of Christ in tangible ways to all people.

Here are two things I find really interesting about this passage in scripture: 1) not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own; and 2) abundant grace was upon them because not one of them was in need. I think that these two points are the main ingredients of a life abundant in God’s love, grace, peace and mercy. They are the very definition of community!

Nothing that is technically “owned” by me if I’m focused on you and God. That includes my time, my attention as well as my money and my possessions. God says in several places that He doesn’t want our money or our sacrifices, He wants our hearts. That same idea is true of the people around us, He wants us to give them our hearts and then everything else falls into place. When I fully grasp that whatever I consider to be mine is God’s and yours, then I hold it loosely and I focus more on God.

Abundant grace is a natural result of a life that is full and not lacking. The more I have of things such as love, grace, peace, mercy and forgiveness, the more I am able to give those things right back out to the people around me. When my needs are met, I’m able to be open to meet your needs. God didn’t save us to have us build a personal kingdom on an island waving a flag of salvation for those, “over there”. God saved us so that we can be His hands, feet, hugs and meet the needs of the people around us and show them His love and lead them to His salvation. That’s community!

This weekend we have a global evangelist in our area for a 3-day conference. This conference is free and therefore, an amazing opportunity! The speaker has written loads of books and speaks all around the world plus on tv. She’s awesome and again, amazing opportunity! Months and months ago several of us put it on our calendars to attend. As the time got closer, I just wasn’t feeling like it was something God was wanting me to attend but I couldn’t really figure out why. My excitement level was low and I just honestly wasn’t interested in going. Crazy right?? The week of the conference, one of my dearest friends really had it heavy on her heart to go but she’s another single mom like me so it makes things like this a little more challenging. I immediately offered to stay home so that she could go and we could host her daughter. Easy breezy for me and our daughters are close so it was good all around. My time isn’t mine, I don’t own it, it’s meant to be shared and that’s what I did. I gave her my time and my care for her daughter so that she could go and hear God’s word for her.

Now, whenever we do something like this, we know that the enemy will be close by because the LAST thing he wants is for us to support each other and build a strong community. He also, obviously, doesn’t want any of us growing closer to God. The week of the conference, our friendships and our lives got rocked. Both of our daughters hit hard situations and revelations that we had not seen coming. There was a lot of drama happening at school for both of them and we, the moms, were getting pulled in. If God wasn’t central to us, if we weren’t both dedicated to community and living lives dedicated to others, we could have so easy gotten mad at each other and ruined absolutely everything for this weekend. Praise God, we both felt the attack and prayed against it both individually AND together. As I write this, the girls are hanging out and my friend is off at the conference.

Oh, and just to remind me that the enemy is roaming, looking for an entrance to bring destruction, just today she ran into a bump with care for her dog. I immediately, completely acting under the power of God and the desire for community like in Acts, said whatever it takes, we’ll take care of the dog. So, we’ll go a little out of our way to take care of her dog so that she can focus on being present at the conference. I don’t tell any of that story for anyone to say, “Wow, what a good friend you are”, because that’s not my purpose. I tell this story to show that we absolutely can and should live in community where no one has a need and everything we have is shared. That’s what God is calling us to and I don’t believe that it is soft invitation, I believe that is His absolute expectation.

Sacrificing ourselves, sharing our possession, time, love is the way to live in unchained community. Everyone is equal and has something to offer. Everything is offered up for the good of the community. Once we embrace this life, we live in the abundance of grace, unchained.

Take stock, honest stock, of what you consider your possessions and make sure you aren’t holding on too tightly. That includes the tangible as well as the intangible. God is asking you to live like the believers in Acts, “not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them” (Acts 4:32). God will make sure all of your needs are met.

Shalom,

KA

Unchained Contentment

“Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13

The only way to know that you are truly content in all situations is to have God lead you to a new place that you truly never imagined. I think it’s really easy, and I say this from experience, to say, “Oh ya, I’m totally content no matter what”, and in that sentence is danger. It’s a good danger because it’s a silent invitation to ask God to prove how content you can be in all situations.

A year ago, I was completely content having plenty. Who wouldn’t be? I made a lot of money, had a secure job, great benefits and no major expenses. It is just me and my daughter and we lived well…really well. We ate out a lot. We bought pretty much whatever we wanted. We went away on weekend trips pretty much whenever we wanted. I had very little care about physical needs and I was convinced that living with less wasn’t really possible. I had become accustomed to the abundance and I had taken it for granted. Then God stepped in.

When God asked me to cash in my retirement and walk away from my career, I was nervous but I was certain that it would all be fine and that I wasn’t going to be asked to make a major change, just scale back a little bit. So, we scaled back, went out less and thought more about what we bought. We were living with less and we were beginning to see how to be content. I had no idea how much more content with less we were going to get.

Today I did something I never planned on doing, I applied for food stamps. Even typing out that sentence is hard. Whether or not you are willing to admit it, most of us consider food stamps for “those people” and not for us. We may say there is no judgment, but there is. We’re judging ourselves as more secure because we don’t have to use food stamps, we’re praising God that we can take care of ourselves without assistance and we are unable to consider that God would call us to a place that would lead us to this level of need. And maybe all of those “we”s that I just typed are just me and no one else has ever had these thoughts but I seriously doubt it.

Today, as I was answering questions about my current situation, I had to admit that God had called me to this level of need so that I could grow deeper with Him. The question at the time was did I trust God enough to believe that He didn’t love me less and that He wasn’t punishing me just because I was applying for help. My ego and the enemy were firing at me that I was above this need, that I was better than and that I didn’t need this help. God was asking me to face my arrogance and get like Paul, knowing abundance and knowing lack and truly being content in all situations because I know that God is with me and I am truly able to do anything through Jesus because He gives me the necessary strength.

I know that God is using this time to grow me deeper and deeper and to build a stronger sense of vision and ministry. I’ve been tempted many times to just go get a job because my faith wavers and I’m not certain God is actually paying attention. And as soon as those kinds of words come to mind, I know that they are the enemy. God is showing me a full spectrum of life as well as inviting to deeper faith with Him. I have said before and I say it again as a prayer that I refuse to be a trophy for the enemy by giving in and walking away from what I am certain is God’s call.

I believe a job is close and I believe that right now my season in life is shifting and I’m walking into an abundance like I’ve never seen or known before. Not an abundance meaning a huge salary, an abundance meaning an increase of faith and impact in the world around me. Daily dying to my ego and the old ways of defining my self-worth is harder than I imagined. Knowing that God is with me every step and inviting me to go further and further with Him is amazing and humbling.

God is inviting ALL of us to grow in our level of contentment in life and this contentment is solely based on Him. Are you willing to do whatever God is calling you to? Are you willing to lose what you thought you could never live without in order to grow deeper in Him? The invitation is there for all of us, I’m praying that you accept and find unchained contentment.

If you need a prayer partner, email me at jesusreliant@gmail.com

Shalom,

KA

 

Fall Tuna Spread Chronicles Part 2

“May the Lord replay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”-Ruth 2:12

One of the many amazing and wonderful attributes of A Giving Community’s “Tuna Spread” is that it is all ages. Anybody is able to be part of the team and serve. We’ve had kids as young as 4 years old up to folks in their 70’s. It’s really quite lovely to see the huge spread of people on our teams.

One of the young people who participated in the Fall Tuna Spread was a 16 year-old young lady. She came with her parents and two younger brothers. This young lady is a dedicated and talented volleyball player and had a scheduling conflict between the Tuna Spread and a practice match. After I’m sure much thought, prayer and discussion with her parents, she opted to attend our event over the practice.

A message from her mom to me said: “She has had a long love and a passion for serving the homeless. She chose not to go to her volleyball practice this morning with the consequence of not getting to start in her game on Monday-a huge cost that she received and she said she would do it again in a heartbeat and that she knows she made the right decision”. The message went on to say that she was filled with joy during her time downtown because of the people she met and conversations she was able to have with the homeless people. While her mom hated that cost to her daughter, not being able to play in the volleyball game, she was proud her daughter chose being the hands of Christ and said that the experience made a significant impact in her daughter’s life.

I believe that God is always asking all of us if we are willing to sacrifice the important things in our lives in order to follow Him and serve those around us. It’s an open invitation to take up our cross and die to ourselves in order to have a more full life. This young girl laid her desire to play in her volleyball game at the foot of the Cross and God rewarded her with a changed heart and a deeper desire to serve. This is awesome!!

I’m coming to learn that while my initial intent of starting A Giving Community was simply to meet the needs in our community, part of those needs are for the people serving. We need opportunities to be selfless and put God first. We need opportunity to accept God’s invitation to follow Him and be blessed in return. This is part of the sanctification process and it is painful, challenging and beautiful.

This story has an amazing ending. The coach decided to rescind her original decision and let my young friend play in the next game. AWESOME!!! She was willing to lay down her game and serve and her reward was that her heart was filled up and God gave her back her game. We serve a tremendous God who has a tremendous heart of love for us! Here’s another amazing outcome: chains of fear were broken. The last bit of the message from her mom said: “She has always hated Seattle because she feels unsafe, but she said today she felt a complete peace and felt safe”. God is so good.

What is God asking you to lay down for Him today? Whatever it is, please trust that God has an amazing plan for your life and you will be richly rewarded. If not here on earth, in heaven with Him for eternity. Never be afraid to go with God, He’s always trustworthy.

If you would like to support the work of A Giving Community and this ministry, please email me at jesusreliant@gmail.com.

If you need a prayer partner, please email me at jesusreliant@gmail.com.

Shalom,

KA

 

Fall Tuna Spread Chronicles-Part 1

“For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat…naked and you clothed Me;”-Matthew 25:35-36

I woke up Saturday morning and I could hear the downpour of rain. Usually I love rain, seriously, it’s my favorite and yet on this day, I was drowning under the weight of what the rain meant. Rain meant that people would be hiding in covered spaces trying to stay dry. Rain meant that we wouldn’t be able to see them as easily. Rain meant that I considered canceling.

Every three months, I take a team of people into downtown Seattle to an area that is home to hundreds, if not thousands, of homeless and struggling people. We go armed with love, tuna fish and this time, clothing and hygiene bags. We go to the same park every time and during the months when the weather is nice, all we have to do is show up and people flock to us. This time was different and I knew it the moment I woke up.

This time, we had more tuna fish than we had ever taken, over 700 cans. We had a hundred or so hygiene bags ranging from soap to shampoo to tooth brushes and hundreds of pieces of clothing in all sizes, colors and styles. And to my surprise, we had a team of 27 people heading in to love on the homeless! It was truly the largest event so far in every single aspect.

As we were driving in to Seattle, rain pouring down, I was praying for God to let the rain stop. I was only looking the immediate need that I had and truly nothing more. I was worried that no one would be out in the park and I was bummed that we were all going to get soaked. I was right on both parts and yet, in the midst of my worry and depression over the circumstances, God showed up in ways I never imagined.

As we got parked and rallied together in the rain, we were able to attract a few folks who were in need. We had a long way to go to give out a TON of stuff. This team of mine, they were up for the challenge! We split into smaller teams, grabbed what we could carry and started walking. It’s my guess that we easily covered a 10-block radius if not a little bit more. And when we ran out of supplies, we just walked back to the cars, reloaded and launched out again.

For my little team, we immediately found two men who were under nice cover and as we told them about where we were just on the other side of the park, we could see the concern in their eyes. There was no way for them both to leave their prime real estate. One man couldn’t walk due to an injury and the other couldn’t leave for fear of losing his home. (If he had left, it’s highly likely someone else would have moved in to his space and the man who couldn’t walk wouldn’t have been able to do anything about it.) So, my little team of three walked back to our home base, grabbed blankets, coats, tuna and other snacks and brought it all back to them. Awesome!

Jesus went to the people, He didn’t ask people to find Him. These people have no other option but to live on the streets. Many of them have mental illnesses that stop them from being able to live self-supporting lives. Quite honestly, how they actually stay alive is nothing short of a miracle. I’ll share more stories later but one of our teams found a woman walking down the street barefoot with feet that were bloodied and battered due to a lack of covering. This is just not ok.

My organization is never going to end homelessness, even Jesus said we will always have the poor. However, if we can reach just one person and give them a moment of hope and love in the form of tuna fish, tooth paste or clothing, then we are doing what Jesus has asked us to do: feeding those who are hungry and clothing those who are naked. It’s simple really, but in order to accomplish this simple task you have to be willing to head out in the rain and find the people in need. We could have so easily canceled before we even began because of the weather, but we went. We could have so easily turned around and headed home when we saw the park empty, but we stayed. We can all so easily turn a blind eye to the homeless in our area and when we do that, we turn our backs on God and His people.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing more stories from many of the team members. It’s exciting to see what God did not just in the lives of the people we reached, but in the lives of the people on the team. If you are willing, God is able and wanting to use you. Small ways are HUGE in the kingdom of God.

Shalom

KA

People at Tuna Spread

Tuna cans

clothing