Strength in the Waiting

Musician Tom Petty has a song that sums up waiting perfectly…it’s the hardest part. Waiting is part of the process with God and, it’s the hardest part. Dreaming is the fun part, right? I can dream for days on how I’m hoping something will turn out. I can build an entire city off of one small dream in my head. I can draw up the blueprints and the budgets and all the plans to make every single detail come to life. I can believe fully that this dream is the call on my life and exactly what I’m supposed to do. And then I can wait while God brings it to pass. As a follower of Jesus, I only have so much power and in order to see the fulfillment of the dream, I need God to complete the work. Until He does, I wait.

Waiting isn’t the wilderness, although it may seem like it. Here’s the pattern I see: calling, wilderness, waiting, realization. Each of these steps has value and purpose and each help us grow in our faith. I believe God started calling me to New York City (NYC) when I was a kid. My wilderness season was decades of growing up and when His timing was perfect, He brought me to International Project and showed me a vision for loving people in a way that deeply honors their traditions and cultures while showing them the love of God. Now I’ve seen the promised land and I have to wait on God to bring the financing through in order to step into the realization. It’s hard, harder than I imagined and so, this morning that has me wondering if I’m waiting wrong. 

Now, how can you wait wrong? I mean, let’s be honest, waiting is actually pretty easy because you are…well, you’re waiting right? What makes waiting hard is the value we place on the destination over the journey. If I’m sitting in the doctor’s waiting room (an entire ROOM named after the thing we dislike…that’s irony) feeling anxious and frustrated that the doctor is running behind, I will miss the person sitting next to me who may need some extra attention. So, this morning I’m feeling God’s invitation to pay more attention to what’s going on around me and less attention to the act of waiting. I’ve placed so much value in arriving in NYC, perhaps I’m missing out on a part of this journey where I am meant to learn some important truths.

In all honesty, I actually know this is true because I’ve grown by leaps and bounds over the past few weeks. God has been breaking up my false securities and leading me to trust more in Him than in anyone else. He’s shown me ways in which I have placed more importance on man’s approval than His and I’ve stepped out of some old habits. He’s shown me that I actually DO know how to hear Him speak and follow Him, and I am doing both. My faith has gotten so much deeper and, without the waiting, I would have missed all of it. Yet, I believe there is more here for me. 

If my faith in God is solely based on His bringing a dream to fruition, then it is a shallow faith. My faith should never be dependent on a present circumstance, instead, it should be dependent on the persons of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I keep coming back over and over to Hebrews 11:1, “Faith is the assurance of what I’m hoping for and the utter certainty of what I do not see.” (A little paraphrased by me.) My faith is not in New York City, my faith is in Jesus. What I’m actually hoping for at the end is to serve God with my whole life and that by exercising that faith, He will will lead me into the places of service He has for me in His perfect timing. My faith and my dream are different. My faith says, “God, you are all I have, there is no plan B.” My dream says, “God, you have planted seeds of love for the people of NYC and I see you leading me there.” My waiting should in no way impact my faith in God but I’ll be honest, it has threatened my faith.

I have no earthly or heavenly reason to ever doubt God. None. He is faithful to the end and I can recount His faithfulness over and over, just like I can count my faithlessness over and over. God has brought me through deep darkness and while I may be scarred, I am not ruined. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is taking me to NYC. The only part I don’t know exactly is when and I can’t allow my not knowing all the details impact my belief in and love for God and what He is doing in my life. My heart’s desire and current plan is to go in July but, (gulp) at this point I don’t know if that is God’s timing. I’m trying to raise funds for our work and honestly, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I’ve never heard “no” say many times and in so many different ways. It is hard to not take each one personally and let it drive a nail through my heart. And, that’s exactly what I have to do…not let the no break my spirit or my faith. 

Here’s the deal, I have no control over my life. And, I hate to break it to you, neither do you. When you give your life to Jesus, you give up your control. So, when things don’t come together like you thought they would, you have to find a way to still give glory to God and praise the work He is doing because He is teaching you something all the time. God wouldn’t have planted the seed of loving people and loving NYC in my heart to never let me go there and serve Him. That would be cruel and God is not cruel, He is love. I am thankful that I know exactly what I want to do with my life and where I want to serve Him and when everything is perfectly in place, I will go. Until then, I will wait and in the waiting, my trust in God will continue to grow. 

Shalom,

KA

Find out more about the work in New York at http://www.internationalproject.org. It’s exciting work!! If you would like to partner with us financially, you can give at http://www.internationalproject.org/give and put “KBOWMAN” in the comments. Thanks!

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Relentless

Relentless. The dictionary defines relentless as oppressively constant. That makes me chuckle because I think typically we use relentless in a negative way, and by the definition I see why. Relentless heat. Relentless nagging. When I hear the word or read it, I do an eye roll because it conjures feelings of being bothered to the extreme. Today, God used it as a reminder to stay focused on my dream.

This morning, well actually it started last night, I asked God to speak to me. Hanging on to this dream of moving to New York in July is hard. I need LOTS of things to come together for it to work and honestly, I’ve thought about giving up many times. And each time I do, God sweetly reminds me of all He has done so far and invites me to hang on. This morning as I was painting in my chair when God spoke the word “relentless” into my heart. I said it several times in my head and meditated on it. Then I started painting it into my picture. In a matter of a few minutes, one of the pastor’s I watch online announced the name of his message. Are you ready? Relentless Freedom.

In a space of five minutes, God gave me and confirmed for me the word relentless. In this season, being relentless in pursuing this dream of full-time ministry in NYC is my call. God will make a way where I don’t see one, I know it. I will stay relentless in my pursuit and in my faith. Though I may be reduced to tears of frustration in the process, I will stay strong and immovable.

Shalom,

KA

Don’t forget to check out what’s happening in NYC by going to http://www.internationalproject.org. You can partner with me financially by donating at http://www.internationalproject.org/give and in the comments indicate “Kbowman”. Thanks!

My City, My Call

I love this picture of me on the Brooklyn Bride. This was taken my first morning in New York City. I remember staring at the beautiful bridge with the New York City (NYC) skyline behind me and thinking, I am home. I also remember thinking, I am in love. In love with a city that I had loved from afar for four decades and now, was breathing the air of and falling deeper in love. I still can’t actually believe that I hadn’t built NYC so far up in my head and heart that it would be a disappointment. It surely was anything but a disappointment! It blew my expectations away and now, I find myself heartsick and homesick. 

While NYC is dense with people (8.4 million to be exact), it has these beautiful pockets of peace throughout. When we first got to Brooklyn, we found a lovely little deli where we grabbed some breakfast and then a cute park where we just sat and enjoyed the moment. Waves of commuters rising up out of the subway. Birds walking about seeking breakfast. Street vendors setting up for their day. Then we walked a few blocks to the staircase that delivers you to the boardwalk on the Brooklyn Bridge and just took it all in. It was a sunny, cold morning and in one moment, all of my world came together and I understood why God had planted seeds of love for NYC in my heart. And don’t even get me started on Central Park! Talk about a peaceful place in the center of hustle and bustle. 

I love people and I love story and here in NYC, I was being invited to hear these stories and love these people. While it is true that New Yorkers walk with purpose and don’t really make eye contact and smile at each other much, they are people who are out and about. More people walk and take public transportation than own cars and drive privately so by default alone, they are interacting with each other more just by walking past each other. The grocery shopping system out there is small, mom-and-pop style stores over larger grocery store chains. You know that people you are buying from and they know you. People hang out on the streets and talk to neighbors. I met several of the people who live in the apartment building we were staying at just from coming in and out of the door at the same time. It basically boils down to more people in a smaller space equals more interaction. For someone like me, that is pure glory!!

So now I sit back across the country from my city and I long to return. When I return, however, I don’t want to return for a visit and I want to return forever. God is offering me that opportunity through a position with an organization that trains people in cross-cultural outreach with the purpose of showing people the love of Jesus. My challenge is, it is requiring more faith than I’ve ever needed in my life. I have to raise funds to cover my salary and this is a hard piece of work. So many people only understand mission work to be going to foreign countries, that they downgrade those of us serving foreigners here in the United States. This is disheartening to say the least. I believe that God will bring what we need to relocate, it’s just hard some days to see it coming to pass. And isn’t that exactly what faith is? The assurance of things hoped for and the certainty of the things we can’t see. (Heb 11:1) 

So this morning I sit in my chair, tears in my eyes and longing in my heart believing fully that God is in this season, and wanting this season to be over. I know that faith produces endurance which leads me to more maturity in my walk with Jesus and I want that, I just want it to be less painful. (James 1:3-4) Once again I am convinced, stepping out of the boat is the easier step of faith. Walking on the water in the midst of the storm is where our faith is tested and where we sink or we stand. I want to stand, trusting my lovely Redeemer.

Shalom,

KA

PS…would you please prayerful considering partnering with me financially to support this work in New York City with International Project? To get more information on what International Project is up to, check them out at http://www.internationalproject.org. To support me personally, go to http://www.internationalproject.org/give and in the comments, put KBowman and your gift will go into my account. Monthly commitments are optimal and special gifts are just fine too! Thank you.

Allow the Sifting

Being sifted stinks, let’s just be honest. Spiritual growth, in many ways, is like the growing pains of our youth. As the bones grow, the muscles and tendons get stretched and it’s uncomfortable, and sometimes actually painful. And yet, we have to grow. In our spiritual growth, sometimes God allows Satan access to us and while that may seem very unfair and unkind, there is an amazing purpose. It’s important to remember that no matter what the enemy may throw at you, you are never outside the reach and hands of God. In John 10:28, Jesus tells us that nothing ever gets close enough to actually remove us from His protection. 

Let’s have a little lesson on wheat. No, I’m not a farmer, but I did do a little research on wheat sifting because I needed to understand why on earth it is important enough for God to allow it in my life. Wheat has two parts: chaff and grain or edible wheat. The chaff is what protects the edible wheat as it is growing so that it can actually develop into something edible. The chaff is basically a necessary evil in that, it will be removed later but for a time it is critical to the growth of the grain. Sifting wheat involves a two-step process: threshing and winnowing. In threshing, you basically beat the chaff loose from the grain. In winnowing, you remove the chaff from the grain and you now have an edible product. 

So, now that we understand sifting wheat a little better, let me tell you how Strong’s Exhaustive concordance defines sifting: “prove by trials; by inward agitation to try one’s faith to the verge of overthrow”. Yikes, right? Sounds like a horrible process that I would personally like to opt out of except, in the end I know I need the sifting in order to fulfill the purpose and plan God has for me. Of course, as with all things related to our relationship with God, we could actually opt out and say no because God is all about free will. I don’t have to grow, and neither do you. I can stay in my nice, neat little box and never grow and never have much impact. If I truly believe God could never love me more or less based on my actions, I can choose to not be sifted. However, that means I won’t be used and I won’t be living the very best life I have available and personally, I don’t want to live like that so I move forward with the season of sifting.

It’s a season, not a forever. Sifting is about God, with the help of our enemy, removing the walls we have built in order to survive so that we can become the grain that God can actually use. Sifting is seasonal in wheat and in our lives. It’s also repetitive so you can just bank on it that you won’t be sifted only once in your life, God will bring it as often as He sees there is value for your development. For me, I used anxiety to build up walls that kept me safe as a child, but those walls needed to be torn down as an adult. My childhood wasn’t safe for me so, I used anxiety and fear as protection. When my step-dad would fly into an alcohol-induced rage, anxiety and fear kept me quiet and cowering in a corner so that I wouldn’t get hurt. When my mom’s friend sexually assaulted me when I was 17 years old, anxiety and fear kept me from telling anyone so that I wouldn’t get blamed. Do you see a pattern? My chaff, fear and anxiety, helped protect me but it also lied to me. My chaff kept me silent, withdrawn and ineffective. What I thought was keeping me safe, did help protect me in the moment, but it also built a wall around me. I had to go through sifting to get that false protection off of me so that I could really grow in God and find my voice.

My sifting began last fall with an invitation to apply to be a student through International Project and learn how to reach people across cultural lines. The application process is challenging because it is long and you write about yourself, get interviewed and have friends who know you be interviewed about you. Fun! The process exposes things you really don’t want to talk about and, thus begins the threshing. As I progressed through each round, my fear and anxiety got stronger and the voice of “shut up and sit down” louder. When I got invited to go out to New York City for a site visit and round of in-person interviews, I nearly said no. My fear and anxiety had me convinced that I wasn’t able to go because I couldn’t afford the trip and I didn’t like to fly. For about a week, I was in a nearly constant state of anxiety. Instead of backing away, I said yes to going and yes to God. I couldn’t afford it and I didn’t want to fly but, I knew this was something I had to do so I prayed for provision and strength. You can probably already guess what happened…God provided and strengthened. He didn’t do either right away, but as I stayed in faith and faced my fears, He slowly started the winnowing process and removed the chaff I no longer needed. Through my obedience to the process of sifting, God has freed me to fly, take elevators, take subways and now, relocate to New York! The old habits of resorting to fear and silence are still there, but they are ghost pains. They are no longer real, they just linger.

Here’s the deal, you have to allow yourself to be sifted or you will never fully realize all that God has for you. In Luke, Jesus tells Peter that Satan is wanting to sift him like wheat and He acknowledges and Peter may fail. He also goes on to say, “And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers”. Jesus believed in Peter and guess what, He believes in you. Jesus is sending me today to tell you to hang on, be encouraged and allow yourself to be sifted. When the process is over for this season, you will encourage the people coming behind you and, you will live a more full life. You will be sifted to be a blessing. (Ps…that’s a tattoo a friend of mine has on her arm!!)

If you are struggling with the sifting right now, post a reply and I’ll pray for you. Don’t go through the process in silence and alone. Just as a farmer doesn’t sift one kernel of wheat at a time alone, you don’t need to go through the sifting process alone. Remember, just as Jesus prayed for Peter, He is praying for you. He’s never going to leave you are forsake you so allow Him full access to your life. 

Shalom,

KA

Walking in Their Shoes


You know that saying, “walk a mile in my shoes”? My daughter and her classmates got a great, first-hand experience of this today. She is a student of American Sign Language (ASL) and their assignment today was to not use their voices all day long. It’s called “voices off day” and everyone participates as part of their class final. They each wore a small sign around their necks that they could show people explaining why they weren’t talking. All of their teachers, and their parents, had to sign off on a sheet stating that their student/child didn’t verbalize during the day or evening. 

I asked my daughter how the day went and she said it was much harder then she expected. She said she almost cried several times because she felt completely isolated outside of her sign language classroom. She felt like no one really understood her and that it was so hard to communicate, many times she ended up not saying anything. We talked about how people who are deaf, or unable to communicate in the way most people around them can, must feel day in and day out. This was a just a 24-hour experiment for these kids, but lots of people find it hard to communicate as part of their everyday lives. And as most of us know, communication is key to living a life where you feel valued and valuable. 

What I love about this experience is that it provided an opportunity to bear the burden of another person and to walk in their shoes, even if only for a short time. If it makes a great enough impact, it creates greater compassion and understanding next time these kids run into someone who doesn’t fit in to what would be considered the “norm” of the social setting. Let’s face it, we could all use a little more compassion in life. I may be the most popular person in one setting, and a complete outsider in another. How I treat people when I’m on top should reflect how I want to be treated when I’m on the bottom. The only way to show compassion well, is to bear the burden of the other people…walk in their shoes.

Miriam Webster defines compassion this way: “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.” This idea of showing compassion,  bearing one another’s burdens, is why I am so drawn to people who we might consider outsiders or different. We all want to fit in, and sometimes our current situations make that virtually impossible except when someone shows compassion. This is why I love to spend time with homeless people. I can’t change their financial state or their lack of housing and basic necessities, but I can spend time with them and make them feel less alone. I can enter their story, be present in their situation and possible distress, and connect heart-to-heart. For the moments we are together, I can help to make them feel less alone and they in turn, make me feel like part of their tribe and that, for my heart, is glorious.

This same heart of compassion and bearing one another’s burdens is why I’m starting to get involved with cross-cultural work. People come to America for all kinds of reasons but the primary driver is freedom. They are looking for a way to live in greater freedom with greater options for their own futures, as well as the futures of their families. Unfortunately, some people were, and are still today, forced to come to America in the bonds of slavery and now that they are here, they too desire freedom and greater options for their futures. There is so much richness in cross-cultural communities because when we can live out of compassion, we can learn so much from each other. No hidden agendas of forcing people to conform to our expectations. Instead, hearts wanting to learn each other’s stories, bear each other’s burdens and turn our lives from us-and-them to all. All included. All cared for. All valued. All loved. Each one walking in the others shoes together as we move forward. Each one connecting and building community. 

Jesus loved all people. He loved the most unlovely people in society in His time here on earth and guess what…He still does. No one is beyond the love, grace, peace and mercy of God. No one. Jesus loves and calls out to all people regardless of every single difference we might have. Walk in someone’s shoes and while you are doing that, invite them to walk in yours.

Shalom,

KA

This Is Me

This is me. I’ve been writing this blog for several years and mostly what I do is teach. I teach about scripture and how I’ve applied it to my life and, hopefully, I get you to see how to apply it to your life. That’s my nature, to teach about God, and now I’m going to change things up a bit and start to share more of my story and how God is woven all throughout it. I’ll still teach about scripture since honestly, it’s what I think about most of time. 

I was born in the late 1960s so I’m quickly approaching my 50th year here on earth. It’s been a bumpy, painful, challenging, beautiful and joyous journey and while I could be cliche and say something like “I wouldn’t change a thing because all of it has made me who I am today and I like me!”, the truth is…I would take away the traumatic events if I could. The problem with that, however, is that I really do like who I am and who I am becoming and honestly, the trauma is what brought me here so I guess, in the end, I would keep it. But there are days when it overwhelms me and I find it hard to move. I’m betting, and I believe this based on my sphere of friends, you have days you feel like that too. 

As with many of us born in the later half of the19060s, I come from a broken home. I know that’s supposed to mean that my parents were divorced but let’s be as honest as possible in this space…many of our homes were broken regardless of the marital status of our parents. My generation had parents breaking out of the mold, revolutionizing sex and drugs and redefining freedom. They didn’t want to do it the way the generations before them had, so the rebelled loudly with amazing music, questionable fashion and poor choices. Many of my peers, myself included, ran around trying to figure out where we fit in to the new family type that was emerging. Single parents. Dating parents. Remarried parents. Remarried again parents. Absent parents.  My generation is the pioneer generation for children of parents who didn’t stay and that has brought a type of generational PTSD to our world. And honestly, it hasn’t changed much as we’ve grown up and so now, many of us are ourselves single parents, remarried parents, remarried again parents and even absent parents. 

I’m a single mom who parents with ridiculous intention toward my daughter. I have spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours understanding trauma, defining my own trauma and trying to help her frame her trauma so that the effects are lessened. I know the mistakes my parents made so I try to not make those which just means, I’m making new ones. I try to show her faith in every moment. Faith that God never leaves, never forsakes and never loves less than 1 hundred-million percent at every single moment. I’m not revolutionary in many ways except when it comes to love. I love my daughter unconditionally and she knows it. She may question many things about me, but that I love her and support who she is as a child of God and a follower of Jesus is solidaly set. It’s not always easy and yet, it’s always rewarding. I believe that my job as her mom is to help her figure out how to live in faith and discover why God created her and what He is calling her to do.

That’s a bit about me as a mom, here are a few other facts about me: I’m an alcoholic who started drinking when I was 13 years old and stopped when I was 42 years old (I’ve been stone sober for almost 7 years!); I have PTSD that manifests itself in anxiety and sometimes I get so overwhelmed my brain actually stops doing basic things like be able to read; I have been in a few significant and abusive relationships (praise Jesus, single and happy to be now); at the age of 48, I still struggle to be authentic and ok with my decisions but I’m getting better at both; I love people fiercely; I have an amazing tribe; Jesus is my everything. About 4 years ago I went through a year of training and therapy on trauma. I went in to the program not able to name my own trauma, and I walked out not able to NOT see trauma everywhere. In that training, God completely tore me apart in the most loving and painful way and started a long journey of rebuilding. Rebuilding is hard work, it’s the tough work of life where you cry, get angry, scream, yell, name, bless and let go. It’s terrifying work and, it has become my war cry for people: ENGAGE YOUR TRAUMA! It’s truly one of the most loving things God will lead you to do and you will both hate it and be grateful for it. 

So, I take all of my training, all of my reading, all of my praying, all of the Jesus in me, and I move through my days trying to love the people around me. My heart’s purest and most base desire is to love like Jesus loved. No strings. No hidden agenda. No boundaries. Just love and acceptance of where you are when I encounter you and a desire to know your story. And let me be clear, I don’t want to know your story so that I can help fix your story because I’ve learned that isn’t my job. I want to know your story because I want to figure out where you need love and help you get that because when you feel loved and safe, you will allow God access and He will help you by bringing healing. 

One last thing as I close…I love you. I don’t know most of the people who read my blog personally but can I just tell you with all sincerity that if you reached out to me, you would find someone who loves you in the darkest spaces of your life. I have been in dark spaces and I have felt the shame those spaces bring and that is why I can say with assurity, I love you. The greatest thing I do in my life is show people love and the only way I do that is because I am empowered by Jesus. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves his been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8

This is me. 

Shalom,

KA

Keep Dreaming

When I was a little kid, not 100% certain what age but under 10 years old, I watched a movie called Godspell. It was filmed in New York City (NYC) and it immediately just captured my heart! In the opening scene of the movie, there is a song playing calling people our main characters out of their daily lives and into Central Park’s Bethesda Fountain. There they find John the Baptist who baptizes them all in a lovely, fun water-fight type moment. There is complete joy and total acceptance in that scene. There is also deep and rich diversity. I fell in love with NYC in that moment and only grew to love it more over the years.

Fast forward 4 decades or so and I found myself this past April in NYC for the first time. I’ll admit, I was nervous about going there because I had built the city up so much over my life that there was every possibility it could never measure up. My daughter was my tour guide of sorts as she had already been there the last summer with an acting troupe. As we flew in, it was a cloudy and rainy day so I couldn’t see the skyline immediately. On the drive from the airport to where we were staying, I kept staring in the direction of city and finally, the skyline could be seen. My heart lept out of my chest and the tears started flowing. I was finally in NYC!!! 

In the days that followed, I realized that my heart was home. Our first excursion took us to Brooklyn and a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. As soon as we got out of the car in an area just on the Brooklyn side of the bridge, I felt like I knew the place, even though I had never been there. We walked around a little bit and found a cute bakery called Cranberries. The smells and sounds were joyous to me and I really couldn’t even believe we were there. As we walked up the steps to the bridge, all of Manhattan sprawled out before us, I was again struck with the deep peace in my heart and the awesome sense of home I was feeling. In a city of over 8 million people, I had complete peace. 

The second day found us back at the Brooklyn Bridge in the morning and then a walk through the city and on up to Central Park. As we entered the park from 59th, on our way to the John Lennon memorial, Strawberry Fields, I was again moved to tears at the deep sense of home I felt. All of my life had led me to this moment, this place, in this city and I was undone and the beauty and love I felt for NYC and from God. God planted the seeds in my heart for NYC as a child and here I was, standing in the middle of a dream coming true. I already cry easily and this moment, this moment brought a flood of tears.

The rest of the week was filled with both purpose and play. See, the main reason I was in NYC was to meet people from a ministry called International Project (IP). IP is a spiritual organization that seeks to train people on cross-cultural relationship building. They believe strongly in honoring an individual’s culture and building a loving community of people who desire to follow Jesus. There is never a plan to change anyone or force another way of life on anyone because their heart’s greatest desire is just to love people like Jesus loves them and build a community that is culturally specific to the group involved. There is no “one size fits all” approach, and I love that so much. IP has a training program for people who want to learn how to live with a cross-cultural focus and then they have a network of home churches around the 5 Burroughs of NYC. 

I believe the love of Jesus, and the heart of Jesus Himself, has no barriers. ALL are loved and ALL are welcome. There is no culture or people group Jesus isn’t interested in and because of that, followers of Jesus must also be as willing to love all and reach out to all. There is so much we can learn from people of different backgrounds and traditions and I don’t really understand why, but I know that we have this tendency to fear what is different and I find that so sad. I want to know and understand other cultures and other people groups because maybe I have something to offer them, and even better for me, it’s highly likely they have something of offer me! Our differences don’t have to scare us, they can intrigue us to learn more. 

I hope you are asking God to bring the dreams of your heart to life. Psalm 37:4 tells us that God will give us the desires of our hearts and I believe that is true. I believe fully that God plants seeds in our lives and hearts that when they grow, are our dreams and so of course He will make those come true. It requires faith in His ability, willingness and timing. My dream to go to NYC grew over several decades and only when God knew the timing was right, did the dream get fulfilled. I had to be in the right space and place with Him in my life for NYC to have the impact it had and I’m so thankful. Whatever dream you are waiting on, don’t give up. Keep asking, seeking, knocking. Keep dreaming.

Shalom,

KA

But seeing the wind…


But seeing the wind… I am convinced that stepping out of the boat, responding with “yes” to the call of God, is the easy part. Walking on the water is the place where our faith is tested. We see this truth in several places in our lives. Saying yes to getting married and being engaged is the easy part; staying married is the test. Being excited at a pregnancy is the easy part; parenting well is the test. I can think of a few other examples but I think you get the point, embarking on something new when you KNOW for certain you hear God’s voice is easy; staying in faith as His call unfolds and the storm is raging around you is the test.

Peter is a great example of this truth. In Matthew 14, we see Peter say yes to the call of God and then falter. Peter sees his best friend and leader, Jesus, walking on water and he is instantly drawn into the miracle of defying science. No one can walk on water! And yet, here is Jesus out strolling on the waves. And in case walking on water isn’t amazing enough, there’s a storm raging. Peter and his companions are terrified and believe Jesus to be a ghost, but Jesus speaks and assures them He is no ghost. Then Peter does what Peter does best, something crazy. He sees Jesus working in a new way and he is eager to join in so he says “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” I love Peter! He just wants to do what Jesus is doing, be where Jesus is working and all he asks is for a call. So of course, Jesus says come and Peter hops out of the boat and starts walking toward his Lord.

Saying yes to a call and taking the first couple steps out of your comfort zone requires an initial level of faith. To believe something is possible when you are just starting out has a level of excitement and amazement that is temporary and yet, so necessary because it is what propels you forward. Can you image what Peter was thinking when he first stepped out? I’m sure his thoughts were all jumbled and his adrenaline was likely off the charts. He was stepping out into this new and exciting miracle, eyes fully focused on Jesus. Everything and anything was possible at that point. But seeing the wind…

The Bible doesn’t say how many steps Peter took, but at some point in this new journey, he took his eyes off of Jesus and he saw the wind. He saw the storm around him and he started to lose the focus on the call and on Jesus. His brain and what he knew to be true from an earthly perspective took over and he started to get afraid. At that moment, the moment when the storm around him was raging and he felt most vulnerable, he had a choice: stay focused on Jesus or, focus on the storm. Peter chose the storm, got scared, and started to sink. Jesus isn’t going to let him drown so He immediately scoops him up so that he is safe. Then Jesus asks him a very simple yet very powerful question that I never want to hear Jesus ask me, “Why did you doubt?” My heart sinks at just reading those words! Nothing externally changed, Peter’s faith changed. 

Here’s the deal, faith is hard and staying in faith is in even harder. There was nothing easy about Peter’s decision to step out of the boat, that required faith. He could see God working, Jesus walking on water, and his heart wanted to be like Jesus so he asked if he could join and Jesus said yes. He felt sure of his call to walk on the water, his faith was strong. And then the storm got his attention and he faltered and he sank. So many of us step into our calling but we don’t hang on to our calling because we get scared and we lose faith. When that happens, there is no condemnation from Jesus, only a simple question, “why did you doubt?”  If I had been Peter, I would have responded with something like “well, the storm got too big!” I would have forgotten I was already out in the storm with Jesus AND walking on water. The storm didn’t come up when Peter stepped out, the storm was already around them. Peter’s perspective on the storm changed because he went from relying on the safety of the boat to relying on the safety of Jesus. That’s when faith grows! 

Faith grows the most when you have no one else to rely on but Jesus. And I believe fully, that is a call for every single follower of Jesus. I am convinced Jesus wants all of His believers to trust only in Him because in that level of trust, we find all that we need to step out and keep walking. It’s scary. It’s stormy. Friends and family may think you are nuts. The world may tell you there is no one on earth what you are doing is going to work. And above all of that storm, Jesus is saying “come”. 

What is God calling you to do? If you are certain it is God, step out and keep walking. What has God already called you to do and you sank? Peter didn’t lose his ministry in this moment with Jesus so don’t think you have lost yours if you faltered before. God’s call on your life only goes away if you make the choice not to follow. Forget the storm and the scary stuff and go. Go answer His call and watch Him meet all of your needs. God isn’t bound by anything so believe He is able and be part of the miracle! 

Shalom,

KA