He Will Finish It

I have lots of things I love about God, and one of my favorite things about His nature is His faithfulness. God will never leave us or give up on us, it’s just simply not His nature. We are His kids, His chosen family, and because of that He remains ever faithful in our lives.

I know I begin to doubt that He is paying attention when He doesn’t act like I want Him to. Yep, sounds like a kid!! I’m beginning to understand some things about myself, and I believe these things to be true of most people, and I’m trying to make a shift. When I have a burden that I bring before God to ask Him for intervention, I’ve already determine what success looks like and what “answered prayer” is for the situation. So really, though my words my be asking God to step in, my heart is asking Him to bring about only my desired outcome. And just like a child, I begin to allow doubt to enter when God does something different. It’s like a spiritual temper tantrum.

How many times have you prayed for something to happen and when it doesn’t, you assume God didn’t hear you and didn’t answer? Or, you assume you didn’t hear Him correctly and you doubt. Be honest. I’m betting the answer is at least several times and more likely, lots of times. Now, I’m not condemning how we pray. I believe fully God wants us to be honest in our prayers and tell Him what we are seeking. What I am questioning is why we lose faith when the answer isn’t as we hope.

This then leads me to wonder about my motives. Am I more interested in getting my way, then allowing God to have His way? If I am giving my life over to Him, sacrificing all to follow Jesus, shouldn’t my primary focus be to give Him full control and not have a tantrum when I don’t get my exact way? I should still bring my heart’s desires to Him, and once I do, I can leave them with Him knowing He has a plan that is always going to be better than mine. What I have to steer clear of is feeling let down and losing faith when God’s plan doesn’t look exactly like I thought it would. Not easy!

If I believe God is ordering my steps and has a good and perfect plan for my life, then I have to believe that He is able to finish all the work He has started. So, when I start to get stressed out about anything, right now for me moving to New York, I have to stop and realize I’m no longer operating in faith and I have to get back to trusting that God is going to finish what He started…not me. My role is to seek Him, be watching for what He’s doing and move with Him.

If you are feeling stressed about a situation in your life, release it to God. You may not understand His plan, you may not even like it, but you have to trust Him. He’s got you. He will finish it!

Shalom,

KA

Advertisements

Yes and Amen

“The promise has been given.” Those are the words I woke up to, floating through my head and heart, one morning last week. Lovely and deeply needed.

I used to think the wilderness was the hardest season. Traveling towards something but not really knowing what. Knowing that you are moving forward but not seeing a path. Taking time to stop and work through things but never really knowing when the work will be done. All the while, believing that the wilderness is where the dream forms and from where you launch. I was wrong, entering the promised land is the hardest.

Now, like the Israelites before crossing into the promised land, I find myself standing on the bank of an overflowing river, not sure how on Earth to get across. And just like those followers of God, I hear God asking me to trust Him for all of my provision. It’s hard. It hurts. And every time I am about to give up, something deep in my core says hold on.

So, I hold on. I talk about New York as much as possible. I pray about New York twice as much as I talk about it. I keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, the one who gave the promise and also said, the promise ends in fulfillment. I have laid it all on the line, I have no plan B and I have no desire to back out. I don’t know how God is going to pull this together, and yet I know He is already at work and my provision is already on its way.

I have chosen the narrow path with Jesus. He is all I have that I put my entire life into His hands. So this morning, I just simply feel empty and I say, “fill me up Holy Spirit. Thank you for the promise! Thank you for the yes. Thank you for the provision. Thank you for loving me. Thank you.”

Shalom,

KA

Go to http://www.internationalproject.org\give and donate towards the work I am moving into in New York City. Put KBOWMAN in the comments and your donation will go into my account. Thank you for helping me love the people of NYC!

Expect the Lord

Today starts the countdown!! We are scheduled to pull out of Washington state in 30 days and head to New York City!! I have no idea how that’s going to happen and, I’m full of faith that it will. I am living out Psalm 27:13-14, waiting for and confidently expecting the Lord.

This season has been so crazy. My faith has grown by leaps and bounds and in ways I never imagined. I’ve been praying for so long about NYC and cross-cultural ministry and I’m just excited to start a new chapter. It’s challenging to think about saying goodbye to friends and family because the truth is, I don’t know when I’ll see folks again. I know there will be vacations and time together, I just don’t know when.

Jesus has been breaking old thought patterns and defense mechanisms I had in place that I just don’t need. He’s been tearing down the walls built by fear and leading me to deeper freedom. It’s been hard work! Lots of tears and lots of prayers. Lots of testing of my faith and, I never really saw any of it coming. Isn’t that just like God?? He brings us to new depths and new heights and, all the while He leads with this crazy and relentless love that just whispers “keep going, I’m with you”.

So, today my faith is renewed. I understand Isaiah 40:13 in a personal way now that I never had before!

“But those who wait for the LORD [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] Will gain new strength and renew their power; They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun]; They will run and not become weary, They will walk and not grow tired.”

‭‭ISAIAH‬ ‭40:31‬ ‭AMP‬‬

http://bible.com/1588/isa.40.31.amp

I feel that sense if soaring today and I am thankful. The battle isn’t over, but the outcome will be victory in, through and for the glory of God.

What are you waiting on and expecting the Lord to do? Keep standing in faith. Keep pressing into Jesus. He’s got you, and He will never let you go.

Shalom!

KA

Make A Choice

Elijah’s question, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions?” is really speaking to my heart this morning. If I am going to be effective for God, I have to know what He is saying to me and not waver.

I have been praying and dreaming about living in New York for decades. When I first heard about International Project (www.internationalproject.org) it piqued my heart so I started asking God if that was something in my future. That was 4 years ago and in that time, I have gotten to know the folks there a little because I’ve sent loads of questions to them. Last Fall, God told me to apply to be a student in their cross-cultural training. I hesitated for just a moment because it was getting real all of the sudden! But, I was obedient and applied.

The next six months after I applied brought various rounds of interviews, writing about myself and background checks. At each new level I was sure I wouldn’t pass. Isn’t that the defense mechanism working it’s hardest? If I assume it won’t happen, that lessens the disappointment. That’s the enemy, not God, but I’m getting off track.

After all was said and done in the interview process, we were invited out to NYC for a site visit. Here was my first real crisis of faith… flying. I don’t like to fly and honestly, I almost bagged out of the process because of my fear. I didn’t have enough time to drive or take the train, flying was the only option. So I took that fear and flipped it to, “I can’t really afford this trip so I’m not sure we’ll be able to go”. I moved from having to confront my fear to an excuse that allowed the fear to be hidden. Thankfully, God nudged me deeper and instead of staying in that place, I prayed for Him to provide for all of our financial needs and my fear. He provided all that we needed so off we flew! The trip was beyond my wildest dreams and I walked away with a job offer!

It was at this point two of my closest friends said the same thing to me, “Can we stop talking about whether or not God is calling you to New York now? Clearly He is!” Even though everything pointed to that truth, and even though my heart and soul were firmly convinced, I still limped between two opinions: He is calling me/He is not calling me.

Now here I am, job offer extended that I wasn’t expecting, waiting for financial provision to come through, and that little tiny voice of “Maybe He’s not in this” is whispering again. I have already told everyone we’re going! The financing isn’t where I thought it should be! I’ve already accepted the job! What if I’m wrong? And then God walks in and speaks peace and confidence and I know, God is calling me to New York in this season and I just have to keep declaring that to myself and speaking out my faith. God gets all the glory, this will happen because of Him, not me.

Here is Elijah’s prayer, and my prayer: (1 Kings 18:36-37)

O, LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.

I don’t know what you may be on the fence about, but I would invite you to take time to really listen to God and then no matter how radical or ridiculous His call may seem, choose it and stick with it. Don’t limp between two thoughts and don’t hesitate to follow God. He’s got it all covered, just go with Him and see what He does.

Shalom,

KA

ALL Joy

Really? Do we have to treat ALL the trials we go through with joy? If you’re anything like me, you start to push aside the joy and live in angst with comments like, “But God doesn’t understand…”. That’s a lie straight from Satan because of course God understands your circumstances! And, in light of the challenges of a trial, He is still inviting you to count it as joy.

I’m always fascinated by the original Greek and Hebrew words of the scriptures because I know they can lose some of their meaning when they get translated into English. The word for “trial” here, peirasmos, means temptation, affliction, bring tried, all pretty basic. And, it also means a trial of man’s fidelity. God uses challenging, and sometimes downright hard circumstances, to test your fidelity to Him. Will you still hold on to faith, give God the glory and stay with Him when trials come? Will you allow the trials to be a source of joy?

The quick answer, if we are being honest, is maybe, right? It depends, God, on how hard the trial is and how much pain I feel. We would likely never say that but we know that from a purely earthly perspective, our flesh is likely to fail God. How do we count it as joy when the doctor says “there is no cure”? How do we count it as joy when our spouse says “I want a divorce”? The list could go on and on of circumstances where we find it almost impossible to count the situation as joy. And yet, God’s invitation is to do the seemingly impossible…find joy.

The question really is: do my circumstances here on Earth dictate my joy, or does my relationship with God? If we are following Jesus, our joy is not only made complete, but is overflowing because we have the joy of Jesus inside us! (John 15:11) When we focus on the circumstances and make those the determining factor of joy, we will always fall short. When we focus on God, remaining faithful to Him and the call on our lives, we will attain increased faith and joy. It’s a choice we make to believe God’s word and count every trial as a source of joy.

I was getting sucked into despair over our move to New York. I don’t see it coming together like I was hoping and, that’s because I decided the appropriate timeline instead of just giving it all to God to work out. The truth is, moving to New York is a call on my life from God and, I believe He will be faithful to complete this call. (Philippians 1:6) I am remaining faithful to Jesus and the call He has in my life to love the people of NYC. I am counting this period of waiting as pure joy, knowing that through Jesus, I am able. I will not give up. I will not live in despair. I will fix my eyes on Jesus in the midst of the storm and I will keep walking on the water.

How about you? Will you answer the call of God on your life and stay faithful to it no matter the circumstances? I’m praying for you to say yes and count it all joy.

Shalom,

KA

Check out http://www.internationalproject.org. If you feel led, partner with us by donating at http://www.internationalproject.org/give and put KBOWMAN in the comments. Thanks!

Following Jesus

Following Christ

“Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fisherman. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed Him.” Mark 1:16-18

Picture this scene a little differently for a moment. What would have been the outcome if Jesus had walked up to Simon (Peter) and his brother Andrew and said something like, “Hey guys, what would you think about leaving everything you know and everyone you know but each other, and walking all across the region with me telling people about heaven and doing miracles like multiplying fish and bread to feed thousands, healing anyone and everyone from physical issues and forgiving the sins of the people we see?” I have no doubt that both Peter and Andrew would have thought Him mad and walked away laughing.

There are times in our lives when knowing the bigger picture would actually hinder us from doing the work and following the call. Peter and Andrew knew that Jesus was special. Historical accounts tell us that they were both followers of John the Baptist so Jesus wasn’t truly a stranger to them. They would have had some context for who Jesus was based on the messages of John. What I love about this scene between Jesus and Peter is that there is no hesitation, just immediate obedience. Peter may have had questions about what they were heading off to do, but scripture is very clear in the original text that he quite literally dropped everything to follow Jesus.

Most of us don’t live with this radical and reckless abandon to the call of God. It would seem completely irresponsible in today’s society, to just take off to follow God. We need to pray about things, ask our close friends for their input, ask our pastors, make sure we understand all that we are stepping into and, there is a sadness in my heart over our lack of immediate obedience today. I believe that God has called many of us to many things that felt too big, too crazy and too far out of our comfort zones and we have said no. This may be anything from saying hi to a stranger to moving across the country to serve people. God is calling us into deeper relationships and greater obedience all of the time, are you hearing Him and following? Are you open to going wherever to serve whomever Jesus would ask, or do you have limits on your obedience? Today, may we start to open our hearts and lives more to the call of Christ.

Is there a call on your life that you have said no to because it is scary? Pray for God to give you courage to say yes.

Shalom,

KA

Originally written and posted for Pursuit Church Live.

Just Jesus

Jesus said things that were, and still are, hard to understand and apply to our lives. Luke 9:57-62 gives us three truths that are hard to accept when it comes to following Jesus.

1. No guarantee of a home. In verses 57-58, Jesus discloses that He is homeless and He makes no promise that life with Him will involve a hike you purchase and live in for 30 years. That may be your story with Jesus, there just is no promise made.

2. No burying the dead. There is an urgency to sharing the gospel. In verses 59-60, Jesus answers a request to go bury a father with a resounding no. Jesus instead charges the new potential disciple to not worry about the dead and instead, go share the news about the kingdom of God.

3. No saying goodbye. In verses 61-62, Jesus again declines what seems like a reasonable request, saying goodbye to family, for following Him.

In this passage, what we see is Jesus requiring His followers to put all their faith in Him to meet their needs, both physical and emotional. A disciple of Jesus is someone who is holding their life here on Earth loosely because they are clinging for dear life to Heaven. Their focus has to be the kingdom and only the kingdom. Following Jesus requires radical abandonment of your life.

As I move into a missional life, I’ll admit I’m scared. Don’t get me wrong, I believe fully that everything I have is given to me by God so the reality is, I already live as a missionary. But there is something scary about uprooting my life, leaving everything that is comfortable and heading out across the country fully relying on God to provide every single penny I need to live on. It’s a reckless abandon of earthly security for a relentless love of Jesus. It’s new territory for me, it’s the call Jesus has on my life. No looking back. No staying in safety because other people need me to stay. No worrying about what the future holds. Just Jesus.

Check out the work in NYC at http://www.internationalproject.org. it’s amazing work to help love people and teach people how to live in cross-cultural settings. It’s my heart. I need supporters so if you feel led to partner, donate at http://www.internationalproject.org\give. Choose to support a worker and in the comments put KBOWMAN.

Shalom,

KA

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!

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.