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"... the mind controlled by the Spirit is LIFE & PEACE." -- Romans 8:6

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Beauty of Being {CHOSEN}

Lately I've been somewhat caught up with the idea of being chosen


I blame Pinterest a little bit. 

But even before Pinterest, I wanted to be chosen for the kickball team at recess. I wanted to be chosen for the part in the school play. I wanted to be chosen for that after school job. There is something inside each of us that longs to be desired. We crave belonging and acceptance. It's a part of who we are. Everyone has experienced the pain of rejection from not being chosen. It hurts in a deep place in our hearts.

I don't care about kickball or school plays anymore. Now, I dream of being chosen as a wife. I want God to send "just the right" man to say, "Hey you! I choose you!" And I want to relish in the glory of being chosen. I want to be secure in his acceptance and affection. Also, "he" probably shouldn't refer to me as "Hey you!", but we'll work on that.

Next to blame after Pinterest is Sara Bareilles' new song "I Choose You" -- I've been listening to it on repeat. I love this song! 

At some point in the midst of this fixation with the idea of being CHOSEN, 
I realized that... I am

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, [God’s] own purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." 1 Peter 2:9

[See a more thorough analysis on this commentary from Bible Hub.]

I have been CHOSEN by God! I have a purpose - to reflect Jesus in how I live because He is worthy of glory as the One who covers darkness with light. 

Even if I am rejected by many, I am abundantly loved and accepted by the only One who's affection is unfailing and never ending. What a relief to know that I am chosen, just as my heart was made to desire. Jesus satisfies even our greatest, deepest needs!

"But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you, Jacob,
    he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
    Cush[a] and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
    and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
    nations in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you[...]".

Isaiah 43:1-5a



Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Lost in Transition

Sometimes I can take things one day at a time with a great amount of peace and confidence in my heart. I just roll with the punches, laugh at the silly roadblocks, change plans with ease, and communicate like a normal, sane person. 

Other times, though, there's a whole lot of panicking going on. Panicking that starts with quick breathing, foggy thoughts and cloudy memory, inability to decide on what to have for dinner (nevermind any kind of major life decision), and in extreme cases - jumping to ridiculous conclusions. It seems I have a much more radical imagination during these panicky times.

I know the truth that I can TRUST the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. I need to acknowledge HIM in all my ways, and He will make my paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6) 

I also know that God has a plan and it's a darn good one! Rather than panicky, I should be celebrating that He's already got it under control and I can simply rest in Him.

But sometimes the weight of the transition becomes too much.

I couldn't sleep last night and in the tangle of a thousand thoughts bouncing around, I somehow came to this silly conclusion:

I'm not very good at transition.
Life is just one big ball of transition.
I'm not very good at life.

I wrote this down in my journal this morning... because it made me chuckle.

Yes, life is FULL of one transition after another. Yes, my natural tendency is to hide from big, scary change. But reality is, that is only a teensy tiny part of what's actually happening.



Reality is, I'm PSYCHED about this transition!
I may feel a little lost or overwhelmed at times, but I am fully confident that I'm moving in the right direction and I'm exactly where God wants me to be. That confidence outweighs the opposing feelings by far.

In all of my over-analyzing, fact-seeking, and detail-figuring, I am still SO stoked to be living life on an adventure serving God! I would much prefer THIS, than anything else. I don't want a comfortable, safe, or stagnant life. I want to be on the front lines. 

It really is all about the journey. God is teaching me so much, even before I get to Moscow. He has a plan for me this summer... He has a plan for me TOMORROW. 

Am I ready to embrace whatever comes tomorrow - frustration or fear - as a part of the big-picture journey He has me on?



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Do More! Do More!

This very basic life lesson has become a prominent thought in the past few days: 


You can only check one thing off on your to-do list at a time.

It probably sounds obvious and shallow to all of you wise people who are so much more experienced at life than I. And I'm sure this comes as no surprise to those who know me well, but I get a real sense of joy from checking that little box next to the task I just accomplished on my ever-growing list of things to do. It's the adrenaline kick every task-oriented perfectionist craves!  

http://sad-eyed.tumblr.com/post/7949180532

"But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. 

For when I am weak, then I am strong."

- 2 Corinthians 12:9-10


I've found myself in the middle of another transition. There will be even more major transition & change coming up in about a month, and then again in three months - each one progressing in intensity. (It's like God is intentionally preparing me for what's ahead!) 

I'm moving from working as part-time field staff with Cru at Boise State to raising support full-time, then to the mission field full-time in Moscow, Russia. I have a notebook full of various lists, budgets, goals, schedules, notes, etc. Somewhere I got it into my head that I would accomplish everything I need to prepare for Russia all in one week. While that's rather ambitious of me, it's also pretty ridiculous. 

It's not all going to get done this week. I may not schedule as many appointments as I should be. My bags are not packed, nor do I have everything that needs to go in my bags yet. People will not respond to emails or phone calls two minutes after I leave a message for them. There is definitely a lot of work to do and plenty of things to keep me busy, but a big part of this "job" right now is 1) waiting on other people, and 2) waiting on the Lord. 

"Trust in the Lord with ALL of your heart & lean not on your own understanding.
- Proverbs 3:5

Everything always comes back to trust...

Why do I worry? I lack trust.

When am I most fearful? When I lack trust.

Why do I so often desire control? Because I lack trust.

Trust is a decision. It's not about "doing more" or filling up my schedule to make myself look busy or reporting high numbers in everything -- it's about trusting that God is directing my steps and will be faithful to provide what I need. 

Reality is, I can only do one thing on my to-do list at a time. There will be some (or many) days when I don't feel like I checked "enough" things off of my list. There will be days when I spend hours making phone calls and sending emails and don't hear back from anyone for two days. That is not for lack of trying; it's just out of my control! And I need to be okay with that. Because when I trust God fully, I have nothing to fear. There is no reason to worry. 

I want to quit the mindset of "Do more!" and adopt a grace-filled perspective that will push me to do the right things. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Rest + Big News

I miss blogging! It's been far too long. I have an idea for a really awesome, biblical post, but it will have to come later this week because it's a bit intellectual and structured, and I'm just not feeling either of those things today. At all.

Today is my intentional day of REST. It is Sunday, so I guess that makes sense... a lot of people make this day one of rest. But I tend to be really bad at that. Typically, my "day of rest" includes checking off items on my to-do list and jumping ahead to the pile of work for the week. Outside of laundry (because it's necessary!), I am doing NO work, NO getting ahead in the work week, or even getting caught up on things that realistically need to get done... they can all wait until tomorrow. Gosh, that is such a peaceful feeling! 

I knew I needed this day of strict rest when I woke up at 10:30 this morning after sleeping for 11 hours. I think of my mom when I sleep extra long because she always responds with, "Well, you must have needed it!" Yes, I definitely did, Mom! She's really good at telling me it's okay to rest. :)

There really is no point to the last couple paragraphs except to report that I am indeed taking a day of rest for once (this is one of my goals for the summer: balance) and it's pretty amazing, so you should do it, too. :) 

But the next bit is a little more exciting: Hey, I'm moving to Russia for a year
I've postponed publicly posting the news because I wanted to wait for it to be "official" - but now it is! And I've definitely been on an adrenaline kick since I found out... which is probably another reason why I need to rest today... too much energy. ;-) 

Moscow, Russia STINT Team


I will be in Boise until June 10th, with a trip over Memorial day weekend to move furniture and boxes to my grandparents' house in Oregon. After June 10th, I'll spend the rest of the summer living with my Mom & Grandparents until I leave for Moscow, Russia mid-August. Outside of a trip to Colorado for Team Leader training, STINT (short-term international -- missions program with Cru) briefing with my team in Chicago right before we leave, potentially a trip to visit friends, and nannying for the next 5 weeks, I will be working hard full-time to develop a team of ministry partners to give financially and prayerfully while I am in Moscow over the next year. 

This past week I connected with those who were on my team this last year and it has been SUCH an encouragement to share about the many ways that God has moved on the Boise State campus, as well as my vision for going to Moscow. I just love that, as Christians, we get to serve God together in so many different capacities! I am so very thankful for the people that God has allowed me to connect with as a result of doing ministry & life together!

This past year I've been on staff part-time with Cru at Boise State; I'm so excited that I get to go overseas to do there what I've already been doing here! There is so much to say - and still yet to process - of how I see that God is calling me to go, the timing of being in Russia, the patience & trust I learned in waiting to find out where I will be going, and what God is doing in my heart now as I prepare to go. "Excitement" really is an understatement!

Now that I've spilled the beans, I'll feel more freedom to post/write about the process -- I'm excited to share it with you all! Let me know if you have any questions or want more information. Otherwise, please consider praying for me as I move toward this major transition with all of the work and preparation that lies ahead in the next few months. 




Romans 10:11-17 (MSG)

"Scripture reassures us, “No one who trusts God like this—heart and soul—will ever regret it.” It’s exactly the same no matter what a person’s religious background may be: the same God for all of us, acting the same incredibly generous way to everyone who calls out for help. “Everyone who calls, ‘Help, God!’ gets help.”

But how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them? And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it? That’s why Scripture exclaims,
A sight to take your breath away!

Grand processions of people
    telling all the good things of God!
But not everybody is ready for this, ready to see and hear and act. Isaiah asked what we all ask at one time or another: 
“Does anyone care, God? Is anyone listening and believing a word of it?” 
The point is: Before you trust, you have to listen. 
But unless Christ’s Word is preached, 
there’s nothing to listen to."

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My Forever Hope

I was stung by the words of a student at Boise State yesterday who responded to the question, "What do you put your hope in?" with: mankind's potential for greatness. So, you're putting your hope in your fellow man? Wow. That is actually heartbreaking to me. People fail constantly. We are bent toward evil and have a sinful nature that pushes us away from God; this is not the type of being that I'd choose to place my hope.

BUT...

I am so thankful that we don't have to stay there, stuck in our sin.

I'm thankful that God has a good PLAN for His people.

I'm thankful that even though our natural instinct may draw us away from God, He continues to pursue us relentlessly. His "love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me" (Jesus Culture, One Thing Remains // music video).

I'm thankful that "God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16, NIV)

I'm thankful that my hope & my future are found in Jesus Christ.

I'm thankful that I can claim freedom in Christ as a daughter of the One True King.
Galatians 5; 2 Corinthians 6:18

----------------------------------

I've been thinking a lot about David lately in reading the Psalms. His words are so full of passion and emotion. Not fake emotion, and not overly spiritualized/religious emotion either. It's raw, real, and relatable. For example, take a look at the difference between Psalm 102 and 103:

"Hear my prayer, Lord;
let my cry for help come to you. 
Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress.
Turn your ear to me;
when I call, answer me quickly.

For my days vanish like smoke;
my bones burn like glowing embers.
My heart is blighted and withered like grass;
I forget to eat my food.
In my distress I groan aloud
and am reduced to skin and bones. 
I am like a desert owl,
like an owl among the ruins." 
Psalm 102:1-6

"Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise His holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul, 
and forget not all his benefits--
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed."
Psalm 103:1-6

I resonate with the contrast here between the two different thought processes!

I'm not a scholar on the book of Psalms, so I don't know if these two chapters were necessarily written together, but I do know that they were written by the same man. I appreciate that the same man can express such utter depression, sadness, fear, and loneliness, then turn immediately to praising God with everything inside him! 

It sounds to me like a "Yeah, but..." situation.

"Yeah, life is hard, but God truly is faithful to provide; He will never leave us nor forsake us."

"Yeah, you will experience trouble in this world, but take heart, because [Jesus] has overcome the world!" (John 16:33)

"Yeah, you feel lonely, but God still sees you and loves you."

"Yeah, you may not know what decision to make, but God knows what your future holds; it's all under control."

My heart can hold both real emotion and wrestling as well as the desire to trust God, praise Him, and know Him more. This is especially encouraging because David, in all of his very real temptations and struggles, is called by God a "man after His own heart" (Acts 13:22). 

I want that to be true of me. I want to be known by God as a woman who reflects His heart.

I'm thankful that HE is my hope, not whatever I can muster up or find on my own. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I Quit the "What ifs"

I went on a hike yesterday for two reasons.
1. I love hiking and the weather has been PERFECT for adventures in the foothills.
2. I've been feeling especially antsy for the last week or so and I just needed to get out and have some REAL time with God.




I knew it wasn't just a random hike; I was definitely hoping to get something out of it. I wanted needed to hear from the Lord. I was desperate for the kind of peace that can only come from Him. I was getting too tangled up in my own emotions, which was starting to drive me crazy.

At the beginning of the trail, equipped with my awesome chacos, camelbak hydration pack, and sunglasses, I prayed this simple, straight-from-the-gut prayer: 

"What is it, God? I know I need to hear something from You... what am I supposed to be learning in all of this?"

This is the response that came from that questioning:

Life is full of unknowns. The reality is, we never have complete control (no matter what illusion we try to hold onto). But there are some times that we feel more out of control than normal. It's in those times when you have no idea what's coming next, and the thought of getting caught off guard in any number of life scenarios makes you feel sick.

I realized that I've been playing the "what if" game with just about every area of life. I play the game, try to figure out the end result, make a million different potential paths to get there, and in the end have gained no more control over my life than when I first started. It's pointless. A waste of time. AND, only perpetuates things like pride, selfishness, lack of trust, impatience, and discontentment. (i.e., all of the things I try to avoid)

"What if ___?" (x600 different possible blanks)

"What if I don't make it?"

"What if they don't like me?"

"What if this is not what I expected?"

"No matter what that blank happens to be this moment, is it still worth it to follow me?"- Jesus 

Yes. No hesitation. No matter what fills that blank - no matter what I'm contemplating or worried about at this moment - it's all worth it to follow Jesus with all of my life. I still choose Him over anything else. 

If that's the case, then SO WHAT?
That whole argument makes whatever the "what if" blank is, suddenly irrelevant.
Invalid
Null and Void

Therefore, Kailene, you need to change your attitude and get over your selfish worrying and complaining!

"Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?'" Matthew 16:24-26

Yes. He is more than worth it, no question.

Just like in that picture above, sometimes you can't see the whole journey. There are parts that are blocked from your view and you have to keep moving forward in order to see what the path looks like. There are lots of quick turns, ups-and-downs, and unexpected boulders to climb over, but that doesn't mean you won't get to the end. It doesn't mean that the path ceases to exist, but if you don't press on, even with an obstructed view, you will never get to experience the process.

You can't decide how you're going to get over that big boulder that's around the corner until you get right up to it and figure out how to take the next few steps.

Stop getting yourself caught up in the stressful whirlwind of "what if" -- it's not a very fun game, and ultimately, distracts you from your Father God who has it all under control.

Keep pursuing HIM, not all the made up scenarios in your head that haven't even happened yet, nor do you know that they will. Surrender everything. Trust in every way. Believe that He knows what is best for you and will bring whatever that "best" is to fruition.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Real Change: What's your response?

I'm so thankful that God knows about change before I do.

Because if I was the omniscient one in charge, I would probably hide in my bedroom and snuggle safely in my comfy chair rather than head out into the crazy world.

Sometimes I make myself laugh. One day I'm all about adventure and independence and blazing my own trail. The next day I freak out at the first sign of something new and unpredictable. I told a friend recently, "I was 100% excited about it, until I remembered that I hate change."

Exhibit A: My gym changed locations. 

Really, this is not a big deal. In fact, it's an upgrade from the original place! But the other day when I drove over to the new gym, all ready to get my workout on, I turned off my car... sat there for a minute... and realized that I did not want to go in. I started to feel anxious and think up excuses about not having enough time to exercise before my meeting later that morning.

I should probably just go home. What if all of the ellipticals are taken (my "go to" machine) and I just don't know what to do with myself? What if I don't know where the drinking fountain is and I wander around like an idiot? I know that this place is bigger than the last one; what if I feel alone and just get overwhelmed and lost in there?!

The best part is that they were still finishing construction on the gym, so that location doesn't actual open for another week and a half. I felt like I had just gotten out of taking a big test, and it had nothing to do with actual exercise because I just drove over to the other location. That means it all had to do with working out in a NEW place. The relief I felt about going back to the old, familiar gym is rather embarrassing. 

How silly to get worked up about a new gym location, a mile from the old one, where I'm already a member and don't talk to anyone anyways???

I have been traveling by myself since I was seven, helped lead international mission trips, and just recently graduated with my bachelor's degree... you would THINK that I'd be able to handle life change, especially a minor one like going to the gym in a different building. 

That situation, simple as it may be, I think points to the condition of my heart in regards to change. 
[Maybe my current season of life influenced my response to the new gym location?]

I think it points to the part of my heart that struggles to trust the Lord who happens to be all-knowing even when I feel all-lacking. I know that even if I had the knowledge of what is to come, it could all change in a moment. Planning can create a false sense of security. I'm not saying don't plan; I'm saying don't put all your stock in the plan. If your trust is in Jesus and you believe that His plans for you are good, then there is nothing to worry about, EVER! Living for God is quite the adventure. There are so many opportunities to learn to rely more and more on the Lord. 


"She is clothed with strength and dignity, 
and she laughs without fear of the future." 
Proverbs 31:25, NLT

I want to be that woman! Full of strength and dignity, and free from fear of the future. 

How do you respond when change pops up? What about when things don't go as planned, or you are moving into a new situation? Do you fear the unknown? 

What does that response show about your view of God? 




"Search me, God, and know my heart; 
test me and know my anxious thoughts. 
See if there is any offensive way in me, 
and lead me in the way everlasting." 
Psalm 139:23-24


"For I am the Lord your God who takes 
hold of your right hand and says to you, 
Do not fear; I will help you." 
Isaiah 41:13