Imperfect People

Imperfect People in love with a perfect God

Share your story

Imperfect People - Imperfect People in love with a perfect God

What if Mary had said no?

I love the Christmas Manger scene.  Sitting so pretty on most mantles at Christmas it’s a beautiful reminder of the miraculous day.

As a mom I can’t help but stare a little longer at Mary.  I am imagining all that she might be thinking.  Not only right there at the manger but at the very beginning when the Angel said she would have the baby.

Nativity_tree2011

What if Mary had said no?

Have you ever considered this?

Mary who is engaged to be married is being told by an angel that she is to carry the Lord’s son.  There are about a million things she can be worried about.

Not only is she facing possible execution, her fiancé leaving her, and ridicule…  In the unlikely event that everyone believes her I think it would be totally valid for her to think: What about me and my plans?  I am about to get married!!  I don’t want to have to alter the wedding dress!  I like being a regular girl, everyone is going to ask me tons of questions!   I really am too busy for all this right now!  God can you find someone else?

Can you imagine this in today culture?  What with all our “plans and schedules”  I’m afraid we would just be too busy for such a task!

bows

But instead of any of these excuses she says:

 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be with me just as you say.”

I think Mary “got” something that we often just don’t comprehend.

It wasn’t about her.

She had the amazing privilege to be the mother of Jesus because she was willing to be “the Lord’s servant.”

This is HUGE

And her self sacrificing doesn’t end there.  Imagine you have agreed to carry God’s baby and it comes time for you to deliver.  I don’t know but I’m thinking maybe an angel comes and offers a big palace for me to deliver and it is a totally pain free child birth complete with people fanning me and feeding me grapes.

But as we know from the story she has to make a long journey on a donkey only to find there is NO ROOM for them at the inn and she has no choice but to deliver Jesus in a manger.

You would think Mary would be shouting,
“UMM HELLO HAVING GOD’S SON HERE??? Can someone ELSE sleep in the manger for crying out loud?!!”

Yet Mary knew this wasn’t about her…it was ALL about Jesus. 

Every piece of her story, her pain, and even her frustration was all part of the beautiful story that we still remember today and will remember for generations to come.  I wonder what parts of our lives, are weaving together to ultimately be part of a bigger story?

The best we can ever hope for in this life is a supporting role to the most amazing lead character that ever was or ever will be…Jesus.    So many of us are fighting to further our own little kingdom.  We are wrapped up in making our name famous, when if we could understand it’s not about us:  It’s about Jesus.

While I certainly believe Mary was the one God choose but what if, for example, she had said no.  She would have been free to do live her own little “important” life not to be inconvenienced with the fear of being stoned and shaming her fiancé and family.   Yet her  own little plans and agenda would have died with her generations ago and we would never even know her name.  

Making His name famous, furthering His kingdom, and doing HIS work.  His name is the only one that will last through the generations.  Why is it so hard for us to realize this?

I can get so caught up in my “own little kingdom”  Am I listening for God’s direction?

Mary was truly the Lord’s servant.  She put her own plans, fears, and excuses to the side.  None of that matters when the God of the universe has other plans.

 
 

10 things I wish I could tell all single ladies (well all women really)

I lead a college girls bible study. They are beautiful and precious young girls. As we met last week I couldn’t help but remember these ladies are all someone’s daughter.  Now that we have our own two girls I know what that kind of love is like.

Then I thought of our heavenly father And how much he loves every girl, all of his daughters!  Daughters of the one true King!

IMG_1671

But we, as women, forget this. We think we are not good enough.

We live in a sick and twisted culture. Sex and relationships are cheap, easy, and we pretend like there are no strings attached. Casual sex is laughed off on sitcoms and movies. Photo-shoped images of “perfect” women are all over websites and magazines. Women are left confused. We end up jumping through hoops trying to be the prettiest, dress the best, or say and do the right things to catch a man’s eye.

If I could tell all young women (well all women actually) a few things, it would be this:

1) You are the daughter of a KING. I believe that makes you a princess.   With great care and intention the creator of the stars, flowers, rain, and the moon also made you.  Nothing was a mistake.  Everything about you is a work of art.

2) Yes even you
To everyone who read #1 and thought, well that doesn’t apply to me. Yes it does.

rectenwald-family-2011-10wm

3) Imagine yourself as a rare and precious jewel..because well you are. When it comes to dating, ask yourself, “Does this guy deserve a date with a rare and precious jewel?” Does he treat you like you are a daughter of God? Do not underestimate your worth!

4)Are you the person you are looking for…is looking for?
Do you act like you believe you are royalty?  Most of my single friends say they want a man who is a spiritual leader. One who is seeking after Christ even more than he is seeking her. The only problem is they are looking for him in a bar while they are sloppy drunk.  A spiritual leader is looking for a girl who is also seeking God.
A woman’s heart should be so close to God that man has to seek God to find her.

5)Help a guy out
We know from research (and from asking any guy) that men are visual. Marketing knows this well by putting half naked women to sell their product. Dressing modestly not only makes you appear more respectful, it also helps the guys who are trying to guard their eyes. I know as women we think nothing of a low cut shirt or barley there shorts but men think about it…a LOT. Help them to keep their mind’s pure and help yourself by leaving something to the imagination.

6) Be careful about making marriage/relationships your idol
If you find yourself doing things you wouldn’t normally do or questioning what you always thought was wrong, then you have an idol. Ladies, PLEASE realize your worth in Christ before you try to let a guy define your worth for you.

7) He can’t be all things. From an early age we are taught a man will bring us our, “happily ever after.” Not only is that untrue, it is unfair. No man can carry that kind of burden. You should get your fulfillment in Christ. He is the ONLY thing that will TRULY complete you (i.e. my favorite story EVER in the bible) Finding the right guy can compliment you but not complete you (sorry Jerry McGuire).

8) It’s more than “just sex” Culture tells us that sex is just physical. Yet everyone who has had sex outside of marriage is left with emotional scars and we wonder why it turned out to be way more than just physical. Everyone pretends like it doesn’t hurt but we are designed to become one with just one. Deep down we all know it is more than just physical. This is why it would be better to be beat up than raped.

God tells us that sex outside of marriage is different than any other sin. Not because he judges harder or loves you any less but because He knows how deeply it scars.

1Corinthians 6:18 There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as
much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, “The two become one.” Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we
must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids  commitment and intimacy,
leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never “become
 one.” There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies
that were made for God-given and  God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you
is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God
owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body. 

9)“Try it before you buy it” is ridiculous.
I would like to buy a billboard in every major city that says this:
Sex does not require practice. 

100 out of 100 people would rather hear from their future spouse , “Here is all of me, for all of you” instead of “I am a sex expert”

Wedding-Vows-Traditional1

Sex is fragile and powerful. Just like a fire, it is beautiful in my fireplace, where it belongs. but in the middle of my living room it is destructive and leaves permanent damage.

10)If you have made bad choices in the past, today is a new day. Start today KNOWING the FACT that in Christ you have a clean slate. You can have a fresh start. Psalm 103:12 says just as far as the east is from the west he has separated us from our sin. You DON’T have to be who you used to be. Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17. Leave that old person behind and be who God created you to be.

Whether you think this is old fashioned. whether you think this is good for me but not for you, that’s ok, but the outcome and consequences are always the same. It’s not a matter of preference, it’s a matter of design.

photo

You were designed for something so much greater than what our culture has told you.  You are a work of art, formed to show the love of Christ, a relentless, unconditional selfless love to your perfect mate.  One person.  Protect your heart and your body.  You deserve to experience love the way God intended.

Please check out my inspiration for much of this and arguablly one of the best sermons series ever below.
New Rules for Love Sex and Dating by Andy Stanley 

It’s fun to stay at the Y.M.C.K???

On our ride home the other day our 5 year old started singing, “YMCK” complete with the (wrong) hand motions.

Like any good parent I realize the significance and importance of teaching our children the CORRECT way to sing this disco classic lest you be the crazy person at wedding receptions doing it wrong.  So I jumped in, “No it’s actually, “YMCA, like this see?”

ymca-of-the-rockies1-300x250

I expected, “oh well clearly, you are older, wiser, and such an incredible dancer (ok maybe not that part) then you surly know the correct version of the song, thanks oh wise mother of mine for your guidance.” …or something like that.

But instead she was INSISTENT that it was Y.M.C.K.  Now several days later she is still 100% sure her version is correct.  Happy to sing the song incorrectly while dancing across the living room floor.

It occurred to me…this is so me and God.  Time and time again I say, “no my life should look like this God”  I can think of times in my past especially when I was young when I thought:

I SHOULD have got that job GOD!!
Me and this guy should have worked out!!
I don’t want to move Or I want to move.
I know what is best!!!

And I can see God, knowing the correct way my life should go, knowing what is best and how crazy my life would be if I “sang the wrong lyrics”  Just smiling…Yes honey that’s one way to “sing” but I know the best way.

I bet I seem a little ridiculous when I am insistent I know what is best.  I have a limited vantage point,  limited resources, brain power etc etc…. yet in my stubbornness I can STILL become convinced my way is best.

There have been many times where I have cried, and fought it, yet God’s way won out in the end.  I don’t know why I am ever surprised but His way is ALWAYS better, ALWAYS perfect, and ALWAYS necessary.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:1-2

Today she sang “homie” instead of “holy” to her seeds family worship CD I’m not gonna lie I thought it was kinda funny but, I should probably correct her before her sunday school teacher starts asking her to rap.

Just like the song lyrics our father knows SO MUCH better than we do.  He is fully capable and fully aware of what is best for your life, we just have to let go of our way (it’s usually wrong anyway) and trust in His.

IMG_2350


 

Whoever can be trusted with very little…

Hello my name is Katie Bu….oh wait is that a butterfly???

This is my typical, terribly distracted, self.  Yesterday I found my phone on the top shelf of our kids closet (where I was organizing).  And I have so many tabs open on my browser I can hardly read the titles.

distracted

I just got a text, where was I?? Oh yes…

I feel God has been teaching me something lately.  This beautifully simple and ridiculously profound word….FOCUS.

I am the girl who read kisses from katie and was convinced I wanted to move to Africa and adopt 14 kids.  Bessie inspires me to adopt, Chrissy inspires me to move, and the Kebrdle’s inspire me to sell everything I have.

And in the midst of my “holy whining” (can we say oxymoron)  about how I wish I was doing more, God brought me to a very good point.

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.
Luke 16:10

focus-22

We have two young girls.  Am I sensitive to how God wants me to parent them?   I have a wonderful husband, have I told him lately how much I appreciate him?  I lead a college girls small group, have I invested enough into these amazing young women to illustrate God’s love for them?

FOCUS

Instead of whining about all I’m NOT doing, I am CHOOSING to FOCUS on all that God is doing through me.

And instead of thinking I would be better if was doing more, I have decided to CHOOSE to FOCUS and invest to let God be GREAT at what I am already doing.

I must be faithful first in the small things.  

Who knows what the future holds, but today, my ministry is where my feet are.  

Interview with a “regular” missionary

Do you ever think of missionaries as, like, AMAZING Christians? That they are somehow on a different level than the rest of us? I think they are out saving the world and I am just simply trying to not cuss when I stub my toe.

Well Today, I have the privilege of sharing an interview from friends that are very near and dear to my heart. We have known each other since before either of us were married. Names will be changed for security reasons.  

“Sarah” is the kinda friend I consider like a sister. I have called her 100 times for advice and she even cleaned my house when I was in the hospital during the birth of our youngest daughter.

Our husbands watch football together and we consider them some of our closest friends. Now, in a matter of days they are moving half a world away to share with people who have never heard the name Jesus.

It is amazing to watch friends as close as these, friends I know as real, goofy, playful and perfectly imperfect put feet to their faith as they become missionaries.

Enjoy this “interview” of sorts as you meet some new friends. I hope you see the authentic and REAL people through the screen and leave encouraged by the incredible work God can do in everyday people!

myWPEdit Image

1. Tell me how it came about that you were going to be missionaries?

For about 3 years we felt like God was calling us to missions, but we never felt like we were equipped or even ready. We had no specific place, and felt inadequate to the task. I mean, missionaries are like “super Christians”, and we are not. We both had somewhat shady pasts too, and certainly that wasn’t called for either, right?

In the end, it came down to a few things that convinced us. First, we realized that if we didn’t go, who would? There are over a billion people who need Jesus with no access to the gospel. Why shouldn’t we go if we are committed to loving people and seeing Jesus love change lives.

Second, we were afraid. Fear comes in all shapes and sizes and for us, the fear of the unknown, fear of what it would look like, and fear of things like kids’ schooling, etc. Our God is not a God of fear (Romans 8:15) and so we are blessed to be loved by Him so much that he calls us sons/daughters. Finally, it was through the obedience of others in sharing their story.

A couple we heard speak came to talk about their serving. They had kids our age, they were our age, and weren’t perfect Christians either. They just had a heart to serve and love on people. We realized that this wasn’t a specific call for some people, it is a call for all people.

Living a life for Christ is about sharing the gospel each and every day, wherever we find ourselves. We may happen to find ourselves 12,000 miles away, but we are called to the same purpose as anyone living here in the states. Not only is that empowering, but encouraging to know that we are all missionaries. We also picked up a copy of the book Radical by David Platt. Don’t read it if you aren’t ready, but 2 pages into the book, with tears streaming down my face, I realized that I had run from fear long enough. It was time to give that which Christ gave for me – everything.

2. What has this looked like in your day to day life, selling your house, quitting your job, telling your parents etc.?

The selling everything part is amazing. Freeing in every sense of the word. You just don’t realize how caught up you get in the stuff until you don’t have it anymore. It’s not easy, but knowing that your life is about something more than just the American dream is a very encouraging.

Whether or not you sell everything or just become that much more generous, a life without “stuff”, is a life more available to be filled by Him. One thing that we felt like God was impressing on us about our house, jobs, etc. was that even if we go and decide this isn’t for us, it’s still just “stuff” and they make more of it every day. We can always get more stuff, but the feeling of missing something amazing that God has for us, we can’t get that back. We can’t recreate that or take back the years we could have been serving Him.

It’s also a huge leap of faith, and that’s not easy either. Trusting God with your entire life is a little disconcerting, especially when you have no idea of what His plan is. However, when an artist is painting a canvas, the brush strokes may seem random to the viewer, but to the artist, each one has a specific purpose. It’s not clear at first, but God is painting a masterpiece with our lives too. All He asks is that we trust Hm to give us just what we need when we need it.

Telling people, especially our families, inevitably brings up questions about the kids and safety or other issues like organized activities, culture shift and even friends. This is hard, too, but one thing we decided early on was that the best thing we could do for our families, friends, and even our kids was to show them that above all, God desires obedience. We hope that in following Him we will show a life lived for His glory and one that points people towards Him.

myWPEdit Image

Photo by HB documentary

3. What are you most excited about on your missionary journey?

We love people, period. We have been praying for a genuine love for the people we’ll be serving in Asia, and God is rewarding that. We cannot wait to love on the people and share with them God’s amazing story.

All along we have looked at this is just another adventure, another destination — for the journey IS the destination! This is just another adventure and knowing that our kids will see some things and have experiences that almost no one else could ever have is a cool thought too. They’ll have a love for culture and people far beyond what we feel they could get here, so we’re excited to see how they do.

Finally, we can’t wait to see God glorified through our amazing team and the nationals we’ll be working with. Earlier this year I had the privilege of serving in Zambia and on the first day I experienced just a small piece of every nation and tribe praising God (see Revelation 7:9-10). You can’t imagine how awesome it is when God’s name is being praised among the peoples and this is the hope we have for each day of our journey.

4. What words of encouragement would you have for people who are interested in missions but think they are under qualified, not “spiritual enough” or just to intimidated to take that leap?

First, to quote the old cliche: God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called. When he called Matthew to a life of service, Matthew was sitting at a tax collector’s booth. Jesus didn’t tell him to clean up his life, then follow. Rather, He asked him to follow. He did, and the rest is history.

God is simply looking for willing servants, ready to make a radical sacrifice, but sharing in an eternal reward. If you are thinking about missions, even if you are thinking it might be for you, I’d ask that you begin to pray for God to break down the walls of fear and doubt, replace them with love and encouragement, and be willing to be obedient.

It requires no special qualifications, just that you love others and love God.

Won’t you join us in this mission? Won’t you join us in serving? It won’t be easy, but the rewards far outweigh the sacrifice.

myWPEdit Image

Photo by HB documentary

To follow their family on their journey please check out their blog and don’’t forget to subscribe!

This will change your life

What if I told you that you could be the happiest person on earth, starting today. You don’t need a 10 step process, a lecture series, or even large sums of money. It’s something you can start right away, it requires nothing more than a shift in focus. Allow me to explain:

myWPEdit Image

I’m reading One thousand gifts by Ann Voskamp. It is a VERY inspiring book. The author has walked through her fair share of hardships. When her sister died when they were both children, she saw tragedy crumble their family’s faith. As an adult, she became a humble farmers wife with six little ones. Life felt chaotic and mundane. Lies of fear and inadequacy filled her head. Most of us can relate.

Christ promised the abundant life to his followers, so why do many days I feel frustrated and overwhelmed?

Ann studied the scriptures and something kept coming out repeatedly….THANKFULNESS

And a lack of thankfulness when something goes astray.

In the very beginning, in the garden, Adam and Eve had all they ever wanted. Life was perfect, yet they were discontent. They thought they needed more.

What if we lived in a PURPOSEFUL way ACKNOWLEDING all of the many blessings around us?


Voskamp does just that, she started a journal of “1,000 gifts” journaling all the small and large blessings she saw around her everyday. It is truly life changing when you take the time to notice all of the gifts you never even noticed before.

I started this experiment myself just yesterday. With a 3 and 4 year old in tow we traveled to preschool with a mission, to notice all of the things of which we are thankful.

The short 15 min drive changed my whole outlook on the day. Here is what I discovered:

1) I am thankful for a car. There are many people who don’t have this luxury.

2) Roads for the car to travel. Smooth roads are a blessing. Just ask our friends in JInja.

3) With two little ones in the back they were thankful for everything that was their favorite color. My favorite color is red, just then two red trucks passed, one of the drivers was wearing a red hat. Something I certainly would have never noticed before.

4)As we got close to preschool I noticed the water tower downtown. I am so thankful for clean drnking water. And the thoughtless miracle that it flows freely from 5 faucets in our home (plus hoses outside!)

5) As we entered preschool the scrolling marque read, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”

1 Thessalonians 5:17-19

I walked away from preschool with a smile you couldn’t shake off. With a simple perspective shift I now realize I am overflowing with gifts and blessings everyday.



The one thing that I have learned is that it is extremely difficult to be discontent when I am actively thankful. –Gracefull mama

“Today, when stress mounts, I pray to dismount it with gratitude. I can only feel one feeling at a time, and I choose to give thanks at all times. Fight feeling with feeling!”- Ann Voskamp

The idea of the book is to change our perspective. There is soooo much to be thankful for that we never even notice, unless we put on a new pair of eyes. It is a practice, something I will have to discover and grow in everyday. Gratitude is contagious. And I am so thankful for this book to help open my eyes to all of my many blessings!

myWPEdit Image

What are you thankful for today?

Seasons of life

I wish you could hear the birds outside singing and smell the sweet air as I enjoy the screen door open on this beautiful spring morning. 
In a few months summer will bring its long hot days and it will soon be hard to even remember cool mornings and barren trees. 
But just as the seasons come and go so do seasons of our life. 
 
I recently met a friend who gave me priceless parenting advice.  She simply said,  “There is so much time before and after your kids are young to do all you want to do, enjoy the time when they are little, it is a short season of life.”
 
I realize this is not revolutionary information, but for me it was a simple reminder that we all have SEASONS of life. 
 
When we were newly weds and bought our first home I had a season of DIY and crafts. I painted everything I got my hands on and tried my best to fix everything with a glue gun. 
 
When we had two children in less than two years we were in survival season.  I honestly don’t remember much about those early months with both babies, but we made it through so I am considering that a good season. 
  
Currently our girls are two and four and I LOVE this stage.  They are a little more independent and sooo IMAGINATIVE.  I love watching our living room be transformed to a ball for a princess to dance or a doctors office for sick stuffed animals.
 
Today I rarely do any house hold projects, and I no longer have infants to care for, BUT I am cooking much more than I used to and working part time.
 
You canot be everything you want to be all in one season of life.  Give yourself grace remembering that your responsiblities change, your passions change, and God always places you in the right place at the right time. 
 
Seasons will come and go despite my efforts to make them stand still or rush them along. 
 
All I can do is BE PRESENT.  My life is taking place right before my eyes.  I can view my season and think it is not all I want or I can realize all i have and “stop to smell the flowers”
 
Wherever you are today I hope you have time to take in some spring and be thankful for your current season of life. 
Tell me about your season of life?

What is St. Patrick’s day really about?

Today when we celebrate all things green, pinch our friends and decorate with shamrocks I couln’t help but wonder where the tradition came from.  They called this Patrick fellow a Saint for some reason. 

Here is what I found out:

Patrick’s was born in Roman Britain in the fourth century, into a wealthy  family. His father and grandfather were deacons in the Christian church. At the age of sixteen, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken captive to Ireland as a slave.  He endured horrible treatment.  He was able to flee from captivity to the coast, where he would board a ship and return to Britain.

Once back in his homeland, he heard the voice of God telling him that he must return to Ireland and help the Irish turn to Christianity. He was more than hesitant to return in fear of becoming captured as a slave again.  But he stepped out in faith and returned to Ireland.

Through much opposition, he was able to spread the gospel and worked miracles in Ireland for 40 years.

 Irish folklore tells that one of his teaching methods included using the shamrock to explain the Christian doctrine of the Trinity to the Irish people. After devoting most of his life to spreading the gospel, he died on March 17, 461.  Becoming the day that we later celebrate St. Patrick’s day! (source)

The phrase “the wearing of the green”, meaning to wear a shamrock on one’s clothing, and living out the gospel.

Enjoy “the wearing of the green today”

Happy St. Patrick’s day!