Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Pursued By The God of Grace by Kathryn of Our Tiny Big Life

I am continuing with guest posts from bloggers who have not only a passion for photography, but a love for Jesus.  I am honored to have Kathryn from Our Tiny Big Life posting.  After reading her post be sure to click over and visit her. 

Since many of us have never met, Let me start by just saying, “Hi! I’m Kathryn. Mom of two. Wife to one. Writer, worshipper, recovering perfectionist.” That’s the short list. You’ll know me better by the time we’re done here!

I am writing today simply to share my heart, and I’m humbled at the opportunity. I’m not here because I’ve got things figured out. Quite the opposite.

I am a work in progress. You, too? Good. We’re going to get along very well.

I couldn’t be more honored to be guest posting for Amber today. Her blog is so full of inspiration and beauty. I’m thrilled she would consider having me here, and I want to thank her for hosting this series.

I think we often underestimate the potential impact for Christ we can have by sharing our stories. We sometimes think that it doesn’t really matter or that no one could possibly be interested. The truth is, we need each other’s words. They are counsel and encouragement and beacons of hope for those who feel most alone. There is joy in shared journeys.

My faith journey began when I was only five years old and walked weeping down the aisle of our Baptist church to tell the pastor, “I love Jesus.”

Some might say that was the moment I came to God. But, actually, He has been after me since before I was born. And I’ve discovered something as real to me as breathing in the three decades since my first faith declaration: He is a God who pursues. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to draw us back to His heart.

How often do you consider Jesus in that light? As the One who “came to us” {1 Timothy 1:15}. Or God as the Father of the prodigal, who ran to meet his son and embrace him BEFORE he even had time to say he was sorry {Luke 15:20}; the relentless shepherd in search of just one lost sheep {Matthew 18:14}.

I was once convinced that I was the one who had to do the work. Type A perfectionist folks like me tend to feel that way about everything. It’s on my shoulders to do right, be right, get it right.

I lived so much of my life under a weight of fear that if I didn’t hold myself together, I was going to fall apart.

Ironically, the harder I pulled and the tighter I gripped the edges of my life, the worse things got. I had all the teaching under my belt from growing up in church. God is love. God is faithful. But these were really just words to me. I knew plenty about God, but I never took seriously the thought of handing over control to Him.

I had no idea how to trust and release.

He who trusts in himself is a fool. {Proverbs 28:26} A fool. That was me.

I was a pretty package on the outside, following the rules, being everybody’s good girl. But, inside I was withering. I tried to prove my worth with achievement, chased social approval, agonized over my appearance, made terrible relationship choices and spent countless nights in tears wondering, “What am I doing wrong?”

I found a good guy, said “I do” and entered married life hunkered under insecurity. After having the two most beautiful girls ever conceived [I’m slightly biased] and with a devoted husband by my side, I thought I could finally carve out a nice, peaceful life for myself and everything would make sense. But eight years into marriage, I found myself on a church retreat, looking my husband straight in the eyes and saying, “I don’t think I can do this anymore.”

And I was right. I couldn’t. Not marriage. Not motherhood. Not anything. I was finally breaking to the reality that under my command, my life had become a wreck. Left to my own, I squander everything worthwhile.

That was a turning point weekend for my marriage and the beginning of a whole new approach to life for me . . . and it started with just a few words prayed over me at that retreat that I would learn to “let go.”

Let go. Lean. Trust. Fall into the everlasting arms. The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. {Deuteronomy 33:27}

I cried. Hard. I asked my husband’s forgiveness. I waved the white flag of surrender. The journey is far from over, of course, but I haven’t been the same since.

I wholeheartedly believe that God has me right where He wants me, that He started the work and is the only One able to finish it.

I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it. {Philippians 1:6}

Katie’s Lesson #4 is my numero uno: God knows you better than you know yourself. And He loves you more than you can comprehend. Move over to the passenger's seat and give Him the steering wheel. At times it may feel like you're swerving through traffic, but He will not let you crash and burn.

And Jill said it perfectly: It is the greatest deal – I get to let go so GOD CAN!

My life isn’t perfect now. Not even close, and it never will be in this lifetime. But, I’m learning to embrace the imperfection as an opportunity for God to do what only He can do. I consider it a gift now just to breathe, whisper thanks, kiss my girls on the forehead, take pictures of flowers and hold my husband’s hand.

If there’s something I hope to pass on as a mother, a writer, a friend and a lover of Christ, it’s the lesson that life is about the little moments and growing gratitude for a God that never stops pursuing and never lets us go.

I hope you’ll stop by Our tiny BIG Life sometime and say “hi!” The story of the tiny offering of our lives isn’t BIG.
But, the Author of it is.
You can read other guest posts in this series


Ashley Sisk said...

What a powerful message and I can completely relate. I remember all those years where I thought my perfectly designed plan couldn't get any better...but as I too learned that he has an even better plan for me if I let go. Thanks so much for sharing your story Kathryn...and letting go. Your life is one that I admire.

Courtney said...

Powerful, indeed! Wow. Thank you, Kathryn, for another glimpse into your journey with God. It's so hard to let go and let God. But when we finally do it's magical. Beautiful post, Kathryn!

MLE said...

I love this post!! Powerful, truthful words. I try to embrace every imperfect day.

Rosie Nixon Fluerty said...

"I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it."

Amen Kathryn - and what a powerful post. We're all a work in progress if we just let the Lord take the lead. All we need is faith as He knows what's best for us.

Unknown said...

This post is amazing. I have no words really... and you both know me well enough to know that is a small miracle, lol!