My daughter, Aimee, is eating now. She is nine months old and the grab, squash, throw, pile, disperse, shove, and resist game has begun. Meanwhile I watch, learn, observe, take cues, try to out-smart her, teach her, feed her. Quite the ordeal. Every day. My latest strategy is to put one spoon in her hand, while I feed her directly with another. Incredible how well she eats when she feels in control. Selah.
This morning I took note of an interesting pattern. Aimee will take great care to protect her food when she is hungry. It goes straight from her tray to her mouth. If she drops it, she goes on a hunt for it. Her adorable head hangs far over the side of the highchair in pursuit of lost food. Each and every parcel is valued and protected. Until, she is full. Then, it all changes. The food has no defender, no protector, no securement to its intended mission. It’s anarchy for the food, and for me.
Hunger keeps us focused. It helps us protect what we need. It forces our attention to the destiny of a thing and strengthens us to see it arrive there. When we lose our hunger, we stop protecting what we need. We start wasting our time, efforts, energy, and perhaps throwing off our tray of life the very things that keep us healthy. It is similar with desire; desire is a form of hunger. Apathy is a friend to no one.
Do you have it?
Do you want it?
Do you want it back?
God is eager to answer your prayer for spiritual hunger. Just ask. Pause. Pray this with me now, Father, I ask that you would renew and ignite my hunger for You.
Grab a pen: Are you feeling apathetic? When did it start? Give it to Jesus. What does He have for you instead? Re-write this in your own words, "I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water." Psalm 63:1
I pray that your spiritual hunger would be re-ignited by Friday this week, and in that you would experience a renewed protection in your life of the things you most need. Have a great week!
p.s. Ruby Joy Audiobook releases soon! I will post links to it as soon as it is posted!
This letter dispatches from an unexpected scene. My husband tested positive for COVID recently, and our lives entered a spin cycle as a result. Today is our last day in this quarantine. We are all fine. My greatest challenge has been discouragement. I wonder if discouragement is the greater threat to our world these days.
My compassion deepened in the last ten days for people. The isolation, the single parenting, the unsolicited fear responses, the uncertainties, the cancellations, and the mounds of laundry and disinfecting are not a pleasant bunch of herbs for life. My hat is tipped to all of you for your own courageous journeys in the last year. Your chin up is no small feat! Meanwhile, there is less to be afraid of than we anticipated, a lot less.
The silver lining in this time for me is the remembrance that the less choices I have, the more likely I am to choose God. Limited options press us into our best option, dependence on the Father. The less we have, the more we lean on Him. In the downsizing, the quiet, the loneliness, the sadness, and the losses there is an invitation to drink from the Fountain of Life. It never runs dry.
Grab a Pen: List the ways you feel limited right now. Next to that list, list the ways that these very things make a way for you to move into greater dependence on the Father.
Have a great week, friend, and if yours is as unexpected as mine – chin up – we’re going to get through this!
My feet pounded the treadmill as my mind pounded my soul about that thing that hurt me. Offense has its way of burying its ugly head into our internal lives until we feel all at once trapped by it's claws without an easy escape.
Mercy triumphs over judgement, I hear His still small voice interrupting my race of self-defense. I do not keep a record of wrongs. "But you are Jesus," I hear myself flatly respond to God through my panting, followed by a quick look around to assure no one is in earshot. Yes, I am Jesus. And, I do not keep a record of wrongs.
If He does not keep a record of wrongs, the One who stands in perfection, holiness, and purity, who am I to assume the right to hold unto a judgement?
Friends, we must let it go.
Can I let it go?
Judgement will eat us alive, while convincing us that it deserves to be fed more. We don't have a right to hold judgements against others, we lost that right when we received Jesus' gift to negate the judgement we deserve. Mercy triumphs over judgement (James 2:13). We are the beneficiaries of that truth, and it is our honor and joy to freely give it away to others.
Grab a pen: Is there someone you have been counting their wrongs against you? Are you willing to stop keeping that record, and give it to Jesus? What does He have for you instead?
May the unspoken burden of judgement fall off of you this week as you courageously repent and find love again in that space within. Have a great week!
Sometimes our relationship with God feels dark.
Dark is an invitation.
Quiet is an announcement.
Focus is a choice.
"Songbirds are taught to sing in the dark, and we are put into the shadow of God's hand until we learn to hear Him. When you are in the dark, listen, and God will give you a very precious message for someone else when you get into the light." Oswald Chambers
Maybe ... this time in your life is more about listening than talking.
Maybe ... the clarity is not in another round of processing.
Maybe ... the people around you know even less than you.
If He seems quiet, you may want to become quiet too.
Shhh ... He is speaking.
Teaching you how to sing.
A new song.
Like, a songbird.
Not the best way to spend your morning.
Not the best way to spend your evening.
In a tail spin of activity, I am reminded that the way that I spend my mornings and evenings determines the culture of my days and nights. When my morning hosts prayer, purpose, and intentionality, it pours over my whole day like a pitcher of brewed tea prepared for enjoyment. When my evenings hosts connection, reflection and rest, it undergirds my nights like a soundtrack designed for renewal. On the other hand, when my morning and evening rhythms are clouded, noisy, disorganized, or lost, my personal culture feels quite the same - clouded, disorganized, noisy, and lost.
One very simple way to get your life back from a spinning disorientation is to re-order your morning and evening routines. This is your invitation, yours and mine:
When the sun peaks up over the horizon at the break of day or bids us farewell at its closing, it is an announcement of prime time. How we utilize that prime time sets the tone for the other time we have. Days and nights are both designed to be gifts, but how we approach them instructs them on how to approach us.
Grab a Pen: Write out your desired morning and evening routines. Dream with God. Scale it back (if needed) to something realistic and attainable. Push-restart on your morning and evening routine this week.
Let's do this!
I am reflecting on the experience of public ministry. It’s all a big experiment. You stand up there with the offering of weeks of preparation and God strips you bear in response. You stare out at the audience silently and they think you are praying. If you are praying, it’s the panic lane prayer. You forget what you were going to do, and why. Everyone stares at you waiting for something profound to come out of your mouth. You wonder if you will ever have a helpful thought to share again. Humility.
And then, His glory.
It is always improvisation on some level, and more often than not a performance of divine grace more than anything else. The supernatural never stems from a natural performance, but a gritty natural preparation does serve a profound supernatural demonstration - if the former can be surrendered wholly. Most often, your precious performance dies a painful death, and then … the supernatural takes the stage. In simple terms, step aside.
Grab a pen: What are you leading right now? How can you "step aside" and make more room for the Holy Spirit in it?
Have a great week, let's be carvers of space for God!
I spent the first days of this year by the sea. I admit - the ocean is one of my closest friends. There I find fragments of something I am always searching for. The sea's edge holds the fragrance of eternity; vastness, intensity, quietness, depth, and unforgettable dances with light. The tide is an unending poem, threaded with mysteries and metaphors that matter.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11
Eternity is in our hearts; we are searching for it. We live with an ache to touch and experience that which transcends ourselves. If we are honest, most of us struggle with contentment. We try hard to settle down and love where and what we are. But, do we? Do we not ache to experience, find, and discover - more? Maybe we ache for more because there is more. Maybe this ache is not an injury to resolve but a compass to follow. Maybe, His world is calling us to live more aware of our true Home.
Grab a pen: When have you felt aware of eternity? What does it tell you?
Have a great week, let's look beyond!
Let's listen for longer ...
A New Year & Listening Prayer, Part 2! Take a few minutes to ask God these questions. Write down the first thing that comes to mind. Wait and take note of what you see/feel/sense/hear in response. (If you missed Part 1, you can access it here -->).
Listening creates space for something outside of ourselves to bring influence and perspective. We are always listening to something; sometimes by choice, other times by proximity. What we listen to informs our perspective and lifestyle. Let's determine to listen to God ... for longer.
The voice of the LORD Is powerful; the voice of the LORD is majestic. The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD shatters the cedars of Lebanon. Psalm 29:4-5.
January. It's listening time.
Have a great week! Happy New Year!
It is my practice to spend the first few days of the new year listening. Below are a few listening prayer prompts that I am working through this week. I invite you to join me! Grab a pen. Ask God these questions. Write down the first thing that comes to mind. Value the thoughts, pictures, feelings, and words that emerge as you listen to God's voice. Don't analyze in the process. Simply capture what you sense. Weigh it later.
Far too often we spin our wheels investing in things that do not matter, and often "for God." His voice of friendship and council cuts through that fog and instructs on how to focus our lives.
Take time to listen in January.
January. It's listening time.
Have a great week! Happy New Year!
To those who grieve on Christmas, who have experienced the loss of a loved one, or found yourself in an harsh circumstance today, perhaps disappointed, living with a loss of some kind, I want to say, "Hello" just to you this morning! This greeting is for and about you.
It can be easy to feel like you are crawling along on the outskirts of this day, pressed outside the worldwide joy parade by a sorrowful circumstance. You are watching it happen, trying hard not to be sad while the world sings, "Glory!" It can feel like the festivities are more like arrows to your heart than gifts, the sounds and visuals of the day a blaring reminder of what you are living without. In particular, if it is your first Christmas without a loved one, it is likely no less than a hike up Mount Everest to make it through this day emotionally. Even now, for me, years later, I still miss those who beat me Home. Christmas holds amplified emptiness when those we love are not with us in it.
I have a word for you. Hear me, beloved! You are not on the outskirts of this day. Do you know what everyone is gathered around? They are celebrating the coming of King Jesus, who is a man who was familiar with sorrow and well-acquainted with grief. I believe, although it is rarely acknowledged, that every single twinkling light is a sign that there is hope for those who are brokenhearted. This man Jesus came, and courageously pursued those who were most hurting. He is still doing that very thing today, on Christmas. His eyes and heart are towards you. You are not alone. You are not outside of what "Christmas" is about. You are actually the reason for this season.
YOU are the reason He came.
You grumpy grieving sorrowful beautiful person.
Perhaps feeling very much alone.
"He is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
Today is a holiday about Jesus, and Jesus sees you in your grief and loves you more deeply than anyone ever could. He is near to you, nearer than breath. It is possible to be comforted today and benefit deeply from the good news that sits at the core of this holiday. Jesus came, and is still coming, to save, rescue, and redeem those who are hurting. I declare to you – beauty for ashes, joy for mourning, and praise for despair. Isaiah 61:1-3 belongs to you! Unwrap it. It’s all yours. You are at the center of what this day is about.
My love to the grieving today!
Love, Katie Luse.
Katie Luse is a speaker and writer who is passionate about navigating life with eyes on a hunt for beauty.