Friday, July 24, 2015

the world and our hearts

The world. Our hearts.

Two nouns. 

Yet these two words-- world and hearts--have absolutely been wrecking me. 

The Lord is SO faithful. He is so merciful. He is so beautiful. 

Aloha from the big island, friends. I hope that wherever you are reading this from, that you're having an absolutely amazing Friday and that you realize your worth and that you're walking the path the Lord has for you. 

I continually keep telling my momma when I check in with her that I have been learning so much about Jesus that it literally is keeping me up at night. So much so that this is a scheduled post for Friday afternoon but really I'm typing away on this iPhone (which, is really difficult) at 2 AM because the Lord and I, we're just having a moment. We've been having a lot of them lately. And I'm so amazed by Him. I've loved the Lord for a very long time but continuing to FALL in love with Him is what's making this journey so much more fulfilling and precious. The Lord seeks us everyday. The fact that He loves EVERY soul but will still come wreck my heart at 2 AM on a Friday in the little town of Kona, Hawaii---it gives me chills.

So, back to the beginning. 

The world. Our hearts. 

I am so blessed to be here in Hawaii. I was looking through my camera roll today and realized an amazing truth. Even two months ago, my camera roll was full of Mexican food, my nieces, my best friends from the southeast, my kitty (RIP) and country concerts. But now? My camera roll is filled with worship services, teachings from Muslim converts, and weekend adventures with friends from Brazil, Philly, Hawaii, Korea, France, and Moldova. My life has been so radically impacted this past month that I have no words really. But, what I can say is my heart and what's on it. And what's on it is the world.

I've always been comfortable in Alabama. I was a good Christian. I taught Sunday school and went to weekly services. I paid for the car behind me at Starbucks. I posted my scriptures and read Jesus Calling. And, is that wrong? No. Absolutely not. I was a comfortable Christian. I prayed, worshiped and taught. But, I was comfortable. Do you think Jesus was always comfortable on earth? 

Absolutely not. 

He was homeless. He was tired. He was beat and rejected and killed. And you know why? Because the WORLD was on His HEART.

In small group last week, our "homework" was to start reading Romans. Well, I got a little carried away and read the whole book. And it's sitting really pretty at number two of my favorite books of the Bible after 1 Peter. Have you read it? If not, I challenge you to. I was researching for more understanding and basically Paul was writing to the Jewish Christians to confront them about their "holier than thou" attitude. And goodness, that hit me. Sometimes, regretfully, I carry a "holier than thou" attitude. "Oh I'm not a drug addict like her, oh I don't drink like him so the Lord must be SO proud of me." 

Ha. Ha. Ha. That's me laughing at myself. Because the Lord isn't proud of a proud heart. He really worked it out with me this weekend as I was reading that. I mean, wrestling with God, it's a thing, y'all. Anyways, chapters 10 and 11 are where I fell apart in His goodness and love. I'll sum up what I got out of the chapters but I strongly encourage y'all to read Romans--specifically these chapters. Paul is talking about how our vision and calling can mature from wanting to improve our cities to wanting to go to the ends of the WORLD. The Lord will literally put the entire WORLD in our HEARTS. To go. You won't always know where immediately or how or why. But you'll know that you want to go. 

"How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news." Romans 10:15

If you'll let me, jump over to 2 Corinthians 5:5 which says "now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." A favorite translation of mine of the Bible is the message version. So, guess what that translation says? "He puts a little of heaven in our HEARTS so that we never settle." Chill bumps for you, too? Woah, the Lord cares so much. He's so beautiful.

I was talking with a new friend here about how I never felt a loud voice from the Lord saying "Katelyn, do this." And what they said revolutionized my life. He said "maybe you haven't heard a loud voice yet because you ARE walking the path the Lord has called you to. He's closed the doors He doesn't want you walking through and you're trusting Him. You're listening to Him and you're not even realizing it. The Lord isn't going to always yell. He's going to whisper, and you have to be in tune with his HEART to hear it." I mean, it's a simple truth really. God is speaking to me. God does whisper to me. And he whispers to you, too. 

So, what has He been whispering to me? That He's putting the WORLD in my HEART to go. That's an exciting and terrifying and amazing feeling. Goodness, I get to have 2+ hour opportunities every night to worship and fall more in love with God. The world needs to hear about the love of God. The world needs you to have it in your HEART. So, will you pray for me? There's several options that will allow me to GO in the next seasons of my life. I am praying the God whispers to me when to go, where to go and how to go. 

Do you have the world in your heart? You may have to move some other stuff out. A broken relationship, a failed friendship, a distorted self view, worldly distractions or something of the sorts. But, friends, I promise if you move all that baggage out and let the world start to stir around in your heart, you'll be so full with joy that you'll get the innocence and excitement of when you first fell in love with Jesus back. I'm there now. It's revitalizing and exhilarating and brave and scary all at the same time. 

Jesus has put the WORLD on my HEART and you are a part of this world. So, if you need prayer for anything, please let me know. Remember, get the baggage out, let the world in. It's a pretty temporary home for us. 

Happy weekend! 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

burn the ship(s)

Aloha friends!

I hope that you're all having a wonderful Tuesday. I have had every intention of posting at least weekly updates while here in Kona but somehow I blinked and it's already been two weeks. And, goodness, what a breath of fresh air these few weeks have been.

YWAM has been the BEST thing that I could have ever decided to do for myself during this time in my life. I was so over Alabama in general and still having such an internal struggle with Nashville falling through. I came to Kona to get away, in a sense, and get myself together.

If you have been a reader here for any length of time, you know the basic story of how I came to know the Lord. I was saved when I was 5, baptized a few weeks later and never looked back. I never turned to partying or drinking or sex to find fulfillment in my life because I was always fulfilled by the Lord. I didn't need any of the "worldly" stuff that others seemed to turn to continually. I'm thankful for that. I'm thankful that I don't have some magnificent turn away from evil and towards the Lord story. I let that hinder my walk with Christ for a while because I thought I couldn't make a difference in others lives because my life simply was too boring. Too normal. Too "Christian-y" for anyone to want to listen. But, goodness, was I wrong.

That is a lie straight from the enemy to think that my (or your story) doesn't matter. Maybe you were the type A Christian like me. Maybe you use to be a prostitute or a drug dealer before you met the Lord. Maybe you've never done anything "bad" but you're living safely and not really impacting either. I want to challenge you to be more brave. To tell your story--because it matters. It matters a lot. 

I've learned to really value my time here in Kona. I have to wake up at 4:45 everyday and most days I'm not done with what we are doing until after dinner time. There IS downtime, too, though. I ran into Life Way a few weeks before leaving and just grabbed a couple of books that looked like they would be good to read. Yes, I know it's not okay to judge a book by it's cover, but I totally do it. And, you know what? About 89% of the time, I'm a pretty good judge, too. :) 

"Let's All Be Brave" is easily the most compelling, challenging and rewarding book I've ever read besides the Bible. I read the entire book in less than 2 hours. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to read what Annie (the author) was going to say next. Let me just tell you--I learned that I am NOT brave. Sure, lots of people have been so encouraging and sweet and emailing me about moving here for a few months--but I'm not brave. Not entirely. I'm working on it. Annie is from a small town in Georgia, moved to Nashville to pursue her dreams, moved to Scotland to minister for a while and is now back in Nashville. Oh, and she's friends with Hilary from Lady A and Instagrammed a Sam Hunt video. So, she's a winner in my eyes without ever meeting her. Anyways....the book pours out her struggles, her insecurities and her weaknesses. BUT, it also pours out her strong points and victories. I know that I "push" artists to listen to from time to time on here but I don't think I've ever felt such a need to rely to y'all to READ a book. GO BUY THIS BOOK. It's amazing.

Reading through the pages I realized how small of a role I've been letting myself play in my own life. I've been letting God play a small role, too. I've been learning since arriving here that there is a HUGE world out here beyond Montevallo, Alabama and my gracious--it's a beautiful thing. I have had such blinders on to my little community, to my comfortable & nice life that I haven't been living to my full potential. And not that I'm there yet. Or not that I'll ever be--because I don't think any of us ever reach our full potential.

Annie mentioned a Steven Curtis Chapman song called "Burn the Ships." It's a narrative song about a Spanish fleet setting sail in the 1500's and how once they arrive to the destination they end up BURNING THE SHIPS. That's the ultimate "no turning back" moment. 

[We've come this far, burn the ships]

And, it just kind of hit me. That lyric more than any other lyric in the song. How many ships do you need to burn in your life? How many ships do I need to burn?

-I need to burn the ship of insecurity.
-I need to burn the ship of "needing" material things.
-I need to burn the ship of broken hearts because certain things don't work out.

The ships can be literal things you need to burn. The ships can be figurative things as well. And, you know how you burn those ships? You get brave. And you just do it. 

I'm not saying that I've burned the ships in my life that I need to burn yet. I don't know how long that will take. It'll probably take a lot more than 12 hours after reading a book encouraging me to do so--that's for sure. I am saying that I know recognize the need to burn certain ships in my life. I think that the first step is admitting (aka realizing) right?
I've fallen so much more in love with the Lord since I've arrived here a few weeks ago. Every one here has a burning desire to take the gospel of Christ to the Nations. That's such a refreshing thing to experience. I'm learning how to be a better disciple of the Lord. I'm learning how to be a missionary everywhere I go. That may mean I'll end up in Africa for the rest of my life. That may mean that I end up in Nashville like I've always dreamed. I do think that Nashville is still on the horizon for me. I don't think that the Lord would put such a dream in my heart and then not see it through. All I am saying is that I want to be brave. Maybe being in Nashville or Birmingham or Montevallo is me being brave--in a safe way. Another thing I've learned since being here, though, is that life is short. I don't want to be brave in a safe way. I want to be able to answer the Lord with confidence when I die that I gave my all, that I went where he called me, that I was the missionary that he wanted. I want to burn the ships that are going to hinder this from happening. I want people to see the love of Christ in me.

So, my long winded update and summary is simply this. I want to challenge each one of you to be brave, too. I want you to burn the ships you need to burn. Break up with that guy. Walk away from the friends that are holding you back. Book that trip. Call your parents. Say that "I'm sorry." Don't be brave in a safe way. 

I may be 5,000 miles away from everyone and everything I know but I'm never more than a email away to pray for anyone who needs it. I hope you have the best, BRAVEST week you've ever experienced.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

The New Schematics

A few months ago I was sitting at home on an off day when one of my friends who lives in Nashville called me. It was a friend that I hadn't spoken to in a while but I knew she is always up to date on who is up and coming in Nashville. That's exactly what that phone call that day was about. She introduced me to a new rock band called the New Schematics. She spoke so highly of them and with such an enthusiasm that as soon as I hung up the phone I listened to the demos she sent me. And then, I listened to them again. And again. And again.

That's how good these guys are. I was so excited to be in contact with both Corey and Michael the same day. They both were extremely professional and passionate about their music. I could pick that up from a text message alone. It ended up working out that I was going to Nashville within the next few weeks and we planned to meet up for coffee.

Their single, "Born Without Borders," arrived in my email inbox at exactly the right moment. I wish I could say that I was exaggerating when I say the previous sentence but I am not. I had a huge move to Nashville planned out (and then fell through) and had a 3 month mission trip to Hawaii lined up the first time I heard the song. The lyrics of a song have NEVER hit so close to home. And, trust me, I listen to a lot of music. It literally gave me chill bumps to hear this song.

"born and raised in the southesast" -- hello montevallo, alabama
"gonna make it fine off of kindness and coca cola" -- my 2 essentials in life
"she didn't fall in love but she stumbled on growing up" -- only 2 weeks into hawaii and I already feel like I've grown more in the past 2 weeks than I have in the past 2 years
"funny thing about faith, it's hard as hell to fake" -- amen and amen. 
"I was born without borders" -- took me 24 years to believe this but I was born without any borders and so were you :) 

I have always been the girl in my family that wants to go. It could be anywhere, I've just always liked going. It could be going to the grocery store for my mother or flying 5,000 miles away from every one and every thing I know to challenge myself to grow as a disciple of the Lord. I've always loved going. But, it's been a challenge sometimes to let go of what other people want and think is best for me and really hold onto what I know is best for me. The meaning of it all is if you want to go 5 miles away or 5,000 miles away, you have no borders. There is no set rule anywhere that says you have to stay in that small town you grew up in jut to please someone. You don't have to stay in an abusive relationship. You don't have to become a doctor when your passion is art. You have NO borders.

I think I spent close to 2 hours with the guys that day just in the coffee shop talking about life-- about my upbringing, my family, my dreams, their upbringing, their family and their dreams. I've been so blessed to meet a lot of musicians and artists and I can say Michael and Corey are hands down in the top 5 of genuine and passionate artists. 

I'm so excited to introduce you guys to such a great new band. I hope that you'll give them a listen and help support them by clicking below. I cannot wait to get back to the states this fall and catch a show and give y'all so much more behind the scenes info. Make sure you're following the guys on the social media below (they rock at Instagram) and give "Born Without Borders" a listen-- and hold on to your socks because single two is coming soon-- and it is SO good.