Monday, December 5, 2016

A Downer Post? Not Really, Just Life.

How's that for a title? I never wanted this blog to be about proper form and perfection, so I'm going with it.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving was a perfect day for sitting on the beach while the boys played. I was tired from an eventful week of cooking and hosting (add to that an oven that stopped working), and the boys were eager to get out of doors. The sky was dark and moody as a storm moved eastward. I appreciated this change of scenery, too, as I rested all bundled up on the shore. I read and journaled, thought and prayed. I have sensed an uneasiness within as I've tried to sort through struggles and deep questions that I suppose only God can sort through with me. I am thankful He doesn't leave me to fix myself alone. I only wish the fixing would take place quicker, with less pain.


A week later, I sat in the receding afternoon sunlight, my shoulders tense despite the warm balm of our California atmosphere surrounding me. Stealing away to the backyard was an option I should have taken sooner. Tears rolled into the fabric of my sweater, hot, round, and steady. Obligation, expectation, duty weighed heavy; exhaustion, inability, and disappointment constantly defined my days. And self-pity. Ugly, destructive self-pity that never, ever leads to good.

I strive to be a worshiper of God and a lover of people, with my heart set on eternity. I long for this posture of heart and disposition of the will to define my life. Despite that, again and again, I stray in one wrong direction or another. Yet, if there is ever any good that would come from repeated failure on my part and the sin of self-pity, it is that my constant need for my Savior is brought to the forefront once again... and then repentance and the restoration of a right spirit.

And really, is there a better time than the Christmas season to be stretched, humbled, and then broken again if the result is renewed humility, recognition of my desperate need of Christ, and gratefulness and praise for His humiliation and sacrifice on my behalf? Such great love for this unworthy recipient can only be understood by divine comprehension. Oh, but praise be to God!

“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.”
1 Timothy 1:15


When the storms roll in and when life feels weighty, I look to the details and search for beauty of all sorts. Sometimes I don't need to look further than the kitchen window.

The novelty of droplets of water captured me...

And a flower brought to me by my man-sized boy.

Experimentation with light coming through and reflecting in the kitchen window continued to entertain me that night, and it broke up the monotony of a week spent on a few square feet of kitchen tile.  


Christmas tradition:

Some have come sort of accidentally, while others have been more purposeful. Mostly, our traditions are simple things we do (or eat!) that are special to us and bring us together in anticipation each year, all the while forging familial bonds and making deposits of memories that communicate affection and intentionality long into the future. Or at least I hope for such a result.

However, tradition is just empty form and obligation if it distracts from loving God and loving others. If we become a sort of slave to tradition, and if our kids have a sense of entitlement, all good meaning goes awry and the purpose is defeated. I have sensed a need to de-prioritize tradition this year, maybe even let some go. I have already felt a freedom from the burden and distraction as a result of this decision.


I sat in church today in our usual front row pew. I'm not a front-row-sitter by nature, but I sit there to be with my husband-pastor while he isn't behind the pulpit. I'd rather just blend in, unnoticed, somewhere in the middle. And I like to people watch, too, which I cannot do from the front row! Interestingly, I have found that front row sitting has done some good things for me over the years. It's a small way among many in which God has taught me that my life is not about my preferences, that sitting next to my husband in actual and figurative ways is good, and that my mind and heart are better able to worship without other people to look at. So I'm thankful for front row sitting.

But today... it was really tough. Distractions from within plagued me while we sang and prayed. My mind thought about all the things I needed to do this week, about persistent sadness and what-ifs, about an event we are hosting next weekend... the menu, the guests, the decorations, the rearranging of furniture... 

If only I could be free of my wandering mind. The freedom and ability to worship fully, sincerely, and undistracted is something I look forward to experiencing someday in glory.


If this post should end with some sort of summation (if I am going to bend to some sort of form after all), it is that I long for this Christmas season to be rich with meaning and authentic worship. In all the real and perceived obligation, expectation, and duty, I pray that I would be found drawing ever nearer to God in wonder and thanksgiving. I pray that in Him I would find my truest joy and rest, and that through His strength and by His grace I may sincerely love those around me with a love that reflects the love of Christ.



  1. Your transparency is refreshing. It will resonate with many. Your photography captures elusive moments of beauty and produces food to ponder. Keep going. Write on.

    1. Thank you, Barb. Your words mean a great deal to me. I thoroughly enjoyed speaking with you one-on-one at the women's event last Saturday. It was a pleasure and an encouragement to get to know your heart for the Lord a bit more.

  2. Thanks once again Katherine for sharing your heart. May this Christmas truly be one of joy, peace and a renewed love for our heavenly Father,family and those who cross your path especially during this season. Love to you and the family��

    1. Thank you, Heather! Merry Christmas and love to you and yours!


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