Four – A Woman Who Can Do Hard and Holy Things…

Please hear me, girl. The world has enough women who know how to do their hair. It needs women who know how to do hard and holy things.” – Ann Voskamp

When I think about the sort of woman I want to be, this quote always comes to mind. It found its way to me a couple of months ago, and was able to perfectly sum up my current situation at that time. I knew God was telling me it was how the rest of my life should be.

I began 2019 experiencing firsthand what it meant to do hard and holy things. Quotes are always interpretable, but for me, doing ‘hard and holy things’ meant giving up that which was not pleasing to God, and dying to self, all so that I may better serve Him as a young Christian woman. There were a number of things in my life that were holding me back from entering into a complete, immersive relationship with my Saviour, and removing them was hard. It was something I never imagined I would be able to do. But as the desire to live for Christ grew in my heart, that overtook the fear I had in letting those earthly things go. I knew God would keep me safe, I knew He would look after me, and He had not placed that desire in my heart, to live for Him, in vain. He would not bring me this far to leave me.

I spent the past month reading Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis. Katie, aged 19, ‘quit her life’, left everything and everyone she’d ever known, and moved from America to Uganda – where she is now the mother of 13 little girls. On International Women’s Day women all over the world tell of those who inspire them, and Katie Davis would be the woman I chose if I were asked. She is a gloriously inspiring example of the joy God can bring to your life when you die to self, and enter into a new life with Him. Katie did hard and holy things. She knew God was calling her to leave her home, and go elsewhere. She left her family, her boyfriend, all her friends, and abandoned college – all because the desire God had placed in her heart to live for Him, and to go where He would send her, was stronger.

As I read Kisses from Katie, God spoke to me through her words. There were too many similarities in our journeys to feel that me picking up that book had been anything other than God’s will. As I worked my way through the book, what I was experiencing in my personal life correlated exactly with whatever chapter I happened to be reading at that time. It would have been an incredibly spooky coincidence did I not believe in a wonderful God, with wonderful plans and perfect timing. I could read about this incredible woman who, like me, felt God was calling her to make changes within her life, and hear God encouraging me. ‘Look.’ He told me, ‘See how I look after My own. I did not bring you this far to leave you.’

It was all the encouragement I needed to go forward in this new life I’ve been called to.

I encourage you today, as a Christian woman, to do hard and holy things. Give up whatever is holding you back from having an ‘all-in’ approach to God. I do not say this lightly. There’s a reason they’re called hard and holy things. But I can promise you wholeheartedly that the joy you experience as a result is worth it, and through God all things are possible – nothing will ever be too hard for Him to carry you through. Your faith in Him and your love for Him will increase tenfold, and that alone is more than reason enough.

I’d love to hear from you all, either in the comments below or over on my social media pages, about what being a Christian woman means to you. What are some verses that inspire you? What has God taught you or told you, that has helped shape you into the woman you are today? On International Women’s Day, I can think of no better way to share in our love for each other – as sisters in Christ – than in sharing our wisdom. We support each other on these journeys we’re taking, we’ve all got the same goal in our sights, so let’s help each other get there.

Sending love to you all,

Kate – Tales of Faith

(08/03/19)

Instagram // Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

THREE – Vulnerable Love…

I have always been obsessed with Christmas. The past few years especially, I’ve been consumed by all things festive. There’s a special feel to Christmas, a certain je ne sais quoi that can only ever be felt at this time of year. It’s sentimentality, it’s nostalgia.

It’s love.

I suppose that’s really the biggest one of all, isn’t it? Love. My favourite part of Love Actually is not, in fact, Emma Thompson making her child’s nativity costume – “there was more than one lobster at the birth of Jesus?” – but rather the very beginning; the opening monologue. The arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport, Hugh Grant proclaiming over the top of families and friends reuniting for Christmas that despite the gloomy, disastrous state of our world, love is all around us.

Perhaps that specific part of the film has been made all the more special to me this year, on account of having my own airport reunion. Because this year has been the first year I’ve ever really understood – it’s not about gifts. It’s not about food, or mulled wine. It’s about love. And being loved.

At our Christingle candlelight service last night, our minister preached on the love of God. How God loved this world, and us, so much that he sent His Son to earth.

God knew that our world, as it was, was filled with sin. It needed a saviour, a saviour sent out of love – the most powerful force of all. And so, God loved the world in such a way – He sent His Son not only to be born, and to teach us, and live on earth as a human, but ultimately to die. To take on all the sins of mankind, to the cross, and die for us – to pay the ultimate price for sin so that we don’t have to. And through Jesus, we can now know God. We can have a relationship with Him, as we were created to do. God’s perfect plan, all worked out through Jesus. Through that little, tiny baby, born in a stable, in Bethlehem.

And so, it’s not just about love, but God’s love.

There’s a cracking quote by Ann Voskamp that sums it all up so perfectly:

“So, God throws open the door of this world—and enters as a baby. As the most vulnerable being imaginable. Because He wants unimaginable intimacy with you. What religion ever had a god that wanted such intimacy with us that He came with such vulnerability to us? What God ever came so tender we could touch Him? So fragile that we could break Him? So vulnerable that His bare, beating heart could be hurt? Only the One who loves you to death.”

This is why it’s so important we remember Christ at Christmas. Because without Him, it doesn’t mean anything. It has no purpose. Our love will never be as pure and as powerful as God’s.

I pray you are convicted and challenged by this, this Christmas. Bring your holiday celebrations back to where they should be. And as you remember that little baby, who grew into a young man and died on a cross for your sins, so that you may know and love God, may you go there with Him.

Bless you all, and a Merry Christmas from me and mine, to you and yours.

Kate (Tales of Faith) – 25/12/18

TWO – Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.

I have never been a patient woman. (I can practically hear my mother snorting as she reads this, because nobody knows it more than her. Sorry, mum…) My whole life, I’ve never liked waiting for things. I sat an exam at university only yesterday and wasn’t out of the theatre for more than an hour, before I was asking my flatmate when he thought we’d be getting our marks. I am a fan of the instant, the accessible, the unanticipated.

And this is something God has always been trying to change in me.

I think, if I’m honest, my desire to know everything immediately comes from a place of anxiety. When my mind is made to wait, it does not like this. Having to be patient means not knowing, it means being uncertain, and there’s no telling how long I will have to remain in this limbo until the answer has been given or the event has reached its outcome. It involves a lot of trust; in the people around me, in myself, and in the Lord.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

Often when things happen, I question, ‘Why would the Lord put me through this? What’s the lesson here?’ and I can do nothing but cling to what I know and love about the Lord and wait – until He chooses to reveal the answer to me. Sometimes that answer takes mere hours, but sometimes it’s months. Sometimes it’s years.

But I believe virtues are like muscles. You have to exercise them. And God gives me these instances where patience is required to exercise these muscles, and help me grow into the young woman I need to be. It gets easier with practise, but I’m not done yet. Even now, there are important things in my life requiring, hands-down, the most patience I’ve ever had to possess.

For the past three months, my relationship has been long-distance while my boyfriend trains at a performance academy in Adelaide, Australia. And while I am overjoyed for him having the experience of a lifetime, we have never been apart for this long and I miss him terribly. I have found the waiting extremely difficult, and often wish I could fast-forward the next few weeks until Christmas Eve instead of going through them. All of which is very revealing to me that I, still, have not learned how to be patient. I feel I would find this so much easier if I made my peace with it all –accepted the situation for what it is right now, safe in the knowledge it’s not forever, but it is for right now.

“So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.” – Genesis 29:20 

Also, many good things have come out of this period of waiting, for both Greg and I individually, and as a couple – things that would not have happened had we not gone through this experience together, and I wouldn’t change any of them for the world. At the time of him leaving I had no idea why God wanted us to do this, but now I think we’re both learning why.

But learning that has taken patience. It has taken waiting; letting events unfold in their time, as God has intended for them to. It has taken trusting Him, and trusting that when things are meant to happen, or when things are meant to be given to us as gifts by Him, it is when He wants it, and that through the period of waiting we have been made into the people He has intended for us to be before we can receive our gifts.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4 

So, this is where I am right now. In a period of waiting, learning to be patient.

I think the one thing I’ve learned most of all is that God can give us opportunities to learn things – be taught by him – but if we resist and fight against them (e.g. wishing for time to go faster instead of accepting my current situation) it only makes the situation worse. We learn nothing, and we’re not trusting in God’s ways – because we don’t like them, don’t agree with them, think our plan or how we want things to work out is better.

We must accept what He is telling us and let Him work in us. He needs us to learn these things for a reason, befitting to His purpose, and we must learn them.

Let’s be interactive! If you’re comfortable doing so, comment down below an area in your life where you struggle to be patient. Reassure me that we’re all the same, because we are. We all struggle with these things; they’re just shown in different ways for each individual life. Nobody is perfect, showcased wonderfully by the fact that I’ve still got a countdown on my phone for Christmas Eve…

Speaking of which, Happy December, folks! I’m off to open my advent calendar!

Kate (Tales of Faith) – 01/12/18

ONE – Using Your Gifts…

I have always been a writer. As an only child my imagination was free to run wild, and I often spent holidays creating characters and worlds for myself to get lost in. When I got older, I began writing them down as short stories so that I’d never forget what my mind had created. (There were A LOT of ideas, something that has never changed…)

My best friend, Tasha, ever faithful and supportive, read everything I ever wrote. She still does. Sharing those early stories with her, and receiving such loving, honest feedback was what motivated me to keep writing, keep learning, keep aiming for bigger and better stories.

As a teenager, I lost my way with writing for a while. I remembered the fun I had playing out my stories as a child and decided I wanted to act – even going to college to do so. But throughout all the shows, long classes and exhausting tech rehearsals, the one thing I kept doing was writing. It was a passion that refused to die out. An idea would come to me and I’d instantly start work, regardless of whether or not I’d finished the last one (hence why I have so many unfinished novels).

So when it came to going to uni to finish my degree, I had to carefully consider my future. I had enjoyed my acting training. I’d met some great people. But it wasn’t a perfect fit. The only thing that had ever come naturally to me was writing.

So now I’m here; studying Drama and Performance, but taking Screenwriting and Playwriting modules. I combined my two loves – writing and the theatre – and as I sit in my lectures, learning about my craft and developing my skills…I’m inspired. I am eager to put my work out there, and share my experiences as I go.

But most importantly, it’s reminded me that my ability to write is no fluke. I want to use the gift I’ve been given for its true purpose.

University has been, even just in these two short months, one of the hardest experiences of my life. My course, by all means, is a dream – which I know is a blessing and certainly half the battle. But I have never felt so out of sorts. As my mum so wonderfully put it, coming as a direct entry student from college into 3rd year, I am ‘doing all the first year stuff (moving out, meeting new people, finding a new church etc.) all while juggling the workload of a senior student aiming for her degree’. And it’s been…a lot, to say the least.

But, most importantly, despite all of the unrest it has done wonders for my faith in the Lord and for my walk with Him. I have found the most incredible new church here, which has renewed my relationship in a way I never expected. They have a fantastic support system for students (which covers everything from student lunches to weekly bible studies), meaning I’ve met more young Christians these past two months than I’ve ever met in my entire life. The feeling of being surrounded by other Christians your own age is unlike anything I have ever experienced. You walk into a room of what should be complete strangers, and find you immediately feel like a family. You’ve known each other for years. There is instant love and support between you. An eagerness to serve and to challenge one another, and most importantly a willingness for us all to win what all too often feels like a battle.

Being a young, Christian woman in this Modern World is hard. Ask anyone. The bravery required to stand (often) alone, to defend the Gospel, to defend what you love, is immense. But that bravery doesn’t come from us. It comes from the Lord. And I guess that’s the whole point. We are but human. Flawed, weak, unable to save ourselves. But God works within us, and changes us. Renews us. We are completely made new, and our journey with Him aligns our hearts to His Will for our lives, and we rejoice in that. We rejoice in Him.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. (Phillippians, 4:4)

I believe God has given me this love and ability to write for a purpose. A purpose that glorifies Him, and shares His Gospel with others. This blog is the first step in that journey, as I figure out exactly what that means for me, because what better way to start sharing the Gospel, than by simply sharing it?

My hope is that God will use my words for His glory, and will reveal to me the experiences and thoughts I should share with you all. I also hope that you recognise some of yourselves in my journey, as a reminder that no Christian is ever alone. Our walks may different, individual, and personal – but we walk them together.

“There are different kinds of service, but the same LORD.” (1 Corinthians, 12:5)

Kate (Tales of Faith) – 08/11/2018