cleansing her by the washing with water through the word

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Healing at the Pool

Today I am thankful for my friends who point me towards Jesus. God used one of my dear and special friends who shared that God really spoke to her with this section of scripture (in a really unique, but so like God way), and I couldn't shake it, either. So glad I didn't let it go.

There are areas of my life that I keep struggling with. Despite all of my attempts to do better, or just stop, I can't seem to. And it feels like the more I pray about them and "work" on them, the bigger & more impossible they seem. Our pastor once said that our Goliaths get bigger the closer we get to them, so maybe that's why! Maybe I'm close enough to lop one smooth stone...

Yes, God, please let that be the reason this seems so hard...

Anyway, here is the scripture.
The Healing at the Pool: John 5:2-11, 14
Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool...Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

(v. 14) Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”

I'm sure Jesus did this for some very intentional reasons, because in the verses I left off is some stuff about healing on the sabbath. So I always thought that was the point. See? Jesus healed on the Sabbath, so that means I can go to Target!


But here is what God had for me in this passage of scripture this morning.

1. He DOES have time for me, but it's all about His timing.

The world is full of "sick" people, but Jesus singled out this man. (Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.) Even though it took 38 years for full healing (which seemed like forever in the man's mind, I'm sure), it was His perfect timing.

2. JESUS WAS RIGHT THERE and this man was putting his hope in a method!

This was probably the biggest thing.

The man was so focused on the healing, that he was missing the HEALER. Jesus was right there, asking him if he wanted to get well. RIGHT THERE. And the man said to him, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

This is so me. So me. Not that there isn't a time and a place for getting the right "help," but I can focus so much on the tactics and the theories and the methods, and the fact that they just aren't available to me or impossible or are beyond my reach.

And I miss who is standing RIGHT there, right in front of me, offering His hand of healing.

3. One thing at a time

This part is hard for me. The pick up your mat and walk part. Because I do feel like I'm trying. And it seems like it's not that simple, or maybe I'm missing something. But today, I feel like it just said, "Believe me just enough to obey me right now."

Jesus can heal us even if we don't have much faith, but we need to believe Him enough to obey Him. And He so far hasn't asked me to do giant things like "pick up my mat and walk," but a bunch of little (yet significant) things.

This seems so hopeless and the fact that while my head KNOWS you can heal me my heart maybe no longer believes it. But I am going to trust what I know is truth and obey you one step at a time. And I am going to trust that all those little steps will add up to complete freedom.

4. We haven't made such a mess of ourselves that he isn't willing to help.

I almost missed this. So thankful I kept going.


My first thought is that this is the impossible problem. I can't seem to stop. And while that is true, I am going to find the hope in here that, he man's sickness was caused by his own sin. I'm not saying that individual physical illness is directly caused by our own sin as a generalization-(see John 9) but in this case...

Despite the fact that it was his own doing, Jesus healed anyway.

The stuff I keep going back to is a choice. It really is. Nobody put it on me, it's not something physical I was born with, it's just a choice to sin. But Jesus is willing to heal me anyway. I can think that I did it (true), what I get is what I deserve (true), and Jesus won't bother with me because he is so disgusted with me (LIE!). I did do it, I do deserve what I'm going through, but Jesus loves me so much he's willing to make a whole bunch of people mad and heal me on the Sabbath.


And Jesus, do I ever need your healing! Thank you, Jesus, for standing right there offering it.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Psalm 86:11-13

Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth;
unite my heart to fear your name.

Oh God, please...

Grab that piece of heart that wants to believe that eating triple chocolate bundt cake and chocolate chip cookies will make her life happy. She's just making herself miserable. And while you're at it, could you grab the piece that believes that being skinny will make everything easier? They're sitting right next to each other.

And that one, Lord. That piece of heart that is over there wandering around in the dream of open spaces and apple trees. She is drifting about believing that anywhere except in the middle of the city would bring her peace.

And way over there...way over there over that hill, God...that's the one that keeps looking for Jason to fill it up. She gets really close, God, but he's always a few steps ahead.

Don't be fooled by this piece of heart that follows you quickly, God. She looks all right with her clean house and big smile, but that's just a front. That piece just wants you to believe it's perfect so you'll keep loving it, but you know better, Lord.

Go quietly to get the piece shivering in the dark corner of fear over there. She'll run, because she thinks you are going to hurt her, God. She doesn't trust you, so you'll have to tiptoe.

There goes the piece that wants to be everything to everyone. She's fast. She has to be.

And Jesus. This piece is going to fight. That's the piece that doesn't trust that you'll do what's best for her babies. She's going to hang on, and she bites.

Oh, please grab all the pieces I can't see. I know you see them. Get the ones I don't even know are missing. And unite them into a new heart. I don't care if it's painful, I just so badly want it to be done. And only you can do it, God.

And I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart;

I will glorify your name forever
For great is your love toward me;
you have delivered me from the depths of the grave.

Crocus blooming

I know it's a bit late for crocuses, but I found this treasure tucked in Isaiah today and wanted to share.

My soul is parched today. My heart feel like it's running on empty and I look around and feel like this cyclical work is for nothing. My kids are sick and cranky. My laundry is piled to the moon. There are a lot of ants in my kitchen. But mostly, I feel like I've been battling the same stuff over and over and getting nowhere.

Maybe you're like me and everything little is adding up to one big tired. Or maybe you are in the trial of your life. Something so heavy on your heart that feels like it is pulling you under and your arms are too tired to keep trying. Don't fret...He is right there and is stronger than any current.

Take heart. It's not meaningless. Big or small, it is all being seen and remembered. And God is going to do that thing that He does where He makes it all beautiful in its time. Where he brings life and beauty back into the dry land. I say it because it's true and because He has done it so many times in my life.

Isaiah 35:1-2a
The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.

I'll wait for it with expectation.
For the here on earth blossoms.
And for the ones we won't see till Heaven.

Thank you, God. For all that you are. That you do not just set the world spinning and forget about us till we die, but that you are accessible in Jesus, and that you see it all.

Monday, June 20, 2011

This is our God

Father's day. When your dad has been dead for 7 years, this holiday is tricky. Because on one hand, you're MARRIED to a father. But on the other hand, you don't really have a father anymore. So, while I attempted a celebration of the father my children have by running to Cub to get the biggest cinnamon twist you ever saw (seriously...what in the world? are they feeding bears with the day-olds?), my heart was heavy as we entered into church.

"I can't come to Bible study tonight b/c I have plans with my dad." "We can come over but have to leave early because we are having dinner with my dad." "I need you to remind me to call my dad today."

Leaving me with the all-day reminder of the always there hole in my heart.

But I put it aside, hoping that today, the stronger-than-she-was-a-year-ago Katie would be able to make it through her first father's day service since her dad died.

Buck UP, KB! This isn't about you!

Of course, someone had to mention it, bringing it right back. The elusive idea that God is our "heavenly father," the one who is so perfect but can never really hold me in a 6'2", 300 pound bear hug. So really, how does this help?

Then the offering music.

...I don't understand Your ways
Oh but I will give You my song...

Oh, she's good. She doesn't even sound like she's trying. I'm wish I could sing like her. This is nice. There's the basket...I wish I had a sign to hold up that I do EBT with our tithe so I don't look like I'm giving nothing when the basket goes by. I should have bought Jason a card. Pay attention, KB.

I'm desperate in seeking, frantic believing...

I love her outfit. Maybe I should offer to help with the kiddos. I hope Maiz does okay today. I wonder if I should ask J to pick her up...


It was like the song got louder. Like I was wearing an in-ear monitor with just the vocal.

wait...what Lord?


Wait, God? What?

This. That. That day. This journey. Your heartbreak. That hole. My faithfulness.

Tears are pouring out now.


Jason put his arm around me. The song is beautiful. My little tears were quickly turning into Oprah's "ugly cry." Why did I almost make us late because of mascara this morning?

See? 5 years ago he would have had no idea what your heart was crying about right now and he totally knows. It's gonna be worth it.

It's already worth it.

Oh the song done? I can't stop crying. I am going to be so distracting during the message. Curse my front row insistence! I should probably leave. Oh, Lord, please don't let Jason follow me out.

Um...there's, like, nowhere good to go to be alone in our church when God has something he wants to say to you that you know you aren't going to get through without some snot and sobs. There are people everywhere. So I went in the only place that offered any privacy, the newly remodeled one stall bathrooms. And like any good Christian girl wanting to hear from God, I bring a church-issued Bible and sit right down on the floor. Hey, I know who cleans it, and I know what their house looks like, so I think I'm okay.

And then the brand new, super-high tech, energy saving, motion detecting lights turn off.

Really? Are we really doing this?

There I am, in the darkness with a Bible that isn't backlit and my tears. And the holy God. The God who spoke to Elijah in the gentle whisper: the Elijah who, like me, had a God experience only days before and was already alone and searching for more.

I don't have anyone to call, God! I don't have anyone to take out to dinner! I don't have anyone to mail a meaningless $4 card to! GOD! I am fatherless and alone.

True, true, true, and then...there is the lie. Right there.

God, I can't even see my Bible, I need you to tell me the truth, AGAIN, with your word, God. I want to know it's from you...I already know it, but I need it again. I need it new.

Be still, Katie girl.

Wait. Wait. Oh, I hope the door is locked, God, this would be so weird. Wait.

Slow down.


Quiet. As I know He wants. Finally, quiet. On the floor of the church bathroom, the only light is coming through the crack under the door. And He has the message I have needed my whole life. The one that I have already heard, but that I needed to really, really believe.

I have summoned you by name.



But I know that....


It's sinking in...

I am father to the fatherless. YOU. ARE. MINE.

No, you don't have a dad on earth. But you have a dad in heaven. And I will be there.
I will be there. I will be there. I will be there.

He chose not to be there, but I choose to be there, because YOU ARE MINE. And you not having a dad and having to depend on me as your only father is gonna be worth it.

So I'll wait, God. I'll trust you and I'll wait. And in the meantime, this still hurts. But I am going to make the choice to believe you today. Please, God. Don't let me forget. I am not alone. I do have a father. And, no, I don't get a bear-hug, but I do get a new heart. So I'll take it. And I'll believe you that you are going to do that thing you do so beautifully and continue to redeem my circumstances.
Thank you.

Isaiah 43:1-2
But now, this is what the LORD says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

Psalm 68:5
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.

Song: Worth it All, Rita Springer