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Rise – FMF

Five-Minute-Friday-4-300x300 Those who’d like to participate in Five Minute Friday will write for five minutes on the topic of the week, post it on their own blog and link up the post here (via the InLinkz button at the bottom of the post). Make sure you add the actual permalink to your specific post, and not your blog’s homepage (e.g. http://katemotaung.com/five-minute-friday/ and not just katemotaung.com).

This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.

Just write.

Start:

I’m beckoned into the throne room. I’ve been summoned. Trembling is an understatement.

How did His Majesty find out?

I keep my head bowed- that way I won’t have to see the sickle before it connects with my neck.

I cringe.

Is this really to be my end?

My clothes are filthy. My hands and feet and knees… my hair, all filthy from the work of surviving. Of staying under the radar, maintenance free, easy.

But I must have failed.

Because here I am, approaching the throne of the king.

I have not gone unnoticed.

I shuffle in and kneel at his foot stool. I still don’t dare to raise my head.

I see his feet… his perfectly sandaled feet. He has been a good king and I have tried to be a good subject.

But what is in me that is good? What can I offer that a good king could need? How does my sowing and reaping and spinning and living benefit him? And now he must’ve realize how little I’m worth.

The room is silent.

“Rise, good and faithful servant,” his voice booms.

I stay kneeled. He can’t mean me.

“Rise,” he says again. I dare to lift my eyes… and meet his. He’s looking at me. Does he mean me?

“M-m-me?” I barely get the shaky whisper out.

The king rises from his throne. He steps down to me and I cower. I feel his arms come around my sides. Softer now, he says, “Rise, friend. You have been good and faithful.”

I stand to me feet, the kings arms embracing me. I look into his face and find a smile.

“I have watched you. You work hard, care for others, are loyal and true. You give to those in need, though you have little. You encourage your countrymen and comfort those who suffer as you have. When you offend, you seek to make amends.

You don’t think I see… but I do.

I have prepared a feast of thanksgiving and you are the guest of honor.”

I glance at my filthy rags. “Not to worry, I have a trade for you, if you are willing. I would like your clothes in exchange for these robes.”

A servant presents the finest fabrics I’ve ever seen. “A trade?” I ask.

“Yes, all I want in exchange is what you have on now.”

What undeserved grace!

May we all, on that day, though filthy and unworthy, be found to have been good and faithful, and made whole, in the presence of the King who calls to us, “RISE!”

Tomorrow {FMF}

Five-Minute-Friday-4-300x300 Tomorrow.

That elusive day.

Always beckoning, promising, wooing. Like a temptress with hair spread in a slow-moving halo, arms drawn out, calling with silent words and meaningful gazes.

Hope glistens in her gown. Opportunity her jewels. Permission painted on her lips.

But she, the Temptress Tomorrow, cheats us of Today.

They war, these sisters.

Warring over our hearts, our time, our breath.

The promises of Tomorrow are whispers of nothing.

But Today holds true gold. It’s her crown. Honesty. Her heart beats with the tink-tink of the falling sand, counting down to the end of the day.

The long, long day.

Today smiles with that longing look, wishing we could see beyond the persuasion of Tomorrow, and grasp what’s right in front of us.

Right now.

Here.

But we look past her.

To what will never come.

And miss Today’s gifts.

TraumaToTriumph It’s a boy!
I mean, it’s a girl!
I mean… it’s a BOOK!!!
A NEW one!
And I’m so excited to share it with you.
I have written one of the twenty essays included in this book, Becoming Women of Worth: Stories of Trauma and Triumph. 

And I have to tell you that this essay is a special one to me… it’s an excerpt from a book I’m revising called, “And Then There’s Hope,” about the tragic loss of my mother-in-law.

Which occurred in my home.

While I was sleeping.

By one of our own.

To know more, you’ll have to get the book ;)

This essay (and book) are special to me because they’ve been key in helping me process, understand (what I can), and heal from such a devastating situation. At the same time, the Lord used it to give me eyes to see His handprints all over our story and to show me the power of HOPE. The hope that carries us through the darkest of valleys and toughest of roads. Without this hope… well, I’d be lost and the story would be different.

What I’ve written is my story. Not my mother-in-law’s. Nor her husbands. Nor her son’s or daughter’s. Mine. They have their own stories to tell.

As if that weren’t ENOUGH… :)

Dorina Gilmore, one of my dearest and closest friends on the planet (as well as gifted-writer-friend, chef-extraordinaire, cross-fit junkie (and the reason I’ve ever run a day in my life), heart-for-the-orphan, fellow co-laborer for Christ… well, the list goes on and on) has also contributed an essay to this book. It’s one of my favorite pieces of her writing EVER and now it’s memorialized in the pages of this newest gem.

That would be enough to make my heart swell and swoon over this compilation of stories full of God’s glory. But then my sweet, new friend, Glenda Alvord, also contributed an essay on how God has carried her from deep trauma to triumph. And it’s beautiful. And so is she. And I’m so, so glad to share the pages of this book with her. The first of many, I’m sure.

Finally, the last story is… well, enough to slam the stake of God’s goodness right into my very soul. A reader of our previous book, Becoming Women of Worth: Stories of Hope and Faith, wrote in a testimony of her experience reading my essay in that book. And it’s powerful.

In ways I can only hope you can understand.

Start here… buy the book. Then Read my post. Read her testimony. It’s the last story of the book. But you must. read. this. post. first. Once you’ve read my word-theme for 2015… read her story. I hope it gives you goose bumps like it gave me!

You can get the book on Amazon… kindle or print. And really, I don’t make a penny on what sells over there. I only make a few dollars on books I sell personally (so if you’re in Europe, wait to get yours from me! :D) But that’s honestly not why I’ve contributed to this book.

I write these essays with the hope that my journey with self and God will encourage others. Like my post says… I want to extend any comfort that I’ve been offered. So read! Enjoy! Share the book! My hope and prayer is that more lives will change and more women will see realized in their lives the hope that can carry them through trauma.

It did me.

To Open Here or There

Five-Minute-Friday-4-300x300Open.

A hand with fingers curled tightly

clenched.

Slowly unfurling like the petals that turn outward, revealing a best kept secret to the sun, the sky, the bird.

The warm breeze sweeps across the palm, drying the sweat of hard work… the hard work of clenching, fighting, holding.

Drying the tears that have fallen in fear.

In the dark and quiet places where silence rings loud and whispers overwhelm.

Where open feels like safe twirling with terrifying.

But it’s here… here in the light of day, fully exposed, where security rings true.

There’s nothing in the shadows.

No faceless voices.

The only suspense lies in how you’ll respond to the grace poured like sweet milk and honey mingled over your precious soul.

When the terror of being discovered washes away in the Light that frees.

That saves.

That redeems.

Here in the sun, open hands freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Free to believe. To dream. To sing. To dance. To create.

Free to receive the goodness pouring from a thorny crown.

The fear promising safety in our closed-off-world is the lie of liars. There’s no peace there. No security. No control.

Only smoke and haze and mirages of good and visions of bad. Whisping through fingertips. Teasing.

No. The only security is knowing there is none… but for Him. FMF-Open--600x600

And we can’t hold Him with closed fists.

He washes over.

Coaxing. Wooing. Waiting. Drawing. Patient. So patient.

Then we flash our best kept secret to the sun, the sky, the birds… and we wonder what took us so long.

Because THIS.

THIS is beautiful.

FMF – Wait

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Here’s the deal. For over four years, bunches of bloggers have gathered every week to huddle around a prompt word and just write. It’s called Five Minute Friday, and we don’t think about the ins and outs of grammar or spelling or punctuation. We just write.

And it’s glorious.

I’ve done this quite a few Fridays, but rarely explain what I’m doing. HA! So now you know :)

Today’s prompt is “wait.” Good one.

Waiting is a time in space that I used to dread. At times, I still do. Mom would say, “Wait,” and ugh! But I want it now!

The doctor would say, “Wait,” but ugh! I want to get it over with!

Waiting can feel torturous.

More and more in our self-indulgent society, where we are taught that our immediate happiness is our merit, waiting doesn’t even appear an option. What we want is owed to us by the very fact that we are… well, us. And we matter. And we deserve what we want when we want it regardless of how it affects another’s happiness.

But I’ve learned that waiting is a discipline… and one that bears the fruit of true happiness, joy, and developed character. To survive a season of waiting… to delay gratification and self-pleasure is to know true, lasting gratification and pleasure. In time.

If a baby were birthed at the time we demanded… who knows but that his/her lungs would be under developed or his/her vision not quite formed. But the womb and its Designer take the time needed to form what must be formed, in its time, and gift the child when he/she is ready.

I have had to wait a lot.

I waited for five years, gritting my teeth and mourning as though a death had fallen upon me, for the life I’m now living. But while I waited, I built community. Invested. Rooted. Loved. In ways I’d never done before.

Little did I know, God was using those five years of my impatient perseverance to develop in my life everything I needed to be a healthy, whole person amidst my dream. Had I forced it sooner… I would have been less… well, less everything. Less mature, less developed in character, less adaptable, less intuitive, less patient.

Less.

But that time of waiting formed in me, and for me, everything I needed for the gift to come.

How I sadden to think of how much of that time I spent in grief… blind to the ways God was using it to give me exactly what I hoped of and dreamed of.

In HIS time and in HIS way.

What are you waiting for today? What longing has been put on hold in your heart? What despairs you to see off in the distance, seemingly unattainable?

I won’t preach the current message of our world. “Give up everything for your dreams!” “Press on and never give up!” “Don’t quit!” “You deserve happiness, don’t let anyone take it from you.” “You can be anything and everything you want to be!”

Instead, I say… tenderly hand the dream over to the Dream Giver. Trust Him with it. Trust that, while we deserve nothing, He holds something beautiful for you. Something the He will care for, nurture, develop, raise… and when the time is just right… He’ll give it back. And it will be more beautiful, more splendid, more.

More.

More than you ever imagined or dreamed possible.

It will exceed the dream you handed over.

If you will be but willing to wait.

And while you wait… look for Him. Look for what He’s doing in the meantime… He’s not wasting it. Don’t you either.

I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

Lamentations 3: 19-26

Read a previous post, {Dad’s} Lessons in the Waiting on other values in waiting.

Chasing Glory in Patience

I’m raising two teens. Perhaps all teens are like this… but I find having conversations with them, at times, akin to having to personally, forcefully, remove teeth from their mouths. Their faces– big eyes, tight lips, silence… convince me they must feel the same.

But these conversations must be had.

Right?

And I lose patience. All of it. Navigating the manipulation-via-silence versus time-to-process-information may as well slay me. Sometimes it does. My patience, at least. Then I say things like, “You want a relationship with us… but relationships require a level of dialogue. Let me know when you’re ready to talk,” and I usher them out the door.

Ain’t nobody got time for that. (Yes, yes I just did).

Then I flop back on my bed and think, UGH! Will I ever get this right? How ’bout an “I love you, sweetie, and want to hear your heart. I’m always here when you want to talk” and then I just sit and wait. 

But I don’t have it… the yanking of metaphorical teeth is exhausting. Draining. It hurts my brain.

Then it hits me like a blast… right in the middle of my self-reprimanding tirade:

There is GLORY in God’s patience.

His patience to put off His due wrath and judgment so that a few more turn their hearts. His long-suffering… how we sin again and again against Him… how this world turns with such evil.. yet He waits for those few, that not one would perish to His haste.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

I catch a glimpse of that glory in my own impatience… the grating of nails across my soul to wait… to suffer long. The glimpse is to my shame but to His great credit. Praise God for His patience or I would be lost. May I yet walk so patiently. To pour and pour and pour my heart and sweat and soul into that which returns no regard… returns only big blank stares and stone hearts. How He must ache a million times over… and yet He’s patient.

When I deserve wrath, He is patient… waiting that I would lift my eyes up.

When I deserve judgment, He is patient… suffering long as a parent waiting for their child to come home.

When I deserve condemnation, He is patient… holding His tongue and offering His heart instead.

Where I deserve nothing good, He offers every good and perfect gift.

Love is patient” (1 Corinthians 13:4a).

“…God is love” (1 John 4:8).

Even when I stare with big eyes, tight lips, and silence, He is patient.

In my nothing, He is everything, and it is here His glory shines.

His glory is the beauty in my mess. It fills the emptiness between what I am and what He needs and makes it sufficient.

Makes me sufficient.

Even as I close the bedroom door behind my children and kick myself again for another less-than parenting moment… He is patient.

Lord, let Your glory fall!

(Chasing Glory with my sweet Dorina Gilmore and a handful of our special people. Join us! #GloryChasers)

FMF- Send

Five-Minute-Friday-4-300x300

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here I am. Send me!'” -Isaiah 6:8

Isaiah didn’t say these words out of boredom.

He didn’t raise his hand begrudgingly after everyone else shifted in their seats and looked away.

“I guess I’ll go…” was not his answer.

In fact, He didn’t miss a beat, knowing that his enlistment came during great political turmoil. His nation and people were being threatened from every side.

Being sent would not be safe.

It would not be comfortable.

He wouldn’t find superstar fame or wealth or security. At least, not in the way the world defines these things.

He exhorted the nation’s leaders to trust in God alone… and when they did, they were rewarded. But when they didn’t… they all suffered. Being “sent” also meant being the bearer of bad news. Exile. Destruction. Judgment.

But there was always hope.

Repent! Trust God alone. Forgiveness. Clean slate. Freedom.

A Savior.

He witnessed God’s plan. His good plan.

To send His own self, in the flesh, to save those who would receive Him.

Our holy God wasn’t just looking for someone else to send… He answered His own call.

And it wasn’t “safe.”

It wasn’t comfortable.

He didn’t come to live a life of superstar fame, or wealth, or security.

He came because He “so love the world… that whoever believed in Him would never perish, but live eternally” with Him… in all of the comfort, security, safety, and wealth that Heaven could offer (John 3:16).

There was no other way.

And He didn’t have to raise His own hand. He could have let our sin take its course. He would have been just to do so.

But no one else qualified for this mission.

And He so loved the world.

So loved you.

Will you raise your hand?

It won’t be comfortable. It won’t be “safe.” People might even hate you for it.

But you will not be alone.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

-Deuteronomy 31:6

You don’t have to be strong. Intelligent.

You don’t have to love to travel. You don’t have to be an extrovert.

The only qualification is a willing heart.

The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. -1 John 2:17

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