Standing at the end of 2017 was somewhat scary to me as I peered into 2018 and all of it’s uncertainty. However, I would soon learn that fear is not the opposite of faith, but rather the prerequisite.
I know that I am called to Nashville, Tennessee towards the middle of the year. I have the honor of following one of the greatest leaders in the world to launch a Radiant church in Nashville. To love those who are sleeping in the light.
So at the end of 2017, I went before God and asked Him to speak into my year. The words He gave me were “Identity” and “Adventure“. I saw myself as a child before God and stepped right into 2018 – allowing faith to crash into the new year with me as if, together, we were a deep, roaring ocean.
Naturally, God began with Identity first. Perhaps this is because He knows we surely cannot be ready for the adventure in store until we first know who we are.
He began with my worth – which seems to be something He may never stop teaching any of us. In the beginning of January I had more guys pursuing me than I could keep up with. They were men of God who boldly pursued me with deep respect. The lesson here wasn’t about all the attention, but rather my inability to receive it. In this, God spoke to me, “You are worthy of pursuit”. Maybe it seems simple, but if a woman doesn’t know this truth, everything in her life is at risk. She was created with a beauty to be pursued. God led me through the most deep, painful parts of my heart and spoke truth to them. Mostly, I learned that God doesn’t shrug His shoulders and ask me to be in relationship with Him. He is far too wild and courageous for that – He is also far too interested in me for that. Instead, He woos my heart. And will never stop.
My name is Pursued. And this name is now written in the fabric of my being. How I wish I could express the magnitude to which this knowledge changes everything.
Next, God used the movie Wonder Woman to further shape my identity (should I be surprised?). Through this I learned that people suck a lot, but Jesus chose to love them anyway. Therefore, so will I.
Secondly, I learned the truth of my identity as an ambassador of heaven (“an official representative in a foreign country”). This Earth is a foreign land. I am here on a mission to love well until I am called home. I am a Wonder Woman here to raise up and call forth the wonder in other women.
I almost feel like I learned too much from this movie – you know it’s bad when your BFF buys you Wonder Woman underwear!!! But the lessons kept coming.
Lastly, all throughout January I learned that, much like Wonder Woman, I carry a beauty, majesty, and strength that humans do not naturally carry because I am a new creation. I am a saint. I am righteous. Holiness runs through my veins. If you know Jesus, then you are family. This is your identity too. If you do not know Jesus, He has an open invitation for you. In fact, He has been setting a place for you at the dinner table, waiting on you.
I now walk with a bit more ‘pep in my step’. There is a new confidence in knowing who I am that wasn’t there before. It was after this revelation that shame no longer had a place in my heart and I could finally receive more that was available for me in Him all along. I then, for the first time in my life, saw myself standing before Him as a woman full of majesty – rather than a little girl. As I stood before Majesty Himself, it became a moment that will perhaps mark my life. He spoke a lot of things to me – some are to stay between me and Him. But, this moment unlocked a new part of my identity as He called me a prophetess and told me that He has entrusted me to be His mouthpiece to the church.
Throughout January I participated in a church-wide fast. I chose to fast social media. During this time I became engaged with life again. As well as more engaged with God of course, and the people around me. I am so thankful that my church has taught me to make fasting a normal and regular part of my spiritual journey. This month was incredible.
In 2018, I never lived the day February 20th. However, I lived the day February 26th twice so I suppose that made up for it. But we will get to that later.
Adventure: “An unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity, especially in the exploration of unknown territory”.
Unusual. Exciting. Hazardous. These three words would begin to be woven into my year. Especially in exploring the unknown.
It is most interesting to me that the word hazardous is within the definition of adventure. God is so wild – of course the journey He calls us on will never be safe! I guess this is probably a reason why he is our Protector.
“Safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” -C.S. Lewis
God told me that when we have a willingness to go where most will never dare to go, then we will also get to meet parts of Himself that most will never get to meet. When He spoke this to me He caught all of my attention. I will go wherever You lead me, Lord.
In February I lost my job. I am in the worst place I have ever been financially in my entire life. Honestly, I am terrified. I enter into fear, then I remember Whose I am, step into faith, and repeat this cycle everyday right now. I think that He is teaching me to find my security in Him alone.. so I am leaning into it. As I lean in, I am learning that He delights in children who have full confidence in Him. I honestly don’t naturally have that confidence right now, so I am thankful He is teaching me how to. I am learning that I am not an orphan begging for crumbs – but a daughter asking from a place of abundance. Thankfully, I do not believe that He will rest until I know this truth in my heart of hearts.
During this time, the adventure has started to begin. The chiseling He is taking me through right now is so difficult it’s as if He is blessing me in every way possible that will not take away from the lesson He needs me to learn.
I soon found myself laying on the beach of the Caribbean Sea at no cost to me. I asked God why the water was so clear and He told me it’s because the sand is so white. He then told me that the same is true for my heart (and anyone who is in Christ). He said that’s why I have the ability to he so transparent. A reminder that my heart is good – pure. In fact, that is the meaning of the name Kathryn. (I guess He will continue to weave more of my identity into every adventure He takes me on – I am so thankful for that).
Next, I found myself driving on the east shore of Oahu, Hawaii in a 2018 Convertible Camaro on my way to hike up Mt. Kokohead on a date with God – also at no cost to me. I think the greatest thing I learned in this moment is that God is simply a fun guy. He is a good Dad who likes to do things for His kids sometimes for no reason other than to see them smile. I never liked my smile before this day. I used to see my teeth as ugly – probably because of a dumb comment made by some kid in Jr. High or something. But you know what, I have been smiling a lot more ever since this adventure.
Talk about “Adventure”!
As I type this, I don’t even believe myself. But only a little over a week later I had the experience of cuddling a Koala Bear on a beautiful island off of Australia. I had hopped on a one way flight with the option of returning to the states whenever I felt like it. And I am sure you are starting to catch on, but, yes, this was also at no cost to me.
Each day, multiple times a day, I introspectively questioned what God was trying to teach me in Australia. He had revealed to me that I was a glutton of experiences. Who knew that the sin of gluttony could make its way outside of food?!
But I knew there was something more He wanted to teach me.. this wasn’t the big lesson.
My time in Australia went wrong in every way. I don’t have time here to explain, but let’s just say every obstacle possible attempted to ruin every dream I had for my time there. And, oh my goodness, did it bring out all of my ugly. All of my frustrated, disappointed, angry, irritable parts. What was He teaching me??
It didnt hit me until the flight home.
Side note that has nothing to do with anything: I’m currently on that flight home and am drinking champagne while listening to James Arthur. I feel like God and I are celebrating something.. although, I’m not sure what it is, yet. Unlike the flight to Australia, I have an entire row to myself and am spread across every seat. The flight attendant just offered me a Lindt chocolate with a wink, and the kind guy across the isle gave me his headphones. I feel like I passed a test or something. But to be honest, I currently feel like I don’t deserve a thing from the Lord. I was my worst self this week.
It was here that I realized we all only get one life. As I am on my flight back to Michigan typing this now, I can tell you with full assurance that when we are on the flight Home to heaven, that’s it. There’s no going back. We can’t have a re-do for a single moment. Who are we when shit hits the fan? Who do we become as we watch our dreams slip through out fingers & extreme disappointment sets in? Or when those we trust in let us down. Or when we are hungry, in pain, or broke for goodness sake? In these moments, what ugly parts of ourselves do we meet? Because believe it or not, with God’s grace, we don’t have to become that person. “But I strictly discipline my body and make it my slave” (1 Cor. 9 :27)
Something in my life needs to change. It’s time I own my life. I am the author of my own story. No circumstance or emotion dictates who I am. Instead of succoming to the attacks of the enemy, it’s time I begin every adventure by protecting it in prayer and submitting it to God. When things get tough, it’s time I take every thought captive making it obedient to Christ, and walking in the Grace of God, making my emotions a servant to me instead of the other way around. (This is a difficult lesson as someone who helps people care for their emotions for a living!).
Meanwhile, I have little to no money to my name and little to no job leads. I only have a short and awkward gap of time until July which will be the start of our biggest adventure yet. I desperately need to save up in order to move with the team to Tennessee. Yet, God keeps calling me from adventure to adventure in the meantime and has asked me to not lean on my own understanding, but trust in Him. He says He has more to teach me first.
There has been so much trial and temptation during this time. I even had someone offer to fully fund a masters degree for me – basically on the condition of me not going to Nashville, and instead living a normal, safe life where I follow a career path and build my security. Maybe wrestling with this was more difficult than it should have been – but, man was it difficult. Through it though, I learned that the testing is never about God wanting to know what we will do. He’s God, He already knows. Rather, He wanted Katy to know what she would do. He wanted ME to see the faith I do have in Him. I know my shepherds voice – and I go where He leads – not where my understanding takes me. His wisdom trumps worldly wisdom. Every time.
This circumstance forced me to come to the conclusion within myself that perhaps I am wrong about what I believe God is speaking to me – otherwise it wouldn’t be faith. But even so, I know He will catch me.
As long as we are traveling with Jesus, the worst that can happen to us after a wrong turn is that we end up in a place where we understand Him better.
Even if I were to make a huge mistake of my life and totally wipe out, He will be there when I do. Because the one thing I am absolutely sure of – He is good.
Testing has become so beautiful in my eyes through this. I used to think James was slightly psychotic, but I am starting to see how we are able to consider testing pure joy.
I do not even remember which beach or which adventure, but as I spent the first couple of months praying about what to do in this “in between” of joblessness before Nashville, there was a moment with God that has pierced my heart. I cannot prove it, but I swear that time stood still. At least for a millisecond. As close to anything audible I have ever heard God speak, I heard Him say, “where do you want to go?”.
(More identity & adventure – I suppose)
I conversed with Him for a while after He asked that question. I shared the answer in my heart and He shared what He thought of it.
I have had one very specific person on my heart for about three months. She is a beautiful (probably about 50 year old) woman who lives in Indianapolis. She doesn’t know God, yet. But He knows her and He really seems to like her a lot. I had only met her once before this, but I am not sure if I have ever loved someone this way in my entire life. It is a kind of love that is outside of human capacity. She is all over my prayer closet and I have found myself on my knees in prayer for her numerous times. It is the craziest, most wonderful thing.
God showed me a picture of my hand and she is a pearl He is both gifting and entrusting me with. And as I continue to meet people in Indy, the picture He has given me has about 9 pearls in it at this point.
I have had to move around a lot all of my life. This caused a lot of pain and anger for me growing up. At the age of 20 I planted my roots in Kalamazoo, MI and made a silent promise to myself that I would never leave.
Yet, ‘if the wind goes where He sends it, so will I’.
He spoke to me on this day and said to me: “Kate, you are willing to uproot your life to love the multitudes in Nashville, because you know it’s what I would do. And you’re right. I would absolutely do that. But I would also uproot my life for the one”.
So that’s all it took.
For some reason when I sacrifice for God I easily become sad for what I am leaving behind. I begin to think I am all noble or something doing God a favor. LOL. But my favorite author reminds me that living life with God is more like playing a game of “Bigger and Better”. We begin to find that it’s never really a sacrifice because we are always trading up.
I immediately knew the answer to that question, “where do you want to go?”.
“Yet they didn’t need all the details because they were on an adventure with a Father who wanted to take them. You don’t need to know every thing when you are with someone you trust”. -Bob Goff
I found a subleaser insanely quickly and headed to Indianapolis that week for a job interview. With no clue where to live, I knocked on the doors of a cool looking church in town. I told them my situation and asked them if there was someone who would be willing to host me in their home for a few months. I soon found that the pastor God placed on my path is passionate about the big C, not just the small c. He believed in me and assured me that he would find housing. I drove away that day sobbing at the fact that I could probably show up at any church in America and find family there. The church amazes me. I also have a friend in the church who has offered to support me $100 a month when I move to Nash. And someone else who is offering me a lump sum at the end of summer. I didn’t even have to ask – God just put it on hearts and the people were obedient.
Also can I just say that God is simply the coolest. The lady I am living with in Indy is great. I couldn’t be more blessed. In addition, she owns a Tiny House Business – in Nashville. Nothing has been promised yet. But every time I think about it I laugh out loud as I hear God say, “You have no idea what I have up my sleeve for you”.
I wasn’t really sure if I should share all of this with people. Maybe I should cut out one of the trips? Or idk, the radical ways God has spoken to me that might seem insane to some. But I keep witnessing the same beautiful response from the few handful of people I have told. So if nothing else, I pray this post brings glory and praise to God. He has done so much and is absolutely worthy of the praise. Even if I look crazy.
“If I am out of my mind, it is for God. If I am in my right mind, it is for you”. (2 Cor. 5:13)
I move to Indianapolis today. The extremely great paying job I had set-up actually fell through yesterday. I debated not going to Indy at all and truthfully almost didn’t. The controlling planner side of me who loves comfort and security is going crazy. I’m definitely out on a limb – doing my best to understand what God is speaking, then being obedient and trusting Him when things don’t make sense.
“I believe God took me out on a limb and sawed it off because He wanted me to find out that He was Real”. -Greg Pruett
I am not sure what’s in store, but I have a feeling it is going to be full of adventure and that I will learn more of my identity along the way. I think I will have the privilege of loving a lot of beautiful people. I believe I will meet God in new ways. And I hope it will be a season of preparation for Nashville.
I am sad to leave Kalamazoo. There is a lot to grieve. But in that, there is clearly a lot of friendships and blessings to praise God for. Also, with all of this receiving I have been dying to give. I wanted to offer my apartment to someone for free but God said no. However, it worked out for me to leave all of my belongings for my sub-leaser. She only owns two folding chairs and cried when I told her the news. With one look into her eyes I could see evidence that she felt the love of God in that moment. It is so great to receive, but man, there is such an extravagant wonder in giving.
If you have made it to the end of this very long blog post, you must either be very bored or must really love me. Maybe both. Either way, I invite you to join me on my wild adventure. One of the greatest lessons I learned in 2017 was how to receive.
“When you judge yourself for needing help, you judge those you are helping. When you attach value to giving help, you attach value to needing help”. -Brene Brown
Learning to receive is difficult and vulnerable, but it is starting to make sense why this lesson was so vital as I am now in a season of receiving from the people around me who care about me and believe in me.
I want to take the time to invite you to support me financially, prayerfully, or whatever feels fun for you! I need prayer just as much as finances and appreciate every single one. However you choose to support me, I thank you for your generous heart and love that you have joined me on my extraordinary, imperfect journey!
God is beginning to dream with me about what He is calling me to in Nash. I can’t shake the vision of a generous Acts 4 type of church. People who don’t see themselves as owners of their money, but rather, stewards. People who considered nothing their own, but gave to each other like you would biological family in need. A people where “no one needy was among them”. Not a single person was in need in the early church because they were a family who knew how to give and receive. This is the culture in which “God added to their number day by day those who were being saved”. No benevolence. Wow. And it was so attractive to those who didn’t know God that people couldn’t stay away. It was magnetic.
How can I help instigate this culture in Radiant Nash? I am not sure yet, but the Lord is definitely stirring up something through the experiences He is taking me through. I suppose I am just in the dreaming phase at this point.
& I guess the rest is to be continued..