Saturday, February 7, 2015

Recap Of God's Faithfulness

It's been awhile.

The past few months (ok, almost a year) have tried and tested our faith.

Our family has seen the faithfulness of God in a hospital in Romania, where we rushed Ellie after a freak seizure.
Continued grace as we completed our 6 weeks in this beautiful country we came to understand and embrace, with beautiful souls we connected with and still pray over.

Clarity in the midst of frustration as I rushed Ellie through a thunderstorm 5 hours back to our hometown from a beach retreat with XMC students.  She had had another seizure.

Guidance to the right doctor, the right neurologist, the right dosage of meds.

God spoke to me through my amazing daughter's perspective.
I was scheduled to minister in Australia for a month following XMC graduation, June/July.
With all the challenges our newfound diagnosis had brought, I seriously was considering canceling the trip.
Talking my decision through with Ellie (because that's how we roll in our house), I began giving her my concerns of why I probably shouldn't go overseas when we were still navigating the waters of uncertainty following her diagnosis.
Ellie put her hand on my arm and leaned in to look me directly in the eyes.

"Mom. Don't be dramatic."

"Excuse me?"

"I'll be fine."

"Well, I'm sure. Daddy will be here, but I was just worried about leaving you. I don't want to leave you when we're still not sure about all this..."

"Mom." Ellie interrupted. "God has a plan and a purpose for everyone. You know He has a purpose for my life, and even if I have another seizure, I know good will come out of it. The Bible says God works everything out for good."

"Well, yes, I know that..."

"...and Mom," she continued earnestly, "you shouldn't worry about me. Jesus will take care of me. You need to go lead worship. Go sing and tell people about Jesus. I'm seriously fine."


I did go to Australia for a month. 
I ministered over 14 times in 4 cities, various smaller towns, and saw salvations, healings, and true worship birthed in the hearts of those who had been hurting, depressed and alone.

Upon my return, we geared up for another year of XMC to start, and welcomed 65 students.

I have had the privilege and honor of working not only with Pastors Shawn and Nichole Marcell again this year, but my wonderful husband, Biker Man joined the staff this year! How cool is God's goodness.

I've taken students to a few different churches, Teen Challenge, a weekly chapel at a small school, as well as our weekly classes and rehearsals.

In the midst of it all, I've seen Ellie grow both discouraged (after having another seizure) and then more determined to not accept the diagnosis as a permanent fixture in her life. The latter attitude came as a result of her going off by herself to think and pray about whether or not she should take ownership of said diagnosis.
Her decision?
"The doctor said I can outgrow this. I have decided not to blame every time I'm tired or feeling weak on a diagnosis."

Biker Man, Drummer Boy and I are backing her decision.
She will continue to take her meds, and follow the guidelines from her neurologist, until his diagnosis is the same as hers. Healed.

I just took Ellie with me two weeks ago to speak at a camp in Sydney, Australia.
She had a blast. The most rewarding part of the week there, for me, was seeing her receive the love of God in a deeper way. Pressing in to worship, sharing what Jesus means to her with other students, competing in squadron battles, and just hanging out with me in our off time was a gift to this mom's heart.

She is still somewhat recovering from jet lag, but back to her sweet, caring-although-sometimes-sarcastic self.

As I sit here, pondering the past few months and the immense changes they have wrought in all four of us, I know these changes are for the better. 
Because they brought about a sharper awareness of God's presence and present mercies on our lives. 
A firmer understanding of His love that shapes our hearts. 
A fiercer trust in Jesus and His faithfulness to us.

And I know these changes were brought about, not just by what happened to Ellie, but mostly, by our reaction to it.

God has been giving me songs during this past year. Part of the "one more reason to worship" time in my life, I guess! I'll share one next blog.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The King's Daughter

I've been studying this subject for the past year and a half.

Since the last time I came to Romania.

When God completely wrecked me.

I had accompanied my friends Nichole, Teresa, and Autumn to help out at a women's conference here, and the second night of our stay, we were invited to a prayer meeting.

I found a spot on the floor (the room was packed) and proceeded to start petitioning God for the people of Romania, women attending the conference, open doors during our stay... you know, what I thought God wanted me to pray.

Boy, was I unprepared for what happened next.

God spoke to me in such a sweet, tender way.

I am so proud of you.
So proud to call you Daughter.
If you couldn't sing or play or write, I would still take pride in you.
I would delight in you.

Now, I know God's love for me doesn't hinge on my abilities.

I tell my students in worship institute to not judge God's use of their giftings on stage as criteria of His approval of them.

But it hit me in a new way, and rocked my world.

What would have otherwise been a routine missions trip turned into every day seeing the world through the eyes of awe, humility, compassion, and newfound joy in being validated as a chosen Daughter of the King.

I cried.  
A lot.

When I got back to the States, I talked to my friend, Sarah, about my experiences in Romania.
She very matter of factly summed it up for me.
"Kari, I think God delights in freaking us out. Because it's all about relationship for Him.  Everything is about His relationship with us.  God had to get you out of your routine and environment to a place where you could hear Him speak to you in a new way."

(I love that girl.)

It started me on a journey of listening and learning WHOSE I am.

Who He says I am.

The above verse states that the daughter of the King is all glorious within.
His glory resides within me.
Within me He dwells.
When I discover His glory, simply being in His presence, I cannot do anything other than receive all of Him.
In His glory I am undone.
In His glory I am moved to worship Him.

So I will be adding to this in the days to come, snippets of this teaching God is giving me.

This is a song that was sort of a theme song for my students last year. 

Stay tuned! Thanks for reading.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

No Substitute

There is no substitute for these amazing world changers surrounding me.

My investment in them is immeasurable.

We have laughed until we can't breathe at inside jokes.

We have cried as loss, casually and indiscriminately, takes someone from our lives.

We have hurled words of anger in the heat of the moment, out loud, or under our breath.

We have taken back those same words in repentant realization that we didn't mean it, that nothing is worth hurting those you are closest to.

We have watched in wonder as one of us grows closer to Jesus through sacrifice and prayer.

No one can replace the fiercely loyal and joyously abandoned love we have for each other.

We have traversed miles upon miles over mountains, deserts, snowy plains, and beaches....

Around the globe, hearing various languages, seeing different nationalities.

We have worshiped with brothers and sisters we didn't know we had, until we met...with only Christ as our common denominator.

I'm so very thankful to begin yet another year with my family at my side.

And I'm on their side.

As we are on the Lord's side.

Doing life together.

Until God calls us Home.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Christ As Lord

I came across this as I was scrolling through my notes to teach my worship students.
It was a post I did for our women's ministry blog, Joli, awhile back.
I never posted it here, but when I read it today, I thought I should.


Christ As Lord

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.”
(1 Peter 3:15)

When I first read this verse in my Bible, I figured, “I already sanctify God in my heart.  I recognize Him as Lord, I want to tell everyone the Good News of what Jesus did for me, I realize He is holy, He is the One True God.”

Then, recently, I came back to this verse.


When I took that word apart, it literally means “To Set Apart.”
Set apart.
Single Out.

The Lord God.

These three words were translated “Christ As Lord.”

As King of all kings.
As Lord of all lords.
As ruler above all rulers.
The only One claiming the right of owning my heart.
The only One worthy of all my worship.

All.  My.  Worship.

How many other things in my little world crowd Jesus out until I can’t differentiate His voice from the demands of life pulling me towards the wider road?
Away from the Still Small Voice calling me to come deeper?

He doesn’t demand me to come.
He bids me to come and lean my head on His lap and receive strength.

Yet, as I come and fall at His feet, I know He requires my all.
Fully abandoned.
Completely surrendered.

Surrendering everything.

Any hope of recognition by man.
Every thought that wanders in its desire for the world.
Any thought that makes Christ less than He is.
Every vain imagination.

Without all of me, there cannot be room for all of Jesus.

Without Him, I am hopelessly undone.

And in that understanding, there is freedom.
Complete peace.

Because, as I empty out the needy caverns of my heart, Jesus fills them with Himself.