Monday, February 28, 2011

Cafe Bohemia


peace, love, and go fish for people.
kaeli

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Don't lose hope

We are all born into sin. Try as we might, we all fall short, we all sin (Romans 3:23). Because of our sin, we deserve death (Romans 6:23). Without Jesus Christ, we are spiritually dead. But once we come to know Him and enter into a relationship with Him, we are no longer spiritually dead; instead, by grace, we are given life; so we die to ourselves daily and are dead to the world, but we are fully alive in Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-5). Essentially, we are dead men, walking.

However, being fully alive in Christ is not simple. It requires transformation (2 Corinthians 5:17). If our natural selves desire sin but we are saved through faith, we are pitted in a constant battle against sin. We are called to die to ourselves (Luke 9:23) - to put down everything our flesh desires, everything that is natural to us - so that we may put on Christ and be justified through Him.

We battle not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12). But even when things are so difficult and temptation is so strong, we must not conform (Romans 12:2). In everything we do, we must lower our pride and surrender it all to the One who saves us (Psalm 55:22). Do not be discouraged in this crusade. The Lord your God is with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9).

Do not lost hope, brothers and sisters. This battle we face every day is tough and wearing, but we have God on our side. He will pull us through our mud, he will mold us into something beautiful.

peace, love, and life.
kaeli

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Finally, I surrender

God has definitely been working in my life.

It's amazing what can happen once you surrender everything to Him. And I mean everything. I've been learning how to really surrender lately, how to lay it all down.

And now because of that, amazing things have happened: friendships are being restored, new friendships are being made, doors are being opened, hearts are being softened, walls are being broken down.

I am still healing and still relying on God to get me through this heartbreak, but I know that greater things have yet to come. I am excited for everything else God is going to teach me through this.

"Finally, I surrender
All to You, I give it all to You
Finally, I surrender
All I am, I owe it all to You."
("White Flag" by For Today)

peace, love, and restoration.
kaeli

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Brokenness

This is a question a very dear friend of mine asked me, and it is a very complex question. I decided to post it on here because I thought it might be of use to some of you. Maybe you've asked a question like this before. I have made some changes to her question so as to keep her identity between her and myself:

Dear friend,
I write you because you might be able to relate to what I need prayer about. I have felt the last couple of days that God wants me to ask Him to break me. To break me so that I can experience His incomparable love for me. I know that you asked for that in Sweden, and then Sennit went to heaven... So I know that you know the pain that follows that question, "Can you break me?" I am scared because I feel that if I ask God to do it, then it will have something to do with [my boyfriend]. I know that God's love for me is much greater than [his], so why am I scared? I don't feel like I am ready to let go of [him]. I guess I never can be. My problem is that I dont WANT to let go!

Please pray for me... I dont know if I made any sense at all but I have to go now.... I love you. Thank you for being you.

Love, [a dear friend]


My response:


Dear Beloved,
In Sweden, I did ask for God to break me. But I, unlike you, was unaware of the pain that would accompany the question. I cannot deny that it was unbearable at times. I was not ready to let go of Jonathan, and I was definitely not prepared for it. However, God has a way of working things out. After the main portion of my grieving, I was given a joy so indescribable, it could only come from the One True God. Through my time of brokenness, He was restoring me, putting me back together, molding me, all because I was clinging to Him. I asked Him to break me because I knew that my relationship with Him was suffering. God took Sennit home, and the only thing I could do was put all my weight on Him. I didn't want to let go of Jonathan, but I didn't have him to hold onto anymore, I only had Jesus, which ended up being way better than I expected.

My question for you is if you don't want to let go, are you putting your relationship with [your boyfriend] above your relationship with God? It may be that you didn't even realize you were doing that. The thing is, when we ask God to do something like break us down completely, we are asking Him to rearrange our lives to better suit His purposes and His glory. It's going to hurt, but I can assure you that the end result is totally worth it.

Your relationship with [your boyfriend] is something you're going to have to trust God with. Allow Him to do with it as He wills, not as you will.

As always, I will be praying for you, sister. I love you.

Love, Kaeli

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Life would be so simple if we'd all just learn to pray

Prayer is truly an amazing thing. Praise God we have the freedom to pray whenever we please because schedules and life don't always coincide. I really shouldn't be so amazed that prayer does, in fact, work, because God tells us it clearly does. It's like God looks at us and smiles, and then says, "Well, duh" when that happens. Either way, I'm thankful.

Today I had one of those days where I prayed a lot - way more than usual. I was pouring my heart out because it was heavy with sadness and breaking for people I love. There were things I so badly wanted to fix, but it wasn't in my power to do so. Later in the afternoon, I met up with a brother in Christ and we talked about the situation, and prayed together. We could tell as we were praying that God was already at work and was already answering our cries out to Him before we had even finished. There was a huge moment of relief when we relinquished what control we thought we had in what's going on and handed it over to Him. He is the God of our impossible, because what is impossible for us is most definitely possible for Him.

If there's anything going on in your life, don't be afraid to talk to God. He wants you to. He wants you to be open and honest with Him - He wants to know your fears, your frustrations, your joys, and your happiness - He wants it all. God truly taught me a thing or two about prayer today, and I hope He does the same for you.

"pray without ceasing" - 1 Thessalonians 5:17

peace, love, and panera.
kaeli

Valentine's Day doesn't have to suck

I would say that this year's Valentine's Day was the best one I've ever experienced. Let me tell you about it...

Mini rant: Normally, I absolutely despise the 14th of February. Not because I'm almost always single (although that's a tiny factor), but because I don't see the point in setting aside one day out of the year for romance; it should happen spontaneously. Romance should be organic, authentic, real. Not some Hallmark addition to the other holidays. Plus, it's almost always cheesy on Valentine's Day, and I don't do cheesy in relationship-type situations. (Mini rant over.)

However, this Valentine's Day was unlike any other. I was awoken this morning by my cell phone ringing off the hook by a private number. I'm a tad cranky in the morning, so naturally, I didn't answer. I then received a message on Skype from a skype name I didn't recognize. It was really generic, but it just said to go outside. A little freaked out, I decided to check out my window. There wasn't anyone standing down below, so I went down to open my front door. I was completely taken aback by the dozens of rose petals spread out in place of my welcome mat. There was a note resting on top of the velvety petals and I bent down to pick it up. It read:

This is a scavenger hunt. Follow my clues and answer my riddles. Each one will bring you a step closer to finding your secret admirer. Good luck. (By the way, you look great.)


I turned the note over to find my first clue. The answer was easy - it led me to my car where I found another clue and more rose petals on my windshield. The next clue took me to the gazebo in the nearby park. And again I found another clue surrounded by rose petals. There were a total of seventeen clues, all taking me to different places around town - a restaurant, a coffee shop, a movie theater, the beach, and finally back to my home. I opened my front door and there lay a trail of rose petals, so I followed. They led upstairs to my room. Everything was just as I had left it, with the exception of all the petals and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates sitting on my bed. This was obviously someone I knew, otherwise my mom wouldn't have let them in the house while I was gone. I smiled. Amongst the candy, there was one final note. It had my name written sweetly on the outside of the envelope, and I gently opened it, my heart racing in anticipation of what it might read.

The inscription was a beautiful message to me, something I will never forget. I still don't know who my secret admirer is, but I thank you for somewhat thawing my anti-valentine heart of ice. I hope I can meet you one day soon. Until then.

peace, love, and well, more love.
kaeli

Ps. None of this actually happened. Today was just like any other ordinary day. I watched a few episodes of House, ate some cous cous, hung out with friends, and watched a movie with them. Jesus was and will forever be my Valentine - He's the best one I could ever have. I hope you all had a great holiday. Know that you are so valuable and so loved and you don't need to be limited to one day out of the year to hear that. Enjoy the 50% off chocolate tomorrow!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Black socks and white-woolen locks

We've been going through John 10 this week at bible study and I was inspired to write a poem from the perspective of the thief. Here it is:

I am a wolf in sheep's clothing
Passing by the watchmen, on to the herd
Disguised in determination
Waiting for one to be lured
Out by curiosity, or a mere distraction
So I can soon follow that lonely lamb
And satisfy my unending hunger
But suddenly, I hear a crying Man
He's calling out a name
One I do not recognize
And that measly morsel turns around
Leaving me to wallow in my demise
Where the Man now lays His head
I would not think to enter
For I am a god in my own mind
'Pride' some call it (I'm my own center)

peace, love, and perspective.
kaeli

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Scum of the earth

"This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God...For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things."
-1 Corinthians 4:1; 9-13 (ESV)

I feel that society has a pretty basic stereotype of what the Church looks like; I'm not saying I like this stereotype, I'm just expressing that there is one: People that wear nicer clothes to the gatherings than the typical weekend-wear, that are able to tithe large sums of money each week, people that are modestly exclusive; a body that has growth, but there is no outreach.

As believers in Christ, we are called to reach the unreached, to love the unloved, to humble ourselves because we are no better than anyone else. We are already outcasts by society's standards, so let us also reach the other types of outcasts: the dropouts, losers, failures, fools, and the lost. (Remember, we were once lost too.) There are already an abundance of people out there that judge; let us be humble ad love people as they come. We are aware of our ever-present need for a Savior for we are the scum of the earth; our job is to shine that Light in other people's darkness, to be love and present an option of New Life.

Inward growth is important - we needn't forget our own relationships with Jesus - but we also need to reflect Him to those that need Him; to be selfless in putting everyone else's needs before our own; to make them feel like they belong for once. It's more than just doing a local outreach: it's building relationships, helping them grow, encouraging them.

There are broken, hurting people out there. What are we doing to express a greater Love to them?

peace, love, and humility.
kaeli

Psalm 139-ish

She releases a slow, soothing sigh as she recollects her not-so-distant past. Reminded of what used to consume her thoughts, she shakes it off, looking forward in hope.

"This heart's been broken many a time," she thought, "but You have set me free."

Before the dust in the air can settle, she jumps to her feet, arms raised in surrender, and cries out to the One who saved her:

"You know who I really am - every part of me - and why I've felt this way. Sometimes it's hard to believe that You understand; I need Your hand to take hold of me. But you see, even before I was a thought in my mother's mind, You saw me intertwined in Your grace; You knelt down and kissed my face. It is almost too much for me, but that is where beauty is found. How can I hide from You when You know exactly where I'll go? If I think I've gone too far, if I'm running scared from the Dark, Your light will break through the night. You pulled me through the eye of a needle, away from isolation; my most secret place is somewhere Your name seeps in. I can do nothing but praise You for this life You've given me. Though I am broken and poured out, Your love rescues me."

She fell to her knees, tears streaming down her face. She knew her Love was near:

"I love it when You whisper in my ear to meet You at the shore. I love it when You call me by name. I love how You hand-picked every star and put each in its perfect place. I love when You wrap Your arms around me and pull me in the biggest embrace, the tightest embrace, the warmest embrace. I cannot wait to finally see You face-to-face. I love that without You I have nothing; I am nothing."

She bowed her head in serenity, though joy and wholeness flooded her soul like a raging river.

peace, love, and identity.
kaeli grace

Monday, February 7, 2011

V is for Vegetarian

I don't even know what to say right now other than I miss my best friend. I know he's better off and I'll see him again. Instead, head over to JJ's blog to read his post about Jonathan and watch the memorial video. He did a much better job than I could right now.

peace, love, and hope.
kaeli

Ps. Does anyone have the photo of me and Sennit riding bikes through Target after his graduation?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Salvation changes every part of you

God's readiness to give and forgive is now public. Salvation's available for everyone! We're being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life. This new life is starting right now, and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears. He offered himself as a sacrifice to free us from a dark, rebellious life into this good, pure life, making us a people he can be proud of, energetic in goodness. ...Pursue a righteous life - a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. Run hard and fast in the faith. Seize the eternal life, the life you were called to, the life you so fervently embraced in the presence of many witnesses. The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand.

Titus 2:11-13. 1 Timothy 6:11-12 (The Message). Psalm 37:23-24 (ESV).

peace, love, and faithfulness.
kaeli

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Dust and ash

Oh, how I can taste
Your sweet, saving grace
As it flows like raging rapids
Through my soul; I no longer feel trapped in
This grave that I've made -
In my bed of contentment.
I was a slave bound in chains,
But in You I am resting.
I drink Your words like water;
They refresh me, along with Your other sons and daughters.
I am but clay in my Potter's hands,
Being molded and matured to become a new man.
I am transformed with a naked heart;
Lord, You've been with me from the start.
(My name is Dustin Ashe and here I lie
Dead to the world, but fully alive.)

peace, love, and so much joy.
kaeli

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Community

We are all one body (1 Corinthians 12); one living, breathing community. Well, shouldn't we be acting like it?

"Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him - a threefold cord is not quickly broken."
- Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

We are commanded to love each other (John 13:34). Loving each other requires helping one another out. Helping each other out requires being open and honest with each other. See where I'm going with this?

We, as the Church, are a Community. In a community, there shouldn't be anyone worrying about what people are going to think of them because they don't want to be judged. We are supposed to be there for each other through our struggles, our pain, our joys, our excitement - all of it. Openness and honesty are necessary in community so we can build each other up, pray for each other, and encourage one another (Philippians 4:3-5).

Love people as they come. If someone comes to you with something awesome that happened to them, rejoice with them! If someone is struggling with something, accept that they aren't perfect (and neither are you) and love them for who they are. But love them so much that you can't let them stay that way.

Tonight I was able to enjoy an awesome dinner with four friends I hadn't spent time with in a while. We went out to IHOP and just got to talking. I was able to share with them the amazing journey God has been taking me on (the growth and the pain) and they were able to share what's been going on in their lives. Even though I hadn't really seen them in a while, we were talking as if we saw each other all the time. There was no judgment with what we shared with each other. There was love and understanding. This is one example of how it should be.

In return, when someone is being open and honest with you, don't be afraid to do the same.

Accept the challenge, Church. Be the community we're supposed to be. Love like Christ. Do life together.

peace, love, and done ranting.
kaeli