LOVE…Boom. That is the answer.

Wow.  Life is crazy.  The past few months have been tumultuous ride, to say the least. Then 16 days ago it all seemed to come to a deadening halt, when I received word from back home that someone very close to me attempted to end their life.  This news rushed through me like a freight train barreling down the tracks in the dead of midnight: it shook me to my bones. Why?  That was my first reaction, and I have spent the past 16 days of this nightmare trying to come to a conclusion.  Now, I don’t mean to say that I could in 16 days tell you why every single suicide, or suicide attempt ever happened, because that would be a dangerous generalization to make.  All situations are different, and each case has a certain set of extenuating circumstances, and at the end of it all I don’t think it will ever make complete sense.  I can just tell you that in regard to the situation with this person back home, after 16 days I can see quite obviously what was lacking in their life. Love. 

After taking the time to evaluate the situation I can see that this person was obviously struggling to feel loved, to find worth in life, to know that they were doing something important with their life.   Why? Simply stated, it because we live in a world where we are more concerned with ourselves than with loving and caring about others.  Yes, as a human it is important to find something that makes you happy, independent of other people, but even so, as humans we were created to be in relationship, to receive affirmation from others that we ARE loved, we ARE worth someone’s time, we ARE beautiful, that we ARE valuable in some way.  Unfortunately when this does not happen, when people feel unloved, things start to unravel pretty quickly.  People are generally more critical of themselves than others are of them, so imagine how difficult it can become for a person to value their life if the people around them are not showing them that their life IS valuable. 

This has been a crushing reality for me to face, because I am a part of the problem.  I am just as unloving as the next person.  I am quick to get angry. I am self righteous.  I am selfish. I live for my own personal gain and I am unforgiving.  If all this is true about me, which I assure you it is, then I played an equal role in this person’s suicide  attempt as they did.  Let me say that again.  I played an equal role.  I am guilty as charged of not showing that person how valuable their life IS to me personally.  Instead in my actions I just reinforced all of the negative things they were feeling.  I got too focused on myself, on what I could do, what I needed…that I totally missed the point…Love.

 

In the Bible in the book of John Jesus says, “This is my command, love one another as I have loved you.”  As a Christian person, when I think about how Jesus actually loved me, this has huge implications for the way I should be living my life.  Jesus lived a Perfect life, in the eyes of God.  He was blameless. On my best days, my righteousness could never even come close to that. But still, as God’s only Son, Jesus died a criminal’s death on the cross for me.  While I was still sinning, because He loves me, he gave up his life, so that I could live.  So when Jesus said, “Love as I have loved you.”  This is a serious thing for me. He gave his life for me.  The ultimate sacrifice, he would rather die so I would recognize my worth, than leave me wondering.  

So then what does this mean?  Is it enough to say that I am trying to love, but I know I can never be perfect so I will do what I can but it is ok to slip-up because I will never be all I am supposed to be.  Yeah I suppose that is one way to look at it. However, if you read Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians he says that In CHRIST we are becoming NEW creations.   He doesn’t say that in ourselves we are new.  He says IN CHRIST we are new.

This to me means that yeah, I can’t be a perfect person, because I am a human. However, Christ is perfect, so I need to let Christ’s love control my heart, mind, and interactions.   These passages in the Bible tell me that being a Christian isn’t just a personal relationship with God, being a Christian is a NEW way of interacting with the world.  Being a Christian means, letting Christ control my life, and letting him work through me to show others that they are valuable to me just because they exist.  That is my goal…To love people as Christ first loved me. 

 

You may not be a Christian, and that is ok. But I am sure you can get down with the idea that this world needs more love.   We hear all the time stories on the news about terrible things happening.  There are school shootings, murder, rape, child abuse, suicide, fighting and war.  The world is crumbling around us. In my opinion everyday we have the choice to pick up the pieces and start putting it back together by LOVING one another, or breaking it into smaller pieces by remaining apathetic.  I mean really loving people, just because they are people, and they have just as much a right to happiness as the rest of us. 

 

I will be the first to admit that I am constantly falling short of this goal.  It took this person from back home attempting to end their life for me to realize how wrapped up in myself I was.  It breaks my heart that this had to be the breaking point. That it wasn’t until I almost lost someone I care for dearly, that I realized where I needed to improve. 

Even now, I know that I will never be perfect, and it is going to be so difficult but I am not going to let that be an excuse for me to not love people anymore. Life is too precious to me, and the people that I care about are too important to lose, and I need to be better for them.  The truth is we are a global community.  We all play a part in the state of the world, and the state of one another’s lives.  We have a choice everyday, between love and the alternative.  

I don’t know about you, but I choose Love.

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Merry Christmas my friends!

I am currently in Green Bay, WI spending some quality time with my family and friends, before my team and I are off to the Ukraine!

Wow.  The past few months have been wild! I have been to 8 different states, been in who knows how many different churches, with tons of different people.  I met John Jacobson at Sounds Like Love, and watched 300 plus high school students get together, and put together an complete concert in three days…all for the Glory of God. Wow. I have spent 7 days a week the past  3 and a half months with the same 5 people, in a 15 passenger van.  When I think about all of these things, it is still baffling to me that I am doing this.

Last year at this time, I was working a full time job, and going to school, living a comfortable life in Maryland, surrounded by friends, and people that I loved being with.  And then God put this idea in my head.  I applied for an International Team with Youth Encounter…and now, one year later, here I am gallivanting  around the country.   I am right in the midst of God’s plan for my life, actively and intentionally living it out, and it is mind boggling to see how perfect it is working.

I had so many reservations about doing this a year ago.  How will I pay my bills?  How can I afford to be away?  How will I get the things I need?  Silly me.  Since being on the road, I have not had to worry once about any of that.  God has been working through friends, family, and complete strangers, to make sure that my team mates and I have everything that we really need.

It is wonderful.

So as I sit and ponder the past year of my life, I cannot help but reflect on the promise of Christmas.  As Christians, we spend the month leading up to Christmas in anticipation of what is to come…the birth of Jesus-God’s promise to humanity, the hope of life, the man who would die for us on the Cross, and end our separation from God.  Then Christmas comes with a joyous celebration, as we rejoice in the reality of the promise that God made to us.  Wow, that is some good stuff…but wait!  There is more!  God’s promise for our lives isn’t just reserved to Christmas, and the month or so leading up to it.  God’s promise surrounds us.  It is present in every aspect of our lives, acknowledged or not.  Jesus was born, He died, and He rose again, and now God is alive in every part of our day to day lives. This is something I have realized over the past few months, and it has brought me great hope.  God is here and now, all day everyday. We are constantly surrounded by the promise he has for our lives. He  is actively playing out this plan  around us, and through us!

The past few months have been wonderful, and it has been great to have my eyes and heart opened to the way that God is working in my life, and the lives of others.  Thank you so much for your continued support of the ministry I am a part of this year.  It means so much to me.  Keep me in your thoughts and prayers, and remember, God’s promise for our lives is  the present, and He is constantly working!

Have a Merry Christmas my friends!

Take care, Give care,

-Kate

Happy Thanksgiving!

Meet Watermark Germany!

From the Left : Christel, Jan-Lütje, Susan, Allyss, and ME!

I am so thankful to be with the wonderful group of people.  I was quite surprised at how well I get along with all of them, it really makes the rest of what I am doing so much easier.  This past weekend was our first booking. We were at a church in Slayton, Minnesota and it was AWESOME!  The people were great, and the Pastor at the church took us to PIZZA RANCH for lunch.  For those of you who have never heard of pizza ranch…it is a pizza buffet and it is delicious.  Then after lunch we drove 4 hours to Spring Valley, Minnesota, to stay at Good Earth Village camp.   It is so  nice here.  The cabins are A-frames, and they have tons of trails, and a  labyrinth.  Today, for our day off, we went into town for lunch at this local bar and grill called Tootie’s.  It was decorated with a mural of cowboys having a shootout in the desert.   Apparently Mystery Cave state park is in these parts of the states as well.  Mystery Cave is the largest cave in Minnesota.  We drove there, but had missed the tour for the day…bummer.  The Mystery Cave shall remain a mystery to us.   I was thankful to have a day off , and so much time to relax.  It was great to have the opportunity to sleep in until 11:30am, write some letters, and just BE.   Tomorrow we leave at 10 am for Iola, Wisconsin.  Where we will stay for two nights, and work with the church’s conformation class.  From there we head to Flanagan, IL to do a chapel service at an assisted living facility, and then to Golden, IL for a weekend of service ministry with youth, and 3 programs!  WOO-HOO!  I am really loving what I am doing, and finally embracing the idea of being on the road  for a year.  I had a few really great conversations with a friend of mine on training staff the last week of training, that really helped me to find comfort and peace in doing this crazy thing.  I am so thankful that happened, otherwise this transition would have been brutal.

By the end of the month our 6th team-mate Ben should be joining us.  On the 6th of this month he has his visa appointment.  So please keep him in your thoughts!  We are all anxious, and excited to meet him.  Especially Jan, who is the only man travelling with 4 women. (come to think of it, keep Jan in your thoughts as well.  haha)

I hope you are all doing well!  I miss everyone!  Now that I am not in the woods I will have more regular internet access.  Stay tuned for some VIDEO blogs!

Take care, give care,

-Kate

Being Safe.

Dear Friends!

I am here in the twin cities, and have almost completed my first week of team ministry with youth encounter.  Check out this link to find out more about  what I am doing!  http://www.youthencounter.org/Default.aspx?tabid=74&ProductID=257                                                             I am happy to report that I actually like all of my team mates, and have been having a pretty decent week so far.  It has been really hard to adjust to all of these new people, and I really miss people from home, but it has been mostly good, and I think it will be a really positive experience.

My team mates are pretty cool…stay tuned for some more information on them in a later post.

I just wanted to let you know that I am here safe..and I am adjusting.  I will post a bit more tomorrow night about my team, and what I will be doing the next few weeks.

 

I miss you all!  and hope to see you soon!

 

Take care, Give care,

-Kate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wolves.

One month ago I stood with three friends in a room crowded with strangers.  It was hot, and we had been standing for hours.  The lights were low and everyone in the room was standing silent in awe of the beauty that was being created in front of them.  From the very first note I was in tears; flooded with emotions that I had refused to feel over the past few months.  It was freeing and truly cleansing to feel emotions that intensely.  The band played and I left feeling so lifted, and happy.  Nothing was heavy anymore…things were lovely, light, easy.  It was easily the best night of my life.  I wish my words could more accurately describe the high I left with, but you really needed to be there.  The feeling was indescribable.

Since that night things have been a roller coaster.  And at times it has been hard to see the good side of things.  However, since that night I have not stopped searching for the beauty and honesty in all things.  I realize that things happen for a reason, and life sometimes takes us places we would rather not go, but  I have not yet failed to find beauty in a situation…and that to me is encouraging.

On Sunday I will start an Adventure with an organization called Youth Encounter.  I will be living with 5 people I have never met, playing christian music with them, and travelling around the United States and Germany for a year.  While I know this is going to be a wonderful experience for me, I have my reservations about what is ahead of me.  I committed to put everything on the back burner for a year…my job, school, family, friends, my boyfriend.  Everything that was certain is on hold, and I am propelling myself at full speed into a world of uncertainty.   Most people I have spoken with about this are really excited about what the next year holds…and to be completely open and honest…I am nervous…part of me is actually dreading packing my bag, and leaving on Sunday, but I am going..because I can’t help but feel like there is something bigger at work here.  Some people call it God, Nature, or Destiny….but I see it as something much more basic.

Beauty.  Pure and simple.

I am going to do a year on team, because I know that wherever I am, whatever I am doing, in every situation, there will be beauty guiding me, shaping me into the person I am supposed to be.  The same beauty that was in that room a month ago, the same beauty that binds us together has humans,  will be with me on the road in every church I play in, every song I sing, every interaction I have.   It is that beauty that drives me and gives me hope for what is to come.   And though I can never go back to a month ago…and stand in that room with my friends, and experience the same exact freeing flood of emotions over some of the most powerful music created..I know that no matter where I go I will be surrounded by a beauty that fuels my never ending passion for life.  And that to me is worth giving up everything certain, packing my bag, and spending a year experiencing something I can’t even imagine.

Wish me luck this next year!  I will keep you posted on where I am and the things I am doing, but in return I would ask this small favor of you.  Do not ever stop searching for the beauty in your life, though sometimes it is hard to find..it is always there….and you deserve to find it.

And if you are not sure where to look…you can start here.

Creature Fear….

Home Sweet Home?

Who knows.

After driving 978 miles by myself, I was definitely glad to be pulling into the driveway.  However, to say that the last few days have been overwhelming would be an understatement.  Typically transition times in life are pretty intense, but the past few days have been so intense for me.  Saying good-bye to the people I love, a lonesome drive across the country, seeing my family..trying to explain to them what I may be doing next year, and  dealing with the uncertainty of it all.  But even though this experience as been overwhelming and intense…I am really thankful that I get to experience this, especially at this time in my life. Getting stuck  in a less than fulfilling  life is too easy, and the opportunities that I have right now are abundant.  As intense and overwhelming as it may be I am glad to have options I know will help me lead a life I can be proud of.

So I am in Green Bay for the next two weeks, trying to decided what happens next.  I am excited to be able to spend some time with friends, get some drinks, see some music, hang out at the Attic, and just BE for a couple of weeks before my next adventure…whatever that may be.

Take care, give care,

-Kate