<![CDATA[GRAMMARFANATIC.COM - Blog]]>Wed, 03 Jul 2024 06:25:19 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Kisses from Katie]]>Sun, 17 Oct 2021 19:29:27 GMThttp://grammarfanatic.com/blog/kisses-from-katiePicture
​​What compels me to live the way I do? How does that cause me to live differently than those around me?

I asked myself these questions as I read Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis Majors. While a senior in high school, Katie went to Uganda on a short-term mission trip and ended up moving there after falling in love with the land and the people—especially the children. God so moved in her heart that, at the age of nineteen, she starting adopting several little girls and eventually became mother to thirteen of them. Her story is amazing, and her book is a life-changing read that comes with a challenge: Try and read it without it breaking your heart or causing you to ask yourself the same questions I did.

Katie never started out with the intention to make such drastic changes in her life. Her life in Nashville, Tennessee, centered around being senior class president and homecoming queen, involved with her family, boyfriend, friends, and church, and enjoying all the comforts and lifestyle of the upper middle-class environment she’d been raised in. Out of her love for Jesus, she felt the desire to go to Uganda to serve Him on the mission trip, never expecting it to change her as it did. She said that the love she had for Jesus “was beginning to interfere with the plans I once had for my life and certainly with the plans others had for me. My heart had been apprehended by a great love, a love that compelled me to live differently.”

The trappings of a comfortable life were no longer important to Katie. She was willing to live without the things we take for granted, in order to serve the community she became a part ofone person at a time. Katie said, “I am running from things that can destroy my soul: complacency, comfort, and ignorance. I am much more terrified of living a comfortable life in a self-serving society and failing to follow Jesus than I am of any illness or tragedy.” Later in the book, she went on to say, “I was forever ruined for comfort, convenience, and luxury, preferring instead challenge, sacrifice, and risking everything to do something I believed in.”

God very much blessed her willingness to take up the challenges, sacrifices, and risks by using her to spread His love and gospel to a people so in need. You might think she spent time being sad and missing the life she left behind but, instead, her life, as she told it, was full of joy and laughter. That’s not to say she didn’t have difficult days and times when she cried, but her tears weren’t for herself. Rather, they were for the children and adults who lived constantly with disease, filth, and pain, along with a lack of food, water, and medication.

Katie said she learned that “something happens when one makes [oneself] available to God: He starts moving in ways no one could imagine. God began doing things in me, around me, and through me as I offered myself to Him. I began each day saying, “Okay, Lord, what would you have me do today? Whom would you have me help today?” And then I would allow Him to show me.”

We don’t have to go to Uganda to be used of God. We can wake up each day as Katie did and pray this same prayer. Like her, we can simply care for those around us, one person at a time, as an “overflow of love for Christ and the love that He has lavished” upon us. “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1 NIV).

Katie’s story captured and convicted my heart all at the same time. Her lived-out faith challenged me to think about how God can use me right where I live. I may not be able to go to Uganda, but God isn’t calling me there. He’s calling me to serve Him here, and to use the gifts and talents here that He’s equipped me with.

The world around us, even in our comfortable, middle-class cities, is hurting and so in need of a Savior. “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliationthat God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us” (2 Corinthians 5:1820b NIV).

Katie took God’s word to heart. It couldn’t have been easy, leaving her family, boyfriend, and friends, moving to the other side of the world by herself to follow Him. But how God used and blessed her! He can do the same with us, if we’re only willing to be obedient. In her obedience, Katie came to an amazing realization: “. . . mediocrity and abundance, comfort and ease, do seem to be safe choices for many people, myself included. In stark contrast, leaving our possessions, following Jesus when we don’t have a well-defined plan, and entertaining strangers—well, that does sound a little scary. But what if, just beyond that risk, just beyond the fear is a life better than anything we have ever imagined: life to the fullest.”

I believe that’s a risk worth taking!

So, what compels you to live the way you do, and how does that cause you to live differently than those around you?

​Blessings to you!

<![CDATA[One Final Breath]]>Mon, 09 Aug 2021 15:51:40 GMThttp://grammarfanatic.com/blog/one-final-breathPicture
​I don’t know about you, but I have been crazy busy this summer! I’ve continued to read a good number of books because that is my sanity—I take moments here and there so I can get in a few pages at a time. One of the books, One Final Breath by Lynn H. Blackburn, is number three in a series about a team of underwater investigators who work for the Carrington County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina. I’ve read the first two without being able to put them down, and this one did not disappoint.
Without giving any of the story away, the main characters is the team captain, Anissa Bell, who’s tasked with solving the shooting of a teenage boy. To complicate matters for Anissa, she has been trying to solve the cold case of a friend’s murder and the disappearance of a little girl. In the process, God uses the two cases to help Anissa as she works through issues we all face: finding our purpose, accepting God’s will and how He chooses to accomplish it, and dealing with emotional pain.
When you think about the experiences you’ve had and the situations you’ve found yourself in, do you ever wonder if you minimize what God is doing in your life? I don’t know about you, but I have found myself limiting God because of my finite thinking.

Anissa doubts God’s calling on her life as an investigator and, at one point, prays, “‘Oh, Lord, what have I done?’ She whispered her confession. ‘How have I only imagined that you work in one way, when I know you are the God of infinity? I still don’t see how there could be any good from Carly’s death. Any good from Jillian’s disappearance. From thirteen years of pain for her family. For me. I don’t understand and I know I never will. But when did I stop believing you could—or would—give me anything good? When did I stop seeing my job, my friends, my life in Carrington as a gift from you? As your plan for me? When did I get it in my head that you would only give me the minimum?’”

Don’t we do the same thing? We get so caught up in the circumstances we find ourselves in, we forget how big our God is and that He is our loving, heavenly Father who only has our best interests at heart. I remember a wise person telling me years ago that God doesn’t allow anything into our lives unless it’s passed through His fingers first. In the midst of pain or difficulties, I can forget that.

I’ve realized as I’ve matured in the Lord, I find myself remembering more quickly the times God has been faithful and going to His Word to Scriptures that brought comfort or encouragement in the past. One such verse is Isaiah 49:16, “Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (ESV). Not only does this speak to how much God cares for us but, when I meditate on this, it brings to mind those same palms felt the pain of spikes being driven through them as Jesus was nailed to the cross. He took on my sin and allowed Himself to suffer and be put to death in my place because of His great love for me. How could I ever doubt what He does in my life?

Another character in One Final Breath is an older man Anissa views as a surrogate parent. As she talks with him about her doubts, he tells her, “I know you think you messed up and missed God’s best for you. But I wish you would consider the possibility that God called you to police work. That he gave you the skills needed to be a fabulous investigator. That his plan—his good works planned for you before the foundation of the world—was always for you to change lives right here . . . Sometimes God calls his children to sacrifice everything and serve him in far-flung places. Sometimes God calls his children to sacrifice everything and serve him in the up-close spaces. In the hospital, the courtroom, the classroom, the sheriff’s office. Staying put and doing the hard work right where you are takes the same obedience, the same passion for the Lord, as any other calling.”

Are you aware we all have a calling? God’s call on a person’s life isn’t just for those who are pastors, evangelists, or theologians—those whose professions are clearly based on doing “God’s work.” We ALL should be doing God’s work in whatever place He has us, whether we work at home or in an office, whether we are retired or still laboring at a job, whether we are a student or an adult.

Did you know God called you from the time you were in your mother’s womb? Isaiah 49:1 affirms it: “The LORD called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name.” Throughout the New Testament, the word “calling” is frequently used. We are told “those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified” (Romans 8:30 ESV). We are “called to freedom,” not to serve our flesh “but through love [to] serve one another” (Galatians 5:13 ESV). In Ephesians 4:1, Paul urges us to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.”

If we want to know God’s will for us—His purpose for our lives—we would do well to study what His Word has to say about what being called by Him means. A concordance at the back of your Bible is a great place to start. Grab your spouse or a friend and study together. Knowing God’s calling on your life and all it entails will change your walk with the Lord and deepen your faith.

I’ll end with a prayer Anissa prayed that really touched my heart.

“Father, you know our hearts. You know our fears and our desires and our failings. You know our weaknesses and our weariness. Your Word says that your strength is made perfect in our weakness. That when our flesh fails, you will never fail. So we ask that you will give us the strength to trust in your faithfulness to us. Give us the hope that you are working all things for the good and for your glory. Thank you for loving us . . . May we glorify you in all things. We love you, Jesus. You’re the best. Amen.”

​Blessings to you!