Walk in Faith

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So, I did something strange… even for me.  But before I tell you about it, I wanted us to have a little talk about faith.  Or, more specifically, my faith.  Sometimes, I feel a little odd sharing about my faith on my blog.  It’s just such a personal thing.  But I hope that you all know I do it simply because it would be impossible to have an entire website about my life without acknowledging my relationship with God.  It just wouldn’t be honest.  For years, I never mentioned my faith in my blog for fear that it would offend people or that people would think I was pushing religion on them.  If you’ve been around here for any length of time, I hope that you know me enough to know that sharing my faith is never about passing judgment or converting people.  It is simply sharing my faith because I can’t honestly represent my life on this blog if I don’t represent what is at the core of that life.  So, please know that if you aren’t faithful or if your faith is in something different than mine, I still believe we probably have a lot more in common than we have different.

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Having said that, I am now about to tell you something that is going to make you say, “Okay, you lost me there…”

For the past few weeks, I haven’t been able to hear God.  Now, I’m not talking about a big booming voice that speaks to me.  I’m not even really talking about a still small voice that speaks to me.  I’m pretty sure God and I have agreed that he never speak to me in an actual voice because I’d probably wet my pants and go hide in a cave somewhere.  We have a mutual understanding that he will speak to me either by touching my heart (which I prefer because I get warm fuzzies and who doesn’t like warm fuzzies?) or through messages.  Lately, I have been getting lots of messages, but not any warm fuzzies.  Which, as I said, are my favorite.

When I pray or worship lately, I don’t get that quiet peace that tells me he hears me.  For a couple weeks, I kept thinking I needed to be doing more to hear it.  Maybe God was mad at me and I needed change something I was doing?  But, then, I don’t believe God holds grudges, so that didn’t make sense.  Or, maybe God was busy somewhere else and had forgotten about me?  But, then, I believe I am his whole world, so that didn’t make sense.  Maybe I wasn’t praying hard enough or loud enough or long enough or deep enough or… and my list went on.  But, then, I believe any prayer is pleasing to God.

Whatever was going on, one thing kept coming into my mind.  I needed some intense time with God.  More than just my morning devotional.  More than my weekly small group.  More than my daily, constant prayers which sometimes seem like I’m ordering through a fast food drive thru (Hi, God.  I’ll take healthy children, a productive day, and a side of a well-rested husband. Thanks!).  But when would I find time for more than those things?

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Then, last week in my women’s small group, we read a story about Jesus and a sinful woman in John Chapter 2.  There’s a lot you can take out of that seemingly little story, but the part we focused on was the woman worshipping Jesus.  I’ll spare you the biblical breakdown and theological discussion we had (yawn, snore…), but the gist of it was that we all wanted to be able to worship like that woman – completely uninterrupted and unabashed.  But, again the question came up, when would we find the time?

My husband is super understanding, but if I said to him, “Honey, I need you to watch the kids all day so I can go worship the Lord.  I don’t know when I’ll be back, but I’ll text you when the worship thing is over.”  I mean, it just wouldn’t be well received, mostly because it wouldn’t be understood.  I think as women, we need a valid, tangible excuse to step away from our daily lives for a while.  Even if it isn’t a faith-based issue, if I just need some time to myself, I feel like I need to clear a flight plan of events with Chris first to justify the time away.  “I will be getting a pedicure and then lunch with a girlfriend.  I may stop to fill my car up with gas, but I’ll let you know.  Oh, I may also run into the grocery store to pick up a rotisserie chicken for dinner.  I should be home by 2:30pm.”  It would be weird for me to instead say, “Hey, I need some time.  I’m going out.  I don’t know what I’m going to do and I don’t know how long it will take.”  Chris wouldn’t protest, but he would certainly raise some eyebrows.

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But this was precisely what I decided I needed.  I needed an entire day to myself to sit with God.  I just felt it in my bones, as my Grandma says.  So, last week, I took the kids to my mom’s house to spend the night and then the next morning, as soon as Chris left for work, I was ready for my own personal retreat.  I had decided to spend the day as if I was on a pre-arranged women’s retreat at my church.  I was going to give myself blocks of time, and I had even decided which activities I would be doing.

(Y’all, I promise I am not a crazy Bible lady.  This is incredibly difficult for me to write because, if you know me in person, you know that this is just not like me.  I don’t know many Bible verses off the top of my head.  I don’t even know which order the books of the Bible are in.  And I still mix up very important figures in the Bible.  So, if you’re sitting there thinking, “Great, Katie’s jumped into the holy water and now I have to find another blog to read,” sit tight.)

I started out by putting on Chris Rice’s album, “Peace Like a River,” on my iPhone and sitting in the middle of my living room floor with headphones on.  I am not very good at meditating because my mind runs wild, but I have found that music can help me focus.  (Incidentally, that’s why I let kids listen to music in my class.  I feel their pain.)  So, I closed my eyes and listened to the old hymns wash over me.  I didn’t plan on it, but I sat there through the entire album.  It was over an hour I sat there by myself singing hymns in my living room.  AND IT WAS LUXURIOUS!  What a luxury to have uninterrupted worship time!  To not have to worry if my kids were eating crayons in a corner somewhere, or if my husband was bored and checking his watch beside me, or what other people thought about my magnificently off-key voice.

If this had been a yoga retreat or a good workout, I would have been nice and warmed up.  Now, it was time to get some work done.  For the next hour, I sat in complete silence.  Really.  Silence.

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For the past few weeks, there have been all kinds of messages I have felt God was sending me.  Sermons that were staying with me and seemed somehow to be connected in theme, but I hadn’t been able to put my finger on what I was supposed to be learning yet.  Conversations I had with friends and family that were related to the sermons somehow, but I hadn’t been able to figure out how yet.  Snippets of my favorite hymns or Bible verses that had been stuck in my mind lately for no apparent reason.  All these things seemed like pieces of a puzzle to me lately.  They seemed to be related, but I hadn’t been able to figure out how they were all connected or what God had been trying to tell me.  So, I spent an hour in complete silence, letting all those things flow until they fell into place and I finally understood.

By the time I had started grasping what I thought God was trying to show me, I was ready to head to my church.  For days, I had been thinking, “If I could just get to the sanctuary…”  I love a sanctuary.  I love the quiet and the coolness.  I love the stain glass windows and the ornate carvings of ancient Christian symbols.  I feel God in church, but I feel closer to him in an empty sanctuary.  So, I had made sure time in the sanctuary was part of my retreat.  I grabbed my Bible, my journal, and my daily devotional book and headed to my church.  I sat right up front for a little over an hour, praying and reading the Bible and sitting in stillness, mulling over what I thought I had learned that morning in my living room.  When it felt right and peaceful, I put my headphones back in and I sang along with my favorite hymns right there in that empty sanctuary, all by myself.

By the time I headed to pick up the kids, I felt revived and at peace.  True peace.

Sometimes, I think God is quiet because he is listening to us.  But I wonder if, sometimes, God is quiet in order to draw us closer.  I remember teaching the kids to walk.  We would hold our arms out just out of their reach and make them walk towards us in order to catch them.  I feel like maybe God has been teaching me to walk in the past few weeks.  Like, maybe he was quiet so that I would have to really walk closer to him in my faith in order to hear him.  And that’s what I have done this week.  I’ve walked in my faith.  I’m still not quite sure where I am walking or what exactly God is calling me to do, so pray for that, if you are so inclined.  But I know that I have stretched out of my comfort zone.

I mean, I planned a woman’s retreat for myself.  In my living room.  And I sang in an empty sanctuary.  I better be walking in my faith, or else I’m just bat shit crazy…  Time will tell, I guess.

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I share all of this not because my faith is the right faith, but because I think we should all be walking towards something.  Stretching our arms out and really reaching for something.  It feels awkward and uncomfortable, and I’m pretty much hoping all of my imaginary friends are spontaneously on vacation somewhere this week together…with no internet access.  But however it is received, at least I’m doing it.  At least I’m walking.

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42 thoughts on “Walk in Faith

  1. Beth

    Wow Katie. This was awesome. Thank you for being so honest. I can honestly say you aren’t alone in where you have been. You have inspired me to do this when we take our vacation next week. I have you in my prayers!

  2. Katski

    Stop defending yourself! I completely understand how vulnerable you feel talking about this on your blog, but it’s your blog so don’t you dare feel you need to defend your faith and your actions to us!! Good on you for actually making time to do this for yourself 🙂
    I’m less than a month away from my wedding and my fiancé and I have started doing this (on a smaller scale) in order to help alleviate all the stress that has built up that has come with not only the lead up to the wedding, but moving to another state and restarting our lives yet again (Military life). Faith is very important in our lives, and if personally, I don’t get the time to sit, reflect and pray, my life begins to feel empty after a while.

  3. at a camp I used to work at, one day at the beginning of the summer we would do a day of solitude where all the counselors went off for 12 hours of prayer and fasting around the camp. It was always one of the best days of staff training.

  4. Lindsey

    No need to apologize! We all love you! I’m LDS and I love you! Religion shouldn’t be something that pushes people apart. What you said was what I needed to hear. I think I need to do a little more walking myself!

  5. I love this Katie. I’ve experienced it in my life too. Sometimes it happens when life is “normal” and other times it has happened when life is harder (cancer). But always, God”s been there. He’s just needed me to reach out a little and come to Him. As with most things in life, you appreciate them a little more when you’ve worked for them, and faith is no exception.

  6. Emiley

    Thank you so much for sharing! I really appreciate you opening up and sharing pieces of your faith journey with us. I can really relate to you and reading about your journey is so encouraging for me. 🙂

  7. Stephanie

    I too love the sanctuary . There have been various times I would just go up to the church and sit there alone with God!!! One of the most precious days was the day I got married. I got there way before anyone else and just thanked him and praised him!

  8. Amen! And the line in the second to last paragraph made me literally laugh out loud. Love it. 🙂 (again, I’m laughing.)

  9. This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your awkwardness with us! I am sure that more of us than you know understand where are coming from in terms of sharing our faith, especially in internet blog land. Hubby, Bug & I accidentally (hah, says God… no accident!) fell into a new church plant back in December… I was talked into playing guitar for the worship band and Hubby in the kids’ ministry. We have been there from the first service in January and have found an incredible church family. I had a hard time really establishing my faith before that… I loved God but never talked about Him. The point of telling you this… going from never playing guitar in front of anyone but family to playing for 150 people every Sunday has pushed me way passed my comfort zone. Sometimes it is the unexpected need to be uncomfortable that leads us the most in our faith journey.

  10. Ok, so I know you didn’t want comments, but your post on your “Homeless packs” was great. I have a friend who rides with her hubby across country (truck driver) and they meet ALL SORTS a people. They have started this thing called BAKUPs (Bless and Keep U packs), like what you did. It’s very touching to hear their stories.
    Anyway, my point was to add suggestions of stuff you could pack : dog treats (LOTS of homeless have pets), feminine products, water bottles and bandaids. Here’s their website too: http://bakup.me/index.html

  11. Alex

    Katie, I really enjoyed reading this. We share lots of beliefs, though I’m sure some are different, I really respect the effort you put into your spirituality and that you write about it!

  12. Katie, this was so touching. I so often feel like I just need to stop and listen but never make time. Your honesty is greatly appreciated here.

  13. I love that you did this and I love that you shared about it. 🙂

  14. Kimmiejo

    Awesome. I love it!

  15. cj

    Beautiful blog. Thank you for sharing. We all need to bring our God back into each other’s lives.

  16. jolene

    Thanks for sharing. Your faith is an inspiration!

  17. Lissa

    this was so wonderful to read…thank you

  18. Meredith

    That was beautiful! I’m not religious nor do I believe in God, but really, that post was lovely. I find I do my best thinking, my most critical and constructive thinking when I’m alone, in the quiet and have gobs of time to just… think. Sometimes writing it helps, too. Helps me organize and develop my thoughts more coherently. Anyway, just wanted to say I loved this post!

  19. Erin

    Thanks for being vulnerable 🙂

  20. Laura B

    I need to do this. Seriously.

  21. jamie

    WOW that was so powerful. i’m at the rec center where zach has lessons every morning. kinleigh is sitting in her stroller eating a vending machine snack. there are people {aka strangers} sitting around. and tears are streaming from my eyeballs. katie, your words are full of beauty. and who knows, god more than likely is using your beautiful words to touch someone’s spirit at this very moment. thank you for being obedient.

  22. Katie N.

    Beautiful post (as always!), Katie! I’m so proud of you for listening to God’s whisper and doing something about it 🙂 This post was a great reminder for me that I need to be more active on a daily basis in drawing myself closer to God, because if I’m being honest with myself, my current status quo is certainly not what He deserves!

  23. I love this post Katie! Thank you for sharing!

  24. Andrea

    This was such a beautiful and powerful post, Katie!! Thank you so much for being open and honest and telling us about your experience. It’s so easy for me to let God sort of fall into the background of my life when He NEEDS to be the focus!! Such a great reminder for me!!

  25. Nicole

    I have been reading your blog for a few years now, and I don’t often comment because, I don’t know why, I just don’t. But I felt it was worth commenting this time because I’ve thought about saying this to you in the past and today it seemed right. I’m an atheist. Secular Humanist I guess is closer to the truth. I believe in people, plain and simple. Relating to people, understanding people, being there for people. I try to have an open mind, and I appreciate that blog writers are true to their lives and their journeys but I have to admit, I have stopped reading blogs in the past over little things. Bad writing, using multiple fonts in every single post, things like that. I’ve also stopped reading blogs over religious differences. Not that I am anti-religion, because I am pro whatever makes people live a happy and fulfilled life, but some blogs have made me feel like an outsider (or worse) for not believing in the same things. I’ve never stopped reading your blog, and I even read the posts relating to your spirituality, because you have never made me feel alienated. I guess I want to let you know that you do a good job of representing your personal faith in a way that makes me want to read about and support your journey, even though it differs greatly from how I live my life. You seemed a little unsure about your post, so I thought maybe a comment from someone without faith would reassure you that you have a masterful way of demonstrating your faith in way that doesn’t offend or feel judge-y or crazy, or whatever you were worried about. Anyway, good job, I hope you continue to feel safe to post these things, and I hope you find happiness and peace. Sorry for the novel.

  26. Lisa

    I agree that you shouldn’t defend this post. and also, it’s ok to believe that your faith is the right faith, otherwise, where would your faith be centered if you though that it wasn’t? God is good, and I love your post, and totally understand wanting to draw as many readers, but be confident in the one true God.

  27. Suzanne

    This is awesome! Lately I’ve been craving some down time, just to think and do…whatever. After reading this, I realize I just want, no, NEED a spiritual retreat. So often I find myself longing for time uninterrupted with God. I think as a part of my day off that I plan to give myself soon, I’m going to make a spiritual retreat a huge part of it. Sit in a sanctuary or even at the beach and just pray. Beautifully written, as usual 🙂

  28. Jenna

    I love that you are faithful and not judgmental and my version of “normal” all at the same time. 🙂

  29. Definitely needed to “hear” this today… thank you for mustering up the courage to share!

  30. melanie

    love it, thanks for sharing, katie

  31. Brendy

    I really needed to hear this today. Thank you, Katie.

  32. Hilary

    I recently joined a Mom-to-Mom group at our church and it has really helped me to reconnect to my faith. I love our church and how close everyone is, but sometimes, those small groups and even independent worship time is exactly what we need. God calls us to witness and that’s just what you did with this post. There was nothing in it other than the wonderful experience you had and how it brought you peace (which we ALL need). Thanks for sharing!

  33. Elizabeth

    This is amazing! I’ve been having that same feeling & never thought of creating my own personal retreat with God like that. Thank you so much for sharing!

  34. Shell

    I used to be a Christian. These days I generally avoid discussion of religion, mostly because of the feeling of being pushed. But your post caught my attention because of its humility and timidity. Thanks for sharing such a precious experience in such a welcoming way.

  35. Katy

    I LOVE THIS!! And I need to do this!!…actually I’ve needed to do this for months. Thanks for sharing and letting me know that I am not the only one who feels the need to be alone with God. I have often thought that we have so many similar beliefs and thoughts…this seals the deal…if only you lived in Ohio!! 🙂 God Bless!!

  36. This doesn’t sound the least bit strange to me, girlfriend. My last two kids are teenagers now and I spend lots of Friday and Saturday nights looking up and listening to the Gaither Family Singers on Youtube. I keep the Kleenex handy. And I often go to the only church you can get into in my town these days, the Catholic one, just to sit in the sanctuary by myself. It really IS the best, even if you are not Catholic. You really can feel God.

  37. Aileen

    Thanks for being brave enough to share this with us, Katie. I loved this post!

  38. I love the idea of God being quiet to draw us close. I think you’ve definitely inspired me to do this, especially with a plan, so I don’t feel the nagging, “How much time left before I have to go home?” Gosh, not much else to say except that I want that.

  39. jamie61 (now)

    Sweet Girl, There’s a Lesson in Everything, Everyone and Everyday…I’m just now recognizing all of it, at this age…You are so beautiful, with a a beautiful Family…God loves you and so do I…God Bless You All!!!

  40. jamie61 (now)

    p.s. I LOVE Psalm 19:14… Hope you can ALWAYS carry that with you!!!

  41. Sarah L. C.

    I’ve been reading your blog for about 4 years now and almost never comment. I’m sorry I’m a bad imaginary friend! I’d like to second Nicole’s comment. I’m also an atheist (living in the bible belt) and still really enjoy your posts about your faith. You never bring judgement upon others through your faith and so we as readers do not feel judged by you or feel as though we wouldn’t get along with you in real life. The things that come through in your posts about your faith are your kindness and love and dedication to being a good person and not just a Christian person. That’s why we love you. So thanks and please don’t ever feel like you’re putting us off by talking about something that is such a huge part of who you are and how you raise your family.

  42. Your faith is a part of you and I think you should never feel ashamed of that or feel the need to defend it.

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