I find Jesus in the Kitchen


I work at a hotel. Most days, I’m either working the front desk from 5:45 am until whenever I get off, or I’m working my backside off cleaning up the messes of a small town. Sometimes the mess belonged to a man who left his wedding ring in the room because he wasn’t staying there with his wife, sometimes a group of very messy Mexican workers who cook moldy burritos in the microwave and have idols and candles to worship the goddess of death who will keep them safe. I work for a Hindu woman whose parents were Indian and emigrated from India to South Africa. I learn a lot from her about God, and she inspires me to spend more time with Him. Her ideas of culture and God coincide with mine some days, but other days, they are very different. Other days, I get very frustrated with her lack of patience for people who are doing their very best to help her. Some days my frustration for this place makes it hard to feel like Jesus is present anywhere in or around me, like I’m in any way making a difference in the midst of all the things I see: the drug addicts with “Do Not Disturb” signs on their doors, the men coming in month after month with increasingly younger women, never wanting receipts that would incriminate them, the coworkers who struggle through things I never could have imagined struggling through. Sometimes, Jesus seems a little far in that.

This morning, I was standing at my kitchen counter making breakfast. I was cutting mushrooms and potatoes, I had just thrown a baked oatmeal in the oven, and my eggs were ready to be scrambled, my sink was overflowing with dishes because I haven’t been home very much this week because of work, more dishes still were stacked on the table from Thursday night’s dinner, I have 3 loads of clean laundry from several days ago in my bedroom that need to be folded. My house becomes chaos some weeks. Standing there at my pumpkin colored countertops slicing food for my breakfast with my husband with my worship music playing, I felt Jesus so near and close to me. Since then, the phrase “I find Jesus in the kitchen” has been lodged between my ears. It’s been an anthem of sorts, telling me that even in the midst of chaos, I can find Jesus in these moments that seem so insignificant.

Jesus is in my mountain of dishes that reminds me I didn’t have time to do them because I have a job where I can excel and solve problems and work with my hands, and because we had company over and spending time with our friend is a beautiful blessing. Jesus is in a pile of diced potatoes and Baby Bella mushrooms and the aromatic garlic cooking in coconut oil. Jesus is in that baked oatmeal in the oven baking all warm and cinnamon-y for our friends at church. Jesus is in the small moments reminding me that He’s provided space for me to serve my husband and our friends and the people I work with and to do things, like cooking, that I love doing so much.

My worship music played and I couldn’t do anything but smile, sing a little louder, and bask in the presence of Jesus I could feel swelling through me and around me in my little kitchen telling me again and again, “No matter who you are or who you’ve been, I’m still here filling every little moment of your life with gifts and building you into who you will become. I’m not done with you yet.”

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Engaged.


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“Let’s take a day,” He said

“Yesterday was rough.

Let’s get lost in the woods.”

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“Where are we going?” I asked

“Places,” He told me

And places we went

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Led by orange dots in the forest

To the wrong end of trails

Wrapped in green, plaid, and flower crowns

We journeyed

Each beside our closest friend

Practicing redemption as we walked

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“Where are we going?” I asked

“We’re going to this bridge,” He said

An overcast sky domed above our heads

A lake stretched beneath our feet

For us to just stop and stare

And guess what clouds are supposed to be

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“Where are we going?” I asked

“Wherever it is, I’ll be there with you,”

“I’ll walk with you,” He said

“And, Papa, walk with us,”

He prayed with a breath

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“I love you more than anything,” He said

“So, my dearest, marry me?”

“Absolutely,” I said

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“Where are you going?”

You ask.

“And how will you get there?”

“How long will it take?”

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“We’re going places,” We tell you

Together we’ll get there

On a journey that lasts forever

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Urges and Healing.


I’m a college student, so I don’t get the chance to write very often… What I mean to say is, if I have a free moment, I’m vegging. When I get the urge to be empowered by Gungor’s “This is Not the End” and write at almost midnight on a week night, I’m gonna take it. 

My name is Katie, and I’m learning about healing.

I never thought I’d be one of those girls with the stories about struggling with  insecurity and pain, and I never thought I’d understand what it was to truly need healing. But… Here I am.

Several years ago, I wrote a stanza that defined me so well I’m almost surprised it came from my own pen.

My insecurities, my self-doubt

Lie not on the outside,

But on the person within

I only want a lovely heart

You guys can hate me now, but I’ve never dealt with body image issues. I was asked to do a talk on body image for a class last semester and I didn’t feel qualified to talk about that at all, but I could do a thousand talks about what it feels like to never feel like your heart and brain are good enough… I became very good at mastering those things, though. I did meaningful things: I went to different countries, I took care of everyone’s babies, I filled communion trays and made coffee at church every Sunday before the service. Every single day of my life was devoted to something. (Sometimes I had grumpy days, but I still did stuff.) That was my lifestyle: I masked the insecurity in things I did, and shoved them deep deep down… But sometimes monsters come back up when you are just broken enough.

I had adult responsibility long before I was actually an adult, and now I’m at college… where there are people who are kids (which is super weird for me. I was home-schooled, so I’ve never really dealt with actual teenagers before), and about 15 times the amount of stress anyone needs to experience at any given time. My journey to college was a tough one; I’ll be completely honest about that. Three weeks after I came home from India after living and breathing India and babies and grownup jobs for 4 months, I was enrolled at a Christian university in the middle of nowhere Tennessee (If you don’t believe me, look up Henderson, TN). A lot happened to me while I was in India, and some of it was stuff that hurt… really bad… I’ve continued to deal with that over the past 1/2 year, and since I’ve always been the type of person who can jump in and learn to swim after drowning for a few weeks, I thought I could handle re-entry, a wounded heart, being a college freshman, being in a long distance relationship that was also my first serious relationship, and simply figuring out what I want to be when I grow up. And because of the lifestyle I doggedly kept to, I thought that was completely normal. I’m wondering now if it’s just because I’m totally off my rocker.

I’m realizing that in all of that, I never stopped and took time to heal… partially because healing feels selfish.

Taking any amount of time to recognize that I hurt feels like too much looking at myself, and taking any amount of time whatsoever to explore my brokenness and discontent feels selfish and burdensome to others and therefore, myself. I’m a very impatient person and I want all my problems fixed right now, so when they aren’t magically better because I’ve decided they will be, I get angry at myself. I just want to jump back into life, and I want to be okay, and I don’t want the painful things to still affect me. I don’t want to spend that much time devoted to myself.

Since I’ve only ever experienced coping, I’m not sure exactly how to go about healing, and I’m not even entirely sure how God fits into that picture.

I do know this, though… When I just stop and let God’s beauty be bigger than the crap I’m dealing with, I’m rendered completely speechless. On Saturday night, I sat on a dock by a pond with some ducks and a dog named Daisy and looked at this:

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I was running my mouth, telling God about how I was struggling, and how I wanted to be done struggling, and for a moment I stopped just to look at the sunset and I had no more words other than, “Can I take a picture of how pretty You are?”

I don’t know how long healing will take, and I don’t know that life will pan out the way I want it to, and I may not have all my crap together, but I know that Jesus will still be bigger and more beautiful, and that alone begins my healing.

Put a sail in it!


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Whips my hair
And loose clothes
Chills me as far
And deep as bones
But hugs me tightly
Just the same
This Wind.

Carries me far
And keeps me here
Chaps my cold face
And likewise lips
But embraces me
Fully to my soul
This Wind.

Breathes lovely words
And beautiful love
Reveals my ugliness
And greatest flaws
But takes me in
And keeps me safe
This Wind.