Monday, December 31, 2012

the thing about JOY

As I stood in front of the mirror this afternoon in my bath robe, the water just beginning to dry in my hair, I picked up my brush. My hair sat damp, with a mess of tangles, just as it always does after a shower. There is only one way to get those pesky tangles out. 

 I can't part my hair or dry it until the tangles have been removed. If I start to brush my hair from the top, which seems the natural way to brush one's hair, then the tangles would only get worse. No, I must patiently begin with short and gentle strokes at the bottom of my hair. Once the ends have been smoothed, I can work my way to the top of my head with larger strokes and eventually the brush will glide smoothly through my hair, allowing me to make the part and dry it. 

I began the year 2012 with the ambition of focusing on JOY and finding more of it in my life. JOY is a fruit of the spirit. Which means that it is not something you simply command to be. I can't tell myself, "Kristin, be joyful right now!" and expect authentic joy to come forth. It must be produced through growth and nutrition. JOY is not a fruit of self; however, it is a fruit of the spirit. The spirit of Christ Jesus. 

Just as a granny smith apple (my favorite fruit by the way!) is the fruit of a granny smith apple tree, JOY is the fruit of Jesus' spirit. It is what's produced when the spirit of Jesus is living in us, controlling us, and having his way with us. 

Just as I cannot fix my hair after a shower without taking care of the tangles I cannot have JOY without Christ's spirit living in me and taking care of my sinful human nature. I cannot remove the tangles of my hair without starting at the bottom and working my way through them. The spirit cannot live in me and make me pure unless I grant Him access and permission, and willingly let Him nourish me and control me. When I let Him begin to work through the tangles He'll smooth things out in my heart so that true JOY may be produced. 

That is what my conclusion is on this year's end. 

Even though I've been saved for many years, I'm still continually learning new things about what that means. Even though I've let Christ in, I long to let Him stay and for Him to make known His presence in me every day. His fruits are one way that I can know that He's near. 

The way to have JOY, or any fruit of the spirit is to allow Christ to control you. Only then will his fruit be produced. And praise God for graciously offering us the gift of His spirit! 

"The Holy Spirit produces a different kind of fruit: unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You won't find any law opposed to fruit like this. Those of us who belong to the Anointed One have crucified our old lives and put to death the flesh and all the lusts and desires that plague us. 

Now since we have chosen to walk with the Spirit, let's keep each step in perfect sync with God's Spirit. This will happen when we set aside our self-interests and work together to create true community instead of a culture consumed  by provocation, pride, and envy." 

~ Galations 5:22-26 The Voice

~ Wishing you much JOY this next year! Happy New Year's! ~

Monday, December 10, 2012


"God is AWESOME!"

I'm pretty sure that I don't say that near enough. In fact, even if I said it all day long, it wouldn't be enough! But regardless, there is definitely a feeling of God's presence when you
 bask in His "awesomeness"!

I learned another lesson about JOY (my word for 2012) recently. As with all of my lessons learned, it's something I've always known as "head knowledge" but I really hadn't understood
 and felt convicted of it. 

As kids, we learn that it's good to make plans. I remember as a senior in high school, how daunting it was when we had to make 1 year, 5 year, and 10 year plans for ourselves. And guess what! 
NONE of those plans were put into action! Last year I would think on those plans and feel disappointment and grief. I'm not anywhere close to the person I set out to be. 

So, how does JOY fit into this, you might be wondering. Here is the big secret... it doesn't!

Plans that we make for ourselves set us up for disappointment, grief, stress, pressure, and unhappiness. 

This, I have learned first hand. 

I've discovered that one of the greatest keys to JOY is to allow yourself to be open to the will of God, and acknowledging His blessings along the way. When we are open to His plan over our own, the pressure is lifted and our mind has been cleared so that we can see His blessings. 

So I'm going to do my best to not stress over not knowing what is to come. 
I will be thankful for what already has!

If you have a couple of minutes watch this video and bask in the thought that GOD IS AWESOME! That's the one thing that really matters in our life! 

This video brings me back to soulful worship nights at church camp and loud and powerful youth rallies. Listen... think about it.... lift your hands to the Lord! 

I'm going to end this post as my daddy would so often do:

Because God is Awesome,
K. Jesch

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

not without effect

Have you ever felt a friend drifting away from you and then thought to yourself, "If they are not making an effort to see me, then why should I make an effort to see them? They must not want to see me very much anyways!"? Let's just say I've been around too many girls to think that I'm the only one who's had this thought cross her mind! 

It's probably a good thing that Christ was a male and not a female... because heavens, can us gals hold some grudges! 

Tonight, I'm at a place where I'm just amazed. Amazed at God's grace. 

I'm amazed that I can live selfishly as I often do, and that God still takes me when I seek Him. The fact that God still desires me even when I'm not always making an effort is beyond incredible to me. How powerful and yet merciful He must be to take me even when I'm selfish beyond measure. 

I'm reminded of Paul's words to the Corinthians:

"For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect."

~ 1 Corinthians 15: 9-10 ~

That is perhaps one of my favorite scriptures, if not my absolute favorite scripture. My favorite part is, "and his grace to me was not without effect." 

Because God's grace has HUGE effect on me... it changes me, it motivates me, it humbles me, it encourages me, it amazes me. 

To be able to be reminded of God's grace is a blessing. When I sit and meditate on it, I'm brought to tears almost every time. 

When I first began this post, I had the intentions of sharing the lyrics to one of my favorite songs, "Mighty to Save". But another song has been brought to my heart tonight. It's an old song, but the message rings clear: Oh how marvelous is my Savior's love for me. 

I absolutely love Christ Tomlin's arraignment of this song. It's slow and really allows you to reflect on the power of the words being sung. I hope you'll take 7 minutes to watch the video and hear this song. Please, take this sort time to reflect and meditate on God's amazing grace that flows from his amazing love. 
Remind yourself often of his love so that his grace is not without effect! 

Many blessings your way!
~Kristin Marie