Declare Link Up!

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IMG_5637Ok, so this is my third year at Declare!
I know right….who would have thought!

That first year as I jumped on the plane (actually 3 of them!), travelled for 22 hours, flew thousands of miles and completely stepped out of my comfort zone, I had no idea what kind of impact it would have on my life. But boy oh boy, am I sure glad I did. I have made the most incredible life long friends, and this year as I get ready to travel again I am not nervous at all but filled with pure excitement at seeing everyone again….and making new friends!

So here are my answers for the link up:

1. If we were meeting in person, how would you introduce yourself? (job, family, career, ministry, where you live … share whatever details come to mind)

Hi, I’m Kathy. Yes, I do have a strange accent, and no it is not Australian! I live in New Zealand with my husband Phil and our two fantastic teenagers, Jackson who is 18 and Gracie who is 16. Our family is crazy and that is just the way we love it!
Phil and I have been married for 20 years this year and are passionate about seeing God restore broken relationships.
Recently we shifted towns and are now Seniors Pastors at a local Church. It’s challenging but we love it!I have just launched a new ministry for young girls called “Daughters of the King” and have our second event coming up soon!
I love writing, organising, Christmas, french fries and Jesus!

2. What is your favorite thing to write and why?

I love to write from the heart! I am currently studying at Bible College so have been doing a lot of theological writing and so I love to get back to blog writing and write whatever comes to heart. I know God has called me to encourage women, so this is who I target my writing for (although I do know of lots of men who read my blog!)

3. What is your favorite thing to read and why? (If this question is too broad for you avid readers, what’s a favorite book or blog you’ve read lately?)

During the year I tend to stick to self-help books, books to encourage me and books which will help me to grow. Over the holidays (our summer is Dec/Jan) I LOVE to read Amish novels, as they just take me to a whole nother world, one so much simpler than the one I live in!

mickey4. If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?

Go to Disneyland! It is my most favourite place (yes, you guessed it, I am just a big kid!) I have been 4 times (which is no easy feat from NZ) and I am definitely planning on going back!

 

 

5. What’s one thing you love about your blog and one thing you’d like to improve?

I love that it is my own wee place in cyber-space where I can be myself and write what I like with no expectations from others! One thing I would like to improve on is my knowledge of behind the scenes operations!

6. [Lightening Round] Would you rather …

  • Read on Kindle or paperback? Paperback
  • Drink coffee or tea? Coke Zero
  • Go to a musical or a movie? Both!
  • Vacation at the beach or the mountains? The Mountains
  • Have an exciting night out or a relaxing night in? Depends! Mostly an introvert but do love a good night out!
  • Watch sports, play sports, or no sports? Watch sports

Thanks for taking the time to get to know me a little better.
Looking forward to seeing you all in a few weeks!

 

imageKathy
xxx


How Much Of My Money Do You Want God?

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So a few years ago when I was a baby Christian I went to a Women’s Conference. It was an amazing event and I had the most awesome time with my girlfriends listening to phenomenal Women of God share their hearts. It was all going swimmingly until the last night when they announced they were taking up an offering!

WHAT? An offering? I didn’t know they were receiving an offering, I hadn’t bought any extra money with me! I started to sweat slightly and looked around me. All the women were rummaging through their bags looking for their offerings. What was I going to do? I didn’t want to look stingy? I wanted to be like everyone else, so I too, started rummaging through my bag (knowing full well I had no money in there) I opened up my wallet and pretended to take some money out and held the pretend money tightly in my hand. As the bucket came around, I put my pretend money in it and quickly passed it on.

Did I pull it off? Did anyone notice my hand was empty? Did I look like the good Christian doing what everyone else was doing? As all these thoughts were running through my head and that small line of sweat was dripping down my back, I was so consumed with what I looked like, I didn’t hear the big sigh coming from above!

So, roll on the next year’s conference, and I was almost mad as they announced the offering. I had paid good money to come to this conference and now they were wanting more of my money? If they were taking an offering then what on earth had my ticket money gone to? The ticket wasn’t cheap, surely they could use some of that money for the offering? I could feel the indignation rising within me. And so that year, I sat there with my arms crossed, not even pretending to rummage through my bag. I wasn’t going to be told to give more money when I had already paid to be there. As the bucket came past, I just sat there with my arms folded, not even passing it to the woman next to me. I was taking a stand (for what, I still have no idea!) and I wasn’t going to be sucked in. Again as the thoughts swirled through my mind, I was so consumed with anger that again, I failed to hear the huge sigh coming from above.

For some reason, the next year, I had a complete change of heart. That year I was prepared for the offering and as they announced it, I reached into my bag and pulled out a $50 note. I held it in my hand, pretending to cover it, but making sure everyone around me could see the purple 50 in the corner of the note. I was being so obvious, I may as well have stood on my seat, waved it in the air and yelled, “look at me, look at me, aren’t I awesome and generous?” I placed my $50 in the bucket, making sure it sat on the top so the women next to me would see it. As I sat there thinking how awesome I was, and what a generous Christian I had become, my pride was so loud that again, I couldn’t hear the loud sigh from above.

As I lay in bed that night, I was chatting with God and almost telling Him that He must be so proud of me, for my generosity, and it was only then that I heard His sigh. I was like “What? Didn’t you see how much I gave? Wasn’t that enough? God, how much of my money do you actually want?”

And as clear as day, I heard Him say “Honey, don’t you get it? I don’t want your money, I want your heart.”

Wow! As the tears streamed down my face, I realised what an egg I had been the last few years and as I lay there, I asked God for His forgiveness, which of course I received in an instant.

All He ever wanted was my heart.
He didn’t need my money.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21

Now, obviously I am not telling you this to brag, I have nothing to brag about, in fact, my behaviour was downright awful, but I am thankful that we are always on a journey with God and He is constantly changing our hearts.

As I moved on from my shameful experiences at women’s conferences, I have learnt a lot about myself, my heart, and Gods plans for me and my money (actually, it is all His anyway!). I no longer make a spectacle of myself when it comes to offerings. I have learnt that it is between me and God, and it actually doesn’t matter what the women next to me is thinking, as long as my heart is right with God, and I am listening to His promptings.

It is never about how much. God doesn’t care how much it is. He has been reminding me this week as I have been writing this, about the widows mite in Luke 21:1-4. She gave all she had, 2 coins, which Jesus said was far better than the hundreds of coins others gave.

It is all about listening to God. It is all about Honour (I will share more about this in another blog!) and it is all about the heart.

How is the condition of your heart?

widow


Busy, Busy, Busy!

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Ok, so even after my last blog where I had to wait for the longest 2 minutes of my life to get some fries(you can read it here if you missed it!) I have still not learnt my lesson!

Nope, obviously I am a slow learner! I am still busy! Busy, busy, busy. Busy doing stuff! So busy in fact, that I tell myself I don’t have time to do the things I really want! So busy that I have forgotten the art of just sitting and resting. Now I am not trying to be a martyr, it’s just that I am busy! I am so busy in my head, I don’t have time for my to-do list, let alone anything that I would consider fun!

You may be asking yourself what it is that I am so busy with? Well, I could rattle you off my to-do list: assignments, women’s ministry, kids, cleaning, laundry, counselling, blog writing, other ministries commitments, Church stuff, meetings etc etc etc. The list could go on and on…..and on.

And I bet if I asked you, your list would be as long, if not longer than mine!

I get it. We are all busy. But are we that busy? Are we that busy we have lost track of our priorities, and we live life in a constant state of running from one thing to another?

We live life making excuses why we haven’t answered emails or texted people back. We live life, telling friends we are too busy to catch up. We live life filled with chaos and disorder as we don’t make time to refill our tanks!

I read an article the other day about this very thing. In it, the person was saying how busy we all are but that also, we have a choice. We choose how we prioritise our days and what takes up all our time. He gave a great analogy and said, what if every task had a million dollars attached to it? How would that change things?

Would you text that person straight back if there were a million dollars attached to it?
Would you respond to that email if there were a million dollars attached to it?
Would you clean those windows, clean out that pantry or wash your car if there were a million dollars attached to it?
Would you sit and take time out for yourself if there were a million dollars attached to it?
Would you take the time to exercise and look after yourself if there were a million dollars attached?

Now, I’m not trying to say we should only do the things that have money attached to it (I don’t think anyone is going to give me a million dollars for responding to an e-mail!)  but really, it did make me think “How busy am I really? What are my priorities?”

It made me rethink my priorities and what is really important to me. It helped me to remember who is important to me, and it reminded me of what God has called me to do…..and probably more importantly, what He hasn’t called me to do, those things I do just because I am capable!

And so this week, as I continue to try and slow myself down, to stop and smell the roses and appreciate all the beauty that is around me, I look at every task and ask myself “Would I do this right now for a million dollars?”

Funnily enough my ironing pile is still there!

 


2 Minutes!

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I went through the McDonalds drive thru the other day.
I know, I know, I am terrible person, please don’t judge me! But it was just one of those days and I so desperately needed some golden crisp, delicately fried, thin slices of potatoes, sprinkled with a light seasoning of salt  to ease the stress of the day I was having!

Anyway, enough excuses of why I needed the french fries, I just needed them! As I got to the window, the lovely girl was so apologetic and said there was a 2-minute wait on the fries, and asked if I was ok with that?

Ok with that?
What was I going to say “No, I NEED them now, I can’t wait 2 minutes, I thought this was meant to be fast food? Can you not see what kind of day I have had? Get me the fries NOW!”

Maybe that’s what was going through my head but instead, I politely said that was so fine. But honestly, inside I was frustrated that I had to wait 2 minutes!
Really Kathy? You were frustrated that you had to wait a whole 2 minutes for your most favourite thing in the world? Seriously, you are SO busy that 2 minutes was going to change your whole day?

Wow! As I sat there for my 2-minute compulsory wait, which actually felt like half an hour, I got to thinking! How busy have we become, that waiting at a fast food restaurant for 2-minutes is an inconvenience in our day?

Slow down.

When did we become so busy and our time so precious that we expect everything NOW!

Slow down.

We get frustrated when the internet is not as quick as we think it should be.
We get frustrated when our phone is too slow.
We get frustrated when the microwave isn’t quick enough.
We get frustrated when we are stuck behind a slow car or in a queue at the lights.
We get frustrated when there are 3 people in front of us at the checkout.

Slow down.

As I sat there in my car waiting for my fries, counting down the seconds till I had those wee strips of Heaven in my hot little hand, I took a deep breath and I let it out slowly.
Breathe Kathy, just breathe! Slow down your mind and think about what’s really important…..and no, it’s not your fries!

Slow down.

Who ever said it was important to be busy…..24/7? Who told us, we look more productive if we are busy all the time? When did we start to believe the lie that we need to be busy, busy, busy? Why is it we think we are lazy if we slow down?

Slow down.

So (eventually) I got my fries and I went on my merry way. I arrived home and the house was empty and so I sat. I sat down on the couch with my fries, and an ice cold coke zero, and I ate those tasty little morsels…….slowly. Instead of wolfing them down in a mad frenzy like I would normally do, trying to do 6 other things at the same time, I ate slowly and actually took the time to enjoy the fatty, oily goodness! As I ate my fries, I looked at the washing pile that needed to be folded. I looked at the dishwasher that needed unstacking and I looked at the carpet that needed vacuuming. And I thought to myself……they can wait. For the next 2 minutes, it is just me and my fries!

 

 

a fries


I Have Lost All My Words!

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Believe me, this is not a good thing when you are a writer!

It is not often that I am left speechless. Normally I have so many words, I struggle to get them all out of my head in an orderly sentence, but this week, every time I open my mouth, nothing seems to come out!

Daughters of the King Weekend, was more than I could ever have hoped or dreamed for. I love how when you take one small step in obedience, God just blows your socks off with what He does.

The team that God placed around me was incredible. They went above and beyond what was expected and each one of them poured their heart and soul into the weekend. I couldn’t have dreamed for a better team.

What really blew me away I think, was that each one of them believed in me and the vision I had. Not one of them was working from a place of selfish gain but each gave themselves completely to what I had envisioned. But really, when it comes down to it, they weren’t even serving me, they were serving God! He is the one who made this all possible, and it is for Him that we do what we do! And so to see my team serving God with all that they had, just made me so grateful and my heart overflowing with thankfulness.
I had so many texts, calls, messages of encouragement and wee gifts from people (all over the world) who knew how much this meant to me. What a humongous deal it was for this dream to finally come to fruition. For the hours I had poured into this and for the tears that were shed when this dream had all but seemed to fade away.

I am seriously beyond grateful to everyone who has supported me in this. And as for my family, well, what can I say? They were legendary. In the week leading up I didn’t have to cook, clean or do laundry once. Phil and the kids really stepped up, and again, I was blown away by the extent that they believed in me.

As I sit at home and try to relax for a couple of days (really must work on this “relaxing” thing, I don’t seem to be very good at it!) I can’t help but think of the weekend and all that was achieved. Not by my might or strength, but by the Grace of God.

Each girl went home knowing that they are loved. That they belong, no matter what and that they are accepted just the way they are! Each girl left knowing that they are a Daughter of the King and they can be brave where ever they are.

I have had feedback from some parents already that have seen a change in their girls and the language they use…..PTL! it makes the sleepless nights, the hard work and the hours on my knee’s all worth it!

And so what now you ask?
Well, I am taking a couple of days to catch up on sleep and try and slow my brain down again, and then I am straight back into it, planning our next event which will be in November. I know right? I can’t wait either!

Stay tuned for details friends…..

a me1

 


Where are the Tissues?

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So, this week it is all feeling quite surreal!
Daughters of the King is THIS WEEKEND!

I know right? It’s hard to believe that in 2 more sleeps I will have 40 girls at Church listening to God’s truth about who they are. That I get the privilege to stand in front of them and tell them how much God loves them, in fact, tell them that He not only loves them but utterly adores them. Not for what they do or for who they think they should be, but just because of who they are. For who He has made them to be.

WOW!

This week I can’t hold back the tears!
Every time someone asks me about #DOT-K, the tears just start flowing! The team at Church prayed for me yesterday and before they had even started, the tears were running down my cheeks.

I just can’t seem to help myself! That this crazy dream I had so (so) many years ago, is now going to be a reality, is just so overwhelming!

For God, and the girls parents to trust me with their precious daughters, is something I take seriously!
I understand how important this time in their lives are, and I am praying that as I speak God’s truth into their hearts, they will walk away, heads held high, having the feeling of being loved, valued and connected. That they can walk away and be brave in their world, whatever that looks like for them!

So, this week I have gone through so many tissues! Every time #DOT-K is mentioned or I think about it, the tears just start flowing again! My family is used to my tears now and just smile and have a wee laugh at me. For people around me, who may not know me so well yet, well ,they are starting to get to know me pretty quick and the problem I have with my leaking eyes.

The tears. The tears are how I know this is a God idea and not just a good idea.

There have been so many people who have come out of the woodwork and offered to help. What started with a team of 1 has now grown to a team of 15 for the weekend and numerous others who are baking, praying and helping with the lead-up. I am overwhelmed with the response to my crazy dream and am brought to tears to see other women walking in their gifting because of #DOT-K.

So as I grab another tissue and wipe my eyes for the hundredth time this week, I am thankful for what God is doing and how He is using me in my giftings.

Just when you think life couldn’t get any better…..

a rock

 


When Your Crazy Dreams Becomes Reality!

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I had this idea once.
I had this idea that I could make a difference in the lives of young girls.
I had this idea of running a weekend where girls could come, hang out, have loads of fun and learn God’s truth about themselves.
I had this idea that God would use me in a mighty way.

Crazy right?
Well, God has a way of turning my crazy into a reality, and in 3 weeks time, I have over 30 girls attending the very first “Daughters of the King” Weekend. To say I am excited is an absolute understatement! Even as I read what I just typed, I can feel the goosebumps on my arms and can feel the excitement welling up inside of me.

Sometimes God gives you an idea and you say “oh, that would be nice one day” and you place it on the shelf for a later time. A time when you are not busy. A time when you are ready. A time when all your ducks are lined up and a time when you are up for the challenge!

But I have learnt that I will never be ready, and that actually the best time is now! There is no better time to jump out of the boat and allow Jesus to walk on the water with me. If I keep waiting for the right moment, it will pass me by and I will be left with my crazy dreams still swirling around my head and there will still be broken girls out there looking for love, acceptance and validation.

My friends the time has come and the time is now!

I am nervous, I am scared and I am super excited! I have an amazing team around me that are supporting through this whole journey. I have people believing in what I do and I have people that pick me up when I start to feel overwhelmed. I know this must be a God thing, I had my first team meeting last night and blubbered my way through it – so professional right? But it seems whenever anyone asks me about Daughters of the King, I can feel the passion rising and the tears just start to run down my cheeks.

This. This is my thing. This is where my passion lies. I was born for such a time as this. And as I navigate this path in faith, I think of the girls that will be impacted by God Himself because I took a step of obedience. Because I took a crazy dream and ran with it. Because I took a step out of my comfort zone and said “Here, I am God, use me for your Glory.”

So here we go. Three weeks and counting. If you could, please pray for me and my team. That we would know God’s peace as we prepare to input into these girls and that every girl who comes, would know that they are truly loved and adored by her Heavenly Father. That she is loved and accepted for who she is, and she would walk away, head held high, knowing she is a Daughter of the Most High King.

a dot


Overwhelmed!

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So I have been doing this whole “Pastor’s Wife” thing for 6 months now. I know right, where does the time go.
And I’m sure the question on your lips is “Have you got the hang of it yet?” Well, to be honest, I don’t know that I will ever get the hang of it!

People are funny creatures and whether I like it or not, a lot of people have preconceived idea’s about what a Pastors Wife should be like. How she should act, how she should dress and the way she should present herself. Now I am learning that I am who I am and I can’t try and be someone I’m not (actually I have never really done that, what you see is what you get!) But I am slowly learning to accept who I am. I am learning that I can’t please everyone and not everyone will like me or the way I do things. I am learning to be ok with all of that, and I am learning to be ok with me!

But the thing I am not ok with is the fact that I constantly feel overwhelmed!

Not overwhelmed at my workload or the things that are expected of me. Not overwhelmed at the thought of leading a group of women into who God has called them to be (actually, that part I really love!) Not even overwhelmed at the pressure I put on myself because I want people to like me!

The thing that really gets me is the enormous hurt and the need that is out there. And it’s not even “out there” it is within our Chuch!

Every week we have the privilege of praying with people and are privy to what some of them are walking through. And to be honest, it’s overwhelming! My heart breaks at what some people are facing in their lives. I stand there and hold back the tears (well, mostly!) and listen as they pour out their hearts. We listen, we pray and then they walk into their week, and I am left with an overwhelming sadness that some days completely consumes me.
How can I solve everyone’s problems?
How can I take their hurt away?
How do I make things easier for them?
How do I stop my prayer life just becoming a shopping list of hurting people?
How do I fix everyone?

And the whole point in all of this is that I can’t!
I can’t fix everyone’s problems and I can’t heal the broken hearted. It is not up to me and it never was! God doesn’t expect me to fix people, that is His job. And really, who am I to think I can do His job?

But, in saying all of that, He has called me. He has called me to stand with people as He ministers to them. He has called me to do what I can and leave the rest to Him. He has called me to be his hands and feet in this broken world. He has called me to point people to Him. To remind people that He is the healer and ultimately in all I do, it’s to point people to Him.

So as I take a deep breathe, and head into another week, I am trying to keep my overwhelmed feelings in check! I am reminding myself that He doesn’t make mistakes, and I am exactly where He wants me. I am reminding myself that He has equipped me for this role. And I am reminding myself to lean into Him and let him carry the burden for me!

a before

 

 


Living A Blessed Life!

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So, I wrote last week how my life is so blessed! If you missed that blog you can read it here.

But I also wrote that I don’t just sit on the couch and wait for life to happen to me. I go out and I grab it with two hands and go after it with all I have. I don’t want to be a passenger in my life, I want to take control (with God at the wheel of course) and live life to the fullest. And so how do I do that? Well, here is just one example:

Last October I joined hundreds of women (actually, I think it could have even been in the thousands) who participated in a blogging group who wrote for 31 days straight. On one of the threads, everyone was commenting where they were from and so of course, I chimed in saying that I was from NZ. One of the ladies from the USA just happened to mention that she was coming to NZ for her brother’s Wedding. At this point I had two options: I could think to myself “Aww, that’s nice” or I could comment and ask more questions.

And so I asked more questions! It turned out that this blogger and her Mum were going to be 20 minutes from where I live! What’s the chances of that? Now, I know NZ isn’t that big, but I thought it was no coincidence that they were going to be so close to me. So I said if they had a some free time we could meet for a coffee.

a zipWe kept in touch over the months and a couple of weeks ago I met Lisa and her Mum Carlene, and we had the most amazing day!

Now, I am pretty sure Lisa and Carlene had a great day, but you know what? I was so incredibly blessed. The fact that I got to be a tourist in my own country, I got to spend the day with two incredible women who I just feel in love with from the moment I met them and the fact that I went zip lining through the NZ forest! It’s not every day you get to do that!

As I stepped out of my introverted comfort zone, God was right there waiting to bless me. Instead of spending my usual Friday doing housework, I got to spend the most incredible day with two incredible women!

So this week, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone. Talk to that person who you wouldn’t normally talk to, take that risk, and go and grab life for all it’s worth!

As we parted ways at the end of the day, Both Lisa and Carlene invited me to visit them in the USA. And you know what? I think one day I might just do that!!

lg_P1250655

 


Yes, My Life Is Blessed!

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I live a Blessed life!
I actually love my life so much! I am so ridiculously Blessed and I am not ashamed to admit it.

You know, so often we look on Social Media and it is full of complaints. People are moaning about their husbands, their kids, their life! There is so much negativity out there, that we could be left feeling guilty for living such an amazing life!

But I make no apologies for my life. Sure I have bad days. There are days I wish I had never gotten out of bed. There are the days where I am less than grateful for what I have, and days I forget to thank God for my Blessings. Now, if you are family or a close friend of mine, believe me, you will know about these days! But personally, I don’t think the whole world needs to know about my problems, I will save those for a select few!

I have been criticised for living such a Blessed Life:

“Your life can’t be that perfect?”
“How can you be happy all the time?”
“You are so lucky, but it won’t last”
“Why do you brag so much when people are struggling?”

In the immortal words of Taylor Swift, I say “Haters are gonna hate” and there is nothing I can do about that. People are free to unfriend me on FB or stop following me on Instagram at any time if you don’t want to see how awesome my life is!!

I am not trying to be proud or arrogant. I am not trying to make people feel bad about their life, and I am definitely not trying to paint an unrealistic picture of my life. But why in the world would I not boast about how Blessed I am? Why would I keep it a secret that God is an awesome God? And why would I hide the fact that God is working in my life?

My life hasn’t always been easy (actually, I wouldn’t exactly say it is easy at the moment!). There have been some jolly hard seasons that I would not wish upon anyone. But with prayer and perseverance, I am in a much better place now and I am embracing this new season we are in!

lucky

To be honest, I take everything from life that I can. I don’t sit on the couch waiting for life to happen to me. No siree, I go out there and I milk it for all I can!

Next week on the blog I will share a couple of examples of how I go out and grab life! But for now, I want to leave you with a challenge:

Watch what you put on social media. Is it negative? Is it something that everyone needs to know about you? Instead of putting up all your problems, why not boast about how awesome our God is. Let the world know how Blessed you are. Go on, I dare you to start being super positive!

And secondly, go and grab life! Get off the couch, turn the TV off and stop waiting for life to happen to you! Go out and make a life that will boast how awesome God is. Live a life that people will want to follow. Live a life that you love!