Finding Balance!

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For those of you that know me well, you will know that I am an all or nothing girl!
There is no middle ground for me, no shades of grey and no luke warm! Either I am in or I am out. I am in boots and all, or not at all.

Now sometimes this is a good thing. It brings passion and commitment to things I believe in and a heart that will not be swayed from what I know to be true.

On the other hand, in day to day life, this is often not so good. Sometimes I wish there was a middle ground where I walked with consistency in my life on a daily basis.  But it seems that in all that I do, I live life with the philosophy of go hard or bust. Whether it’s eating healthy, exercising, writing, cleaning, being close to God, in fact, all area’s of my life seems to be like this!

When things are going well, they are seriously great, but when they are not, they are seriously not! If only I could balance things out I would feel like a more sane person that has their life together!

For as long as I can remember I have been this way, and so changing it is going to be more of a challenge than just making up my mind! Wouldn’t life be so much easier if we just made up our minds and that was that! But I know that my fight is not against flesh and blood but against the principalities and powers over darkness.

So instead of fighting this in the flesh, trying to convince myself to go for a run or not eat that second (ok, that third) cookie, I am fighting it spiritually!

I am leaning in on God and getting into His word. I am trying to find balance in my life. Now I will always be extreme in some area’s that I am passionate about and that’s ok, but on a daily, and weekly basis, I am trying to find a happy medium. Somewhere between all or nothing. Somewhere that will give me peace and perspective without losing my passion!

Ok, so here I go friends…..


Why I am so Enthusiastic!

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kathystrong.co.nz

“How can you be so enthusiastic all the time?”

Well, first off can I tell you that I am not! Some days are hard and enthusiastic is the last thing I feel like being. But I get asked this question quite a bit, and often I shrug it off and say, it’s just the way I am!

But my daily devotion at the moment is all about enthusiasm, and I am learning it is so much more than a feeling we have. It is not all about motivational speakers and cheerleaders. It is not all about feeling good or as simple as making a choice to be enthusiastic.

Enthusiasm comes from the greek language, en Theos, meaning, in God, being possessed by God, or even being filled with Gods spirit. The enthusiasm we’re talking about isn’t so much about the feel-good talks or the pom poms, but rather closeness to God’s heart.

Enthusiasm is born out of intimacy with God. It is not just a mood but a spiritual result of a relationship with God.

And so why am I sharing all of this with you?

Well, because so often we think enthusiasm is a choice we just make and is dependent on our circumstances. It’s easy to be enthusiastic when things are going great, but not so much when life is hard. “Oh, I can’t be enthusiastic, do you not know what I am walking through?”

But I am learning that I can still be enthusiastic when life doesn’t make sense. My enthusiasm does not come from my worldly circumstance. I can be enthusiastic when things are hard because my enthusiasm is rooted in my relationship with God, and the only way that will change is if I lose my connection with Him. It is about being connected to God’s heart, and that can only come from spending time with Him and reading His word.

Now, this is not always easy but if I want to remain enthusiastic about my life (and I do!) then I need that connection with God because no matter how much I try and convince myself otherwise, I cannot be genuinely enthusiastic without Him!

And so this week as some exciting plans are coming to fruition, I am super excited and I am super enthusiastic about all that is headed my way. I am determined to look past the worldly things that would hold me back, those things that would steal my joy and take my focus away from God. But instead, I choose to stay connected with God, to spend time with Him and to draw close to Him, because I know that’s where my enthusiasm comes from!


And Yet, Another One….

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Yep!
This week has started with yet another goodbye!

God is pruning things in my life at the moment and you know what? It super excites me!
Ok, admittedly I was in tears yesterday as I did my final blog post on a site I started 4 years ago and have been overseeing ever since. It was a bittersweet moment as I handed the baton on to the woman who is taking it over. As I handed over my baby and said “she is all yours now, look after her and please love her as much as I have” the tears welled in my eyes and I just let them flow. I let them flow till they were no more and then the healing began.

You can read my final farewell here.

I had a number of women contact me and said how brave I was handing over my baby, and what a servant heart I have. To be honest, I didn’t feel either of those things yesterday as I sat in tears and wondered if I had made the right decision, wondering if this woman would look after my baby. If she would do things how I did them and if she would love my baby as much as I did. But these things are not mine to worry about now and so I have let them go, otherwise, I will become so consumed by the past or what I am missing out on (there’s that FOMO again!) instead of focusing on what is ahead of me.

But as sad as this was for me, I knew it was what God was asking me to do. To let go of things that were holding me back from the new season He has for me to walk in. Not holding me back in a bad way, but now just headed in a different direction. This new season that I have no idea what it looks like, but a new season that is filled with shiny new possibilities.

God is already putting idea’s in my head and dreams in my heart and I just want to blurt out all He is saying to me. But I have learned from past experiences, some things are better left unsaid until you have a resounding yes!

So as I sit in my office and I dream and I plan, and I look at all that is ahead of me, I can’t help but smile to myself. Yes, goodbyes are hard but the promise of the future, my future in Him, is safe, secure and a maybe just a little bit scary.


Why I Don’t Like Easter!

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Well, ok, it’s not completely true, but it is something I find very difficult!

It’s not that I don’t like Easter, I mean, who doesn’t love spending a long weekend with their family, eating copious amounts of chocolate and hot cross buns? I for one love that side of it, but for me, there is a far more important side of Easter…… It’s all about the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.

Easter for me is one of the most important times of the year for reflection. It’s a time to sit down, take a deep breath and remember the price Christ paid, so I could live this Blessed life that He has given me.

A few years ago, Phil and I went to see The Passion of the Christ. I knew it was going to be a horrific movie, but until sitting through it didn’t realise what a huge impact it would have on me. To be honest, I walked out of the movie halfway through. I just couldn’t handle it. The torture, the humiliation, the absolute cruelty shown towards my Saviour, was too much for me to sit through. Now I know it’s just a movie, but it rocked me to the core. I have thought several times when I have seen it on Netflix that I should sit through all of it…… But I just can’t bring myself to do it! I guess it’s one thing to read about it, but it’s another to sit there and watch it!

Tomorrow afternoon we will transform our auditorium and have a giant cross in the middle with everything apart from the Cross blacked out. We will be performing a drama and every time I read the script, I can’t do it without tears welling in my eyes. Good Friday is a day that I don’t look forward to even though I know how important it is. Just get through Friday Kathy, and then you can look forward to Sunday where we will celebrate the Ressurection!

So for me, Easter is about remembering. Remembering the price Christ paid for my freedom. But do I only reflect about this at Easter? Shouldn’t this be something that I reflect on more often? Sure, we look at it when we take communion, but again, shouldn’t it be more than that, too? The price Christ paid for my freedom is something that I don’t actually take for granted, it is something that I still struggle to comprehend. That when it came down to it, if I was the only person on earth, Christ still would have died for me! Christ was hung on that Cross for me. Yip, little ole me! Kathy, who stuffs up on a daily basis, Kathy, who takes Blessings for granted, Kathy, who regularly asks for forgiveness and is far from perfect. Christ persevered through all that suffering so that I could live in abundant freedom.

So as I get ready for this weekend, one that will be spent with family, eating chocolate and most importantly going to Church, my goal is to honour Christ as best as I can with my life. To make what He did for me on the Cross worth it. Not just this Easter weekend but every day that I am graced with. I may not be perfect, but that doesn’t change the fact that Christ was the perfect sacrifice for my life. REMEMBER.

a done


Even When….

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Even When!
2 small words that have had a huge impact on my life at the moment.

I had the privilege of speaking at Church last Sunday night. I say it is a privilege as it is not something I take for granted, and realise not everybody gets the opportunity. So even though it is totally out of my comfort zone, I am learning to embrace it, and see the Blessings in it rather than looking at the scary side!

One of the worship songs we sang was called “Even when it hurts” by Hillsong United, it is such a beautiful song, you can listen to it here if you would like to. The minute I heard it, knew God wanted to use this song to minister to people. I had prepared a long message, and God said to me “Just step aside and let me deal and heal.” So I cut my message short and let God do what God does!

The overriding theme for the night was “Even when….”

Even when my strength is lost, will you praise Him.
Even when it hurts, will you praise Him.
Even when it doesn’t make sense, will you praise Him.
Even when it hurts like hell, will you praise Him.
Even when, even when, even when!

 

“What is your Even When?”

What is it that you are going through that you have to say “you know what God, even when…..I will still praise you!

Because you know what friends? He is worthy of our praise….no matter what.
Through the good seasons.
Through the tough seasons.
Through all the seasons we may find ourselves walking in.
He is worthy of our praise.

So as you go out this week and face whatever season you are walking through, can I encourage you to praise Him. Praise Him because He is good. Praise Him because that’s what He deserves, and praise Him for no other reason than because He is God, and he is always, always worthy.

 

 

 


It Will Be Beautiful In The End.

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This is what a friend said to me the other day.

It will be beautiful in the end.

We were talking about the blog I wrote last week (if you missed it, you can read it here) and we were saying how hard the journey is sometimes. We weren’t whinging or whining, but just being honest with each other. Some days are tough. Some days are so tough all you want to do is crawl in bed and watch netflix for the rest of your life. But when that isn’t an option, you need to put on your big girl pants and face life head on.

And then she said this “It will be beautiful in the end”

Now most people say, it will all work out in the end, or it will be fine, or even, it will all come out in the wash, but none of these is inspiring or motivational to me. They just paint a picture of someone struggling through to the end and then just breathing a great big sigh of relief. But the thought of everything being beautiful in the end, well that gave me hope!

Hope that this journey is not just about enduring. Hope that there is more than what we can see in the here and now. Hope in the things to come. But not just hope friends, a beautiful, faith-filled hope.

I have no idea what my beautiful end will be! There are so many things I dream of and so many lives I dream of changing. There are thoughts, emotions and plans that swirl through my head on a daily basis. Big dreams, little dreams, crazy out of this world dreams and dreams that I can’t even dare to believe just yet.

At conception none of these things seem “beautiful” They seem like blood, sweat, tears and heartache, oh my goodness, so much heartache when I see the hurting people around me. How this is beautiful I don’t know! But the thought of it all being beautiful in the end is enough to spur me on.

It reminds me to take my eyes off of me and what I can or cannot achieve, and focus them on Jesus, because really, he is the only one who can make everything beautiful. He is the one who will turn our sorrow into joy. He is the one who will turn our mourning into dancing. And he is the one who will turn our mess into a message. A message of hope, determination and overcoming for the people who are watching our journey, and believe me friends, there are people watching!

So this week, no matter what you are facing in your world, hold on to hope. Hold on to the fact that Jesus will make things beautiful in the end! Rest assured knowing that he will get you through what you are facing. But more than just get you through, he will make it beautiful!

 

 


The Death of a Dream.

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It is never easy saying goodbye.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a temporary goodbye or a permanent one, they are hard.

I have had a couple of goodbyes this week, and neither of them was particularly fun! The first one was when I dropped Phil at the airport. He has flown off to India and Indonesia for 10 days. Thankfully this goodbye is only temporary and I get to pick him up again in another 5 sleeps…..yay!

The other goodbye was a permanent one and this one was not so easy.
You see, a few years ago I had a dream. Now, to be honest, I don’t know if this was a God dream or just something that I pursued on my own accord, but either way it was definitely something I wanted.

I held on to this dream in the hopes that one day it would become a reality. And funnily enough, it did! Just recently I was offered an opportunity that a couple of years ago I would have jumped at. It was something I truly wanted. But as with everything I prayed about it to make sure it was right, and I got a no! A big fat resounding NO! Not even a maybe, it was a flat out no!

Really God?
But what if this is a really good thing?
What if it was what I was meant to be doing?
Why would it come up if it wasn’t right?
But God, I really want to do this!

So many questions flooded my mind, but even though none of them were answered, I still knew it was a no!

And so I spoke to the person who had asked me and said that I had prayed about it, and it just wasn’t right. She was completely understanding and thanked me for even considering the opportunity.

Door closed.

I knew I had done the right thing, but then it hit me…..the doubts, fears and insecurity that I had made the wrong choice:

Maybe I should have said yes?
Maybe I will never be asked again?
What if this was my only chance?
What if I had just missed out on something amazing?

FOMO (fear of missing out) had hit me big time and I suddenly doubted everything I knew I had heard from God.
As Phil was away I knew I had to talk to someone about this before I changed my mind again and made a wrong decision or worse, let this FOMO take over completely!

I am so super blessed with good friends and so I chatted to 2 of them about it (one in NZ and one in the USA, cause you know, it’s good to get international opinions right?)
I am so thankful to both of them for talking sense into me and showing me the things I couldn’t see…or chose not to see.

One friend said to me “It’s ok to grieve” and with that, the tears started flowing. It was like this huge release and all of a sudden it was ok that I was sad. It was ok that I was struggling, and it was ok to feel disappointed. Just because we make the right decision, doesn’t always mean it is the easy one!

So I have processed it all this week, I have chatted with God, and let Him know (like He didn’t already!!) that I was sad.  He reassured me I would be ok, and He reminded me that He has plenty of opportunities out there for me when the time is right.

So friends, it’s ok to grieve! It’s ok to say goodbye to a dream. It’s ok to feel sad when things don’t go as you think they should. And it’s ok to feel disappointed. But let’s not stay there! Grieve and move on. Don’t dwell on what might have been, focus instead on the open doors ahead of you, knowing God is always a good God, and His plans are way better than what any of us could dream up!


# Love My Life.

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If you follow me on Instagram…..wait, what? You don’t? Well, you are missing out on a whole lot of my crazy life, so if you would like to, you can follow me here!

Anyway, if you do follow me on Instagram or even facebook, you will notice that I finish a lot of my posts with #lovemylife.
Now if you didn’t know me, you could think that I am bragging about my life. It could make you look at my life and wish you had it, and you could think that I am not genuine, I mean really, who loves their life….all the time? Well, actually, I do! But the reason is, I do it as a reminder to myself that I am blessed.

Like I have told you a thousand times, my life is not perfect! Oh my goodness friends, it is far from it! There are so many ups and downs in my life that I’m sure I am constantly living on a roller coaster. Some days I wish it was more of a steady, even keel ride, you know like “It’s a small world” in Disneyland. Where you sit in this cute wee boat and you meander through the river on a slow peaceful ride through different countries of the world, listening to the ever soothing “It’s a small world” being sung to you while you do nothing but sit and relax. But no, that is not the way God has called me to live! He thinks I am better suited for a ride like Space Mountain, a roller coaster which is completely in the dark where there are so many twists and turns, you have no idea what is coming next. All you can do is pray and hold on for dear life.

And so I live this crazy life and every day, just like you, I have 2 choices. I can face life head on and accept willingly the path God has me on, or I can fight God every step of the way and whinge and whine my way through life.

I could complain about how busy full my life is, I could whinge that my to-do list is never ending, I could whine about how tough life is, but really, how is that going to help? Honestly, that way of looking at life is certainly not going to bring the joy I am searching for or bring joy to anyone that comes into contact with me.

But many years ago after an extremely hard season in my life, I made the decision to not be a victim but to be victorious in the way I live my life. Every morning I wake up and choose to love this life God has given me.

Now I am not trying to paint an unrealistic picture of my life on the internet. I like to keep things real, but I also don’t think the whole world needs to know all my struggles and problems, like I have said before, that privilege is saved for family and a few good friends!

And so I will continue to #lovemylife and I will continue to love it and live it to the fullest. So next time you see me #lovemylife, please don’t think I am bragging, but remember I am being thankful for all that I have. And hopefully, it is a reminder to you, that you too can choose to love your life!

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Drowning?

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So last time I wrote, I was being brave and making some big decisions!

I would love to tell you that I have nailed them and that everything is awesome, but in reality, life is not that simple!

On a positive note, I have completely removed the word “busy” from my vocabulary. It feels so good, and I wish I had done it earlier. Again, it doesn’t mean I don’t have stuff to do, it just means that I am learning to look at things differently and keep all things in perspective! It’s amazing how one small word can make such a big difference, but it can!

So that decision is going well. My other decision I made was to slow down and find my joy. I am determined that there is more to life than running a million miles an hour and running ourselves ragged, for really, no good reason at all!

How is that working for me you ask? Well, not so great this week! I am trying to make time in my busy full schedule but this week feel like I am drowning, and just trying to keep my head above water…..let alone find joy in it!

It is a busy full season at the moment with lots going on. I was trying to make plans with friends to have dinner with them and the earliest we could do it between our schedules was mid-November….now is that crazy or what?

As I survey my “to do” list I take a deep breath and let it out slowly. For every 1 tick, there are another 5 things left to do. Breathe Kathy, just breathe!

Again, please don’t hear me wrong! I LOVE my life and all we are doing, I wouldn’t change it for the world. But God is stretching my capacity and as we all know, that is not always easy!

So I continue to intentionally find the joy around me, and often it’s in the simplest of things: the kids hanging out with us when they don’t have to, the time I get to spend with Phil, just the two of us. Sitting on the deck with a hot chocolate and steering at our wee slice of paradise. Knowing I have friends and family praying for me. Getting a text out of the blue from a friend checking in on me. The fact that Christmas is only 108 sleeps away!!!

The best thing to do when you feel you are drowning is not panic! Panicking doesn’t help. At all. With anything.

So I am breathing, I am intentionally seeking joy and I am thanking God every day for my Blessed life. I am keeping things in perspective and I am enjoying (yes, I said enjoying, not enduring!) this season, knowing that it is just that. It’s a season, and we all know that a new season will follow.

always

 


Speechless!!

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Don’t you think its funny when you are meant to be a writer and you have no words…none!
This is day 2 that I have sat here and tried to fill this page with words……but Nothing! Zilch, Nada! Not a thing!

It’s not that I don’t have any words, I mean really, I am a woman so I am not likely to run out, right?. But it’s more that I don’t have adequate words to convey what is in my heart!

So I am opening up my heart and writing what pours out….

It’s been 2 days since I have been home from Texas and I am beyond grateful at what God orchestrated while I was over there. 14 days of sunshine, hamburgers, shopping, amazing hospitality, good friends, new friends and uninterrupted time with God, planning, dreaming and believing with Him for all He has for me. And in the middle of that was Declare. The reason I made the big trek half way around the world. The reason I left my family. The reason I stepped out of my comfort zone. And the reason I knew God had called me to go.

Declare Conference this year, was more than I ever dreamed it could or would be. After the bar being set so high the last couple of years, I went this year wondering if it was just going to be a fun holiday. It’s a long way to go, and a long time to leave my family for just a fun holiday! I knew God had more in store for me, but really, how could it top last year?  What more could God have for me?

As I prayed on the plane over, God reminded me that He has given me a voice for a reason. He has called and equipped me to speak into (women’s) lives and that He has a bigger plan for my life than I can see, think or imagine at the moment. He assured me that writing is still a big part of my ministry and even though things seem to be changing at light speed for us at the moment, He has still called me to write. He also reminded me that connection is critical for what He has called me to.

As I spent 3 days reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, God spoke into my life in ways I couldn’t even imagine. Dinner conversations, chatting in line for the bathroom, or running into people in the hallway of the Hotel, I knew God had gone before me and pre-ordained my steps and who I would run into! God doesn’t leave things to chance or coincidence. Nope, He knew exactly who I needed to connect with and was with me every step of the way. He even made this introvert girl, who so often feels like a fish out of water, feel like she was where she needed to be, that she actually fitted in! And as for those 1 am talks with my roommate….I seriously have no words for what she means to me or the crazy God connection that we have!

photo credit https://www.facebook.com/cocopaigephotography

To Eryn, Michelle, Anne, Kristin and Jen….I am grateful beyond words for you all. You stepped out in Wild Obedience when God asked you to put on a conference for Christian Women who blog. You allowed His Presence to be felt. You allowed me to be a part of a group of women who are making a difference for His name. Because of these women, the path God has me on has been altered, and the journey I am walking, has now become a journey with like-minded women who do what I do, and most importantly, get why I do what I do! I am part of an Army of Women that God is raising up. Each has their own voice with their own story to share, but we all share the same heart and we are all doing it for the same reason…….Glory for God.

I am still blown away by the generosity of the Declare Team, who presented me with the very first ticket to Declare Conference 2017! Again I was left speechless, but this gift means more to me than I could ever convey. I am so thankful to God and these women who have Blessed me beyond words!

photo credit https://www.facebook.com/cocopaigephotography

photo credit
https://www.facebook.com/cocopaigephotography

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photo credit https://www.facebook.com/cocopaigephotography