When God Whispers Your Name.

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God never yells at me!
I am sure I have given Him many opportunities over the years, but when He really wants my attention He whispers to me.

He whispers my name ever so gently and I know He means business.

The #DOT-K weekend was beyond anything I could have dreamed of. God was in every detail and in every conversation, and I could never convey on paper all that happened over the weekend. I was moved to tears so many times, and I had to explain to the girls that if they saw me crying, they were happy tears and that really, I was ok.

But the weekend got off to a bit of a shaky start. We sat down for dinner on Friday night, and a 9-year-old told me she couldn’t eat her dinner. “Why not sweetie, I don’t remember Mum putting on your form that you have allergies?” “No, it’s not that, I can’t eat it because I am fat.”

And with that, my heart was undone before the weekend even began. I explained to her that she would need lots of energy this weekend and it was ok to eat her dinner. She nodded and proceeded to eat. I excused myself and went to the bathroom, the tears already streaming down my face and the overwhelming feeling that I was out of my depth flooded my body again.

“God, I can’t do this! What made me think I could make a difference when we have 9-year-old girls worrying about their weight. This is so wrong God. We have girls being bullied at school and other girls who are calling themselves ugly and now beautiful girls thinking they are fat. Seriously God, the problems are too huge, I can’t do this.”

Now at this point, God would have had every right to yell at me. To tell me to pull my head in and suck it up. To get over myself and just get on with it! But instead, He whispered to me. “Kathy. Take a deep breathe and breathe in my peace. Breathe in my love for you and for these girls. I haven’t asked you to save the whole world, I have just asked you to speak truth into these girls, and I know you can do it. Kathy, I have called you, I have equipped you and I believe in you.”

And with those whispered words swirling around my heart, I wiped my face, got myself together and resolved that I would not let the enemy’s lies take me out, and they were certainly not going to take out these girls……not on my watch!

As I walked back into the dining room, one of the girls saw me and rushed up and gave me a hug, for some reason she just clung to me and wouldn’t let go. And as I hugged her back, I knew she needed me just as much as I was needing that hug in that moment.

There were so many heartbreaking moments over the weekend as I listened to story after story of what these girls face on a daily basis. I don’t think the tears stopped all weekend. We prayed and we prophesied over every girl and God healed. He moved and restored in a way I had only dreamed off. Lies were being broken off and He was replacing them with His truth.

Now, we didn’t fix all the problems but it is my prayer that we have given the girls tools they can use when they are feeling less than all who God has called them to be.

But can I also just say we had FUN! Oh my goodness, did we have fun! Camp chants, songs around the campfire, crazy dance parties, talent shows and so much laughter that my sides ached! The team that God put around me were phenomenal and all of them went above and beyond what was asked of them!

So I would have to say “Chosen” was a success. When people ask how it went, I still struggle to find the words to accurately describe all God did. I feel humbled that He thought me worthy to speak His truth to His girls, and I am so thankful He gently spoke to me. That he whispered into my heart “Kathy, I believe in you.”


My Heart is Broken.

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As I sit here at my computer the tears are flowing.
I am trying my best to suck them up, but they are cascading down my cheeks at a great rate of knots, and onto my keyboard. I can’t stop them.

I have just had a message from one of the Mums whose daughter is coming to “Chosen” this weekend.
She wanted to let me know that her daughter is being bullied, coming home from school crying every day, and doesn’t have any friends. Now, I know this Mum and she is an amazing! They have an awesome Family and this girl comes from a loving Christian home. And I think to myself, if this is happening to a lovely Christian girl, what are other girls in the world facing?

My heart breaks for this girl and for her Mum. In fact, my heart breaks for all the young girls out there that this is happening to. Because sadly, this is not an isolated incident.

Seriously friends, what is the world coming to when we have beautiful 8-year-old girls being bullied? When once what was a problem for teens is now a problem for girls who are so much younger than that? Not that I want teens to go through it, but 8 years olds? It’s just not right.

But as I try and dry my tears, my sadness turns to anger at what goes on in the world. A world where we try and protect our kids the best we can, but it’s a world that would spew forth its hatred on young unsuspecting girls. Beautiful girls that have their innocence stolen from them. A choice that was not theirs, but will have consequences for years to come. A world where the actions of others can change the way a young girl will view herself, and how the lies of the enemy will take hold, and contradict God’s truth.

My heart breaks and I cry out to God “I just want to fix it all. I just want to help these girls. God show them that they are loved by you?”

And then I heard God’s voice clearer than ever. “Kathy, show young girls how much I love them. Show them that they are valued and cherished for who they are. Show them what it means to be a Daughter of the King. Show them that they matter. Teach them my truth. You know what it is like to be broken, show my girls how I can heal and restore.”

This is why I started #DOTK. This is what it is all about. Speaking God’s truth over these girls so that they may know God’s peace and love. Now I can’t stop the bullying or the teasing, boy do I wish I could! But what I can do is equip these girls with tools they can use to fight the lies of the enemy.

So as I prepare for this weekend, I am letting go off all the “Stuff” that is drowning me, all the schedules, the timetables and the logistics of who is going to sleep in which cabin! And I think about what God has asked me to do, what the real purpose of this weekend really is. I reread the message from this girl’s Mum, and again the tears flow.

I focus on what is really important…..getting God’s truth into these girls hearts. Yes, we will have lots of fun, that was never in doubt, but it’s my prayer that the girls would come away knowing who God has created them to be, and to give them the tools they can use to fight the lies of the enemy and remember God’s truth.

Friends, would you please join me in praying for the girls this weekend?


Looking Past The Busy!

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Ok, so ya’ll know how much I dislike that word right?

Busy!

It conjures up bad thoughts and an overwhelming feeling that rises to the surface every time I even think of it. I have tried as best I can to remove it from my vocabulary and I choose to use other words that have a less negative connotation.

But this week it is. In fact, the next two weeks leading up to #DOT-K camp is going to be a little manic. I knew this was going to be the case and I have tried to prepare myself as well as I can, but those old familiar feelings come back, and I am again, reminding myself to just breathe and take one day at a time!

“Breathe Kathy, Just Breathe”

If I had ten cents for every time I say that to myself, I would be a rich woman! But instead, I sit here in my office and I make myself “to-do” lists, I work through them and tick things off as I go because we all need ticks next to tasks to help us think we are winning at life right?

I had a team meeting on Monday night, and all of a sudden this good idea of mine to hold a camp for 8-12-year-old girls became more than just a good idea, reality hit me and a thousand thoughts raced through my mind:

What am I doing?
I can’t do this?
What on earth made me think I could pull this off?
What if the girls think it is lame?
Is it too late to cancel?
I could cancel right?
Ok, let’s cancel!
No, I cant cancel!
Or maybe I could?
No, I can do this?
What could go wrong?
Oh my goodness, so many things could go wrong?
It’s ok Kathy, nothing is going to go wrong?

I won’t share all my thoughts with you guys as they would fill this page (and the next) but I can tell you, my mind was racing at a million miles an hour!

And then God said “Honey, stop! Just stop! Do you not think if I have called you to this (But have you God?) Yes, you know I have! Do you not think if I have called you, I will equip you?”

And so started a wee argument with God:

“But God, I don’t know if I can?”
“I know you can”
“But someone else could do it better”
“I have called you”
“But, I have so many faults and flaws?”
“Yes you do, what’s your point?”
“Well, maybe I’m not the right girl?”
“You are! Have more faith in yourself, and have more faith in me. I just need your obedience, and I will do the rest.”

And here ended my wee argument with God. One that I knew I was never going to win, but one I had to have anyway!

So now as I look at the next two weeks, I am choosing to look past the busy, and know that this is what God has called me to do. All He is asking for is my obedience, and I can breathe easy knowing He will do the rest. Ok, so I still need to do a schedule for the weekend, and make tribes, and co-ordinate Leaders, and wrap gifts and make name tags, but the important stuff, God will do.

He is the one who will whisper in the girl’s ears how much He loves them. He is the one who will speak truth into their hearts. And He is the one who will make them feel worthy.

All I need to do is walk in obedience…..


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!


Parents of Teenagers….Please Read.

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To say I am disturbed is an understatement.
To say I am lost for words would be another.
To say I am struggling with what I have seen, would be yet another massive understatement.

I have just finished the series on Netflix called “13 Reasons Why” and I have to be honest with you, I am shell shocked.

13 Reasons Why, if you haven’t heard about it, is a series about a fictional character Hannah Baker, who through a series of events, bullying and being raped two of these things, ends up taking her own life. The series is about what led her to this point, and the aftermath that ensued with her family and friends trying to make sense of it all.

It is raw, it is emotional and it is graphic. There is no doubt as to what went on and the episode where she takes her life is disturbing. And when her Mum finds her, well that is truly disturbing.

So why would I watch it you ask?
Well, because it is Netflix’s most-watched series of all time and since it came out has been tweeted over 11 million times. Because all the teenagers I know (including Gracie) are watching and talking about it on social media. And because I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. But I don’t think I was quite prepared for what I saw and is not something  I will forget in a long time.

There are lots (and lots) of websites and blogs out there talking about 13 Reasons Why. Blogs that will satisfy your curiosity if you don’t want to watch the whole series. Blogs with helplines, numbers for support networks and reasons why they made the series. There are some great sites for support and I encourage you to go and read them, so I’m not going into all of that here, but I do want to say this:

If you have a teenager, please please, please be aware of what they are watching. Please pay attention to what is going on in their lives, and please have those awkward conversations! As parents, it is never easy, and teenagers are a breed unto themselves. But this stuff goes on in their world and we need to be aware of it. We cannot bury our heads in the sand and pretend that this kind of thing doesn’t happen because it does. We can’t bury our heads and think it will never happen to our teen because it could. And that is the cold hard reality here…..it could.

Life is so different these days. So many more challenges and pressures facing our teens. And we need to educate ourselves the best we can to help our teens navigate their way through this season of their life. We need to be hands-on, and involved in their lives, no matter how much they complain or think we are awkward!

Now I am not naive enough to think that Gracie shares absolutely everything with me, but she always knows she can come to me if she needs to. She knows she can use her parents as an excuse (Mum and Dad won’t let me….) and she has an amazing network of good, Christian friends speaking into her life. I know this won’t protect her from all life will throw at her, it won’t completely protect her from peer pressure, and as much as I want to wrap her in cotton wool and protect her from the mean ole world, I know I can’t do that either! But what I can do is be aware, be educated, and be involved.

And parents, please don’t forget to pray. Not just if things aren’t going well, but all the time! Cover them in prayer.

So friends, please be aware.
Aware of what your teens are watching.
Aware of who has influence in their life.
Aware of what is going in their world.
Aware of their social media and the anxiety that come with it.
And please, please be aware of the pressures teens face. Not just any teen, but your teen.

 


Adventure Awaits…

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I spoke at Church on Sunday.

Now, this may seem like a simple statement, and I guess when looking at it, it is! But for me, there is so much more than just ‘speaking at Church on Sunday.’

This kind of thing is so far out of my comfort zone, it scares me silly. Public speaking is definitely not my forte but it is something that God is allowing me to grow in. It’s not that I don’t have enough words, cause, believe me, I have plenty to say. It’s just that standing in front of a room full of people sharing what’s on my heart (and more importantly God’s heart) is somewhat daunting.

What if I am not Biblically correct?
What if I say the wrong thing?
What if I offend someone?
What if I walk on stage and my skirt is tucked into my knickers? (actually slim chance of this as I am more of a jeans and t-shirt kinda girl!)
Or what if I make a fool of myself and everyone laughs at me?

These and many (many) more irrational thoughts swirl around my mind every time I get the opportunity to speak. And yes, it is an opportunity. No one is forcing me to get up there. No one is twisting my arm or bribing me.

And so why do I do it?

I do it because I want adventure in my life?
Yes, I know this may seem like a strange way of having an adventure but I want to grab life with both hands and not live a life that I will look back on and say “I had the opportunity, but I turned it down because I was scared, or I turned it down because I was tired, or I couldn’t be bothered or I was just playing it safe!

I want to live a life that chases adventure, because adventure, is not going to come and find me. No, my friends, it will not come to me when I am curled up at home in bed watching Netflix. It will not come and find me when I am hiding behind all my insecurities or when I am playing within my comfort zone. Adventure needs to be sought after and faced head on!

And so I live my life to the fullest, sometimes scared and sometimes with no fear at all. But either way, refusing to allow fear to hold me back from the adventure that awaits me.

A beautiful friend gave me this picture a couple of weeks ago and I absolutely love it! It sits on my desk in my office at home and it is a daily reminder that, yes, adventure does await me, but I must seek after it!

What adventure awaits for you my friend?
Are you grabbing life with both hands or are you hiding in your comfort zone, complaining that your life is boring and nothing ever happens?
Are you stuck in a rut of never ending laundry and housework or are you looking past that, and looking at your life as an adventure that is to be chased after?

 

So go! Go and grab all God has for you. Go live your adventure, the one He has specially designed just for you! The one you were made for, the one that no one else can chase but you!

 

 


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.