Witness Protection

I have always loved watching crime shows! I find them utterly fascinating… Law and Order, CSI, NCIS, Psych, Bones, Monk, Criminal Minds…. Okay yes, I have apparently watched way too many! 😂 So, every now and then while watching these shows, you’ll see a person being placed in the “Witness Protection Program.” They may have been an eye-witness to a crime, have vital information to help convict a criminal, or they may be a criminal themselves, and have accepted a plea deal if they turn in someone else even worse or higher up in the organization. Whatever the case, their life is in danger because of what they know, so they have to go into hiding.

Something about the Witness Protection Program always intrigued me… The thought of being handed a brand new identity on a moment’s notice, and having to start a whole new life completely from scratch… There was something extremely terrifying about that thought, yet it seemed a bit intriguing and even kind of exhilarating at the same time… And that person’s testimony was absolutely crucial! They witnessed something significant, or they had critical information. They were being protected, so that they could eventually be called to testify before a judge and jury in order to solidify a conviction.

Y’all, that happened to me in real life! No, I didn’t witness a murder or some heinous crime, and I’m not on the inside of some mob ring here in G-vegas, but I did witness something absolutely UNBELIEVABLE, and I was given a brand new identity! I was given a whole new life, and my past was completely erased!

Romans 6:4-11We have therefore been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory and power of the Father, we too might walk habitually in newness of life [abandoning our old ways]. For if we have become one with Him [permanently united] in the likeness of His death, we will also certainly be [one with Him and share fully] in the likeness of His resurrection. We know that our old self [our human nature without the Holy Spirit] was nailed to the cross with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin. For the person who has died [with Christ] has been freed from [the power of] sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live [together] with Him, because we know [the self-evident truth] that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has power over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin [ending its power and paying the sinner’s debt] once and for all; and the life that He lives, He lives to [glorify] God [in unbroken fellowship with Him]. Even so, consider yourselves to be dead to sin [and your relationship to it broken], but alive to God [in unbroken fellowship with Him] in Christ Jesus.” (Amplified)

Ahhhh!!!!!! How unbelievable is that?!? Because Christ died for me, and because the Holy Spirit called me to make Jesus the Lord of my life, I have not only participated in Christ’s death so that the old, sinful, selfish Kaytie is nailed to the cross and buried with Christ, but He also allows me to participate in His resurrection!!!! Because He defeated death, I don’t have to fear it! I get to live FOREVER with Him! I mean, what?!?! 🤯

I think too often, we as Christians live our new lives as if we’ve been placed in the actual “Witness Protection Program.” See when someone in this program is given a new life, they can’t tell anyone about their old life, or the new identity they’ve been given. They have to live that new life, in complete secrecy. The way to stay alive, is to blend in and not be noticed. No one gets to know what happened to them. No one gets to hear about the things they know. They have to hide their past, their truth, their story, from anyone and everyone they come into contact with…

Don’t we tend to live our Christian lives this way?! As if what we have witnessed is supposed to be kept a secret? As if blending in is the “way to live?” But as believers, we aren’t called to secrecy… We’re called to spill! When Christ gives us a new identity, HIS identity, we get to shout all about it at the top of our lungs, sing it from the rooftops, jump up and down, pump our fists in the air, spin in circles with our hands raised, and tell the WHOLE WORLD what Jesus did for us!

Luke 11:33 – “No one lights a lamp and then puts it in a cellar nor under a basket (hiding the light) but (instead it is put) on the lampstand, so that those who come in may see the light.” (Amplified)

Deuteronomy 32:3 – “For I will proclaim the name of the Lord; ascribe greatness to our God!” (ESV)

Psalm 66:1 – “Shout joyfully to God, all the earth; Sing of the honor and glory and magnificence of His name; Make His praise glorious!” (Amplified)

1 John 1:3 – “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ!” (NKJV)

1 Samuel 2:1-2 – “Hannah prayed and said,My heart rejoices and triumphs in the Lord; My horn (strength) is lifted up in the Lord, My mouth has opened wide [to speak boldly] against my enemies, Because I rejoice in Your salvation!
There is no one holy like the Lord, There is no one besides You, There is no Rock like our God!'” (Amplified)

Acts 16:34 – “Then he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, since he had believed in God with his entire family [accepting with joy what had been made known to them about the Christ].” (Amplified)

Philippians 4:4 – “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” (ESV)

I am 100% speaking this truth into my own life right now. It’s so scary to be a bold witness for Christ, and at times it could even end up being dangerous. We currently have the freedom to speak the name of Jesus boldly and unashamed, while others in the world are put to death for the very same. Jesus said, “Blessed [comforted by inner peace and God’s love] are those who are persecuted for doing that which is morally right, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever]. Blessed [morally courageous and spiritually alive with life-joy in God’s goodness] are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil things against you because of [your association with] Me. Be glad and exceedingly joyful, for your reward in heaven is great [absolutely inexhaustible]; for in this same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.Matthew 5:10-12 (Amplified)

Our testimony is absolutely vital, crucial, life changing even… The things we have witnessed of Christ, the “insider information” we have has to be shared. The Holy Spirit may choose to use our testimony to bring conviction to the heart of an unbeliever. We are being called on to come out of the Witness Protection Program, to come out of hiding, and to be a bold witness for Christ to the world around us.

Taste and See

If you know me well, you know that food the way to this girl’s heart! Well, food and coffee and books and laughter and puppies… Okay, rabbit trail… aaaanywho… I LOVE food!!! My parents will be the first to say “Amen” to the fact that if I’m even a little bit grumpy, if you feed me, most likely my mood will turn around, and I will perk right up! 😂🤷‍♀️

I love to try new foods, especially when traveling, but I also definitely love some good old comfort food! I have a serious sweet tooth, I could eat Mexican food multiple times a week, pizza is a staple, but I think hands down my number one weakness used to be bread. I say “used to be” because Celiac Disease has put a serious damper on my bread consumption. But if I could… Oh man, would I scarf down some “Brown Bread” from the Cheesecake Factory, some cheesy biscuits from Red Lobster, the loaf of French bread from Tony Roma’s, the bread sticks from Olive Garden, some biscuits from Cracker Barrel, the rolls from Texas Roadhouse… Basically, ALLLLLL THE BREAD!!!! I’m not going to lie, I miss the good stuff….

“And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they asked Him, ‘Rabbi, when did You get here?’ Jesus answered, I assure you and most solemnly say to you, you have been searching for Me, not because you saw the signs (attesting miracles), but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes, but for food that endures [and leads] to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you; for God the Father has authorized Him and put His seal on Him.Then they asked Him,’ What are we to do, so that we may habitually be doing the works of God? Jesus answered, ‘This is the work of God: that you believe [adhere to, trust in, rely on, and have faith] in the One whom He has sent. So they said to Him, ‘What sign (attesting miracle) will You do that we may see it and believe You? What [supernatural] work will You do [as proof]? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written [in Scripture], “He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.” Then Jesus said to them, ‘I assure you and most solemnly say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. For the Bread of God is He who comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world. Then they said to Him, ‘Lord, always give us this bread.Jesus replied to them, I am the Bread of Life. The one who comes to Me will never be hungry, and the one who believes in Me [as Savior] will never be thirsty [for that one will be sustained spiritually]. But as I told you, you have seen Me and still you do not believe. All that My Father gives Me will come to Me; and the one who comes to Me I will most certainly not cast out [I will never, never reject anyone who follows Me]. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but to do the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but that I [give new life and] raise it up at the last day. For this is My Father’s will and purpose, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him [as Savior] will have eternal life, and I will raise him up [from the dead] on the last day.”– John 6:25-40 (Amplified)

Oh! The sweet sweet irony, that Jesus tells me He is the “Bread of Life!” My Bread craving can be satisfied every moment of every day!!! I’m just saying, if you have ever really tasted of His mercy, grace, forgiveness, love, compassion, righteousness, sovereignty, power… How could you ever hunger again??? I don’t even know how to put into words an explanation of the way Jesus has so completely satisfied me for these past few months, but since this is a blog, I guess I’ll do my best. 😉

It is unbelievable (I mean genuinely unfathomable unless you’ve experienced it) the difference that full surrender to Jesus makes. If your relationship with God feels forced, fake, or He feels far away… If you can’t taste His goodness and closeness, there’s a very good chance there’s something dulling your “taste buds.” For me, it was the TV shows and movies I was watching, the music I was listening to, the things I joked about… It was fear of what God would call me to if I gave Him everything. There were still lots of walls that I held up. They seemed small in comparison to the Jericho sized walls I had before I was saved, or the Great Wall of China I had built before my accident, but as “small” as they may have seemed, walls are walls. Sin is sin.

I watched God’s Not Dead – A Light in Darkness recently, and the Pastor was struggling with what to do in a tough situation. A fellow believer was reminding him why they were doing what they were doing. The pastor said, “It’s not that easy. ” And his friend’s response has resonated deeply with me. He said, “No, it’s not easy, but it’s simple.”

It’s so true!!! Doing the right thing, following Jesus wholeheartedly, it isn’t easy. But it sure is simple. Once I decided I was really done trying to hold on to anything that didn’t glorify God, to let go of trying to control my life, I was absolutely amazed at how simple God has allowed this relationship between us to flow!

He has taken away the desire for any of those things that don’t please Him. He has completely changed my tastebuds! He has given me a disgust for sin, knowing it’s what nailed Him to a cross for me. And He has given me a newfound hunger for His word and to know Him personally! All I want is Jesus!!! I pray I always hunger after Him, and find my satisfaction in Him.

Satan is SO not happy that Jesus has my heart, and boy I can feel it… I have been pretty vocal recently about what God is doing in my life, and I know that Satan is going to try to do anything he can, in order to thwart Christ getting the victory. I could feel this so heavily from Sunday through Tuesday of this past week. Last Sunday, I was blessed to have the opportunity to share my testimony with my church, and I know that Satan was mad as all get out that God was being glorified through my story.

There was nothing wrong, literally not. a. thing… But I could feel the weight of that depression I had talked about in my testimony seeping back in. I wanted to cry all day Monday, and other than Satan, I really couldn’t tell you why. I could hear the lies being whispered, “You’re alone,” “No one wants you,” “God can’t use you. You’re too broken.” I could feel the depression like a physical weight on my shoulders and in my chest. While these feelings of sadness and heaviness were just as real as before, this time around was SO much different. See, I have tasted of how amazing and intimate a relationship with Christ can be. So, as I felt the sadness creeping in, as I heard those lies whispered in my ear, I cried out to Jesus – my refuge, my strength, my rock, my strong tower, my hiding place, the One who already won the victory over Satan and darkness! I ran to His word, and found comfort and peace that goes beyond human understanding in the words He wrote to ME. The sadness wasn’t immediately gone, but I chose to believe truth. I was able to lift my hands and my tear stained face and say, “God, this struggle with depression may be the thorn in my flesh that you ask me to carry, just like the one Paul had to deal with. But I will choose to believe that You are good, and Sovereign, and I will give You the glory regardless of how I feel.” So from Sunday afternoon through Tuesday night I prayed this way, I dove into God’s word, and I listened to a lot of worship music… When I woke up Wednesday, I could just feel it. I felt lighter, like the weight was gone, and I know only Jesus could have taken that burden for me.

Over and over and over again, He proves how powerful and kind He is, and every time I’m still surprised that He chooses to lavish me with this unconditional love! I can’t keep quiet about Him! Because I have tasted the sweetness and richness and the satisfying fulfillment from an aching “hunger” that was there before I surrendered myself to Jesus completely. Before I really knew what hearing Him speak was like. When those walls are gone, the open relationship and communication you get to have with your Father, your best friend, your Savior… It’s unbelievable!! I honestly used to think that just wasn’t a thing, that God didn’t communicate with His people anymore. But, that’s because you can’t hear Him when you have soundproof barriers up around all you. If I named every way He has laid something out for me to perfectly align with what I was talking to Him about, whether directly from His word, from a sermon, from a song exactly when I needed to hear it, or a direct answer to prayer, your mind would be blown! Even if His answer is “no” or “wait,” I know without a doubt, with FULL confidence, that He has my best interest in mind! Do you know how freeing and comforting it is to know the God of the universe is on your side?! That the King of Heaven longs to hold His broken creation close to Him, and have an intimate relationship where He knows everything about you, and you get to know Him in return!?!

If you you’re tired of feeling empty, dissatisfied, hungry for more…. Turn your eyes on Jesus!

O taste and see that the Lord [our God] is good; How blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who takes refuge in Him.” – Psalm 34:8 (Amplified)

Complacent Christianity

In my first blog post, I shared that as a new Christian I was struggling to wrap my head around the goodness of God, and at that point, I still didn’t understand the concept of the full freedom Christ had won for me. F. J. Huegel explained my struggle perfectly when he said, “… the facts indicate that they (new Christians) usually wander for some years in the wilderness of a divided affection, before entering into the land of milk and honey.” I can 100% attest to this being my personal testimony! I was so caught up in the, “what’s okay and what’s not okay” dilemma, that I never simply turned my eyes onto Jesus and towards the beautiful gift He had bestowed in me.

I think my real journey to finding a more abundant Christ-filled life started shortly after my car accident in September of 2017. I’ve heard that near death experiences can be eye opening, and make you re-evaluate your life… Well, now I can say, “ain’t that the truth!”

It was the Sunday morning of September 3rd, 2017. I woke up in a hospital bed, unsure of my whereabouts, and trying to figure out how I had gotten to wherever it was that I was… My head was throbbing, I was connected to a ventilator, and it didn’t take me long to realize I was in a hospital. A nurse came in and explained that I had been in an accident the night before, and asked if she could call anybody for me. I couldn’t talk with the breathing tube down my throat, but she asked about my mom, and I nodded yes. That moment is way up there on the list of “most terrified I’ve ever been.”

At least according to human understanding (given the mangled remains of my Nissan, and the fact that the paramedics spent the whole ambulance ride trying to get me to breathe again) I probably should have died that night. Praise God that He had different plans for me!

I realized pretty quickly that I definitely needed to get my priorities in order. God bringing me to a new church, was the first page in this new chapter of my story. I met a group of believers who were genuinely excited about worshipping God! Not only that, but they were actually kind, loving, and welcoming! I shouldn’t have been shocked about any of these things, but I was totally baffled! These people actually looked and acted like Jesus!

I was suddenly so eager to personally get to know God, because I wanted to share in their joy and excitement! And I also wanted to find out why He had chosen to save my life (for probably the billionth time.) Something, and I’m guessing it was the Holy Spirit, compelled me to dive head first into Revelation.

Y’all, I was immediately convicted! I made it to Revelation 3, and I could hear God speaking directly to me. Revelation 3:1-2 & 15 “… ‘I know your deeds; you have a name (reputation) that you are alive, but [in reality] you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen and reaffirm what remains [of your faithful commitment to Me], which is about to die; for I have not found [any of] your deeds completed in the sight of My God or meeting His requirements.….. ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold (invigorating, refreshing) nor hot (healing, therapeutic); I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm (spiritually useless), and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of My mouth [rejecting you with disgust].” (Amplified)

As I read through the rest of the book of Revelation, it’s as if for the first time I fully understood that we are at war. I honestly wasn’t sure my life could really support which side of the battle I was saying I was on. I was living day to day in a completely complacent manner! According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of complacent is – “marked by self satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.” 🙀🙀🙀 That definition will preach in and of itself!

I was relying on being self-satisfied, doing the best I could to look like or imitate Christ, but I wasn’t that worried about about how “sold out” I was for Jesus. And since it was just “me trying,” more often than not, I looked like me and not like Jesus. I was living as if completely unaware of the dangers of my “adversary the devil” who “walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 Amplified)

How could I stand there and say, “I’m with Christ” and that “I’m fighting on His side,” while traipsing across enemy lines??? How could I say I even wanted to fight for Him, when I hardly knew Him? And I wasn’t exactly showing much interest in reading the book He gave me to learn more about Him… How could I sing praises to Him on Sunday, and then Monday – Saturday listen to music and watch movies that were inundated with the things that caused the crown of thorns to be shoved in His skull, the nails to be driven into His hands and feet, the spear to be driven through His side?!? While I claimed to be a soldier of Christ, I was actually a Benedict Arnold!

Worse still…

I was Judas.

I was betraying “the Captain of my salvation” by fraternizing with the enemy!!! (Hebrews 2:10 NKJV)

The Holy Spirit grabbed a hold of my heart, and gave me a decent shaking as I continued to read. After that “Revelation,” I immediately ran back to the book of John to read afresh about what Jesus had sacrificed for me at Calvary. I was reminded once again, that I’m the disciples who couldn’t bother to stay awake for Jesus while He prayed and asked His Father for another way. I am Peter who swore he wouldn’t deny Jesus, but did at the first chance he got…

and the second…

and the third.

I’m Judas, a supposed friend, who betrayed Jesus with a kiss. I’m His disciples who fled and left Him when He was arrested. I am Caiaphus and the angry crowd that tore His robes, spit in His face, and struck Him. I’m the crowd that called for Him to be crucified. I’m Pilate who washed his hands, and said he wasn’t responsible. I’m the soldiers that mocked Him. I’m the soldiers that nailed him to the cross. It was my sins that put Him there. It was my sins that crushed Him.

BUT... (Oh! How I love that word!) But, while He was taking MY nails, and MY thorns, and MY humiliation, and MY cross, dying the death that I deserved; somehow, I was on His mind!!! “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34 (ESV) He knew me. He knew my wicked heart. BUT, He still loved me!!!!

If nothing else, Jesus loved me enough to lay down His life for mine. How could I not be a faithful soldier for my King who sacrificed everything??? Not only that, but I’ve read the end of His story. I know Who wins this war!!! The Holy Spirit totally opened my eyes! I didn’t even realize how complacent I had become!!! But, isn’t that literally the definition of complacency? “…. unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.”

I have been so convicted lately to “live my life to the fullest,” but not even a little bit in the way the world thinks you should do that. I’ve said YOLO (you only live once) before in regards to traveling the world, jumping out of an airplane, or trying a new food. But, as a Christian shouldn’t that “silly” phrase actually be sobering? Yes, one day, I’ll live again with Him for eternity! But, what am I doing with this one earthly life that He has given me???

So, I surrendered all to Him, and I cannot even tell you how joyous and freeing life is now. I’ve been spending much less time watching TV (because honestly the desire just isn’t there,) and spending much more time in prayer and reading through His love letter to me. I’m finding so much satisfaction in getting to know the One who gave His life for me! I want to personally know the Victor of this war, and He has pulled me in with open arms!

I have also been praying for ways to let His life shine through mine! I’ve been praying for opportunities to share the gospel, opportunities to serve, opportunities to show kindess… I’ve been praying that Jesus would so fully take over my life, that when people look at me, they don’t see me… They see Him!

I’m so ashamed of the time I’ve wasted dawdling about, not a care in the world, and even flirting with the enemy at times! But, now I can’t help but tell everyone I know about the unbelievable God I serve!

It’s also been on my heart, that He has specifically asked certain things of me – His soldier. And after everything He has done and has promised to do for me, how could I not comply?? Here are some of things He asks:

Wake up, and strengthen and reaffirm what remains [of your faithful commitment to Me]“- Revelation 3:1 Amplified

“… Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. “- Mark 16:15 KJV

For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?“- Romans 10:13-14 ESV
“The harvest is abundant [for there are many who need to hear the good news about salvation], but the workers [those available to proclaim the message of salvation] are few. Therefore, [prayerfully] ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” – Luke 10:2 Amplified

**And the instructions that I find most fitting of my Commander, given my newfound awareness of the war I’m standing in:

“In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [draw your strength from Him and be empowered through your union with Him] and in the power of His [boundless] might. Put on the full armor of God [for His precepts are like the splendid armor of a heavily-armed soldier], so that you may be able to [successfully] stand up against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places. Therefore, put on the complete armor of God, so that you will be able to [successfully] resist and stand your ground in the evil day [of danger], and having done everything [that the crisis demands], to stand firm [in your place, fully prepared, immovable, victorious]. So stand firm and hold your ground, having tightened the wide band of truth (personal integrity, moral courage) around your waist and having put on the breastplate of righteousness (an upright heart), and having strapped on your feet the gospel of peace in preparation [to face the enemy with firm-footed stability and the readiness produced by the good news]. Above all, lift up the [protective] shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

With all prayer and petition pray [with specific requests] at all times [on every occasion and in every season] in the Spirit, and with this in view, stay alert with all perseverance and petition [interceding in prayer] for all God’s people. And pray for me, that words may be given to me when I open my mouth, to proclaim boldly the mystery of the good news [of salvation], for which I am an ambassador in chains. And pray that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly and courageously, as I should” – Ephesians 6:10-20 Amplified

I encourage you to take a quick moment to pause, examine your life, and discover where you are standing in this war. What side do you say you’re on?

Friend, if you’re not on Christ’s side, I’ll be frank. You’re on the losing side of this war. You may have happiness for a moment, but it’s fleeting and doesn’t last. But my King, offers joy unspeakable, everlasting life, a hiding place in times of trouble, forgiveness for every mistake, love beyond measure and SO much more!! If you don’t know Him, I’d be happy to tell you how you can!

If you say you’re on Christ’s side of the war, does your life prove it? Or does the enemy have the distinct impression that you’re on his side? Have you become complacent (self – satisfied and unaware of danger) in your relationship with Jesus?

I’ve come to realize that Christianity isn’t a “one and done” thing. It’s a daily (minute by minute even) choice to crucify your flesh with Christ, in order to live an abundant Christ-filled life. I highly recommend reading through F. J. Huegel’s “Bone of His Bone.” It has been genuinely eye opening and extremely convicting!

God, here I am before You
I’m weak and broken down.
Scarred and flawed by all my sin…
King of sinners I’m crowned!
There is nothing good within me.
I’m the worst of humanity!
But God, You’re everything for me!

You are Holy!
You are Almighty!
You gave me life by giving death,
Created man with just one breath!
You are powerful!
You are strong!
The sun, the moon, the stars are Yours
And all creation sings Your song!
You are God!

And You have saved me!
I can’t begin to speak
Of all the things You gave me!
A wretch that was in sin,
You cleansed without, within.
God, please use me now
As before Your throne I bow!
King of kings You are to me!
I want to shine for all humanity
The beauty of Your kingdom,
And the power of Your love!
How You won my freedom,
When You left Your throne above.
You became a lowly human,
Yet You lived a perfect life
So that I could be a new man
And I wouldn’t have to die!!!
Oh God with every breath I breathe
May Jesus flow from all of me!
Let my smile share Your grace
And may my life reveal Your face!
Oh God, I beg You please
Reveal Yourself through me!

Because You’re Holy!
You are Almighty!
You gave me life by giving death.
Created man with a single breath!
God, Your power and Your strength
How I long to sing Your praise!
The sky, the sun, the stars, the moon
All creation sings of You!
You are God!

And I as I end this heartfelt prayer
I sense Your presence everywhere!
I hear You whisper in my ear
Those sweet words I long to hear!
You say, “I AM!!!”

Thankful for the Scars

When I first heard the song “Scars,” I was absolutely blown away! Could there be a more accurate theme song to represent my life?! I may have cried a bit when I first heard it, but I still had a huge smile on my face as I let the words sink in! These lyrics hold a ridiculous amount of weight and meaning in my life! Here are some of the lyrics in case you haven’t heard this song:

“Darkest water and deepest pain
I wouldn’t trade it for anything
‘Cause my brokenness brought me to You
And these wounds are a story You’ll use

So I’m thankful for the scars
‘Cause without them I wouldn’t know Your heart
And I know they’ll always tell of who You are
So forever I am thankful for the scars

I can see, I can see
How you delivered me
In Your hands, in Your feet
I found my victory
I can see, I can see
How You delivered me
In Your hands, in Your feet
I found my victory

I’m thankful for Your scars
‘Cause without them I wouldn’t know Your heart
And with my life, I’ll tell of who You are
So forever I am thankful
I’m thankful for the scars”

Scars – I Am They

When I raise my hands to tell Jesus that I’m thankful for the scars, there are so many meanings behind those words! I have literal scars represented, and some emotional scars as well… These scars will always serve as a reminder of the love and power of Christ! But the most wonderful of all are HIS life-giving, chain-breaking, death-defeating scars!!! 🙌🙌🙌

I don’t tell my story very often, and it is 100% due to fear and pride. I don’t want people to see the messy side of my life. I just want them to see the “put-together” parts of me. But what kind of reality is that to live in? Especially when I (quite literally) wear the scars of my past on my sleeve? And how does staying silent about what Jesus did for me, bring God the glory He deserves? So here’s to the messy broken side of life that Jesus came to make beautiful!

All right y’all, hold on ’cause it’s about to be a loooong ride! 😂 But, since we’re talking about scars here, it’s time I shared my story.

I grew up in a Christian home, and was raised in a Baptist church in Orlando, Florida. I still remember praying when I was 9 years old to accept Jesus into my heart, but I think for me it was just “the thing to do,” and not so much an understanding of my brokenness and need for a Savior. I had lived in the same house, and went to the same church from the time I was born. I even went to a Christian school where that church and the school buildings were literally all connected. All I knew was my small little bubble of family and friends (can you say comfortable?)

When I was fifteen, my parents told me that we were moving to Greenville, SC, and I was absolutely devastated! I didn’t understand how God could possibly have a plan that would mean my family leaving everyone and everything that we knew and loved! After the initial shock and sadness wore off, I was really angry… Angry with my parents for making the decision to move us, but mostly I was angry with God. After we moved here, I attended Hampton Park Christian School for my Junior year of high school, and I made some really good friends. I got involved in my youth group at church, and I was doing a Bible study with some classmates. The anger of being uprooted soon dissipated, but I still felt pretty down all the time. I knew that my relationship with God was seriously lacking. I was trying to force something to be there, that just wasn’t there. My heart wasn’t in it…

A month into my Senior year at Hampton Park, my brother-in-law was killed in a motorcycle accident. This event in my life was a drastic turning point. I had a choice. I could choose to believe that God was good and in control, and that He had a plan through all of it, or I could choose not to believe Him, and to go my own way… I didn’t make the right choice. I turned away from God and ran. I ran full speed in the opposite direction. I just couldn’t understand how a good God could allow something like that to happen.

I was sick of being unhappy and feeling like God wasn’t listening… or there.. or even real. I had never experienced a death of someone close to me. I was terrified, and not at all sure of eternity! Was Heaven real? Was Hell real? Was there anything after this life? If there was, then what did it hold for me?? In the next couple of months after his death, the depression that overwhelmed me became unbearable. Before I knew it, I had turned to some seriously dangerous methods of “coping.” I was struggling with an eating disorder, I started cutting myself, and I was on the verge of suicide. I just wanted to be in control of one area of my life! But I was spiraling, and soon those things that I had grasped on to for control, had completely taken over control of me instead.

So this is where some of the literal scars come into play. I don’t talk about these scars very often, because first of all, how do you approach the beginning of that conversation? “Hey, have you ever wondered about these scars that cover my arm? Want to hear about them??” Okay I’m being a bit facetious… I could find a much more tactful approach. But secondly, and honestly the real reason, is once again that my heart is sinful, and I really have allowed my fear and pride to get in the way. I’m ashamed to say this has kept me from sharing the proof that when I try to do my own thing apart from God, it doesn’t turn out so well…

Less than a year after Troy’s accident, I started to drink. Just a little with my friends here and there, but again that just wasn’t enough to satisfy the gaping hole in my chest. I thought maybe if I fell in love, or at least found someone to love me and who would understand what I was feeling, surely that would make me happy! (FYI, it didn’t. It doesn’t. It won’t.) I started dating a guy that my friends introduced me to at a party. We dated for a little while, and even though practically every area of my life was inundated with sin, I wouldn’t sleep with him. I told my boyfriend that I wanted to save myself for marriage, but if I’m being honest, I think it was just another area where I craved being in control.

Before I knew it, I was partying and drinking a lot… Like all the time. If I wasn’t drunk, I wanted to be. Anything to not have to face reality… I was putting myself in unwise and sometimes even dangerous situations. In one of those situations, I ended up being raped by someone who took avatantage of how much I had been drinking. Well that made the depression about a billion times worse. The cutting got out of control, and at that point I really had no desire to live, so I was being even more careless and reckless than before.

I just wanted to feel something besides the overwhelming pain and depression that was constantly weighing on me, so I started sleeping around. I was convinced that since saving myself wasn’t an option any more, it really didn’t matter. (That was a lie by the way…) I just so desperately wanted to be happy, or at the very least, to find something that would numb the pain. New scars were added right on top of the other scars…

I was still in church, and I was attending Bob Jones University, so I was being bombarded with God’s word constantly, but honestly I think that slowly made it easier to listen to preaching without feeling any guilt at all. I wrote two poems during this time, and they both show how I was hearing everything God was saying to me, but I wasn’t actually listening… I wrote the first one while sitting in Bob Jones chapel, fighting with The Holy Spirit, so that I could hold on to the things that I was absolutely sure would make me happy. And the second one literally shows that I knew the answer to my problems, but that I was just too stubborn to simply let go.

Created From the Dust

I look myself in the mirror

And feel nothing but disgust

I see every flaw and failure

And feel as worthless as the dust

I guess it’s true that God used dust

To create a perfect man

So if He could create Adam

Well then I guess He can

Recreate this fallen dirt bag

Into something beautiful

But first I’d have to give Him

Absolute control

What’s sad is that I can’t seem

To choose His loving care

Instead I am content with

The slime that’s standing there

Staring intently at me

Saying, “You will never change!

You’ll look like dirt forever,

But at least you’ll have your way…”

And the smile in the mirror

Is twisted, sick, and vile

My throat constricts as I’m trying

To swallow back the bile

My flesh hold me in bondage

And I believe her captivating lie

That my sin will make me happy

Until the day I die

But there’s still that lingering desire

To finally be set free

And have a newfound beauty

From the Savior cleansing me…

**Praise God that now I can say I HAVE been set free!**

Is There No Escape?

Is there no escape

A shelter from the pain

Where my memory’s been erased

And I can start with a blank slate

I want to run ahead full speed

Forget my pain, my wants, my needs

On my knees I beg and plead

‘Cause I can’t face my wretched deeds

Like a child in a corner I cower

As my anguished cries grow louder

I’m a dead and wilted flower

In dire need of heaven’s showers

To wash away my filthy stains

And take away my shame, my pain

I know I failed… I take the blame

All I need is Your cleansing rain

Only You can turn my life around

Pick me up off this muddy ground

Break the chains in which I’m bound

If I would run to You, where hope is found

I mean I literally preached myself a little sermon, but I just wasn’t at a place where I was ready to let go and fully surrender.

Because I was being selfish and living my life for me, and because I wanted nothing to do with God, I begged my parents to let me leave Bob Jones to go somewhere else. When we found Anderson University, I was so excited! It was a Christian university, so my parents were satisfied, but the rules were so much more lenient, so of course I was happy too. (Little did I know that God was going to use my new location and my newfound freedom to bring me to Himself.) Hang on y’all, because the best part is coming!!!

Soon I had met a new group of friends that were EXACTLY like me. They had all grown up in Christian homes, and they were all living their lives just like I was. Some of them had been through similar traumas, so we all connected right away. We were being completely irresponsible and crazy! Drinking all the time and experimenting with all kinds of dangerous drugs. (Again, it’s an unbelievable testament to God’s grace that I’m still here, because I almost overdosed on more than one occasion….) I just wanted to feel something… Anything! And sure, it was fun… For a time. But I would have my super high “ups,” and then come crashing down to the lowest of “lows” with that overwhelming feeling of depression and hopelessness. More scars on top of barely healing scar tissue…

I became really close with one of the guys in the group. We were best friends and practically inseparable, and I ended up falling for him. One day, kind of out of nowhere, he told me that he could see himself marrying me. I had never been able to picture the guy who would be standing at the altar waiting for me, but for the first time, I could totally see it! We started dating shortly after that conversation, but the relationship honestly didn’t last very long. I came home one day, and all of his stuff was gone. I totally lost it. I was so sure that he was my last shot at happiness. That was it, that was my future, and it was gone! That was probably the closest I had ever come to committing suicide. I had the pills poured out into one hand, and a glass of water in the other. I was ready… Once again, it was only by the grace of God, that the same friend came back home to talk with me, and he caught me in the middle of popping that handful of pills. He was absolutely livid with me, (and rightly so) but at one point in the midst of the scolding he just said, “That’s it, I’m taking you to church.” 🤷‍♀️

So, he did… He took me to church! 😂 That night we went to church at the Anderson campus of Newspring, and only God could have planned out the way it all transpired!!! Pastor Perry’s sermon was about his story of his battle with depression! One thing he said he finally realized that made all the difference in the world for him, was that he realized it was okay, to not be okay, but it wasn’t okay to stay that way. He said that you could come to Jesus as you are, in your brokenness, and He would accept you, but he wouldn’t let you stay the way you came. That totally shocked me. Wasn’t I too far gone? Wasn’t I too “not okay?” I still had the mindset that I had to clean myself up completely, before I could ever come to Jesus. And I knew that I could never do that on my own… I also thought as a Christian, it was never okay, to not be okay!

At the end of his sermon, in the middle of the invitation as people were responding, he said, “You may be here and you’re overwhelmed. You may have considered taking your own life. Listen, you don’t have to do that.”

Ummm, hello! 👋👋👋 He’s talking to you Kaytie… My friend was nudging me at this point, trying to get me to go talk to someone. I foolishly and stubbornly crossed my arms tighter across my chest, and slid further down in my seat. The pastor continued inviting, and I continued attempting to ignore… Then he said it… He called me out without even knowing it. Pastor Perry said, “I just really feel impressed to say this. I have not said this all day. But right now, there is a young lady either here or at the Columbia campus. You’re dealing with a sexual abuse issue in your life. You’ve never told anyone. You feel dirty. You feel ashamed. You feel used. And I really feel with all my heart, that God wants you to know that He loves you. And you don’t have to live with that guilt anymore.”

**Cue wide eyes and literal jaw drop.**

SAY WHAT?!? I just sat there absolutely and utterly dumbfounded!!! My stone cold facade faltered a bit, and a few tears even escaped. Did God really speak that clearly??? (He does 😉) And could He possibly… really… truly… love ME?? (HE DOES!!!)

Now I wish I could say that I got up right that second, and booked it to the back door to talk with someone, but boy, was I fighting it… I went home and talked with my brother later that night. We talked for hours about God and the Bible, and for the first time in my life, it all made sense. God was real, Jesus was real, my sin was real, all of this was REAL! The Holy Spirit wasn’t letting me go that night! And on February 19, 2012, I prayed and asked God to forgive me for running, and for trying to find happiness apart from Him. I wept over my sin, and thanked Jesus for His sacrifice on the cross. I asked Him to live inside me, and y’all… HE TOOK UP RESIDENCE HERE!!!! 🙌🙌🙌

Now here’s BY FAR the BEST part of the whole story! HIS SCARS!!! The scars on His hands, His feet, His side…. Those scars completely covered mine!!! He took every one of my scars on Himself that day on Calvary! Now when I see the physical scars on my arms, I can look at them and remember what Jesus saved me from! I can remember the darkness that He reached down into with His nail-scarred hands, and how He pulled me into the light! He reached down into death for me, and pulled me into new life with Him!!! Both sets of scars, mine and His, serve as the most beautiful and precious reminder of the heart of Jesus!!!

Thank You Jesus for my scars that remind me of everything You have saved me from! Every chain You broke, every ounce of freedom You won for me! And thank You so much for Your scars that cover my own! Jesus, Your blood has made it so that when God looks at me, He doesn’t see my mess or my scars anymore, He sees YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS!!! Thank You for telling me how much You love me, and thank You for being a GOOD GOOD Father! You are WORTHY of all glory and blessing and honor!!! God, Yours is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever! Amen!!

Change of Heart

God has been doing a serious work in my heart over the past year or so. I have been praying for God to speak, and for Him to open my eyes and ears to see and hear Him directing and speaking in my life. Since I have started praying specifically for God to show Himself to me, I feel like His word has come to life in ways I never imagined it could! I’ve been reading through Exodus, and have seen myself reflected in the journey of the Israelites over and over again. It might as well have been my name written in their place. How easily I forget the incredible God I serve, how powerful He is, all of the miraculous things He has done in my life… I may have never seen plagues of pestilence cast on my enemies, a sea parted so I could walk through on dry land, manna from heaven, water coming from a rock and bitter water turned sweet… But boy, I could tell you all about how He has sheltered me from those who would harm me, the waters He has parted in my life, the way He has provided sustinance for me, and how He is the Life giving water and I will never thirst again!!!

All that being said, it was (ironically enough) “bittersweet” to read the passages of God telling Moses to place the branch in the bitter waters to turn them sweet, and then later telling him to strike the rock to bring water for His thirsty people. It was bitter, only because it reminded me of a poem I wrote as a new Christian who was wrestling over whether God could really be a good God. But even though it was a bit bitter, even more than that it was SO SO sweet because He has completely changed my heart! I can now lift my hands whether in joy or tears and say, “God, You are a GOOD, GOOD Father!!”

I debated whether to share the poem, only because my thinking and attitude when I wrote the poem are so far from where my heart is now. I can see now that while I am confident I was saved at this point, I hadn’t fully surrendered my heart and mind to Christ. Without that full surrender and trust, I couldn’t understand that peace that passes all human understanding. The peace of knowing God is in control, that His ways are ALWAYS good, His thoughts are higher, He is a good Father, and so much more!!! But I decided to share this, because there may be someone out there who is feeling now, the way I was feeling then. And I would love to be the person to tell you how wrong I was!

I’m sure the people who had known Paul before he was Paul, when he was Saul (arresting, and beating and murdering Christians…) those people probably thought there was no way someone could change their beliefs so drastically! But Paul didn’t hide his past. Check out Acts 22… And how many people now know and believe in the Jesus that Paul had persecuted, because of his ministry and the books he wrote? I know my relationship with Jesus has been impacted by Paul’s life, regardless of the fact that he once mocked Jesus for proclaiming He was the long awaited Messiah! So I’m sharing a piece of my past, because God said in Psalm 107:2 – “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from trouble!” Praise God He has redeemed me from the troubled thinking of my past.


I know that He declared me blameless,
Yet still I choose to take blame.
I wallow in my own self pity,
And tarnish God’s good name.
I know He promised to prosper,
My pain to be used for His good.
I know that He’s not sick and twisted.
I “know” all the things that I should!
That He has forgiven and forgotten,
And will never leave me alone.
That He loves me like no one else ever,
A love that brought water from stone…
But “knowing” and “feeling” are different.
And my feelings, they tend to take charge…
So I feel like I’m at fault for all things,
With my past and my present at large.
I feel like this pain is overwhelming
And that no one cares or understands!
I feel angry and say God’s a liar,
Because I cannot see what He plans.
I feel like His humor is twisted,
Ironically, painfully sharp!
I feel all the things that I shouldn’t
I feel guilty I can’t forget certain parts…
I feel like He left me alone here,
That His love has run out, turned to spite.
And like Moses I take blessings for granted,
And instead of a prayer, I strike…
Blessings were sweet but run bitter,
And now fear is the worst of it all!
I would hate to be locked out of heaven,
Because my rod took one extra fall…

I still remember the pain that led me to write this. BUT GOD… He has so completely changed my understanding of who He is, and thank goodness He shows grace and forgiveness when we choose to believe our feelings over the truth. Now when I read of Moses and the Israelites, I see God’s provision, and grace, and love!!!

If you’re feeling the way I was, I can tell you one of the mistakes I made. I ran. I also tried to distract myself with anything and everything. I was a master at distracting myself with TV, social media, exercise, work, my busy life, anything I could do to keep myself from actually reflecting on and facing reality. Here’s what I should have done, and I urge you to do. Run to Jesus! He will greet you with open arms, and hold you while you cry out to Him! Open His word, BE STILL and just listen.

If you ever want to talk, I’m here and would love to talk with you, but I’ll probably tell you the exact same thing. While I would be thrilled to share with you what incredible things God has done in my life, and how unbelievably amazing and loving He is, I can’t fix your heart or your circumstances. But Jesus can, and He so badly longs to! He came to earth to make broken things beautiful!

Romans 12:1-2: – “Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]. (Amplified)

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me! I decided that I’m too long winded for Facebook so I decided to share my story, and my journey here instead. 😉

1 Peter 3: 3-4 “Your adornment must not be merely external—with interweaving and elaborate knotting of the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or [being superficially preoccupied with] dressing in expensive clothes; 4 but let it be [the inner beauty of] the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, [one that is calm and self-controlled, not overanxious, but serene and spiritually mature] which is very precious in the sight of God.