An [unpublished] book about eyes

I ran across this story I wrote many years ago, right before the birth of my eldest child…Back when I thought that quitting my job as the Children’s Director at Quest meant I would have time to write children’s books while being a stay at home mom.  Funny how things change.  This lesson is still very important to my heart. I wrote it, intending to use it to teach my children about recognizing the beauty in people that are different than them.  You can read the story behind the story here. On this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I share this as a way to lend my voice to the fight against racism in this country. I lend my voice in the fight for every child’s right to be heard, to be lifted up, to be educated, to be acknowledged and appreciated for who they are, and to be all who God has made them to be.

All Our Eyes– I would change the title.  Still exploring options.  Beautiful Eyes, Eyes, My Favorite part of all, Your Eyes…[feel free to leave an opinion in the comments section]

Look in a mirror. What do you see?
A nose. A mouth. Two ears.
And my favorite part of all-  your eyes.

Every person is different.
No nose is the same. No mouth is the same. No ears are the same.
And nobody but you has your eyes.

Your eyes are beautiful.
Just the way God made them- especially for you.
Look around you. What kind of eyes do you see?
Some people have bright blue eyes. Some people have deep brown eyes.
Some are green.Some are gray.

Some are big and round, others are not.

Almond shaped eyes. Wide eyes. Narrow eyes.
Old eyes. Young eyes. Happy eyes. Sad eyes.
So many different eyes!

If you see someone with different eyes than you,
What do you say?

Wow!
Your eyes are beautiful. Just the way God made them- especially for you.

Every person is different.
No nose is the same. No mouth is the same. No ears are the same.

And nobody but you has your eyes.

So. Anyone want to illustrate for me?

the still small voice

Sunday January 20, 2013

In 1 Kings 18, Elijah is witness to God’s mighty power in the form of fire on the alter at Mt. Carmel.  It  was a terrifying and dramatic show of God’s authority over false gods and false prophets.  Yet in chapter 19 God reveals himself to Elijah in a very different way:

11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

In response to this lesson we practiced listening for God’s still small voice in kids church this weekend, while meditating to Matt Redman’s song, Fearfully and Wonderfully Made. 

One young boy’s honest response to the activity: “I didn’t hear anything because I forgot to listen”.

I applauded him for truth-telling and reassured him that I forget to listen for God’s voice too.

When we asked the kids how many of them really want to hear God’s voice in their lives, almost all of them raised their hands…it’s the awkwardness of practicing that can hang us up, right?  How often do we pray, God please speak to me! only to be met with silence?  And we can be so easily discouraged, when we don’t hear a booming voice, or a still small whisper.  So we resort to the understanding that God *mostly* speaks to us through other people, through His holy scripture, or even through creation.  While I do not deny this is true, I want to contend that the art of hearing God’s still small voice  is one we cannot give up easily on.

Our capacity to hear from God is great.  Our ability to hear God’s voice is only as great as our belief that He will speak.

So we will continue to practice listening.  We will continue to believe He speaks.  And we will celebrate with every child who recognizes His voice in their lives.

Dear Haiti

Dear Haiti,

I do not know you well.  I don’t know much of your story.  I’ve never had the chance to visit you and see your beautiful home.  I hear it’s wonderful.  I hear your story is one of heartbreak and struggle to persevere and unity with your family.  I hate that this tragedy has struck you.  I hate that I sit on a soft couch in a warm building, drinking coffee, knowing that as helpful as my money may be, nothing I send you can take away your pain.  I want to take you home with me.  I want to clothe you and feed you, and sing songs to you like I do my own children.  Haiti, I am sorry that the world has ignored your needs for so long.  As awful as this sounds, maybe the beauty from the ashes is that this time, your needs won’t go unnoticed.  Maybe this is the season for the world to step up and face their fear of failure, give away their need for power and control, sacrifice more than seems possible, and open their arms to strangers without calculating the costs first.  Maybe this is the season that the heart will lead and it will not be a hardened heart, but a broken heart, a remorseful heart.  A reconciling heart.

Haiti you have a very amazing creator.  He thinks your special.  He has given you both your inner beauty and outer beauty.  He has given you inner strength, when your outer strength crumbles.  If you don’t know him, you should meet him.  He’ll walk with you through this storm closer than anyone else.

Haiti.  I am sorry.  I wish I could do more.  Someday I will come meet you and I hope we will be good friends.

Love, Katey

Reflections on Psalm 63

1 O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.

I can’t help but be drawn to the passion and emotion of this psalm.  My own heart echoes the words of David, yet it many ways, I’m not sure I can relate.  I have never experienced the physical desperation of being thirsty.  To the extent that someone would walk miles for  a gallon of water is unfathomable to me…how then can I grasp that desperate of a need for Jesus?  I’ve never been in extreme pain, never known persecution.  My life has not been easy, but over all it has been comfortable.  I want to thirst and long and seek my God like David writes about here…and I know no mountain top encounter or valley of death is necessary for this intense longing for God, but I think in my comfortable life, it’s easy to feel joy and thankfulness to my Heavenly Father, but not as much desperate need for His presence in my life.

2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.

3 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.

4 I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.

5 My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

6 On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.

7 Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.

I am not ashamed to say I am an emotional believer.  Those who can worship God, study the word, pray and praise God and be void of expressing emotion (as they might when they are in love, or angry, listening to a great piece of music, or in a lively conversation)- I don’t understand them.   I think David and I would get along great.  We whine, complain, cry out in frustration, and make lots of mistakes, but from the inside out, our true desire is to know God and be known by Him.  It isn’t uncommon for me to shed a tear when feeling God’s presence, to feel the need to raise my hands and move my feet when singing a song to him.  But like David I too have enemies.  My enemies probably look more like laziness, being too quick to criticize, not showing enough affection/affirmation to the people I love most, and lack of discipline in certain areas of my life.

8 My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.

9 They who seek my life will be destroyed;
they will go down to the depths of the earth.

And when I feel my enemies (my sin) overtaking me, it’s comforting to know who is there holding my hand.  I look forward to the day my sins will be destroyed forever, given over to the sword.  I’m a little like the Israelites and tend to forget from season to season how God has taken care of me- which makes me that much more grateful for Jesus life and resurrection to bring me back to a place of remembrance.  A place of reflection.

10 They will be given over to the sword
and become food for jackals.

11 But the king will rejoice in God;
all who swear by God’s name will praise him,
while the mouths of liars will be silenced.