Posts Categorized: devotional

Under The Influence of Resurrection

Accused.
I stand amazed,
Your amp
Electrified my soul and
Testified boldly to the audience
That you are indeed the crucified All-Mighty.

Drunk? No.
Under the influence of
Your resurrection I
Cannot help but belt out
My gratefulness. Holy Holy
Is the Lord Almighty.

Saved,
You became my passionate rift of joy,
a bridge that opens eyes to possibility
in the monotony
of daily trials. You are my
chorus to echo experience,
of resurrected life.

(Inspired by Pentecost Acts 1)

When God Hits the Pause Button in Our Faith

“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience” (Hebrews 4:9-12).

God stopped me in my tracks a few months ago. Absence may or may not cause the heart to grow fonder with you readers of Turning the Page on Suicide, but God will do what he sets out to do, with or without my help. I’d rather be a part of his plan, which became clearer, once I stopped banging my head against the wall I thought was writer’s block. God put a flaming sword in my path (see Balaam’s Donkey for more information), I found peace in the silencing of my very busy keys. God has been my muse this whole journey, but somewhere along the journey, I slipped into doing rather than being a witness to you.

In this time of stepping back, God is giving me rest, reminding me of where my help comes from and opening my eyes to new possibilities. “Dream bigger,” he tells me. Just even saying those words gives me delightful goosebumps. The Holy Spirit and I are in constant conversations and he is teaching me to rest in him.

The pause button isn’t the end, but a chance for the refreshment of our spirit, a course correction, or getting new marching orders so that we can fulfill God’s purpose For me it has been a little of all the above. I sat with God, meditating on scripture and studying his character in Ezekiel. He is showing me his justice on a deeper level. He has given me a childlike faith as I play in nature with my camera. And I grow closer to my husband and children through fuller presence and prayer.

Adventures have included speaking to a women’s retreat two weeks ago and a writer/speaker conference this past weekend. God is pouring into me and preparing me for some demanding things that will take a discipline of spirit I lack. These past few months (again, once I stopped beating my writing into submission) is such a sweet and refreshing time. I feel established and rooted in love.

God will always correct, train, and prepare those who stay within His will. Have you hit a perceived wall? Sit there, not in a pout, but in submission. God, what do you want to teach me? Who should I connect with? Run through your spiritual checklist:

  • Am I in the word?
  • Who am I allowing to speak life into me?
  • Do I listen to the Spirit’s counsel?
  • Am I witnessing for the gain of my audience or my own affirmation?

The last is crucial as a writer and follower of Jesus Christ. Knowing that God is well pleased in me matters far more than any other voice in my life. Where do you garner praise? Lean into God’s love for you and if he is hitting the pause button, realize he is preparing you for exceedingly great things.

Love,

Karisa

When the Betrayer Approaches Will I Accept God’s Will?

“‘Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith will not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers’” (Luke 22:31=32).

All of us have a betrayer. A person who knows our inner workings and wounds us deeply. Jesus understands our wound of betrayal intimately.

He was surrounded by betrayers.

Pharisees held the prophecies of His coming in their hands but denied Jesus was the Son of God. Crowds of followers who witnessed miracle after miracle, raised their fists in hatred when it appeared Jesus lost favor. And his friends? There wasn’t a single disciple left in the garden to stand with Jesus as he was arrested.

I too am a betrayer of Jesus.

I knew as a little girl that he was real, walked the earth, was God in flesh, but I rejected Him because He did not meet my expectations. How could a good God allow me to be abused? How could a good God withhold solid friendships? How could a God who cared allow so much evil in the world?

Yet, knowing every last one of those who followed Jesus would betray him, Jesus chose them. Knowing his mother and brothers would laugh at him and reject the gospel he still chose to be born into a family. Jesus knew I would reject him, and yet he still called me, loved me, and never stopped being present in my life.

When I am lax in dying to self, which I have been over the past few months, I am tempted to turn away from God. Two weeks ago God placed a question squarely in my soul. My insomnia and pain were unbearable and I was tempted to throw in the towel on God. He asked, Will you betray me?

I confessed my bitterness, stopped playing the victim of humanity, and submitted to His will. In one desperate cry, my oppressive insomnia was shattered, my attitude was lighter, my whole household noted the transformation. Joy and peace entered our home.

Any person who supports us in ministry is susceptible to the same sinful nature that Peter, James, John and the rest of the disciples displayed. We are human, we are tempted to go our own way, fall asleep when others need us to keep watch and hurt each other with false beliefs. Are you prepared for your betrayer?

PREPARED, not paranoid. Looking for people to hurt us requires distance, fear, and overthinking every action of another person. Preparing for letdowns in relationships requires love, sacrifice, keeping no record of wrongs fasting, praying, surrendering to God’s will, and discernment. This dying to self is nothing short of physical death. Jesus almost died before the cross. He really needed the support of his friends.

There was no one willing to walk into the garden, stay awake, and die on a cross with him. In my 44 years of living, I have observed pastors, deacons, lay leaders and children all fall away from following Christ. There is not a single one of us that is not vulnerable to this temptation given the right environment. Cheat or lose your job. Commit adultery or stay in a loveless marriage. Harden my heart after losing my son, or stand firm, knowing Christ will use my sorrow to save others. We all have betrayal moments.

God made a way for us to turn like Simon, confess our betrayal and love each other as he loved us first. Stronger, more resilient because we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the forgiveness, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Thank you, Lord!

Summer Psalmist

I stretch out on a blanket, book in hand, bare
feet crisscrossed in meditation while soaking in
summer’s choir. Scripture’s sweet serenade rustles
remembrance of Creator and creation, beneath whispering
willows.

The sopranos and altos chirp from
tree and grass harmonizing as they
exert; while crooning frogs flirt with baritone
bellows, calling for their girl.

Summer’s song invites me into the steady
rhythm of tire swings and popsicle stained, childhood
giggles. Book abandoned, I dangle over river’s edge,
pumping legs in eager anticipation of touching
clouds and releasing cares as I plop into the
cool refreshment of your love.

The Dented Fender: Tenacious Love

“Awe, Mom and Dad are kissing again!” my daughter announced to her brother as she caught us in the kitchen. “Aren’t they cute?” She sounded truly delighted. When they were little, their big brother taught them to say, “Ooh, gross,” anytime they saw us kissing. My husband and I began requiring at least three positive remarks from them before their comments turned to disgust, and very quickly the delight in their parents’ affection became a habit. We don’t hear disgust any longer, and we’re trying to teach some important lessons to them, besides.

We weren’t always so cute.  (Read More at the Dented Fender Blog)

Redeem Today, Lord

“When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Psalm 118:5-6 NIV)

Last year I took July 7th, the day my son was buried, back. I entrusted God to bring life out of my son’s death from day one, but the 7th was one day of the year I was undone each year. My body, mind, and spirit melted into the sorrow.

I didn’t take the 7th back without forethought. I planned and prepared well in advance; surrounding myself with support, and purpose. Scripture became my rock and looking for God to do good things with the day became my focus. I didn’t try to anticipate Gods goodness, leaving the details of the day to Him, but I trusted and took joy in receiving His good gifts.

God Redeems the Hardest Days

What day does God want to reclaim in your life? Look at the debilitating moments you replay trauma and forget God brings life out of your impossibilities. Prepare to take back what the enemy stole.

God fights for us, and will not let the enemy have final say over us.

Lord, you make each day new. I acknowledge I’m tangled up in fear. Help me to give the gift of your love on the hardest days I have ever experienced. There is nothing in this life that is impossible for you. Amen

Provision At My Window

Jesus said to his disciples: â€œTherefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? –Luke 12:22-26 NIV

Dear Page Turners,

A little goldfinch visited today. I am quite sure she tapped on my window a year ago, her strange behavior still the same. She was more interested in what happens inside our home than anything outside. She sat, looking directly at me, tilting her head. Then she landed on the sill for closer inspection. Neither the barking dog nor the kids frighten her away.

My little friend is a love note from God. Love notes are moments when God does something that wows me. I’ve received many of them throughout the years, but this was extra special because it reached through the haze I walk through these days and stirred my heart. My problems are deep and multi-layered, but God’s is faithful.

She sat there looking at me and declaring with every little twitch of her head. “He loves you, he values you, and he is providing for you.” She spent about an hour with me her last visit, but I easily dismissed the visit as a passing “interesting” moment until she returned today.

How quickly I forgot He loves me when the mess of the year’s problems seemed insurmountable. The little finch’s appearance as I walked into the office caught my attention. God reminded me to hope. He knew I struggled in my exhaustion to look at his many provisions for my family, so he made his promise clear through my little feathered illustration.

Are you soured by circumstances? Cynical about the knowledge that God is good because all you see and feel is bad? Do you frantically scramble to fix whatever is wrong in your life? Come to the window with me. Look at a little bird whose only thought today was to serve her master in a big way.

May I be a little bird for you. Tapping on your heart to remind God sees and values you, and he is very much in the midst of your loneliness, your despair, and your prayers.

Love Always,

Karisa

Teaching My Spirit to Dance

Suicide doesn’t water down faith with
flowery prose about God.
I take my doubts to the mat and wrestle
with who He is.

Depression is the resistance between
my will and Yours, God.
Sacrifice, daily dripping sweat,
as I work out belief on the gym floor of reality.
Muscles cry out through the strain of discipline.

But still, You coach me beyond what
I think I can accomplish. “Just one more breath!”
Shaping and toning my soul into Your image.
Turning heads with a foxy endurance
that is not of this world!

Sowing Seeds

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. -Ephesians 4:29

“Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.” (Ruth 1:20 NIV)

Planting words of love and kindness takes constant weeding, daily awareness of what is coming out of our mouths, and commitment to developing a vocabulary of blessing rather than cursing.

Words and actions someone like Naomi struggling with despair needs to hear and experience:

  • Weep for what has been lost and experienced with them
  • Walk with them even if their despair does not immediately change
  • Speak the truth in love
  • Live your own life to the fullest
  • Serve
  • Bless
  • Be determined

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her. (Ruth 1:16-18 NIV)

Turning the Page on Suicide Podcast—Taking Deeper Breaths

Turning the Page on Suicide-Taking Deeper Breaths https://www.chirpapp.com/audiopost/egx5zrnKvM

Welcome to Turning the Page on Suicide. I apologize for the long absence. This evening I received a gentle reminder to post, even if I manage just a word or two.

In the first days of grieving my son’s suicide I posted every day, without fail. It may have been a few sentences, a poem or a thought, but there was something about the daily discipline of posting while experiencing despair. It was like taking a clean breath in the middle of thick stale air.

Tonight, it took swim lessons to remind me to breathe again. I am learning the different strokes in swimming because I am tired of panicking. As someone who almost drowned as a ten-year-old, I value air, but I have never learned how to relax when desperate. My instructor worked with me on not letting a bad breath ruin the next one.  Recovery takes practice, consistency and retraining muscles to value the oxygen given. Relaxing into each moment stretches out and strengthens the power in each breath. I stop fighting and start trusting the water.

Sorrow sneaks up on us and chokes our air with business, troubles, and even well-intentioned service. Maintain your breath. I know no other way but to spend time with Jesus, study his word, spend time in creation, connect with others and apply what I am learning. Writing and now swimming teaches me to breathe deeply, even if all I get in a day are a few deep cleansing breaths.

Challenge: What helps you to breathe? Drawing, hiking, sewing, reading. Pick an activity or explore something new and focus on taking deeper breaths of the experience. What do your senses tell you in the moment? Is it easier to connect with others when you breathe life more slowly and intentionally?

Your story is worth writing! I breathe, turn the page and find out what happens next.

Free Gift

Embrace hope in dark places.

Get three free printables of hope and encouragement when you sign up for my monthly newsletter.

.
Suicide & Prevention Hotline

National Suicide Hotline

If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call the National Suicide Lifeline at 988 or go to the website at https://988lifeline.org/