an honest prayer from in the storm

When the waves rise about me during a particularly fierce storm, I often look down to make sure my feet aren’t going to slip, instead of trying to ensure my head stays above water.
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In those moments, I need to be more concerned about breathing than where I am headed.
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🌿Breathe out my worry, breathe in Your Presence.
🌿Breathe out my need, breathe in Your Provision.
🌿Breathe out my fear, breathe in Your Love.
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Breath of Heaven, would You hold me together and pour over me Your patience as I wait out this storm? Release Your living giving breath within me, that I would let go of all striving and begin to thrive in the place You have for me to grow in and minister from as I walk in Your Kingdom here on earth?
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No matter the storm, I will keep my eyes fixed on You, Water Creator, Wave Tamer and Way Maker.
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Call me to step out to where You will meet me, into the new freedom waiting beyond, on the other side of this storm.

#honestprayer #sharingHope #hopefortheharddays

Delayed post this week

Hey friend!

Just popping in to let you know that I am away this week doing something for myself which I have longed to do for a while.

Learning more about Emotional Health.

In part for myself, in part to impart to others.

I am taking the course “School of Emotional Health” through Bethel Transformation Center over the next three days.

As I am adding this in on top of my work and home week, I will not be blogging here this week.

But I can give you a sneak peek that I was blown away during the second session and can’t wait to share what else He has in store for me as I intentionally seek Him even more this week.

#schoolofemotionalhealth #betheltransformationcenter #hopefortheharddays

HYGGE

HYGGE (“heu-gah”)

The art of building sanctuary and community, of inviting closeness and paying attention to what makes us feel open hearted and alive. To create well-being, connection and warmth. A feeling of belonging to the moment and to each other. Celebrating the everyday.”

definition from http://hygge.co/definition-of-hygge/

I come from a Danish background, and one of my favorite memories of my grandparents was sitting at their table, enjoying a meal or a game of cards together.

  • Unhurried, unrushed.
  • Simple food, simply served with love.
  • All welcome.
  • Fully present, enjoying the moment.
  • Quiet without worrying when no one felt like talking, laughter without holding back.

These are some of the most precious moments in my life, and I am so grateful to my grandparents for teaching me this concept through the day to day sharing of their lives.

When I met Jesus, I had been caught up in the rat race of working full time, and was burned out to the point of exhaustion.

With a breath of fresh air, Holy Spirit entered, bringing an increased desire for hygge.

For Hygge is really the invitation to come to our Father, sit beside Jesus and be filled with Holy Spirit.

We are welcome to draw near at any time, as Jesus constantly reminds us to come. To the table where we can feast as ones who belong. Into the loving arms of our Father, which are always outstretched and ready to embrace us.

We are invited by the way of the cross right into the sanctuary of heaven to discover hygge has always been ours! We can live with renewed love, passion, energy and purpose when we allow Holy Spirit to guide and fill us.

HYGGE. 

  • When we discover we belong.
  • Where we can simply come and be ourselves. 
  • Be His. 
  • Be loved.
  • In His Presence.

#sharingHope #hopefortheharddays

BROKEN VESSELS

As I have been struggling with my health over the last few months, I am able to say that I have a new sense of dependence upon God as I press in with faith despite what I can not see.

His Word reminds me that He has plans even to use my lowest of moments, and that restoration has always been part of His plans for you & I, friend.

God reminded me earlier today that He doesn’t require us to be perfect to be of use, just available as we are. He is now than capable of filling broken vessels, and giving us purpose along the journey towards our own restoration!

The key? His power & anointing, and our obedience to follow where He leads. You and I can still be works in progress, yet useable in the Kingdom.

Draw comfort and strength from these words come to life in Jesus, if you too are in need of fresh hope or purpose again today.

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.”

Isaiah 61:1-3, Luke 4:14-30

#sharingHope #hopefortheharddays

SUNDAY IS COMING

Saturday was a quiet day, without much going on. Which I needed after the emotional ride of Friday.
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Sunday arrived, and I headed to church a bit more rested, and a bit apprehensive as not only had I not been in the building for three months, but it had been reno’d, and this was the first time I would be in a group gathering. So saying I was a wee bit anxious would be accurate.
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I walked into the building and immediately has a sense of peace wash over me. Everyone was so happy to see one another, the sense of welcome permeated the space. Music practice went okay, and then the service started. And as He tends to do when we invite Him to join us, God showed up.
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Right in the song Tremble when we began proclaiming, ‘Jesus, You make the darkness tremble. Jesus, You silence fear.’ A sense of Presence washed over me, arriving with the knowledge that I will come through this season and emerge all the better for it with His help.
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Victory is coming, yet with me here in the battle. For Jesus is my Victory, battling before me, behind me, beside me, all around me as I rest in Him!

Friend, you don’t have to battle your way through the hard seasons all on your own.
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Let Him help. Let Him guide you through. Let Him make the way clear, one step at a time. Let Him hold you.
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And as He leads, let others in to support you.
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He’s got you, friend, and so whatever you are facing, you got this with His help!

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Hebrews 4:16
#sharingHope #hopefortheharddays

WHEN FRIDAY HITS

Looking back, these past three days were jam packed with pockets of wonder. Which is miraculous considering the past three months have contained some of the most stressful days I have had in decades.

I have shared before that I have had low energy, initially thought to be just very low Vitamin D & osteoarthritis flares. It became apparent on Friday that my stress level had surpassed my normal threshold to cope with on my own.

My usual support structure wasn’t enough given the weight of my current anxious feelings, which are not normally characteristic of me. I had one other bout of this type of blues 19 years ago, with a great doctor supporting me over the 3 months it took to come through it.

So I took a deep breath, made an appointment with my doctor, and met with her late Friday afternoon. She heard me out, asked a few questions, and stepped to support me in the same way my retired doctor had.

Both these doctors said a few things that you too might need to hear right now, friend.

You might be maxed out with the load you are carrying, as it might be a lot heavier than you are used to.

Covid-19 & money matters, work loss & stress, change in you & family routines, physical pain & relational stressors might have combined in your life to weigh heavily on your mind & heart too.

You are not alone.

Not only is Jesus waiting to help you carry whatever matters to you, he will guide you to the best way to “offload” what you no longer need to carry/ His gentle whispers of direction have helped me make wiser choices for my emotional, mental, physical and spiritual health. You are not weak to ask for help with your load, for we were never designed to carry things alone.

There is no shame or condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.

Getting medical help is part of my success plan, and I refuse to take any flack for doing so.

If you too are feeling blue?

Tell somebody.

Get help.

You matter too much not to!

#sharingHope #hopefortheharddays

PS. I am currently only blogging here once a week on Mondays for the rest of the summer, but this post was too much all at once. So stay tuned for the rest of this post tomorrow!

FATHER ME

Years ago, I was attending a worship conference and heard Brian Doerksen share his testimony about being a father to one of his sons who has a rare condition where he cannot speak. He recalled crying out to God to give him insight as to what his son might be feeling, out of his desire to connect with his son. Out of that season he wrote the song, “Father, I Want You To Hold Me.”

Now Covid-19 may not seem to relate to that story, but when it impacted me with the loss of my work, the loss of finances, the loss of freedom to step outside? All my heart could cry out was Father, I want You to hold me!

Often when a crisis hits, we are acutely aware of our need for Jesus and the freedom He brings, and Holy Spirit with the wisdom He gives, but we often initially forget we have a Father who is not only intimately aware of us, but longing to walk with us through any trial we may be facing.

This Father’s day, may we take comfort from these 10 truths about how our Father loves us, and ask Him to make them daily come alive to us as we draw close to Him. Just as we all know good fathers who care for their children, so much more so does God long to father us, to carry us when we feel we cannot go one more step from weariness or grief. He is waiting patiently and intently, just as the father waited for his son to return home, to restore us to our true inheritance as His children!

10 Truths About How God the Father Loves Us

  1. “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Samuel 7:8, 7:14; 2 Corinthians 6:18)
  2. ”…and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.” (Deuteronomy 1:31)
  3. “I will be glad and rejoice in Your love, for You saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. You have not given me into the hands of the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place.” (Psalm 32:7-8)
  4. “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling.” (Psalm 68:5)
  5. “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.” (Psalm 103:13)
  6. “I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.” (Proverbs 4:11-12)
  7. “So {the prodigal} got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20)
  8. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
  9. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)
  10. “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1 a)

May He meet you right where you are at, friend, and may you deeply know you are loved by your Father.

TIMES OF REFRESHING

This past week was spent doing lots of refreshing.

Not only did I get a bit of a refreshing (thanks to my hair dresser!)… but also….

✍️Refreshing my focus for writing.

📱Refreshing my focus on work.

🖥️Refreshing the focus of my website.

Like many of you, I have had some extra time on my hands, which would usually have been filled with travel back forth to work, or physical meetings (like small groups, worship team rehearsals…)

As a result, I started spending some of that time reflecting on the life I had before Covid-19 hit, and the life I now have the opportunity to reshape as a result.

I made some changes in how I work and how I write, both of which causing me to make some changes to my website.

So welcome to my refreshed website. Please take a peek at the new crisp and clean look, the new page layouts, and a few new features.

(Not only did I have to refresh my website, but I also had to refresh some of my techy skills to do so!)

My ‘brand’ (also known as my logo) has been refreshed to coincide with these changes, and better reflects who I am as a person, a daughter of the King, a gal who loves to share Hope as well as offer a helping hand. And if coffee is involved, even better!

My new logo/brand

I hope you will take a few minutes to visit me here at karlalees.com, and let me know how you like the site now. As more of us are on our cellphones or tablets than ever before, you will find my site now fits your device perfectly!

May you too spend some time refreshing your life with His help, friend, and discover some maybe unexpected but amazing things about yourself as you do!

FAILURES

“Let God have your failures. Surrender to Him your most dreadful moments of captivity, your most humiliating defeats. God and God alone can use them to make you twice the warrior you ever dreamed you’d be.”

Beth Moore

I don’t often wallow in my failures, but over this past week I was feeling particularly low and didn’t capture my thoughts as quickly as I usually do.

Then ‘bam!’ The enemy got in a good sucker punch before I knew to close that open door once and for all.

Now feeling even lower than before, I was embarrassed as I approached Him with this new yet old assault to heal me once again, after I spent some time sulking, “licking” my wounds and wondering if I was of any use as His child.

“Let this matter be settled once and for all. Know that nothing and no one, including you, can sabotage your salvation.”

Beth Moore

What I discovered when I drew close to Him again was a fresh outpouring of love…  with no “I knew this would happen,” or “I warned you” in sight.  Just a tight embrace, an invigorating burst of energy, and words of encouragement to patch up my wounds, calm my distress, and heal my hurting heart.

Friend, drawing close to God is not about what we actually bring…although He loves it when we bring Him praise, show our thanks and let Him know how we are doing or what’s on our mind.  It’s actually about what He imparts to us when we come. Holy Spirit activates within us to heighten our senses in His presence, Jesus covers our flaws, failures and wrongs with His blood, while Abba Father wraps His arms of comfort about us as together, God restores and confirms who I am again.

I am His.

  • Apple of His eye
  • Beloved
  • Chosen
  • Daughter of the Most High
  • Exceptionally handcrafted
  • Forever forgiven
  • God’s delight

What words of restoration and purpose is He speaking to you right now, friend?  Take it from one who learns things the hard way most of the time when it comes to identity. How He sees you matter most, always!

#hopefortheharddays

SHOULDERS

🎶SHOULDERS🎵 For King and Country⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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“I look up to the mountains. Does my strength come from the mountains? No, my strength comes from God who made heaven, and earth, and the mountains. When confusion’s my companion and despair holds me for ransom, I will feel no fear – I know that You are near. When I’m caught deep in the valley with chaos for my company, I’ll find my comfort here ’cause I know that You are near.⠀⠀⠀
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My help comes from You. You’re right here, pulling me through. You carry my weakness, my sickness, my brokenness all on Your shoulders, Your shoulders. My help comes from You. You are my rest, my rescue. I don’t have to see to believe that You’re lifting me up on Your shoulders, Your shoulders.⠀⠀⠀
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You mend what once was shattered and You turn my tears to laughter. Your forgiveness is my fortress, oh Your mercy is relentless.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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My help comes from You. You’re right here, pulling me through. You carry my weakness, my sickness, my brokenness all on Your shoulders, Your shoulders. My help comes from You. You are my rest, my rescue. I don’t have to see to believe that You’re lifting me up on Your shoulders, Your shoulders.⠀⠀⠀
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My help is from You – don’t have to see it to believe it. My help is from You- don’t have to see it, ’cause I know, ’cause I know it’s true!”⠀⠀

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfiYWaeAcRw⠀⠀⠀
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#worshipHymn #hopefortheharddays