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Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Batter My Heart...

Last week was worship night. A night of singing and praying and worshiping the God of the universe. A night to fellowship and dance and be humbled before our Great King.

It is also a time that I have to serve with my talent, singing or playing the keyboard.

Last week I had the privilege of leading the songs Sweetly Broken, by Jeremy Riddle and 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) by Matt Redman. 

Matthew 21:42, 44 says "Jesus said to them, 'Have you never read in the Scriptures: "The stone the builders rejected has be come the cornerstone; the Lord has done this and it is marvelous in our eyes"?'... Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed." 

When we fall on Jesus, when we totally and completely depend on Him and trust in Him, we are broken for him, broken so that He can put us together in a more beautiful way! We drink in his suffering because in order to follow Jesus we have to take up our crosses, sharing in the suffering of Christ, knowing that we are safe because we are in the hands of the One who knows what ultimate suffering is like. 
Then in turn, we bless His Name for all that He has done in our lives! Even through the suffering and pain, He is still good. We have a reason to sing, because He has made all things new. 

A good friend of mine wrote on her blog;
"Your heart will be broken in the process of being yourself - or just trying to figure out who you are... Remember that it is okay to feel hurt. Being heartbroken? It isn't a sin. In fact, the Lord is very passionate about binding up those wounds." ~Peculiar Treasures: lies & truths when it comes to beauty
Psalm 51:17 (paraphrased) says 'God doesn't despise a broken, but humble heart.' 

He doesn't despise you, beloved. He loves you and wants to help you. Will you let him?

I love this sonnet my John Donne. It rings with truth and goes beautifully with the song Sweetly Broken.
Holy sonnet XIV

Batter my heart, three-person'd God; for, you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn and make me new.
I, like an usurp'd town, t'another due,
Labour to admit you, but oh, to no end,
Reason your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv'd and proves weak or untrue. 
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy:
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

Break me, bend me Holy God. Heal me. Refine me. Beautify me. Chase me. Capture me. Free me. 
For your Glory.

Let me sing your truth.

Friday, 24 January 2014


The darkness was tangible, it swirled around, in, throughout. There was no way to move, no where to go. It was directionless, purposeless, but it thrived.
A flash of light, the darkness recoils. It's a match, burning brightly. Another flash and the darkness hisses in hate. A candle flickers, lit by the match. Then another flash, and another. The darkness broils in anger, now where there was one candle, there are five. The match keeps moving to light more and more candles. Suddenly a light is dimmed. The darkness wind whispers over a flickering flame and the flame dims until now it's just a spark, a smoldering wick. The darkness chuckles as it whispers over another flame, dimming it.

Why do our flames dim I wonder?

Today, this generation of Christians are living in a challenging world. A world that says "look like the rest, get into the flow, don't stand out. Because then people will wonder about you, think you're weird, think you're stupid."

And it effects the Christian life as well as the worldly one's life.

When I was in America a year and a half ago, I felt the need to 'fit in' again after living in Uganda for three years. What are people wearing these days? What should I wear? How should I act? Those types of questions. The thought behind these was "I won't be accepted if I don't fit in. I will be judged in the minds of those people who see me. I will be stared at, I will stand out." And honestly, I didn't want to stand out. I get enough of that in Uganda. I'm constantly struggling with the fact that I have lighter skin than the others. I get stared at if I venture outside the New Hope grounds. I'm pursued in the wrong way for the wrong reasons by people (lots of the time guys outside New Hope) because I'm different. I'm American. I don't belong, do I?

So that's the topmost reason I wanted to fit in. So that I would be able to relax. Not worry about what people think anymore.

Let me tell you, it didn't work that way. When I see pictures of what the girls these days are wearing, I cringe, but underneath it all I think it must be ok if it's accepted by culture (it's not, I know, but that nagging lie is always there). I desire to fit in. When I was in America, I knew that I would stand out if I wore longer shorts, or wore shirts that had a higher neckline, or were longer on the waist. I knew I would stand out if I didn't wear makeup, didn't paint my face so the colors were all you could see.

I knew I would stand up if I didn't cover up my true self. And therein lies the challenge.

Why are the lights being dimmed?

Because we don't want to reveal who we really are.

But if we are Christian, it shouldn't matter if people see us or not, right? We know we are justified. Haters gotta hate, that should be our slogan. Oh but it's so so hard.

I think people all have different reasons that they don't want to show their real selves. I think I have finally dug out the underlying reason for my hesitancy.

My name, Kara, is Swedish for 'dear one'. Or cherished one. I believe Satan attacks us at the very root of who we are. So if my identity is treasured one, the lie the Devil is going to throw at me is "you are not cherished. No one loves you really. Who would ever treasure you? See all these people? They only like you when you're pleasant to be around, or when you're brave and strong and beautiful. But when the ugly, weak side of you comes out, who is really going to want you after all?"
I know this is such a clique thing, where many many many people if not everybody struggles with this. But I think it really is something that cuts to my very core. That means that every rejection, every cold hug or ignorance, every time where I think someone is disappointed in me, every time it seems I'm not good enough at something, every let down and mistake, hits that deep chord.

That's why I cover up and try to fit in. Because of that fear. That's why, I believe, I tend to put my light under a basket. Because I am afraid of people, afraid of being hurt. I'm afraid to shine, because I'm afraid of not being accepted.

But you know what? God CALLS us to be different! He asks us to be a city on the hill, the salt of the earth... and by the way, as far as I know salt and sugar are two very different things. We haven't been called to sweeten the earth and frost it and make everything seem great and desirable, we have been called to sharpen the tastes of things, make the bitter seem even more bitter and the sweeter things sweeter. I sometimes still have a hard time believing all of this, even though I KNOW it's true.
I know I'm supposed to shine, it's who I'm meant to be. But I don't truly believe I can be accepted.
I know I'm supposed to stand out and fight. But I don't believe that God can protect me from those flaming arrows.
Jesus, I need faith! Help my unbelief! How small is my faith!

He's calling you to stand out, to fight for your light, to nurture it and protect it, to feed it and let it shine brightly, cutting back that darkness and trusting God that He's going to provide for you, provide that strength, that trust, that belief.

Go ahead, it's going to be ok. Just let it


Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Always the Little Things

As I reflect back on this weekend- it really is the little things that count.

We always hear the saying "stop and smell the roses". It's actually really full of wisdom. When we go through life, we're so often pre-occupied by the big things, the important things. The things that demand our attention. We're battered by the world, pressured into having to have media- like Facebook, Twitter, HDTV, iPhones, iPods, Pinterest (yes that would be me), even bloggers! In fact, we're so battered that we don't realize why we're so exhausted. We don't realize why we're so run down... Well, it's simple. We're run down, exhausted, tired, emotionally battered, because we've been running and pushing ourselves further and further, not pausing to walk only pausing to sleep for a few hours. The worst thing is, most of us are even running injured!

Things go past so quickly we only have time to think, 'oh, that's nice.' Then all of a sudden we're moving on to the next thing. Then the next thing, and the next... and the next... until we look up and realize we've missed something. Maybe we've missed ourselves?

Let me tell you something. That has been my life.

I've taken moments to stop and look and listen, but I'm far from it being a constant thing. Far from being constant communication with the one who has created me.

I was reminded on Sunday just how much God looks after me, especially when my expectations of humans is not met.

You know, for us girls, we have the natural instinct to need to be watched over and taken care of. So when all my guy friends ran off back home and left me to carry three basketballs with a bike all by myself, I'm naturally going to feel a bit sad.

What happens next just proves that God does exactly that- He watches over me and takes care of me.

Four little blessings came running up to me. Four smiling brown-eyed kids not even taller than my waist bounded over and wanted to help with all I was carrying. Soon we were moving down the road, three small bundles of energy carrying the balls, and a serious determined older brother (still small :) pushed the bike.
I marveled at how quick God is to move sometimes. He saw me sad, questioning to myself if I was even worth helping, and he sends these four little kids to completely unburden me from what I was carrying! I'm shaking my head even now because God's timing is so perfect. His love so sweet. His eyes are constantly watching me, and I was and am so grateful to be swinging my arms, unburdened, down that road and the road of life. Because Jesus' yoke is lighter than mine.

12. Little Blessings

13. Being always able to look up

Monday, 28 October 2013

The Most Human of All

So sorry I haven't posted in a long time. A really. Really. Long. Time.
So much stuff has been going on and it's hard to find time to even think of something to write about. This time though, if I can get all my confusing thoughts down on 'paper', I think you'll find this interesting.

Has anyone ever thought about how Jesus can be both God and man? How He can be fully human, yet God's own Son?
I think that those are hard questions with confusing, unclear, mysterious answers. But maybe there's a way that we can view Jesus' humanity in a light that we can understand.

Inside a cave somewhere deep in a Middle Eastern desert, a man bent over a stack of papers, examining each one carefully. These were blueprints, different blueprints written on several pieces of paper, patters that the man would need in order to build what was required on him. Through the security camera, terrorists watched his movements closely. They wanted a bomb, a super bomb. And this man, Tony Stark, was going to build it for them.
But they couldn't see what he was seeing, they couldn't see the whole picture.
Tony Stark was outwitting them, and they didn't know it. He had drawn out the blueprints carefully and cleverly, in order that, when they were all pressed together, a larger blueprint came together and suddenly the whole picture of what Tony was creating was revealed. It wasn't the bomb the terrorists were expecting, it was his escape plan.

I think this is a good illustration about how it is with us and God. Our tiny minds can't press together all of God's personalities and characteristics to see all of Him in all His Glory, because we're looking through a "mirror", as the Bible puts it. We can't see what the spiritual beings see, because we're looking through a 'security camera'. Or we can only lift one page at a time and peer at it, we can only see the 'blueprint' we receive in that moment of need, either that or that's the way God chooses to show Himself to us.
As Jennie Dangers said to us once, "It's almost like God puts a spotlight on the characteristic we most need at that present moment. When we need a father, he is our Father. When we need a husband He's our Husband (guys, sorry if that sounds strange, if it's easier to think about, the church is Jesus' bride, even though individually we are all part of the church), we need a brother He's our Brother. When we need a doctor, He's our Healer."
Sometimes maybe God is portrayed as many things at once- we're beaten up spiritually, emotionally, and maybe physically. God shows Himself (not becomes, because He already is) our Comforter, Healer, Avenger... (sure, think of Thor if you need to, but at least thousands of times powerful ;)

When Jesus became human, He couldn't see God with his physical eyes either. His eyes had become human eyes, just as ours had. His body became a human body, he felt pain, he cried, he probably squashed his finger a number of times with a hammer, because he was most likely a carpenter during his early life. He probably sprained his ankle, fell out of a tree... He had enemies, he knew how it felt to have someone hate you, he knew what it was to have someone you love turn against you, ignore you, reject you. And through all this he was more human than we are. He is the most human of humanity.

Why do I say this?

Well, think. God created the first humans, they were the way humans were supposed  to be. Then sin came and twisted our humanity into something evil.
So when Jesus came, he was perfect. He had no sin. He was the perfect human. Something we should all strive to be, yet accept that we will never be the perfect human. Because there is only one Son of God.

I guess what I'm getting at is we shouldn't ever claim that God can't understand our pain. Actually, I think He understands it better than most of us! Because Jesus went through almost everything we've gone through. Besides the fact that God sees everything about us anyway.
But don't push Him away, because it's the fact that He was human, He understands, He offers us grace we could never even hope to deserve.

But that's the whole point, isn't it?


Grace and thankfulness.


Saturday, 27 April 2013


     Early morning breeze brushes past my face, a giant storm cloud hovers on the southern horizon, mirroring bright red sunrise as short bursts of light illuminate the cloud itself, creating a double light effect. Breathing deep, offering thanks, I feel alive.
     The evening sunset begins, birds flit and flutter about catching their dinner. Clouds shift and suddenly I'm faced with the dim rising moon face, so vivid. 
     Cows drift along familiar treaded paths slowly, crunching mouthfuls of green grass, the pleasant oder of cow wafts across the slight evening breeze and I smile. 
     Clouds have covered the glowing moon again, the sun has set with brilliant colors of yellow and red.
     Crickets chirp, various bugs drone their harmony of praises to the Living One, while the warbler's song rises to touch the moon that peeks shyly out from behind a storm cloud's shadowy arm. The birds shout out their last notes of the day and begin to disappear into their homes, and the herdsman's whistle guides the lowing cows and bleating sheep on the path towards home. 
     Grass only quivers in the twilight stillness, lightning catches my eye betraying that rain is on it's way.
     The last light begins to fade and I listen to one more song about His love. The generator putters to a start, rumbling, drowning out some soft songs of creation. It's dark now, time to slip back into life after pausing. Empty hands receiving, eyes watching, ears open, hearts waiting. 
      It's morning again, the blue and purple clouds highlighted with pink color create a pastel picture, the mark of the Professional. Behind the darker colors, the sky glows yellow and orange, all creation seems to be watching the sunrise-waiting for the final climax in which their lungs will burst in thanks when the bright white light will shoot over the horizon where everything is so vivid. So sharp.

So beautiful.

     Yellow flowers turn their face to the sky, waiting. The grass dances slightly, joyously. Birds light on the acacia bushes, fly in formation, sing all the while. 

     The yellow behind the clouds has become so intense the sun must just be hesitating behind the drifting, now grey, clouds, waiting for it's opportunity- waiting for it's signal from the Holy One. 

     But African trees and bushes block the view of the sun's first peek of the day, and I'm left waiting for the rays to shine through the clouds that veil the sun's radiant light. And I'm reminded-

"... His face like lightning, His eyes like flaming torches, His arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze..." Daniel 10:5b

Jesus literally GLOWS 

HE is the LIGHT of the WORLD
In HIM is no darkness at ALL

     I go about my day, and I forget. Forget to thank Him for the sun, that makes it nearly 90 degrees every day. Thank Him for the sunburns I get, they remind me I'm alive, I'm fragile. I forget to thank Him that my eyes are open, they can see the beautiful light He has provided. Thank you Jesus! Thank you for You!
9. Colors

10. Sunrises and Sunsets

11. Coughs and Colds

And only by His Grace am I alive. 

"Death is swallowed up in victory. Oh death, where is your victory? Oh death, where is your sting? ... But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 
1 Corinthians 15:54b-55, 57

To God be the Glory


Saturday, 13 April 2013

Brothers. Enough Said.

I love my life.

Don't get me wrong- I'm not being sarcastic...

Ok, well sort of.

There are times where it gets really very tiring to live with (almost) three teenage boys in the house. Yes, I'm the only girl besides my mom.

So I think by the time I leave for college, I will have been fully trained for the, can I say, atrocities? of living with men who like to tease me unmercifully.
Where's a twin sister when you need one?

Actually I have plenty of sisters. Just no permanent ones that are constantly around the house to help me fend off the boys.
Patience is a virtue, right? I guess I'm not always very virtuous then...
Oh but I'm thankful. These having these guys in the house has let me see what it's like to have a big brother or two or three- even though it's not always pleasant at times (you people with big brothers should know what I mean). It's made me realize even more what brotherly/sisterly love is, without having to fight all the time.
I think most importantly having these other brothers in the house has brought me, in a way, closer to my  little biological brother, Micah. We don't fight as much these days, though it might be                   mostly because now we have someone else to fight with... But still. I don't feel as alienated from him, or feel like I'm the enemy so much any more. Maybe he's just growing up, or God's changing both of us, or I'm no longer the only one to pick a fight with-

 Or all of the above.

If anybody has any older brothers or younger ones, then they know what family war is all about. Well ok, may be war, but it's all fun and games (except when someone gets hurt ;) Like when someone puts ice down your back, or jumps out of a doorway to scare you. I've learned the art of tripping someone as they walk by (not so that they fall, that's just downright mean), practiced (kind) verbal retaliation (My dad's dad knows how good I am at that), and I've learned to serve.

But it requires patience. Yeah, a lot of patience.
Especially when one of the guys refuses, at times, to use his indoor voice in order to be 'funny', which, sometimes it is. Other times it can get extreme. Haha, I really wish I could post a video or two of some hysterical moments in this house hold. Often I've laughed so hard at my family that I've cried.

Even though we have our fun moments though, we aren't perfect. Sometimes the going is tough when we fight- or don't fight as it is sometimes. But every one of those times is all God given, every one of these people are God given- every laugh and frustration, every joy and hardship. God's GRACE is sufficient to bring us through each of these times- and we give thanks for

6. Brothers:

7. Our family! Biological and extended

And even through all this, I have learned to build relationships more and more with my other sisters and mentors outside of my family. I'll need them, when my house is full of boys and I begin to loose my patience. Thank you Jesus, for allowing me this great pleasure of living in Africa, thank you for this blessing. 
8. Uganda


The foundation of 


The precedent of



Friday, 5 April 2013

What is Eucharisteo?

This is my first post- the first of many I hope.
I'm not very consistent in my blogs, emails, or even Facebook- but I'll try to be better for this.

Maybe your first question as you begin reading this post or even come upon this blog, is this; why is the blog called Little Thoughts and Eucharisteo? 
I wanted to begin something that people could see and be inspired. I wanted something that has been impacting my life to

impact someone else's... I want to share something with the world, a part of my life.
This thing- eucharisteo- should be a part of all of our lives, impacting and changing them. Eucharisteo is connected with these two important words-  the Greek word Charis, meaning grace - and Chara- joy. Isn't it interesting though, how those closely connected to eucharisteo- meaning thanksgiving?
I first heard about this word about two weeks ago. I had gotten together one morning with my awesome mentor (who is much more than that-) Hannah, and another awesome friend Catriona, for a mini Bible-study thing. It's the One Thousand Gifts mini series Bible Study by Ann Voskamp. The first thing that Ann began talking about on the video was that thing Eucharisteo. Well ok, yeah, thanksgiving is part of our lives. What’s so special about eucharisteo?

Basically, what I’ve learned so far through that Bible study (and we’ve only done two sessions) is that thanksgiving is absolutely vital to our walk with God, our faith, our prayer life, and our happiness. Soooo, what’s the big deal exactly?

Gosh, I wouldn’t be able to spend enough time elaborating on all of those things. Thanksgiving- how can I say enough? 
Our walk with God- An analogy: Jeanne and Robert were twins, brother and sister in in a small family. It was getting toward Christmas time, and both children always looked forward to the holidays, Jeanne for the celebrations and Robert for the gifts. One Christmas morning, both jumped out of their bed and raced down the stairs to the living room where the small tree sat. Parents watched lovingly as the children began ripping open presents, then watched in great interest as the differences between the two children came distinctly clear. Jeanne would open her presents, marvel at them, then turn her eyes to her parents and almost shouted ‘thank you’ each time as joy lit up her face. It warmed her parents’ hearts to know they were blessing their child and providing joy for her through the gifts. Robert, however, practically plowed through his presents, barely taking time to pause and look at the beautiful things before moving on to the next. His parents became discouraged by the way he was treating his fragile gifts, and they wondered if it really was worthwhile to buy him things if he didn’t take time to appreciate them. 
I wonder if God feels the way these parents did when we barely take time to give thanks for even the small gifts of life before moving on. I mean, sure He keeps giving us gifts, but really- does He enjoy it if we aren't giving thanks? 
But when we do, I think we draw so much closer to God. When we are able to give thanks for the little things in life, when we appreciate what God has given us, we draw so much closer to His heart. Our eyes are opened and we realize again just how much He loves us, and once we realize that His Joy is going to fill our hearts! Thanksgiving is like a trip wire, or like the first domino in a line of dominos. 

Thanksgiving is an eye opener, which leads to realization of His Love, which then pushes over into Joy, which spills out of our hearts blessing others, which in turn leads them to Christ and the list goes on and on... The circle goes around....
Maybe the equation could look something like this;
Thanksgiving > Eye Opener > Realization of Love > Joy > More Blessings > More Thankfulness

So, as an answer to the first question, why is this blog called little thoughts and eucharisteo, it's because I constantly want to be giving thanks. I want to write down my little thoughts, at the same time as I'm thanking God for the simple, complex, beautiful ugly life around me. Throughout these blogs, you'll be seeing different lists of gratitude, as well as different thoughts on different things, and small glimpses into my life. 
On the list, I'm going to start with number one and work my way through one thousand. I'm keeping it in a journal, but I think it will be fun to be blogging them too.  

Here are the first:

1. Full moon at twilight

2. The family cat, Meggie

3. Quiet morning devotions with God

I want a whole new worlds opened to me- the spiritual, and the physical. Because in both we receive our gifts. In both we are thankful to the Most High.

I guess before I finish this post I better say something about myself.

My name is Kara. I, believe it or not, live in Africa. I guess you could call me an MK, missionary kid, though it's more like missionary teen now. I've lived in Uganda for almost three years now, and even in the painful, ugly, tough times, I'm grateful for every moment. Every pang of regret, every scratch of rejection from loved ones, every beautiful sunrise and every thunderstorm (yes, even the ones that create lakes in our bedrooms), all the fresh new mornings I'm grateful for. 

I hope you get to know me more through these posts, some of my struggles, all of my joys. And I pray not only will you begin to know me more, but know Jesus even better through these. 

4. Silly pictures with Siblings

5. Blogging simple truths

"Rejoice! Again I say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, with prayer and petition,  with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the PEACE of God, which transcends understanding, will  guard your hearts and your minds IN CHRIST JESUS."
Phillipians  4:4-7

Grace, the foundation of Eucharisteo, the precedent of Joy

In Christ,