On the Air: A Radio Interview About Ask Me Anything, Lord

He asked me which question was the hardest to write about….

I sat across from the morning show host of the radio station WXGM (99.1 FM) and was chatting about my new book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Lives to God’s Questions.

It’s a book about how I, the queen of all question-askers, learned to stop talking so much and started letting God ask me questions.

God asked other people questions throughout Scripture.DSCF2165

To Adam and Eve, He asked, “Where are you?”

To Elijah, He asked, “What are you doing here?”

To Peter, He asked, “Do you love me?”

Our God is a relation-builder, a reconciler.  Right from the beginning, Adam and Eve made a mess of things, disobeyed Him, and hid in the garden.  How could they be so foolish, thinking a few fig leaves could hide their whereabouts from an omniscient, all-powerful God who had made them just days before?

But God didn’t lecture, chastise, yell, or rain down fire on them.

Instead, He sought them out with a simple stroll in the garden and this asking:  Where are you?

He didn’t ask because He didn’t know.  He didn’t ask for His own benefit.

He asked to show two wayward children who trembled in fear and hid in shame among the foliage that He loved them.  He still desperately wanted relationship with them, and He would go to great lengths and make the ultimate sacrifice in order to draw all of us back to Him.

These questions of God’s are all through the Bible, and when we let Him ask them of us they root out fear, help us overcome shame and insecurity, and promise God’s presence and faithful provision in whatever circumstance we face.

So I sat across from the radio host last week, a copy of my book about God’s questions sitting on the desk in front of him.  That’s when he asked me, “Which one was the hardest to write about?”

I knew right away what to answer.

It was God’s question to Cain: “Where is your brother?”

When I wrote the book, I had so many questions in Scripture to choose from.  God is such a question-asker.  He fills Scripture with His patient pursuit of His people.  So, I had to leave some out.  I couldn’t cover them all, not in one book anyway.

I didn’t want to write about Cain.  What could we have in common, after all?  The first murderer and a middle class minivan mom like me?

It seemed like an easy topic to skip over, too irrelevant to my life to pay it any mind.ask-me-anything-lord_kd

Yet, even though I wanted to skip God’s question to Cain, I couldn’t.  I knew God wanted me to write about it, and once I started typing on that blank word processor all about it, I couldn’t stop.

Community, after all, can be messy.  Relationships are prone to failure.  They trip us up with their pits and obstacles and shaky ground.  We shove into each other’s space, stepping on toes, bruising egos, making assumptions and getting it wrong.

That’s what Cain’s story is about, really, about how his discontentment, jealousy and unforgiveness grew to disastrous levels until he exploded in rage and destroyed another person….and himself.

Over time, I realized just how much God needed to ask me the same question that he asked this first murderer in history.

Heather, where’s your brother?  Where’s your sister?

It turns out that Cain and I have far more in common than I realized…surely far more than I wanted to admit.

Jealousy….anger….comparing the ministry of someone else to my own meager-looking offerings….defensiveness….whining….broken relationships….needing to forgive others….needing to be forgiven.

That was Cain.

It’s me sometimes, too.

Maybe you’ve been there also.  Maybe you’ve been Cain.

Or, perhaps you’ve even been Abel, subject to the cruel lashing out of someone who’s been hurt or overlooked.

I don’t know who needed the reminder that day while I chatted on the radio or even who needs to know this today, but God created us for community with Him and community with others.  When that’s broken, it rips apart our testimony, it distracts us from ministry purposes, and it taints our offering with bitterness.

So, God asks us this question:  Where is your brother?  Where is your sister?

And He reminds us that He loved people…messy, sinful, broken people…enough to die for them.

Enough to die for me.

Enough to die for you.

If He loved us that much, surely we should love others, too, even when it’s hard and requires repentance or forgiveness, admitting we’re wrong or trampling our own pride.

In the end, the hardest of God’s questions to write about became one of the questions that taught me the most.

To read more about the questions God asks, click here for information about Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Lives to God’s Questions.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!
To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

Out and About: A Radio Interview and Book Signings

It’s been an exciting season here for me with a new baby and a new book!  Many thanks to you all for your prayers and encouragement!

Yesterday, I shared a little bit about the book on our local radio station’s morning show!  I’m sure I’ll write more about it later, but for now I just wanted to say thanks to the many who were praying for me and sent me messages afterward saying that you were listening in!

For locals, I’ll be signing books at two locations in the next two weeks.  Please consider stopping in and seeing me (even if you already purchased a book!).ask-me-anything-lord_kd
I’d love to have the company and opportunity to chat or pray with you!  If you are interested in buying a book that day, I’ll have them for sale (cash or check only please) and will sign them right there for you!

On Saturday, November 30th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., I’ll be at the Heaven & Earth Christian Bookstore in Hayes, Virginia (in the YRC Shopping Center).  I’ll be giving away a tea-and-chocolate gift basket and a $20 gift card to Heaven & Earth to two lucky winners.  To enter, you simply need to stop by and put your name and number in that hat!  While you’re there, you can get in some Christmas shopping!!  They have amazing Christian books, music, gifts, cards, and ornaments!  I might be doing some shopping of my own that day.

On Saturday, December 14th from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., I’ll be at The Wild Rabbit Cafe on Main Street in Gloucester, VA.  Stop by for some coffee, hot chocolate or tea and visit with me!!  I’ll have a tea-and-chocolate gift basket and a gift card to The Wild Rabbit to give away to two lucky winners!

Ask Me More….Do You Believe This?

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God” John 14:1

For some reason when I clean, I clean fast.  No slow and methodical wiping of the rag or scrubbing of the dish for me.

So, yesterday I snatched up the trash bag with an upwards yank, dropped it on the floor, tied it up in record time and dashed out the front door, hopped down the front steps, tossed open the trash can lid, plopped the trash bag in, released the lid so it crashed down and kept on walking in one nearly unbroken stride.

Unbroken, that is, until I stepped down on what I thought was solid ground, but was really a sink hole courtesy of our friendly front yard mole.  My ankle twisted in an unexpected direction.  I felt the wince of pain as I almost hit the ground.

Now, fortunately, it was just a momentary shock of pain.  In a few seconds I was limping down the driveway for the mail.  A minute later I was back to the sport of Extreme Cleaning with no long-term damages.

But life in its way is no less unexpected and sometimes no less shockingly painful.

It can be as simple as the surprise pitfalls in a single day.  Like the fact that my house was passably clean when we awoke this morning.  Then my three daughters painted beautiful artwork, and each other, and the chairs, the table, the carpet, their clothes.  After an unplanned mid-morning bath, all of the paint flecked off their bodies onto the bathtub.

Surprise!  Suddenly my day became a whole-house scrub-down and laundry marathon.

It can be as paralyzing as a life-changing twist.  The phone call with bad news.  The hack to your budget.  The visit to the doctor.  The sputter of a car.  The removing of a wedding ring.

Somehow in the middle of this topsy-turvy, always uncertain, shake-up of a world, the Psalmist wrote:

“My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music” (Psalm 57:7, NIV). 

Reading the preceding verses makes it clear, David wasn’t treading on a comfortable path when he penned this Psalm.  He wrote these particular words “when he had fled from Saul into the cave.”john14-1

So, how then, could his heart be steadfast?  How could he be “firmly fixed in place, immovable, not subject to change, firm in belief” while running for his life from the powerful king of an enemy? (Merriam-Webster).

And what about us?

Those minor unexpected annoyances in my morning left me cranky and quick-to-snap.

Major upsets to my plans and life cost me a night of sleep.

Steadfast?  Not me.  Not hardly.

The trouble is that the steadiness of my belief seems utterly dependent on the ease of the path I trod.

It’s not dependent enough on Him, My God, My Firm Foundation, My Solid Rock.

Martha sank deep into an unexpected pit when Jesus didn’t heal her brother, Lazarus.  Instead, she left the place of mourning over his death in order to confront Jesus about it privately.  “’Lord,’ Martha said to Jesus, ‘if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’” (John 11:21).

Jesus knew just what to ask her:  “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (Luke 11:25-26).

Did she believe this?  Did she believe that Jesus was more than a nice friend and successful religious teacher?  Did she believe in Him was resurrection and life?

Could she put aside her emotions and declare that no matter how she felt, she could trust God?

Martha regained her footing on this shaky ground by stating her belief: “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world” (John 11:27).

Yesterday, I felt the familiar suffocation of fear at some unexpected news.

Today, I experienced the all-too-familiar bad attitude over some twists in my day.

And Jesus asks me, “What do you believe?”

He asks the same of you.

You may be tempted to spout off the Nicene Creed or fall back safely on the answers of a good Christian girl.

Really, though.  Truly.  Honestly.

What do you believe?

Shaky ground and a loss of footing are always signs of belief problems.

It means:

we’ve been putting our faith in ourselves, in others, in our circumstances.
we’re relying on our own plans.
we’re depending on our own strength.
we’ve bought into lies somewhere along the way.

As you catch your breath after a fall, steady yourself by reaffirming the truth.

I believe God loves me, always, unconditionally, fully.
I believe that God’s grace covers over all my sins.
I believe that I will never go through any circumstance alone; God will never leave me nor forsake me.
I believe that He can do anything, even more than I could ever imagine.
I believe that even when I see tragedy, God is working on my behalf and for my good.
I believe that God will be glorified in every situation.
I believe God will provide for my every need.

This is what we know is true, no matter what we may feel.  Therefore, we can trust God.

Originally published as Twisted Ankle, Twisted Truth on 11/7/2011

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

Ask Me More: When Anger is Justified But Not ‘Right’

One of the hardest parts of writing a book isn’t always choosing what to put in; it’s choosing what to leave out.

So, when I wrote Ask Me Anything, Lord, I had to choose which questions God asked in Scripture that I would include in the book and which ones I couldn’t.

That was tough.  In the end, I trusted God to lead me and even had to cut out some of my very favorite questions in favor of others I felt He wanted me to cover.

But now, I’d like to share some of the other questions with you in a series on the blog: Ask Me More.

And, if these questions intrigue you, please check out my book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Lives to God’s Questions for a deeper study on how we can let God search our hearts with the very questions He asked others in the Bible.

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She’s angry, that’s obvious.

Anger transforms my blond beauty into a furious mess.  Her face burns red hot and tears sting her eyes and cheeks.  Her long hair escapes hair clips and ponytail holders and frizzes out all wild and untamed.  She stomps around as if her feet alone weigh 50 pounds each and her whole body closes in—her fists clenched, her arms crossed, her chin buried into her chest.

It’s her sense of justice that typically sends her into a fit.

This is right.

That’s wrong.

And I’m going to fight to prove it.

She gets that from her dad.  It’s one of the reasons I fell in love with him.

And, normally it’s the beauty in her, too: this absolute willingness to defend justice and truth no matter what it takes or costs.  One day maybe she’ll advocate for orphans and for the oppressed and she’ll be a mighty force on their behalf.

But sometimes, she doesn’t see the whole picture.  She is, after all, only eight years old, and when you’re eight, you don’t know as much as you think you know.

That’s why she assumes a fighting stance when her four-year-old sister munches on an ice cream sandwich.  How come she gets a treat?  That’s not fair!  I talk my crusader down off the ledge and remind her that she hadn’t even asked.  Why get angry when my answer would be yes?

And why rage over whether or not I punish her younger sister often enough?  It must be that she doesn’t trust me as a mom to discipline well, to show grace when needed, and to teach my children what is right.

I understand.  Don’t I sometimes rage myself over my own causes?

Don’t you?

Lord, why are you blessing them and I’m struggling?  I’m the one trying to be obedient and live the righteous life and they aren’t following you at all.  That’s just not fair!

Lord, did you see what they did to me?  Did you see how cruel and unfair, how they slandered and lied and spread the muck to others? Can’t you strike them with lightning or something?

Anger isn’t wrong in itself. We can fight with that same righteous indignation of Jesus cleansing the temple grounds of con men and scam artists.

But sometimes what we claim is righteous indignation really is not trusting God to see truth, to defend us, to care for us, to show mercy when mercy is needed and justice in its time.

That was the prophet Jonah, sitting on the outskirts of Nineveh in a foul mood all because God showed mercy to an entire nation when they repented following Jonah’s hellfire and brimstone proclamation.

This change of plans greatly upset Jonah, and he became very angry. So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen’ (Jonah 4:1-3).

He raged about God’s character, spitting out the words that should be worship as angry accusations instead:  I knew it.  You’re merciful, compassionate, slowly angered, abounding in love.

God could have defended Himself.  He could have given Jonah his wish and killed the frustrated prophet on the spot.jonah4

Instead, he used a question to dig out the mess of unforgiveness in Jonah’s heart and reveal God’s own character of compassion for the lost.

God asked:

 “Is it right for you to be angry about this?”  Jonah 4:4

It did seem right and just.  Nineveh was the enemy of God’s people!  They had destroyed Jonah’s friends and family! Surely they deserved revenge, not grace!

But God didn’t let the prophet linger there in hatred.  He caused a plant to grow overnight to shade Jonah’s hot head (in more ways than one!).  Then, when Jonah rejoiced over that plant, feeling somehow that he deserved God’s favor and blessing, God sent a worm to chomp that plant right down to nothing.

Jonah raged again.

And again God asked the question:

“Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?”
“Yes,” Jonah retorted, “even angry enough to die!”  (Jonah 4:9)

God pressed in, challenging how Jonah cared more for a plant than for a nation of 120,000 lost people.  He shifted Jonah’s perspective and He urged Jonah to trust Him.

That’s what’s at stake for us, as well.

When we’re angry, can we still trust?

When anger seems justified, can we still lay our right to rage down at God’s feet and leave it all in His hands?

And as we do, we worship: You are merciful, compassionate, slow-to-anger, full of unfailing love.

Yes, Amen, Lord.  Your will be done even in this.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is now available!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

Ask Me Anything: Giveaway Winner and “You want me to do what?”

It’s time to announce the Giveaway Winners!

Thanks to all those who participated.  I absolutely loved hearing the book titles you’d choose to tell your own story and am reminded of how much we can learn from one another.

I used a random number generator to select the comment number of the winners and they are: Mary Reese and Betsy Marmon!

Congratulations!  I’ll contact you privately about getting these signed copies of Ask Me Anything, Lord to you.

If you didn’t win, you can still get a copy of the book here:

Visit me at Discovery House Publishers to read a sample chapter and order online!

Follow these links to find the book at Amazon,  Barnes and Noble and also at Christianbook.com.

Or click here to order an autographed copy via PayPal.

The book will also be available on e-readers (like nook and Kindle) and in some local Christian book stores in November 2013.

And now, for the final excerpt from Ask Me Anything, Lord.  Enjoy!

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You want me to do what, God?

You want me to parent these children? You want me to stay in this marriage? You want me to lead this ministry? You want me to start this program?

When God calls us, it isn’t about us at all; it’s all about Him. We’re the ones looking at our qualifications and feeling mismatched for the job He’s assigning us, whatever that calling looks like in your life.

Moses reacted that way at the burning bush all because he focused on himself. He asked God:

“Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’” (Exodus 3:11 NIV).

It was his way of saying he wasn’t qualified for that.  “It’s all about me and ME isn’t good enough.”

God, on the other hand, focused not on Moses, but on Himself.  He said:

“I will be with you . . . I AM WHO I AM.  This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ . . . ” (Exodus 3:12-15 NIV).

There are moments and days when I fell like Moses, when I begin to wonder how I could possibly minister to others when I’m working so hard at basics like keeping calm with misbehaving children and not stressing about my calendar.ask-me-anything-lord_kd

When I feel so empty, how can I pour out to others?

It’s one thing to serve and encourage when we’re overflowing; God’s goodness just sploshes over the tops of our lives and refreshes all who cross our paths. But, what about when our cup seems dry? What happens when a thirsty neighbor lifts up needy hands in our direction and we ladle out empty air?

In some ways, that’s where Moses was. He felt enthusiastic to the point of foolishness about leading the Israelites decades before when he was still in Egypt. Unfortunately, he was oozing confidence and overflowing with a vision of leading a slave revolt that depended on his own strength. He believed then that if it all depended on him, well then he was enough.

Then he murdered an Egyptian in his enthusiasm. His own people rejected him. Pharaoh sought to punish him. That’s what happened when he served in his own strength.

At the burning bush, however, Moses clearly recognized that if this deliverance thing depended on him, well then he simply didn’t cut it.

And that’s what we say sometimes when we tell God that we can’t possibly do what He wants us to do.

In My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers wrote:

“Jesus was saying, ‘Do not worry about being of use to others; simply believe on Me.’ In other words, pay attention to the Source, and out of you will flow ‘the rivers of living water’” (John 7:38 NIV).

Similarly, the Psalmist wrote, “Then those who sing as well as those who play the flutes shall say, All my springs of joy are in You‘” (Psalm 87:7, NASB).

God is the Source, the Spring from which comes all our joy.

He’s not an immovable Fountain either, located at only one place or accessible at only certain times of the dayHe is our Portion and Provision every moment of every day

When we find ourselves carrying our cups back to Him like Oliver Twist in the orphanage, asking shamefacedly, “Please, Sir, can I have some more?” we’re forgetting that we serve a generous God, who longs to pour out His grace on us. He isn’t stingy and doesn’t want us thirsty or starving.

The more times a day we lift our cups to Him, the more times He will fill them. If that means we’re having a quiet time every five minutes all day long, then that’s what it takes that day to fill up at the Fountain of God.

I know that when I’m running back to the well every few minutes, it’s because I’m a needy and leaky person, with holes punched all in my heart from stress and busyness.

Yet, it’s also because I’m pouring out to others and God is willing, even joyful, to replace what I’ve spilled over into the cups of my husband, my children, my friends, my Bible Study girls, my church members, the Wal-Mart cashier and the girl who cuts my hair.isaiah41

The frequency of our visits to the Well doesn’t reveal our weakness or failure. It reveals our dependency on Him and how much we pour out to others. 

So when we peer into an empty cup and think we’re too dry to walk this Christian life, too empty to share with another, then we’re forgetting that It’s All About Him.

That’s the mistake Moses made. He assumed the ministry depended on himself. Truthfully, though, none of the ministry we perform in our homes or outside of them is contingent on our ability, brains, beauty, education, character or godliness (thank goodness!).

It’s really all about Him, and He promises: “For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you” (Isaiah 41:13 NIV).

Taken from Ask Me Anything, Lord,© 2013 by Heather King. Used by permission of Discovery House Publishers, Grand Rapids, Michigan. 49501. All rights reserved. www.dhp.org.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is now available!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

Ask Me Anything: A Giveaway, Book Orders and a Lesson on Feeling Insignificant

I was cradling my newborn son when my husband brought the package in from the porch and opened it next to me.

Inside was my early author’s copy of my book: Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Lives to God’s Questions.  It was the first time I held it in my hands, the first time I’d seen the actual book with my own eyes instead of just a picture file sent to me by the publisher.

There I sat holding two physical reminders of God’s blessing and grace in my hands: a precious baby boy and a brand new book.

So, today I’m celebrating with a giveaway!!! Because joy like that you just can’t keep all to yourself!

I’ll be giving away two autographed copies of the book to two different winners.

Here’s how to enter:

You earn one entry into the giveaway for each of these things, but in order for your entry to count, you need to comment to THIS POST letting me know how you entered.

Entry Opportunity #1: Leave me a reply to this question at the bottom of today’s post: (Yes, it needs to be here and not on Facebook please!)

If you wrote a book about your life or what God has been teaching you, what would it’s title be?

Entry Opportunity #2: Share this post on Facebook and leave a comment below saying, “I shared on Facebook.”

Entry Opportunity #3: Share this post on Twitter and leave a comment below saying, “I tweeted this post.”

Each entry needs to be a separate comment please!  The individual comments are your separate entries.

I can’t wait to hear from you!

Entries can be posted any time between now and midnight on October 31st.  I’ll announce the winners using a random number generator on next Friday’s post (11/1).  I can only ship within the United States, so please keep that in mind when entering.

Have you already ordered your copy of the book?  That’s okay!  Maybe you could win a copy to share with a friend, a women’s ministry leader, a family member or to give as a Christmas gift!

If you don’t win the giveaway or one copy just isn’t enough, here’s what you need to know:

Visit me at Discovery House Publishers to read a sample chapter and order online!

Follow these links to find the book at Amazon,  Barnes and Noble and also at Christianbook.com.

You can click here to visit my Amazon Author Page.

Or click here to order an autographed copy via PayPal.

The book will also be available on e-readers (like nook and Kindle) and in some local Christian book stores in November 2013.

And now, on to the promised weekly excerpt from my book.  I hope you enjoy!!!

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Jacob wrestled with the Angel of the Lord all night and when the first signs of day started breaking through the darkness, “the man asked him, ‘What is your name?’” (Genesis 32:27-28, NIV).

It’s such a deceptively simple question. We know our names. It’s one of the first words we learn to respond to, one of the first words we learn to write with our tiny hands gripped around a pencil and guided by our moms and dads. ask-me-anything-lord_kd

Our name.

Who we are wrapped up in a few letters and typed up on our birth certificate and Social Security card.

Sometimes, though, it’s not so easy to remember what our name is.

A few weeks ago, I was sound asleep and slowly awakened into consciousness by a sound traveling across the house, into my room, and all the way into my two ears so comfortably laid on my pillow: “Mama, mama, MA-ma, ma-MA, mama, mama, mama  . . .”

From the time I put feet to floor and walked the tiny space between my room and my baby’s room, I had heard “mama” 62 times. It was never an upset cry or a yell, just a determined and incessant calling out for me. And in those few moments between my bed and her crib, I longingly recalled the days when my name used to be Heather.

Is that what my name had been? Most days it really isn’t anymore. Perhaps you find yourself in this position, too—so defined by roles, that your true identity is shrouded in mystery and long since lost. Are there days when you feel like your deep-down soul is buried under mounds of roles and expectations? You aren’t you anymore—you’re “Mom,” “Wife,” “Daughter,” “Employee.”

It’s as if we no longer wear nametags at events; we just post job descriptions to our shirts and that’s how people come to know us. We meet, we shake hands. They say, “So, _______, what do you do?” We answer and suddenly that’s how they know us, not by who we are, but by what we do.

Nicole Johnson wrote and performed a skit about a woman who uses a label maker to define and categorize everyone around her, even to the point of hurtfulness when she labels her isaiah43young daughter “fat.” Do you ever feel like your face is obscured by neon-colored labels printed out and stuck all over you by the people you meet every day?

These labels oversimplify who we really are, transforming us from a dynamic person with unique feelings and thoughts into “working mom” or “stay-at-home mom,” “church-goer,” “liberal,” “conservative.” People often think they know us by the box they have placed us in.  Sometimes we even forget that we aren’t defined by labels and roles and categories and boxes. Then we wake up one morning and feel like somewhere along the way, we’ve just gotten lost.

God doesn’t lose sight of us, though.

Even when we forget our name and the essence of ourselves, He remains intimately aware of us, His creation. Part of God’s unfathomably deep love for us is that He never overlooks our complexities. Isaiah tells us:

“God says, ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.   . . Since you were precious in My sight, You have been honored, And I have loved you;’” (Isaiah 43:1, 4 NKJV)

Later, Isaiah writes:

But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.” “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:14-16, NIV).

God knew Jacob’s name. He didn’t need to ask. It’s the same with us. He knows exactly who we are and what has brought us to this place.

Yet, He draws us into closer intimacy with Him by asking the question, “What is your name?” He wants to remind us that individuals matter to Him. He isn’t just a Savior who died for all humanity; He died for you and me and every other person uniquely and specifically.

Taken from Ask Me Anything, Lord,© 2013 by Heather King. Used by permission of Discovery House Publishers, Grand Rapids, Michigan. 49501. All rights reserved. www.dhp.org.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is now available!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

Ask Me Anything: Seeing The Impossible

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people”
Ephesians 1:18, NIV

When Hagar ran off into the wilderness with her son for the second time in Genesis 21, she ended up wandering in the Desert of Beersheba. She was a homeless single mother, without friends, caring for her boy in unfamiliar desert territory and running out of supplies.

Her circumstances were desperate.askmeanything8

Placing Ishmael under a bush, she walked away so she wouldn’t have to watch him die. “And as she sat there, she began to sob” (Genesis 21:16 NIV).

It’s in the impossible situations where God is often most visible.

So it was with Hagar. God visited with her once again and asked:

“What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”

Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink” (Genesis 21:17-19 NIV).

Just like His question, “Where have you come from and where are you going,” this new question, “What’s the matter, Hagar?” shows that He was concerned about her. He knew where she was and what her circumstances were. Not only that, but He opened her eyes to see the deliverance He had prepared for her.

Nothing about Hagar’s circumstances changed. She was still a homeless single mother, short on provisions and without friends or direction.

It’s possible that God miraculously placed a new well nearby where she sat. Scripture simply says “God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water.”

It could also be, though, that the only thing that changed was Hagar’s vision. Blinded by impossibilities and overwhelmed with despair, Hagar had given up when a well was so close. God revealed to her grace and provision that she simply hadn’t seen before.ask-me-anything-lord_kd

In the same way, God miraculously gave supernatural sight to Elisha’s servant in 2 Kings 6:15-17.  Surrounded by an impossibly large enemy army with horses and chariots, the servant cried out in despair, “Oh no, my lord!  What shall we do?” Clearly, they were doomed to defeat. Yet, Elisha assured his anxious friend:

“‘Don’t be afraid . . . those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’  And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6:15-17 NIV).

Suddenly their odds of winning didn’t seem so impossible anymore, yet their reality was unchanged. Those heavenly defenders had been there all along; the servant simply hadn’t seen them.

Pray that God will open your eyes to His provision and plan for you.

Sometimes we feel that our circumstances are too impossible even for God.  We forget that He is the God of creation, who spoke the sun and moon and all of the earth’s creatures into existence out of nothing.

God hasn’t stopped being a creator God. He can create something out of nothing.  He can place wells where there has been no water.  He can create a heavenly army to deliver you when you are defenseless.

Remember that, “With man this is impossible, but not with God. All things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27 NIV). You can trust that the God Who Sees you will know what you need exactly when you need it.

Taken from Ask Me Anything, Lord,© 2013 by Heather King. Used by permission of Discovery House Publishers, Grand Rapids, Michigan. 49501. All rights reserved. www.dhp.org.

To pre-order a copy of this book, click here.

For more information about the book release, you can click here.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King

Ask Me Anything: No More Hiding in Shame

Welcome to the first “Ask Me Anything Friday!”

For the next few weeks, I’ll be posting short excepts from my book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Lives to God’s Questions, as we prepare for the book release in November.

For more information about the book release, you can click here.

I hope you enjoy these glimpses into the study on the questions God asked in Scripture and what happens when we allow God to search our own hearts and draw us closer to Him.

~heather~

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God asked them a question.

Adam and Eve sinned that first sin in the Garden of Eden and they impulsively hid.

That’s when they heard God’s steps as He searched for them and they heard Him ask that one simple question:

“Where are you?”

“At least some part of them probably wanted to remain silent and continue cowering among the leaves as long as possible. They had wandered away from God’s side, choosing sin over ask-me-anything-lord_kdinnocence, and then when their eyes were opened, they were so filled with shame that they hid from God.

It’s no different than my daughter when she is in trouble. When Momma discovers her disobedience, she’s sad.  She cries a bit at punishment and feels remorseful.

The ultimate pain for her, though, is if Momma tells Daddy what she did. It’s not because Daddy is going to punish her again. She’s already received discipline from me. She just so desperately wants to hide away her sin from him because she’s ashamed of it and knows he will be disappointed.

Shame is so destructive. It builds up walls in our relationships, preventing us from experiencing the freedom of vulnerability and intimacy. Adam and Eve were burdened by shame and they couldn’t even stand face to face with God, even the God who created them and loved them.

Yet, it is grace that counteracts shame in our lives…

This is a grace that Adam and Eve had not yet experienced as they stood among the foliage in the garden, hiding their faces in shame. There had been no sin in that paradise and therefore no need for grace. They didn’t know that while there are consequences for sin, there is also forgiveness available.

It’s a grace I struggle at times to comprehend and feel even though I’ve seen and experienced a life overflowing with God’s grace. I fall easily into works-based living, expecting perfection and achieving failure. I see the stains of sin on my heart and even when they are washed away, I still feel dirty, unusable and bound for the trashcan sometimes.

I struggle with a prison of self-condemnation. Long after I’ve repented and sought forgiveness, I feel the heaviness of guilt—no, shame really. It’s a prison of thoughts—“You’re unworthy.  God can’t use you. You fail, all the time you fail, same sins all the time.”

Shame imprisons us and hides us away from God. We feel unworthy of His attention and beyond salvation. That’s why Adam and Eve covered themselves in palm leaves and stood still with hushed breaths as God came walking in the garden. They were paralyzed by the shame of what they had done. It probably seemed as if there was no hope of restoration.

That is what we feel sometimes, too, but this is what we can know:

  • “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, NKJV).
  • ” Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7, NIV).
  • “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities.  For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:10-12, NKJV)
  • “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1, NKJV).

Because of Adam and Eve’s sin, God purposed to send His Son, Jesus, to die for all our sins so that we could be cleansed, thoroughly washed clean, all sin stains removed. 

Why?

So that our relationship with Him—the relationship broken by that initial sin in the Garden of Eden and then re-broken over and over again in our disobedient lives—-could be restored.

He “reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18, NKJV).

That was a plan enacted by God in immediate response to Adam and Eve’s sin. They and all their descendants were not beyond His reach, even with sin so ugly and shame so heavy that it interrupted their relationship with Him.

God’s grace produces reconciliation. 

Satan’s accusations—even long after we’ve repented—bow us low to the ground with shame. We become burdened with sins already forgiven and are unable to look up into God’s face any longer. We can’t walk in relationship with our Savior when we are too ashamed to match His gaze.

So, like Adam and Eve, sometimes we hide from God rather than respond to His call.

Yet, God whispers the searching question to our shame-filled hearts, “Where are you?”

He wants us to return to His side and resume our intimate walks with Him through life, to converse, to share, to listen and respond, but first He must meet us where we are and then heal the heart paralyzed by shame.

Taken from Ask Me Anything, Lord,© 2013 by Heather King. Used by permission of Discovery House Publishers, Grand Rapids, Michigan. 49501. All rights reserved. www.dhp.org.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King

Packing, PreOrdering and Preparing for Book and Baby

People keep asking me if I’m ready for my son to be born.

I think of the mostly empty duffel bag sitting on my bedroom floor and realize perhaps I need to take this countdown to my due date more seriously.

With my first baby, of course, I had a typed up birth plan and a printed list of important phone numbers weeks in advance.  We had faithfully attended childbirth classes and I packed my hospital bag neatly (with a checklist) at 36 weeks.  I created a ‘baby playlist’ and burned CD’s with relaxing music to help me in the delivery room.

The crib was up, car seat installed, dresser stocked, and diapers ready long before she was due to arrive.

And of course, she was a week late.

I’m just about two-and-a-half weeks away now from holding my baby boy, my fourth baby, and so far I’ve packed some socks, an electric teapot, a mug and some teabags.  Oh, and some slippers.

A girl has priorities.

The truth is that from that first positive pregnancy test and the week you sit all nervous on a doctor’s examination table waiting to see your baby pose for pictures for the first time, all fuzzy in black and white, wiggling limb buds with a heart beating so hard and so fast… you are in preparation.

You are waiting.

The life grows and sometimes it all rushes by so quickly.  Other times (like in those early days of nausea, morning sickness, and awkward weight gain where you don’t look pregnant, but you do look bigger) time creeps on and you feel like this….surely…..will….last……forever.

But it won’t, of course.

There’s the season of waiting and preparation.

Surely, it may have felt like one interminable case of waiting, waiting, waiting on God for Sarah.  But more than a decade after God’s initial promise to bless Abraham with a son, Sarah labored and delivered and then held her baby, Isaac, and she laughed with joy.

And a young teenage girl named Mary heard the news from angel—she’d bear a son, the Messiah, our Savior.  No double lines on a pregnancy test to confirm God’s promises, no appointment at the doctor’s office to test her hormone levels or laying back and waiting for an image on the ultrasound screen.

No, it was the leaping of John the Baptist in his own mother’s womb, the Holy Spirit dancing of an unborn babe, that told Mary life was in her, God’s life, long before her clothes stopped fitting and her hands and feet swelled.

Her waiting didn’t last forever, though.  A night in Bethlehem ended the anticipation and the expecting.

Birthing occurs.

All that God has been doing in the hidden places of the womb, the forming in the darkness, the creation we can’t see, pushes right out into the light.

Paul wrote in Galatians thatwhen the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship (Galatians 4:4-5 NIV).

The writer of Hebrews tells us: But [that appointed time came] when Christ (the Messiah) appeared as a High Priest of the better things that have come and are to come (Hebrews 9:11 AMP).

God’s appointed time comes.

Until then, we prepare, we trust, we pray, we obey the tiny steps and trust God with the results.  We marvel and praise Him for the signs that life is growing and maturing within us and it stirs up that hope, that expectancy that yes, God is at work here.

And while I’m packing that much-neglected hospital bag, I prepare in other ways for another kind of birth….ask-me-anything-lord_kd

One I can share with you.

So many have asked, so many of you have faithfully prayed, and here is the first sign that my book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Lives to God’s Questions, will be here soon.

It’s been a summer of editing and proofreading, of working with the publicist, and approving the copy.

Now, the book is available for preorder with a release date in November!

You can follow these links to find the book at Amazon,  Barnes and Noble and also at Christianbook.com.

You can click here to learn more about the book and what God has already done in the writing and preparing for publication.

You can click here to visit my Amazon Author Page.

An e-book version will be available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and the Apple store shortly after publication.

Thank you so much for praying, for encouraging, for blessing me in so many ways.  I am so grateful to God for each of you.

~heather~

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released on November 1, 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

Bleeding Words: An Offering

Ernest Hemingway said:

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.

Now we’ve graduated to Word Processors, but still the pouring out of self onto paper burns painful at times.

But not when you hoard it or hide it away in safe shadows.  I can sit here typing away sentiments, thoughts, emotions crammed into words, hit the save button and tuck it away just for me. There’s no danger in that.

It’s in the sharing with others that you open your heart all up, vulnerable and unprotected.

So, I sat at that computer screen and had to breathe in and out a few times before opening the attached file.  It seems forever ago that I sent my editor the complete manuscript for my book, one file ask-me-anything-lord_kdattached to an email that read: Heather King-Ask Me Anything Lord.

And now here she had sent it back, this time marked as edited.

Sometimes in a wave of anxiety I think, “Oh, it would be so much easier to just end the exposure and hide myself away again.”  No more writing and hoping others like it, hoping no one criticizes or critiques.  No more posting to a blog or sending in articles to magazines or submitting manuscripts or book proposals to editors and waiting for the replies to come.

But in my heart, there is also this desire for growing and learning and for obedience, and this is my hope as I finally assume enough bravery to open up my editor’s attachment.  After all, don’t I want to hear what she says?  Don’t I want to mend and amend and improve all the time so every single day I’m more useful to God?

Yes.  I want my offerings to God to be ever more beautiful. When He asks me to lay it down, I want to have the gift in my hands to give, not locked away.

So, I double click the attachment in one quick act of bravery and scan through the comments.

I sigh out one heaving release of a held breath.

What she says blesses me.  I learn.  I edit here and understand there.  Really the changes aren’t so hard.  And instead of working alone, surreptitiously typing away on a private document, now I have shared the work with another.  We’ve united in our effort and it is better for the working together.

Sometimes, that fear of being hurt and the desire to be safe keeps us from ever raising our hand to volunteer or making the phone call with an offer to serve. Maybe instead of shining ourselves, we’re content to linger in the shadows so no one will see us in the light.

Yet, obedience means accepting the danger and willingly giving anyway. It means preparing our gifts, tending them, investing in them, honing them, learning from others so we can offer up what is a “pleasing aroma” of sacrifice to our God.

Shortly before Jesus’s betrayal and arrest, he dined at a man named Simon’s house in Bethany. A woman entered the feasting room and broke an entire jar of expensive and fragrant oil over Jesus’ head. Her prophetic gift to Christ, anointing him before his burial, was a public act of worship, not a safely private and hidden offering.

And she was criticized. The men at the table scolded her and evaluated her offering. They complained it was a waste of resources, unnecessary and without purpose. Others may have judged her, but Jesus quieted them saying:

“Leave her alone. Why are you bothering her? She has done a noble thing for Me….She has done what she could” (Mark 14:6, 8 HCSB).

The offerings we bring to God are never about our glory or about competing with others or meeting expectations. It’s not about numbers, not about ‘success,’ not about being the best or at the very least being better. It’s about giving what we have, the very best we can indeed give.

Jesus’ is the only opinion that mattered at that table, and yes, it should be all that matters to us.

And He is simply pleased when He can say of us like he did of the woman with the alabaster jar, “she has done what she could.”

With what He’s given you, in the way that He’s designed you, using the passions, past, personality and gifts that He’s placed within you, are you doing what you could?

Not what anyone else could do.

Just what you can do.

If that’s what matters to Him, that’s all that should matter to us.  So despite the danger of exposure or the fear of critique, we offer back to Him what He has given us.

Heather King is a busy-but-blessed wife and mom, a Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in November 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King