Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Bringing Faith to Life

I grew up in a family that took us to church, prayed at meals, prayed at bedtime, read the Bible stories, and were involved in church.  I grew up knowing who God is and the right things to do, but my "faith" and life were often separated.  I did the good things for often the wrong reasons. My faith and life began to collide my freshman year of highschool. College brought on another deeper understand of how interwoven my trust in Jesus and my daily life should be. Now married, and a parent, it brings on a whole new dimension and a whole new sense of urgency to live this out and teach this to my kids.
I ran into a series of books in 2011 that radically shifted living my faith out. I read a perfect storm of A million miles and a thousand years, Kisses from Katie, Radical, Interrupted and 7: an experimental mutiny against excess.

"All of a sudden I saw my exact reflection in Peter: devoted but selfish, committed but misguided. And that is not going to be enough. It won't suffice to claim good intentions. Saying "I meant well" is not going to cut it.  Not with God screaming, begging, pleading, urging us to love mercy and justice, to feed the poor and the orphaned, to care for the last and the least in nearly every book of the Bible. It will not be enough one day to stand before Jesus and say, "Oh? Were you serious about all that?"
-Jen Hatmaker, Interrupted

These books along with what the Holy spirit had been leading me to and preparing me for years for all collided and I took a harsh look at the ugliness that I called my faith lived out. When it really boiled down, it was about my comfort sprinkled with morality, kindness, and a little compassion.  My prayers really boiled down to my own safety, comfort and desires.  This was not the wild, reckless, life giving, self-losing faith Jesus came to give me.
No. I had overcomsumption but not abundance, I had happiness but conditional joy, I had faith that would come in waves of books I was reading or experiences I had. I believed, yes. But my faith and life had not collided in such a way that I had "lost my life" for Jesus. No, that was too costly.
But after all that the Holy spirit did in my life those few months there was no turning back. He uprooted strongholds, He made me look my sin straight in the face, He showed me how the deceiver had twisted me into living a life I thought was for God but was really rooted in self with good and God intentions. God led me to Isaiah 58 and called me to radically live out my faith in a way he had been calling me to all along.
Our adoption journey was a huge step in the collision of my life and faith. It is/was not an end in and of itself. We started to understand that life matters. Living it well is not just an empty aim. Living it abundantly is our design. We began to see the forgotten and abandoned differently. Not as a check written each month that made us feel better about our spending vs tithing. Not as a good idea because I have what they need. No, they are a life, created by God, loved just as much by him as me. These are His children that he would break down walls to provide for. And that is where our story intersected with Maran and Levi. Not just as an obligatory obedience, but the calling of joy I was made for. Just as exciting as the day I birthed my first child. It was a head on encounter of faith and life that I did not plan for. It was a beautiful mess.
In Africa, I have never met my own dependence, depravity, and desperation so closely.  My faith was taken to the ropes. My life was wrecked. Not in a horrible way, but in a wow God, was this what I thought life was all about? Is this who I am when I try and do it without you?

Faith and Life are meant to be so intimately intertwined that you cannot separate the two. James often confuses us in 2:17 when it says Faith without works is dead, we think, but God, isn't grace enough? Aren't we free from the law and the works-based mentality?
Free. Absolutely.
But when you encounter Jesus in such a way where you begin to understand glimmers of his heartbeat.
For the lost. For the unreached. For the broken. For the orphan. For the widow. For the torn apart marriage. For the prodigal.
Then your faith cannot be a stagnant sideline item on your calendar. When you understand the depths He went to crush these things, you cannot help but act.

Imagine a marriage that after the "I do" one spouse totally disengaged. Dishes? No thanks. Sex? I'll pass. Helping around the house? Not my thing. Date nights? Been there done that.
But wait, didn't we say I do? Well sure we did, so now we can coast on auto pilot right? I don't need actions to show that I love you, that was what our wedding was for... Right?
In a relationship we know that doesnt work. Our love compels us to act. Even when we don't feel loving feelings, that is where our will and choice steps in. It is a discipline to act under the banner of love. Sometimes it comes easily, some days not. But our relationship requires and demands action. And this earthly relationship is such a dim picture of the perfect relationship with our Father.
Faith requires action. Faith requires communication with the Father.

Listen, my dear brothers, Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have insulted the poor...
What good is it my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and food. If one of you says to him "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed" but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?
James 2

And from the depths of heaven, this is what I heard: "you do feed souls, but twenty-four thousand of my sheep will die today because no one fed their bellies; eighteen thousand of them are my youngest lambs, starving today in a world with plenty of food to go around. If you truly love me, you will feed my lambs. My people are crumbling and dying and starving, and you're blessing blessed people and dreaming about your next house"
Jen Hatmaker, Interrupted.

I pray you do not miss the life he has called us to. The life abundant. Not the life obligatory or the life mundane. The life where your joy and his will collide in a beautiful portrayal of Gospel love. Do I get it? No. Do I miss this nearly every day and settle for the to do list? Yes. It is not easy, but it is worth it. It is not mandatory, but it is what you were created for. Where his heart and your pleasure combine in a life complete.


  1. so amazing kylie. i am so inspired by your family and just love to watch God continue to work through each of you.

  2. kylie. you have me in tears. i am completely inspired by the collision of your faith and your life. what a testimony! thank you so much for sharing all of this and for linking up with us today!

  3. so well-written. so challenging. thanks for sharing it.

  4. I can't tell you how much this encouraged me. You are incredible and this blessed my heart. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Love this and wow - your family is precious!!!!! What an inspirational post!
    Thank you so much for sharing!

  6. oh I love this. those books are by incredible authors inspired by the True Author of our faith. so, so good.