This week, I am thrilled to introduce to you, my son and guest blogger, Chris Koehne. This post originally appeared in a school newsletter, then his own blog site (which never went live) and now here, where you get to read it. As he jumps into the world of writing (a son after my own heart) I hope that his words, his insights and his humor , although it can be a bit strange at times (again just like his Mama) can brighten your day. ENJOY!
SNAPCHAT! A photo app that allows users to send a picture to a friend that supposedly disappears after a predetermined amount of time. Pish posh! All of those pictures are saved and anything can be screenshotted! And what’s the point of sending a picture for 5 seconds anyways?
A picture should be a work of art. I don’t go to the Phoenix Museum of Art to look at pictures for a few seconds, that would be silly and a waste of $17.99! (sidebar: I don’t go to the Phoenix Museum of Art. Honestly, I don’t even know if it’s called the Phoenix Museum of Art, it could be called the Phoenix Art Museum or even the Phoenix Art House for all I know. But if it is called the Phoenix Art House it’s probably run by a bunch of hipsters who say things like “you can’t define art” or “High School Musical 3 was actually pretty good.” Either way, they shouldn’t be trusted.)
But nowadays I see boys walking around after school taking selfies and giggling when they send it to somebody. What’s up with that!? As a matter of fact, on Tuesday, I saw Hugo standing by himself in the middle of a basketball court taking a selfie while making a duck face! What has this world come to!?
Back in my day guys didn’t take selfies! If you wanted to send a picture of your face to somebody, you didn’t! But if for some odd reason you wanted to, that would have required you to take a picture with an actual camera. Then after that you would have to take that camera to your local Walgreens and pay $13.99 just so you could wait 24 hours for your photos to develop by some guy who is going to look at all of your pictures and laugh at you when you come back in to pick them up. Then once you have the picture you would have to wait in line at the post office behind somebody’s grandma who can’t figure out which state her grandson lives in. (sidebar: don’t be mean to grandmas, my grandma loves going to the post office and mailing me letters. Let your grandma know you love her.) So then, days later, once your friend finally receives the picture in the mail they are confused about why they are receiving a picture of your face. (sidebar: They are also kinda creeped out that you know their address and they probably don’t want to be friends anymore… (sidebar from the sidebar: it’s an awkward way for a friendship to end, don’t mail people a picture of your face))
Instead of guys taking selfies and deciding which filter makes our ugly mugs look the best, we would actually talk to each other and play games like Yahtzee or try and figure out the rules to Clue. But we definitely didn’t stand by ourselves and take selfies like Hugo, and that’s just how it was, back in my day. - Chris Koehne
As I stood there, singing songs of praise and worship to the Lord I love so dearly, I suddenly found myself speechless, unable to sing, unable to lift my hands and unable to breathe. Tears became my language, tears became my song, tears became my very breath as I desperately tried to turn away as each moment I was drawn in deeper.
My eyes caught a glimpse of what would ultimately wreck me and tear me apart inside. I was overwhelmed. I was changes and I was renewed.
From the corner of my eye, while the band was playing, the congregation singing and clapping, the fog and the lights blazing, I saw two women standing face to face with each other. The first women in the midst of worship simply held the hands of the women who was facing her while her back was to the stage. The women, whom I recognized as one of the interpreters for the deaf, gently swayed with the other women while she signed the song of praise into her hands.
Together the stood with their eyes closed and they worshipped. What I witnessed was the greatest worship leader I have ever seen leading a women who was blind and deaf into the presence of the King of Kings. And not only that, she lead me into the deepest moments of worship that I would ever experience up until this point in my life.
I was wrecked. I was flooded with the reality of how far we must go to reach people for Christ. I was a part of a congregation that day that did whatever it took to make sure no one left hungry, that all were able to receive the Word of God and worship Him in spirit and in truth.
The lengths that Christ went for us was again made a reality for me in that moment when I saw the length of what the body of Christ is called to do so that all can hear, see, touch and know the gospel of Jesus Christ.
It was a precious moment that God allowed me to be a part of. It was my Hellen Keller 2017 moment. I will treasure it in my heart forever.
May we too be encouraged to go as far as it takes to make sure people have the means to receive the gospel and be drawn into worhip the Mighty King of Kings. May we be wrecked for Christ so that we can fall on our knees and worship Him like we never have before. May we not only hear and see, but may we also touch people with the gospel of Christ so that they will know.
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? Romans 10:14
Today I opened a new devotional that a sweet new friend gave to me. It's called "At the Feet of Jesus-Daily Devotions to Nurture a Mary Heart" by Joanna Weaver.
Even more precious for me is that the woman who gave it to me exemplifies someone with a Mary heart who truly does sit at the feet of Jesus, Joanna Weaver herself.
As I opened the book I couldn't wait to see what I would read on the July 21st date. I was preparing myself to be blown away.
Funny thing is, I was, but not in the way that I thought. I was blown away in the simplicity of the stillness that this days devotional writing brought, and how it basically stopped me in my tracks.
The devotion pulled from a book called "The Indwelling Life of Christ" where Major Ian Thomas talked about our lives being lived for Christ. At the end of this Joanna points the reader to Acts 4:13
"Now when they beheld the boldness of Peter and John, and had perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus."
Joanna then asks the simple, yet powerful question "What would you like people to note about your life?"
There it was...BOOM. It hit me like a ton of bricks. The way it spoke to me, it wasn't asking about all the believers who come to my concerts, the women I speak to at retreats, the readers of my blogs, my children, my husband and all those who think so highly of me. For me, it was asking what do I want the people of this world, those who are lost, hurting, without Christ, living in the dark to take note about my life. What do I want THEM to see.
It made me reflect and ask myself, what does the world see through me. It reminded me that the world IS taking note whether I like it or not. It caused me to pause, it caused me to pray. It caused me to think about my response.
So, as a reminder to me, to keep me accountable, I want to share it with you. This is what I wrote down...
"That I trust God...no matter what...good, bad, joy, uncertain times. That I simply believe what He says."
More eloquently translated, I want the world to somehow take note that in times of trouble and pain, I kept my head up when most people would have hunched over in despair, because there was something greater than me, greater than my circumstances that kept my head up even when I didn't have the strength to lift it.
I want the world to know that in times of joy, that I lived for something beyond my own ambitions and the things that brought me true joy may not have been the things that most people would have strived to live for. I hope they would see that there was a quiet and boisterous joy that overflowed in my life, a joy that knew how to rejoice with others, a joy that knew how to rejoice in pain even if the world thought I was crazy.
I hope they would take note of these things and then ask themselves "Why?" and I pray that they would see clearly through their seeking that it was and is Jesus, simply, powerfully and inexplicably Jesus. Jesus, Jesus.
My friend, this day, I ask you the same question that Joanna asked me through her book "What would you like people to note about YOUR life?"
I love you in the Lord, Mia
In case you haven't noticed, I love to hike. I love to get outdoors in the wee hours and move. That's fun for me. That's the easy part.
What is not as fun for me is going to the gym...doing my reps and sets of squats, push ups, crunches, planks, curls etc.
If I don't keep my core strong, I ache all over, my back hurts and I am all out of whack.....so, typically after my time hiking up a mountain, I head down and I go to the gym, I do the work.
Guess what, That's kinda like life and ministry. Fellowship with others as Christ has called us to do can be the fun part, but it's the time in the Word that keeps our core strong, without that time and the strengthening of our spiritual muscles, we become weak, we limp and we walk hesitantly.
So whether in body or spirit, keep your core strong today and work out those muscles, the muscles that no one sees, the muscles that can change your life and your walk AND the lives of those around you.
Happy Workout! I love you in the Lord!
Typically when I write about my bouts with depression, it's after I have moved through and found victory. I do this mostly because I feel that when I do open up to anyone outside of my husband (who knows me so well), people don't know how to respond....or they over respond, or they direct me to some feel good article or book.... or they just want to fix me because fixing me is easier that admitting that they can do nothing for me. I don't want people to fix me, I don't want to talk it out, I just want to make it through to the next moment without crying.
Today as I write, I am in the thick of it. Unlike other times when I am in the battle, I am not hunkered down in bed, unable to move. Instead, I am simply numb. I am numb to people, numb to their complaints about trivial issues, numb to their games. I am just numb to people's nonsense. I don't have the emotional time or strength for it.
And not only to them, I am all about equal opportunity! I am numb to my own emotions, I am numb to my own concerns....except in that tiny area of my heart where there is a tingle, the tingle that cries out to the Lord to see me through, the tingle, that dares to feel, but not too much or else I may become overwhelmed, This is the tingle that allows me to function throughout the day. This tingle has a name and it's name is Hope....hope which knows that God will deliver me, yet again.
Depression hits me at the most inopportune times. When there are things to do, places to be, people to love. This shadow of depression wants me forget what I know to be true and not show up...to leave the "pulpit" empty. Well, I won't! If I have learned anything over and over again, it is that in my weakness, He is shown strong. That doesn't mean I want to run around depressed everyday so I can see how great God is. I would love to not have this battle, but what it does mean, is that If I am struggling, I will press into hope, press into truth and NOT FORGET what I know to be true.....greater is He that is in me (even when I am struggling) than he who is in the world.
Until God delivers me completely (and I know He will), I will continue to cry out to Him, my Deliverer. I know he is near even in my darkness, my loneliness and my isolation. He is as close to me as the mention of his name......CLOSER, still. He is my breath and my life. I will breath Him in and exhale.
Even now, as I sit in my spiritual and emotional hospital, He cares for me. He is my respirator and I am being revived, moment by moment, breath by breath. He knows the deep concerns of my heart and those things that I cry out to Him about in my isolation. He hears and He cares.
So, whether, you are in the hospital right now or out feeling better than ever, the truth remains that hope remains, The Lord, God hears our tender pleas, and our unspoken prayers. He knows our needs and He is near to us, He is near the brokenhearted and will bind us up.
So my fellow patient, my fellow struggler, remember what is true. Don't think that just because we are limping that we can't stand. Be quick to stand in Him, my friend. Even in the thick of it, God uses us, He can lift our head to speak truth, sing love and bring praise. It just might not be as easy as it was before. But God...
So there it is. That's where I am at. Now, if you still have the need to fix me, go ahead, but go to the Real Fixer, the one that can actually handle it. He's got me...He's got YOU!
Love you in the Lord, Mia
A collection of writings from a life based on the truth that about midnight anything can happen.
As an imperfect servant of the Lord, I often feel I am fumbling my way through life, looking upward for guidance and outward to love. So, I write about it, to break up the noise in my head.