karigraceplace – A Lighthouse

How do you change your world? One word at a time, one heart at a time

The Christmas List

I would like to ask you a question today. Do you trust God no matter what, or do you only trust Him if He acts as Santa Clause, giving you every item on your list? (I hope this doesn’t kick over a sacred cow or two but I must admit I’ve never cared much for the name, or the idea of a benevolent human entity spreading gifts to those he classified as good.)

I’ve got to the point in my life now where if it doesn’t lift up Jesus, I’m frankly not interested. Lysa Turkherst wrote a book called The Best Yes, one I highly recommend for your reading pleasure. And growth. It taught me to prioritize my yesses but it ruffled a few feathers along the way, especially with folk who were used to me dropping my agenda for the day and helping them achieve theirs.

After much thought and prayer I realized my life had been reduced to four things:

Trust [rely on and have confidence] in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and feed [securely] on His faithfulness.

I think yours can too, if you choose. I’m big on downsizing rather than hoarding, mainly because most true hoarders I’ve met along the way rarely give and when they do, they remember. My pastor said years ago, “blessed are those who can give without remembering, and take without forgetting.” In that moment I realized that described my life. People regularly tell me, “don’t you remember when you gave me—” and it blesses my heart to tell them no with a pure conscience; on the other side of the equation I remember almost every gift anyone has ever given me, especially if it was meaningful. A friend gave me a bookmark over 20 years ago that I treasure every time I see it in my bible.

I never liked New Years Resolutions – few seem to be kept for more than a month or two – but I do believe in goal setting. How ’bout we set a goal this new year to pare down our life so it’s not full of lesser yesses but focuses on the greater ones we can passionately pursue? Are ya with me?

Kari, the truster, do-gooder, dweller and feeder… not to mention rester…

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The Why and The What

I had an experience recently that reminded me of something God had taught me a while back. It’s a simple concept. Look for the why behind the what.

Psalm119.68 says that God is good and He does good. So I’ve learned in my Christian walk to look for the good, because there you’ll often find God.

We see things and are so quick to judge, yet we rarely know the whole story. I’ve banned, “I would never…” from my vocabulary. I have no idea; I’m not in their situation. When I see things I just watch and wait. Sooner or later, more is revealed and it’s often shocking how wrong my first impression was.

A friend gave me a ride somewhere and I forgot for a second that it’s someone I can’t trust with my heart. They don’t know it but they are not a Safe Place. They’re a Judgment Zone. I shared a story and they immediately rebuked me, telling me I had taken a verse out of context. I beg to differ – I take God literally. To be honest, I didn’t see any good in that correction, merely pride and condemnation.

Later that night we were leaving and they came to the entrance on to the main road. Bear in mind, this is around 9pm on a Friday night, with maybe 10 cars max in the parking lot. But because it said Entrance, they drove around the parking lot till they found the Exit. Forgive me but I’m not under the law, and legalism killed Jesus. I would have gone out the Entrance since it wasn’t Sunday morning on a busy church day. I couldn’t use a scripture to help me in a time of need but they’re living by the letter of the law.

I’d rather take God literally, and take Him at His Word. He says He will help in a time of trouble but you have to find a verse to stand on. Just because it doesn’t fit in with others’ theological ideas doesn’t mean you’re twisting His Word. I’ve seen folk pervert and misuse it, yes, but I disagree that using it in a time of need is taking it out of context. I’m into life, not legalism.

I’m reminded of the phrase, “consider the source.” This person believes themselves highly prophetic, and I’m not saying they’re not, but they haven’t yet learned to temper their frequent correction with gentleness. A couple of years ago I had a similar situation with them. Two days after someone I cared deeply for died, they happened to call me. Their advice in my pain? Basically, get over it. I get the point, but where’s the love there? I let them talk for a while, then ended the conversation with a gentle, “I know you meant well, but if you ever get to minister to someone grieving again… you might want to give them more than two days to recover…”

Going on this latest interaction I think they missed the point completely.

Your thoughts?

Kari, the why-finder

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Duck, Duck David

Yes, I know it’s duck duck goose, but where’s the fun in that?

First of all I apologize to the blogosphere for taking a short hiatus from writing. Life can often ambush you when you least expect it. Second, I’m now refired and rewired, back with a vengeance after watching one of my heroes, Steven Furtick. (DM renamed him my “boy”, and is given to ominous muttering such as, “your boy is on…”) SF has a way of breaking it down to simple concepts and he can stir me up in a heartbeat.

Today’s message happened to come from First Samuel, chapter 18, which finds David in his peaceful place strumming the harp, worshipping his heart out. Saul, however, has other ideas. The latter decides it’s a good idea to ‘fling’ a spear at the defenseless musician and ‘pin him to the wall’… literally.

What always threw me (but I’d never given much deep meaningful thought to) was the fact that David didn’t react way most would, given the dynamics of the moment. In fact, there’s no record he ever took his hand off the harp. I must admit I might well have grabbed for the spear. Gut instinct ranks high on the preservation scale in the Lowther household. But, as SF quite rightly points out, “Saul cannot kill what God has crowned.”

Which every child of God is. Crowned, I mean. With loving kindness and tender mercies, just in case you didn’t know. You were also created to be a David. His name means Beloved, and he lived to worship God.

He also there in two pieces of advice:

Keep your hand on the harp and God will keep His on the spear (meaning that if we trust Him, our challenges won’t kill us), and

Learn to duck!

Wise advice in any century, if you ask me. For those who think the Bible just a dusty old history book and has no relevance in society today I’ve only got one thing to say – Duck, David!

Kari, the ducking and the crowned

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Truth, Justice and the American Way

I stopped reading a local rag I had enjoyed reading for years, the Up and Coming Weekly, because they proudly bill it as ‘family-friendly’ but a while back did something I consider the complete opposite. Not they know or care I stopped reading, but I did.

I was unintentionally a rather captive audience recently at a venue where the mags were freely available, so I grabbed one just to check it out. I have to give Karl Merritt a shout-out for his excellent article entitled, ‘Objectivity is Very Near Death in America’. He defined the Cambridge Dictionary’s meaning of the word ‘objectivity’, and made a strong case for its death with the example of the ruckus that erupted after Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination. Merritt encouraged interested readers to read the full report made by Arizona Prosecutor Rachel Mitchell, but gave us a few of what he obviously considered the highlights. I happen to agree.

Here are a couple of undeniable facts:

The lady in question, a Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, apparently initially wished to remain anonymous. (So how can you legally accuse a judge of sexual wrongdoing but remain unnamed? That seems a tad unfair. Especially given there’s a small clause somewhere   with something about the right to know your accuser… perhaps that doesn’t pertain to the press, since they’re always so impartial.)

Said Dr. Ford could not keep her story straight as to when, where, or even how the alleged incident occurred. Few details came to mind, and the ones that did were inconsistent, including who was there with her to witness the event. The witnesses she did name and claim unfortunately claimed either complete denial of knowledge of the incident or simply did not remember it. Her story was never corroborated.

However, her allegations did destroy a man, his wife and two young children, bringing irreparable harm for the sake of a few minutes’ headlines. Is a reputation really worth so little to us as a people and us as a nation?

I could be wrong but it seems to me a pretty clear cut case of bullying and abuse. In fact, Senator Mazie Hirono was quoted by Tyler O’Neill in his article, “Dem. Senator: Kavanaugh Doesn’t Deserve ‘Presumption of Innocence’ Because I Disagree With Him”, as saying, “I put his denial in the context of everything I know about him in terms of how he approaches his cases.” Well. that says it all. Apparently Ms. Mazie has decided she is God and she alone has the right to judge her fellow man.

In Merritt’s own words, this strongly suggests ‘the presumption of innocence – a core tenet of English and American law  going back more than one hundred years – depends on one’s judicial philosophy.’ (emphasis mine). Is it really wise to condemn a man as guilty, despite all facts and evidence to the contrary, simply because you don’t happen to like their approach?

I agree with Merritt. If the media will go after a respected judge voted into office by a public who trust and respect him, for a public he has served faithfully for upteen years with such passion and dedication, then no-one is safe. We are indeed “all Brett Kavanaugh now.”

Your thoughts?

Kari, the passionate-believer-in-innocent-until-proven-guilty

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My Brother, My Hero

He was a carpenter, yes, and I’ve always loved wood so I appreciate the gift highly – it doesn’t help that before my man came along I seemed to have a thing for those tv house-fixer carpenters – but what I love most about my brother, my hero, is that He was an accomplished storyteller. He could draw a crowd in a hot minute, and they’d hear Truth disguised as parables. Whether that Truth sunk in was another matter entirely but as the old folks used to say, ‘ya can lead a horse to water…’. I trust you know the rest.

I discovered a major part of my calling and destiny at the tender age of 42. I’ve always been a reader, but was rejected as a writer so soundly in my 14th year of life that I didn’t pick it up again until what I fondly refer to as, ‘my epiphany moment’. It has coloured my world ever since.

John Bevere once said you never know a life-defining moment when you’re in it, and boy can I testify an amen to that. i didn’t, but I made the choice to follow my heart. I, like Robert Frost wrote, “took the road less travelled. And it has made all the difference.” I’ll take the highway of holiness every time.

I struggled for many years with Proverbs 11.30, but I now know how I can win souls and influence people. Through fiction. The foolishness of the gospel in bite-sized breadcrumbs. With everything I pen I pray Papa gives those He chooses eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to perceive, Isaiah 6.10, the traces of His Truth. Even if they don’t get it right then and there I pray I sow fruit that remains in silly stories about dogs, and teddy bears, a door in the middle of nowhere, and lost socks, not to mention 5 adult dysfunctional sisters and a timid teen with a strong anointing.

Is He your hero today? Your brother, protector, lover, provider, safe place and so many other things? If He’s not I encourage you to check out the tab, May I Introduce You? I’d love to pray with you so if you have any needs or just want to talk, feel free to respond below and start a conversation. We’re all in this together, and I’m here for you.

Kari, the child of a carpenter

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Eagle Feathers

We’ve all been hit pretty hard by multiple “natural disasters” in recent years and I still don’t get why the powers-that-be have to give ’em names but there ya go. ‘Florence’ really took a toll on residents here in NC, as it did almost everywhere in the whole nation. Few escaped her devastation. Yet one major thing I’ve learned in life is that in every bad there’s always some good. I once heard a joke I about two kids and a horse that taught me to look for the good in the most unexpected places. Like a hurricane. Fail to plan and you’re planning to fail. Now I have a plan. And I plan to rest in the shelter of the Most High.

Because I’m extremely visual and tactile, for some reason scripture memory never worked well for me. The good turned out to be discovering Esther Mui. No-electricity-days will apparently make a gal stir crazy in a very short time. No light, no reading, no coffee, no e-books, pretty much nothing. I’ve been trying to speak Psalm 91 over me and my family for years but as my grandmother told me, where there’s a will you’ll find a way. My way is YouTube. Ms. Mui has set scripture to song and it resonates within me. I encourage you to check her out.

During a hurricane there are many opportunities to fear, but we don’t have to take them. It may be a little more work in a 60mph wind than facing a flat tyre, but faith is a principle that doesn’t change based on circumstances. It often gets you to take a hard long look at your priorities. I’m praying more than normal that He’ll show me what’s important. Today.

It wasn’t what was above the surface that sunk the titanic, it was the hidden. Jerusalem’s inn was full and overcrowded – they had no room in their lives for Jesus. As for me, I think I’ll be doing some spring cleaning, spiritually speaking. I’m making room for a miracle. For me, and everyone I come across in life. Including you.

Kari, the feather-covered girl

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When the Bough Breaks

I came across Elizabeth Muser’s blog recently and have found many a gem there to soothe the soul. This one happened to inspire me so I thought I’d share it:


As Elizabeth quite rightly points out, John 15 verses 1 and 2 say that He is the true vine and we’re just the branches. I don’t know much about gardening – my mother’s the one with the green thumb – but I do know one thing from having survived many a North Carolina storm. Branches need wise pruning from time to time if the owner wants the tree to bear any fruit. Or even continue to be a healthy tree. I’ve heard Joyce Meyer say that we’re pruned if we do, and we’re pruned if we don’t. I’m convinced she’s right.

Pruning is a painful but necessary part of growth. For trees, but more importantly, for humans. If we keep investing in things that are dead, eventually those branches will fall off because they’re no longer necessary. Do we really want to wait that long? As I mentioned before, storms here have a habit of breaking healthy boughs off the best of trees, not to mention rotten oneself half-dead trees. Appearances can be deceptive; a tree can look healthy… until a storm blows by. That reminds me of life, how we have the right intentions but sometimes build on sinking sand and don’t realize it till storm season. I’m so done with dead branches that aren’t producing anything but heartache.

I’ve got to say I’m with Elizabeth on this one – I want to bend and not break. Even if it does involve God’s pruning shears. I prefer to be trimmed than lopped off.

Your thoughts?

Kari, the fruitful branch

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Making Lemonade

For anyone interested in what’s going on in this random redhead’s life recently, I’m reliving Romans 8.28.  Last year my sweet kind Duke of Wellingtons (husband) was at work when some special person decided to leave an obstacle course on the warehouse floor but forgot to tell him. This resulted in a fun “trip”, two ankle bone fractures, surgery, a metal plate that turns cold when the weather does, and one ankle permanently larger than the other, which started us on what my pastor affectionately calls “a whole new journey”, one involving pain, doctors, sleepless nights, flaring tempers, and a heavy dose of patience and long suffering… not to mention erratic drug-induced mood swings.

I recently had a similar experience myself but not quite as bad. In January, my man’s wolf dog and my Rottweiler decided to have a turf war in the middle of the living room. The Duke of Wellingtons had only been asleep for three hours, and I told the ‘boys’ that daddy was going to kill someone and it wasn’t gonna be me! So being the random redhead that I am, I tried multiple times to be a peacemaker… which resulted in a very strange finger. After praying for three months I realized i needed a little more help so I went to the doc and was told very casually, “it’s just boutineer deformity…”.

My brain is like, excuse you?!” Thankfully I caught it before it slipped out. Basically it means your finger is permanently bent into a hook, extremely painful, and impossible to use. Btw you get it from “a strong blow to the knuckle” according to google, which was confirmed by the Duke of Wellingtons, who told me, “… his fang is at an angle…” Ya think?

(Oh, I forgot to mention the 4 inch bump and the black eye… I’ve asked God for a slow mo replay when I get to heaven… )

The lesson? Never get in the middle of a dogfight. Duh! The blessing? In one of my stories there will be a guy arriving at the morgue they can’t identify but eventually they realize he’s ‘the Claw’, an old homeless man with boutineer deformity in several fingers. The occupational therapist gal laughs at me every time I go – I think I make her day – but it’s real life! You can’t make this stuff up! Jesus didn’t waste the loaves and the fishes, and nor will I! Someone someone reading that book is going to think,’boy, she did her research!’ They’ll never know.. it’s just my life…

Kari, the lemonade girl

all original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, all rights reserved

** disclaimer – I wrote this some time in March/April but for some reason it didn’t post. Life has been so hectic I didn’t even realize it was still unposted, so for those interested, here were my thoughts earlier in the year!

Truth Teller

I recently heard Natalie Grant say she’s not a singer, she’s a Truth-teller. It stopped me in my tracks, and as I pondered the idea in the coming weeks I realized that simple concept, from the minute I heard it, had begun revolutionizing everything for me, especially writing. I’ve always believed I had a call on my life to write, which became a passion to share the gospel thru the foolishness of fiction, with a vague end goal to influence souls for eternity, but I hadn’t got to the root concept yet. Now it’s crystal clear. Sharing breadcrumbs for those with eyes to see and ears to hear. Truth-telling.

My man often says that if you have any kind of addiction you’ll eventually be one of three things: sobered up, locked up, or covered up. There’s a lot of truth there. Anything you put before Christ becomes an idol, and it’s a slippery slope once you start down that road. Addictions come in packages large and small. They may be physical, emotional, or even spiritual but bondage abounds in this world. I personally have to stay home from Pinterest. Every time I visit, I’m there for a good five hours average. The sad part is, when I look at all the windows I’ve got open, the one I started with is nothing like the one I end up with. It’s scary. It’s also a behavior pattern for me. Don’t get me wrong – I love it as much as the next (wo)man. I just know it’s a weakness for me.

The only way to be free of anything, according to John 8 verse 32, is to know the Truth. In the original Hebrew, ‘know’ isn’t written in the passive tense but the active. Many folk know many things, but if they don’t act on it that’s not know, that’s mental assent, which is a completely different concept. You are then a hearer but not a doer, and that will never impact a heart or change the course of an eternal destiny. I wanna snatch folk out before they feel the flames. Or at least show them they have a choice.

Words just happen to be another of my passions, and it really lights my fire when people use them inaccurately or indiscriminately. Fellow wordsmiths would agree that what we sow with our mouth often comes back to bite us. Seedlings start growing and tend to produce fruit at the most inopportune of times. I’d rather tick someone off with Truth and pray God will change them than be too scared to speak and have their blood on my hands. Yep, in case you didn’t know you do now: when you contribute willingly to another’s downfall (either by action or inaction) it doesn’t sit well with Him.

I want the silly stories I pen to do mighty things in many a heart. I want to make a whole slew of folk in heaven who say, “this changed my life!” Anyone on earth ever complement anything I’ve ever done I want my responsibility, “ain’t nothing but Jesus.”

How ’bout you?

Kari, the Truth-telling gal

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The Overtaker and The Undertaker

I don’t do drama well and for that reason I try hard to stay away Facebook but recently it’s become abundantly clear to me just how diverse the eclectic band of folk I choose to call friend has become.

We’re different politically, ethnically, socially, culturally, spiritually, morally, even ethically, but there’s one common theme in most of my friends – a passion for writing. Different stories, different messages, different viewpoints, different disposable income, different levels of what many would define as “success”, but we all have a goal to share what’s burning deep down on the inside of us with anyone who’ll listen long enough.

Getting back to the drama thing, I’ve not seen this nation so divided in all the years I’ve spent here (which is almost 3 decades!) I’ve decided I’m not fighting anyone anymore on anything they feel the need to share. I only ask the same in return. I’m just going to state my case and then bow out gracefully as I look to see what they do with what I say. I’m half-done with my years and I’ve reached a time in my life when I’m more excited about the overtaker than the undertaker. (If you don’t understand, read Deuteronomy 28, verse 2 – trust me, you’ll understand.)

God told us again and again in His Word not to get caught up in petty disputes but to keep our eyes on eternal things. I really don’t care if the president ate one scoop of ice-cream or two: what I care deeply about is that hell is growing bigger and that precious souls are going there daily. Souls made in the image of the Father of all creation. His heart is breaking and I want to be a part of the solution, not the problem. Words are so powerful, and mankind uses them so indiscriminately. I’d rather heal than wound, every time. That’s why I write. To touch a soul. And perhaps change a heart. Maybe even make my Daddy smile, and plant eternal seeds in a hungry heart. That’s a goal worth pursuing, doncha think?

ps. This is a song that seems to pop into my brain at the most inopportune times…

He’s an on time God, yes He is! 🎶

My favorite part? (note of sarcasm there) “May not come when ya want Him…” Ain’t that the truth!

Kari, the excited-about-the-overtaker-girl

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