A Modern Parable: Stay Connected to the Power Source

There once was a state-of-the-art iron with all the bells and whistles available on the market – and then some.  There was just one problem on this day:  try as she might, she couldn’t get any wrinkles out the clothes placed in front of her.  After much frustration, angst, and inner turmoil, she finally noticed that her cord wasn’t plugged in.  She realized the reason she wasn’t hot anymore was because she was no longer connected to her power source.

When she reconnected, steam poured out, she whisked through piles of clothes, and was able to fulfill her manufacturer’s given purpose.  Instead of just looking like an iron, she was functioning, performing, and executing exactly as she was supposed to – a top-of-the-line iron.

 Do you ever have days when you feel like that iron did?  When you look the part but are unable to deliver?  Reconnect to your Source of power and see the difference staying connected makes.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

(John 15:5, NIV)

* This is whimsical because anyone who knows me understands that I advocate wrinkle-free fabrics so I can avoid using irons as much as possible…and it’s ironic that my grandfather actually owned a dry cleaning and alterations shop…maybe that gene didn’t get passed to me!  But when God speaks, who am I to edit Him?  🙂

© Copyright 2010 by Kayren J. Cathcart

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To Tell the Tooth

“Mom, I’m ready for this tooth to come out!  Can you pull it, please?”  Ugh!  I was so proud that Friday night’s gourmet grilled cheese dinner with carrot sticks and celery spears was finished, both children were bathed, and things were going smoothly until my reverie was interrupted by reality.  Why do I always have to be the one to pull this child’s loose tooth?  I had a flashback to the last time this happened during our tightly-orchestrated morning routine.  I survived – actually with flying colors; we even stayed on schedule!  It reminded me that mothers can do anything and miracles still happen every day. 

This time I tried a little psychology to postpone the inevitable.  “Did you ask Mr. Tooth if he’s ready to come out?”  Uh huh.  (Of course he’d say that; I’d better try something else).  “What did he say?”  He said ‘yes.’  “Well, I didn’t hear him say anything; are you sure?”  Yes!  Note to self: Rationalization doesn’t work real well with almost-seven year-olds.

So I hunkered down and summoned the strength that only God can give (because we all know there’s no such thing as the “tooth fairy” – no matter what they may have told you…sorry to burst any bubbles here).  Wielding the magnifying mirror so my son could witness being the science project of the hour, I got some spare cotton from a bottle of vitamins, folded it over, and told him to count to three.  On cue, out came the tiny baby tooth.  The cotton plugged the fresh red hole.  My son was beaming.  I guess I’m a heroine, and I’ve just earned an honorary DDS.  All is well.  God is gracious and kind.  And Daddy will be home soon…

“For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.”

(Proverbs 8:7)

 My Son’s Bedtime Prayer Tonight:

“Dear God, thank You for my tooth that came out, and for the tooth that will grow back…”  That just about sums it up.  Whenever something is taken away, something else – often better, stronger, and permanent – is added.  May we all find comfort in the tooth of this matter…uh, I mean truth.  🙂

© Copyright 2010 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Buildup and Residue

I was so very warm, cozy, and super comfy in the bed when I muttered to myself, “Must – pass – test.”  See, staying in the bed either when summoned by inspiration to write or when nudged by the Holy Spirit to pray were two areas I’d seriously slacked in.  However, that is not a testimony of excellence…so here I am.  I’ve got to get rid of that residue from the way I “used to” do business.

While getting my hair fixed recently, I saw for myself the impact of product buildup.  The lady in the chair next to me was afflicted by hairspray residue causing a mass of fine flakes that I thought looked like dandruff.  Yes, it looked really bad on the black cape that draped her shoulders.  As the stylist educated her (while I eavesdropped), I began to wonder what it looks like on the inside when we let things build up without getting rid of them over time.  If we don’t wash the junk away regularly, it will accumulate.  So it is with our hearts.  If we allow negative thoughts – or just “plain ol’ sin” in general – to build up, eventually we’re going to explode. 

Real-life examples of residue include oil particulates left in a pan you just washed; egg fragments stuck on a spatula that just ran through the dishwasher; malice, unforgiveness, hurt, bitterness, anger, and anything left over from the old fleshly life (attitudes included).  Gasoline commercials warn that buildup on a car’s engine will slow its performance and impede its peak operating effectiveness.  Why wouldn’t it be so with our hearts?  It is.

“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.

Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

(James 4:8)

© Copyright 2010 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Stop Travelling a Dead-End Escape Route

Have you ever tried hiding from your thoughts?  Eventually:

  1. You’ll run out of breath,
  2. They’ll get better technology and overtake you, or
  3. You’ll realize the exercise in futility and stop running – because they’ll always be with you until you deal with them.

 Come to think of it, have I ever really drawn a line in the sand about my eating habits?  Yes, but it was over 10 years ago.  I always want to leave a way out, an escape route, a “Plan B” just in case it doesn’t work out, but that’s a cop-out.  There is no instant fix for replacing unhealthy habits to healthy habits aside from commitment to a lifestyle transformation – and making it happen.  There, I said it.  So now I’m accountable.  Here I go…once again, but I am going in the right direction.

Maybe overeating or under-exercising aren’t your weaknesses.  Perhaps you don’t have any cravings or addictions to speak of, but you hold bitterness, unforgiveness, or anger in your heart.  I challenge you to face whatever holds you back from serving God whole-heartedly – and ask Him to help you to be an overcomer in that area, too.  We want to be balanced (physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially) – instead of looking successful and prosperous on the outside, but in actuality being “tore up from the floor up” on the inside.  Let the journey begin…with Christ as our only way of escape.

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

(I Corinthians 10:13)

© Copyright 2010 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Facing the Intuitively Obvious

Why is it so challenging to stay the course when distracted?  Someone else may be permitted to do something that’s not really good for you – but that’s no excuse to join in indulging with them, no matter how close they are to you.

For example, I hear (through my closed bedroom door) the familiar sound of my healthy, nicely-proportioned, not overweight husband getting his pre-bedtime snack.  I hear the click of the dishwasher opening as he reaches for his favorite bowl, the sliding of the drawer to get an eating utensil, and the beeps of the microwave.  Even if I’m not hungry, these sounds trigger behavior that has contributed to me gaining an extra 40+ pounds over the past decade.  At first, late night eating was fun, and joining my spouse with a snack became a habit – a calorie-rich habit.  Now I see that because I wasn’t disciplined enough to make healthier choices, I’m paying for it now.  Ugh.  (Trust me, I didn’t wanna get that real, but in order to make a change, you’ve gotta identify the root cause of the issue and isolate the problem). 

Action-oriented people ask me, “So what are you gonna do about it?”  Instead of seething or having a grossly underattended pity-party, I may as well face the reality of my genetic predisposition to the “magnetic middle area” and not only decrease my food intake, but get moving.  I feel like a broken record because I’ve started and stopped exercise routines more times than I care to count.  So did that cause disappointment?  Yeah, but I didn’t stick to it.  But “it” wasn’t clearly defined (subconsciously or deliberately) so I could give myself an “out” when I failed…talk about defeatist thinking!  Now I can no longer afford to pay the price for failure.  So this is what it means to embrace change, eh?  Hello to a new day and a new way…

“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient:

all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.”

(I Corinthians 10:23)

© Copyright 2010 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Friend or Foe?

When you don’t release what’s inside, there’s an unnatural flow and process is hindered.  Watching other people live their dreams (for example, watching hours of reality shows like I did over a long weekend) is ridiculous when you’re stagnating as a result of your own choices, actions, or as it may conversely be, inaction.  No doubt, it’s easy not to change, not to rock the boat, not to push the envelope.  But what has God called us to?  Being transformed by the renewing of our minds through Christ Jesus.

Personal accountability:  I didn’t wanna be put on blast because of what I wasn’t doing, so I thought I could just fade into the woodwork…I mean really, how many people have already read all 40+ of my previous blog entries?  Yet a sister asked me yesterday, “When are you gonna update your blog?”  At first my mind raced defensively, “I started the blog during a 2-week vacation when I wasn’t at work, didn’t have to drive the “mommy bus,” and had time to be alone with my thoughts.”  But all of those so-called reasons were just excuses I was trying to hide behind.  And this sista wouldn’t let me (you know who you are, Tiffy!  LOL).  So I guess I owe her a thank you for telling me the truth.  That’s what a true friend does.  She helped me get back into position and be who God called me, not who I think I am or feel like at a given moment due to circumstances.

And it all comes back to being tested by the Word.  I did just speak about obedience a few days ago, didn’t I?  Big ol’ bull’s-eye on my back like a bright red target…I’d better get it right this time!  It’s reassuring to know I’m not in this alone.

“A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

(Proverbs 17:17)

© Copyright 2010 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Loss or Gain?

I never connected to Philippians 3 like this before.  Who wants to say that their past accomplishments and accolades no longer count and are worth diddly-squat?  It’s not human nature to acknowledge that I have no righteousness of my own, but I must win Christ and be found in Him.  I certainly breezed past those “fellowship of His sufferings” and “being made conformable unto His death” parts.  Death sounded mighty final – because IT IS.  Death – not sexy, not glamorous, but unavoidable, certain, and inescapable.  The portal through which I must pass to gain His life – life eternal.

My pastor recently told us to allow God to “blow some things up in us,” things that have been entrenched and deep-seated.  Detonation’s after-effects are destruction.  Who wants to go rummaging and rambling through rubble attempting to salvage the past?  In that respect, I suppose it’s just easier to start over again.  This level of self-disclosure is getting painfully more uncomfortable.  It was already beyond my control, but now everything is open season.  Why?  Because God will get the return on His investment.  If He put me here in the earth and gave me a specific assignment, I’d better get to getting’.  Hear that?  It’s the sound of the rubber meeting the road.

The suffering of the multitudes impacted by the Haitian earthquake has been prominently displayed in the news – and rightfully so.  Hopefully, it has provoked us to intense gratitude for what we already have…so much.  My prayer is that His perfect will be made manifest even in the midst of what seems to be a desolate and overwhelming situation.  He comes through in extraordinary times like this, you know!

“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.”

(Philippians 3:7)

© Copyright 2010 by Kayren J. Cathcart