Tuesday, December 23, 2008

opposite way.

I relate to this song in so many ways. It is greatly ministering to me right now. Particularly in this season of Advent.
Blessings all. The chains have been broken. We are set free. Our hope is here.

Living in the same town
For all these years
Doing the same old things
Hanging with the same crowd
And it’s starting to get crippling
You’ve never felt in place
And you tell yourself it’s all okay
But something’s different today
You want to run the opposite way

And it seems like you’re locked in a cage
And you need to find a way of escape
When everyone is setting the pace
It’s okay to run the opposite way

The Father sent His Son down
The light of men
The cross He bore was crippling
Rejected in His own town
They couldn’t see the sun shining
He knelt in the garden and prayed
Father, let this cup pass from me
It’s not Your will for me to stay
Your will for me is the opposite way

And it seemed like He was locked in a cage
And He couldn’t find away of escape
But through the cross He conquered the grave
My Jesus ran the opposite way

Oh, and through the cross He conquered the grave
Oh, He ran the opposite way
Yeah, through the cross He conquered the grave
So you could run the opposite way

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


My family and I spent Thanksgiving with a family we have long been friends with, but never have spent a holiday with. It was a welcomed change. What wonderful people they are. I felt so blessed to share such a meaningful holiday with them. They have a large family: 5 children, all of whom are married except for the youngest, Kelsey (who is recently engaged). Only Kelsey was able to celebrate with us, as the others are scattered across the country. Although I missed the others, it was nice for conversational purposes to have a smaller group. Their Nana and Papa were able to join us as well. I adore them. They are an incredible couple: married well over 50 years, they still have the spark. I only hope that one day I can experience the kind of love and respect they have for each other in my own relationship. Both of their lives reflect Christ's kindness and grace. They live their lives as mission.
Papa is extremely well-spoken and shared some heartfelt words at the dinner table. He speaks gospel folks. It's rad.
Of course in traditional Zimmermann, and apparently Sutherland fashion, we went around the table and each person shared what he/she was truly thankful for. It might be cheesy or a bit cliche, but I will speak straight truth and tell you that I love to do this. It always puts things in perspective, forced or not.
I am SO blessed.
I am surrounded by family and friends that love me unconditionally. As I have learned, especially this past year, that is rare. Not everyone has people to care for them in such an unselfish way. Not everyone has a family they look forward to spending time with. Not everyone knows what it means to feel loved.
Yet, what I am most thankful for, is the fact that even if I had no friends or family that loved me, and everything I had was taken from me, the Lord would still be holding me. He is enough. A God that loves without our effort. A God that never changes. A God that wants the greatest good for the worst sinner. How amazing it is that the Lord we serve is so all-encompassing that He alone can satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts. It overwhelms me.
I am moved by Paul's words to the Philippians, "But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord."

Lord, you are it. Nothing I have will amount to the joy and hope I find in You. Teach me to be humble. You deserve all my thanksgiving and praise.


Friday, November 7, 2008


...because sometimes we just need to do it. and listen to artists like louis armstrong. and let the lyrics bring us a peace and a innocence. because there is still good in the world. breathe in. breathe out.

I see trees of green........ red roses too
I see em bloom..... for me and for you
And I think to myself.... what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue..... clouds of white
Bright blessed days....dark sacred nights
And I think to myself .....what a wonderful world.

The colors of a rainbow.....so pretty ..in the sky
Are also on the faces.....of people ..going by
I see friends shaking hands.....sayin.. how do you do
Theyre really sayin......i love you.

I hear babies cry...... I watch them grow
Theyll learn much more.....than Ill never know
And I think to myself .....what a wonderful world

The colors of a rainbow.....so pretty ..in the sky
Are there on the faces.....of people ..going by
I see friends shaking hands.....sayin.. how do you do
Theyre really sayin...I ....love....you.

I hear babies cry...... I watch them grow
you know their gonna learn
A whole lot more than Ill never know
And I think to myself .....what a wonderful world
Yes I think to myself .......what a wonderful world.

Monday, November 3, 2008

not my will but Yours.

The Lord is so sovereign it’s out of control. But seriously, it is so out of control. No matter how many times I try to take that control away, His sovereignty takes over and I fall flat on my face. I am so thankful for that. I create a mess and He picks up the pieces. Right now I have a major decision to make. I have an opportunity to do an internship overseas with an international church in Aix en Provence. It sounds incredible. My heart wants nothing more than to go somewhere different- out of context, out of culture, out of my comfort zone. Yet, my mind gets logical and I start to worry about my finances and the probability of an opportunity like that. I have been on my knees about it for awhile, and I know it will take more patience and prayer. I need confirmation before intimidation. If the Lord wants me there I know He will get me there. I have to push my fear aside and allow the Lord to lead me. The other night He put Jeremiah 29:11 on my heart: “For I know the plans I have for you” , declares the Lord. “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
You know what? I can live with that.
Praise the Lord for His constant comfort, as I wait in patience for His direction.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I am continually asking the Lord, “Where do you want me to go”? It is a question that seems to float into a deep dark void yielding no answer. Perhaps it is the “go” that is the problem…or the “where”. I’ll take out both and keep it more simple: “Lord, do you want me?” If His answer is yes, my response is submission. A recognition of our true identity changes everything. If I am the Lord’s, what does this mean for my life? Is my primary concern the “where”? Or is it the “who”? I am a woman created in the image of a Sovereign God. That is who I am. That is what God wants me to claim. If I strive for that, perhaps everything else will fall into place. The “who” will lead to the “where”. If I am unsure of myself, how much more will I be of my future?

Jesus, fill me with your wisdom. You have set your seal upon my heart. Allow me to discover my identity as a child of the Father and a member of the Body.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

the element of surprise

The dictionary's definition of surprise is "to strike or occur to with a sudden feeling of wonder or astonishment, as through unexpectedness." I love that. There is no better word to describe my current state-of-being. The Lord has me right where He wants me: in a posture of surprise.
He illuminates each step as I need it, but the path is unknown. As a person without much patience, uncertainty has been a hard thing to surrender. However, particularly in these past few months, God has made it clear that uncertainty creates complete dependecy on Him. Makes sense doesn't it? What a relief that we do not have to rely on ourselves. I've already learned the hard way concerning that matter. No thanks. I'd rather be in a euphoric state of expectency. Waiting for the Lord to work. Results are always better when He has the control.
Recently He has made it clear that I am to stay in the Tacoma area for awhile. To be quite honest this had me stupefied. I have felt a call toward the Portland area for a long time. Yet, right before I made the trek, the Lord made it very clear I'm to stay right where I am. I do feel like the stay is temporary. There is a reason I am supposed to be here right now. I have not figured that out just yet, but I feel like there is a very specific purpose. So now I wait for clarity on that. I'm not sure just how clear it will be of course. Sometimes we don't realize the purpose behind something until much later. Sometimes we are just a small part of a much larger picture.
We do not always see the fruit of our labor. We simply have to remind ourselves that what the Lord begins, He also finishes. We are the seed-planters. He is the gardener.
I believe in the truth of God's word. Philippians 1:6 explains,"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."
I can live with that.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

inner angst

It's been awhile since my last post. It's not that I have not had the time, but I have felt wary about writing, thus have purposefully held off.
I am in a major transitional period in my life. I have moved back home to the not-so-familiar lifestyle of pre-college Karli. Although not permanent, post-college Karli is struggling to adapt. It is not the place I left four years ago as a wide-eyed college freshman. Of course. Naturally things change, as they should.
Puyallup, as a city, feels the same to me. It is not the place. It is not my neighborhood, my church, nor my family that seem different. It is me. It is my situation.
I feel like I'm hovering in limbo. I am in this strange midway place, playing the bystander. I'm not doing much, I'm just the idle observer.
I'm not sure what to do. I'm not sure how to apply myself here. Yet, I can't justify my inaction. I preach that life is a mission. That we are 'sent' people and God will use us wherever we are. But here I am, feeling purposeless, when I know that God can use me in middle-class America just as much as He can use me in Portland working with street youth. I am starting to fear that I have become too cynical. A healthy dose of cynicism can be effective. However, I feel like it is keeping my from plugging in here, because I'm waiting for something better. The "perfect" ministry, or more effective ministry in my eyes. I feel called to the poor, the homeless, and the forgotten. Yet, if I can't find ways to minister in Puyallup, how will I effectively minister in Portland? Or wherever God leads me for that matter? The Lord is never idle. He is always moving. He can use me here too....if I allow Him.
Perhaps this transitional period is the most important period of my life. Perhaps God is going to teach me things here I never expected. He has certainly been revealing things in me that I need to change. My pride being a huge factor.
Pride is a dangerous demon. It has an easy way of disguising itself. We do not easily recognize it in us, because we take pride in the fact that we are not prideful. Often we act humble as a way to pride ourselves in our humility. Christians do this very easily. It is not that we cannot be genuinely humble, but we have to check our motives.
Evagrius Ponticus (I think I'm drawn to his name more than his writings...), a Greek author of the fourth century, warns:

"The demon of pride is the cause of the most damaging fall for the soul. For it induces him to deny that God is his helper and to consider that he himself is the cause of virtuous actions. Further, he gets a big head in regard to the brethren, considering them stupid because they do not all have this same opinion of him" (The Praktikos).

I'll be honest. I struggle with this. I know the only way to fight it is through rebuke and brokenness. Continual rebuke and brokenness from the Lord. A scary thing to ask for, but entirely necessary for growth.
My recent revelation? I am easily convicted, but am not so quick to act on those convictions. What good is conviction without action? This looming question has resulted in the pause of my blog writings. I can write and write, but unless I can say I am doing something about my convictions it seems pointless and self-righteous.
My goal cannot be places. "WHEN I get here I will start this...", or "Once I get a job with this organization I can...". My goal has to be people, reaching whomever I can, wherever I am. Christ asks us to follow. If I am doing that, I am doing God's will. (Note to self: you just wrote that, so maybe start believing it).

I decided I would start writing again to free my mind. For those that do not know me, I am a verbal processor. It's easier for me to get these thoughts out of my head and onto a page. I do ask that my close friends and family keep me accountable. A righteous rebuke every now and then is a healthy thing. Have at it. Please.

I want to preach through my actions. Father, help me.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

painful truth

"My dad's mean, but at least he didn't hit or choke my mom when he was with her like my mom's new boyfriend does." These words from the mouth of a 10 year-old neighborhood girl I walked home today. A beautiful, bright, chipper, African-American sweetheart. At such a young age her innocence is slowly stripped away by harsh realities. She has already experienced more darkness in the past decade of her life than I have in two.
My heart breaks. Not only because of her situation, but because her story is only one of many.
It overwhelms me. Partly because I never had to face that kind of hardship. How can I possibly respond to something so difficult for my mind to truly grasp? How can I even attempt to make a difference in these kids' lives?
Sometimes I feel hopeless. Then I feel guilty for feeling hopeless about the hopelessness I see. Perhaps the problem is that I'm trying too hard to relate. The truth is, the only common ground I may ever find with another person is our desperate need for Jesus Christ. I guess that is all that matters.
I have experienced the love of our Savior. That is a message that brings hope. It ministers by itself.

Use me where you see fit Lord, not where I see fit.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

a continuing struggle...

I am trying not to fear what the Lord is placing so heavily upon me. My heart is burdened for the Western church. I want to see change. Sure, there are some great steps being made, but overall I am dissatisfied. Some people argue that there is no perfect church. True, if they are referring to the church as an institution. Church as an institution brings disunity in the Body. It separates us by tradition, denomination, rules, and politics. It becomes a country club.
Church as a Body unites believers together with Christ as the head: brothers and sisters made perfect in Jesus' image. A Church made perfect by the blood of our Savior. A Body that lives in freedom, and longs to share it with those in bondage. A Church that moves and breathes. A Church that recognizes its universality.
The Western church must think outside of its walls. It must claim its identity in the Body. It must completely surrender control and place Christ at the head to direct and guide. Perhaps that is the problem of the church today: a lack of surrender.
Is this not an issue of obedience? Are we listening to the Spirit's whisper? Upon whom do we rely?
There are weighty questions we must address, but we often avoid them out of fear that our flaws will be exposed.
Once I began to ask these questions, God stirred in me a desperation for change in the Western church.
This desire intimidates me. Change is no small task. It is a process that I must devote my life to. I am aware of the path God has set before me, but am cautious to start walking.
Some days I want to abandon this passion. Some days I feel like giving up, and moving to a place like Kenya where the persecuted Church is thriving- a Church that recognizes their need for the Lord.
I tire of the complacency I feel here. I tire of a Church distracted by comfort and pleasures. I tire of a faith that is put on the back burner. Yet, because of these things I feel all the more sure of my call to the States, and I long for something different. Something greater.
Frustration can lead to more bitterness, or it can inspire a pro-active solution. I'm hoping for the latter.
Lord, I'm broken and ill-equipped. Give me strength. Give me vision.

Isaiah 58

Monday, June 16, 2008

the capital "C" Church

Last summer I went to Kenya. To say it was life-changing is an understatement. It wrecked me. It introduced me to a radical faith I'd never known before. The experience teaches me lessons still today.
I'm sure these blogs will have finger prints of my time in Kenya as I continue to write. Here is a journal entry I thought I would share that I wrote while debriefing in Nairobi - days before we flew back home to the States. It was during this time that God began to really put the Church on my heart, and this passion continues to intensify. I'm daily trying to discover what the Lord wants me to do with this renewed passion for the Body. I desperately want to surrender to His will. Why is that a daily struggle for me? Praise God for His patience and grace.

Kenya- Journal Entry: 7/31/07

I feel that the biggest problem with Christianity in the U.S. is that while people believe in God, they lack a dependency on God.
Most Christians I've met here in Kenya have no choice but to rely on the Lord. There are no fancy hospitals to go to when they're sick, no fancy house to call home, no idea when their next meal will be, and work is hard to come by.
They truly believe and trust that the Lord will provide...and He does. They have an unwavering faith, and in faith, God works.
Jesus tells us, "Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the Kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 19:23).
For those who have wealth, dependency easily focuses inward. Comfortable living is a dangerous thing. The Almighty becomes a teddy bear. He comforts, loves, forgives, and blesses. He is no more than a close friend.
The Lord is bigger than that.
He wants us to see Him as our Provider. He wants us to fear Him, and Him only.
"Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf" (Proverbs 11:28). Those who do have riches should use them for God's glory rather than their own. The church in Acts understood this concept. "There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need" (Acts 4:34-35). Those who had plenty provided for those who had none. If a family was without food, the entire community would fast until they were fed.
The book of Acts is not a story of the past as much as it is instructions for the present. We are called to live in community.
"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world" (James 1:27). We are called to care. We are called to love. If Jesus really meant what he said when he commanded us to "love our neighbor as ourself", then no one should be living on the streets. No one should fall asleep at night with an empty stomach, or a shivering body.
Church, it is time to be the Church. We are not an institution. We are a people. A Body of believers. Why do we hesitate? The time is now. For a culture that is so impatient, why do we wait?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

reality check

I ponder the dual nature of our beings. Our flesh cries out for things of this world, while our soul cries out for things greater than the pleasures of this earth. Our heart pants for the Lord, but our body keeps us grounded. Our selfish desires battle God's will for our life. Our flesh makes its home here, while our soul longs to be home with the Father. We are torn between two realities, one more truer than the other. Yet, the one that is truer can be harder to see as it forces us to look beyond ourselves and the present reality we live in.
Why do we hold so tightly to things that are fleeting, rather than things that are eternal? Why do we fear the unknown when we live in the unknown? God is the truest reality there is. It is Him only that we should trust. Trusting in this unstable and changing world will only lead to more confusion. It will leave us empty and hopeless. We must look beyond the answers of the flesh, and see with Kingdom eyes.
As the great C.S. Lewis once said, "If i find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that i was made for another world."

Home is calling us.

Hebrews 11:13

Thursday, June 12, 2008

an imperative privilege

I have grown up as a Christian. Pause. I have not actually figured out if I like to use that word. There are far too many connotations behind it. Good and bad. That blog will come later. Perhaps it is best for me to say I have grown up with a faith in Jesus Christ. Of course it has changed dramatically over the years, but nonetheless, it has been with me since I can remember.
For years I have reflected at how blessed I am to have been raised in the faith while others struggle to find it, and some never do.
It was not until I grew older that I recognized the great responsibility this places on me. I was not given this faith to keep to myself. The one with the lights shines it for those in darkness. I was given a heart that beats for Christ and a mouth to confess that He is Lord. This is not news you keep quiet.
My duty is to proclaim. Peter and John understood this: "For we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard" (Acts 4:20). They did not shove it down people's throats. They did not force their faith on anyone. They simply spoke of their experience because it was great. Their witness to God's goodness was enough. It was powerful.
They knew the call that Christ had placed on their hearts. They understood the urgency to awaken sleeping souls. They devoted themselves to spreading of the Gospel. The were bound to Christ Jesus- a bondage that gave freedom.

Proverbs 3:27-28
Do not withhold good from those who deserve it,
when it is in your power to act.
Do not say to your neighbor, "Come back later; I'll give it tomorrow"-
when you now have it with you.

II Timothy 3:14-15
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
II Timothy 4:1-5
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

...well. I'm convicted.

love all. serve all.