Kay's Blog

Say 'Yes' to God

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Following the Women’s Event on January 17, 2019, I’ve been hearing incredibly moving stories of women who really took to heart Jesus’ words in Mark 8:34. Many have chosen to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow him – to become dangerously surrendered, seriously disturbed and gloriously ruined for the sake of Jesus. Many of you “did business with God!”


But I’ve also been told of women who almost immediately encountered very hard things – painful challenges to the commitments they had just made – and that might cause some of you to feel anxious or unsettled.


 So let’s review some of the key principles we spoke of together a few weeks ago.


#1 If you’ve recently encountered evil, it didn’t come from God, and it’s not because you made a new surrender of yourself to God. Remember we said that God is GOOD and can be trusted completely.


Psalm 107:1 (NIV) “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”


Ps. 145:9 (NLT) “The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation.”


He is NOT up in Heaven waiting to squish you like a bug for saying yes to Him. In fact, if anything, he moves in even closer in intimacy, thrilled that one of his children desires to be closer to him.


Jeremiah 29:12-14 (NET Bible) When you call out to me and come to me in prayer, I will hear your prayers. When you seek me in prayer and worship, you will find me available to you. If you seek me with all your heart and soul, I will make myself available to you,’ says the Lord.


#2 You have an enemy who DOES want to discourage you and will fight you at every turn. While God applauds your commitments, Satan hates them. John Eldridge says, “The story of your life is a long and brutal assault on your heart by the one who knows what you could be and fears it.” Satan is evil – and he brings evil in this world. Beth Moore says, “Evil will come because evil will come” – not because you surrendered any part of yourself to God in a new way. Don’t allow evil and hard times to make you second guess your decisions, or start withholding parts or yourself again in response.


1 Pet. 5:8 (NIV) Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.


This is one of the reasons why you need to be closely connected to a church, to a small group, and to like-minded Christians. We can support each other through prayer, worship, studying God’s Word and sharing our real lives. Not just the happy, perfect, it’s going well parts, but the struggles, the hurts, the fears, the questions, the doubts, and the thoughts of giving up.


#3 Being seriously disturbed is uncomfortable! That’s kind of the point! Most of us are used to arranging life to be comfortable for us. Being seriously disturbed means you can’t live with the status quo anymore in any area of your life – and that’s going to rock the boat.  It can rock the boat relationally; in your career; in how you spend your time and money; what is important to you now; what you want to talk about; what you value.


We’ve been given so much… and God expects a lot of us in return


Luke 12:48 (TLB) “…Much is required from those to whom much is given, for their responsibility is greater.”


#4 Becoming gloriously ruined is a process. It comes as a RESULT of the first two commitments. If you make a dangerous surrender of yourself to God and you allow him to seriously disturb you about injustice, evil in the world, and suffering, eventually you will become gloriously ruined. It doesn’t happen in a snap of the fingers or a one-time prayer moment at a women’s event. It becomes a way of life – and that takes time. Over a period of time, you’ll start to see how you’ve changed and you’ll realize you are not the same person you used to be. You’ll become more like Christ!


2 Cor. 3:18 (TLB) But we Christians have no veil over our faces; we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him.


If you’d like further explore any of these topics, please read, Say Yes to God. I wrote it in 2007 after God called me to be a global advocate for people living with HIV&AIDS and for orphans and vulnerable children. I’ve also updated a study guide that goes along with the book to use in a small group study. You can find the book, the study guide, and free 30 days of video devotionals at KayWarren.com/SayYesToGod.

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Sitting on the Edge of Hell

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Hundreds of people have asked me how to help their loved one – particularly an adolescent or young adult child – who is living with severe mental illness and/or substance use disorder. They have a similar look in their eyes, a similar expression on their faces, a similar weariness that seems to come from their bones. Many weep – mostly against their will, because these brave mamas and dads have steeled themselves to not break down in public AGAIN over the anguish they feel for their beloved sons and daughters who are barely holding on, cycling through repeated “episodes,” relapses, jail time, rehab, hospitalizations, ODs and suicide attempts. These dear parents are doing all they know to do; have done it for years….decades…..and will do it until their last breath. They recognize that severe mental illness often leaves families with untenable choices: there are few “good” options, only “bad” and “worse.”


But some parents go even further in what they ask me. A few manage to cobble together THE question through tight lips that can barely form words, or in emotion-laden paragraphs via email. “Can you help me face the reality that my son/daughter may not survive much longer?”


My initial word to these terrified parents is “I'm honored that you asked me - and I’m so very sad that you even have to give it a thought.”


I remember the first time I allowed myself to wonder if Matthew was going to make it. I wanted to extinguish the thought as quickly and unbidden as it had come, as if somehow by my even considering the terrible thought it could make it happen. I remember the thousand times after that when fear and anxiety and the reality of his determination to die flooded my brain with utter helplessness. Sometimes I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t relax. I couldn’t project positive outcomes. I know this place; I remember it too well. So, to any of you mamas and daddies in this terrible place of fear for your beloved son or daughter, here are my thoughts.


I call the place you find yourself "sitting on the edge of Hell."


It's the place where you as a mom stare down the enemy trying to destroy your child and know that your superpowers are not enough to guarantee your child’s survival. Your love may not be enough to save him. Your hours of anguished, fervent prayer may not be enough to save her. Your tears may not be enough. Your money may not be enough. Your carefully thought through, researched and detailed plans may not be enough. There is hardly any place worse as a parent who adores a child and yet recognizes the enemy is relentless and cruel and implacable.


Some parents are advised by professionals, family and friends to disengage emotionally - to choose "compassionate detachment" toward their loved one. I was given that advice. I rejected it out of hand. I mean, it sounds reasonable in a textbook or on paper or in a clinical setting. It's reasonable, perhaps, for a clinician who must build layers of protection against the pain of losing clients who die while in their practice. For their own well-being and ability to last as a clinician, they might need to find ways to emotionally disconnect from patients or clients so that work doesn’t follow them home. Adult children tasked with caring for mentally ill parents or siblings might need to find ways to emotionally separate themselves a bit for their own survival.


But parents?


How do parents tell their hearts to stop caring? How do you tell your heart to sit by and merely OBSERVE? How do you tell your heart "it's up to him?" How do you tell your heart to give up on hope? How do you tell your heart not to mourn over what mental illness and addiction are doing to your much-longed for, much-prayed for, much-beloved child? How do you tell your heart not to ache or be ripped apart by his illness? How do you tell your heart to let her go?


I couldn't do it.


So, I chose the path that left my heart completely defenseless to hurt, pain and anguish. I chose the path that discarded self-protection in favor of remaining soft and tender, exposed and vulnerable. I chose to suffer alongside of Matthew, feeling his hurt, feeling his anguish, feeling his despair, fighting the hopelessness that engulfed him rather than sit on the sidelines, with my heart encased in a steel-lined box. I chose to believe in the God of Angel Armies.....the God who parted the Red Sea....the God who releases prisoners from behind iron bars......the God who makes a way in the desert.....the God who is the champion of lost causes......the God who walked on water......the God who made the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the lame to walk......the God who rose from the dead by his own power. I knew that if I ever gave up hope, Matthew would sense the change in me and would fling himself even more earnestly into the pursuit of death. 


So I kept on believing, kept on hoping, kept on asking for a miracle, kept praying Scripture, kept begging others to pray as fervently as we were.


I knew Matthew could die. For years we lived with the knowledge that any given day could be THE day he couldn't fight any longer. I wasn't stupidly naïve or ridiculously convinced God would deliver. I just knew He could, and I would ask Him to do it until either HE delivered Matthew here on this earth or welcomed him home sooner than we expected.


So, to my fellow fearful mamas and dads - do what you're doing. Accept the excruciating possibility that your child will not live very much longer. Pray like a crazy woman on your face before God and ask everyone you meet to pray with you for a miraculous intervention of God. And keep your heart open and soft and tender so that your son or daughter never has to wonder what God is really like. Yes, it will hurt you more NOW. But if something should ever happen, you will know without a shadow of a doubt that you never withheld your heart from him. 


My heart is heavy for you as I write....for your child.....for your marriage.....for your other children. Yet I cannot give up hope. I will not give up hope. There is always hope.

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