Kay's Blog

in Hope

Inside Out

Do you have authors that you love so much you read and re-read their books?


More than 20 years ago I read Inside Out by Larry Crabb and it changed my life. I know - such an over-used phrase - but it really did. I was 39 years old and frustrated by my inability to be the person I had always thought I would be. I was disappointed that I wasn't the wife I envisioned I'd be, wasn't the mother I dreamed of, and wasn't the mature Christian woman I expected to be. I had trouble controlling anger, found myself inwardly and sometimes outwardly expressing judgmental critiques of everyone else in my life, couldn't access the joy the Bible speaks of, and frankly, just wasn't as nice a person as I pretended to be.


On top of that, the family secrets that I had held onto for so long began to gnaw at my sense of well-being and depression settled in. Someone recommended Inside Out and I chose to study it with the small group of college girls I was leading. Wow. The insights started coming fast and furious - and it was as if I walked from darkness into light. Sentences like these riveted me: "Feeling disappointment puts us in touch with a thirst that only hope can satisfy. Hope is the antidote for disappointment and the demandingness it creates. When we know that every longing of our heart will one day be eternally completely satisfied, we learn to live without demanding anything now. People who embrace their hurt are able to pursue God more passionately."


And so I began pursuing God more passionately, more intensely, more earnestly. Not for answers to my prayers, my questions, or even for tangible things, but to know Him... to know Him and to be known BY Him. Over time, being intimately connected to God through prayer, meditation, and worship allowed for faith, hope, and love to thrive, and He began to slowly make the changes in my character, my behavior and in my motivations. Patterns and habits began to shift as He changed me from the inside out. That steady and slow work continues more than 20 years later - I'll never reach the place of perfection or total maturity - not here, anyway, and neither will you - but change is possible.


In this season of gratitude, I'm thankful today for Dr. Larry Crabb's books and the impact they have made on me, for the ways God has used his wisdom and insights to change me from the inside out. What authors have impacted you? Who do you need to read again?

Posted by Kay Warren with

I Know the Kind of People in Charleston, South Carolina

Growing up, I knew where I would be every Wednesday night. It didn’t matter if I was tired, or had a bad cold, or too much homework, or if it was raining cats and dogs. No matter. We were going to prayer meeting. In our small Southern Baptist Church where my dad was the pastor, prayer meeting was the gauge of the depth of commitment of someone’s faith. Anybody could come on Sunday morning; the committed came back Sunday night, and the true saints of God came on Wednesday nights. It almost always began with a potluck supper served on white butcher paper tablecloths. You could eat food from every region in the world in the fellowship hall of our church every Wednesday night – Americanized, of course – and no self-respecting potluck was complete without an outrageous variety of Jello salads that contained mystery ingredients, brown-n-serve rolls (why were those so tasty?) and vast quantities of homemade cakes, pies, and cookies.


Then came Girls in Actions (GAs) or Royal Ambassadors (RA) where girls and boys worked separately to become “kings” and “queens” through Bible memory and missionary activities while the adults listened to another sermon from the overworked pastor who hoped that somebody was listening to his hastily composed message. Choir rehearsal often followed the evening, but the highlight was the time of prayer for congregation. If attendance at Wednesday night prayer meeting was proof of true spirituality, then I grew up with saints.


There weren’t many younger couples with kids by the end of the service– they scooted out after the kids’ activities – but because I had to stay as long as my father did, I took many a late-night nap on hard pews, only vaguely listening to the older folks reciting their aches and pains needing prayer; their many “unspoken” requests, their tears falling as they whispered the names of prodigal husbands, sons and daughters. My dad patiently wrote each request in a notebook, and asked for volunteers to stand and pray for “Sister or Brother So and So’s need.”


I don’t know that we saw many miraculous healings or restored marriages or returned prodigals in our little church – but what I remember most was the faithfulness of the few who gathered each week, each one earnestly seeking God. I caught their pattern of looking to Him for help, guidance, healing, and strength when they were weak. They weren’t mighty heroes of the faith as some might define heroes, and while I can’t remember many of their names, my life was marked by their Christianity.


That’s one of the reasons I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach last night when I learned of the shootings in Charleston, South Carolina. I KNOW the kind of people that were in that sacred place of worship – they were probably the faithful intercessors there to support their church, their pastors and their fellow church members. They were likely the kind who could be counted on to be there regardless of weather, fatigue, illness, hardship, or cost. They were the pillars of the church. As a pastor’s daughter, and now the wife of a pastor, I wept for the loss of their beloved pastor – their shepherd committed to taking tender care of his flock. There is unfathomable sadness and anger that these committed brothers and sisters were murdered specifically because they were black. That they were murdered at a Wednesday night prayer meeting just adds one more poignant layer to the horrible crime.


Most of us are horrified and shocked and feel helpless to change systemic racism and I certainly don’t have a brilliant plan. God does. The church of Jesus Christ is the ONLY effective weapon I know of that can knock a hole in the ugliness and sin of racism. Multi-ethnic churches provide the opportunity for people to do life together – and when they do, barriers begin to fall and love can grow. My only hope is in the church – where all come together at the foot of the Cross, all equally in need of a Savior, and find forgiveness, restoration and recognition that we belong to the same Body of Christ. It’s Thursday, not Wednesday, but I’m praying.

Posted by Kay Warren with 1 Comments

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