Unsatisfied Thirst

When I think of being hungry or thirsty, my mind goes to one thought, “never satisfied.” It’s annoying really. We have to eat and drink fluids or we die. Somehow, the body is never satisfied. We fill it knowing we will continue to be thirsty.

The Samaritan woman in the Bible felt that frustration of nagging thirst. In John 4 (NIV), Jesus goes to a well, tired and thirsty, and asks the Samaritan woman approaching the well for a drink.

Hunger and Thirst Sarah Clews“The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”

“But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?”

Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again.  But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

Jesus is offering the gift of eternal lifethe chance to never be thirsty again—the chance to be satisfied!

Hunger and thirst can be a metaphor for the constant striving we call life on Earth. We’re always hungry for something more. Sometimes we look for it in community, hungry for human connection. To find no friend can love us enough to fill the longing in our hearts. Sometimes we look for it in pleasure, hungry for more fun. Yet it’s so dissatisfying. No sooner is the vacation over, then we are longing for the next one. Sometimes we look for it in money, always looking for that higher paying job. This quote by Will Rogers is hauntingly true, “What’s considered enough money? Just a little bit more.”

Sarah Clews Hunger and ThirstCommunity, pleasure, money—none of these are inherently bad. But getting more of them will always leave us empty. They won’t satisfy our souls. When we look for satisfaction in the temporary, we’ll always be disappointed. I must know in my heart that I’ll only find full satisfaction in heaven and in my relationship with the Divine Creator.

For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.”- Psalm 107:9

Being in the presence of Jesus, that’s an amazing thing to look forward to. Satisfaction is out there, but it won’t be found without him! When I draw near to God, my hunger and thirst are sated. He isn’t disappointing. He is forever. His love is perfect. His gifts are good.

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”-Psalm 16:11

sarah-c-squareSarah Clews loves being the wife of Carson and mother to three little girls. She received her degree in English from Corban University and still loves the craft of writing. She also helps her husband run a martial arts school. In her free time, Sarah enjoys talking with grown ups (!), finding new authors, doing online research, and reading her favorite childhood stories to her girls.


Manna from Heaven

My family has three character-filled dogs that traipse across our home’s floors and our hearts. Two of the three are miniature dachshunds, with two-inch legs and bigger-than-life personalities. Whenever any of the humans of the house are in the kitchen, you can guarantee the two short canines are in the vicinity, waiting for what I like to call “Manna from Heaven.” Scraps of vegetables, crumbs of bread—anything that drops, the doxies are close by to claim their treat.

The real manna from Heaven was a little different. The Israelites found themselves in the wilderness of Sin, between Elim and Sinai. They were bitter and full of distraught- Moses and Aaron had led them to a land they wished not to go. God’s chosen people voiced their frustration and even wished to have died in Egypt—where meat pots and fluffy, hot-from-the-oven-leavened-bread was plentiful (See Exodus 16).

God, in His glorious wisdom, let Moses know that He’d be raining bread from Heaven. The Israelites were to gather their daily portion, except for the sixth day—on this day these dear people were to collect a double portion in order to honor the Sabbath or holy day of rest. Moses and Aaron relayed the information to the Israelites, and naturally, some were greedy. They gathered too much manna, and it ended up rotting and covered in worms. God quickly put an end to this excess, and the people of Israel learned to take only what they needed.

Manna, as described in Exodus 16, was like coriander seed, came white in color, and tasted like wafers made with honey. This bread from Heaven was thin, and based upon caloric reasoning alone, shouldn’t have sustained the Israelites. But it did! For forty years the people of Israel accumulated manna in the morning, eating their fill and feeling satisfied for that day. The people of Israel also took two liters of manna and filled a jar to rest in the ark of the covenant. This jar was a reminder to show future generations the faithfulness of  God’s provision.mannafromheaven

What strikes me most about this passage, manna from heaven, is how God provided for the people He loved. He didn’t provide His people with nutrient-deficient food, causing the Israelites to overindulge and still feel unsatisfied. He bestowed a perfect daily blessing to His people—just enough and always in the morning as He promised.

As I think about my own life and my own wilderness that I am navigating through, I remember my own perfect daily blessing: knowing and loving Jesus. Jesus is always enough and never too much. He sustains me; He provides for me. He won’t leave me, nor forsake me. I am most satisfied in my life when Jesus is at the center of it. I need not fear what tomorrow will bring because He goes before me and behind me and provides a way for me (see Deuteronomy 31:8). girlindesertWhen I begin to complain or feel distraught, I need to center my life upon God’s perfect gift, Jesus. He will satiate every longing, and bring a peace that surpasses understanding.

sarah-dohman-squareSarah Dohman is a nurse, kayak enthusiast, coffee addict, microbrew lover, globe trotter, adorer of friends and family. She has a weakness for donuts, runs in 5k races, and cannot get enough tea and books. She loves writing more than talking (and she talks a lot), can be seen at Target frequently, and is loving life in her thirties. She believes God has called her to this space to bring joy and encouragement through words to friends and family, near and far. You can find more from Sarah at her blog or on Instagram.


Prioritizing Hunger and Thirst

Author: Karly Grant

Recently I had one of those hard/sweet times with God as He has graciously showed me some of the areas in my life where I am hungering and thirsting after other desires instead of Him and His Word. Some of these areas may appear to be good things on the outside, but inwardly they are at war with the place that belongs to God alone. Sadly, he hasn’t been number one overall. As things that I took for granted have been stripped away, my need for God is causing my Spirit to growl. I’m being renewed and reminded that He is truly all I need.

So what has been so distracting? Let’s start with actual, physical hunger and thirst. For the first time in my adult life, I find myself unemployed and waiting on God to provide a place to live as I take steps of faith that He has called me to take. My moving date has come and gone, and all the pieces I thought would be in place have still not revealed themselves, so I am waiting. However, waiting has a cost.

Hunger and Thirst Karly GrantGrowing up, I was taught to be independent. Suddenly, I find myself with no income, and honestly, some days, not knowing where my next meal is going to come from or if bills will be paid. I don’t like to ask for help and feel like I’m doing something wrong without a job or way to provide for myself in the meantime.

When I can’t provide for myself, God provides for me. When I do provide for myself it is actually a gift from him anyway. As I wait for His timing and provision He has provided for my basic physical needs. Just when I don’t know how I’m going to buy groceries, I get a call asking me to babysit, someone invites me over for dinner, or I have even had people give me money. God has satisfied my physical hunger and I know He will continue to do so.

But what about areas of hunger that are not life threatening but feel like it? I have been known to thirst for relationship. I have wanted to be a wife and a mother all my life, but that has not yet come to be. Unfortunately, the lack of this sometimes leaves my emotions weak.

Yet as I find myself seeking God more, I can truly say that I am satisfied single. I’m an introvert, yet I like having close friends to do things with. Though, when waiting for God to open the door to the next phase of life it’s not always easy on the wallet to go out and do things with friends. Those who understand that hanging out in the parks or on couches with conversation, are like water to dry bones. I am assured that the relationships that are woven with fabric stronger than circumstance and convenience will continue, and in the meantime I am cherishing the super sweet times with Jesus I am finding in this time of transition.

Karly Grant Hunger and ThirstThis season of life is about God and my reliance,and I have made peace with that. Matthew 5:6 says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

I definitely don’t have it all together, and I am okay with that. I am willing to let God strip away the parts of my life that skew my priorities. I haven’t prioritized time in His Word or prayer enough, but I am asking and trusting Him to help me hunger and thirst for those things. I know He is faithful and will always be there. I may chase other things in life, but the God who loves me calls me back to Himself. He is quick to forgive and providing what is needed, so I don’t need relentlessly worry for anything. I can rest in Him and His ways.


Karly Grant headshotKarly is a single 30-something who is striving to follow Jesus and trust Him in every situation. She can be found with a cup of tea or a good beer in hand while cozied up with a good book or enjoying a laugh with family or friends. God has her on a wild journey. In the last year she has quit her job of 15+ years and gone back to school full-time to pursue a career/ministry in the realm of adoption. God has laid this heavily on her heart and she is willing to trust Him. This homebody is taking the biggest leap of faith yet this spring and moving 1,700 miles away from the life and people she has known as long as she can remember. She is  both terrified and so stinking excited to see how God moves and what opportunities He provides in this adventure.


Parched Lips Can’t Sing

I grimaced as I swallowed, my throat scratching while it contracted with effort.  My tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth as I searched it desperately for moisture.  The air felt dry, and I licked my parched lips to ease their pain as they cracked.  It was a fleeting reprieve that left a deeper longing the moment the air wicked the moisture away.

I rounded a corner and sought refuge from the hot sun in the insignificant shade of a nearby tree.  I berated myself for having left my water bottle behind on the desert trail.

My body screamed for water.  I thought briefly of sipping from a scuzzy looking puddle…it looked so inviting.  I was drawn to it so powerfully that I had to lift myself from my spot of shade and venture back onto the trail.  I needed clean, pure water not dirty rainwater remnant.  I needed refreshment that would restore my dry body and relieve my hurting lips.  Despite any temporary relief I might gain, I knew that the standing water might do more harm than good.

My steps quickened as I recognized the landscape and knew I was close to the trail head.  With each step, an overpowering call propelled my feet forward until I reached my car and found the crystal clear liquid treasure I so fiercely desired.  The bottle was depleted of its hot fluid too quickly, but I knew, with relief, where I could get more.

Jacqi Kambish Hunger and ThirstThe parallels are undeniable:  My soul can ache for the Living Water in the same way my body aches for the more tangible substance.  Nothing else can quite fill the void; I can stuff my body full of soda, juice, or puddle water but none of those refresh and restore a dehydrated body adequately. In truth they are more damaging than nourishing.

I can pour second rate fluid into my soul as well.  Sometimes for a while I feel satisfied.  I think it’s enough.  If I listen to a sermon, a worship song, or do something good then I think I’m okay.  Like soda or juice, they temporarily seem to put off the louder wails of a soul in need of the true Living Water…a soul desperate for connection with the life sustaining, soul quenching, relief-giving Source of Life…a soul living in a parched and weary land.

I can fill my soul with poison too.  I can chase things in the world that appeal to me.  I have tried to fill my need for Christ with shopping, friends, addictions, food, busyness, and noise.  Too often even the best of those leave me parched and desperate for something more.

For long periods of time I have run through life totally deprived of a meaningful connection to the Creator; a connection to the pure, clean revitalizing Living Water.  I have buried the need with thick surgery syrup based experiences; have felt exhilarated by the rush of indulgence…But in the end,  it still left me empty.

Hunger and Thirst Jacqi KambishSometimes, I can bury the need so deeply that I hardly recognize it for what it is.  I can trick myself into thinking that my need is actually something more superficial, material, or physical.  I can be filled up only to be more drained of what little energy, hope, and satisfaction I had to begin with.

When I fill my day with other things, other people, other pursuits and neglect my LORD, I am left desperately dry with nothing left to give.

When I, inescapably, realize I have neglected my relationship with him, I am too tired to meet him.  I’m too depleted to do more than whisper a prayer that He will increase my thirst for him and my desire to know him better.  I have to ask him to remind me of my need for him.  I have to ask him to help me make the time.  I have to apologize for being more concerned with my own life than with the Source of Life.  And then, little by little, he shows me where I have tried to appease my need for him with other things.  He opens my eyes and softens my heart.  Then I can pursue and cling to him more gratefully.  When I find that I am finally able to pursue him, I see that he has been pursuing me the whole time.  And, I realize that what I want, what I truly need…is more of Jesus.

I have found that, only then, when my thirst is correctly quelled and The Water fills me up, can my restored lips praise him.  Only then can I give back to those around me, in word and in deed.  Not from my own ability, but from the overflowing excess of a life fully connected to Christ.

And then…then I can sing.

Jacqi KambishJacqi Kambish is a Christian mom to three spirited children striving to balance the daily demands of parenting a child with special needs and meeting the needs of typically developing siblings while working full time and writing.  She earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Bible Theology and Youth Ministry from William Jessup University.  Jacqi lives with her family in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado and enjoys reflectively writing about parenting, faith, and the joys and trials of life while leaving her readers with hope and encouragement.  Her blog The Presumptuous Ladybug can be found at and you can connect with her on Facebook.

Fasting to Fill Up

Being an adult in this current world can feel burdensome at times.  No longer are we graced with the carefree days of running amuck with the neighborhood kids, or squealing with delight as games of tag or backyard baseball are played.  Those days are often replaced with big daunting tasks that come at us, crippling us, creating fear or anxiety, panic, or a depressed feeling. Big things like job losses, tax troubles, parenting heartache or uncertainty, friendship woes, marital relationships in the trenches or failing, and when these trials come, we can often be left feeling helpless, inadequate, unsure of the next step or unwilling to take that next step because it just feels too easy to fall.  

Kayla Anderson Hunger and thirstOften my first solution can be to talk.  I’m a verbal processor so I just want to talk with anyone and everyone about what situation is going on in my life.  Talk to my best friends – they’ll comfort me, hug me, let me cry, and give me encouragement. Talk to my husband – he’ll try to offer a solution because solutions and resolution come so naturally to him.  Talk to my dad – he’ll offer me wisdom and advice because so much has happened in his life that is mirrored in my own so he’s likely been there.

Sometimes my first solution is to just put my head down, pull up my boot straps and start at it to just get through the daunting, overwhelming life task at hand because I’m a hardworker and just like to get things done.  I’m a bandaid ripper; just do it and get it over with. So often, that’s my mindset.

Not often enough is my first solution to pause and pray.  Yet when I read the Bible, so frequently I am shown that prayer and even fasting (voluntarily abstaining from eating while devoting time to prayer or reading the Bible) is the first and best solution for many of those men and women.  As Jesus himself was entering into ministry, he fasted.

“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.  He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone.’” – Luke 4:1-4

Jesus was referring to fasting, relying less on himself and his solutions but relying more on God.  I remember spending a few days as a youth group attendee doing some preset fasting as a group but never in my adult life have I devoted a day to fasting.  Not because I don’t know the Biblical principle of fasting or because I don’t want to – that just honestly isn’t something my mind is trained to think about.

David Mathis wrote, “Jesus assumes his followers will fast, and even promises it will happen.  He doesn’t say ‘if’ but ‘when you fast’ (Matthew 6:16). And he doesn’t say his followers might fast, but “they will” (Matthew 9:15).  We fast in this life because we believe in the life to come. We don’t have to get it all here and now, because we have a promise that we will have it all in the coming age.  We fast from what we can see and taste, because we have tasted and seen the goodness of the invisible and infinite God – and we are desperately hungry for more of him.”

Hunger and thirst Kayla AndersonEsther was a woman in the Bible with arguably one of the most daunting life tasks laid at her feet – a task that could literally take her life.  Esther was Queen when her cousin Mordecai (both Jews) learned of the king’s orders to “destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews – young and old, women and little children” (Esther 3:13).  Mordecai told her “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish.  And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”

Do you know what Esther’s first solution to this huge life task was?  It wasn’t to immediately talk it out with friends, her husband (the king), or even Mordecai, her family.  It wasn’t to just pull up her bootstraps or attempt to just jump in and try to save the Jews with her own wisdom and judgment.  Esther’s first solution was to pray and fast.

“Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me.  Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do.  When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”  – Esther 4:16

I am challenged and encouraged to make my next “first solution” to a big life task to spend time in prayer via fasting.  To take the Esther approach. The Moses approach (Exodus 34:28). The Jesus approach. To make my life one that is not relying on bread alone but fully relying on God.

Kayla AndersonKayla Anderson is married (for better or for worse) to the one who she knows without a doubt that God created her to be companions with.  Together they have four young children, Ezekiel, Asher, Ellery and Alder, and run a hand-crafted soap shop.  She is a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom and is in a season of learning how to gracefully be the central point and glue of their family.  Thank the Lord that she has Him to look to for wisdom, guidance and strength!  She loves reading in the quiet, early morning hours, decorating their sweet little home, writing has been part of her soul since she learned how to write letters, and her love of coffee runs deeper than her coffee pot.  You can find more from Kayla on her blog or Instagram.


Jesus in the Waiting

Author: Brittney Closner

I don’t know about you, but I would love for the tangible, with-flesh-on Jesus to sit across from me on the couch, cup of coffee in hand, and give me the details of my life purpose. To have the opportunity to ask questions, to hear the answer without fear of improper discernment would be so welcome. Yes, we can have a conversation with God, but there’s so many times that I sit in silence, in His presence (and sometimes struggling to find His presence), hearing nothing. My flesh takes over, my heart gets shifty, and I run with purpose — my own.

Hunger and Thirst Brittney ClosnerMy husband and I are sliding into a benchmark in our marriage — we’re closing in on the four year mark of trying to conceive. Four years of known infertility have loomed over our heads, in our hearts, and in my empty womb. Month after month of negative tests, heartache, and seemingly failed hope; in God’s grace, here we are. Still standing, together. Still hopeful. This season of waiting has us confused, excited, heartbroken — much like any season of wait can be. There is a holy anticipation for the movement of God bound so tightly around our desire.

And yet, still, we’re in the waiting. Not alone, Jesus is here, but the stillness of the wait has my heart erupting in doubt and fear. God has shut down other avenues in our hearts — IUI, IVF, adoption — beautiful tools God uses to expand, but tools God has told us to leave untouched. It’s hard to explain to those who offer well-meaning advice that God has told us we would be moving out of His will if we pursue these options at this time. Does this mean tomorrow He could change it all? Absolutely. This is exactly why with-flesh-on Jesus is always invited to my home to help me draw a map.

You see, God is faithful, He is not impatient. He has given us many stories of women working in their waiting — working their faith, fields, and hearts — to give us the map we so desperately seek.

One story He stirs often is the Woman from Shunem in 2 Kings, chapter 4. Quickly breaking the story down, this woman had extra room in her home — room she probably thought would be filled with toddler tantrums and teenagers one day, but instead it was empty. Recognizing her opportunity for hospitality, the woman built a room for Elisha. She could have left this space barren and empty; instead she filled it with the sacrifice of serving another soul. When Elisha asked how he could repay her for her kindness, she shrugged him off. We do that, don’t we? Keep our desires quiet in fear of vulnerability?

But she had been vulnerable with someone, because there was word she didn’t have children. Elisha comes back and tells her that this time next year, she will hold a son in her arms, and verse 16b is so near and dear:

“’No, my lord!’ she cried. ‘O man of God, don’t deceive me and get my hopes up like that.’”

Brittney Closner Hunger and ThirstWho can’t relate to this fear?  Someone speaks prophecy and promise over our lives and we immediately reject it, not wanting to get our hopes up. Yet, when Elisha comes back — the woman did have a son, just as prophesied.

God’s season of wait in my life doesn’t give me permission to sit, unwilling to grow, unwilling to serve, unwilling to live out His purpose for my life. If this woman had refused to open her home to Elisha, what might her life have looked like? Being obedient to the journey God asks us to walk with Him might not make sense in the thick of it, but we have no idea the ripple effects one “yes”, one act of sacrifice, one compromise will make. God will do so much with our “yes” to Him — more than we’ll ever know.

As we mark off another month of waiting, I struggle with wanting to sacrifice anything when I feel I’ve sacrificed years of my emotional tank. It’s in moments like this I am able to pull purpose. I may not be called to open a room for Elisha, but I am called to love people fiercely, in their own barrenness — whether they have no children or seven. Not one soul is immune to a season of waiting, and I can see where God is creating beauty from ashes. I may look back in a year with a child in my arms, or I may be looking at my fifth year in the wait, but no matter what, I’m waiting, anchored to Jesus.


FB_IMG_1520521316510Brittney is a married, 30-something, laid down lover of Jesus. She writes at www.promisetothepath.com, and is full of book recommendations, recipes, and laughter, she chases the things that bring her joy in the margin. Married for 6 years, trying to conceive for 4, Brittney has found herself passionate about encouraging women on the infertility journey through raw transparency and clinging to Jesus. Always seeking laughter and purpose in the pain, Brittney jumps at the chance to do the wild things Jesus asks her to do.  An introvert that craves deep connection, she will sit with you in messy living rooms for hours and feel rejuvenated. She loves spending time with her husband and tribe of strong women she calls friends, or with her nose in a book, and has a podcast loudly playing in the background at all times.

A Hungry Spirit

Has it ever bothered you that you have to eat regularly? Would you like to be able to go without for longer – maybe get more done, not be interrupted, not have to think about what to eat and whether it’s good for you?

As much a foodie as I am, as much as I enjoy making good food (and eating it!), I get tired of having to think about it every day. There are days I wish we could go without and not suffer any consequence. It interrupts projects, capsizes moods, and reminds me of my need.

The daily-ness of hunger is humbling. And like all things humbling, once accepted it is a gift, but until then it’s bitter. I am a created being. I must eat. What I put in my body directly affects my well-being and my life.

Kimberley Mulder Hunger and Thirst (1)This goes for the spirit too. What I put in my spirit directly affects my well-being and my life. My spirit has need of spiritual food. In a daily manner, if not more often. I used to feel guilty for needing to read the Bible and pray daily because after a day or two (sometimes less) my attitude would devolve, my focus would dim, and life again looked grim. Goodness, I’d been a Christian for decades, shouldn’t I be able to go longer, using my memory?!

No. I can’t. No matter how long we travel with Jesus, we still need to eat daily. As we mature, we still have to feed our bodies daily, that never changes. It is the same for the soul. So, as a general rule, we need to treat our spirits as we do our bodies by feeding them nourishing food regularly.

But there are times when we must endure a strict diet, or even a lack, in order for God to show his provision and power.

Take Elijah as an example.

1 Kings 18 and 19 records that Elijah had just stood up to the priests of Baal, King Ahab and Queen Jezebel in a mighty spiritual battle that became very physical. The Israelites were suffering a devastating drought because they worshiped other gods. Elijah was the only prophet of God left, and he publicly challenged the king, queen, prophets of Baal (450 of them!), and Israelites to a showdown of sorts. They were to offer their sacrifice and call on Baal to ignite it, then he, alone, would do the same to his God.

It grew macabre as the priests stomped and called and cut themselves, hour after hour, but to no avail. Then Elijah additionally poured water all over his altar, bowed, and asked once that God show himself. Fire fell; the people bowed; the rain came; and Elijah ran faster than a chariot.

To carry out this call of God, Elijah had had to deny his body, even in its hungry state, and let the Spirit of God take care of him. In the intensity of the drama he was able to do this, but once alone, he doubted God’s care. It was as if he had faith enough to confront Ahab, to do this ludicrous, dangerous challenge, and to escape with his life, but then he couldn’t see how God would take care of him personally. Sure, God would glorify his name, he would startle the Israelites back to him, but would he take care of one lonely prophet? Death seemed the only option. He told God this, I daresay with anger and tears as he wrestled with his exhaustion, and then fell asleep.

Hunger and Thirst Kimberley MulderNow, God focuses all his dramatic might into personal, loving care. In tenderness and power, God had an angel bake bread for him, rouse him enough to eat it, then told him to sleep some more. Some of the most treasured moments of a Christian’s life happen when we have followed God into battle in faith, suffered and depleted ourselves, and then receive Jesus’ care in deeply personal ways.

Maybe you are in a mighty faith fight, sure of God’s call and provision for the call, but secretly doubtful that He cares as much for you, the servant, as he does the outcome of this call. You have depleted yourself, given up much personally, and are now come to the end, only to find yourself empty, unsure, and wanting to hide. Take heart, God sees you hiding in your hunger, and he comes now to meet YOU, to feed YOU. Like Elijah, cry your desperation, be honest, then rest. And there, you will meet your God caring for you.

2016-11-02 13.10.06Kimberley Mulder is a contemplative at heart who deeply enjoys the company of Jesus in the day-to-day of caring for her family of 5 (plus a dog and a cat), teaching English to immigrants, growing her garden, and writing. Currently, her walk with Jesus is taking her more deeply into writing as she leads a spiritual formation group at her church, runs her proofreading business, and shares on her blog Living a Mary Life in a Martha World.  She treasures the truth that God’s Word does not go back to him without accomplishing the purpose for which he sent it, and that that Word is embodied in our lives. (Isaiah 55:11)

A Place to Land: An Interview with Kate Motaung

A Place to Land releases on April 2nd, and if you love a good memoir this one is for you. Kate Motaung tells her story in an inviting way that not only lets readers connect with her, but also shows them truths about their own lives. She walks readers through the gut-wrenching process of losing her mother and the life-long quest of finding a feeling of home. Also included: a good love story, cultural commentary, motherhood moments, and sisterhood bonds. She brings glory to Jesus and his constant presence in our emotional ups and downs, as she guides us through cross-cultural living and grief.

I have the honor of presenting you with a behind the scenes look with this interview.

Q: What can readers expect from your book?

A Place to Land is a memoir, so readers can expect real-life storytelling. They can expect to travel with me from my childhood in Michigan to my young adulthood in Cape Town, South Africa. I should also warn potential readers that the book does walk through some difficult topics like divorce, my mom’s cancer diagnoses, and her eventual death.

It is a heavy book, by my prayer is that readers will find it therapeutic to reflect on their own difficult situations (even if it involves tears in the process), and that eventually they will land in a place of hope.

Q: Who do you think will relate most to your story?

Well, hopefully A Place to Land will resonate with people with a wide variety of experiences and backgrounds, but I think especially for those who are familiar with:
• Divorced parents
• Moving frequently
• Feeling unsettled
• Longing for more
• Dealing with cancer
• Grief
• Loss of a mother (or loved one)
• Living cross-culturally

Q: What do you hope readers gain from reading A Place to Land?

My hope and prayer for my readers is threefold:

1) I pray that A Place to Land would increase their longing to spend eternity with God. I don’t presume to have any idea as to what heaven will be like, except for what Scripture has revealed to us. But I do think that the vast majority of us have a diluted, lukewarm view of eternity. We lack a depth of eager anticipation, and I believe that negatively affects our choices and attitudes in this life.

a place to land image 1I’ve learned through writing this book that intentionally keeping an eternal perspective at the forefront of my mind does wonders for my countenance, attitude, and actions. It has changed me in ways I never expected.

2) I pray that they would find hope in Christ in the midst of their suffering and grief. He is the only one who can relieve our pain. I pray that the readers of this book will find their anchor in Him amidst the turbulent trials of this life, holding fast to the truth that “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

3) I pray that they would be reminded that this world is not our home. For some, that is a comfort, knowing that one day those who trust in Christ will lay aside all their pain and suffering in exchange for a sin-free existence forever in the presence of their Redeemer. For others, this realization could be a bit disconcerting. Many of us make a great effort to find comfort, fulfillment, and satisfaction here in this life, and we don’t like the idea of giving it up.

Before writing this book, I struggled with that a lot. I would get incredibly sentimental over certain material things. Now, the Lord is teaching me that those are all part of what Jesus calls “treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19).

Instead, He calls us to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:20-21). Writing A Place to Land challenged me to consider where I’m storing my treasure.

Q: How did writing your memoir change or challenge you spiritually?

Writing memoir is an incredibly sanctifying process. For one thing, there are so many steps involved in writing a book of any kind—planning, writing, editing, revising, waiting,trusting, sending, giving, laboring some more, promoting . . . the list goes on. I expected that writing and publishing a book would be a monumental task, but going into it I had no idea how much it would stretch and grow me spiritually.

With memoir in particular, because the story itself is your own, many emotions get tangled up in the process. I struggled to know which stories to include and which to leave out—what would strengthen the main theme? What would resonate with readers? Which stories will fall flat? Which sections do I want to share out of my own pride, and not because they will benefit my reader or contribute to the goals for the book? I had a hard time trying to discern how much of my story to tell without telling too much or too little. Doubt came into play, and I questioned whether anyone at all would benefit from the finished product.

Then during the editing process, it’s very easy to take the editor’s suggestions personally. Thankfully, I was blessed to work with some incredibly gracious editors. I never felt as if they were being condescending, disrespectful, patronizing, or flippant. They carried my story with grace and support, while still offering helpful suggestions to make the book stronger overall. I never felt as if my voice was removed, altered, or stepped on during the editing process, but I can imagine that for other authors, it might be really hard to hear a professional in the field tell you that certain aspects of your story aren’t worth being published. During this stage it’s important to swallow your pride and humbly accept advice from others.

When it came to making revisions, there were days when I felt that I had nothing more to give. If I had already put my best foot forward in the first few drafts, what else did I have to offer? I would stare at my screen and not know what to do. This phase really forced me to increase my dependence on the Lord. I had to trust that whatever words He wanted in the book, He would keep there, and whichever words He didn’t want would be cut out.

As I neared publication and my first readers got access to the book, the dark clouds of fear threatened on the horizon. What would people think? Would they think the book was a waste of their time? Would they think the quality was poor? Would they think my story was boring or too sad or self-consumed? At this point, the Lord continually reminded me that it doesn’t matter what others think. Though this is a lesson I need to learn on a daily basis, I keep going back to the truth that only God’s opinion matters. If I’ve offered my best to Him and for His glory and not my own, nothing else matters. So I guess looking back, the whole publication process is one big exercise in faith— trusting God to open doors and lead the way as He sees fit, and for His purposes.

Q: Which verses from the Bible do you think would be helpful or encouraging to
those dealing with difficult circumstances?

One passage that has comforted me over and over again comes from 2 Corinthians: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

Q: What was the most difficult part about writing your memoir?

Writing about my mom’s death. My eyes tear up just thinking about it. I must have cried about 72 times through all the revisions and edits and more revisions. But they were therapeutic tears, and I’m so glad I’ve documented the experience, since the memory does fade. You don’t think you’ll ever forget something like that, but the details do fade.

Another challenging aspect was simply trying to decide which stories to include or not include. Having amazing editors was a huge help in this process, but obviously they can only work with what I give them. There were many times when I would write scenes that my editors asked for, and I would be thinking to myself, “Who the heck cares about this? This is so boring!” But in the end, as a Christian writer I have to trust that the Lord will keep whatever words He wants to have in the book and cut whichever ones He doesn’t.

Q: Where can readers find you online or hear more about your story?

I’d love to connect on my blog, Heading Home, or on Facebook, Twitter, or
Instagram.Interested readers can read the first chapter of A Place to Land here or on Amazon.

a place to land 3Kate Motaung is the author of A Place to Land: A Story of Longing and Belonging (2018), A Start-Up Guide for Online Christian Writers, and Letters to Grief. She is the host of Five Minute Friday, an online community that encourages and equips Christian writers, and owner of Refine Services, a company that offers writing, editing, and digital marketing services. Kate blogs at Heading Home and can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Marvelous Grace

I love hymns. One of my current favorites is, “Marvelous Grace of Our Loving Lord” by Julia H. Johnston. This wonderful hymn has me humming its chords nearly every single day. The chorus specifically rings sweetly to me,

Grace, grace, God’s grace

Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;

Grace, grace, God’s grace

Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Britney Bradley The Character of GodGod’s grace is good, and it is a comfort for a sinner like me. His grace not only is our entrance to salvation in Him, but it is also a gift given daily as our hearts are tempted to depart from Him and His ways. Recently this topic of grace has been pointed out to me in a new light. I have been reading Parenting by Paul Tripp, which has shone fresh light on the grace of God for me.

Grace is a pretty word. It’s a comforting word. It’s an often sung-about word. I love it so much, I named my youngest daughter after it! However, grace is not just those things. Grace can be hard. Specifically, as humans in relation to other humans, it can actually be painful.

Grace certainly was painful when Jesus extended it to make a way for us to receive His beautiful salvation. Grace that day meant His criminal death on a cross. It hurt Him, and took away all the comforts of heaven from Him, and He extended it to us anyway. We should not be surprised that grace can be painful to extend to others around us.

My feelings get hurt more often that I’d like to admit. Even in the context of my loving marriage, and home life with four sparkly daughters, my feelings get hurt daily. “Why is she throwing a fit for me right now?” or “Why does he want to do that on his day off, instead of the list of things I want to do?” are only a couple of glimpses into my heart on a regular basis.

Character of God Britney BradleyWhat I am learning about grace in the midst of both the little and large assaults upon my feelings, is that it is God’s grace to put us in situations that strip away at our selfish and sinful tendencies. He allows pain into our lives as an extension of grace. In those moments of frustration or hurt, we not only get to receive His marvelous grace towards us, but we also get to extend His grace to those hurting us.

The painful situations that we all come in contact with are an opportunity for grace. I am grateful for this reality — it really changes my heart and attitude. My feelings being hurt, my disobedient children, pain that my extended family is experiencing are all opportunities. I could take these situations as opportunities to question God’s goodness, or I can face the pain head-on and pray for a covering of grace all around. Truly, what a gift He has given us in grace.

Thank you Lord for Your marvelous grace! Remind me often, I pray, to receive grace in each moment, and seize the opportunity to extend it. Thank you for not only supplying my needs, but for grace upon grace beyond them.

britney-squareBritney Bradley loves being a wife to her loving husband, Brian. She is mother to 4 little girls, Ruby, Cora, Lily, and Opal, as well as auntie to 8, and friend to many. She has always dreamed about marriage and motherhood, and is now navigating God’s will each and every day in these realms. She enjoys writing when she gets a chance, and of course, coffee.