Hard to Believe You are Lovable?

I received a message from a sweet girl the other day.  She was struggling to allow herself to be loved by others and it was hindering relationships she really cared about. I wanted to share the messages I received from the Lord to encourage her and hopefully it will encourage you as well!

Our fear is that we think we are not lovable.  Somewhere along the line we have made an agreement with the enemy that there is something that we are lacking or something about us that disqualifies us from capable of attaining and maintaining another’s admiration and affection.  We are terrified to allow ourselves to believe that we are because if we jump off that cliff of faith in ourselves and we find its not true it would kill us.  Believing in Jesus isn’t just believing what is true about who He is but it’s also believing that what He says about us is true as well.  We have to be willing to jump off that cliff!  We have to take the biggest risk we’ve ever taken and allow ourselves to believe that we are one of the most precious things in all the world, and that the King of Kings died a horrifying death just so he can spend eternity with us.  We are called to believe that we are incredibly lovable and deeply loved!   We are worth it, We were worth Jesus suffering and dying for!  We have to be willing to believe that we bring delight to our God  and that He longs to be with us!  We were created to be loved and we are completely lovable!  The enemy would like to destroy our ability to believe that because he hates how lovable we are.  He’s so incredibly jealous of us .  Let yourself believe it because it’s true!

It hard for me to believe I am lovable and so deeply loved too.  But, God reassures me everyday!  And I am learning to let go of letting the world and even the mirror tell me differently.  I had a vision I think helps me remember… There was a girl looking at herself intently trying to figure out who she was and if there was anything that she could find to love about herself.  She tried so hard to see herself but she could only see parts at a time and from such a close distance she seemed only to get frustrated and disappointed. Then the view I had pulled back and now I saw She was an image in a mirror hanging on the wall.  Then my vision pulled back even further and the person looking in the mirror was Jesus. And then the Holy Spirit whispered in my ear… “Everyone wants to know who they are and find out if they are someone they could love but they don’t realize that they will never really be able to see themselves fully until they stop looking at themselves and start looking at the One they reflect.”

When we are fully focused on Jesus we see our true selves in His eyes and know everything He has been saying about us is true!

Freedom found in His presence

Love each day. Cherish each moment. Never take a single breath for granted.
We all hear these things said over and over again; especially from those who have a few years of life on us. The truth of these words really struck me the other day. OBIC does camps all summer long with waves of different kids from all different places and backgrounds coming in each week. In July, we hosted a camp for special needs children and all of their families. Here, they did some fishing, played games, ate food, and rode the horses around the riding ring. I got to help take the kids around on the horses.

It was so beautiful to watch how much joy it brought them to be perched on such a majestic animal while all of their family watched as they braved a new obstacle in their life; a life that has been adjusted to accommodate their different disabilities and uniqueness’. After all of the kids had their turn, we invited any family members that wanted to ride the opportunity to have a chance. It was amusing to watch the overwhelming emotions of fear, embarrassment, excitement, and brevity cross their faces as some of them had never rode before. It was pretty awesome to watch the shrills of their children and hear the laughter of their families.

DSCN2238While walking them around I was so moved by the presence of God. I felt Him impressing on my heart, “Do you see what I’m doing here?” It was in that moment that mom wasn’t worrying about the trials of tomorrow that her family would surely face as her beloved child faced a very different life than many. Dad wasn’t weighed down by the heavy burdens of perhaps medical expenses or trying to figure out the best way to provide for his family and needs of his treasured child. It was in that moment that “normal” seemed so far off the scale that the weight and value of true joy and the presence of Jesus surpassed any unmet expectation that maybe life had handed them. It was in that moment that tensions between families were broken leaving room for enjoyment and love to overflow from their hearts.

The love of God was so thick and quite nearly tangible in the air that my heart exploded with praise! God reminded me of how He is mightily working through everything we do at OBIC. He showed me that, so long as our leaders continue to surrender the ministry and all that it consists of to Him, He will continue to have His favor over us. Every moment matters whether or not the people who come to the barn realize this. We have come to know of the indescribable significance of God’s presence in every single thing we do. We pray for more of Him and His divine intervention. We pray for more breakthroughs and restoration. We pray for hearts to be turned back to their wellspring of life and His promise of an abundance of peace, love, and joy. This is what we live for!
I now have a deeper understanding of why we should love each day, cherish each moment, and never take a single breath for granted.
God is good all the time. All the time God is good.

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” Psalm 91: 14-16

Healing at OBIC

Here at the barn, God never fails to make His presence known. His ways are manifold and His heart so sweet. OBIC encounters our good Lord day in and day out, and the stories keep coming! A couple of weeks ago, one of the barn cats was acting abnormally tolerant to the meddling hands of our campers. She’s always been one of those cats that only allows people to pet her upon invite. She keeps the mice out of the barn and skillfully keeps away from the ever-so taunting Chino (the dog). But, not on this day. Kaitlyn noticed every which hand finding their way along the cats body without even a single protest from her. She meowed pitifully when Chino pushed her around and tried to get some sort of reaction out of her. By no means was she in her normal state of being, and something was wrong. Kaitlyn decided to wait it out another day and see if she got better. So, the next day they laid her up on the couch in the loft of the barn with food and water. There she stayed all day without moving, eating, or drinking. When camp was all said and done, Kaitlyn and Travis knew they had to do something about this cat!

She wrestled with her options because they had already previously scheduled to look at a wedding venue that night, and a trip to the vet was the last thing she wanted to add to her agenda. So, naturally (as all things tend to happen here at OBIC), Kaitlyn got down on her knees, laid her hands on the cat, looked at Travis and said “pray with me”. Now, what happens next is such a beautiful reflection of the God we praise and follow at One Body in Christ Ministry. Kaitlyn’s prayer wasn’t extravagant or even very long. She approached our Father with a sincere heart and asked Him to intercede on their behalf for the health of the cat. Her prayer went something along these lines: “Lord, now we know you’re in the healing business for people and we’re not quite sure how this works for animals. You know the joy this cat brings to all of the kids on the farm. If it is your will that she dies, then we pray that she goes without pain and peacefully. But, if you will to heal her then we pray that too. We really want to go see this wedding venue and don’t have much time to bring her to the vet. In Jesus’ name, Amen!” A small moment after they prayed, the cat jumped up and trotted around the loft, looked back at the two of them, and went on her merry way. She’s been back to her normal ways and thriving ever since!!! Now, the next day someone came to the barn and offered us a free kitten. You see, God already had it all worked out that if the cat had passed away, there was already a new little life coming. But, because Kaitlyn and Travis prayed with faith and trust in God, He answered their heart cry. Because of Jesus, we have this indispensable access to our Heavenly Father that is quite literally breathtaking. We are given the opportunity to be honest and vulnerable with the Creator of the universe while He has every longing to be close and intimate with us and involved in our lives. We want our campers, parents, and every heart that finds it’s way to OBIC to know all about the crazy love our Father and Savior have for us! It’s a love that listens to even the smallest of prayers. It’s a love that cares for every desire of our hearts. It’s a love that can heal a cat and restore a broken marriage, all in one motion.

We want to challenge you to be honest with Him in all that you pray and seek. God’s presence is freely available to you. God favors you and delights in showing the victory of Jesus in even the things we may believe to be “mundane”. So often, as Christians, we put God in a box and create this utmost high being Whom can only be approached with big things or things we see to be worthy of divine intervention. But, that’s not how He is. Kaitlyn said that through this she learned about how simple God can be and how often we take the small things for granted or push them aside as not worthwhile to a God who may seem to us to be so busy doing bigger and better things. Every detail matters to Christ, and boy does He continue to make that very clear.

“Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works! Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the LORD! Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face evermore!” Psalm 105:1-4

What Is It That You Do?

I consistently get this question in my line of work and quite frankly never give the same answer each time.

Let me just preface by saying I simply love that about my job. I am a chameleon: molding and adapting to various titles as I go. It doesn’t just keep me on my toes, it allows me to run. I run to my rock and redeemer, DAILY, I run to my fiancé for support and encouragement, I run to my lovely boss for wisdom, and I run after children and four legged thousand pound bundles of joy!

It’s humorous that even Ang and I couldn’t quite decide on a satisfactory job title to put on my new business cards as we sat in her office chatting. We talked about my random skill sets and all that was required of me here at One Body In Christ Ministries. After a while we typed a few letters to spell “Barn Manager” into VistaPrint and my cards were sent on their merry way.

So that is what I am: a Barn Manager. Not to be mistaken with the BAR Manager that many sweet Lynchburg dwellers often mistakenly hear when I introduce myself. I only recently discovered what the quizzical looks meant. Most of them just smile a sweet smile and move on. Although I have been obviously judged many times, at least they still loved on me.

Anyway, my primary task is to care for eight gorgeously head strong and extremelyintelligent horses.  Our small herd is the very best I have ever had the privilege of teaming up with. Together we move mountains for children and God never ceases to amaze me in the work he brings through his horses. These guys need a lot of things which I schedule and oversee. Feeding, grooming, training, veterinary care, etc. For the most part they are very well behaved and fairly low maintenance. A lot of prayer and a few visits from the Holy Spirit assist in this of course!

My other duties include keeping up with all of the stable finances, training and placing any new volunteers, organizing current volunteers, scheduling events, answering all emails and calls, updating the Facebook page and website, working birthday parties, church events, trail rides, and riding lessons, scheduling and running our summer camps, working horses who are misbehaving, pouring into the hearts that so easily pour out their own for us, and anything in between.

Can I just say, playing chameleon sure has taught me a lot. I have learned more in this job of almost two years than a textbook or classroom has shown me in a four year degree. It is simply amazing. And would you like to know the best part? God picks right up where I fall short and is faithful  in even the smallest things.

Many people, including myself, would call me a busy woman. And for years that has been a part of my identity. However, I share my job with you today to bring freedom to those of you who struggle with the same sins I always have. You see, growing up in my home meant working hard and getting what you deserve. My mom wanted everything in this world to be at the grasp of my fingers and she knew I had to work hard for such an opportunity. She taught me the importance of doing things the right way the first time, never being lazy and expecting any gain, and that good people are given good things in return. But somewhere along the way I acquired an unhealthy drive. I left these good rules to live by in my past and basically created a monster.

Our society today tells us, no S268082_4298232826140_634237424_n - Copy (2)CREAMS TO US, that life is all about our success, our success is all about our value, and our value comes from our careers, house, car, and perfect family of four all squeezed into nice Polo shirts and khakis. I wanted each of those things and I wanted them all before the age of forty. This was my goal in life, my identity.

The outcome: well the first time something in my life didn’t turn out picture perfect…I crumbled right along with my dream. As a Junior in high school I was exhausted, and this wasn’t a stay up all night to cram for an exam tired but a worn out on life with no longer having hope tired. Now I may have never been suicidal but I also never had a true grasp on any real meaning of life beyond myself.

What’s worse: I was a CHRISTIAN. Mmhmm I said it. I went to church every sunday, said my prayers before meals, and lived my life by the ten commandments like it was my job. I served in my youth group, shared Christ with my high school friends, and read my Bible. But why wasn’t life panning out like I always dreamed of, desired, lusted after even? And why in the world was I burnt out at the ripe age of 18?

Simply put: I listened to the Prince of this world and I believed him. I let the enemy persuade me into thinking I was all on my own and my life was going to be exactly what I made it. I agreed that my identity lied within my success and my success rode upon my weak and burdened shoulders. I could make it or break it depending on my work ethic and decisions. That AP English exam was worth my weight in gold because it decided if I got into the best Veterinary College in the country. Without it I was doomed. Needless to say, I put myself under a lot of pressure.

Then Jesus reminded me of something. Genesis 1:27 says I am made in the likeness and the image of God. Well right there I have a little more value than I had given myself credit.

To make a long story short I discovered Titus chapter 3 which says this:

verse 3 “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.”

(Me in a nutshell. Don’t believe me? Okay, let’s make these words practical. Foolish: idiot girl thinking I could work my way into Heaven and Salvation for that matter. Disobedient: God I don’t care what you have planned for my life because whatever it is can’t possibly make enough money for me to be comfortable. Led Astray: Yeah Satan, my worth is completely encompassed in my High School GPA. Slave: I want to honor God, but I just can’t resist my boyfriend, its too hard to be pure. Malice and Envy: I wish I had their money, her hair, his teeth, that car, a horse of my own, etc. etc. etc. Hated and Hating: I cannot believe she is wearing such an ugly off brand pair of shoes. OR Kaitlyn is so two-faced in Cheerleading practice that no one knows who she really is.) Practical enough for ya? Okay.

verse 4 “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, verse 5 He saved us. NOT BECAUSE OF WORKS DONE BY US IN RIGHTEOUSNESS, BUT ACCORDING TO HIS OWN MERCY, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, verse 6 whom he poured out on us RICHLY through JESUS CHRIST our Savior, verse 7 so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

So….wait a minute. I cannot earn my Salvation even though I am doing a really god job looking like the perfect Christian? NO

I can’t make God love me more? NO
or less? NO

I can’t get some type of honor’s award or something for being most righteous? NO

My works mean nothing in terms of my Salvation and eternal life in Heaven with Jesus? YES

You see, a busy woman only condemns and brings death. I sought to be the very best I could be at everything I could possibly try only to shut others down and be on top. I grew weary very fast. Keeping up with the Jones’s never brought a smile to my lips or a glimmer to my eye. Instead of bringing life and encouragement to those around me I shut them down for my own gain. Even in the church women like this set themselves up as an example. Why do we all have to be doing something terrific or serving or giving of every last drop we have?

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is over. The fight has already been won. And guess what, we are VICTORIOUS! Our precious Jesus has set our feet upon solid ground. We bear His image and that brings more value to our life than all the precious stones that glitter the face of our earth. We receive nothing because of our works but everything because of His love.

Because of this, and this only, I can be a chameleon. I can work a job that is quick and demanding and always changing. His joy is my strength. His yoke is easy and his burden is light. It’s not about me anymore, its all about Jesus. Now that life and success no longer ride on my own hands and feet, I AM FREE. Free to be me, exactly as I am, and no one else. Who cares what everyone thinks, says, feels, or judges? I am who I am and where I am because that is the precise position my sweet Papa has me in during that moment. Not a thing else matters.

It is quite the adventurous life now. There is never a dull moment and I work harder than I ever have before. But there is hope and life abundant! I enjoy the finer things in life. I stop and smell the roses…or horse hair. I laugh with the kids I meet each week. I speak life and love into the people around me. And all because I broke the lies I had believed from the enemy.

So what do I do?

Haha! Well, I never give the same answer each time.

Posted by Kaitlyn Quesinberry