when getting old just feels really good

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I’m 29 today. And it’s awesome.

Kicking off the last year of my twenties and everybody’s asking if I feel old and sending grandma emojis in happy birthday wishing texts.

“So after this it’s just the annual celebration of your 29th birthday, right?” someone asked last week.

My answer may have shocked.

“Nope, I’ll be ready for 30 when it comes!”

In a world that thinks “adulting” is a boring, hard, semi-optional item on a to-do list, why would one embrace it wholeheartedly?

But this week I’ve faced my kid self a lot. I’ve looked through yearbooks and perused old bookshelves, walked down memory lane more times than I wanted to, relived mistakes made and revisited baggage carried and praised God for not being the little girl I used to be.

Where cultures past celebrated the advent of adulthood, us Peter Pans are weirdly loathe to grow up. But not me. Not anymore, anyway.

And, Christian, not you either.

Because the same way that the point of my motherhood is to raise up a man rather than coddle a baby, the point of my life is to function as a full-grown woman out in the world.

And it’s time to go.

Whether I’m ready or not, this is the aim of redemption.

To look more and more like Jesus with every moment that passes, and He’s not a little kid or a wild-and-free teen or a young professional “kidult.”

Jesus?

“He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power.” (Hebrews 11:3)

This. THIS is what I’m invited into every day of my growing up life. And I’m tired of acting like I’m not there yet, like doing legitimate, hard, earth-shaking things is not up for grabs right now, is not the expectation of my Father today.

But it is. Jesus said, “Follow Me,” and I want to be there, right where He is, doing what He’s doing with all the energy and effectiveness He’ll give me for doing it.

And if I can cut the crap while I’m cutting birthday cake? Jesus isn’t Netflixing while He’s spinning the world around in His peripheral vision.

He’s living out the ultimate Story through the lives of His people. He’s intimately acquainted with the real hurt and hang-ups on planet Earth, and He’s at work to bring healing and wholeness through His Spirit in His Church.

Yeah. Jesus is a grown-up. And yeah, growing up and taking responsibility for the world is hard.

But it’s so good.

So today I’m celebrating the grace of the God who has rescued me from who I was last year and ten years ago and who will grow me out of my 29-year-old-childishness too. It has nothing to do with being married or having a child of my own or my occupation or knowing more things than I used to know, and everything to do with having a soul that aches to grow older and wiser and more mature because these are the glimpses of the glory of the Savior.

Honestly, I think this is where I’ll be all year: exploring the intersection of growing up and being a woman and falling more in love with Jesus in all these entail.

So here’s an invitation for you to jump into my birthday with me and we’ll both grow up a little more today. I seem to be granting lots of permission here lately, so here’s a little more.

Permission granted to be old and love it.

Let’s embrace Jesus and adulthood together.

Yep. 29 today. I’m not who I once was. And I’m not yet what I will be. Glory to God.

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permission to be thankful for a body that says “mom”

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Summer can be quite rude to a body, you know?

Sun burns and magazine covers and swimsuits and comparison and so much sweating.

It’s my first summer in my brand-new mom bod, and I’m humbled to say it’s throwing me for a loop. But it is.

And so I’ll keep it short and sweet, I think, for this new mom and moms in summer everywhere.

Permission granted to not be fully recovered from the holy trauma of birthing a human being.

Permission granted to look like the moms we are.

Permission granted to have a body that never really goes back, that has softened to never truly harden again.

Permission granted to order that slimming swimsuit from Walmart and never look back. (Yep, permission granted to be my twinsie.)

Permission granted to face our bodies in the mirror without eye-rolling, hushed grumbling, frustration.

Permission granted to look at these curves and say, “Thank you.”

Thank you to our bodies. To the skin that stretched and the muscles that gave way. To the feet willing to stand, legs willing to walk, hands willing to work all throughout the day. To the hair willing to be dirty, face willing to go barely-made, ears always listening for the next moment of need.

And doesn’t gratitude change a life? Change a self-image?

This body has sacrificed. This body has stretched and broken and bled and rebuilt for the sake of multiplied life. This body keeps moving and making and minding busyness day in and day out.

It deserves more than the eye-rolling, self-loathing, why-can’t-you-be-more-like-her nagging than I’ve given these last few months.

These pounds made life possible.
This stretch made room for his soul.
This is what it means to look like a mom.

And I will be thankful.

Yeah, my body is not my masterpiece, it’s my paintbrush. So I thank it and we keep making this art called home.

And it’s not that I lack self-worth, but that I lack awe at He who created me. So I thank my body and the Designer who saw fit to stretch me out to make room for life.

And gratitude changes me. My waist may not shrink any smaller, my hips may never be the same, and my arms may never hint to the watching world how many 23-lbs reps I do each day.

But the shape of my heart grows less fixated on my body and more like the heart of the Man who gave His own body to be crushed for my soul. And His is all the true beauty I want to enjoy.

So I’ll be here, by His good pleasure, cutting criticism instead of calories, upping commendation instead of cardio, using my body for the good work of real life.

Yeah, we women, we were made to make art. Lots of it. And wouldn’t the enemy of our souls love to watch us standstill trying desperately hard to be art? We are art because of He who made us. We are artists because He made us to be like Him.

To thank our bodies.

To gaze upon the God whose design they are.

To use them to make real art out in the broken world.

Permission granted.

 

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i’m not the guest at this party

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The honest truth is that a lot of times already being a mom feels like being automatically left out.

We hosted a dinner gathering somewhere other than our home tonight. Set an early start time so JB and I could be there, at least for a while. But then everyone was late. So late that we had to leave before eating.

And I’m sitting here on the couch now rehearsing the one line that got me home without getting me mad.

I’m not the guest at this party.

Whether I’m actually in attendance now or not, I was a host, a c0-servant with Stephen, who is now free to stay and to serve for us both. Embracing this role makes the quiet walk home, the leftover stir-fry, the chaos of creating hospitality to-go all okay. More than that, makes my missing out good and right and abundant life.

It strikes me as I’m cleaning up bath time: I am not the guest at this party that is my life.

Could I remember this in all my days and dealings? Because it’s surely my desire to be pampered and praised that gets me into so many pits in this new thing called motherhood. And in the older thing called marriage. And in the whole of life.

And Jesus, even when He was the guest of honor, was found breaking the bread, bending the knees, using His very own fingertips to rub dirt and dung off the tired feet of the ones He loved. And don’t you know His feet had to be the most tired of all?

The Lord of Hosts hosts a party so He can hold feet.

The Bread of Life invites me in so He can break in my place.

And He says if I am truly His, I won’t expect more prestige or appreciation than He did. I won’t follow any other pattern of hospitality than to love the guests by laying down my life.

Isn’t all of life a practice of hospitality for the ones who follow Jesus?

Every conversation. I’m not the guest at this party.

Every situation. I’m not the guest at this party.

Every room I enter. I’m not the guest at this party.

Every new person I meet. I’m not the guest at this party.

And if this is the truest thing about me, to live is Christ and He’s the ultimate Servant, then isn’t the friction of being left out or overlooked much more to do with my resistance to Jesus than it is everyone else’s snub to me?

Yeah, I think the pain of losing my life is in the fight against it, the refusal to do what He did so willingly–to make myself nothing. And I’m so good at fighting.

But tonight, by God’s grace, I won’t. Maybe in five minutes I will. Some straw will break this servant’s back and I’ll buckle, hoping husband never even finds these words. But for this moment I’ll choose to rejoice in the privilege of serving like my Creator did.

I cannot be more than Jesus. I’ll stop killing myself trying to be.

So if you, like me, might find yourself alone or missing out tonight, I’m praying we both embrace the fullness of life found at the feet of others. What we do for the least of them, we do for Jesus. Say it with me?

I’m not the guest at this party.

But Jesus is the King, and if I’m down here with the feet, then I’m right next to Him. What an honor.

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because he’s growing so fast it hurts

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“I CAN’T BELIEVE HE’S FIVE MINUTES OLD!!!! TIME, SLOW DOWN.”

I used to make fun of these moms; now I’m one of them. Time floored it on October 1, 2015, and there’s an actual pain in my chest from the g-force of having an almost-9-month-old. Life is slipping through my fingers faster than water drains from his splashing bath, and some days I can hardly cope.

Problem is, I’m not baby book mom. Or hand-print-crafts-every-month mom. And in the quiet of the sleepy minutes between his last feeding and bedtime reading, my heart squeezes small in fear.

What if I’m not commemorating enough?

What if I can’t conjure up this sweetness in years to come because I haven’t recorded every detail or thoroughly memorized his profile?

What if I’m doing all of this wrong and I’ll regret not immortalizing his infancy with crafts and collages and carefully written details?

Am I the only one?

Because I want to do right by my son, but if doing right by him means doing all the things the internet suggests I could do, then gosh am I ruining his life already.

I hold him tighter, thinking that if I can squeeze him just a little more I’ll make it last, and just before the tears come the God of encouragement whispers Truth into my troubled, mother heart.

Just thank Me, Kate.

The invitation breaks relief on fear and failure.

Joy never found in clutching tight but in releasing thanks. If I remember nothing else about this season of his life, may I remember deep and daily gratitude to the God who would give such good gifts.

Because the point of my motherhood is not the immortalizing of his childhood. I’m not his mom so that someone records his teething timeline and documents his hair length for every week of his life. I am his mother precisely because he will outgrow these baby seasons and become a man who brings life and light into the world.

Of course it crushes my soul to serve the god of perfect, perpetual childhood-preserving motherhood.

Given long enough, this will crush his soul too.

No.

The goal of my motherhood is not to record his boyhood so much as it is to raise him up into manhood.

What he needs is a mom less concerned with remembering exactly which day he crawled or laughed and far more concerned with the shape of his soul day by day, year by year. If his baby book wins awards, lands displayed all over the internet, but I’ve put no thought, no prayer, no focus on the man he’ll be at 20, on his wedding day, as a first-time father, in the Kingdom of God — have we really won?

So I crawl into bed humming the prayer of Job, singing it over the times of James’ life:

“You give and take away; blessed be Your name.”

Because this is the truth about childhood and all of life. Each day is a gift given at sunrise and taken at twilight, and if He so chooses, given anew once more. And the most and hardest thing that He wants is to be enjoyed to the max while the sun is shining and when the night has come.

This is the best thing I can give my son.

A mother more concerned with enjoying Jesus through her child and everything else the day brings than one fastidiously recording his details and demanding in futility that infancy last forever.

A mother rejoicing in the present rather than pining for the past or lamenting the fast-approaching future.

A mother delighted more in the mission of raising up a man than the minutiae of memorializing his boyhood.

When the record-keeping, craft-making, Pinterest-parenting leads to greater enjoyment of Jesus through James, I’ll be there with bells on.

But only then.

And until then, I’ll be here, eyes wide open, heart near bursting, with infinite, simple thanks all day long, and eyes on the God who has plans for this tiny man-child so far beyond his dental records. The sweetness of the little days becomes a glorious extra to carrying him, Lord willing, all the way to manhood.

The ache of his evaporating baby year mushrooms miraculously into freedom at the privilege of raising this son.

“You give and take away; blessed be Your name.”

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the only way to keep on loving when her life is not as hard as yours

She used a poop emoji to lament the circumstances of her marriage this week, circumstances your average military wife would call a luxury in many seasons.

It stings because comparison. And it puffs up because I feel tough as nails. And we Army wives band together to commiserate and try, try, try to live Jesus in the middle of the mundane military grind.

But poop emoji friend? Her week was probably legitimately hard. I bet she expected more than what she got, and that’s always the thing that kicks us in the pants and out into the ocean of frustration.

The salt that rubs so viciously in the wounds of disappointment are unmet expectations. To foresee a week filled with luxuries like time with hubs or finishing that project or working out diligently, only to be cast headlong into the tide of interruptions and all that’s unforeseen, this is where I live too often. Sputtering, choking, flailing on the waves and once more pounded by what I did not expect.

But perspective could be the hand reaching down to pull us from the foamy frazzle of being beached on crushed expectations.

Perspective. The backing up of emotions to swing wide and high the panorama of our gaze.

The wide perspective to remember our stories are not the only ones filled with frustration and disappointment. The wide perspective to see the friend who’s hurting deeper, longer, more silently than us. The wide perspective to see the one whose seemingly smaller struggle might be more surmountable if she knew how faithful God had been to me in my larger ones.

But the high perspective most. The one where eyes gaze steady heavenward to the place where Jesus is still sitting on His throne. And not a passive couch-potato slump, lost in the show hole that is this world. He’s ruling, reigning, rewriting all my life’s circumstances with His infinite wisdom. He’s doing all that I would ask Him to do if I knew as much as He does.

He’s writing perspective into my soul one word at a time. His Word right on time.

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1-4)

This changes everything.

My life is not hard; my life is Christ.

“In this world you will have trouble,” He said. And He will not be proved a liar.

“But take heart; I have overcome the world.” He reassures me daily from His throne if I’ll let Him.

And it’s perspective that allows us to stay in community when our lives look totally different, one’s seemingly perfect while the other’s falls apart. 

Because no matter what else may be true of our life’s circumstances, nothing is more true than Jesus, seated at the right hand of God, bringing all the goodness we long for with Him when He comes.

He only is the reason two women can love each other when one’s lament is the other’s luxury. 

He only is the reason one generation can speak deftly to the needs of another when all their backgrounds and futures seem so vastly different to the naked eye.

Only Jesus.

And only when our eyes sweep wide and high across the panorama of His goodness and grace.

Let’s linger our eyes on Him today and learn to love His beauty through every circumstance. He only lives to be our Great Expectation.

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How have you found Jesus to be the Rescuer when expectations let you down? I’d love for you to share your perspective in the comments. Let’s lift our gaze together.

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i don’t cook. there. i said it.

I don’t.

It’s time the truth was out there and it feels like the best way to begin a new season of writing.

I’m starting over here with the blogging thing. Like I never started before. I’ll leave the old content, but turn a page.

I’ve turned some life pages in the last year since I’ve been breaking from writing. It only makes sense to do all the things newly.

The problem is I’m not exactly sure what to tell you you’ll find here. I don’t have one particular direction other than Jesus and finding Him through being a woman.

But what I can’t do? The list is long. And I need permission to not do the things I won’t do well, both for my sanity and your expectations. Stephen’s really good at freeing me up this way, so it seems only right to embrace that freedom in my writing.

So here we are. While I’m not cooking, here’s the honest truth about what I cannot offer you:

You won’t find anything hand-lettered here. Not one thing.

And you won’t find recipes. (Maybe just a link to Costco’s membership page and the recommendation that the $5 rotisserie chicken is an exceptionally perfect dinner.)

You won’t even get nice pictures.

You won’t find anything remotely DIY or crafty. Heaven help.

And I’m not your tips and tricks and fashion friend. Outfit of the day? Same as the outfit of yesterday, and, if I’m lucky/honest, hopefully tomorrow too.

So many others have gifts that I don’t have and I’ll happily send you their way for all the talents oozing from them as we have need.

So what am I here for? What can I offer you that’s true to my soul and might encourage yours as well?

Well, I’m simple. Give me the basics over and over again.

And I’m calm. Occasionally shy, but mostly just not the loudest person in the room. So I’m not going to shout or bombard you on the internet. I’d rather treat you the way I’d treat you in my living room. An open-book conversation over coffee and cookies.

There will be so much Jesus, because there has to be. He’s all that’s worth having.

And confession of imperfection, because what else is there when Jesus and honesty meet up?

God’s Word is breathtakingly alive, and I’ll offer you that relentlessly as I offer it to my own heart, our lifeline.

And connections. Equipping you with the relationships and the resources that bring your soul out into the wide open, Jesus-resplendent life you were created for.

I’ll open up my heart as a follower.
A woman.
A wife.
A mom.
And a friend.

In the simple, calm, imperfect, heart-sleeve-wearing, Jesus-clutching, people-connecting way that is (from what I can gather) fairly typical of my real-life self.

And if you get more Jesus for having been here, we’ve both made a strong stride in the race to That Day–the only day that matters.

I’m Katie Kump, I’m doing something new, and I’m so glad you’re here.

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We Came Alive

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We schlep outside with a blanket, my book, and your favorite toy in a grocery bag. There’s precisely one patch of grass large enough to occupy between the house in which our apartment takes up the second floor and the house next door.

It’s all a melodic dance with you on my hip and the bag on my shoulder. Graceful squatting and arm flailing and you’re slipping down down down my thigh by the time the blanket’s straight enough. And I lay you down.

We’re in the shade but your big, blue eyes squint as they drink in the bigger, blue sky.

Blue sky.

I breathe in spring after our first New England winter, mild though it was.

You fuss a little, those teeth stewing and brewing up all the feels. But as soon as you have the paci you come alive.

Oh James. You come alive.

I stop mid-reach for the book that’s calling my name because you, my son, have suddenly interrupted all my thoughts.

Tears start to fall as I watch you, elbows crook’d, knees locked, feet flexed and twitching.

You’ve known the wind before, an adulterated, stroller version where it whips around your hatted head according to my speed.

But today is different.

Today you lay next to me and meet the wind for the first time. Introduction of joy.

With each new gust my heart near leaves my chest through rivers down my cheeks. The wind blows through this grassy ally, through your tufts of hair, and your tiny soul exults.

Oh James. You come alive.

I weep again recounting the joy of watching you delight in nature for the very first time, the purity of your soul laid out on damp grass between two old, white houses.

And your wonder was worship.

My heart knelt there in blossoming awe of the God who thought of wind and the infant who noticed, delighted, rejoiced therein.

In the innocence of your half-year-old life you worshiped just so perfectly as we were made to.

I’ll never forget this day, my son. Never forget how you relished the unseen kiss of the air on your unblemished face, through your soft, birth-fresh hair, in your worship-ready lungs.

Oh James. We came alive.

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The Champion

“Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.”
Proverbs 31:31

The chapter ends with one final word, over which I have no control in my own life. My first thought is to send this directly to Stephen and James and anyone else who may benefit from the work I do in and around our home.

“Reward me! Praise me! See, the Bible says to!”

But, obviously, that’s presumptuous and prideful and misses the point entirely.

And so my second thought is to be the one who gives and praises. To be the woman who champions the other women around me. To give them their credit and their rest and their appreciation, by my words and actions, privately and in public.

Too often we turn our Proverbs 31ing into blog posts and pinterest projects and crown the DIY queens and the ones who sleep train flawlessly and whether you’re on a pedestal of impressiveness or you’re outcasted with your lack of skills, we’re all isolated, trying to please the Lord and our people and being a woman turns into a rat race.

The competition will kill us.

And so I think this last verse could be an invitation to a different kind of Proverbs 31 woman than I’ve ever imagined in the past. I want to be this woman who fears the Lord, but I don’t want that identity to bring me to a place of basking in the praise of others while awaiting all I’m due.

I want the fear of the Lord to continually grow my own self-forgetfulness so that I might be found serving my family and community to the hilt while championing the other women in my life with a ferocity that comes only from the Gospel.

I don’t want to be THE Proverbs 31 woman; I want to be one of a whole generation of Proverbs 31 women whose fear of the Lord influences our culture and raises up the generation behind us.

So my final invitation, sweet friends, is to look around you today and become the champion of the women in your life. My prayer is that we would be eager, quick, and generous to publicly admire other women, especially those who fear the Lord.

Would you take a moment right now to do so? Would you prayerfully consider what woman in your life needs a word of encouragement to press on today?

Father, would You create in us hearts to fear You and boldly love the women around us? May we be a generation after Your heart, pouring ourselves out for the women coming up behind us.

Friends, thank you for holding me to these words, even if I’ve been slow toward the end. I am extremely grateful to do life with you.

I love you all very much.

bJlym,
Katie

 

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