All posts by Katie Faul

About Katie Faul

My name is Katie Faul and I am a 33 year old woman who lives, breathes, and eats. I love my children, my husband, my home. I hobby it up with gardening, napping, knitting, and Netflix. I am on a journey called life and I am not sure what that even means.

Self

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The storm is raging
The lightening streaks the sky
When the wind blows down
And the trees fly out of the way
When the water races forth to the sea
And crashes back on to the rocks
We are told to find the silver lining.
But what about the lining of gold…

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Figuring Out Advent

I recently entered into a very thought-provoking and respectful conversation on social media (yes, it can and does happen) about a strange topic. ‘God Never Hurries.’ That is all it said and before I knew it, I had responded with, “Are you sure?”  You know those moments when you are contemplating the topic and you don’t realize your fingers are actually responding to it? Yeah, that was this.

This is actually something I have been pondering for quite sometime though, not this particular topic, but it does relate. Now bear with me, I will try to bring it all back around. I believe that we have made a standard out of Christ. Which is good!!! Well, to a certain degree this is good! If you have attended a Christian church of ANY denomination, you will have heard it spoken over and over again that we need to make it our goal to be more like Christ. AND I AGREE WHOLE HEARTEDLY! But I believe, or at least I have noticed a pattern in my own life, that we have strayed from ‘being like” and have now made it our goal to ‘be’ Christ without ever saying as much in actual words.

This became very real to me in the aforementioned conversation. It isn’t that we are striving to be God, but by placing so much focus on being like Christ– which is actually an unattainable goal, we might as well be as we are setting ourselves up for certain failure. And I don’t think that was Christ’s purpose in coming to this earth. We can never be as loving as God or as gentle, patient, kind, authoritative, honorable, altruistic or selfless, put the adjective in and we will never match up; but I think that is because God and humankind are playing two very different games.

Where God came to bring wholeness in the midst of division, we tend to believe he came to bring perfection to imperfection– to make the imperfect… perfect. But I think, if we look at the whole of Scripture, we find that it is the reverse of that. Finding perfection in the midst of imperfection, finding peace inside of chaos, finding hope in the middle of complete despair, and even Christ exhibited this in being completely God and completely human, being in time and outside of time, being the Creator and the created. I think I have lived Christianity as ‘either or,’ but now I understand it as ‘both.’ Because I will never be exactly like Christ, but I can be exactly who he created me to be. And that is one of the things, I think, we have lost sight of in the Christian faith: that we have been created uniquely and have been called to be like Christ as much as we can be while embracing what makes us individuals and human.

I experienced this in a very beautiful way about two weeks ago. I was home alone with the two kids, we had appointments we needed to be at very quickly, they wanted to play, I wanted to duck tape them into their winter clothes, and right as frustration was beginning to mount, in my spirit I felt a quiet realization. I am Bethlehem. I am not Jesus, I am not Mary or Joseph, the shepherds, wise men, angels or any of the imagined animals we so often picture. I am Bethlehem in all the mayhem and rush, tumble, filth (I am potty training my second born, need I say more?) and in this moment, I choose to make space and welcome in the Holy. I can’t avoid all of the busy-ness or hurried-ness, some of it is good and I don’t want to miss out on it– kids, hello!, so I don’t think that is a realistic goal. There will always be a sense of chaos, despair, fear, hatred, and whatever, but I can be present, mindful, and make room for Christ in the middle of it. Like Jesus would for us.

Anonymous Whispers

This was written as an outpouring from experiencing 7 medical emergencies in the past 8 years.

There is a place where fear resides
After the calamity of the moment
When time stands still
Where breathes are counted.

There is a place where fear is effective
After the terror of the quake
When stillness is not calm
Where a pause is eternity.

There is a place where fear is realistic
After the horror of ten minutes alone
When two had to be one
Where breath was forced from clenched jaws.

There is a place where fear is
And to me
That is the night.

Beware of Halloween

Growing up, we didn’t trick or treat. Halloween was almost … vilified?… in the 90’s by the Christian community, though not in our house directly– being raised by introverts meant that we remained at home whether we wanted to or not. Right Mom? As a child, I understood that it wasn’t about worshipping the devil or harmful mischief; this was about candy! And what child doesn’t want a night filled with that?

Now, 25 years later, I have come to a realization. I missed out on not only years of sugar highs, but also a very important aspect of the trick-or-treat scene: community. Tonight as I walked the streets with my kids, temporarily known as Mr. McFeely and Mr. Rogers, I realized that this was such a prime opportunity for building a neighborhood with people in a culture and country that encourages us to be suspicious of everyone around us.

If I listen to the hum of politics, I hear quite clearly above the rhetoric a call to solidarity against the other. Them. Those people. You. Because if I search hard enough, I will find some topic on which we disagree. But don’t we have that backwards? Shouldn’t we be looking for what we agree on? Things we have in common?

Tonight I witnessed strangers, men and women, young and old, give my children almost five pounds of goodies. Why? Because they looked cute? Well, they did, but that is a given. Because it is tradition? I think there is more to it than that. I think people enjoy being apart of something outside of themselves, and today, sadly, that is a rare occasion indeed.

So, beware of Halloween, it might make you think.

Embrace the Mess

I have been a Christian, follower of Christ, for going on many years and the faith of my youth is very different from that of my current state. I appreciate the world I grew up in, but it was very much a bubble. A conservative, rosy bubble that hasn’t been popped from the reality of the outside coming in, but from my own finger poking the boundaries of my traditional teachings. Questions, so many questions have been asked by my brain when I see so many inconsistencies which has led to so much searching and quiet frustration, but it is that frustration and through that searching that I find the Christ that draws my spirit to his.

I found hope… help in a spiritual memoir that I just finished called, Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint, by Nadia Bolz-Webber. At first I read it as a way to check off one of my quarterly bucket list items, but then I realized that at the heart of this book is what I have believed for several years now: faith is messy and rarely lived honestly. That means me.

One of the things I wrestle with most, is the idea of God sitting on his holy throne waiting to forgive me for the sin I am obviously going to commit. It always feels like he is waiting for me to sin. Which, hello, human here! I do. But Nadia paints a picture that is not of a God far away on his throne, but of one that is right here redefining my identity.

“I need to clarify something, however. God’s grace is not defined as God being forgiving to us even though we sin. Grace is when God is a source of wholeness, which makes up for my failings. My failings hurt me and others and even the planet, and God’s grace to me is that my brokenness is not the final word. My selfishness is not the end-all… instead, it’s that God makes beautiful things out of even my own shit. Grace isn’t about God creating humans as flawed beings and then acting all hurt when we inevitably fail and then stepping in like the hero to grant us grace– like saying “Oh, it’s OK, I’ll be a good guy and forgive you.” It’s God saying, “I love the world too much to let your sin define you and be the final word. I am a God who makes all things new.” pg. 50

Life is hard. Life is messy. But I don’t think life is about staying clean– not spiritually speaking. I feel like I have been taught over and over again to stay clean, resist sin, don’t associate with the unclean unless you are going to save their eternally damned souls (not in those words per se, but you know…), and a step more, I have said/taught those things (but you know, not with those words per se). But that is so Us Vs. Them. Right vs. Wrong. You Vs. Me. But it does nothing for the soul. No transformation, no change takes place when we seperate ourselves from whoever “They” are. Because, I am them! We are they! It isn’t about you or them, my faith deals with Jesus, my poop, and my belief in ressurection.

“Ressurection never feels like being made clean and nice and pious in those Easter pictures. I would have never agreed to work for God if I had believed God was interested in trying to make me nice or even good. Instead, what I subconsiously knew, even back then, was that God was never about making me spiffy; God was about making me new.” pg. 174

Maybe faith is like sex, you know it is good if it is messy and honest.

Now, on to my next book, If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t), by Betty White.