Coach Kinsey

The Tortilla That Kept on Giving

Reflections on my 60th birthday.

Outside the brilliant sunshine, azure water, and perfect temperature begged for me to come and play. I couldn’t wait to feel the warm, soft sand under my bare feet. The car was hurriedly unloaded, the suitcases quickly unpacked, and the sunscreen applied. It was the first day of an extended beach trip to the Emerald Coast, a gift for my sixtieth birthday. This was my happy place and the stellar weather gave me confidence that the next few weeks would be equally as beautiful and wonderful.

I was wrong.  The sun went on vacation; grey clouds, strong winds, and cold air moved in. I was condo bound for days, upon days, upon days.
How ironic; the stormy weather echoed the past decade, the cloudiest season of my life. Those long and turbulent years brought death of loved ones, sickness, surgeries, marital discord, depression, multiple relocations, financial ruin, estranged relationships, caregiving for a demented mother, and even a crisis of faith.

Stacks of journals record my deep rumblings with God.  I wanted Him to fix things.  He wanted to fix me.

My heart was ugly and needed a lot of work; things did not go down easy. I entered many wrestling matches with God. He lovingly refused to back down. The difficulties served to refine and reshape me.  There were times when the clouds broke apart and sunlight poured through in the form of forgiveness, reconciliation, new perspectives, and spiritual awakenings.  During that season, God revealed His deep love for me, and I came to trust in the goodness of His heart.

But as I sat in the condo, waiting for the sun to emerge, I found myself wishing for a different story. My soul feels tired. Despite the beauty, growth, and victory from the trials, I still find myself wishing for a better decade ahead.  The desire for temporal pleasure tugs my heart away from the eternal. It threatens like a dangerous undertow.

My conversation with God went something like this, “I’m weary of the grey skies of life. I want sustained periods of sunshine.  Frankly, I feel a bit entitled to them. But all I know for sure is that you will not stop working on me.  You will not stop refining me.  Suffering and pain seem to be your favorite tools. Your promises of blessing and relief have no timestamp on them, no calendar date I can point to and say, ‘it will be over here.’ 

Somebody call the wambulence, right?

God was not surprised by my fickleness or bratty demand for clear skies.  In my rumbling He sweetly reminded me of a sometimes-forgotten Bible story.*
_______________________
 It goes like this. . .

Once upon a time, in the land of Zarephath, there lived a widow and her son. They were on the brink of death because of a great famine in the land. 


“Well, this is it.” the widow sighed, as she slowly gathered sticks to make a fire, “this will be the last meal we will ever eat together.”  She gazed at her boy who was pushing rocks around in the dusty earth; tears stung her eyes. The famine had gone on for days on end.  She was down to a handful of flour and a drop of oil; she couldn’t save him.  They would eat one last tortilla then they would curl up and die.  In despair, she wondered, What does it feel like to starve to death? How long does it take? How can I possibly watch my son go lifeless and limp? She thought her heart would break in two.

A man’s deep voice startled her out of her private lament. “Ma’am, my name is Elijah, and I am a man of God.  I’ve come a very long way to see you. Would you give me something to eat?”

She stared at him in disbelief. She had heard stories of the prophets but had never met one face to face. “Sir, all I’ve got is a measly handful of flour and a teensy drop of oil, it’s just enough for our final meal."

Inwardly she brooded, My husband’s gone and I’m left me to fend for myself.  This famine has gone forever.  And now a supposed “man of God’ shows up at my doorstep wanting the only morsel I have left?!  Seriously?  Why does this Israelite come to me, a Gentile? Why not let his "one true God" save him?

“Ma’am,” he assured her, “God told me to come to you specifically.”  Here is what He said to me, “Get up and go to the widow of Zarephath and let her feed you. Tell her that her flour and oil will not run out.  Tell her that I will send the rain once again, but until then, she will have enough to eat every day.”

The widow weighed his words. Can this man be trusted? Do his words really come from God? Am I being punked? Well, no matter, we are going to die anyway, so why not give him the last tortilla?   If he truly is a man of God, I don't want his death on my conscience.  I have enough guilt already.

“Okay,” she reluctantly agreed and proceeded to fire up the skillet.  She dumped the last bit of flour into mixing bowl and stirred in the last drop of oil, all the while keeping her eyes on the flour jar. It was empty.

No.  Wait. It wasn’t empty!  Whaaaat? There was flour in it.  When did that happen?  When she blinked?  She checked the oil jug.  Holy cow!  There was a little oil in it, too. Was this really happening? It was!

This flour and oil phenomenon happened every single time she prepared a meal. Every. Single. Day.  No matter how much they used, there was always enough, just as God promised.  The widow witnessed a miracle every day for days on end.  She had a front row seat to divine love, power, and provision! Day, after day, after day. Wow!

Slowly her heart began to warm up to the idea of God. 

Perhaps she journaled the story and kept records . . .


Day 1: Sooooo, today a "maybe" prophet showed up with a message from God.  I thought we were goners, but flour and oil magically appeared. We went to bed with full stomachs. What is happening?

Day 6: It happens every time I cook!  But even though I stare at the jar, I can never see the flour reappear. I set it on the counter empty and then it instantly has flour in it again.  This is freaky  - in a cool sort of way!

Day 14: Today I’m noticing that my boy has more energy, he’s put on a few pounds.  He looks healthy.  Is this really God?

Day 30:  I keep thinking about what  Elijah told me – about how God sent him directly to me.  Of all people, why me?  Does God really care about me?

Day 43:  The tortilla just keeps on giving. LOL.

Day 67: Elijah says that one of God’s names is ‘Jehovah-Jireh’ which means ‘my provider.’  Hmmmmm.

Day 84:  Tortillas are bland and boring.  Wish the rain would come.  Sure would love some fruit and vegetables.  I heard that the Israelites ate manna from God for 40 years.  Hope this famine doesn’t last that long!

Day X:  Elijah left today on a mission to King Ahab.  He said the rain will come very soon.  We will miss him.


DayX:  It's raining!!!!!

And that’s the story of the widow of Zarephath. Elijah did many more mighty acts of God which are recorded in the books of the Kings. And the widow and her son shared their story everywhere they went.

______________________


As I sat in the condo, pining for sunnier days. God reminded me of that story and whispered,

       I am the God who sees you and hears your cries. No matter what is going on
       around you, you will always have enough. It is okay to long for more. You have
       my promise; sunnier days are ahead.  But while you wait, you will always have
       enough.  Your jar will never go empty.  Every morning new grace and mercy
       abound for you.  Not just for you, but enough to share with others.  


Just like the tortilla that kept on giving. There is always enough.  Enough for me.  Enough for you. Enough for others. Enough for today, and enough for tomorrow. That is God’s promise to us today. 

Then, at the very end of our story, we know for sure that the Son will shine. Every. Single. Day.

Sunrise on the Emerald Coast.
Copyright: Kinsey Oglesby, May 8, 2019

Unburden Your Soul! - A Simple Approach to Heart Transformation that Really Works!




Everywhere we turn we are bombarded with information on how to become better people or better Christians. We have access to endless sermons, podcasts, books, YouTube, online groups, and more.  


But little of it seems to translate into transformed lives, rather it seems to add to the growing spiritual exhaustion of God’s people. We still can’t say no to people, or food, or work, shopping, or social media, or  _______ (you fill in the blank.) 

Instead of controlling our lives, life controls us. 

We are God-fearing people who really love God and want to make a difference. We want to please God, please others, and at the end of the day lay our head on our pillow with a peaceful and grateful heart (not guilt-ridden by the list of things that did not get accomplished, or all the things we did wrong, and worst of all, how God was not even part of the equation.) 


Self-shaming thoughts lead us to a weak resolve to get up earlier, spend time with God, be kinder with our words, be more attentive to our spouse, prepare menus in advance, etc.  

These resolutions fade away into a fitful sleep that is disrupted by pesky alarm in the morning.  Our hands grope and smack the snooze button prolonging the inevitable until the last minute possible; then we get up and repeat the cycle. Mercy!

We may take it further and sign up for a weekend retreat where we can get away and do a life overhaul. But at the end of the day all our efforts fall short and we feel a deep sense of failure.



There is a simpler approach but it goes against the cultural norm and sometimes against our reason. 

Sometimes the simple solutions are ignored because they just seem too simple



It really is simple, if I could only get people to buy into it.

Here’s my approach, simple and to the point.

Be still and listen to God.



That’s it.

If the world would do this, it would be turned upside down.

If you would do this, your life would radically change.



I lead people into this approach routinely. 

Client assignment: Sit still, set the timer for 5 minutes.  Ask God a question or just say, “I’m here God, what do you want to say to me.”

An initial conversation with God may look like this:

God:  I love you.
You:  Right. Okay, um, thanks. But what am I supposed to be doing about __________?
God:  I love you.
You:  Got that. But I need some answers. There’s this, this, and this going on and I don’t know what to do.
God:  I love you.
You:  Yeah, okay . . . this isn’t working.  You’re not getting it.  I really need some answers.
God:  No you don’t, you need me.  I AM the answer.
You:  I don’t get that at all.  You’re not fixing my life and clearing up my confusions.
God:  If I can get you to experience my love, you’ll find the answers.  Your questions will changeYour perspectives will change. You will change.  My perfect love casts out all fear.  
I want to love on you.  Will you let me?
You:  (a bit frustrated)  I don’t see how that works.  I know that you love me, I mean you died for me and all that.  But I have some pressing concerns and answers seem more relevant right now.
God:  I understand.  But I won’t change who I am or how I operate.  I’m offering my love.      When you learn to receive and enjoy it, you’ll see just how relevant it is.  You don’t really know how much I love you.  I want to show you.  Will you let me?
You:  Oops, time is up.  I gotta run.
            
Your departing thoughts  may be– "This is awkward, tomorrow I think I’ll just read Jesus Calling during this time."


After 12 years of listening to God, and 10 years of teaching others how to listen to God, I have witnessed over and over that God first and foremost wants to embrace us with His love.  Sadly, we dismiss this as irrelevant or impractical.  I mean, which would you rather have, a hug or better circumstances? Point made.

But what I’ve also noticed is that those clients who will sit still and listen to God reap enormous heart transformation that springs out of a soul that is deeply anchored in the love of God.

I can't stress this enough: When God's love gets a hold on us our perspective, attitude, and behaviors become more like His (without all the effort).



It’s not uncommon for me to give this prescription to a client:
For the next 2 weeks I want you to abandon all devotionals, Bible studies, Bible apps, etc.  Just take out a pen and paper, set your timer for 5 minutes and journal what you hear from God.  That’s it.  Do no more, do no less.  If you get nothing, just leave the paper blank and come back the next day.

Those who follow this prescription find God in a whole new way.  They are more aware of His presence throughout the day, delighted by His whispers and surprised by various God-moments throughout the week.  

They stop being resentful about how hard it is to be a Christian and began to enjoy their relationship with God. (All the devotional helps will come back into play after the client learns to sit still and listen to God.)

You don’t have to be a client to benefit from this practice.  Just start doing what I mentioned above.  I had no one guiding me (other than the Holy Spirit) when I got started.  If you get stuck feel free to make an appointment. 

My journal entries are messy and frankly, I would die of embarrassment if you read some of them.  But I have stayed with it until it as easy as breathing and today I joyfully declare that I went from being a devoted servant to a demanding king, to the cherished daughter of an adoring Father.  It’s the best!  

And in that wonderful space of experiencing His love, He has done some deep, deep soul cleansing and transformation.  (He’s also answered many questions, but don’t get hyper-focused on that idea.)

I wish this experience for all of you.  Go ahead, give it a whirl! 
Follow these steps:


I want to know how this works for you! 
Let me know if I can be of further help.

Coach Kinsey

How does this speak to you?  Please leave a comment below.


Click here to download this post.

©KinseyOglesby, October 2018 

A Personal Note to a Struggling Client


Dear Friend,

Today I'm thinking and praying for you.  Based on our conversation yesterday, I think that you may not have ever experienced deep, personal relating with the Savior.  Rather you have had a relationship with a system of religiosity (which is typical of many Christians).  That system can serve as a nice substitute until it doesn't anymore.  It doesn't produce real heart transformation, its more of a white-knuckle-it kind of behavior modification with the expectation that if we do well at that we will receive some kind of blessing from God.  This is where the reduced gospel we learn ends up being our kiss of death.

Thank God that He doesn't want us to stay on that path.  He has rescued me off of that path (I was miserable on it, yet like you, pushed that way down and went along with the flow).  He has shown me a new way of relating - an enjoyable Savior and Christian life (not easy) but soooooo much better than the other way.  I feel alive and excited about Jesus - and we do life together, every single day.  Circumstances around me haven't changed that much and can be pretty bleak, but God in the middle makes for a really sweet experience.

You're angry because God hasn't delivered.  You put out, but He didn't.  Only thing is, He never made that promise. Somewhere along the line, we believed the lie that if we do good things, we will get good things.  But the Bible never ever teaches that.  It teaches that to live we must first die, to be great we must become nothing, to get we must first lose, and to find the greatest joy is to love the unlovely.  It's opposite everything.  There is nothing appealing about those things.  But the promise is that when we do those things, that's when the real joy comes - that's when we really begin to experience life. I am finding this to be true.

This is just some food for thought. I'm for you more than you know.
If you want real life, I can help you find Him.

Love,

Coach Kinsey

Can any of you relate?  Has Abba drawn you into the Opposite World?  Please leave your comments below.

If you want to learn how to relate to a Savior rather than a system contact me. kinsey@coachkinsey.com

I Didn't Know it Would Be My Last Conversation With Him . . .

What a delightful surprise to see Mr. D and Sandy at a recent funeral.   My heart stirred when I saw them.  I felt compelled to speak words of life and love to my High School teacher.  I wanted him to know how much he meant to me and to so many people. I made a beeline for him after the service.

 “Mr. D, I just want you to know how much you mean to me . . .” But before I could get going, others huddled around, took pictures, shared memories, talked, and talked, and talked.  But I was determined to have this conversation. People moved away, the room was almost empty, so I started again, “Mr. D, I want you to know . . .” 

This time the funeral director butted in, arms waving directions, “We need you to move out of the room, we have another funeral to conduct.” I could tell he was not a man to cross, we left the chapel and went into the hallway.  

I tried again, “Mr. D, it’s important for me to say this . . .”  Someone stopped by and thrust their cell phone in Mr. D’s face, “Hey, my daughter is doing great now, here’s her house, yada yada.”  Seriously?   Can I just have a moment?   

Finally, space seemed to open up, “Mr. D . . .” Oh, for crying out loud, the funeral director was unhappy again. “Could y’all please move out of the hall?  
We have another funeral about to start.”  Sheesh!  
We moved to the lobby.  More interruptions ensued.

Maybe this wasn’t the place or time

But I waited.  Finally, I was able to look Mr. D in the eye and express my gratitude and love.  I don’t remember what I said exactly.  But I do remember being grateful for the chance to hold his hand, hug his neck, and speak life into him.

I had no idea it would be my last conversation with him. Today, June 22, 2018, Mr. D entered heaven. I’ll cherish this picture and that moment forever.

There will be endless accolades from thousands of students over on Facebook about how wonderful Mr. D was on earth.  I look forward to reading each one.  But right now I want to draw attention to this fact: we never know

We never know when our last conversation with someone will be our last conversation with someone.  So, it’s really important to speak up.  Sometimes we feel silly or shy about saying soulful things.  Sometimes the slightest bumps in the road can deter us from our intents. 

Here are my two cents worth:

Stay the course.
Say the words.
Speak life.
Speak love.
Speak gratitude.
You may not get another chance.




In honor and memory of one of the greats, Jay Donmoyer, aka "Mr. D," and his lovely wife Sandy.

Chioma! My New Favorite Word

“How do you pronounce your name?” I asked, noticing her unusual name tag.
“Chee-oh-ma,” replied the Lowes cashier.
"That’s interesting, what does it mean?"
“God is good.”
“Really?  What language is that?”
 "Igbo, from Nigeria."
“That’s a beautiful name. God really is good, do you know Jesus?” my husband joined the conversation.
“I know God,” she said with dismissive air and rang up our potting soil.  Seemed to me that she didn’t like God being equated with Jesus.  But who knows, I could have read her wrong.

Anyway, intrigued by the name Chioma, I later did a google search online.  Sure enough, it means “God is good.” Don’t you just love that? It’s my new favorite word now.

Chioma!  God is good.
Yes He is. Jesus too.

We prayed that the beautiful African girl that works at Lowes comes to know that in her heart.
And you too for that matter.
Have a lovely day.

Chioma! Spread the word.

Messy Gospel. Messy Me.

It couldn't have happened at a worse place.  Thick traffic, narrow lanes, crazy drivers, and there I was fighting to stay awake.  Seriously, right there in the center of Atlanta, at malfunction junction, my eyes were crossing.  After a week with very little sleep, I had finally hit my wall.  So at this point, it was imperative to be off the highway. I prayed, gripped the steering wheel and looked for the first available exit. 

Finally, a billboard boasted a Cracker Barrell, exit 44.  I would be able to walk around, get some coffee, call the Preacher and try to wake up. But that’s not how it played out. 
 
Exited in the wrong lane, had to go with traffic flow.  Desperate to get out of the car, I pulled into the first fast food restaurant available.  Hardees.  I never eat at Hardees. Ever.
 
God had plans to wake me up.  There at the entrance was a homeless woman, with all her worldly possessions at her feet.  Oh dear Jesus,  I would have to pass her on my way in.  Can we say awkward? I greeted her kindly and walked right past her, good Samaritan that I am.
 

“What’s up with that homeless woman by the door?” I asked the cashier.
“Oh, she just needs some money.”
“How long has she been out there?”
“She’s been coming for about 2 years.”
“Oh mercy!”
 
It’s not my first time to see a homeless panhandler, but it’s always unnerving.  Bells and whistles, inner turmoil, guilt for having a home to return to, guilt for having a life basically. Compelled to do something.  What is that something? 
 
Was that an angel out there?  An angel, taking notes and reporting me to God. 
 
Angel reporting to God: “Kinsey walked past, she gets credit for the smile and greeting, but she did walk past.” 
 
God: “That’s not good enough.  I’ve given her a very cushy life in comparison.  She should invite that woman to go home with her and live with her and take care of her for the rest of her life.”
 
I’ve already been condemned to hell in my imagination.  Deep soul sigh.
 
Am I the only one with this type of internal dialogue?
 
The very fact that it could be an angel meant that I had to act.  I don’t want to let an angel down, do you?

I mean, I can walk right past a human who bears the image of God, but it’s absolutely incomprehensible to walk past an angel and do nothing.  That's holy logic at work, right?
 
So I ate a burger while I ponder these things.  Didn’t taste a bite.  Didn’t enjoy it either.
 
Exiting the same door, I moved next to the woman, careful not to trample her little bags, leaned back on the wall, looked at her and asked, “What’s your story?”
 
Surprisingly, she smiled and spoke very intelligently. (I had not stereotyped at all.  Eyeroll.)
 
Hard times, no family around, just needed money to stay in a hotel, yadda, yadda.
 
“What’s your name?”
“Angel,” she replied. 
 
(Not really, I just had to get you there)
 
“Princess,” was her real answer
“Princess!” I mused, “Are you God’s Princess?”
“Oh yes!” she said with a big smile.
 
That opened up the door for more conversation.  I tell you I thought my heart would break in two.  Here was a child of God with deep pain and no place to stay.  Here was an image bearer with no home.  Where was God in this woman’s life?  Why wasn’t He caring for His daughter?
 
I have no answers.
 
Over the course of our conversation, I prayed with her three different times. It felt weak and pathetic.  What kind of God allows this?  The gospel doesn’t seem enough here.  How do the four spiritual laws apply?  God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life?  Seriously?
 
She was very grateful that I took the time to visit.  I gave her a hug (with permission) and all the cash I had.
 
I got back in my car and cried.  This world is so wrong.  So, so wrong.
 
The gospel at times seems messy.  My living out the gospel is messy.
 
I’m still bothered by it all. I think I should be.
 
 
What does it stir in you?  



A Surprise Kiss from God

There it blossomed, in the dead of winter, snowy white against a periwinkle sky. 

I braked and dismounted my bike to get closer. The flower was a burst of white petals surrounding a small yellow center; from a distance, it resembled a daisy – but this was a tree.
   

How is it that I’ve biked this route for years and never noticed this daisy tree

But today it begged my attention, standing in stark contrast to the surrounding landscape of brown grass, dead leaves, and barren trees.

Its beautiful bloom sang out to me – there's life, there's hope, there's growth! Dark seasons give way to light.  Mourning gives way to laughter.

Touching its delicate leaves, I could feel the breath of God infusing me with hope, anticipation, and joy.



The first signs of spring are always the most treasured;

 perhaps because they follow a season of decay.


Yet I was still mystified, how had I missed this tree in the past?  I pass it frequently.  Could it be that my soul was more thirsty this time?  Or maybe God just wanted to surprise me.

The same thing happens when I read scripture.  I round the corner of a chapter, riding in old, familiar territory, then a verse will jump out and capture my attention. It’s like I’ve never seen it before!  I brake, dismount, and allow the new revelation to seep into my soul.

Some people call these moments kisses from God.  What a wonderful thought.  It surely does feels like that – a God-kiss. Nice.

God’s-kisses are all around us.  Every day.  It’s just that sometimes we glide right past and don’t notice them. Oh that we might see them all.


Would you ask God to open your eyes today? 

Ask Him to show you where His kiss is hiding.

He wants to kiss you.


And when you get your God-kiss, stop pedaling, get off your bike, and receive the infusion of His love and grace. 


Then would you share it with someone?  
Or better yet share it on our FB group page?



After I got home I googled the bloom and discovered that it is called
Magnolia stellata the ‘Royal Star.”
But just between us, I think I'll call it the Daisy tree.  Smile.
You can learn more about it here: 



Sometimes we can't hear from God or receive His kisses because we are stuck, or our internal life is too noisy.  As a Heart Transformation Coach, I help you move past the barriers to reconnect with the lover of your soul.



or contact me at:
Kinsey@coachkinsey.com


For a PDF version of this story - maybe to share with your women's group,

©Kinsey Oglesby, January 25, 2017