Daddy’s Voice

Have you ever been afraid that God really isn’t as kind as you proclaim he is?

I have.

When I lose heart.

Last night, I gave my first lengthy-version of Juan (Spanish-style) in Santa Lucia, Honduras. A tiny little church nestled high on a mountain, lit up by the Pastor’s personal power (literally I mean–he wired cords from his own home down the steep incline to provide some electricity). Having had a fuller week with the Micah boys than I had originally anticipated, I personally didn’t feel like I was connected to ‘the power source.’ Drained, weak current, flickering bulb… My inner theater critic was slightly dreading the performance. I knew God could work miracles, but why would he want to use me? Someone way ‘under-rehearsed’?

I’d lost heart.

When I was a kid–even a teenager–I loved theater. Performing was such a blast, and I thrived under the encouragement I received. Not fluffy words of amazement which secretly masked people’s negative opinions, but authentic words of support coming from those who loved me. Sure, my director would give me notes to help me improve, but it was more like playing rather than criticizing: “Try this! What about this? Think about things this way…” I would take the notes to heart with joy and readiness to work hard, always knowing that my director believed that I would ‘get there’. Because of that, I had the freedom to fail along the way.

But then I started living in “the real world”. Where I started taking theater seriously as ‘my career’… Slowly, slowly, I started to live by another voice (usually my own): the critic. “You’re not going to make it, you don’t deserve this role, you’re going to make a fool of yourself up there…” A voice that only increased as I moved into the professional world. Somewhere deep within I knew I had talent, but I kept burying it. Not that I wanted to, I just didn’t have a voice I trusted enough to pull that talent out of me. True or not, I didn’t sense an environment where I was free to fail. Or, rather, where I was free to play–knowing I would ‘get there.’ And so, in my self-criticism (which I would often blame on others), I shrank back. And so did my abilities. I was trapped.

And then John happened. I felt in way over my head, but I trusted my director’s ability as well as her belief in Jesus, which thereby translated to believing her belief in me. Even when all evidence of our seemingly-getting-nowhere rehearsals pointed to “failure”, we believed the Lord had called us to this–he would come through for us. She believed I would ‘get there’ and so did I.

And I guess you could say we ‘got there’, though I know we always have more room to play. A tree is still a tree even when we know it will keep getting taller. What I mean is, we both felt good about where we got, and so we keep going and growing (by the grace of God!).

And then… last night happened. The other voice started to creep back: the condemning one. “You didn’t practice enough in Spanish, you should have prayed more over this, your accent is going to throw them off, you’re not in time with the music, they’re going to be bored…” I started falling back into the trap.

And then… before I got onstage, they performed for me. The youth group had put together some dance to a poppy Christian song in order to welcome me as well as to introduce the evening. From a ‘critic’s’ standpoint: they were awful. They didn’t know their choreography, they kept looking at each other for what to do, bumping into each other, falling over, some were in costume and others weren’t… But the critic’s voice is not the one that was in my head that night… I loved it. I literally had tears in my eyes which flowed from a gushing heart. Their joy in performing was such a gift to me. “The hour is coming when you will worship the Father in spirit and truth…”

And then I realized, what if God were kinder than we ever believed possible?

What if God looked at us more like a proud parent at his elementary student’s recorder recital than as a snobby food critic in the newspaper? Shouting “That’s my boy!” as his son squeaks out a slightly off-beat version of “Hot Cross Buns” with all his heart, instead of some stranger tearing a five star chef to shreds when his fancy cuisine could have used a pinch more salt?

Yeah, that’s more like it! No wonder Jesus gets on the Pharisees for their intense law-keeping: it had no heart. Want to play the critic’s cap, guys? You’re only going to feel good about yourself so long as you keep looking down on others. No wonder they wanted to kill Jesus. No fun to look at him when you’re trapped by the critic’s voice. When you look at that kind of righteousness, you know you’ll never ‘make it’ and then you’ll have to start believing you’re the failure you thought others were… or rather, the failure you’re afraid you are… BUT when you know Jesus’ heart–his wonderful, loving, tender, encouraging, holy heart–then you’ll want him in the room! It’s not even that he gives us room to fail, per say, he gives us room to play. And as we look up to him, we start to ‘perform’ better than we ever thought we were capable. He’s a darn good director, and he wants us to ‘get there’ even more than we do. And as we find ourselves in him, we will. That’s a promise. Philippians 1:6 if you need a reference ;).

All that to say, last night was an awesome performance. Not because I was perfectly articulate, or got every word exactly right, or had my audience’s attention 100% of the time, but because I gave the performance to my Daddy. And he shouted, “That’s my girl!” And the joy from that didn’t just bless me, it blessed those watching me, too. I know it, because that’s his promise. John 15 if you need a reference ;).

Kelsey Cratty
Spoken Word Performer


“He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.”
John 1:11


It often takes me more courage to walk into somewhere where I do know someone than where I don’t… if I am not sure how I will be received, that is. Like a blind date vs. sharing your feelings with your best friend–there’s more at stake. Houston–the looming January chunk on my calendar has been that very place for me. “No” after “no” after “no” paired with many a “we’ll get back to you” (in this life?) has stirred an anxiety in me that I wasn’t quite prepared for.  Driving to Texas felt like having to prepare to see a group of crushes that turned me down or worse, felt sorry for me. No one wants to be taken on a date out of pity–everyone wants to be wanted.

And so, my month in Houston began: in fear. Fear of being unwelcome, unwanted, unreceived. At times I let the loneliness of rejection draw me to Christ. I do believe some of these moments were legitimate and fruitful in helping me to find my confidence in Him alone. However, I have to confess: more often than not, I was the one building up barriers. After all, it wasn’t really the people who have been shutting me out–because if the Lord wanted to grant favor, he could have. I don’t know what he has been doing in others (no matter how much I think I can judge hearts–I can’t), but I do know what he has been up to in me. Ripping out my pride. Slowly and painfully he has revealed how my ego has allowed my thoughts to drift towards a subtle demand for respect, honor, and glory for me instead of for Christ. Especially here in Houston. In a land where I was ‘known’ I had a greater sense of entitlement–seeking to be seen, birthed from a disastrous desire to prove myself. Deep in some dark recess of my heart, I was seeking approval that my testimony of “God has called me to _______” would be evident, so that I wouldn’t be seen as a fraud. So I wouldn’t believe this true of myself.

Conviction. My awful, ugly pride unveiled in my immature response to a people and place that I love has brought me to my knees. Confession. I am unworthy of this calling, and I know now more than ever that all of this is for Jesus–for His glory–and I am to follow wherever he leads. Clarity. By going forward with open hands, I have such renewed joy and peace. No longer are my eyes set on what my imagination has conjured, leading to disappointment when my plans don’t see fruition. Rather, I can now look around at what God has prepared with awe and anticipation. He is good and He will fulfill his purpose for me–whatever that may be.

And so, I am so so eternally grateful for all that the Lord has done in and through my time in Houston. With new eyes I now see how beautifully prepared this season has been. He has given me extended time with dear friends (who I count family), the opportunity to present His Word to so many loved ones–both new and familiar–(and for those who were not able to attend or host–he is up to other wonderful and extraordinary works–yay for the Body!), and even more than I will ever have eyes to see. In the meantime, may my eyes and yours see Jesus more and more clearly, in glory–He is so so so so so so so good. (Not enough so’s).

Grace and peace be with you all.



Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?”

Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

John 6:28-29

What is the work of God? To believe in Jesus.

A simple answer, perhaps, but for some reason I keep complicating things and making this work harder and harder for myself. Reason? I am juggling two jobs right now: believing God and believing the world.

I am in a strange season with fewer shows and more time to think about what-the-heaven I have gotten myself into. I’ve put all my chips in the Jesus basket, and sometimes I wonder if I’ll come out alive at the end of it all.

I look at my slowly-dwindling bank account and my mind goes to work: You cannot serve both God and money is quickly attacked by another voice: You are being irresponsible–who do you expect will take care of you anyway?

I look at my less-than-full calendar and hear: What are you doing with your life? What a waste! You are just an unemployed mooch–you should be ashamed!… but another quiet voice keeps me going forward: Wait for the Lord. He has gone before and behind you.

Not only do I hear fear-baked voices inside but also through others: You just use ‘the Lord’ as an excuse to do what you want… India?! You’re going to get sold as a slave!… When are you ever going to settle down and be responsible?… All this ‘the Lord’ stuff really turns people off–you need to stop talking so much and show it with your life.

I even listen to well-meaning onlookers who ask the same questions I am: What are you doing next? Where are you staying? How long will this go for? and since I don’t know the answer to any of these questions I start to wonder: Should I know? Is there something I am missing here?

So many voices that all seem to be getting louder, making the work of believing in Jesus a whole lot harder. Especially since his voice often seems so quiet… And yet, it is the only voice that is steady, unchanging, proven. I know which one is his: I am with you. I will never leave you nor forsake you. Trust me. I love you.

So many voices. So much work. And currently I am way overcommitted. Having two jobs is not easy. Believing God and believing the world at the same time is incredibly exhausting. And somehow, even though I know it’s impossible, I keep trying to work for both. But I can’t. Faith in Jesus is a full-time commitment–something has to give. So which is it going to be?

Going back and reading through the different options, I know which voice I want to listen to. I am done living for the world. I choose Jesus. It’s the only job that pays off in the end and the only one that brings me satisfaction in the meantime. I’ve counted up the cost–I don’t care how crazy I seem to everyone else–he’s worth it. And–believe it or not–he’s real and he’s alive. I believe.

Kelsey Cratty
Spoken Word Performer


Offering Everything

“Lord, I feel like you’ve given me such a treasure,” I say as I marvel over the Scriptures yet again. “I’m just a jar of clay, but I’m carrying your precious Word, and all I want to do is share it!”

In fact, sharing is just what I am getting ready to do. The pastor at my English speaking church asked if I would be willing to share a selection of John 6 for his Sunday school class later that morning. As I begin going over my lines at a beautiful overlook of Tegucigalpa (Honduras’ capitol), I suddenly see a large group of touristy Gringos headed my direction. I’m not surprised–this is the perfect place for a facebook-like-worthy photo-op. The very white-looking people are not aware that their suddenly influx of site-seeing is crowding out my meditation on the Word. I shyly withdraw to a safe distance from the mass of people and continue to rehearse… Until I get an even stronger interruption.

Spirit nudge: Share with them.
Me: (quickly questioning the validity of the Spirit-source) I’d rather not.

I go through my lines about the large crowd coming toward Jesus, who then asks Philip about getting them some bread. Calculator Philip freaks out; Bright-Idead Andrew suggests a boy’s meager lunch (quickly back-pedaling when common sense kicks in); Jesus takes up his offer and feeds everyone.

My mind shifts back to the crowd right in front me. Calculator Kelsey freaks out; Bright-Idead Kelsey suggests sharing a few verses (quickly back-pedaling when common sense kicks in). Jesus, are you about to feed everyone?

Spirit nudge: Talk to them… Talk to them… Talk to them.
Me: (finally) Fine, I’ll say hi when they come by.

The clustered tourists disperse after the final photo and start trickling my way.

Me: What are y’all doing here?
Random Person #1: We are on a mission trip.
Me: Oh cool Where are you from?
Random Person #2: Iowa.
Me: Really?! I just came from Iowa!
Random Person #3: What were you doing in Iowa?
Me: I am touring “The Gospel of John.” (Eager-Andrew syndrome takes over:) Want to see a section?
All the random people: YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ironically, my time in Iowa just a few weeks prior began with a portion of John chapter 6 for a morning church service. These chapters have since continually resurfaced in my heart. Jesus providing abundantly for the multitude through one person’s meager offering. The key: offering. And so I offer the little I have. With meager faith and a whole lot of reluctance, but I offer what I have nonetheless.

Unsure of whether or not I have just made a fool of myself, I end the section a little prematurely. “There’s more,” I say, “but that’s some of it, anyway.” Although our obedience to the Lord–not others’ reactions–is what matters, I am thankful for the awestruck gratitude I receive from the hearers. It’s nice to know following the Lord has an actual point (not just seeing how ridiculous I am willing to be–which is honestly how it feels sometimes). In fact, one of twinkly-eyed men in the group rushes up to me, “What a coincidence–my men’s Bible study we have been studying John chapter 6!” Coincidence? Ha! Another man comes up to me, “I have to tell you, when I was watching you I felt like the Lord was saying that you have a treasure in you and that as you share God’s Word that you are sharing that treasure with us.”

Smirking, I look upwards and shake my head. “Of course, Lord, of course.” Talk about affirmation!

By the grace of God, he has continued to provide affirmation after affirmation after offering up the little I have. The same little that was never mine in the first place, but that has always been his to begin with. He has given me His precious Word and he has given it to me to give. And somehow in the Lord’s economy, his giving-fountain never runs dry. Giving out fills me up! (Somehow in my little faith, I always think I’m going to hit the bottom of the well one of these days, but his faithfulness has proven otherwise). Which makes me wonder… what am I withholding?

Too often I look at the couple of fish and loaves in my hand and grip onto them–thinking if I give them up I’ll go hungry. Give $_______ to so-and-so. But then how will I have enough to___________!?! Go talk to ____________. But what if I have nothing to say!?! Go to __________. But what if nobody goes with me!?! I’ll be with you. I am enough.

Every time I am called to sacrifice something—comfort, communities, common sense…–every single time I actually surrender said-something, God provides. Every time. And yet every time I sense his call to sacrifice something else, I still grip on tightly to what I have as if this time He won’t. Until he finally helps me to release, and he provides all over again.

What if we actually trusted Him to ‘feed us’? What if we were to truly live open-handedly? Actually believing that if we offer up our few loaves and fish that the Lord will multiply? What if we stopped worrying ‘if I don’t take care of me who will’? Would we be more apt to give sacrificially instead of just our leftovers? What if we trusted that the Lord of the universe really is our Shepherd and that because of that we really do lack nothing? Would we live differently? I would.

What about you? What has the Lord given to you? It may not feel like much, but trust me, in the Lord’s hands it is more than enough. And if you open your hands not only will you get the joy of giving, but you’ll finally have hands open to receive what the Lord wants to give you: more than you ever had in the first place.

Kelsey Cratty
Spoken Word Performer

*INDIA UPDATE (see previous entry):

India has been like a dripping faucet in the back of my mind. I’ve known I need to go, but I keep putting off doing anything about it. I added a few people to ‘pray about it’ (and threw in the London prayer request for kicks–since that is the other place that has been on my heart even before leaving Honduras the first time). Finally having enough of the mental nag, I looked into tickets… my jaw dropped. Guess which city my India flight needs to layover? Yup, London. Again I say: talk about affirmation! Needless to say, I bought my ticket.



“What are you–Malchizedek? Where did you come from!?” a tall, suit-wearing grey haired fellow approached me after delivering John chapters 3 and 4 at Western Seminary’s make-do chapel service in the lounge (an outbreak of hephaestus in the basement re-routed us last minute… chuckling I commented to the seminarians “This is what you get when you sign onto having me!”).

Apparently the man asking me this question was the Seminary’s president–his entire vision for life having shifted when he’d seen a one-man performance of The Gospel of Mark back in the 90s. Go figure.

“When are you free to meet?” the man pulled out his phone to make an appointment with where-on-earth-did-you-come-from-me.

So where do I come from? A complicated question seeing as I have lived in multiple states and even countries, and yet find my true Home in none of them. These days living from place to place, home to home, I am starting to better grasp the verse the Lord used to prepare me for all this: “Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Matt 8:20).

Surrounded by a room full of hefty titles and degrees, I found a whole new significance to the Jews’ amazed response to Jesus’ teaching: “How is it that this man has learning when he has never studied?” (John 7:15). The utter awe over God’s spoken word throughout the week was an absolute demonstration of His power–not mine.

So who is this girl, anyway? Well, apart from Christ–I am of no significance. “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth” (1 Cor 1:26). Where does she come from? Not even sure how to answer the question–nothing that gives me some sort of super credentials that’s for sure. So why pick me, God? I take my cue from the continuation of the previous verse: “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1 Cor 1:27-29).

By the grace of God I am what I am: his messenger. Totally and utterly dependent on him. Any ‘power’ that has come through me in the delivering of his word is completely because of him. Yes, he has come in power in many ways already throughout this tour. And, yes, he has used me. But I am just a jar of clay, he is the treasure. I carry his word–his very presence–and I take that as an absolutely holy and incredible responsibility or which I am totally unworthy. And yet, because I am in Christ Jesus, he has marked me as his own and allowed me to play a piece in his work. And what is his work for? To bring the good news to others! If he has given me any gift at all, it is not for me and my glory anyway! It is for his glory and for the good of YOU! For YOUR good! If he has shown me any favor in this at all it is not for me–it is for you and for Him! What an honor!

This is our task, brothers and sisters. To know God and make him known. For now, the internalization and presentation of John’s Gospel is one of the ways God has called me to do this. But I am not the only one with a task. As Paul tells us, “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Cor 12:7). Are you in Christ? You have the Spirit. And with that Spirit comes your own unique gifting for others’ good. Our gifts are for others. Are we enjoying the gifts God is choosing to give us through another? Or are we so caught up in envy and self-deprecation that we aren’t unwrapping the beauty given by God through those around us?

Look to Jesus, love others, and when he calls: follow. I can attest, it involves sacrifice. It requires utter dependence on him. But he is the only one worthy of following. None of our worldly whims reap the benefit they falsely promise. His reward is the only one worth having: love.

Kelsey Cratty
Spoken Word Performer

*Speaking of dependence, the Lord brought me to my knees once again in a humble recognition of my reliance on him… down to my very life. On the final morning’s drive to Western Seminary, I pressed my foot upon my brakes as I was coming to a stop before a busy highway… only to meet no resistance. Try as I may–nothing. Truck in front of me and interstate ahead, I had no choice but to swerve into the coming cars. By the grace of God he gave me an open window right when I needed it. He spared me my life–the life I have here on earth that is. Knowing I would need to stop again in the future I began praying ‘in Jesus’ name’ to heal my brakes. If he could raise Lazarus–and himself for that matter–from the dead certainly he could resurrect my brakes’ life! By the time I drew near to the coming stoplight–the Lord opened my eyes to finally notice the problem: I’d had my emergency brake pressed in from the night before! Right in time I lifted it out–bringing me to a timely halt. THANK YOU JESUS! THANK YOU JESUS!

Pulling to a slow stop by the seminary, I smelled the burning rubber the escapade had produced. Brakes clearly weakened, I said a little prayer before walking in to our final chapel together: “Oh, Lord, please send someone to help me with my car.”

Walking forward, I stepped into Western with newfound awe to perform John 13-15. Before I began, I gave the unaware audience a tear-filled testimony of the morning’s events. “The Lord saved my life, because I believe he has something here for you.” Wiping my tears, I was now ready to wash and wipe feet. After finishing–sure enough–one man came up and asked: “So what ever happened with those brakes?” Telling him about the emergency brake and burning rubber, he handed me a card. His son-in-law was some sort of owner for a car shop near by. He would look into the problem, and whatever needed to be done–it was on him. The Lord answered my prayer. And he used a random audience member with a never-before-met me relative. Yeah, the Lord really does give gifts to us for others’ good. And you never know when yours might be utilized. Praise God!

**Special shout out to all at Orchard Hill, Western Sem, Hope College, North Pointe High School, and Moran Park Church. It was such an honor to share in the giving and receiving of the Lord’s Word together!!! ❤

Look at JESUS

I haven’t updated this blog in a long time. Part of me had an internal resistance, afraid blogging may be a form of “Look at me! Look at me!” However, I see now that I must more actively tell what the Lord has been up to in and through this process as a way of proclaiming His faithfulness and saying “Look at Jesus! Look at Jesus!” Because of my love for him, I have a calling to feed his sheep. And how better could I feed weary souls than with a true proclamation of his love and care? If Jesus Christ is your Lord and Jesus Christ is my Lord than we have the same Lord. Through Jesus we are one, and thus whatever goodness I proclaim of God in my life is not meant to elevate myself but to remind you that he is good in your life, too. He is faithful.

That said, here is a brief update of the beginning of this tour. We have not as of yet found a permanent stage manager. However, the Lord has provided at every turn. In my first performances in my home-base of this project (Ypsilanti, Michigan), a couple of my director’s past students helped run our technical elements. On the first day meeting with the college-going couple, we began with a simple prayer huddle. All it took was my opening line about God as our Good Father to set the never-met-her-before girl to my right in a puddle of tears. After praying I smiled at her and stated, “Yeah, Elizabeth probably didn’t warn you what you were getting into by coming into this project.”

And so began the weeping.

My time of weeping came in the middle of our first performance. For the first time in my entire life, I lost my voice. Completely. Onstage. Chapter 8–a climactic moment between Jesus and the Pharisees, and nothing came out. I pushed. Squeek. I pushed. A whisper. Fear-filled tears ready to burst from my eyes, I prayed in my mind, “LORD PLEASE HELP ME.” Almost ready to run off-stage, I kept going with the little voice I was able to get out. And with each line I uttered, I prayed in my mind, and I spoke. My voice was working, but I could feel how feeble I was. Line after line, I prayed as I spoke. At one point, I was to turn behind me to “wash my eyes” as the blind man. And so, rather than splash my face, I guzzled the water (a looking back and laughing story now). Then, when I finally finished Act 1, I knelt down in my dark ‘dressing room’ and wept. I knew the Lord was grounding me at a place of utter humility in all this–I can do nothing without him. I am dependent on him for everything down to my very voice. After a series of thanking him–not even for the return of the voice, that wasn’t even what mattered most to me–it was thanking him for him. The Spirit whispered to my heart, “I won’t let that happen again.” And I believe him. And so far, he hasn’t, and he won’t. Much to my surprise, after the show the voice-flub wasn’t what people remembered. Things like “it was like Jesus was speaking to me through you!” were the remarks I received. Oh praise him, in our weakness he really is stronger!

Post well-received performances in Ypsilanti I headed to my hometown, Rockford, IL, for two weeks. My own tears were shed as fear and insecurity reached a new level–paired with various childhood lies that have a way of reawakening and creeping into the soul when faced with old yet familiar people and places. Now without the security of my director’s presence, I had to learn to rely on my True Director as I clung to the True Script: his Scripture. With only a few days to go before my first show, and still no stage manager, I wrestled with anxiety as I clung to the peace I believed the Lord had planted in my heart with his Spirit’s continual voice crashing like gentle waves, “I have someone for you. I have someone for you.” Sure enough, he had someone for me. My past theater director had arranged a stage manager for me, who also served with me for the following weeks shows as well. And she was a gift–a whiz–capable and ready to serve, putting my mind at ease… until a new anxiety arose of course.

On the Sunday morning of my first Rockford performance, I clung to the Lord’s faithfulness as much as the steering wheel as I drove to Court Street Methodist Church. I was scheduled to perform just a small paragraph of John 3 for the congregation as part of their morning worship as well a plug for the afternoon show. Having never met the pastor, I was a little intimidated for our first conversation–I felt on my heart that I needed to do the entire Nicodemus section… a whole lot more than a paragraph. When I arrived: no pastor. Couldn’t find him. Until right before the service. After introducing myself, I shyly suggested that I do a longer section. Full of energy Pastor Cal opened the church’s bulletin to see what was written: my name and what I was doing, but they had forgotten to put which verses I would be speaking, leaving it completely open. When Pastor Calvin asked which verses I was thinking about–they happened to be the exact same ones he was preaching on. With a boisterous enthusiasm, he told me he always seeks to be open to the Spirit’s leading and he had changed the direction of his message later that week. His joy pierced through my oddly-shy shell and my voice broke free–laughing and proclaiming the Lord’s faithfulness. We were connected–brother and sister in Christ! As if to affirm our kinship, that morning was a special annual prayer service. Upon entering the church, we were told to write our name on a colored slip of paper. Later in the service the folded slips would be passed around in the offering plates. We were then to draw a slip of a color not our own that we may receive the name of another in the congregation to pray for throughout the year. When the time in the service came to draw a name, I heard the Spirit whisper, “Draw a purple one.” So I did. Whose name did I draw? Pastor Cal. In a room full of strangers, the Lord gave me the name I knew. A name who already meant something to me, and who means a whole lot more to Him.

Fast forward: that afternoon, we had our show. It went well, but without any fancy lighting and a seemingly sleepy Sunday crowd, I wasn’t quite sure how the Word was received… Lots of compliments, but nothing stuck. I don’t want to leave people with “Wow, she memorized all that” or “What a great actress.” I want to leave people with Jesus. I can’t judge what goes on in anyone’s heart and I trust the Lord does his work–I don’t need to see. But I am thankful for the little glimpses he does give me. This particular time, through one man, probably in his 50s (though I am terrible at estimating these things), waited after all the giddy old ladies to speak with me. When he approached words caught in his throat as tears welled into his eyes. Turning back to gather himself, he again came up to me, and this time the tears surged. He was weeping. Unsure how to respond, I gently asked “Can I pray for you?” Through his tears he mustered the strength to reply, “No… I am just… so… happy” and gave me a hug. It was then that I knew, this is why I am doing this show. For the sheep. That they may have a moment listening to their shepherd.

The following week, the weeping overcame me–a kind I cannot explain. The kind that unleashes from the soul when you feel utterly dependent on the Spirit who is forming the tears. It was a Sunday and had a performance later that evening at Mount Olive Lutheran. My body felt incredibly frail, my emotions a dark cloud, my mind distant. I was weak, so weak, and so unexplainably sad. And so, in the little, vacant church that would be filled with audience members just hours later: I wept. I prayed. I wept. And the Lord refreshed me. He gave me his strength, and I went out. I performed. He showed up. And blessed the people yet again. By his mercy and grace.

Fast forward: time to leave Rockford. I get a special facebook message, which I will soon explain, but first I have to preface.  For many months–even before leaving Honduras–India has been on my heart. I have told countless people and have asked for prayer from a few trusted prayer partners about this affirming time and time again “I need to go to India.” Now, I know this is of the Lord, because if it weren’t for the Lord India is very likely the last place on earth I would want to go. A homebody, a woman who enjoys her independence, and doesn’t enjoy long travel or lack of sleep, I am not naturally built to desire a trip to India. But I do desire the Lord and want to go where he wants me to go, and if that is India then it is the first place I want to go. And so, the message. Right upon leaving I received a message through our website from an Indian pastor. He had read a facebook post from our mutual friend who attended Mount Olive’s performance the night before. With a desire to bring the Word to his people, he invited me to India for a month’s stay: free food and lodging. Call me crazy, but I know this is of the Lord. I wasn’t even able to get the first few excited words out to my mother before tears flooded her eyes: “NO! You’re not going! No! I won’t let you!” All I could do was laugh and dance around, “Mom! This is of the Lord–it is what I have been praying for for months! He is with me!” Mom followed me out to the car, “You’re not going to India alone.” “I won’t.” God is with me.

If you read this post–bless you! This is my stream-of-conscious journal entry, not an edited masterpiece. But I hope that even throughout my measly words the Word of God–the Lord–is made evident. He really is faithful. He leads, he guides, he sustains. And he speaks. Because I am his sheep, I know his voice. Sure, I still battle lies and doubt I hear at all. But he is confirming which voice is his through every step. And with each step it seems that his voice gets quieter and quieter… but I am all the while getting more and more certain which one is his. So even that is a blessing. May you be blessed to as you abide in his Word and do what he says. Let him lead. Follow!

Waiting for ____________

Well, I did it again: ‘The Losing-faith…oh-wait-I-was-believing-the-wrong-thing…YES-God-IS-faithful Cycle.’ Did you follow that? If not, let me help you understand with a current example from Unbroken Bones. Remember last blog entry? We were waiting for a stage manager.

Here’s the problem with that: I started to get my focus on what I thought I needed… to the point where I even narrowed it down to a specific person, a specific way, a specific time and thought “Wow, I have such faith because I KNOW God can do this!” Well, he can, believe me. If he shows up to people in different countries with different faiths and they start believing in Jesus afterwards? Yeah, he can easily call someone here at the drop of a hat to leave their nets and follow. But he didn’t (I mean, he still could, but whether or not he does the following still applies). And while God wasn’t doing what I thought he should as God, I started to doubt him. Why? Because I tied what I thought he should/could do with his faithfulness, rather than let he himself define his faithfulness. If God says he is going to do something, he will do that thing. He always does. We have written evidence–prophesies fulfilled bam bam bam. The Law: perfectly fulfilled by Jesus. For his entire life. And beyond. BAM! God speaks, God does. Always.

So then I thought: well then, why not for me? If he says “wait on the Lord” why isn’t he giving me what I am waiting for?

HOLD UP! NOTICE THE DIFFERENCE. The Word says, “wait on the Lord.” What did I add? A “for”. Oops.

You know, I really should have clung onto the verses that the Spirit kept calling to mind rather than my own deviations from them. To name a few: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want [I lack nothing].” Kelsey deviation: I shall not want… because God is going to give me so-and-so as a stage manager by such-and-such a time! That time comes… no stage manager. Has His Word failed? No, it can’t. Hmm, perhaps I should have realized that I actually lack nothing, as he said, and when I actually do need something or someone, the Lord will provide. Because He is leading me like a good shepherd in his perfect timing and way. And again “Do not be anxious about your life.” Kelsey deviation: I will call so-and-so again… and again… because my doing something will help me not be anxious about not doing anything. Doesn’t work. WHY ISN’T IT WORKING?! (Meanwhile, I begin to become anxious but am in self-denial about my own self-perpetuated anxiety).

Are you beginning to understand ‘The Losing-faith…oh-wait-I-was-believing-the-wrong-thing…YES-God-IS-faithful Cycle’? Maybe I’m the only insane disciple in need of faith rehabilitation in this world, but I don’t think so. We all are in need of some serious faith-work. There are a whole lot of other things we can start trying to find our security in other than God, but they eventually always fail. We even may try to find our security in the very things that we start believing for from God, but in deciding what we think we ought to get from Him, is it Him we are trusting or the him our minds have crafted him into? In that, aren’t we just playing God ourselves? Uh-oh…

That said, I have no idea what to expect with these next few months. BUT I can expect God. And, because there are certain things that God himself actually promised, I can expect those things, too. For example, I can expect that God will always be faithful and full of steadfast love. I can expect that He is good and does good. I can expect that He will never leave me nor forsake me. I can expect that he will work all things together for good. I can expect that He will never fail. Yeah, I can expect those things.

As for the stage manager? If we need one, He will provide one. If not? He is creative; He knows what to do.  As for our role in this? Waiting isn’t the same as idleness. If he calls us to act, we will. But we don’t need to be anxious in the meantime (in fact, we are commanded not to be). He will give us the wisdom we need for what to do and when as we look to him–he promised he would. And you know what? Even if this show “fails” in everyone’s eyes, doesn’t matter because He hasn’t failed. And his ways are higher than our ways. Besides, isn’t the whole point of this show getting His Word out there? Let’s face it, I could die tomorrow and His Word will continue with or without me. There is nothing to lose! He has already given us everything in Him. So why fear?

And so… we wait. And I really mean wait. FOR the Lord. The same Lord who is here with me–right now. He’s not leaving anytime soon. I. E. Never will.

Kelsey Cratty
Spoken Word Performer


Wait and See

When God calls us to obey, we often do not get to see what will follow. But his call is all we need. He is good and we can trust him… wherever that leads us.

In the case of this “Gospel of John” tour, we began our adventure as if blindfolded. Aside from a few peeks here and there, that is how we have continued. All we get are whispers. Memorize John 14… Okay. Memorize all of John… Really? Okay…. Let go of Micah… But God! What about the boys? I have them; they are mine. Give me your future… Okay, it’s yours… (I could go on, of course, but you get the idea.)

Whispers in the dark. For some reason after each step of obedience, I assume the next whisper won’t be “as hard” to follow. But somehow, even after seeing God come through every single time, my faith is still stretched. Every. Single. Time. Both in waiting for a whisper and in following when one finally comes. Why? Well, as my mantra has become these days: life feels like one giant faith rehabilitation program. Not too far off from what Jesus tells us if you ask me. When the Jews came up to him asking “What is the work of God?” Jesus answered, “This is the work of God, to believe in Him whom he has sent” (John 6:28-29). Believing in Jesus–this is far more than just a one-time seal the deal for my salvation sort of a thing. Rather, believing in Jesus is a way of life. That’s our road, and though his way is narrow, his way is freedom.

And so, this blog. What is it for? To let you in on our adventure with him. We trust that the Lord will show up. Every. Single. Time. And he will even use our failures and turn them into blessing (just like he did with Peter and his 3 time denial around a charcoal fire… Jesus later reinstated him with a 3 time confession of love around–you better believe it–a charcoal fire). And we hope that as we are vulnerable with all our ups, downs, joys and sorrows along the way, that we can mutually encourage one another’s faith together as we watch how the Lord always comes through for those who wait on him.

And so… we wait.

Kelsey Cratty
Spoken Word Performer

(One of the main things we are currently waiting for: a stage manager. Yup, moved here without one. But God has really impressed the word “wait” on our hearts, that He is working behind the scenes. And even though it is “crunch time”, we are waiting on the Lord and trusting that he will fulfill his promise to us. God will come through!)