All posts by Kristen Hatton

Peace in the Pain by His Presence

I love this picture. Just look at the girl’s smile. Can you imagine laying there in a hospital bed and into the room walks Queen Elizabeth?

The Queen’s presence didn’t take away the suffering she is experiencing as a victim of the Manchester terrorist attack, but don’t you know in that moment it was a little lessened? All of the pain, the questions and anger, for a time set aside as the girl and her mom are filled with delight by this unexpected guest.

It’s a beautiful picture of who Jesus is for us. In the midst of our pain and suffering, the sin and sadness of this world he shows up. But unlike any human, he knows exactly what it is like to experience everything we go through.

As written in a chapter of my new book*, in order for Jesus to bring salvation to the world he had to become the pefect sacrifice. But do you know how he was made perfect? Through suffering! Not just on the cross, but his entire earthly life.

Therefore, he knows what it’s like to experience all the emotions that we do. He was mistreated,  mocked, dismissed, ignored, gossiped about, persecuted, rejected, hurt by those he loved. He felt anger, sadness and loneliness. And he begged the Father to do it another way (“let his cup pass before me”), but there was no other way to atone for our sins and to make us sons and daughters of the King.

So Jesus did what was necessary and because he did, he not only is able to make the great identity exchange with us but he can identify with us and draw near. His presence is not always as visible as Queen Elizabeth standing three feet from the girl’s bedside. But throughout Scripture we read verses like these reminding us that he is near:

“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18).”

“The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth (Psalm 145:18).”

“(for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God (Hebrews 7:19).”

Jesus is that better hope. And because of him we are never without hope. Things now are not how they should be and until all things are made new, we will suffer. But he doesn’t leave us to navigate the brokenness of this world alone. No matter what our suffering -because of nothing of our own doing (what seems unfair) or because of all of our doing (our sin) – he meets us with grace.

By this grace, when we are met by his presence (like the girl with Queen Elizabeth) even for just a moment all of our worries, burdens, hurts and pain are lessened. He comes to break through the darkness and gives himself – our perfect peace.

Now Lord Jesus, help us to believe better and to know this is true.

Come, ye sinners, poor and needy
Weak and wounded, sick and sore
Jesus ready, stands to save you
Full of pity, love and power

I will arise and go to Jesus
He will embrace me in His arms
In the arms of my dear Savior
Oh, there are ten thousand charms

Come, ye thirsty, come and welcome
God’s free bounty glorify
True belief and true repentance
Every grace that brings you nigh

Come, ye weary, heavy-laden
Lost and ruined by the fall
If you tarry ’til you’re better
You will never come at all

I will arise and go to Jesus
He will embrace me in His arms
In the arms of my dear Savior
Oh, there are ten thousand charms

Feel Him Prostate in the garden
On the ground your Maker lies
On the bloody tree, behold him
Sinner, will this not suffice?

Lo, the incarnate God ascended
Pleads the merit of his blood
Venture on him, venture wholly
Let no other trust intrude

I will arise and go to Jesus
He will embrace me in His arms
In the arms of my dear Savior
In the arms of my dear Savior
In the arms of my dear Savior
Oh, there are ten thousand charms

*Face Time comes out on May 29th. To order your copy, click here.

ABC’s 20/20 “Digital Addiction” Review

Who are we without our cell phones?  I know I’m as guilty of cell phone addiction as my teenagers at times! Like for many, my phone is my calendar, to do list, reminder, notes, contacts, music, photos and a plethora of other apps, including of course social media. And while it is convenient, I admit, my phone often distracts me from fully-focused face time interaction!

In addition to cell phones and social media, an abundance of other electronics – in particular obsessive gaming among adult men – are contributing to our disconnected, disengaged selfie-society. To this end,  ABC’s 20/20 aired a “Digitial Addiction” special highlighting the seriousness of technology’s effect on individuals and families.  Reporter Elizabeth Vargas followed three families’ intervention stories with their family member so addicted to a device it was destroying their daily lives. Through interviews and video diaries, we the viewers were given the behind the scenes look at the individuals’ obsessive behaviors.

Considering my own research on technology use among teens, I’m rarely surprised by statistics on the topic. However, I was quite surprised by the dad so addicted to his video games that he had checked out from his family.  It actually gave me a scary glimpse of possible future realities for a generation of kids whose day-long and into the night playing is something we passively accept. For this dad, it was his unwinding time; his de-stressor. Well, that’s fine in its proper place, but he was leaving his wife to solely tend to their four young children all evening, every evening before she retreated off to bed alone.

In another family the teenage son’s gaming addiction kept him holed up in his room. He got angry and was disrespectful to his parents whenever they asked him to get off.  This in itself signaled another alarming trend with detrimental future consequences, and that is: entitlement. The 20/20 special didn’t hit on entitlement, but in not telling our kids “no” or laying down/enforcing rules we have allowed them to take the reigns of control that leads to a path of being controlled by their idols. (As I’ve fequently written, when anything is elevated to a place in our lives that rules or controls us, it is an idol.)

The third featured family was dealing with a teenage daughter’s phone addiction that included sexting strangers.  While sending inappropriate pictures is happening waaaay more frequently than most of us realize, the constant checking her phone, fear of missing out, staying on her phone well into the night and anxiety without her phone that could describe amost any teenager today. So it struck me  that what was dubbed as “extreme”  behavior has actually been accepted as normal.

None of these individuals realized (or cared) how self-centered and disconnected from their families they had become. So to help them re-engage relationally and sever dependence, a device detox was ordered. Many times this is absolutely necessary. My own daughter at times has deleted her social media. And quite frankly I think it’s needed for more parents to enforce limitations and restrictions on devices for their good and the good of the family.

But at the same time for true heart change, we must address the root behind the ruling idols and addictions. On the surface a cell phone or play station (money or material possessions) may appear to be the problem, but eliminating it from our lives doesn’t change the underneath desires that point to what really rules a heart.

To get there we need to ask probing questions. For instance…

  • Why did the girl have to have her  phone? Because of her fear of missing out and not wanting to feel disconnected.
  • Why was she so afraid of missing out? Perhaps it was a fear of looking bad, experiencing rejection, or not getting the attention she craved.
  • Could it be the reason she wanted attention – to make a name for herself – was in order to feel her worth? What she needed was to hear who Jesus is for her. In him she is perfectly accepted, valued and loved.

For the two consumed with the video games, one sought to escape from life, not wanting to deal with the chaos and responsibility of his household; basically an unwillingness to die to himself. He was looking for “life” in his own pleasure. For the other, he turned to his games as an escape to a virtual world, perhaps out of fear of engaging in real world relationships, or being known.

So we can take away social media or a game console (again, at times necessary), but whatever it is at the core will likely resurface in a new or more extreme way later if we don’t deal with the heart – whatever the ruling desires driving the behavior.  Otherwise, we will only be putting bandaids on the real issues.

Uncovering the sin beneath the sin is not easy, but it is good.  It takes seeing our sin as the idolatry it is in order to see our deep need of the One who rescues us from slavery and sets us free. Only living dependent on him (and nothing else) will we find the true life we seek.

Face Time: Your Identity in a Selfie World comes out Monday! To receive it next week, click: here. Link to 20/20 Digital Addiction special here.

Face Time Podcast Episode 004: Affirmed in Christ Alone with Kelsey Glover

One week from today until the release of  my new book, Face Time: Your Identity in a Selfie World! So this is the concluding podcast of my mini-series. Have you enjoyed listening? I hope so!

With each recording, my goal was for the truth of who Jesus is to be heard. For it is foundational to freeing us from the lies of Satan and our selfie world that beg us to believe worth is found in something other than Christ. As you will hear from today’s guest, Kelsey Glover  (a recent Oklahoma State University graduate and youth ministry intern), none of the false sources we turn to – whether it be seeking affirmation from guys (or other people), our appearance or performance – are big enough or valuable enough to give us a secure identity. Hoping in anything but Christ will leave us empty.

To that end, she and I hit on the inexaustible topics of identity, idolatry, shame, redemption and boundaries in everyday living kind of ways, so don’t miss the truth she shares. In case you missed one of the other three recordings, I have posted each link at the bottom of the page.

Thank you, Kelsey, for your willingness to share your brokenness as  a testimony to the glory of God’s goodness and grace!

Show Notes:

  • Interested in the youth mininstry where Kelsey serves? Go to: Henderson Hill Baptist Church.
  • Scripture references mentioned: 1 Peter 2:9, Genesis 21:8-21 (story of Hagar), Romans 8:1, Matthew 5:29
Kelsey Glover is a recent graduate of Oklahoma State where she got her degree in Management Information Systems and Marketing with a minor in Religious Studies. Kelsey’s heart and desire is to proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9) for all the days the Lord allots.
Want to go back to listen to previous podcasts?
Episode 001: Martha Kate Stainsby on Trying to be Good Enough
Episode 002: Mary Carlisle Crehore on Striving for Perfection
Episode 003: Kendal Conner on Creating a Gospel Grid for our Teens

Order your copy of Face Time HERE.