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Entries in Kaley Rhea (8)


A Christmas Me-Lighting

Kaley Rhea is wise and insightful, a witty millennial who loves to tweak our minds so we think biblically in everyday life. This Christmas UPGRADE will take you back to the "why" of Christmas and tweak your joy!

Kaley says, "You like Christmas lights? I got some straight-up Christmas fireworks here for you."

When I (Dawn) read Kaley's post, I thought, "Yes, the truth is what we need to renew our Christmas joy. Jesus, the Light of the Word, is our great Overcomer!

Kaley continues . . .

First, I want to invite you to take a look at 1 John 3, verses 5 and 8 with me:

“You know that He appeared in order to take away sins, and in Him there is no sin… Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” (ESV)

Now let’s go back to the beginning. Old Testament.

Back to the Genesis garden where the world was perfect, and humanity existed sinlessly and with the mission to get to know God by turning the rest of creation into the kind of beautiful home He’d made for them in Eden.

What did the devil do?

  • He sowed in them doubt that God actually wanted their best.
  • He planted a seed of his own idolatrous ambition to be as powerful as God.
  • And he pointed out that going against God’s command would satisfy a simple, quick-fix desire for something tasty.

Satan built his traps, and through Adam and Eve, the world fell right in.

Poisoned. Sick. Broken.

Fast forward.

Fulfilling an incredible promise, Jesus—Who has always existed, the creative power of mighty God—came as a Son.

And what happened?

  • He obeyed God, trusting His plan even when it led to the cross.
  • He came as a servant, abandoning His place and His rights as God.
  • And He refused every opportunity to take an easier way out or to compromise the Word of God in order to satisfy His flesh.

Jesus did what Adam and Eve could not do.

Jesus did what you and I could not do.

Because of the love He has for us, He took our sin and the punishment we deserve, and He replaced them with a miracle opportunity to become part of His family.

Joint heirs. Adopted by God.

Us. Can you believe it?

Satan had built a labyrinth of sin and disease; he’d manipulated and whispered and painted all his rot to look pretty.

And then Jesus came in like BOOM! He dismantled. Destroyed. Blew up. Everything the devil had built.

Jesus came as the answer to every point humanity had failed, and He came with a love that redeemed. Big enough to light up and echo through the millennia.

You want joy this Christmas? Real, lasting, soul-deep joy?

  • Think about a devastated devil.
  • Think about Jesus—the only One who could solve our sin problem.
  • Think about a future built on His righteousness rather than our lack thereof.

Then, for literal Heaven’s sake, let’s pick up the gardener’s hats Adam and Eve dropped and get with that new commission, fam!

Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to light us up with the Gospel of Jesus Christ this day and this season and every moment until we see Him face to face.

When was the last time you thought about Christmas in terms of Jesus overcoming Satan's plans? Take a few minutes now and thank your Heavenly Father for those three reasons to rejoice!

Kaley Rhea is a St. Louis-area author and one half of the mother/daughter writing team behind Christy Award finalist novel Turtles in the Road (along with the hilarious Rhonda Rhea). Kaley also makes up one third of the writing team for the new, non-fiction book Messy to Meaningful: Lessons From the Junk Drawer (co-written with Rhonda Rhea and the fabulous Monica Schmelter). She’s unclear on how fractions work, but if Rhonda Rhea is the common denominator, Kaley is pretty sure that makes her like five-sixths of Monica Schmelter. Or something like that.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of chris-1974 at Pixabay.


Hypocrisy Check, Please

Speaking into the lives of Millennials but with truth for every season, Kaley Faith Rhea provides both humor and insight. In this Attitude UPGRADE, she tackles the hypocrisy problem with grace and truth.

Kaley says, "One of the first things they’ll tell you at Singleness Camp: 'Never go on a second date with someone who’s rude to the restaurant wait staff.'"

HA! I (Dawn) think that's simple common sense, but you'd be surprised how many people can't decipher the lies of a hypocrite.

Kaley continues . . .

This isn’t a post about dating or singleness. But as a single person, I hear a lot of dating advice, good and bad, and it’s interesting to me the seemingly universal nature of this rule.

People will tell you stories.

“The date was going well, and he seemed really nice… until he thought he saw a hair in his salad, and he made the waiter cry. I blocked his number while we were still at the table, and he was so offended.”

Or “She seemed cool. But then she sent her food back three times and started swearing about the silverware? I ran away. Just literally started running. In. A. Direction.”

People of all different philosophies, backgrounds and theologies seem to agree: if you come across someone who wears different faces for different occasions, do not align yourself with that person.

But what about me?

I have to confess, I align myself with… myself far too often and way too staunchly.

It is so easy to spot hypocrisy when it’s sitting on the opposite side of the table.

But when I allow myself the comfort of that sort of farsightedness, the only real change I can effectively affect is adding fuel to the fire of my own arrogance and blindly participating in the irony of my own hypocrisy.

The number one way for me to fight hypocrisy is to ask the Lord to fight it—in me.

Remember Romans 2:1-5?

“Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 

"We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. 

"Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? 

"Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 

"But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed.”

Oh, man.

To be clear, it’s NOT hypocritical to call wrong things wrong or right things right based on the Word of God. And it is absolutely right and just to call out abuse where it exists and remove abusers from positions of power, every time.

But in my everyday, it’s hypocritical when I hard-heartedly set myself up as righteous as if anything other than the sweet, miraculous, merciful grace of God could ever make me right.

It’s hypocritical when I decide God should deal graciously with my sins, but I should deal harshly with yours.

It’s hypocritical when I call your wrong things wrong and my wrong things nothing.

So here’s my little checklist that starts with this prayer:

Holy Spirit, soften my heart, and don’t allow me to hide or to justify. Lead me to repent, fully confident in Your goodness, trusting in Your mercy, and grateful beyond words for the powerful way You forgive and produce real heart-change.

Hypocrisy Check:

  • Am I doing anything that's counter to God's Word of His character?
  • Am I doing anything I would be upset with someone else for doing?
  • Am I doing anything that is entirely about being seen by someone rather than being Jesus to someone?
  • Am I miffed at someone for not putting me first when I'm definitely not putting them first?

In Luke 6:41-42, Jesus gives us this famous word picture.

“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 

"How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye.”

You hypocrite? Sigh. ME hypocrite.

But the Lord doesn’t leave us there, all log-eyed and useless.

And isn’t it wonderful how, even in all the moments we don’t deserve a second date, our sweet Savior has still lovingly, unflinchingly called us his bride?

Just in case you're wondering whether you are log-eyed, go back over that Hypocrisy Check. Is there something you need to confess to the Lord and allow Him to change in you?

Kaley Rhea is the St. Louis-area co-author of Christian romantic comedy Turtles in the Road (along with mom, bud, and writing partner Rhonda Rhea) and this year’s non-fiction release Messy to Meaningful: Lessons From the Junk Drawer (co-written with Rhonda Rhea and Monica Schmelter). To read more by Kaley, visit her blog.


Tell Me Another

To read Kaley Rhea's writing is to hear her talk. She's real, relevant, righteous and right-on! In this Uplift UPGRADE, Kaley gives us a fresh perspective on the Lord's relationship with us. And it's all good.

"I don’t tend to get attached to things," Kaley says. "My nostalgia-o-meter may be broken."

I (Dawn) thought that was an overall Millennial thing. As an older woman, I'm finding my family of millennials don't want my "stuff." But there's a greater, deeper truth here.

Kaley continues…

Seriously, I’m over here like:

  • First Grade macaroni art? That was years ago; let’s let this go.
  • Backyard clubhouse my dad built? This thing is a rotting deathtrap; burn it.
  • A great, great aunt’s collection of fabric scraps? Why do we even have this?

Somebody—I hope—is reading this and nodding with me, thinking, Yes, girl. Same.

But I know some of you are reading this and going, You cold-hearted monster. Okay, I’ll own that.

But lemme tell you a story.

My sister Allie has a one-year-old little girl named Emerson. Emerson and I, not to brag, are buddies. So because we’re buddies, not long ago I sat on the floor with her while we watched a kiddie program.

As we sat, I found myself getting pulled into this show. I don’t know how it happened.

There was a princess, and she was still learning how to be a princess, and in her moment of victory, I found myself getting choked up. Like I had to pause and take a moment.

The emotions in a preschool animated musical got to be too much, and I had to pull up and do some focused breathing. Me. The unsentimentalist.

You know who made fun of me in that moment? My grown adult mom and sister.

And do you know who else? Nobody else, because Emerson is an emotional person and showed a mature amount of empathy.

All right, it was super funny.

It occurred to me (and Emerson, probably) that I did not become affected when I saw a picture of that animated princess. My eyes didn’t well up when I read the show’s description. Or when I learned her name.

Nothing about that silly show came anywhere close to touching me on a deep level until I learned her story.

Until I saw her struggle. Until I knew her kind, little princess heart.

I do not connect very well or very often to THINGS. But I can connect to a STORY.

Do you wonder sometimes about the different ways God could’ve chosen to relate to us?

He could have said, “I am God, and you are human. Worship me.” And that would’ve been right and just. But we wouldn’t have known Him.

He could have said, “If you possess this amulet or such and such trinket, or say these words to this statue, you may know My favor.”

He could’ve looked at us and been altogether like, “Nah.” But He didn’t.

He gave us His story.

From the beginning of time, through the Old Testament to the cross, the resurrection and the revelation, He loves us so much—has such a desire to connect with us—He wrote it down.

The places. The people. The evidence. The truth.

Does that blow your mind? That blows my mind!

Sometimes I get so caught up in mining the Bible for “What is right in this situation?” and “How does this apply to my life?” that I miss the joy of being swept up by God’s own history.

I forget to marvel over and revel in the God who is present in every page, in every story, in every moment He chose specially to preserve for millennia so my human tinymind could process even a fraction of an understanding of who Jesus Christ is.

Deep breath.

Am I getting emotional now? Emerson, get the tissues!

Wonder at these things with me:

  • What we have is not a religion of relics we have to search out.
  • What we have is not a boss wearing a nametag or a lord bearing a title instead of providing an introduction.
  • We have a God who gave us His stories.
  • We have a Friend who invites us to know Him.
  • We have a Father who proves He has known us since before we knew anything.

All that gets to this cold-hearted monster’s heart every time.

“Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord” (Psalm 102:18-22).

How do you approach the Word of God? What story from the Lord speaks to your heart today? Take time to pray and say, "Tell me another, Lord!"

Kaley Faith Rhea is the co-author of Turtles in the Road, releasing soon, with two more novels in the works. Along with writing and teaching at writers’ conferences, she co-hosts the TV show, That’s My Mom, for Christian Television Network’s KNLJ in mid-Missouri. Kaley lives in the St. Louis area.

This post is adapted from Messy to Meaningful: Lessons from the Junk Drawer by Monica Schmelter, Rhonda Rhea and Kaley Rhea.


An Exercise in Empathizing

In describing Kaley Rhea's writing, I use words like quirky, insightful and real. Most of all real! She speaks with authenticity, but also authority. In this Relationship UPGRADE, she calls us to biblical empathy—the art of listening well and responding with compassion.

"You’ve probably been here." Kaley says. "You’re sharing a personal struggle, trauma, crisis, or even triumph with someone, and that person looks at you and responds in that moment by saying the Worst Possible Thing™."

The hard thing about this UPGRADE blog is I (Dawn) read each one first, and OUCH! The Lord got my number. I want to be a woman of wisdom, but that doesn't mean I have to jump in and give my two cents.

Kaley continues . . .

It’s so frustrating! Hurtful! It makes me mad!

Like, why would you even say that?

Can’t you step outside yourself for two seconds, understand my feelings, and treat me like I’m a valid human being? ::pant, pant::

You know what’s even more heartbreaking though?

The realization that I can be that person.

  • The insensitive one.
  • The clueless one.
  • The selfish one.
  • The one who doesn’t know what to say, and so—in her haste to say something—hears her own voice release the shameful and dreaded Worst Possible Thing™.

It’s so easy to point the finger at someone else’s lack of empathy and overlook my own.

Deceptively easy. Devastatingly easy.

But Jesus says in John 15:12, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

How does Jesus love us? He didn’t stay where He was. He came here. He lived a human life, went through human trials, felt pain and hunger and cold. Probably tasted bad food and got sore feet and annoying splinters and low blood sugar.

He put Himself in our place. Literally.

Yet I have occasions where I—in my ignorance and limited perspective—think myself justified in viewing someone else’s struggle/hurt/heartache/victory/passion within my own context and judging, dismissing or “solving” it.

Or sometimes I’m going about my day and I’m so focused on my circumstances, goals, to-do lists, whatevers that I forget that the people around me aren’t obstacles to get around. Or tools to be used to accomplish my stuff.

They’re whole people. Created by and loved of God.

If I brush off or shut down someone who’s come to share a trial or a triumph, I have at the very least missed out. More probably, I’ve sinned.

Galatians 6:2 reads, “Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

How, though? How can I do this?

Consider the following:


That’s it. That’s my whole bulleted list.

That’s all I’ve got because, for me, that’s where I have to start. And it can be a difficult place to start.

Too many times, even when I’m listening to a friend or a co-worker or a family member or even a stranger, I listen wrong.

I’m less listening and more waiting for MY TURN to speak.

  • I listen less for understanding their experience and more for making my own experience understood.
  • I listen less to communicate love and more to “fix” them with my brilliant advice.
  • I listen less for their sake and more for my own.

That isn’t empathizing.

That isn’t putting myself in their place, bearing their burden, feeling what they feel.

But wait! I tell myself. What about when they’re wrong? I don’t have to listen when they’re wrong, right? Surely?

Except, oh wait.

If I haven’t listened, acknowledged this person is a person, loved of God, dear to my heart, then I’m wrong, too. And anyway, if I haven’t listened to them, what kind of joke would it be to expect them to listen to me?

Like . . . a really not-funny joke.

Good thing there’s Jesus.

I’m reading these verses right now, and you are so invited.

"Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:14-16).

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God" (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

This is my prayer—is it yours?

Jesus, my sweet Savior,

I need Your strength to help me to be tender. Soften my heart and open my ears. Help me to listen and to love unselfishly, by Your great grace.

Thank You for being the ultimate example of empathy and the perfect, all-knowing Understander. Give me Your very un-me-like ability to delight in the people You’ve made, even when I don’t understand them the way You do. Convict me when I fail to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15).

My heart is Yours. Make it more like Yours.


Kaley Rhea is the St. Louis-area, author of the Christian romantic comedy Turtles in the Road (along with mom, bud, and writing partner Rhonda Rhea) and the soon-to-release non-fiction book Messy to Meaningful: Lessons From the Junk Drawer (co-written with Rhonda Rhea and Monica Schmelter)—coming this April.


To Mommy

Kaley Faith Rhea is Rhonda Rhea's daughter. I wouldn't normally make a big deal out of that because I think every daughter has a right to stand on her own, not her mama's reputation.

But Kaley has a special tribute to her mom today, and in this Mother's Day UPLIFT, I think there's a message here for all of us.

"Happy Mother's Day!" Kaley says. "Today I want to take a look at how we honor moms--including mine.

(Note: I have a neat mom!)"

I (Dawn) think Kaley's mom, Rhonda, is a hoot. And a godly one at that. I would even let Rhonda be my mom, except I already have a good one, and a good mom-in-law too.

Kaley continues . . .

The Bible talks about, reiterates, and quotes “Honor your father and your mother (Exodus 20:12; Matthew 19:19; Ephesians 6:2; and more). It’s in there a lot.

And with this festive little holiday, here’s a great opportunity to do just that for our mommies. But how? How can I honor her?

I'm going to lay out some practicals.

1. Let’s talk about what honor means.

We’re using it as a verb here. To honor someone is to do something.

I can hold my mom in the highest regard (and I do), but if I am not demonstrating that esteem and affection I have for her, then I am not honoring her.

If Mom doesn’t KNOW she’s being honored, she’s not really being honored.

2. I need to honor MY mom.

Let’s be clear, when I say she needs to be mine, I’m not talking biologically. Plenty of moms out there are mothers of choice, and that is beautiful. But what I mean is, I need to keep in mind WHO I am honoring.

If I want to honor my mom, for example, I am not going to buy her a motorcycle. There are mothers out there, I’m certain, for whom a motorcycle would be the perfect, thoughtful, Mother’s Day gift. Mine is not that mom.

I think sometimes society likes to lump mothers together into one, easily-definable group. All moms are not the same person. I want to say it one more time: All moms are not the same person.

Mommies are vastly different from one another.

You know—the way all people are different from one another.

God is magnificent at crafting unique, individual souls, and that’s what each mom is. The key here is to learn how my mom feels most honored and cherished.

If you’ve ever looked at the Five Love Languages, that can be a nice place to start.

My mom’s love languages are gifts and acts of service. She loves getting Mother’s Day presents. Sometimes she asks for projects to be done around the house as her gift (which is very helpful. Thanks, Mom).

But I have friends whose moms cannot stand getting gifts. Gifts are just not their area.

Maybe that’s yours. If you find yourself frustrated with your mom going, “Please, you don’t need to get me anything” every year—while you’re going, “Mom, please, I have already bought these flowers; please take them; they’re dying!”—I want to set you free to try a different approach.


  • Offer to paint her living room,
  • Or write her a letter telling her how much you appreciate her,
  • Or take her out for a date or give her a boatload of snuggly hugs.

Let our moms be who they are.

I honestly can’t understand the acts of service thing. I’m over here like, “I’ll clean my own kitchen, thanks; get back in here and tell me how great you think I am.”

My mommy’s different than me. And that’s cool.

3. I don’t have a real number three. I just want to say I’m so grateful for my mom.

  • She has blessed every part of my life with her sweet acts of service.
  • Her words and her example have been used by God to introduce me to and strengthen my relationship with Him.
  • And the way she’s filled our home with laughter and kindness all my life has shaped me and helped me grow.

I love the time I get to spend with her, and I hope someday I’ll be a mom like THAT.

Lord Jesus, help us to honor our mothers according to Your Word. Thank you, specifically, for putting my gorgeous mom together the way You did and for making me hers.

Lord, I know there are some who have struggled with not having a mom or having been deeply hurt in that relationship in the past. I pray that You, Holy Spirit, Healer, would repair hearts, restore relationships where possible, provide closure if not, and ultimately be glorified in the way Your children love one another by Your strength.


A Note from Dawn:

  • Think about your mom (mother, mommy) and thank the Lord for something very special about her, or something you learned from her.
  • If she is still alive, think of some way to honor her that she would personally appreciate this Mother's Day, as Kaley suggested. If she has passed away, take some time to look over old photographs and remember her with thanksgiving.
  • If you currently do not have a strong relationship with your mother, take time to pray about that. (There may be some way you can show her kindness.) Or perhaps you can think of another woman in your life you can encourage today. Express to her a positive way she has "nurtured" your life.

Kaley Faith Rhea is the co-author of Turtles in the Road, a novel releasing in a few weeks. Along with writing and teaching at writers’ conferences, she co-hosts the TV show, That’s My Mom, for Christian Television Network’s KNLJ in mid-Missouri. Kaley lives in the St. Louis area.