January 2, 2011

Way overdue update…

Posted in Spirituality at 8:13 pm by Katie

Oh, you know, just a slightly overdue blog post…

Seriously, this blog has been neglected like crazy.  I’m hoping that changes with the new year.  If the past two days are any indication, I’ll probably have a lot to blog about.  I’ve had some pretty intense quiet times with God over the past two days, more intense than in a long time.  I love it, especially right now when I’m still on break and can just spend crazy amounts of uninterrupted time soaking up what He has to teach me.  I always feel a little pressed for time during the week when it’s early in the morning, I’m still not awake, and I’m usually checking out the microwave clock to see just how much more time Jesus and I can spend together before I really have to go shower and get ready for work.  So these long stretches of me, my Bible, a new journal (!!), and God are pretty precious to me.

I’m pretty pumped about starting a new journal.  First off, I’m pretty sure I’ve never completely finished a journal in my life.  I’ve always had a hard time being disciplined enough to consistently write in a journal, so I’d get about halfway through and then quit.  But I started with a journal right after I accepted Christ in October 2009, and I finished it, appropriately enough, on New Year’s Eve.  What’s even crazier about finishing it was that it began and ended with the exact same verse, Hebrews 4:12.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

The first time I wrote in that journal, it was from a Proverbs 31 devotion with that verse…and I ended it with a different P31 devotion, which also used that verse.  I love those little things that God puts in the life of a Type A like myself =)

Of course, this Type A made some New Year’s Resolutions…or goals, as I like to call them.  I’m going to try to get to the gym more, cook more and eat out less, be smarter with my money, the typical stuff.  I’m also hoping to be much more disciplined in my quiet time and get through the Bible in a year for real this year, instead of fizzling out about a quarter of the way through.

But more importantly, this year I’m just praying for God to stretch my faith.  Every time I say it (or type it or think it), it’s kind of scary.  But I don’t want to get stuck in a rut, and I really feel like He’s calling me to do a little bit more than I am right now.  So, we’ll see where that goes.

I feel like there’s a lot more I want to blog about, but it’s all kind of left me right now, haha.  Hopefully, though, I’ll do a better job of keeping this thing updated in 2011…somebody hold me accountable for that one!

November 13, 2010

Diligence, Schoolwork, and Unfailing Strength

Posted in Proverbs, School, Spirituality at 11:01 am by Katie

So, I was just convicted about my schoolwork.

My schoolwork.  Who expects to be convicted about that?  If I was to peek into my life right now and start pointing fingers at parts where I should be convicted, the list would include my time with the Lord, my actions toward others, and a whole host of other things.

This morning, I was reading yesterday’s P31 devotion about shortcuts and how they don’t get us anywhere we want to be.  I think shortcuts and most people’s fascination with them are just interesting.  Plus…I love a good shortcut.  Why yes, I did just throw out a computer shortcut to Hannah about 45 minutes ago.  But I digress…

Anyway, so the application portion of this devotion prompted me to name one area of my life that needed work and two steps I could take to see change in that area this week.  Check, done, moving on (PS, it’s my quiet time, so if any one of you wants to hold me accountable to that…please feel free!)

Then, the reflection portion asked about shortcuts I’ve taken in life that have proved to be bad decisions.  As I sat back and tried to think about it, “schoolwork” kept popping into my head.  As I began to write, it became pretty clear.  I have taken the laissez-faire attitude to my schoolwork in the past three weeks.  Anyone who has been around me has heard me say that I am over this semester, over grad school, and over my work for classes.  Cool, so is 95% of my cohort.

But the Lord really showed me this morning that in rushing through readings or procrastinating on papers (ahem, subculture paper…yeahhh), I’m not producing my best work.  Everything I do should be my best because it’s a reflection of God and is work for Him.  So, when I’m being “over” school and just not caring, it’s not exactly glorifying the Lord in the way that it should be.

Whoops.

But isn’t it great that the Lord can convict us about things without us even knowing we needed to be convicted about them?  He knows our hearts better than we ever could, and He can point out those things that need work that wouldn’t even make our lists.

One of the verses at the end of this particular devotion was Proverbs 13:4.

“The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.” (NIV)

“Fully satisfied.”  Those words jumped off the screen at me.  What exactly does it mean to be fully satisfied?

Well, I got a little nerdy, and I looked up the Greek for satisfied.  (Yes, Ellen…I just looked up the Greek for a word.  You have now rubbed off even more!)

The Greek word for satisfied is Areko.  It means:

  • to be possessed of unfailing strength
  • to be strong, to suffice, to be enough
  • to defend, ward off
  • to be contented

To be possessed of unfailing strength.  That one really stood out for me.  By being diligent, all of our desires will be enough.  We will be content, and we will possess unfailing strength.  How cool is that?

So, here’s to me (and maybe the rest of us) being more diligent in the rest of this semester, year, or whatever season you may be in.

November 7, 2010

Blessed.

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:23 pm by Katie

I think sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the negatives, the trials, and the troubles in our lives.  At least, it is for me.  I can devote all my energy and time to trying to make things better instead of being thankful for what I have.  I realized tonight after a couple of sweet messages just how much God has blessed me in my move to South Carolina.  It’s far too easy for me to start spouting off how much I’m not enjoying my grad program or how I’m over all my schoolwork or how I miss my sweet project friends.  But even in this season, the Lord has showered blessings upon me.  I have a fabulous roommate who puts up with me telling Mizzou and South Carolina to get their lives together every Saturday.  I have some sweet, sweet friends in my program and probably the most fun office one could hope to work in.  I’ve found an amazing church, a fun Sunday school class, and a sweet Bible study with an equally sweet leader (who is super crafty…just sayin’).  I have the. best. best. friend. a girl could ask for who gets super excited when we are about to see each other and plans crazy expeditions and lots of shopping and eating (I mean…what else could you want?)  I have 40 beautiful souls who will pray for me at the drop of a hat, make me smile with ridiculous Facebook photos, videos, and wall posts, and remind me of how much God can move in eight short weeks.

So yes, I am extremely blessed.  And I will continue to try and remember that instead of all the junk.

October 3, 2010

Think working is some kind of punishment?

Posted in Spirituality tagged , , at 2:27 pm by Katie

I’m currently doing a study on Ruth through a women’s Bible study at my church here in South Carolina.  I just love the way this study is laid out.  As I told my friend Allison last night, “It’s a Bible study with recipes…how perfect is that?”  Yep, that’s the family and consumer sciences in me.

Anyway, I was just working on the study, and I came across an interesting truth from Genesis:

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Genesis 2:15

Pretty straightforward.  God set Adam down in the Garden of Eden and said, “Here you go.  Here’s your place of work.  Tend this land.”  However, what struck me was this comes before Genesis 3, which, in my study Bible, is headed “The Fall of Man,” and is where all our ugly sin gets started.  Kelly Minter, in this study on Ruth, gives this prompt:

Since the institution of work was in motion before Adam and Eve sinned, what does this tell us about God’s creation of work?

How easy is it for us to just think that whatever job we have, whatever task we’re given, is some sort of punishment, especially if we’re in a position we’re unhappy with?  I know I’ve gone there in my thoughts.  I must have really messed up somewhere along the way if I’m having to do X, Y, or Z.

But work wasn’t created as punishment for sin.  Work was in God’s plan all along.  I put it this way in my response to that prompt, “God’s plan wasn’t just for us to play in the garden all day.  There was and is work to be done!”

So, take delight in whatever work you’ve been given and know that it is another means of serving the Lord, no matter how menial or unglamorous or boring the task may be.

By the way, the study is called Ruth: Love, Loss, and Legacy.  And it has recipes.  Aka…it’s a win.

September 10, 2010

Verses that make you say, “Ouch…”

Posted in Spirituality at 7:15 pm by Katie

My quiet times have been pretty sparse as of late.  Early mornings, full days on campus, late nights, and tons of grad school reading make it very easy for me to push my time with God to the very edge of my plate, where it generally sits, untouched, every day.  Spending time with the Lord has been an area I’ve struggled with since becoming a Christian almost a year ago (wow…it really has been almost a year…crazy).  I really enjoy my time spent in the Word…when I have proper time to devote to it.  It’s when I get in the mindset of, “Oh, I have to have a quiet time today,” that I lose focus and it just becomes something to check off of a list.

However, tonight I was fortunate enough to get home around 5 instead of around 6 (PTL…seriously).  Literally, I looked at Hannah as the show we were watching ended and said, “Is it 6:30 or 7?”  She replied, “5:30,” and we both kind of did a happy dance.  So, I decided I’d use that extra hour with the Lord.

So, I did a couple of days in my One Year Bible reading plan and then switched over to my email.  I get several spiritual things a day, and when I got to the K-LOVE Encouraging Word, I paused.

“So why do you keep calling me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?” – Luke 6:46, NLT

Ouch.  That one hurt.  But, it’s true.  During the course of the day, I constantly find myself seeking the Lord for wisdom, advice, and strength.  But when I get an answer I don’t want or don’t like, I tend to ignore it.  It’s like I think I get a free pass.  But then, I go right back to wanting God to help me out, again and again.  There are so many times that I don’t do as the Lord asks me.  It’s like going to a friend with a problem, that friend giving you advice, and then you completely ignoring it and doing it your own way anyway.  (Funny story, I’ve done this several times…yeahhh.)  If someone did that to you, you’d be hurt and frustrated.  So why, then, are we treating the Lord the same way?

After mulling this over for a bit, I went on, and found this in the Proverbs 31 devotion for today:

“Be on guard.  Stand firm in the faith.  Be courageous.  Be strong.” – 1 Corinthians 16:13, NLT

I thought this tied in kind of nicely.  It’s like the extra encouragement to do as the Lord is asking me.  Be strong.  Be courageous.  Stand firm in my faith to Jesus, and do as He asks of me.

This also appeared at a time when I feel as though I’m not doing as great of a job of standing firm in my faith as I should be.  I came from being on project, completely surrounded by people much stronger in their faith than I am, who were being these amazing models.  Of course it’s easy to be firm in my faith when I’m surrounded by 40 other people doing the same thing.  But project isn’t real life (as sad as that is).  With transition and moving comes finding a new church and a new set of friends.  While I love the church I’m attending here in Columbia, I haven’t had the chance to get as involved as I’d like yet.  Such is the life of grad school.  I’m looking forward to a small group women’s Bible study starting up in the next couple of weeks, one studying Ruth.  But I do miss that fellowship that I had all summer, and so that makes it hard, especially when working in the world of higher education, which is not exactly spiritually friendly.  I’m not saying that I’m in some crazy hostile environment, and some people would even say, “Not spiritually friendly?  You’re in the South.  You still do a large group prayer before football games (which I love, by the way).”  But there are very few people that I’m going to sit down and feel comfortable having a spiritual conversation with.

On that note, I’m about to enter the world of higher ed graduate work and do some studying, after I take care of a few other things…including the pitcher of Splenda-sweetened tea that is awaiting me.  I mean, I am in the South after all…

Love & prayers,

Katie

September 7, 2010

Fun Giveaway Opportunity =)

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:03 pm by Katie

Hey y’all,

Just a quick little blurb/promo for this fun giveaway being hosted at Rachel Olsen’s blog.  Rachel is a Proverbs 31 writer, and she has just published a new book, It’s No Secret:  Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know

Now, listen.  First of all, this book has Starbucks on the cover.  Anyone who knows me knows I love a good cup of Starbucks.  It’s pumpkin spice latte time again…and this makes me oh, so happy.  The book also has an adorable necklace on the cover as well, which you can win if you head on over to Rachel’s site and post a comment on this post.  Plus, you can see a sneak peak of the first several pages of the book.

I know I need to update…I just need a few minutes to breathe first, haha.

August 21, 2010

Hope

Posted in Hope tagged , , at 5:50 pm by Katie

I was sitting here, catching up on email and online stuff that seems to go by the wayside during the week, and I came to the UpWords with Max Lucado devotion from yesterday (you can visit his website to get various email devotions throughout the week – UpWords comes every Friday).  It was about hope, specifically discussing Luke 24:13-24.  You can read the full devotion here (which I highly recommend – it explains it much more eloquently than I can).  But basically, two disciples are walking along the road to Emmaus, discouraged at the fact that Jesus has been crucified and would not, in their eyes, be redeeming Israel.  Jesus, disguised as a stranger to the disciples, inquired of their discussion.  Jesus stands and listens to them describe the painful last few days of his own life.  In verse 21, the key phrase of this devotion appears:

“…but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.” (NIV)

Max Lucado emphasizes this, and how true it is – how often do we say those words?  How often do we get discouraged because we thought, we hoped something would happen, and then it doesn’t.  The most powerful part of this devotion for me came at the end, with these few lines:

“Our problem is not so much that God doesn’t give us what we hope for as it is that we don’t know the right thing for which to hope.  Hope is not what you expect; it is what you would never dream.  It is a wild, improbable tale with a pinch-me-I’m-dreaming ending. . . . Hope is not a granted wish or a favor performed; no, it is far greater than that.  It is a zany, unpredictable dependence on a God who loves to surprise us out of our socks and be there in the flesh to see our reaction.”

I know this rings so true for me.  It’s so easy for me to get discouraged when things don’t work out as I had planned or wanted.  It takes that second to stop and remember that it’s not about me.  It’s about God and his perfect plan for my life, one that is so amazing that I could never even come up with it on my own.

August 16, 2010

Bold Prayers

Posted in Prayer at 10:45 pm by Katie

I realize I need to post updating y’all on my life here in Columbia.  It’s going on the to do list (that is on my laptop, on my flash drive, and uploaded to Google Docs so I can access it on my iPhone…yes, this is my life right now).  But I finally got to sit down and have a good, solid quiet time, and I felt the need to blog about some of the things God is telling me currently.

You see, my quiet times have really struggled since I’ve been here.  Part of it is adjusting to a new schedule of craziness.  Part of it is not being surrounded by 40 other people to ask me about my quiet time.  Part of it is my never-ending struggle with the self-discipline to set aside time to be with the Lord in His Word each day and not spend that time sleeping or doing mindless things.  I really miss personal reflection nights from project, and as I’m planning out my fall schedule (which is currently a color-coded Excel spreadsheet of madness), I’m trying hard to build in some solid time there.

But tonight I was able to sit down, spend some quality time in the Word, and re-read over today’s P31 devotion (which you can read here).  It was on praying bold prayers, which is something I can honestly say I don’t give much thought.  One of the reflection questions was, “What limits you from praying bold prayers for others or for yourself?”  My immediate answer was toward myself and that I don’t want to be a “selfish prayer,” so to speak.  My prayers for myself typically revolve around my unconfessed or undiscovered sin and the need for self-discipline (see above).  But I never think to pray about God’s plan for my life.  I never pray for Him to move in my heart and show me things that I may not have ever thought of.  It’s honestly something I hadn’t thought about until I re-read that devotion and thought about the questions tonight.

The other part of the question, praying bold prayers for others, left me thinking as well.  So often, when I’m praying for others, it’s when they are in a hard situation and asking for prayer.  It could be an illness, a death, a hard time, etc.  But how often do I sit back and pray for the lives of others around me?  I really don’t.

I love when God’s Word and other people move me to think in ways that I never would have thought of.  I hope that I continue to remember these things when I am praying, and I would love to pray bold prayers for each of your lives =)

Updates on life in Cola coming soon!  The short version is that I’m crazy busy but loving it!

July 24, 2010

The One That Says Thank You

Posted in CBSP at 11:51 pm by Katie

Disclaimer:  Parts of this may not make any sense unless you were on project.

Oh, CBSP…first of all, I love each and every single one of you oh so much.  There are so many things I wanted to say to y’all on Wednesday night, but there was no way anything was coming out without me crying more than I already was, haha.  So, this is an open letter to y’all to say all the things I wanted to say.

I’m not going to lie…I was pretty nervous the entire drive down to Clearwater.  I kept thinking, “What have I gotten myself into?”  I definitely didn’t think I was ready to spend an entire summer growing in my walk with the Lord, and as excited as I had been throughout the entire process, those last couple of days the nerves got the best of me.  But from the moment I stepped into the courtyard at the North Sunrise, all those fears and nerves completely left me.  I don’t think I’ve ever experienced so much love in five minutes, haha.  I know that a lot of us felt pretty overwhelmed that first day, myself included, but it was a good overwhelmed – more of a comfort than anything else.

Logan, Kristin, Kevin, and Will – I still laugh when I think about y’all passing me on the interstate in Georgia.  How appropriate that y’all basically took me in that first night.  It was like, oh, instant friends!  From heading to the beach that first afternoon to our first (of many, many, MANY) Target run that night, I am so grateful that you let me into your UTC circle and let me tag along those first couple of days.

Other memories of that first day include sitting on the incredibly hot area around the pool eating pizza, Ryan informing me that he wouldn’t forget my last name because it was the same as his girlfriend’s, being excited that Katie had on a Carolina shirt (yeah, it was the wrong Carolina…oh well, haha) and that Jenna was from Western.  I remember going to bed that night knowing that it was going to be an amazing summer.

Staff, let’s face it…y’all are just amazing.  I feel so blessed to have been surrounded by so many loving, caring individuals for the first part of project.  I especially appreciated so many examples of beautiful godly marriages, especially since that’s something that I haven’t had a lot of.  Just seeing the love that y’all had for each other and for your children was such a wonderful blessing and made me look forward to that part of my life that much more.

Lindsey and Mikel – I just love you both.  You were amazing LifeGroup leaders, and I so appreciate the way you invested in all of us from the start.  Lindsey, I’m glad we found out that we were the same person in a lot of ways, that you asked questions and pushed me further to open up more, and that you listened to my ridiculously long seven-minute testimony in Clear Sky, haha.  I also can’t thank you enough for encouraging me through the job search and supporting me financially through those hard times.  And, I have your address permanently memorized…haha.  Mikel, you know we loved your desserts…haha.  But I also loved getting to spend time with you and your family, playing with your girls, and getting to know you better.  I’m excited to be making some of your recipes…once I figure out where I packed them…haha.

Ashley – thank you for being our family mom…keeping our crazy family in line…encouraging us to build crazy Play-Dough farms (LOOAS!)…and just being so fun.  I love that we both know Niki, that we both love her hugs, and that Jenna and I could help you with your hug face, haha.

To all of my fellow students – you all are just so amazing.  There aren’t even words to describe it.  Thank you for letting me be the mom, not making me feel crazy awkward for being the oldest, and loving on me all the time.  Thank you for all the crazy memories – fat Fridays, driving around searching for jobs, random people at 4th of July fireworks, paying people $10 to be buried in the sand to win the scavenger hunt, SO. MUCH. RAIN, sharing with people on the beach and sharing those stories with one another, pirates vs. ninjas, serving at Pinellas Hope, P. Randy & Big Al…CHAINS BE BROKEN, being incredibly tacky at tacky prom…there are so many more.  But more importantly, thank you for being beautiful examples of loving the Lord whenever I needed it.  It was so incredibly encouraging to be surrounded by so many people who just love the Lord and to share in that.

To the roomies of room six – You girls are just so amazing.  I love y’all so, so, so much.  Katlyn and your peanut butter addiction, Logan being my daughter, Kristy and your ridiculous sleeping and waking up habits, and Chelsea with all of our drives and adventures around Clearwater, Largo, etc.  I cannot wait to hear about the amazing things God is doing in each of your lives.  I hope you know how special you all are to me.

To the amazing evangelism team – I’m so encouraged by each and every one of you.  I’m so amazed at how we all worked together so well to plan events.  I’ve learned so much from each of you.  Jordan, thanks so much for doing the hard questions stuff.  I learned so, so much going through that with you and Jon, Katlyn, and Chelsea.

To my beautiful LifeGroup girls – thank you so much.  Katie, Susie, Morgan, and Kourtney – thanks for hearing all my junk that very first Sunday and still loving me regardless.  Thanks for growing with me and loving on me week in and week out.  Alison, Kristin, Kourtney, and Misha – thanks for making us the best combined LifeGroup ever, for growing with me even more, and thanks to all of you for Serious Cookie my last night.  That was so, so special and so fun to spend a lot of my last night with y’all.

There’s probably something I could say about every single one of you, because you each touched my heart in some way over the course of the summer.  Thank you all so much for my card and everything from my last night on project.  You have no idea how much your encouraging words mean to me.  It’s currently sitting here in my room in my apartment, just waiting for a good place to be put on display.

Please know that y’all are more than welcome in Columbia at any time.  If you need anything, please, please, please call, text, Skype, whatever me.  I will always be the mom whenever you need me to be!  Enjoy the rest of your time on project, keep me updated on all the fun stuff that happens, and enjoy the rest of college.  I know I’ve said it before, but it goes by so, so fast.  Cherish it and don’t wish it away, because you’re going to miss it once it’s gone.

I’ll leave you with my prayer for each one of you:

“I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.  God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.” – Phillippians 1:3-11

Just random thoughts…

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:10 pm by Katie

And so, the summer has (basically) ended.  It’s back to semi-normal life, except this sort of normal is completely new and unknown to me.

I left Clearwater Beach on Thursday to come here, to Columbia, SC, to start this new journey in my life.  For the next two years, I’ll be a grad student at USC, learning all there is to know about higher education and student affairs.  I’ll be a grad assistant for academic success initiatives in university housing.  I’ll be living in a nice new apartment with a new roommate who will be going through the same program with me.  I’ll be crazy busy, mostly broke, and hopefully loving every second of it.

It’s so weird to think about how life changes in an instant.  I don’t think I ever would have guessed that I would be in the position I am right now, this very second of my life.  But the comforting thing is to know that God has known all along that He would place me right here, right in this moment.  Even when things are new and scary and hard, it’s definitely a comfort to know that God has placed me here for some reason, some purpose, some way to bring glory to His name.

I think this summer just strengthened that idea in me, that faith in an all-powerful God.  Because this summer I had to lean on Him pretty hard.  I was frustrated with Him, mad at Him, and had absolutely no idea why He was doing certain things in my life (or wasn’t).  I had to trust that He would provide, that He would take care of me when things were looking bleak.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve heard several people close to me say that they just knew I was glad to be in SC and have some sense of routine and normalcy return to life, that they knew this summer was hard for me.  But as much as I try to explain it, they don’t understand that leaving Clearwater was probably the hardest part of the entire summer.  Leaving the people who had become so, so dear and close to me in just a matter of two months.  Leaving the places that had become home, the roads that had become familiar, and the beautiful sandy beach that had become an escape.  Yes, I’m excited about this new adventure in my life, but I will never, ever forget the two months I spent in Clearwater Beach, FL during the summer of 2010.

It’s a beautiful, wonderful, amazing thing – being a child of God.  It hurts when people don’t understand or discount it to something it’s not.  But I’m constantly reminded that it’s part of my job to try and help people understand, help people realize how amazing this life truly is.  How blessed am I to know this amazing truth, this amazing story of love and grace and mercy, and to be able to share it with the nations.

I said this a lot before leaving Kentucky, and even some while I was on project, but it’s true – I’m excited to be here, starting this new adventure in South Carolina, and to be on this journey as a Christian.  I feel like it was really hard, becoming a Christian my senior year of college, because a lot of people had a lot of expectations for the person I “should” be – the person they’d seen before.  Here, it’s a new start.  Yes, I still have my past and junk in my heart, but at least now I can use those things that God has woven into my life to bring glory to Him and the new life He’s given me.  I’ve seen that even in just talking with people on the beach this summer.  God has already used my story to help me connect with complete strangers, so I’m really excited to see what He has planned for people that I am already close to.

I feel like this blog post is all over the place, haha.  Probably because I was just about to go to bed and then felt like I had too many thoughts on my mind.  I’m also about to write another post…so yeah, I should probably wrap it up.  Pictures of the new apartment to come soon =)

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