Thursday, September 9, 2010

Life Lessons

Life doesn't always go how we plan does it? I certainly didn't plan to be a newlywed bride with a badly broken leg. I broke it August 21st, after we'd been married only 3 weeks. After waiting almost two weeks for surgery, I'm now at home, laid up for many more weeks, and unable to do much of anything. So much for keeping my house spotless or any of the painting projects I had planned! I won't be able to put any weight on this leg until around the first of November. After that I will have weeks of therapy, stretching it out and re-learning how to use it. And I can't even think about working until at least mid-December.

So I have had to re-evaluate my plans, laying it all in the Lord's hands instead of mine. I am a newly-graduated Registered Nurse, who can't work. And I'm a new wife, who can't take care of her husband or her house. What does this mean for me? Only a few days after I broke my leg, I remember crying on Will’s shoulder, asking him, "How I can I possibly be a good wife now? I can’t even do anything around the house or for you." He seemed shocked that I would even wonder that. But for so much of my life, I've measured my devotion and service for God by how hard I work. I've always thought that the best way to show God (and others) my love is by hard work. After all there are a lot of verses about not being lazy!! I guess I carried some of that thought over to marriage, too. I always thought that the Proverbs 31 woman was an excellent wife because of how hard she worked for her family. But now that I can't clean house or cook meals or wash the laundry, I’m finally beginning to see just how skewed my view of things really has been.

So I have been re-looking at Proverbs 31 and learning how to apply it in light of my current circumstances. The Proverbs 31 woman is called “virtuous.” According to Matthew Henry, this “…is a woman of spirit, who has the command of her own spirit and knows how to manage other people’s, one that is pious and industrious, and a help meet for a man…. [and] is a woman of resolution, who, having espoused good principles, is firm and steady to them, and will not be frightened with winds and clouds from any part of her duty.” So in other words, a virtuous woman is much more than just hard working. She is a woman of wisdom and discernment, who stands with strength. One of the biggest things I see when I read this passage is that this woman has a heart open to the Lord’s leading. She follows His commands and guidance, allowing Him to lead her in all things. That is where her strength and wisdom comes from! Her excellence comes from her fear of the Lord; and all of her virtuous characteristics flow from this.

While I'm laying here with my leg propped up, I've had a lot of time to think. I know that the Lord is using this time to draw me closer to Him. Right now, there is nothing for me to do but to be still and listen to the Lord. I don’t know why it is, but it seems that all the hard circumstances I have gone through, my first reaction is to pull away from the Lord, rather than draw near to Him. I hide away inside myself or in the comfort of friends, rather than go to the Comforter and Healer of all. Quickly I begin to see what a mistake that is, though. No one can bring joy or peace or comfort like the Lord. “The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him” (Psalm 37:39-40). What a wonderful refuge He is!!

So what am I doing with my days now? I am knitting blankets for a crisis pregnancy center, managing our finances, trying to keep the house in order, finally writing wedding thank-you notes, knitting blankets (planning to give them to a friend who's church knits blankets for a crisis pregnancy center) and learning more about different ministries I am interested in. But mostly, I am sitting at the feet of Jesus, and learning from Him.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I promise, I have a good reason for my long-time silence on here. In May I graduated from nursing school, and ever since then, I've packing up and planning. Because on July 31, 2010, I married my best friend!
Now we are beginning our lives together. It is a beautiful, amazing time in our lives! We have lived hundreds of miles apart throughout our entire relationship, and it is so wonderful to be able to just be with my love, every day.

Now I have a huge amount of work to do on moving us into our new house, along with cleaning it and getting it fixed up. I'm hoping that I'll eventually get time to start posting regularly again. But for now, I hope y'all will excuse me if I am a little slow with posting. I'm just too busy to get on here much!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Filled With Christ

Why is it that I regress so easily into the very things I feel I have already overcome? The very areas where I think I am the strongest, sometimes I fall the hardest. Sometimes all I feel is frustration and an overwhelming sadness. I let myself give into my selfishness and pride and act just like a kid having a temper tantrum. I get aggravated and, even though I might never show it on the outside, I'm fuming on the inside.

Why do I never seem to change? The question that I keep wrestling with the most is how can I claim to be filled with Christ, but then the thoughts in my head or the words that come out of my mouth have nothing to do with Him? I am so full of flaws and failures!

Today my sister and I had to stay home from church due to illness, so we watched a sermon online instead. One of the things that the pastor said really stuck with me. Basically he said, "True repentance is wanting Christ more than any sinful passion." It's turning away from that angry feeling because you know that it won't really bring satisfaction. Instead we turn to Christ, and we find true happiness and peace.

I am so overwhelmed by Christ's grace and mercy and love toward me. I deserve none of it. He has no reason to love me like He does. The Katie in me is full of selfishness and pride. But the Christ in me is full of love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness. All that I can say is, "More of You and less of me!"

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Worry Not, Part 4--Paul

When Paul was imprisoned by the Romans, he wrote these words to the Philippian church:

"Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus"
(Philippians 3:12-14).

Paul didn't worry about the past. He kept his eyes focused on the Lord. Instead of looking at his past or the difficult road he was headed down, he knew that the only way to deal with the present difficulties without stumbling was to keep focused on Christ. He says,

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which suppresses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

What a wonderful promise! To have God's peace guarding my heart and mind; I can think of nothing better.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pray for Victoria

Please be praying for one of the littlest members of Casa De Amor, little Victoria. She is one of a set of triplets that arrived at the Baby Home only a little over a week ago. Victoria became very, very sick yesterday and is currently in the NICU in Cochabamba. Here is what Jennifer said yesterday:

"Today her health deteriorated very rapidly between the first signs of something wrong at 11am (fever, wouldn't finish milk) and 3pm - very pale, skipped feedings, diarrhea, vomiting, troubled breathing. By 4pm she was being intubated at the best clinic in town as three of us agonized outside the doors of the ER.... Now Victoria is in the NICU on a ventilator. I was finally able to go in and see her for just a few minutes at 9:30. By that point she was semi-conscious and stabilized, and pneumonia has been ruled out although they're running more tests. It appears to be some sort of gastro intestinal infection that threw her into such a tail spin so quickly today."

So please keep her and her tiny sisters in your prayers!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Worry Not, Part 3--David

The intoduction to Psalm 56 tells us that it was written, "When the Philistines seized him in Gath." This psalm was composed during on of the most turbulent times in David's life. He had every reason, according to human standards, to fear. Yet what is this psalm all about? Not fearing.

"When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.
In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust;
I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?
...This I know, that God is for me.
In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose
word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can man do to me?" (v. 3-4, 9-11).

Over and over David repeatedly tells himself that he trusts in the Lord, that man is nothing. You can hear his torment in this psalm; he is so burdened that he must keep reminding himself not to fear. Instead of allowing himself to worry, he speaks hope into his soul, trusting God for strength. This is what I must do as well when the storms rage. Often the only way to get through is to speak the truth to myself again and again. Sing songs of God's strength, pray constantly, get into the truth of God's Word--but do not fear!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Worry Not, Part 2--Hezekiah

I have been extremely neglectful of this blog lately! I wrote the rest of the parts to the "Worry Not" series over a month ago, but I haven't found the time to type them up and post them. Finally, though, here is the second part. Better late than never, right?

So rather than worry, what is a child of God supposed to do? Reading through the Scriptures, I have seen a lot of examples lately of men who had every "right" to worry, but chose instead to trust in the Lord. The first example I'm going to give is King Hezekiah.

In 2 Kings 18-19, we are told how Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, attacked Judah, which was being ruled at this time by King Hezekiah. Hezekiah receives a message from some of his most trusted servants that Sennacherib was threatening Judah with total destruction. Rather than fear Sennacherib's enormous army, it says in 2 Kings 19:1, "As soon as King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the Lord." He prays to the Lord, and Isaiah the prophet sends him a message from the Lord reassuring him that Sennacherib will go back to Assyria without touching Judah.

However, we don't see Sennacherib turning back immediately. He comes back the next day, threatening again, this time even tempting Hezekiah to stop trusting in the Lord. He tells Hezekiah in a letter, "Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria."

Hezekiah, however, does not waver in his faith or worry about what will happen. Rather than worry, Hezekiah went and "spread it before the Lord" (v. 14), laying all his burdens at the Lord's feet.

God rewarded Hezekiah's faith by killing the entire Assyrian army. He tells Hezekiah, "...He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there, or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it....For I will defend this city to save it, for My own sake and the sake of My servant David." The Jews didn't even have to raise their hand against the Assyrians!

The Lord has constantly displayed this in my own life. How gracious He is to me, even when it comes to the smallest things I worry about! Over and over again, I will worry about something only to have Him gently remind me that He has it all under control. And suddenly, the problem will be taken care of--without my doing anything! What a loving God we serve, who provides for our every need!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Worry Not, Part 1

"Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her."

I admit, worrying is one of my biggest faults. Often life is overwhelming, and sometimes it seems like the only way I can make sure I get it all done is by anxiously keeping everything on my mind. Worry can even seem to be a virtuous thing at times. If I worry about things, at least I don't have anything go wrong (because I never give it a chance to go wrong!).

But God has been speaking to me a lot the past few weeks on this subject. He has been pointing out to me that there is a much bigger issue here. The real issue is fear. Fear of failure, rejection, pain, etc. But does my worrying change any of that at all? Not one bit!! What did Christ have to say about it? "Do not be anxious....which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?...Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." (Matt 6:25, 27, 34) The truth is, worry (fear, anxiety, etc.) is of the flesh. It is a tool used by Satan to divide us from Christ. Because when I worry, I my thoughts are not focused on the Lord--they are focused on me!! What can I do, what can I accomplish--and how can I possibly do it all?!

I read an amazing quote recently from the July 4th entry of My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers:

Resting in the Lord does not depend on external circumstances at all, but on your relationship to God Himself. Fussing always ends in sin. We imagine that a little anxiety and worry are an indication of how really wise we are; it is much more an indication of who really wicked we are. Fretting springs from a determination to get our own way. Our Lord was never worried and He was never anxious, because He was not "out" to realize His own idea; He was "out" to realize God's ideas. Fretting is wicked if you are a child of God. Have you been bolstering up that stupid soul of yours with the idea that your circumstances are too much for God? Put all "supposing" on one side and dwell in the shadow of the Almighty. All our fret and worry is caused by calculating without God.

Wow. That is a powerfully convicting statement! "Fretting is wicked." Forgive me, Lord, for ever trying to do without You!!

Worry Not

I have been thinking and praying a lot lately on the topic of worry. The Lord has really shown me a lot of things that I need to learn on this subject, and I'd like to post some of my thoughts on it here. So for the next few days, you will be seeing quite a few different posts on the topic of "Worry Not".

I'd also like to suggest that you read this post on the YLCF about worry--I was extremely encouraged today when I read this, especially since she talks about many of the things that I will be talking about in my posts!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Elusive Beauty

I guess you could say that I have always been obsessed by beauty. I love to see the colors in a lily, or the dew sparkling on the fields as the sun rises in the morning. It is in every human to be drawn to what is most beautiful and pleasing in the world. We have been created this way so that we will appreciate and enjoy all the glories of what God has created.

When I search for "beauty" or "beautiful" in the Bible, I overwhelmingly find it used in reference to women. In the Old Testament, we hear of many godly women who are described as being very beautiful--Sarah, Rachel, Abigail, and Esther, just to name a few of them. Each one of these women were known for being so beautiful that heads would turn when they walked by!

So how is it that a longing for beauty--which is a God-given gift!--can be so easily turned into a tool of the devil? I have struggled with that over and over. Because one of my deepest longings has always been to be beautiful. Not just to look pretty. But to have a deep, penetrating beauty, that remains even when all the makeup is gone. The more I look, the more I realize that this is the aim of almost every single woman I know. They may search for it in different ways. But they are all seeking true beauty.

I have realized that the pursuit of beauty is not vain. What is vain is when you remove God from that search. How can you have true beauty without the Creator of everything beautiful? Think of the emptiness of that search!! Trying to fill the void with anything but the Master Creator will not satisfy. How could anything possibly create beauty, when the only Source of beauty has been removed? So this pursuit of beauty easily becomes vanity. I'll admit, I have to fight frequently against the temptation to compare myself to the women in magazines or online images. When I do, I find myself thinking with discouragement the whole time, "I'll never look like that." But I realize that those thoughts are not of God. Anything that turns your heart away from what the Lord has already told us is not God-honoring. And what does God say through Scripture? He says that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made." That means that when we are critical of ourselves, we are being critical of God's perfect handiwork. Does God not know how to create better than I do?!

So what is beauty? True beauty, that is. What should we be seeking? First of all, we should be seeking Christ. Second, we should be seeking the attributes of Christ. As Peter famously says, "let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious" (1 Peter 3:4).

One of my favorite passages is Psalm 45:10-11--"Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear: forget your people and your father's house. And the king will desire your beauty...." This psalm is a love song, somewhat in the style of the Song of Solomon. I read it as symbolizing our relationship with our Lord. So when I read those verses, I am amazed to think that God desires my beauty in the same way that a man desires his wife! To think that the almighty God of heaven is preparing me for the day when I will be able to dwell with Him as His perfect bride is a humbling thought. What joy we can have to know the King of Kings, and to be His beautiful bride!! We can leave behind all that is vain, and run towards what is beautiful!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I posted yesterday, but I have no idea where the post went. It has completely disappeared. Very odd.... I will try to re-write as well as I can.

Over the past couple of years I have done some work with Hope Extreme, a ministry I was introduced to through my best friend Amber. Hope Extreme is a ministry/tutoring center for urban kids in Houma (a city about an hour from me). Last year I went every Tuesday to tutor for a few hours. I really learned to love those kids and see how special and unique each and every one of them is. It is so special to be able to see the smiles on their faces when they walk in the door!

Last month, on December 22, one of the kids who was most special to Hope Extreme passed away suddenly. Jaquan had been a part of Hope Extreme since it's beginning. His funeral service was one of the saddest I have ever been to; yet it was filled with a heavenly joy as well. As the pastor repeatedly pointed out, Jaquan did not waste his life. He gave his heart to Christ at the age of 12, and lived every day for his Lord. He didn't die tragically, from drugs or gang fights or other from one of the other dangers to most kids who live the street life. Instead, he wanted to tell his friends about Christ. His dream was to go to other countries and tell the children there about Jesus.

Even through his death, we pray that he will continue to minister to others. We are praying that this will be a wake up call to the other Hope Extreme kids; that they will see that no one, not even a young teenager, is guaranteed even their next breath. Please join me in praying for Jaquan's family, friends, and for Hope Extreme. This is such a difficult time for everyone who knew him.
Jaquan and Amber at the Hope Extreme center

Here is what Tara, the director of Hope Extreme, said about Jaquan:
The Psalmist writes "though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me..." In earthly terms our human shadows are caused by a greater light that displays but a vague glimpse of our earthly image. In this passage the psalmist is aware that the shadow of death is also caused by a greater source, the all encompassing light of God shining in such a way that we are to know that "his rod and staff will comfort us."

This past month that shadow passed over Hope Extreme. Sixteen-year-old Jaquan Veal, who had been with Hope Extreme since our beginning, pa
ssed away on December 22. About twenty kids were here at the center the night we learned of his passing; as you can imagine, life here has not been the same. We have mourned. We have doubted. We have cried. We have remembered that God is the God of second chances.

Jaquan had a heart transplant almost three years ago which at the time left him blind and partially paralyzed. God gave Jaquan his life back, his sight back, and his body back and we were so thankful. Jaquan knew that his life was but a fleeting breath and dedicated it to the God who saved him. Jaquan often said that he received two hearts...a physical one, but more importantly a spiritual one, the latter which is eternal.
Though our tragedy is great, through Jaquan's life - and through those who came closer to God as a result of his death - there is greater triumph. And that is how we chose to ring in the New Year, in God's Almighty Triumph.