Saturday, August 22, 2009

the u.s. of a.

Wow. I'm in Birmingham. I can't believe I've been home for a week. Now that I've seen everyone, had some good meals, and slept in a comfortable bed.... I'm ready to keep traveling. But, I can't. I'm here for atleast 2 1/2 years.

The first few days back were like a dream. I felt like I had never left (which I didn't like). I was able to see my parents, friends, and of course Wicklow. The weekend in Auburn flew by and before I knew it I was in my new house in Birmingham. About day 4 is when everything started to hit me. Exhaustion. Culture Shock. Missing my fellow DTS-ers. I'm really missing everyone. And I'm SO jealous that everyone is traveling/relaxing right now. Knowing that makes sitting in the classroom all day way worse than it already is. It's so hard to go from relationships with people being the most important part of my life to school overtaking my life. My first week was overwhelming to say the least. As of right now I have no idea how I will survive this semester. The class load and work load is more than I thought possible. Very scary. I literally do not feel like I can do this. BUT, here is what I'm clinging to....I KNOW that I am in His will right now. He will pull me through this if it's His plan. It is only by His grace and provision that I made it into this program, so He will help me through it. He wants me to succeed. I have to take this one step at a time. I cannot look ahead at EVERYTHING that needs to be done but instead I must focus on the task directly in front of me. I am fixing my eyes on Him and trusting His hand to direct me. OT is an amazing profession built around loving and caring for people. One day I will be able to bless and serve people ANYwhere with these skills. I will stick it out and although I know there will be times where I'll want to quit, I will remember that it is only by Him that I am here in the first place. I am believing that His favor is upon me.

Apart from the negatives, I was overwhelmed by how GOOD God is this week. As He promised, He has already come before me. He was here way before I got here. He prepared a way for me and I was able to witness that this week. The whole week I felt like God was saying, "Katy, I told you so." He is good. SO good. I just love Him.

My new house and roomie is GREAT. Seriously, I love it. The house is precious and so nice. I've already fallen in love with Hayden. She and I will be best friends soon. I have atleast 10 friends within a mile radius of me, which is so fun. And it has been so good being in the same city as a few of my best friends from college. I'm excited to live life (in the same city) with these friends again. The question is, will I have time for a social life? I'm a little worried about that. All in all, Birmingham really is great. It will be hard but I know I'll love it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

the end.

It's over. This journey is finished. We graduated/were sent out from the Mount of Olives today. What a blessing it was to have these 6 months devoted to diving in deeper with the Lord. For me, this was a time of major refining. It was time where my roots grew much deeper. Deeper than I ever thought possible. I cannot say it enough, but I am thankful for this season. I am changed. I am different. More than anything, I am completely in love with Jesus.

Joseph Watson, a speaker from lecture phase that every single one of us fell in love with (he spoke on dreams and destiny...changed my life, literally), surprised us on Monday. He has delivered all the messages over the past few days. Wow. So good. Such a good reminder of my destiny and the authority I have. I am transitioning into a new season of life. Right now, everything is tossed in the air as I have no idea what to expect. A new city. A new school. New roommates. New friends. I know that it will be so good. God has told me that He has gone before me. He has prepared a way for me. He is the same everywhere and NOTHING can separate us. BUT, that doesn't mean it won't be tough. I am guarding what He has given me. I will be led by Jesus, not by the world. I won't waste what He's done. I am going home a new person. I know I will be tested in the areas He has worked. The enemy will try to take that from me but I will stand against him knowing that God will meet me. I need to be on my knees, seeking His face. I am excited to reunite with people but I will not be reuniting as the same person. I have experienced and seen far more than I could have imagined. I want to continue serving. I hope there will be many opportunities to pour into other people. To tell people all that God has done and is doing. I yearn for conversations with the central focus being Jesus. Yes, it's a given that this will be hard BUT I will go home knowing that it's going to be good. I will fight for it. I will focus on the light, not the darkness. And I will remember that the power that rose Christ from the dead is the same power living in me. He's there. He's the same. Amen.

Tomorrow I head to the beaches of Tel Aviv for the day. I fly out at 11pm. Arrive in Atlanta Saturday morning. Oh. My. Gosh. I'll be hitting the ground running. Please pray for this transition. Goodbyes will be tough. This has been my family. And to jump right into this new phase is quite scary. Thanks to everyone who has followed me and prayed for me on this journey! I will continue blogging. AND...please please please call me or email me! I'd LOVE to talk about these past 6 months.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


The past week has been jam packed.  We've done all the touring of the "Holy Land" that we're going to do.  I have experienced God so much here in Israel.  This may be long but here are a few things I want to share...

As the 5 other teams have given presentations from their outreach, it has reminded me of my desire and heart to see more.  Yes, I'm tired and want a small break, BUT there is so much I want to see.  So much need.  God is moving all around the world and my desire to take part in it is unescapable.  It was inspiring to see pictures, here stories of the high points and the struggles, and just hear the ways our mighty God is moving.  We gave all the glory back to Him and we're still overwhelmed by the fact that He chose to use and work through us.  

We have seen many wonderful sites of this "chosen land."  Masada may have been the most beautiful of all, as it sits on top of a massive cliff overlooking the Judean desert and Dead Sea.  The history behind this site is amazing, read about it.  Of course we floated in the Dead Sea and covered our bodies in the "amazing" mud.  It also was beautiful and SO fun.  Not sinking is such a weird/cool feeling.  We spent an afternoon "relaxing" at Ein Gedi which is an oasis in the desert and is where David hid from Saul and wrote some of the Psalms.  The waterfalls, streams, caves, and views are amazing.  We also went to Qumran which is area of the cave the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in, which of course is a major discovery.  The next day we spent the morning at Yad Vashem (the Holocasut museum).  And that afternoon went to the Garden Tomb which is another possible site of the resurrection.  I found this "garden" and tomb to be much more believable.  We were able to worship and take communion as we reflected on what really could have been the place of Jesus' death.  I was absolutley overwhelmed, and as I'm sure I'll say a few more times, there is something extremely special about worshiping in this land.  That night we went on a tunnel tour which is an underground tunnel along the Western Wall.  It is the closest the Jewish people can get to the "holiest of holies."  Such cool history and archeology.  The next day we hit up the Mount of Beatitudes (where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount).  Some of our team memorized the sermon and recited it, very cool.  It was just crazy to think that so much of Jesus' ministry was done here and in the surrounding area.  Our next stop was the church of multiplication of loaves and fishes.  This is located right on the shore of the Sea of Galilee and is where Jesus appeared to His disciples after the resurrection and told Peter to throw his nets on the other side of the boat.  This is a place of annointing and calling.  In John 21, Jesus calls Peter into full time ministry (to shepherd the sheep).  I LOVE this passage.  Jesus asks Peter 3 times if he loves Him.  He tell's Peter to "follow me."  I was reminded of my call to follow Him wholeheartedly and was thinking, do I love Him, do I REALLY love Him, do I love Him enough to follow Him WHEREVER?  There will be places I will not want to go but I love Him.  I really love Him. "Yes" is my answer.  Again, I was overwhelmed as I stood on the bank and in the water right where Jesus was.  After that we made our way to Capernaum.  Very cool ruins in a beautiful setting.  We spent the remainder of the afternoon relaxing at the Sea of Galilee where I was baptized!

I was sprinkled as a child and for the past year or so have thought a lot about the significance of baptism.  I know that because I wasn't "dunked" means I'm missing something BUT being baptized is supposed to be MY decision and public declaration of following Jesus.  I love the symbolism of being washed clean and coming out of old life into new.  This was a great opportunity (as it is the Sea of Galilee) to publically declare what I believe to my brothers and sisters who I've grown with and who have encouraged me over the past 6 months.  It was symbolic of me entering in to this new phase of life, being completely open and surrendered.  My deepest desire is to be in His will and be completely obedient.  I have grown so much over the past 6 months.  I am SO in love with Jesus.  So, as I was dunked, I left my old self and I'm now living completely alive and confident in who I am in Christ.  "My whole life is YOURS, I give it ALL, surrender to Your name and forever I will pray, have Your way, have You way."

The past couple of days we've been debriefing and talking about re-entering.  We've been worshiping a lot and I have felt His Presence so strongly here.  I've been so excited to get home but now it's hitting me.  I'm sad.  This is over.  I don't want to go.  It's going to be hard.  I'm anxious about this transition and cannot believe in 3 days I will be leaving this new "family" of mine.  I know I have an amazing family in America but it will be hard to relate to anyone.  I am seeking His face and resting in His Presence.  He is meeting me here and He is already waiting for me at home.  

I have much much more going on in this whirlwind head of mine.  But I'll stop now.  

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

ISRAEL. overwhelmed.

I am currently sitting in my hotel room in the middle of the old city of Jerusalem. A 5-minute walk from the Wailing Wall and the famous Dome of the Rock. I still can't believe I'm here.  I'm blown away.  Overwhelmed would definitely be the word to describe my feelings over the past 5 days or so.  

We have spent a couple FULL couple of days touring and another day doing team presentations.  The first day we walked down to the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock.  Both of these I found myself thinking, am I really seeing this with my own eyes? Later we went to the Garden of Gethsemane and one of the possible sites of the crucifixion and tomb.   The olives trees in the garden were unbelievable.  They are literally the same ones that Jesus prayed under at one of His lowest points before He was arrested.  I was able to spend some time reflecting on my future and the uncertainty before me.  My prayer is that it is NOT my will but rather His will that is done.  Just as Jesus went into the Garden not knowing what would happen but asking His Father that His will be done, that is how I feel as I enter into this new phase of life.  And I pray that as I seek Him for direction and guidance that I will be strengthened just as Jesus was (Luke 22).  

Ok...thoughts on the possible crucifixion site.  I will say that being here is reminding to focus on Him only.  Not the outward appearance.  It is disappointing though.  The church that is built on top of the place it happened is so ornate (candles, chandeliers, paintings, mosaics, etc).  It's not who Jesus is or what He represents.  It's a little sickening and very hard to focus on what actually happened.  It reminded me of the many Buddhists temples I've been in over the past few months.  It doesn't at all show the humility and simplicity of our Savior.  It made me mad.  BUT, in the midst of it all, as I was looking and listening for His voice, He spoke.  I cannot focus on the darkness and obvious disappointing scene but rather I should fix my eyes on Him and what He went through.  The possible tomb (which was in the same church) was just as disappointing.  But, again He spoke and reminded me that He is NOT there.  I was reminded of the good news that He has risen and He lives and dwells EVERYWHERE.  We can celebrate because He is not in that tomb anymore.  

In Israel, it's very easy to be put off by the millions of churches built over the famous sites.  But, that is religion.  Israel is filled with it. SO many people believe that our God is confined to religion.  But, He is not confined.  And because of this I am not confined to religion or a "box" that so many people are in. But, I have this amazing power and strength living inside of me.  And you know what blows me away?  The power that raised Jesus from the dead is the SAME power that lives inside of me.  Holy crap.  

Ok, wow. I could go on and on.  But mainly I am OVERWHELMED.  Here I am, in the center of the world, walking the same places Jesus walked.  This is His land.  His chosen country and people.  This is where He walked and where one day He will come back.  He is alive NOW and I am am so blessed to have the opportunity to seek His face among this land that is rich with history and prophesy of what is to come.