Monday, December 20, 2010

ruthie.

ruthie. a best friend. a roommate. the reason why birmingham has been good.
and...
she is leaving me. a new season awaits her in louisville, kentucky. i am proud of her. she's trusting that His plan is better.
but...
i am sad. so sad. there have been many tears as these last few days of living in the city of birmingham together have come. it's hard to imagine life here without her. i'm not sure i've ever been in this situation. i've never been the one 'left', i've only been the one leaving to begin the new season.
i don't know what the remainder of my time in birmingham will look like. i know it will be different. very different. it might be lonely. it might be rocky. it might be hard. but...it might not be. what i do know is..that as i've struggled through the past month thinking of what is to come, He has reminded me to TRUST.
and i am.
He is faithful. in the good seasons and in the bad seasons. when my little world feels unsteady, shaken up, and unpredictable, it is then that i grab His hand. it is then that i must depend on Him. oh, i yearn for my life to be free of difficulties BUT it is in the difficult times that my need for Him and awareness of Him is highlighted. and if that's the case, i am able to consider my problems as pure joy. In darkness and sadness, the RADIANCE of His face shines more clearly.
i will miss her. but i am trusting.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

good vs. evil.

Paul's words in Romans are exactly what I've been dealing with.

i do not understand what i do. for what i want to do i do not do, but what i hate i do... i know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. for i have the desire to do what is good, but i cannot carry it out. for what i do is not the good i want to do; no, the evil i do not want to do- this i keep on doing. now if i do what i do not want to do, it is no longer i who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. so i find this law at work: "when i want to do good, evil is right there with me. for in my inner being i delight in God's law; but i see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. what a wretched man i am! who will rescue me from this body of death? THANKS BE TO GOD- THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD!"
....
therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

[parts of romans 7 & 8]

wow. thats a mouthful isn't it? but i read that recently and the jumbled/scrambled thoughts and attempts i've made to write this out was perfectly communicated by paul. i mean, who would've thought the bible can be so right on?!?

without getting into too much detail [or this would be a book] let me explain. i have been disappointed in myself. i have felt a lot of shame. i have so many desires to do good in this city. i want to build relationships with international people, i want my neighbors to know Christ, i want to love the homeless, i want to intercede for the nations, i want to fight injustice. but, i fail. i could list a million reasons [excuses] of why i have failed. but lets be honest, i am sinful, period. i continually think of these desires of mine and immediately feel shame and disappointment in not accomplishing them.

is it my lack of obedience? discipline? initiative? my selfishness? i don't know, but what i've seen is the way the enemy can wiggle his evil self into something good. and just as paul says, when there is desire to do good, evil is right there with it. that deep desire of mine is God's heart, not me. i am wretched! and too often the sin living in me acts. i KNOW that i am God's. i KNOW that i love Him. i KNOW that His GLORY is my greatest desire.

but, this is a fight. a waging war. and i have realized that i have been acting as a prisoner of the law of sin. NO! He rescued me from this shame and disappointment. He wouldn't have chosen me if He thought i was a failure. He loves me. there is no condemnation in Jesus. i am FREE from the law of sin and death. gosh, to grasp this...draws me to my knees. i am consistently humbled by the merciful King that chose me and loves me. He is worthy of everything.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ezra

I have FINALLY made it to the new testament. Let me just say, it is good to be here.

But, before leaving the old testament I want to share something that's been on my mind pretty constantly since reading the book of Ezra. In chapters 9-10, I am challenged by the way Ezra reacts to sin. The people of Israel have [surprise, surprise] committed sins by being highly unfaithful. When Ezra hears this, he is devastated, appalled... (9:3-6). Ezra trembled at the word of God. Because of his distraught over the sin these people have committed, he falls on his knees with hands raised, and prays. And in case we didn't catch his reaction the first time Ezra 10:1 tells us again. Ezra was...

Confessing.

Weeping.
Throwing himself down before the house of God.
Praying.

Wow. This has really challenged me lately. As I've recognized sin this week, I can't help but think of Ezra. Shouldn't my reaction be like his? Shouldn't I take sin as seriously as he did? And, in all honesty, my reaction to sin doesn't come close to Ezra's. And I want it to. It should. I want the act of sinning to drive me to my knees! I want to tremble at the word of God. I want to feel the seriousness of not only my sin, but others sin. So much that it forces me face down, and literally crying out to the only righteous being on behalf of brothers, sisters, friends, and even strangers.

Then, to add to the coolness of this passage, a crowd of Israelites join Ezra ("...they too wept bitterly.") Ok, lets talk about this...This is community. People joining people. Praying. Broken for brothers and sisters. AND...what a cool illustration of the way people influence each other. We do what we see others do. When I act [in a way that reflects Christ], I pray that it drives others to do the same.

Oh, Ezra. You have challenged me and given me new perspectives. Now, may I figure out how to make this real life, not just something that happened in the old testament.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

inadequacy.





Rehab/occupational therapy in Haiti...
I don't really know what my thoughts are. This past trip was very unique. We were able to meet with many organizations to get a glimpse of what rehab would look like in a country such as Haiti.
[If you don't know let me catch you up...I'm in graduate school for occupational therapy. I'm not a school person but I know that His way is better. My hopes/dreams involve using these skills to serve people in what will likely be an underdeveloped country. I don't know His exact plan but for now this is the direction I'm heading.]

Ok. Let me first say how obvious God's sovereignty was on this trip. Tickets were booked 3 days before our departure. Needless to say, there were no plans but within a couple of days (and throughout the week we were there) our time was filled with opportunities to meet and see organizations involved with some sort of rehab. We visited 2 hospitals (Hospital Sainte Croix and Hospital Albert Schweitzer), Mission of Hope, Wings of Hope (a home for abandoned, disabled children), Healing Hands for Haiti, and Haiti Medical Missions of Memphis. All of these are great organizations doing great things for the people of Haiti and are running purely from donations. Check out the links if you want to know more.

So, did I get a good picture of what OT might look like down there? Yes. For sure. I feel like this trip was absolutely needed and the first step to anything else. Do I feel like I could do it? Um, lets just say I'm a little ball of doubt. I don't feel like I'll ever have the skills needed to offer the people of a country in SO much need. Everyone we talked to was so creative and so good at what they do. Will the skills I'm learning in school (which is predominately focused on settings in America) transfer to a country/setting like Haiti? Am I creative enough? Not to mention that I would never solely be an OT down there, I'd also be the nurse, the PT, the social worker, the speech pathologist, etc. AH! SO overwhelming.
BUT...
I cannot doubt. Who am I to question the abilty God places in me? Who am I to question His power? When I doubt, I'm blatantly telling God that I don't trust Him. And, I do. I have seen His hand work in areas of my life that I KNOW I couldn't have done alone. I am always reminded of Moses. How inadequate/doubtful/fearful he felt when God called him to set the people of Egypt free. A whole country was placed in Moses hands! And the part that really hits home for me is Exodus 4:10-17. I swear, me and Moses, we are the same person here. I'm not going to go into it, but I know that if God can use an ordinary, insecure man to save a nation, then He can also use an ordinary, insecure girl to help a nation.

Excuse my language, but my future scares the hell out of me. But, I've told Him I will obey. I want to obey. And when He calls me to something that I feel way to inadequate for, it doesn't matter if it scares the hell out of me, I will do it. Because His ways are better. His power is great. And hell, I'm not the one who does anything good anyway. It's Him in me. Whew, thats a weight off my shoulders!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

beauty.

There is too much to say about recent adventures and lessons so be on the lookout for a blog-a-thon this week (aka...lots of blogs).

I just returned from Haiti for a 3rd time in the last 6 months. I know, crazy. This trip was slightly different than the other two. This time Tori and I talked to our professors about skipping out on a couple days of class, bought our tickets 3 days before we left, and headed down with a very tentative plan to see what rehab/OT might look like in a country such as Haiti [there will be more about this sometime this week].

On Friday Tori, Nathan, Bmb and Jwat (2 Haitian friends), and I set out on a road trip to visit a hospital located about 3 hours away. Road trips in tap taps are quite different. See the picture of the tap tap below and imagine basically the bumpiest, dustiest most chaotic road you could ever think of (then multiply by 10). Pretty awesome. What I didn't realize was how BEAUTIFUL the country of Haiti is. I mean, really? Wow. Words cannot do justice what my eyes and brain took in while hanging off the back of that tap tap. But this is my attempt to put my thoughts on a page. Here goes...

There is something about seeing and experiencing beauty/creation like I saw that day. It's a feeling of complete awe. It's like time is frozen but at the same time going by too fast to wrap my head around what I'm seeing. I try to hold onto to these moments. I desperately cling to them. But time just keeps ticking away. Scenes of beauty keep going. Too fast. And it's too much to comprehend.

But beauty like that fills my heart with pure and unspeakable joy. I feel like my whole body is happy (weird, I know). And I feel so much peace. Maybe this is just a small glimpse/taste of heaven will be like. My Maker and the Creator of the universe is unbelievable (but SO real at the same time). Why can't days like this linger? Why can't all of life be that beautiful?
But, I was reminded of how much we cling to beauty [and He is beauty. The exact definition of beauty]. And how the works of His hands bring joy, peace, and fulfillment like nothing else. Nothing compares. Humanity longs for something beautiful. Something that brings joy, peace, and fulfillment. And that comes ONLY from God.

Beauty like that is contagious. For example, traveling/seeing the world never fails to fill me with joy. Once I see the beauty of cultures, people, and places, I always want more. And, it's the same with God. When I experience Him and His perfection (that I'm so far from), I long for more of Him in me. What a cool parallel [the Creator and the creation] that I guess are more or less the same thing. One so clearly points to the other. Creation pointed me to my Creator.

I pray for more days where His beauty is so clearly portrayed to me. I want to see this beauty all over the world. I want more adventures like this one. But, I also pray that the glimpse of perfection, joy, fulfillment, peace, and beauty is NOT just a glimpse, only to be seen on adventures in other countries. I want this beauty to be a reality in my everyday life in Birmingham, Alabama. Because He is everywhere. And therefore, every moment should be beautiful. I want to see that. And believe it. Really believe it. Not only do I want to see this beauty, I want reflect this beauty. He is in me and because of that I am able to show people joy, fulfillment, peace, and beauty. And I desperately want to contribute to His beauty (aka GLORY) being made known here.





Tuesday, September 7, 2010

ptl.

I find myself feeling sympathy for the people in Jeremiah. The Lord is about to pour out His wrath and destroy them because they have created and worshipped other idols. They have listened to false prophets and dream interpreters. To put it plainly, they've been stupid. And I truly find myself feeling sorry for them.

This is why...

I can relate to these people. When I put myself in their shoes I think I would have done the same thing. Lets be honest, even today I mistakenly put other things over Him. IDOLS. I'm ashamed. It's hard not to. The world is telling us so many things. I'm a stupid wanderer just like the people in Jeremiah.

And then I think that maybe my view of God is off. I mean, shouldn't I be on His side? Shouldn't I want these evil people to be destroyed for putting THE perfect, sovereign, beautiful God on the backburner? These people deserve His wrath. They don't deserve to live. But do I really believe that? Because if I do, then I don't deserve to live.

And thats just it.

I DON'T DESERVE TO LIVE. I am not worthy. I continually mess up. Day after day. But, praise God! I live in a time in which He loves me because of the sacrifice of His son. I am grateful for a God who is full of mercy. But, I pray that my view of Him is that HE IS TO BE FEARED. He is jealous. He is worthy of all my affection. He is all deserving.

I am not.

Monday, August 16, 2010

round two. haiti.

Oh wow. Where to begin...
Haiti.
Oh Haiti.
After 5 months of waiting/dying/needing to go back, it has come and it has gone. And what do I have to say about it? Well, here we go...

THEN YOU WILL LOOK AND BE RADIANT, YOUR HEART WILL THROB AND SWELL WITH JOY...
Isaiah 60:5

These words describe the way I felt the second I stepped into Haiti for the 2nd time. I literally felt like joy and happiness were exploding out of me. I felt full of LIFE. Passion. Purpose. JOY. Just like last time I was there, I was reminded that this is how God intended us to live. Loving, serving, seeking, and living in community. When you are in His will, the result is pure joy. And thats what all week was about.

God is doing something BIG. I don't really know how to put any of this into words (story of my life) but let's see...
Some of you may know of a dream I have, if not I'd love to talk about it. But basically my passions in life are 3rd worlds, orphans, and injustice. One day I'd love to see a community in a country (such as Haiti) that is complete with an orphanage, school, hospital, church, teachers, doctors, nurses, PT's, OT's, speech pathologists, dentists, etc. It's a big dream. It has been in my mind/on my heart for about 4 months now and I pray about this pretty consistently. Well, needless to say, there are no plans for any of this, but I have this feeling that God's up to something. I can tell. He's putting people in my path with the same dreams. He's changing my heart. It's like I zoom out on this life of mine, and there is so much ahead of me that I can't see but I see all these random pathways, all starting to meet and make connections. It doesn't really make sense and there is so much uncertainty, but there's not at the same time. I have no plans yet but I know He's got it. He gave me small glimpses of His provision and His hand at work this week. The future makes me excited. He's got something brewing.

He's changing my heart. It's crazy. I always say I want to live in a third world country, but when it comes down to it, i know it would be HARD. My biggest fear is that I would get sucked into living a nice comfortable/complacent life here. And thats because I know that would be easy for me. I mean lets be honest, I've grown up in nice conditions. Comfy beds, nice houses, vacations, good food, shopping, etc. I really used to find joy in those things, or I thought I did. And lately, when I go on a vacation that in the past would have been SO great, SO satisfying, and SO fun, the passion and joy is not there. A feeling of emptiness. It's so confusing. Yet, when I step foot in a dirty, bumpy, hot, mosquito infested, crumbled country, I am the happiest I could ever be. Nothing can compare to the joy that comes with 15 Haitian children hanging on me. Now, does that make ANY sense to you? It doesn't to me. But I guess the gospel doesn't really make sense either. What I'm realizing is that He is shaping and molding my heart into something that I could NEVER do myself. I feel blah in America. Get me back to Haiti already.

I love Haiti. I love the Haitian people. I love the staff at HOM that we've built such great relationships with. I see myself living there. Our team was stellar. This week was filled with constant laughter, lots of sweat, bug spray/bug bites, sore butts, sing a longs, reuniting with new friends, working hard, mortar, stones, orphans, beautiful people, tropical beach, lightening storms, sunsets, card games, little to no sleep, air mattresses, rice and beans, rooftops, visions, dreams, hidden haitians, ice pops, bottled coke, prestige, dirt, mud, sewage, new relationships, bonding, bill fudge, and best of all...Jesus.

A few pics from the week, to see all.... click here.





Sunday, July 25, 2010

back to the basics.

Grad school has me constantly feeling behind. Because of that, I haven't gotten to share as much as I would like to. But, regardless of the fast-pace and busyness of life, God is doing some cool things. As mentioned in the previous post, I'm trying to figure out what it is to seek Him and find Him in the drudgery and mundane routines of everyday life. It's amazing what happens when you chase Him regardless of time contraints and busyness.
He speaks.
He leads.
He comforts.
And He never stops loving.

This is what He has been doing in me...

I have been taken back to the basics over the past week or so. He has reminded me of my purpose as I have had a tendency to become wrapped up in school, finals, and what people think of me. He has reminded me that as I am finding more and more enjoyment in OT school, and more and more comfort in the city of Birmingham that I MUST HOLD LOOSELY TO THIS LIFE. I am thankful that He has finally given me more of a love for what I am learning in school. I am thankful that He has finally allowed me to feel like I can live in the city of Birmingham without a constant feeling of guilt. But, whose to say that He won't ask me to give it all up tomorrow? Whose to say that just because I'm this far along in school, His plan could have me in a new place next month? And if He asks, will I obey? So, I have been reminded that my place is always on the knees. Always with open arms. Always with listening ears. And always ready to obey. This life's not mine, and so I better not get to comfortable.

We live among people who glorify business, wealth, careers, professionalism, etc. And even those of us who KNOW Him tend to march to the tempo of the world. I am reminded that He has called me to follow Him wholeheartedly on a different path. Time alone with Him should always be my highest priority and my deepest joy. It doesn't matter what assignment I have looming ahead, what final is around the corner, or what people think of me.
HE IS BETTER.
ALWAYS.

I don't want treasures on earth. I want treasures in heaven. I only want my head wrapped up in Him. Because, He is all that matters anyway. This world will perish. My life will perish. And will I have lived this temporary blip for His glory only? Or will I have wasted it on the petty, meaningless things that so easily pull my attention away from the CREATOR of the world, the RULER of history, the KING of all nations, and the JUDGE of all peoples? Oh, I hope not.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

new season/drudgery

It's been awhile fellow readers (although I'm not really sure anyone reads this...ha). After a lot of recent processing, I have a lot I want to share.

These past couple of months have been a transition into a new season for me. I'm still having a hard time putting words to everything, but this will be an attempt...

I know without a doubt that my greatest desire is for Him and His glory to be made known. I know that I want to be a part of that. I know that I love Him. A lot.
Apart from all of that...
The "feelings" aren't there. I know, I know, feelings don't matter. But do you agree that it makes things harder without them? Here's the thing, I know His promises and I know I long for the day when He returns, but as of now, I don't have that happy-go-lucky feeling on a daily basis. And up until 2 weeks ago I thought I was missing something. I thought I was failing at loving Him. I thought i was losing my zeal and passion for Him. Now mind you, my biggest fear is losing my desire for Him and falling into a complacent/comfortable life. I'm ALWAYS scared of that becoming a reality. And I felt like it was.

I know, it's confusing... I mean how can there be no "feelings" yet, Him/His fame/His glory still be my number one priority?! But, that's where I am right now. It's a new season. Over the past year or so I have fallen deeply in love with Him in a new and beautiful way. Now that I am "in love," it is time to know Him in new depths. I want to know different aspects of Him that I've never experienced. I feel like my walk with God has been largely defined by the BIG experiences, the mountain top experiences, giving me just enough "ummph" to make it to the next experience. I've never really gotten to know Him in the ordinary/routine/mundane/everyday life. I've got to know what it looks like to seek Him and FIND Him, right here, right now.

This is where He has me. I'm trying to figure it out. I don't know if I ever will, but I'm not giving up. I'm learning to continue chasing Him when nothing within me or around me is telling me to do that.

2 Peter 1:3-11
He has given me everything I need... He has shown me His power, He has changed my heart, He has literally given me everything I need for this next season of life. And because of this I must MAKE EVERY EFFORT to ADD TO MY FAITH. To form godly habits. In DRUDGERY, when there are no flashes of light and no thrill to life, but rather a daily routine with common, everyday tasks, I must learn to still live for my Savior. I cannot always expect God to speak loudly or give me adventures. My obedience to Him in the smallest details speaks so loudly. If i will learn to do this, His glory that I so badly desire will be made known. And as v.10 says, if I do these things, I will never fall and will receive a RICH welcome into the kingdom. Wow, it's all worth it, just for that.

I know that this season will not be easy. The words intentional, endurance, and drudgery come to mind, but I am expecting great things to come...

Monday, May 31, 2010

a noble theme.

My heart is stirred by a noble theme...
(Psalm 45:1)

I love this. I am constantly reminded of why I am here. When I feel like I am becoming numb or complacent, I read a verse, I hear a story of God's provision, I see glimpses of what He's doing in the nations...and I am reminded of His glory. I ask for my heart to be like His. I ask Him to give me the ability to love the way He does. I ask for more desire and dependency for Him. And it is when I ask Him for these things that I experience Him. He shows up. Always. I must seek BUT He WILL find.

I was able to take a wonderful trip to North Carolina this weekend with a couple friends. It has been a great weekend filled with gourmet food, beautiful scenery, late night movies, and sunshine. But, there is something strange about my feelings. I love being in this setting but there is something inside me that knows this isn't what my life is about, and I am ok with that. While I used to picture my future with luxurious weekends like this, now I dream of holding orphans and giving life to people who need it. Is there something wrong with me?! Ha!

I feel like God is slowly changing my heart to be more like His. He is growing my desire for the world more and more on a daily basis. It's kind of a scary feeling. It's a feeling like I don't belong here. And I know I don't. I know heaven awaits me one day. But it's also a feeling like I don't belong in this western world. A feeling that I know one day soon He will place me somewhere else. Who knows? It's just a feeling. And I'm ok with it.

What I love is that...
My heart is being stirred by a NOBLE theme.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

trusting.

It all comes down to me not trusting. I am scared of starting another semester. I am absolutely dreading it. There are classes this summer semester that I feel like I may never really need. And the thought of having to write more papers, do more research, and give more presentations literally makes me want to cry. I don't want to do it. I am almost convinced to drop out now.

I just had a conversation with my mom about grad school. There were tears. To most people, being in grad school equals knowing without a doubt what you want to do. Nope. Not for me. I have no idea when/if I'll use OT. I can't see my future. What I do know is that if I wasn't supposed to be here, He would have opened another door, leading me somewhere else. Several of my friends are in that inconsistent stage of life. They can't see where it is God is taking them but they are learning to wait on Him and trust Him in radical ways. Although I am in school, which seems consistent and points me in a specific direction, I feel like in a way I am in the same stage. Tonight I am reminded yet again to TRUST. Why am I doubting that I can't get through another semester? I am doubting myself which is really me doubting the One who is doing this all anyway. I have to TRUST. When I am struggling with school, feeling small and incapable, I have to be confident that He is the one doing this. HIM, not me. Katy, it's never you. It's always Him. I am entering this semester hesitant yet clinging and depending, and trying so hard to trust Him completely. He will do this and my prayer is that I will find joy in it all.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

guilt.

The past couple weeks have been my "summer." From Auburn to Kentucky, and Nashville to Rosemary Beach, I've realized what it feels like to be free again. Free from obligations, studying, etc. But sadly, the break ends tomorrow.

I cannot express how great these 2 weeks were BUT I've decided I have a problem. I don't know how to live here anymore. Whether it be America, or just western countries in general, it's hard. These 2 weeks were spent for my relaxation and enjoyment. And I think that's where the problem lies. ME. These 2 weeks were about me.

I can't seem to do anything these days without a sense of guilt. You see, my life is not MINE anymore. I don't want it to be. I want this life to be spent blessing others. I want nations and people to know Him and His glory. I am here to proclaim His name. I praise God that I have had the experiences I've had, and have been given the opportunity to sit under amazing leaders pointing me to a RADICAL faith. But because of this, I don't know how to live here. Seriously. I can't buy anything without my head automatically reminding me of the great needs around the world. I feel guilty on a daily basis. I buy a shirt, I feel terrible. I treat myself to a meal, I feel selfish. I lay on the beach for a few days, I feel self-consumed. Literally, everything I do that is not "kingdom-work," I experience some feeling associated with guilt.

I know that God is not a fan of guilt. But, what do I do? I can't ignore these feelings. Everyday I battle with the way to live here. I live in a western culture, so does that mean its ok to buy a cute dress? I have a 2 week break, is it ok to lay on the beach, soaking in His beautiful creation? All of these are MY desires. What about His? Does He want me to relax and enjoy life? There are millions of people that don't know Him. There are starving orphans, struggling widows, etc. I don't know what to do with these thoughts/questions and I don't know if I'll ever know. A question I continually ask myself is, 'Katy, what does is look like to depend on Him in a country where it seems like I don't really need Him?' It's a constant struggle of mine.

I REALLY want to bring Him glory and fame above everything else. But, in this western world I live in, I feel like I am constantly failing and constantly letting Him down.

Monday, May 3, 2010

136th kentucky derby.

A dream of mine came true this weekend. Anyone who follows me on twitter is probably sick of me talking about the Kentucky Derby, but I can't help it. Since I was a little girl I have dreamed about going to Churchill Downs, wearing my hat and my sundress, and watching those red roses drapped over the winner's shoulders. I read books and books, always so intrigued by the world of horse racing, always wanting to be the exercise rider, or the owner, and knowing I could never be the jockey. When the 1st Saturday in May roles around, you better believe I am glued to that tv for HOURS. Listening to the stories of the favorites, the underdogs, the unlikely owners, and the hard work it takes to make it there. There's no feeling quite like watching them load in the starting gate, seeing those horses turn down the back stretch, and yelling as the winner crosses the finish line with that fist in the air. Lifelong dreams of the owners, trainers, jockeys, grooms, exercise riders and everyone connected to the horse finally come true. The names of the trainers and jockeys bring a sense of familiarity as year after year I watch them enter new horses to run in the Derby. I love every bit of it. I hate when its over, making me wait yet another year.

And to actually BE THERE this year...

A dream fulfilled. To smell the cigars, drink mint juleps, wear the hat and the dress, bet on horses, see those twin spires, and basically touch the track that so many lengendary horses have run on was just as great as I thought it would be. It's "the most exciting two minutes in sports." But, it was so much more than that. From the culture/atmosphere to the rich tradition, it's one of the greatest sporting events in the world. Yes, maybe I am a little "horse-crazy," but I know that anyone could appreciate the beauty of the Kentucky Derby. I needed to go. I needed to know what this quote by Steinbeck meant..."The Kentucky Derby, whatever it is--a race, an emotion, a turbulence, an explosion--is one of the most beautiful and violent and satisfying things I have ever experienced."

I understand that now. I love Kentucky. I love Bardstown Road. This year I may have been an in-fielder, but next time I'll be in those grand stands. As you see, I could go on and on but I will end with a paragraph I read tonight that so accurately explains my feelings of this weekend.

I walked away today with empty pockets, but it didn't matter. Seeing Calvin Borel stand in his stirrups after the wire, crop held high in salute to the moment, all I could feel was euphoria for the horse, the jockey, the trainer and owner, the women at Kroger who stitched the rose blanket, the mass of humanity who stood and sang "My Old Kentucky Home," the balloon handlers in the Pegasus Parade, the waitress at Wagner's who called me "honey," and the child who stroked the nose of the statue of Big Brown. I have never felt so much a part of a spectator sport. For this I have to thank the entire city of Louisville. I have never seen so much community effort surrounding an event. I have never felt this much warmth and comradeship with strangers. Perhaps it rests in childhood fantasy, but how often does something live up to your world of make-believe?
-Sheri Seggerman






Thursday, April 22, 2010

balance.

I'm an American Idol fan. Always have been. Maybe its a waste of my time but I can't help it. What I'm getting at here is that last night was their annual "Idol Gives Back" show. They really are doing some great great things. As they showed story after story of injustices all across the world, I was in tears. I know, surprise surprise. But here's the thing... although I was in Haiti a little over a month ago, I feel so far removed from the starving, the orphans, the widows, the brokenhearted, etc. I am finally feeling contentment in where God has me now. Whereas usually I feel like these beautiful people and the numerous amount of need is in the forefront of my brain, the past few weeks I feel like I have removed myself. So, here's where I'm confused. When the need and injustices are the only thing I can think about, I am not HERE. I'm not content. I'm not happy. All I want is to be there. Holding a precious child in my arms. I want to quit school and move immediately.

Where is the balance?
Is there a balance?

I don't want a day to pass where I forget the needs in the world around me. But at the same time, I know I am called here. I am called to be content where He has placed me. And if you have read any of this blog you know that I have battled with that continually.

There is SUCH a fine line between contentment and complacency. I don't want to remove myself. I don't want complacency. I want contentment. I want a heart that beats for the world. I want to be like Jesus.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

nothing compares.

yet i am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. you guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. whom have i in heaven but you? And earth has nothing i desire besides you. my flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. but as for me, it is good to be near God. i have made the sovereign Lord my refuge; i will tell of all your deeds. psalm 73: 25-28

He is INCOMPARABLE. Truly, nothing compares to Him. To think about some of the best things in life and then realize that these things cannot touch Him really illustrates this point to me.

Lets make a list of really good things...
the beach. standing at the top of a mountain. good friends/community. food (cheese dip). laughter. traveling. good music. springtime. a feathery bed. fireworks. warm chocolate chip cookies. horses. days at the barn. blue skies.

I mean, these things are pretty great, right? But, they don't even come close to the goodness of God. Like, it's not even a competition. Sometimes I forget this. I trade time with Him for pleasurable/wordly things. It makes no sense. He is the sustainer. The creator. He made every good thing. Do I think He would create something that could compare to Him!? His main purpose is HIS GLORY. So, no. He wouldn't.

He has been reminding me of this lately. I long for heaven. I long to worship Him for eternity, with no worries, no interruptions, no tempations, no tears, or heartache. Wow. I reallyyy long for that day. At one point of my life I can remember heaven not being something I wanted. Oh, yes, I was a Christian. But, life just seemed so great, why would I want anything more? But, things have changed. And it's not because my life is hard. Life is good. Really good. It might not be the easiest season but I can't complain. My mindset has shifted. I think more about His kingdom. About heaven. I long for perfection. I am slowly grasping and realizing that as I live out this temporary life, where wordly things seem to bring so much happiness and satisfaction, the truth is...
None of it compares to Jesus.
Nothing at all.
He is superior.
And because of that He deserves our supreme attention.

May we all understand and live as if our God is INCOMPARABLE. Because He is.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

spiritually weird...

This may be scattered...

Considering a weird/rough start to last week, it turned out pretty... great. After trying to sort through my thoughts and not really getting anywhere I was left feeling confused Although I don't know if this is possible, let me try to communicate effectively...
Last week I felt spiritually weird. I couldn't put a finger on one thing in particular and I couldn't get any of my thoughts together to know what I was even thinking. I didn't like it because as a result, I felt distant from Him. I am so scared I am going to fall out of love with Him. I am scared I will lose my passion for Him. I am scared of complacency. I am scared of a dry season. I am scared of being lazy. I am hungry to know more of who God is, yet I feel like His voice is getting harder to hear, and the revelations are fewer and farther between. Lately, I feel like God is a bit quieter than He has been is the past season. But, is it me? Have I been too busy? Am I doing something wrong? What is it that is hindering me?
SO many thoughts and questions....again, I can't put a finger on anything specific. But anytime I begin to feel "spiritually weird" I immediately think all of these fears of mine are becoming true. That I am missing something huge. That I am missing out.
After talking to a good friend, she sent me these words of encouragement...

Rest in me. Do not feel you have failed if sometimes I ask you only to rest in my presence. I am with you. Not only at these times, at all times.
I am the heart's great interpreter. Only as I enter, do I reveal mysteries. Each soul is so different-- I alone understand perfectly the language of each.

For me, this was a great reminder that 1) it is OK to rest in Him. it is ok to not constantly be learning new things. and 2) He KNOWS my heart. He understands my heart, even when I don't.
So, Katy, you're going to need to chill out.

As the week progressed, many cool opportunities came up. I felt a sense of purpose. I want to be used here. I want His glory made known in the Birmingham community. This is where He has me. I see the numerous needs here. And I am ready to do something. So, a few highlights of this week are...

Great convo with David (homeless man) on my way to class.

Reminded of opportunites and the need to serve in Uganda using my OT degree.

Excited about upcoming opportunities to build relationships with international students.

Observed at Special Equestrians...what I can see myself doing one day.

Intentional conversations with the local homeless people. Reminded of my love for this group of people. Such amazing stories. Such need. Ah, love them.

Time spent with a couple of my fav friends. Always encouraging. Lots of laugher. Refreshing.

Rode Wicklow for the first time in a month. Beautiful weather and fun to ride as always.

I go to an amazing church. This week: David and Goliath. Beautiful worship. Challenged as always...(more to come on this).


Saturday, April 3, 2010

easter.

Being Holy week and what not I have really been trying to feel the "weight" and meaning of this week. As I keep trying to focus on the intensity of Christ's suffering on the cross, I am almost automatically taken to the beauty of Him RISING. My heart is not sad and I don't know if this is a bad thing. Rather, my heart is JOYOUS and THANKFUL for what is to come. I cannot think of His suffering and not jump to the glory of it all. So, this weekend I am done trying to feel "sad." He died for US. He ROSE. Yes, it was a horrible death, the MOST horrible death, but this easter season I am unable to think of His death and simply overlook the LIFE that comes with it.

Reading through the Old Testament has given me even more of an appreciation of easter this year. The long, awaited years for a Savior that these people had to endure, has made me so thankful to have direct assess to Jesus. I mean can you imagine? All the laws and the sacrifices.... Praise God that Jesus came. Overwhelmed, thankful, joyful, and free are what I am feeling as a result of His cruxifiction. I wish everyone knew the meaning of the cross...


p.s. Spring is the best. Ever.

p.s.s. The picture is cheesy but I couldn't resist.

Monday, March 29, 2010

more power.


Anxiety, doubt, and discontentment are the words that defined my feelings last week. But after a weekend with some of my favorite YWAMer's in Grand Rapids, MI, I am feeling much more peace. As much as I don't want to admit this, as much as I fight this... God has called me here. I think it's good to question and feel "uncomfortable." It's good to "check" myself. To make sure I am in His will and being obedient to Him. At the same time I have to be careful in not fully trusting Him. There is a fine line between the two. Doubt and anxiety are implications of distrust. Gosh, I can't even count how many times He has proved to me that He is trustworthy. I can trust Him with my WHOLE heart. But how many times do I doubt Him? SO, all of this to say I am continuing to trust His plan for me. I know that if this isn't where He wants me another opportunity would arise. Oh how I wish that opportunity would come but until then, I am here, doing the best I can in school, pushing through. I am just happy to have a little bit of peace back in my life...

Moving on...

Ephesians 3:16-19 says...

"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you WITH POWER through his SPIRIT in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have POWER, together with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpassed knowledge--that you may be FILLED to the measure of ALL THE FULLNESS OF GOD...

NOW TO HIM WHO IS ABLE TO DO IMMEASURABLY MORE THAT ALL WE CAN ASK OR IMAGINE, ACCORDING TO HIS POWER THAT IS AT WORK WITHIN US..."

I cannot count the number of times I have read these verses over the course of my life. But for some reason, I have been clearly directed to these few verses for the past few weeks. Yeah, these are some GOOD verses, but they've never really clicked until recently. Let me share...
This past year I have fallen in love with Jesus all over again. I am in love with Him. And to me, that's the most important thing. Everything else stems from loving Him. But recently what I have been desperate for is His power. And I have almost gotten frusrated in thinking that I haven't seen it. If He's so powerful I want to see miracles! I want people to be healed! But He has gently reminded me that I HAVE experienced His power. His power is EVERYWHERE. It can be SO easily overlooked. Who am I to doubt His power when I have seen it SO many times? Here are a few illustrations of His power that He has allowed me to see with my own eyes:

Leading 5 people to salvation last week in Haiti. A person turning to Christ is a MIRACLE.
Having joy after everything around you has crumbled from an earthquake.
Sharing the gospel with beautiful Cambodians that had never heard the name of Jesus.
Thai girls breaking free from a life of prostitution.
The gorgeous landscape of New Zealand.
The healing of one of best friend's heart.
Hope of the children/orphans living in Bethany Village.
Breaking the cylce of poverty in Indonesian children.

I could go on and on but these are BEAUTIFUL pictures of power.

Yes, I want to see MORE. And as I seek and ask for more of this I hope I do not come across as greedy or don't doubt or overlook the power He has already shown me. I want Him to use me more powerfully. I want His power. I want to know Him in new ways. And as Ephesians says, with this power I will be able to grasp Him and His love in greater ways. I want to know Him more deeply. I want to be completely filled with Him. I am reminded in verse 20 that He is able to do way more than I can even fathom. I can't even imagine what He is going to do. He will make Himself more famous, through me. He will get the glory He deserves, through me. In believing all of these things my prayer is this...

Lord, REIGN in my life. Reign in this world. Control every inch of me. Consume every once of me. Show me your power in new ways. More love. More power. More of You in my life. Amen.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

good week.

One more post on Haiti...


Haiti is filled with hope and joy. It may be the the poorest country I have seen, but JESUS IS THERE. Don't get me wrong, the need is TREMENDOUS. The country is literally in rubble. They need us. They need hands, they need love, they need to know that we have not forgotten them. To speak of the earthquake as being a "blessing" blows my mind. I will never forget walking into the church Sunday morning to thousands of Haitian's crying out to and praising God. They love their Savior. They are thankful for life. They are desperate for God. Where is that desperation among the American church? Isn't it funny how I can be jealous of the life of a person living in a third world country? They come to know Him in such a different way than us (westerners). I want to literally depend on Him for EVERY need. I want to be forced to cling to God. Sometimes I really think I can do it on my own. And in countries like Haiti, God is all they have to cling to. I know its hard. To feel helpless but to see how God provides for His children is worth it. I want to know Him like the Haitians know Him.


Below are a few of my favorite pictures from the week. Enjoy.











Monday, March 22, 2010

take me back.

I am going to attempt to put words on the week and how I am feeling now although I'm pretty sure its impossible. Where do I begin?


I think everyone knows that I LOVED HAITI. I am being serious when I say I could live there. I mean who knows? But, I am willing.


What did God teach me in Haiti? Well, all week I was trying to figure this out and the conclusion I came to was that this week was a picture of what we are called to on a day to day basis. Life was just lived. The way we are called to live. Does that make sense?

Serving.

Loving the poor, the weak, the orphans, etc.

Living in community.

Asking the Spirit to guide us.

Praying for others.

Sharing life.

Being exhausted at the end of the day from pouring out everything.

Being willing.

Filled with a constant joy.

Laughing.

Being uncomfortable.

To me all these are what life is about. It's the gospel. And this is what brings me the most happiness. This is when I see purpose and feel purposeful. I think this is where I bring Him the most glory. The glory He deserves. This is where I feel His presence the most. This is what I want my life to look like on a daily basis.


And surprise surprise, I am struggling with the idea of school again. How can I sit in a classroom? I am frustrated. Finally after 8 months of freaking out on almost a daily basis I had reached a point of being OK with where I am in life. But then He sent me to Haiti. Knowing my heart. Knowing how I would feel when I returned. And I am starting all over again. Does He want me to be content in Birmingham? I know that following Him is costly. Sometimes we must suffer for Christ and following Him does not entail being "comfortable." And although I am not physically uncomfortable in Birmingham (i.e. I have a comfortable bed, A/C, a heater, clothes, a car, good food, etc.), I am spiritually uncomfortable here. I am most passionate and in my "element" in third world countries. A class room just doesn't feel right to me. But, if He has called me here I have to remind myself that I denied myself a long time ago, it doesn't matter what I want. And as crazy as this sounds, I am the most uncomfortable in Birmingham, AL. Maybe its what He wants...


Today I woke up wanting to cry. I want to be in Haiti. My heart literally hurts. I don't want to be here. But, as I spent some time seeking Him this is what I heard...

I know your desires.

I know your heart.

I know your passions.

I know what you are good at.

I know what I am doing.

TRUST me.

And so, I cannot doubt Him. He holds my life in His hands. I have no reason to fear. He knows my concerns. It is all in His hands. He keeps me. He holds me. He loves me. And He fights for me. Yes, in allowing me to go to Haiti He has confirmed my love even more for the world, but I have to trust Him. I am clinging to Him, its all I can do.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Haiti

The past couple of days have been filled with serving and ministering. I cannot even begin to express my love for Haiti. Along with a lot of painting, we have been given some really cool opportunities. Yesterday we were able to go into a village/slum area located about 10 minutes away from the compound. The people there expressed feeling forgotten. Since the earthquake no one has come to help them. It was mind-blowing to see the once prominent church in the slum be nothing but pilings. We passed water out to families. They were desperate for water. Clean water. I wish so badly we could have supplied them with more. But just letting them know that they have NOT been forgotten was awesome. After passing out the water we were able to pray over everyone and hang out with them. I know I keep saying this but, they are BEAUTIFUL people. They are filled with hope. Filled with JOY.


Yesterday we drove into Port Au Prince (about 15 minutes from the compound) to go to the grocery. This was the first glimpse of TOTAL disaster we have seen. It was unbelievable. To see 7-story buildings completely flattened. To know that people/bodies were/are still in there. Most of the buildings have not been touched since January 12th. People are still scared. They live in fear that another one can happen at any moment. If they even still have a home, they are too scared to sleep inside. There are tents EVERYWHERE. Hundreds of tent cities. I can't help but look at the faces of these people and wonder how badly they are hurting. How many loved ones have they lost? The news channels were NOT exaggerating the situation. This country has literally been destroyed. Our translator (who is AWESOME) said that the country of Haiti is having to begin a new life. Life before the earthquake was by NO MEANS easy, good, or luxurious...BUT there homes were not tents.


You know what is SO cool though?


They do not feel sorry for themselves. Life goes on. They are not angry. They do not complain. They are not bitter. Rather, they are thankful. Thankful for life. Thankful that God has saved them. It is faith and perseverance that I have never seen.


I am blown away.


This morning the 5 of us were able to go to the medical clinic and pray for people. We must have laid hands on over 50 people. A young man accepted Jesus for the first time! SO cool. He came to us and told us that he hears voices in his head telling him to do bad things. He didn't want that anymore. He wanted Jesus. Praise the Lord.


This little community of people staying at the compound is SO cool. Last night all 20 of us shared how God brought us to Haiti. His provision and plan over each individuals life is such a beautiful thing. As I sit here writing this we are sitting on the rooftop under the stars, guitar playing, singing, laughter, and deep convos. I LOVE life.


I am still so thankful to be here. Humbled He chooses me. Learning to walk in the power of His Spirit. I am not going to want to leave. I am SO happy. Don't get me wrong, its HOT and it's uncomfortable. But, I kind of want to live here. Seriously. I am falling in love with Haiti.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

haiti day 1

Some scattered thoughts...

Day 1 in Haiti has been so great. I love it here. HOM (Haiti Outreach Mission) is great. Two guys right around our age are the ones leading us this week. We're pretty excited for new friends. We are staying in a compound and to be honest, it's pretty dang nice (for a 3rd world country of course). The compound serves as a school and a church. School hasn't been in session since the earthquake (government decree). The 2 dinners, cooked by a local Haitian have been SO good. Just finished a healthy portion of goat... We eat on the rooftop. Sunsets are awesome. I will say it's extremely HOT.

Today began with church at 6 AM. Three hours of LEGIT worship. Worship here is a constant thing. From the moment we have arrived we have been surrounded with constant singing, rejoicing, and worshiping. It is BEAUTIFUL. They are happy. They are JOYFUL. They are filled with hope. They are passionate. It seems to be a major misunderstanding that this country is filled with darkness and voodoo. I know we haven't been here long and we haven't seen a lot but from what I gain this place has HOPE. There is a sense of longing for the Lord. I love the culture.

This week will be tiring. From one afternoon of constant work (sanding and painting) we're all pretty exhausted. But I love it and we are happy to do it. We're all still feeling very expectant. I love this lifestyle. I love third world countries. The community here is really cool as well. They are several other small teams doing either medical missions or construction. All different ages. We eat meals together and have devotion together. Cool to be around people from all over, all different ages, and different life experiences. To sit around and here stories from WISE people is cool.

I'll stop now. There is obviously internet connection so I will try and blog some more this week. Prayers are appreciated. And for anyone wondering.... we all feel very safe here.

Friday, March 12, 2010

come Lord Jesus...

The 5 of us are in Atlanta. This is crazy. I mean God is seriously about to rock this. The moment we all arrived tonight I could feel the Holy Spirit. He has appointed us, called us by name. There are only 5. But, this is right. It feels complete. We were able to spend a couple hours hearing from God together. And no words can explain the excitement that is within us. The EXPECTANCY is great. We are expecting big things, but NOT for our glory. We know and believe that His power is real and with this attitude we are going down there. There is NOTHING I can do. But HE who is in me will do it ALL. We are His vessels. His hands and feet. I can feel the desparity in the 5 of us. Hunger. Deep hunger. For HIS will only. His glory only. His face ONLY. I am consumed and I want to be more consumed.

As we go to Haiti we all feel like we will be in the midst of spiritual warfare. Darkness. We will hit a rough place. But He is greater. He is light. We feel like the Holy Spirit is about to do something huge. Miracles. Healings. Dreams. Visions. We don't know. But, God is going to "pour out His Spirit" (Acts 2:17). Please be praying for us. For complete dependency on Him. For safety. For guidance. For more love. More wisdom. For HIS GLORY TO BE MADE KNOWN.

Brandy may have done a better job at capturing this beautiful night... http://branbren.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

me?

Today I could cry. Not because of anything bad though. But because I am overwhelmed by the fact that He chooses ME. ME?! I am nothing. Yet, only because I have said "yes," He allows me to be part of something GREAT. His plan. His glory. I am humbled. I am in awe. I am in love.

I wish I had time to write more, but I am slightly stressed with school. Leaving for Haiti early Saturday morning. Expectant. Ready. Willing. Those 3 words will describe how I am feeling. Please be praying for preparations. Preparations of hearts, details, etc. Trusting Him in it all. Gah, I am honored He chooses me.

Monday, February 22, 2010

dwelling place.

Tonight I am overwhelmed by a couple things...
One, He dwells inside of me.
Two, the Peace that comes with that.

These 2 things are something that I know, that I've learned about all my life, and experienced more than I can count. But, today both of them have hit me and I am reminded again just how much I love Him.

Do I grasp that fact that He dwells inside of me??? I mean thats a big deal. We possess His presence. My body is His temple. I've heard that my whole life. I know it. But to realize what He has entrusted to us. The wonder of this fact is CRAZY to me. Do I take this seriously? We have the flippin Spirit inside of us. He is holy. And so should we be. In Leviticus God says, "Be holy, because I am holy" (11:44 and again in 1 Peter 1:16). I pray that the seriousness of this will continue sinking in, deeper and deeper. "...Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Colossians 1:27).

Today, Tori (one of my fellow OT classmates and close friends) and I spent a few minutes before class praying for our trip to Haiti (YES! WE ARE GOING! Tickets are booked, its really happening...March 13th-20th). As we left the high stress class room to take a walk around campus soaking this trip in prayer, I was overwhelmed with His peace. Being in a classroom environment where I feel like I'm drowning in schoolwork can give me a little bit of anxiety. But to stop. And pray. And realize that He is the only one that matters. An overwhelming sense of PEACE and thankfulness flooded my heart. I KNOW Him and LOVE Him, but what's even better is that He loves me back. I just want people to know that simple but amazing truth. I want people to experience His presence and His peace. He is so good, maybe it sounds cheesy but I just can't help it.