Sunday, December 29, 2013

How Do You Measure A Year?

Here is my token year-end post. 
 Except I am not gonna wrap up 2013 here. 
OK, maybe I am. 

I am anxious about the New Year. 
Not because I am nervous about keeping my New Years Resolutions
(I don't think I have any-- except to run a 5k) . 
Not because maybe 2014 will be the year I meet the love of my life. 
But because 2013 was just. so. good. 

I know, I know, you people probably hate reading about how great everyone else's life is
(insert eye roll here).
But y'all, 2013 goes down in the books for me. 
Was it easy?  Absolutely not. 
Did I come across some large sums of money?  Not hardly. 
Did all of my dreams come true?  Negative. 
For me, 2013 was notable because it was refining, real, and revealing. 
(I feel like I am about to start a 3-point sermon...)

Refining:  The old Katy has to go.  I am new in Christ. 
So 2013 (and every year hereafter) called for a-whole-lotta surrender. 
It's no longer about me. 
Oh, has this been stretching!  But, ultimately, so good. 
 I am learning to organize my life around scripture and the leading of the Holy Spirit and not just fit in God where I want to. 
I am in for the complete overhaul.
And I have learned to stand for truth.  Even if it means standing alone.
 Because in the end, it is the ONLY thing that stands. 
This is what I want to build my entire life on.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."
2 Corinthians 5:17

Real:  Working a real job and maintaining my "home" (albeit a tiny apartment) is the norm.  Relationships are messy, and so is sin. 
And the way I walk through this life matters in light of eternity.
"Life" is not just a game that can be avoided and that I can turn a blind eye to.   
God is real. 
He is true and faithful to every single word that he speaks to us through his word. 
Even the hard words like "God will not be mocked" and "You reap what you sow". 
"This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him." Psalm 18:30

Revealing: I scratched the surface on learning who I am.
Sure, a 32 year old should know who she is, what she likes, what makes her tick, etc, etc, etc. 
But I really haven't up until this point. 
I am way more introverted than I ever thought,
(don't get me wrong, I am still extroverted, but I have seen my need & desire for alone time-- maybe because I am FINALLY just a tiny bit comfortable in my own skin)
I love early bed times and watching the sun rise with a cup of coffee. 
Consistency, set schedules, and a clean apartment set me in motion.  
I function at my peak when I am eating healthy and exercising regularly. 
I love a simple life. 
I love to give.
I really do have a tender side. 
I learned to love the church. 
I learned a lot about who I am and how God made me and how he is working his plan out in my life.  I actually embrace the story God has given me, and I don't want to hide my face in shame. 
Because it is a story about his relentless love for his beloved daughter. 
Because really, it has little to do with me. 
And EVERYTHING to do with him. 
And there is so much more to learn as I grow in my security in Christ.
He knows me all too well, and loves me just the same. 
              "I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them."
Psalm 139:14-16
What excites me about all of this, is that I have TASTED. 
Oh, I have tasted and I see that The Lord is so very good. 
(Psalm 34:8)
And his character is to only get sweeter. 
Because everyday that I live, it is a day closer to seeing his face. 
So, here's to 2014-- you've got a lot to live up to. 
I just hope I stay awake to see the New Year roll around! 


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Adventures of Advent

Have you ever slowed down to really take in the season of Advent?  

I had paid it no attention other than seeing the Advent candles lit at church during the month of December until this year.  I am doing Desiring God's devotional and it has radically changed the way I view the story of the birth of Jesus.  
I will just be honest with you and tell you that I had only heard the words of the Christmas story and never really let them soak in until now.  
One of the devotionals in particular is staying with me.  

                                                                                                                                           And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior..."
Luke 1:46

Last week, I was in Kentucky for work and I got back yesterday.  
I had two different Christmas parties last night, and it was such a joy to be around everyone!  And although I had driven all day, I wasn't even tired! 
Well, when I got in last night, it hit me.  
I was overwhelmed.  I realized I have very few gifts bought.  I was whining.   
I was short tempered.  I was just a mess.  I was exhausted to the point of tears.  
The laundry was PILED in my room.  I had no groceries for the upcoming week.  
My apartment wasn't clean (well, to my standard anyway).   
Right here in my little loft apartment, the world was ending.  

I even woke up in a panic this morning wondering how I could possibly get everything done that I have to do.  

And the Holy Spirit gave me a gentle nudge 
"You are magnifying the wrong things, Katy."  
I was sobered.  
Had I really numbed down my soul so much that my version of that verse could have said, 

"My soul magnifies the laundry and my spirit rejoices in a clean apartment and getting my Christmas shopping done..." ?? 

Shame on me.  

Jesus, Emmanuel.  Do we really understand what that means?  
He has come down for us.  He was sent from Heaven to be our ransom.  
He gave up Heaven so that we might one day gain it.  
And I worry and obsess about laundry.  Puh-lease.  

We are created to make much of SOMETHING. We will worship.  
Maybe, for you, that is somebody.  
Maybe it's a status.  Maybe it's your children, home, 
and yes, even as trivial as it sounds,  laundry.  
 We are created to worship and magnify something greater than ourselves.  

So what about you?  What are you magnifying today? 

I hope you are rejoicing in the promise that he has come,
 and that he will surely come again.  
Let's magnify The Lord and him ALONE together this Advent Season.  

P.S.  The laundry is done, the apartment is clean, and the world didn't end. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013


Tonight as I was starting to pack for a trip for work, I had to go get my big suitcase in my storage room.  It has been years since I opened that suitcase, so what fell out when I opened it was a surprise and a little sentimental. 
Throughout college, and the few years after, I was in a ton of weddings. 
26 to be exact. 
26 weddings=26 dresses. 
Let's get gut-level honest here: you do not wear bridesmaids dresses ever again after the wedding.  With the exception of maybe a few.
Well, I didn't want to just throw away all of the dresses, so I had them made into pillows. 
Tonight, when I opened that suitcase, I saw those pillows, all different colors, shapes, and sizes.
 And realized a little piece of my heart is attached to each one. 
As the pillows flowed from the suitcase, my heart flooded with gratitude.  
I have the very best friends in the entire world. 
If we are friends, then WE ARE FRIENDS. 
Probably a little more like sisters. You may get tired of me. 
I may show up at your family events.  You will probably hear from me multiple times a day. 
I will be a recent contact, or maybe even a "favorite" in your iPhone. 
 Friendship is super important to me. 
And I have been blessed to have so many different friends in all of my stages of life. 
If I started to name them all, I would surely leave a whole slew of them out. 
My High School friends were the ones I played sports with, had my first double dates with, and had the most fun slumber parties with. 
We thought we knew it all and come to find out, we hadn't scratched the surface. 
My Phi Mu & College Friends journeyed with me during the most confusing times in my life. 
I look back and see how those years were preparing me for the independence that I craved. 
My Campus Outreach/JSU girls are the ones who were with me when
 I first heard of the love of Jesus. 
We dug deep into God's word, we were silly, we lived together, we had more inside jokes that you could ever imagine, and we prayed for husbands and children together. 
All of these women are married with beautiful children now and it is a joy to see the prayers we prayed so long ago being answered. 
They are raising a godly heritage and I know our Heavenly Father is pleased. 
And I have friends who were very short lived but served a great purpose. 
And my small group at The Gathering. 
These ladies are showing me what it means to love people sacrificially. 
Most have opened their homes to students and are sharing their entire lives with them. 
Some have started an orphanage in Togo, Africa and are obeying God by loving on those orphans.  One in particular is showing me by her everyday life what it means to honor God, in every way, but namely in your body by exercise and eating healthy. This has been life changing for me. 
What an inspiration she has become and one of my very dearest friends.
And then I have a few forever friends. 
 You just know when people are forever friends.
Two are younger than me and one is older. 
We have the kind of friendship that Jonathan and David did in the Bible.
One is 26, on foreign soil, giving her life to the Dalits in India. 
She is helping to rescue women from human slavery in the form of sex trafficking.
 I pray I can give my life away as she does one day.  
Another is living and raising a family in Jacksonville, AL.
I am known as Aunt T to her daughter.
This girl opened her home to me when I was at my rock bottom. 
I am always a handful, I know (self awareness!!!) but, at the time I lived with her and her husband, I.was.a.mess. 
I had wreaked havoc everywhere. 
Yet, she loved me, took me in, and stood by my side until I could get the help I needed. 
On her couch is where the scales fell off of my eyes and I saw Jesus for who he truly is. 
And the last one I mentioned is one of the most unexpected relationships I think I will ever have.  While I was at New Life, I had prayed for a godly woman to disciple me. 
That was the extent of my prayers.  I
 didn't even know what I needed, but my Heavenly Father sure did. 
This friend has taken me by the hand day by day and is walking through life with me.
I get to see what a godly, long-lasting marriage looks like. 
I see her husband love her as Christ loves the church.
She has shown me more about loving my Heavenly Father than she will ever know. 
Eternity will be different because she chose to remain patient and love me the way Christ does. 
A true forever friend, indeed. 
None of the people I mentioned are in the same stage of life as me anymore. 
All but one are married.
Most have children, some grown, some fresh out of the womb. 
They live all over the world. 
Yet, our hearts are forever knitted together. 
Tonight, when I saw the pillows, I thought it might be more appropriate to have had a quilt made to represent the way God has knitted together all different pieces of my life to form something beautiful.  
You ladies have, in some way, shown me Jesus. 
             I can only pray I can do the same for my friends.
          And it is so much fun to walk through life with you all!!         

Monday, November 18, 2013

Running & Redemption

 I have, for most of my adult life, hated running. 
 Loathed it.
I played sports in High School and when I was late to practice, or when I missed a free throw, or if a ground ball got by  me, the punishment was running.  I was always the one who said "If I am running, come rescue me, because something must be chasing me." 
But secretly, (ok, not-so-secretly anymore now that I have put it on my blog)
I have always, always, always wanted to be a runner.
   People inspire me.  I once went to watch the Nashville marathon.  I left so motivated that I went home, SPRINTED a mile, and haven't even thought of running since then. 
 I was getting bored with my exercise routine, and a friend suggested I train for a 5k. 
Guess what?  I am training for a 5k. 
Most people train for marathons, I know, but not this girl. I had no idea how much more I was going to learn ABOUT LIFE by simply starting the couch-to-5k running plan. 
So far, (I am on week 6) running has been more about character development than training for the Red Shoe Run in Homewood, AL in January.   
I didn't know God wanted to reveal himself with me through this process, but he absolutely is. 
 I understand more of why Paul compares our journey of faith to a "race".
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.'
1 Timothy 4:7
Getting outside to get started was the hardest part.  Doing something that I do not want to do has never been a strong point of mine.  And I knew this about myself when I initially said I wanted to run the 5k.  So, I paid upfront.  Something is invested, so I can't give up. There is a goal in mind. There is so much to anticipate when I cross that finish line after RUNNING a 5k.  My training will pay off. 
I can only imagine that I will be so excited!! Looking to my goal keeps things in perspective. 
And how much more glory will be revealed when I see Jesus' face?
Training for this 5k hasn't exactly been convenient.  With the time change, it almost gave me a reason not to do it.  It's dark when I get off work, there isn't enough time before work, and I can't train on a treadmill and expect it to be the same as running outside.  But I am seeing that I make time for what is important to me.  I take it one day at a time, and
I don't look ahead to tomorrow's workout. 
There is enough time in everyday to do what God has planned for me to do. 
At first, I would run on trails where I knew I wouldn't see anyone.  I didn't want anyone to see me running.  I am slow. I am definitely not the typical body type for a runner.  I would make sure not to look up and make eye contact with anyone.  But as the weeks have gone on, I have started noticing that friendly smile from a fellow runner...and that smile
 is what keeps me persevering.  That "thumbs up" I get from someone passing
by is irreplaceable. I haven't always seen my need
for my fellow "runners", but now they are a huge part of my training for that day. 
And we all have one goal in mind: to finish our run for that day.  And running alongside others, well it motivates me.
And so it is with me and all of my fellow runners, in the race of faith. 
Another excuse I always used was my foot.  While my foot does have its legitimate weaknesses, it is not paralyzing.  Actually, running is making my foot much stronger.  I do take "off days" to rest my foot.  I need to rest it. 
But I do not need to let my weakness be used as a reason not to meet my goal. It's a form of a trial, not a roadblock. I will not give up.  Even when it is painful!
I love that God takes the mundane, ordinary events in our life and reveals himself to us.  Often in unexpected places. Now that I am into it, it's not so bad.  I actually look forward to it SOMEDAYS.  But I know that the training is preparing me for an even bigger goal.  And I see progress.
And so it is with my race of ordinary days of "training" are preparing me
for an even greater day.  The ultimate day!
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God...
...for the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it."
(Hebrews 12:1-2, 11)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Will We Eat in Heaven?

I was asked this question yesterday, and of course I didn't know the answer.  I mean, will we eat in Heaven?  Will it be manna or will it be feasts?  Or will it be the best pizza you can find?  And does it really matter?  And I say yes.  Yes, it does matter. 
The point of asking me that question wasn't really to get me to figure out if we would eat in Heaven or not.  It was to point me to a greater purpose and to shift my perspective. 
What things really matter in light of eternity?  Will what I wore to church on Sunday really matter?  How about what so-and-so thinks of how my apartment looks? 
And how it is decorated? 
What about my iPhone? 
And what about that longing for a new car that I have? 
What really matters in light of eternity? 
Those are the things that my time, energy, and sacrifice should pour into. 
Which relationships should I really invest in? 
And the big one-- and the one that made this little emotional female cry-- will an earthly marriage even carry over into eternity? 
I just don't live in light of eternity, most of the time.
I know that because of the anxiety I feel when something (silly) goes wrong in my everyday life. 
I do think that new car will make me happy. 
I think a husband will provide companionship that I long for.   
I think my reputation and what people think are very important.
And really, all I am doing is wasting time here, if I long for these earthly things.
 I want to see things with the spiritual eyes God has given me, but so often, the world and it's demands and expectations take my eyes away.

I want to live my life "...on Earth as it is in Heaven..."

I want to live with the mind and heart that this is the only thing that truly matters...
 "After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
Revelation 7:9-10

Monday, November 4, 2013

Taking Back Eden

My heart LONGS for Eden.  That perfect place where God and humans walked hand-in-hand without shame or guilt.  The place that my heart was created to reside.  The place with no more sin.  And the more I walk with God and study his word, the more I see that my purpose is to join him in "Taking Back Eden."  That is why I am here.  To love as he loved.  To be passionate about what he is passionate about.  To walk a redemptive path with my Creator.  Looking to him for my very next breath and even taking the time to rest with him, and in him.
Ultimately, to prepare for his return.

I can get so hurried and anxious and out of time that I lose it. 
I lose vision, I lose stamina, I lose love for myself and others, and I lose sight of my purpose. I overcommit. I forget to be thankful.  I live for myself and for my glory.
...And here come the holidays. 
THANKSGIVING:  A holiday set aside to remember what we are thankful for.  I read a blog the other day that said November is the most likely month that one will be diagnosed with depression.  And that doesn't surprise me. 
And I am no exception. 
The time change affects me greatly, finances are more stretched during the holidays, and as a single person, honestly, holidays can be a dread.
But, do you hear a pattern?  All of those factors are external. 

(By the way, I love the "I am thankful for..." posts on Facebook. 
What a perspective and how encouraging!
 A refreshing change of pace from the "norm" on Facebook!)

This Thanksgiving, as I think about joining with my Heavenly Father in "Taking Back Eden", I choose to look to him and I choose gratitude.
 I choose joy. 
I choose to live in his grace.
I choose to extend grace.
And I choose to share grace.
I choose to look to his promises that fill me with hope. 
I choose to look upon the face of my Savior. 
I choose to thank him:
for who he is, for who he is making me, for the gifts AND trials he gives me, and for who you are. 
I choose to walk hand in hand with him, to love, and to anxiously await the coming of my Savior. 

"...But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ..."
Philippians 3:20

Sunday, October 27, 2013


Immediately.  What does that really mean? 
Since I entered into a real relationship with Jesus, I see things differently. 
I see things with the new eyes and heart of flesh that God has so graciously given me. I love reading truths I have known for a while and seeing them come alive. 
 Lately, I have been reading the book of Mark.  Nothing I haven't read before, but I am seeing something I have never noticed before.
The word: immediately. 
I first noticed it in Chapter One. 
  "Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him."
(Mark 1:16-20)
Simon and Andrew were called by Jesus to be his disciples and they immediately responded. 
They left their jobs.
And then James and John left their Father. 
These discples left their jobs and their families to follow Jesus. 
They left everything they had, basically. 
Why?  Why would they give up things they had worked so hard for? 
Why would they leave the comfort of family?   
Because they saw Jesus, believed in him, and KNEW HE WAS WORTH IT. 
They displayed immediate obedience to the call of Christ.
And I kept seeing it. The word immediately was all over the place in the book of Mark.  So, (because I am probably a little odd and love things like this) I counted how many times I saw the word immediately in this gospel. It is used forty-two times (give or take, I never said I could count very well). FORTY TWO. 
I think there is something to be said about it.
So, Katy, when are you immediately obedient?  Truthfully, I am not.  And I am challenged.  Once again, God's word is challenging me and shaping my mind to view things differently.  And I can't help but think that the disciples saw Jesus so clearly. They saw and believed and responded.
If Jesus called me to leave my job or my family, what would my response be?
"Well, he wouldn't ask me to do that. There is no way."
That is a lie that I think alot of us, including myself, have bought into.
He absolutely would call us to leave our comforts to follow him.   
He will and he does. 
And my prayer is that my heart will not be so tied up in worldly things.
That I will be so in love with My Heavenly Father that I would respond in immediate obedience.
Jesus, give me a heart that is willing to abandon it all for the sake of your call on my life. I want to see you more clearly so that the only response to you is immediate obedience. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Why I Need The Church

It is popular today to criticize the church. Especially my generation.  We are individualistic and lessen our “need” for community. We got this thing.  We don’t need anyone else.  We are eaten up with pride, bottom line. 
But understand this: When you criticize the church, you are criticizing someone Jesus loves. His bride, actually.  Now, I am not married, so I won’t speak from experience.  But I will bet my bottom dollar that if someone criticized your spouse, you wouldn’t just sit back and bite your tongue.

God has really been showing me the importance of commitment to the church in my almost year out of treatment.  To see how the Body of Christ has operated in the churches I have been a part of blows my mind.  I DO NOT TAKE IT FOR GRANTED.   I came from Grace Fellowship in Anniston, the church I was a part of for 8 years.  This church set a solid foundation that I was able to build on after I truly surrendered to Christ last year.  The people of Grace were very longsuffering in their love for me. Some of the most loving, sacrificial, truth speaking people that I know are a part of Grace. 

So when I decided to stay in Gadsden after leaving treatment, I knew that finding a church was of the utmost importance.  When I walked into the first (and only) church I visited, I saw a sanctuary full of faces and felt downright scared.  I was the girl who had just left rehab.  If they find out, surely I will be shunned.  I had no idea what God was about to do in my life the day that I stepped foot in the new building on November 4, 2012. These people embraced me.  My heart could explode inside of me thinking about it.  It was a church of people who lay down their lives for each other and for the purpose of Christ.   It is a group of people who crave truth and are some of the most self-less people that I know.  The church is vital to my life.  I fully believe that God has organized it so that we operate at our best and for his glory in the context of a church.  And I am here to tell you that I need the church.   

I need the church because I need a family.  Being in Gadsden with no family COULD be very hard.  And some days it is.  Some days I want to just go home and relax and be with my family.  But every single day of my life, my faith family ministers to me in even the most subtle of ways. 

I need the church because I have a terrible memory.  Let me explain.  So often, I resort back to living with the mindset of an orphaned child instead of an heir to the throne. I need to remember who I am and who my Father is.  I need to be reminded of truth daily.  And my church is a vital part of that. 

I need the church because I need to serve.  I live alone.  I work in an office alone.  The temptation to stay introspective and internally focused is too great not to serve you and alongside you. What a tragedy it would be if I lived my life in seclusion!

I need the church because I need accountability.  I need to stay in the light and I need to be known and honest.  I need to be real and leave my mask at the door.  You people at my church now encourage that. 

I need the church because I need to pray with you.  There is something mysterious about going to the throne room with other believers.  I need to hear your prayers to learn to pray more.  I need to watch our Heavenly Father increase our faith by answering our prayers.  And on Wednesday nights, that is exactly what we are doing.  We are praying through Acts: Lord, do it again in Gadsden!

I need the church because I need to pray for you.  I need to carry your burdens. 

I need the church because quite frankly, you need me.  Sounds egotistical, huh?  I don’t mean it that way.  But God’s word says that we need each other.  Just as I need your strengths to offset some of my weaknesses, you need mine. 

I need the church because I am prone to wander.  I am prone to leave the God I love. 

I need the church because I need correction.  Being a product of church discipline, I am big on tough love.  Yes, it hurts.  Yes, it is one of the most humiliating things that has ever happened to me.  But it saved my life. I need to be carried when I can’t walk. 

I need the church because I want to give my life away to the next generation.  Your children are important.  It is my responsibility as your sister in Christ to come alongside you as you train your children.

I am thriving in this season of my life and I believe that it is because I have pressed into the body of Christ.  The true, authentic, organic, messy, far-from-perfect-but-desperate-for-his-grace body of Christ. 

Please hear me say that I have not been the perfect church member—actually far from it.  I have failed the church time and time again.  But my heart is to see the body of Christ function in the way that God designed.  As one. I am super relational and when I become friends with someone, I become friends with their kids, too. If I love them, my love extends to their family. And their kids become like nieces and nephews to me. In the same way, when we love God, we will love his children. And if you don’t love his children, it must be questioned how much you really love God. And you don’t have to quote me on that.  It’s scripture. 

"If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen."
1 John 4:20

"Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. "
 1 John 5:1

The church is my lifeline.  I am beyond blessed to have been a part of two amazing churches.  Being a single woman, I depend heavily on my church.  You are the most important people in my life. I have never experienced friendships and community like I am now..  Let me say it again:  the church is my lifeline.  I need the church. 

So, to my faithful brothers and sisters in Christ at Grace Fellowship: your commitment to God and his word coupled with your investment into me is one of the biggest reasons that I can say I know my Heavenly Father.  Words cannot thank you enough. 

And to my faith family now, I want to say this:  the truth, the smiles, the consistency, the gospel, the worship, the prayers, the love, the burdens, the day to day events, the meals that I share with you all (because we do love to eat!!) have been life-changing. You’ll never know how much gratitude is in my heart for you all.  My prayer is that my actions always show it.

 Thank you all for being faithful to the church. 
"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,  not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."
Hebrews 10:24-25

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Bigger Picture

When I was younger, thinking about how my life would unfold seemed to be a fun hobby of sorts.  You know, all of the normal things: college, great marriage with really cute kids, well-paying job, nice car, etc.  Nowhere in that, did I envision addiction.  Wasn’t my plan.  No-one really sets out to be controlled by drugs and alcohol.  But, selfish choice after bad choice, that is exactly where I ended up.  Eight months in a treatment center.  Loss of job.  Deteriorating physical appearance.  Breaking the hearts of all of the people who loved me.  Empty.  Desperate.
Today, I am celebrating a year and a half of being set free from that lifestyle. 
Chemicals are no longer my master. 
Today, I am free to worship the true and living God.  And that is what I am giving my life to. Sure, it is messy.  Really, really messy.   But that helps me understand his grace.
The past 18 months have been days of lots of life changes. And these life changes are only a result of a heart change. I knew things would look different when I took that first step of true repentance, but I am not sure that I knew exactly what all that would involve.  

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
 -CS Lewis
I am learning that it is all about doing the next right thing. Being obedient to the thing that stands in front of me today.  I am finding it harder to be obedient to the smaller things than the really big ones.  So, my seatbelt is buckled and I am ready, by God’s grace, to see the rest of my life through sobered eyes and a new heart. 

Now, would I have chosen addiction to be a part of my story?  No. 
But there is a much bigger picture than the one I see.  He is able to be trusted.  And I am enjoying the redemptive moments of his bigger plan.  He is showing me what it means to embrace my story and to look to him.  Glimpse at my past, gaze at my Savior.
Sure, I love to blog, but it is my hope that this blog is serving an even bigger purpose than just therapy for me. 
My hope is that you see how The Lord, Jesus Christ, has come in and done a complete overhaul.  God is changing my heart to be controlled by the love of Christ rather than anything this world has to offer.
Thanks be to him!  I will never be the same!                  
" which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire..."
2 Peter 1:4

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The "D" Word

Do you ever feel the effects of your sin? 
OK, stupid question, I know the answer to that.   
Whether we know it or not, we daily experience the effects of our sin.  We really do reap what we sow.  

This is an area I have rarely touched on in a blog post.  
Probably because this is an area in which I have experienced the discipline of the Lord.  
 But one of the areas I am reminded of my selfish choices and clear rebellion is with my former career choice, nursing.

I am about to get really vulnerable here. (Ready?)

Looking back, I can say that I chose to go into nursing for all of the wrong reasons.   
The money.  The title.  To feed my ego. 
And dare I say it:  to feed my addiction.   
Would I have said that when trying to get into nursing school, while in clinical, or even in my little "perfect" job at The Kirklin Clinic? 

Well, no.  
 Truth is, I probably didn’t know but I can assure you I didn’t care. 

A little background: during my time at New Life, God did heart surgery.  He had me in a place where I could only look to him.  I had to ask him for answers.  I sought him about what to do with my nursing license because they were in jeopardy. 
I knew if there wasn’t a concrete and final decision while I was there, chances were slim that I would make a rational decision when I got out. 
 So, God gave me the answer that I sought.  
 Not the answer I was looking for or anticipating, but the answer that would ultimately foster my relationship with him.  

“...And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell…”
Mark 9:43-46

In a very clear way, God, through his word, said  “Sever it.  Make no provision for your flesh.  Cut it off.”  Through many tears, yet confident and with no questions asked, I called The Nursing Board and surrendered my license.   

A glory moment, for sure.  

But I know and now believe that God will not be mocked.  He says it.  It is true.  We can take it to the bank.  
 So, that brings me to my point: the effects. 
  There are still consequences from that decision to gratify my flesh and go about my business and become a nurse.   
And it is because I chose, time and time again, to believe a lie over God’s truth.   
There is a pretty hefty student loan that I am paying.   
There is a job that I lost. 
 (That means me deflating my ego and being honest about "why" to people who ask.)   
There are people that I love and believed in me that I hurt while in that stage of life.   
My pride hurts when I talk about it. 

...but my heart is full of joy because he is weeding out the idols in my life so that I will worship him only...  

My heart longs to experience this joy every single day of my life.  This is why I was created. 
For communion with him, and obedience to him. 

In it all, I see just how faithful God is to his word and to his children.  He has allowed me to really experience his faithfulness.  He knew that if I stayed in Nursing, I would worship something other than him.   
Truth be told, I more than likely wouldn’t see my need for him. 
I would have it all: access to pills, money, recognition, status, and probably even meet a few single doctors my age along the way. 

He knows exactly what I need.  He knows what you need.  We need him.  

And he will make radical changes in our lives so we see that need, too.

So I am thankful that God disciplines, reproves, and corrects.   
It gives me confidence that I am his daughter, that he is committed to me, and that he will not allow me to give my soul over to another. 

“…And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.”
Hebrews 13:5-8

Do I regret the choice I made of going into nursing?  Absolutely not. I have learned so much from it.
Do I grieve over breaking the heart of God because of my rebellion in that choice? 
More than you will ever know.  

"But he gives more grace..."
James 4:6