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!!