Sunday, January 8, 2012

New Chapter

To the few people that read this, you probably know what has been going on the past semester. Starting with the night of July 28th...if not, then you can search for the Friends of Kate group on Facebook because frankly, it would take a good 10 posts to update you on the events that have transpired and I'm not quite sure I have the energy for that. :)
Below is the latest update that yours truly just posted on the group. It's my hope to start writing on here again. After my accident, my writing ceased and I've missed it. God has been putting it on my heart to get back into it, and after much resistance, it's time. I can't promise it will be often but hopefully more than once every 5 months!

Here's the post:

In just 2 days I’ll be packing up the car and heading back to College stay. Wow. It just seems like yesterday that this day seemed so far into the future and now that it’s here, I’m flooded with a wide variety of emotions. I’m giddy, anxious, overwhelmed, ecstatic, and unsure. But most of all, I’m thankful. There have been a few instances the past few months where going back to school this semester was questionable, but God has blessed me tremendously with giving me the strength to make enough progress for my team of doctors, therapists, and parents to feel comfortable with letting me go back. As I spend my last few nights at home, I reflect on everything that has happened since July 28th. Just in church this morning, I shared a sweet moment with my mom when they played a song called “Blessings” that has been our “theme song” the past few was a great reminder of God’s continual faithfulness and sovereignty He’s had in this hard time. All the more meaningful because the person singing it has been a constant support for my family (Thank you, Marcia!). Teary eyed, we held onto each other with an unspoken peace, trusting that He will continue to hold us in His strong grip. It’s been a whirlwind of activity the past month or so with the holidays. A quick update- hand therapy continues to be very painful. However, it’s been indescribably encouraging to see the progress that has been made. There are a lot of times I walk out of the door after a grueling therapy session and feel frustrated at the lack of function being gained back and the hidden light at the end of the tunnel...but even now, as my thumb is stubborn to move and bend and function, I have confidence that in His timing, perfect timing, I’ll have full use of my right hand again. Will you pray with me and my family? That my thumb will stop procrastinating and move really soon? That I will push myself during hand therapy and at home, even when I’m tired and hurting? That the Lord will provide a great physical therapist for me in College Station? We have been given the best medical team here and it deeply saddens me that I can’t pack them along in my suitcase and bring them with me. We weren’t anticipating needing a therapist when I went back to school but because of the slower-than-hoped-for progress, I will need to continue physical therapy down there. I’d also appreciate prayer as I start back into a now unfamiliar routine of classes, studying, building relationships, etc. Pray for diligence and discipline as I get back into the swing of things with the “new normal” my family and I have been adjusting to the past 5 months.
I want to end with what seems to be repetitive and insignificant thanks to all of you. Those of you I know, and those I don’t. I can never have the words that adequately express what your prayers, words, support, and love have meant to me. At the risk of sounding overly cliche, we couldn’t have been as strong, optimistic, and encouraged as we were without y’all. I look forward to seeing what God has in store next and I greet this new chapter a little nervously, but expectant with hope in God’s presence and promises. Love you all.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

It's the friday before Father's day and I THINK I might actually have this post completed before or on the actual day....unbelievable.
After bragging on my mom in my last post (leading to many, many happy tears...success!), I couldn't think of a better way to show my dad some appreciation by doing the same thing.

Dad- You've been a father for a long, long time. I say that not to make you feel old, but to bring attention to God's faithfulness and goodness. He has done much work in you to mold you into the man He wants you to be. It's been a blessing and a privilege to be on the sidelines watching for the past 21 years. While there are many more things I can list that I'm thankful for about you, here are for each year you have fathered and guided me towards where I am today.

1. Your strong desire to provide for your family and give them not only things we need, but want.
2. Your rare, but completely awesome laugh when you see something that is really funny. It takes a lot to give you a good belly laugh; but when it happens, it is such a joy to watch and listen to.
3. Your patience. Never have I met anyone more patient than you. Mom and I try it many times, every day, yet you continually stay calm and collected.
4. How diligent you are in your work. You wouldn't call yourself smart, and many times you beat yourself up, but I look up to the perseverance and determination you had to get you to where you are today.
5. Your desire to keep peace. You hate conflict, especially within your own house. I can always count on you for staying levelheaded.
6. How protective you are. Ok, at times I'm frustrated by this....but, I've learned to appreciate it. What a beautiful reflection of how much Mom and I mean to you. You have come a long way since I was younger.
7. This song
8. How you are such a homebody, yet you attend parties, socials, etc. with Mom because she wants you to. Not only that, but once you are there, you engage and socialize with others, not pout like me. This not only shows your ability to put others above yourself, but also your willingness to be out of your comfort zone.
9. Your delight in taking the international students under your wing. Your desire to include them and make them feel comfortable here is encouraging to me.
10. Your confidence. While you are insecure about some things, you find your confidence in God and let that guide you...something not a whole lot of us can do.
11. Your humility.
12. How you sacrifice for mom and I...I have not met another person more selfless and willing to give up anything for the sake of his family.
13. Your wise council. Not only to me, but through Crown and pre-marital counseling. It's so cool to see how transparent you are about your past sins and struggles and then use that to minister to others.
14. Your leadership. Not just in our home, but in the church. You are admired and looked up to.
15. Making sure to always say, "I love you." I have the wonderful blessing of saying I have genuinely been told that phrase my whole life, something I'm unfortunately just now appreciating.
16. How you support me and my dreams. Even when they change every semester.
17. Your authority. I haven't always done a good job at submitting to it, but thank you for setting boundaries with me as I grew up in your home. College has made me appreciate your authority so much more.
18. How frequently and easily you extend me mercy. I have put you through a lot, yet you have always been "slow to anger and abounding in love."
19. Your dancing. Used to be embarrassing, now I embrace it. You give mom and I a good laugh with your moves.
20. Your faithfulness to your marriage. I have never once feared you being unfaithful to mom. Never. While it wasn't always an easy road, you remembered your vows and pushed through.
21. Lastly, your heart. Your motives behind everything you do, whether it be worry or act of service, reflect the love you have for others. While it's sinful at times, you desire to glorify God in everything you do.

Daddy, thank you for being an example for me and for other men and women. You have taught me what to expect from my future husband. I am forever grateful for you and I will always be your little girl.

Proverbs 17:27
A man of knowledge uses words with restraint,
and a man of understanding is even-tempered.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A belated bragging

Life has been nuts lately...and I've been out of my element with finals, birthday celebration (post on that coming soon), and a trip home. So needless to say this Mother's Day post is a tad late. Sorry, Mom.
But I couldn't let that special day slip by without jumping at the opportunity to brag on my mom and how she has affected my life. 

Mom- you are precious to me. To list all the things I love and cherish about you would seriously be nearly impossible. So here is 21 for every year you have been my mother.

1. Your tender-heart and compassion towards those who are experiencing pain and loneliness. You are so quick to love on them and be a friend.
2. Your sometimes unpredictable/spunky self...the one who loves Cameron and Mitch on Modern Family, the one who isn't afraid of letting out a swear word every now and then, who appreciates good humor and loves spontaneity.
3. The way you love dad. And those times when he's out of ear shot and you turn to me and say "isn't he the best man in the world?" What a blessing it is for me to have parents who love each other so well.
4. Seeing your dedication and devotion to living a healthy life and giving God the glory for having the motivation and self-control to do so.
5. Making our home welcoming to the international students and people who are without family. Your selflessness is inspiring.
6. Memories of just sitting in the TV room and talking and/or sitting on our computers...not saying anything, but just enjoying each others company.
7. Teaching me to appreciate each season of my life. No matter if it is hard or easy.
8. Your passion for kids. I'm convinced that's where I get it from and you are the best teacher. No university class has anything on you! 
9. Your encouraging words when I call from college station crying...for no reason at all, other than just being sad and homesick. 
10. When I'm overwhelmed and want to hide under a rug, I'm so thankful that you gently nudge me to get in the Word and cast all my cares and concerns on the One who can help me most.
11. Your faithfulness in prayer. You are the biggest prayer warrior I know and I have seen God do mighty things through you because of it. 
12. How you are a hopeless romantic. Some of my favorite memories include watching cheesy chick flicks together, then glancing at one another, both teary-eyed and vulnerable. Oh, hollywood, what have you done??
13. I know dad and I give you a hard time, but you crack us up. From your issues with technology, to losing things left and right, how easily amused you are; you make us laugh and I love how you can laugh at yourself.
14. Your cooking. 'nuff said.
15. Having the blessing of witnessing the awesome things God has done in your life the last few years...what a testimony of redemption! 
16. How interested you are in my life. Knowing my friends, what I'm doing, what I feel about certain situations...whatever it is, if it involves me, you wanna know about it. I love that. I'm learning it's a rare thing for parents to genuinely take such great interest in their children.
17. The grace and mercy you have extended to me the past 21 years. While I wasn't the worst kid, we definitely went through some pretty rough patches. Time and time again you gave me forgiveness and love when it was hard to give, I'm sure.
18. Seeing how you treasure your friends. 
19. You're love for Beyonce. ("All the single ladies, All the single ladies!")
20. Your craftiness and good style. I hope I got that gene and I'm just a late bloomer....I have a lot left to learn from you otherwise! 
21. Last but not least, everything. I love everything about you. The good the bad and ugly. I am so blessed to have you in my life and so grateful that God decided to give you to me.
"I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my momma you'll be."
"She is clothed with strength and dignity;
   she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
   and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
   and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
   her husband also, and he praises her: 
“Many women do noble things,
   but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
   but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
   and let her works bring her praise at the city gate."
Proverbs 31: 25-31

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

warning: may contain vulnerable content

It feels so good to be writing again. I've been saddened by my lacking desire to blog/write/share about what's been going on in my life and what I'm learning from my God. Mostly because I didn't want to be real, but I couldn't bring myself to be fake. 
So, I became a Jonah in a sense and ran away from anything that would possibly bring me out of the funk (whether it was reading the Word consistently and intentionally, asking God to reveal new and glorious things about Himself to me, or just blogging about what's going on in my life, forcing me to see where I am spiritually) ....because let's be honest, rarely (never) can I pursue God wholeheartedly and not have a heart change, which leads in to behavior change. Instead, for a reason I'm still trying to figure out, being heavy-hearted, bummed, lazy, etc. was more appealing than devoting the time and energy to beg for God's help in giving me peace and restoring my joy. So dumb.
I was more content sitting in the belly of the whale, wallowing in my inadequacies and throwing myself a pity party for one, than begging God to demand the big fish to spit me out onto the cleaner, way more pleasant ground.
Unlike Jonah, God wasn't asking me to go to a broken land with wicked people and tell them about God's wrath, but He was very clearly telling me to get the focus off of myself and where I fall short and keep moving forward, not letting my fears, circumstances, insecurities, etc., determine what I feel, and how I interact with God that day. And unlike Jonah, I did not ask anyone to throw me overboard to calm a storm, I was using more the fish more of a hiding place. Since I can hide from the One who sees everything, you know.
That is where I have been the last week or so.
Burdened, lazy, self-centered, and too ashamed to admit that I didn't know what to do about it. I knew the church answers like pray, receive God's grace and repent, etc. but I needed specific steps on how to accept God's promises as truth and live accordingly. I was in a constant battle between greatly desiring full trust in the Lord and just shutting down from being so overwhelmed with how much I struggle with that. A battle of wanting to be used so badly for His glory and letting feelings of inadequacies keep me from seizing opportunities. 
So I sat. In the pit of the whale. If at all pleasant, it was only for a moment.
It wasn't until this morning, when reflecting on Sunday's sermon on Jonah (see how I did that?! sermon application, baby!), that I let God bring me out of the fish and accepted His everlasting love. 
This is just another instance where I'm learning to let Him love me, so He can continue to mold my heart to one on fire for Him.

"I have loved you with an everlasting love;
   therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you."-Jer. 31:3

Jonah gave a one-line sermon when he followed God's command and went to Nineveh. ONE SENTENCE, and they repented of their wicked ways. God was so good giving me ear to hear His message to me on Sunday. Jonah didn't give an eloquent, beautiful sermon. He said one sentence and God used that to bring His children to Him. Yet, I was fearful of leaving the fish because I'm not confident in my ability to effectively share the love of Christ. I didn't feel "ready" yet...I still had so much to learn about the God and His word. 
No matter what I believe about my walk with the Lord, if I just follow Him one step at a time, who am I to doubt what God can and will do through me and in me if I receive His love?
"Therefore, your accomplishment as a Christian has no bearing on My love for you."
I will always fall short, how grateful I am that it is He who works in me and equips me. 

My heart longs to give Him glory in everything I do, but I need to stop trying to figure out what that looks like in the big picture and look to Him moment by moment, trusting He will guide me if I let Him.

It's so funny how even He teaches me even when I'm not wanting to be taught. Just more evidence of His glorious, mighty love. 
"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."-Ezekiel 36:26

Friday, April 8, 2011

outrageous love

these reflect a little of how God has been getting my attention lately and reshaping my heart.

watch this.

and this.

outrageously and unceasingly.
It literally hurts my brain to try and comprehend His love for me, much less live my life as someone who is unconditionally, magnificently loved by the creator of the universe.
I'm speechless.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

continued gratitude

I spent a good 30 seconds trying to decide if that title rhymed in the effort of being catchy and creative.
It doesn't. Right?
Now I've said it so many times both the words sound funny.

I have decided that it would be beneficial for my heart to continue to focus on thankfulness. Too often lately I'm dependent on my current situation to determine my state of mind and mood. If life is fun, carefree, and going well in one moment, I'm happy and positive. If another moment I'm stressed, intimidated, or bored, I'm discontent and blah.
I need a heart check. With His help, I want to continually focus on things that I'm thankful for throughout the day. Not only because He desires that, but I want to train my mind to start noticing little gifts He provides me; so many times they go unnoticed. By finding things to be thankful for no matter my situation, my perspective of my day can't help but be changed.

“The psalmist’s point [from Psalm 145:9, 15-16) is that, since God controls all that happens in his world, every meal, every pleasure, every possession, every bit of sun, every nights sleep, every moment of health and safety, everything else that sustains and enriches life, is a divine gift” -Knowing God by J I Packer (READ THIS BOOK!)

Today, I'm thankful for:

  • waking up with a full 8 hours of sleep
  • this verse
  • words with friends iphone app
  • finding myself debating on how to spend my afternoon (no looming school assignments the rest of the week!!)
  • falling down the stairs, getting only a small scratch and a big laugh with the roommate
  • my comfy bed to sit and blog, read, or do homework in. (and sleep, occasionally)
  • hearing the birds chirp outside of my room
  • being an aggie and the journey to get here
  • John Piper and how the Lord uses him to speak truth into my life- "The strength of patience hangs on our capacity to believe that God is up to something good for us in all our delays and detours." 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Give thanks in all circumstances.
I'm just now understanding what this means. I heard this verse a million times. heck, it's even at the top of my page. Whenever I read verses on thanksgiving, I just thought it was a "count your blessings" kind of thing to realize how much God has given to me. While this is true, I have just learned the beauty of giving thanks in every. single. circumstance. It's so easy to do in good times...bad ones are a different story. Anyone in a bad situation can say "thanks God for putting me here because I know you have a purpose for it." But what about gut wrenching, bring you to your knees, painful circumstances where you doubt God's presence? We've all been there. And if not, then it's coming.
I have such a hard time truly and genuinely lifting up my hands and thanking my God in those times. Or even the times that aren't so painful, but just exhausting. Rarely can I, in that moment, stop and thank God with a pure heart. I say it but deep down I'm doing it because I'm supposed to.
Recently, though, God has been reshaping my view of giving thanks. Opening my eyes to see that it's giving Him thanks in every circumstance that allows us to get the focus off of ourselves and onto something constant, unchanging, and dependable. His promises. By giving him thanks we are acknowledging not only our blessings, but His sovereignty. When I truly believe in God and His promises for my life, how can I not genuinely praise Him in every situation? (that's a rhetorical question because obviously I'm a sinner who unfortunately has many times of unbelief)

Paul was way ahead of me when he wrote in Philippians- "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." 

No matter how broken we are by our current circumstance, nothing exalts His name more than one of his children humbly and faithfully coming to Him with thanksgiving. Even thanking Him for the little things.

Today, I'm thankful for-
-early morning workouts with a friend
-oatmeal with fresh strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries
-eyes to see the beautiful, bright sun
-the stillness of an empty house
-time to sit, reflect, and blog