My Life Verse

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

Monday, September 19, 2011

8.3.11

8.3.11          Revisitng my journal after returning from Ghana...

There's been this ickyness in me that I don't like. I've had it before, but usually it's something I get upset about and keep it internal. This time it is a constant feeling of dissatisfaction. I know God wants more of me, but I spend some time in His Word and quickly move on. Maybe that's why I feel this way.

Even when I am around people I feel different. I receive things they say to me differently, too. God is telling me to keep things between me and Him only and it is hard not to share my true feelings with someone other than God. I have been hurt by conversations with friends that didn't go as I would have anticipated which brought about discouragement. After praying, God was faithful to answer me. I recognize the many blessings surrounding my friends lives and I find myself envious of each of them. I want to be able to share something exciting and here I am in this strange season, trying to sort out my experience in Ghana.  

Shortly after writing out my thoughts more in depth in my journal, I asked God for His perspective and the following is what He shared with me.

Katie,
Don't you know you are set apart and unable to relate to everyone  because I have you on a unique path? Stop getting so stressed and worked up about things internally. Step back, take a deep breath, and relax. Do what you enjoy. Stop looking at your friends lives and being envious. This season may feel lonely and painful, but it's still coming no matter what. You can respond to it however you choose. Remember, though, that I am always here with you and you can hear My voice. Don't forget the things I've already revealed to you- stay close to Me, include Me in everything, and rely on Me...because it is just you and Me. If you would stop looking to others and start looking to me first, you will be satisfied. Enjoy and embrace this unknown season. Otherwise you will look back and regret all the stress. Don't juggle so much and enjoy what you are doing in the moment. Prayer is so important in combating the enemy. Resist him and he will flee from you.

Then I heard these few songs on pandora on my sister's computer.

1) Satisfy- Tenth Avenue North

Satisfy me Lord oh oh
I'm begging you to help me see
Your all I want
Your all I need
Oh satisfy me Lord

In me, oh Lord, can you create
A pure heart cause I'm afraid
I just might run back to the things I hate

Your beautiful, your beautiful
Your more than all this world can give
Your beautiful, your beautiful
Your love is all I need to live




2) I Am Yours- The Afters

I can walk across the world and
Never find the answer
I could search the sky above
And never get any closer
You made it all
And I will have to fall
At the feet of the One
Who fell for me

You gave your life for mine
I have me by your side
I won't look back anymore
Now that I, I am yours

You'll never say goodbye
You're the reason why
I won't look back anymore
Now that I, I am yours

I am Yours             I belong to You
I am Yours             You and you alone
I am Yours              I belong to You
I am Yours             You and you alone

All the rest can disappear
Without any traces
I have nothing left to fear
As long as your face is
All I can see
You are all I need
Every breath, every step
You're here with me




3) Can't Get Away- Rush of Fools
I am an arrow
I am a rocket
I am a river
Nothing can stop it

Cause you are the target
And you are the atmosphere
You are the ocean
That keeps pulling me,
You're pulling me here

And I, can't get away
can't get away, can't get away
I keep running into you

I am so helpless
God, you are so able
And when I get turned around
You change my direction
You are so perfect
I am so broken
Here you come with arms wide open
Chasing after me down every road
You're always waiting there

Even when I close my eyes
I can't help but see
There's no place that I can hide
You're such a part of me


Another thing I've noticed about myself is that I point fingers at someone else easily. And often times, when I accuse someone of something it ends up coming right back at me when God humbles me and shows me that I struggle with the exact same problem.

Unhappy. That's a pretty clear way to describe how I feel lately. I'm up and down. Nothing really brings me joy like it used to. I am not thinking before I speak, which is unlike me.

From the book I was reading about David:

Themes in David's life:
1) When times are tough, God is our only security. (2 Samuel 22:2-3)
2) When our days are dark, the Lord is our only light. (2 Samuel 22: 21-31)
3) When our walk is weak, the Lord is our only strength. (2 Samuel 22: 32-40)
4) When our future is foggy, the Lord is our only hope. (2 Samuel 22:50-51)

Also from the book a quote from Charles Allen:
"When a person is suddenly alone, often panic and fear come. I distinctly remember my mother saying to me after my father's death. 'I cannot go on without him.  I depend upon him for everything.' My mother believed that, but she did go on without him...I feel that the most creative years of my mother's life were the years when she was forced to depend upon herself. She had her anxious moments, but somewhere along the way she learned the old expression 'Life by the yard is hard, but life by the inch is a cinch'. "

Further in the book the author states:

"We Christians, I have observed, frequently have trouble believing He is our only hope, security, light, and strength because we are so prone to try everything else. We automatically depend on everything except the Lord. Yet still He waits there for us- patiently waiting to show Himself strong."

"Soft heart and thick skin. That's the ticket, plain and simple. Not sensitive skin, so delicate that the slightest pinprick will damage it, but really thick. Rhinoceros thick. So that you can get punched around and punched around. Let me tell you, if you hope to be used by God, you need that kind of skin...The people who get the job done are those who are able to overlook all sorts of hurtful little comments people are going to make. When you walk through thorns, you have on heavy boots. You don't walk through thorns barefooted...at least not very far."

And of course, God's timing with my Jesus Calling Devotional is right on target:

WATCH YOUR WORDS DILIGENTLY. Words have such a great power to bless or to wound. When you speak carelessly or negatively, you damage others as well as yourself. This ability to verbalize is an awesome privilege, granted only to those I created in My image. You need help in wielding this mighty power responsibly.

Though the world applauds quick-witted retorts, My instructions about communication are quite different: Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. Ask My Spirit to help you whenever you speak. I have trained you to pray- "Help me, Holy Spirit" before answering the phone, and you have seen the benefits of the discipline. Simply apply the same discipline to communicating with people around you. If you are silent, pray before speaking to them. If they are talking, pray before responding. These are spirit-second prayers, but they put you in touch with My presence. In this way, your speaking comes under the control of My Spirit. As positive speech patterns replace negative ones, the increase in your Joy will amaze you.

"Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry." Proverbs 12:18

"My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry." James 1:1

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Ephesians 4:29




Thursday, September 15, 2011

Revisiting my Journal AFTER Ghana...7/28-8/2/11

Tonight I was revisiting my video from Ghana and thinking back about how I felt when I came home earlier than planned. I realize this post is far overdue, but I can't help but finally reflect and share what was on my heart when I first got home from Ghana since I have come to realize that I have no regrets in going to Ghana, staying longer, and coming home sooner than planned. If you followed my facebook and blog posts when I was in Africa, you learned that it was very challenging for me to be in Ghana without a team of Christians supporting me. I did not realize what I was in for when I signed up to stay longer. However, I wouldn't change it for the world.

I left Accra, Ghana airport on July 25th (evening there, morning here) and arrived in LA around noon on July 26th.

Here are some words directly from my journal when I finally made it back to the States. Looking back and reading my journal reminds me of God's perfect timing and ability to speak to us so strongly because He is faithful. I will italicize the words that come directly from my journal so it is easier for you to read and understand and I don't have to explain myself often.

7.28.11 Two days later...

I've been experiencing some culture shock since I've been home, but I've also been adjusting well with the time change. I think that is because I stayed awake and tried to get back on track with the time change as best I can. (It is 7 hrs later in Ghana) Yesterday I think I went to the bathroom ten times, so my body must just be getting used to American food. I didn't realize that would happen, but it makes sense because the food I ate in Ghana was much different than American food, for the most part. When my dad was driving us home from dinner last night, I was looking out my window noticing the scenery and thought to myself, "Wow, there are actually nice homes and a park and no children waving at the car as they walk closely in the street half-naked at times. There aren't people selling things or walking and working on the side of the road and I'm not sitting in a car that feels and sounds like it's going to fall apart, full of many people. Instead, I'm sitting in a very comfortable and spacious car, without anyone next to me. I'm living a life in luxury compared to what life has been like for me the past five weeks." I'm thinking more about the kids and missing them, but I am also enjoying the comforts of being home. This entry was followed by a couple pages of journaling my prayers to the Lord.

7.29.11
God encouraged me through something I marked and read in Ghana about transition:

"To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1

God dispenses life the way he manages cosmos: through seasons. Earthly seasons don't upset us, but unexpected personal ones do.

Are you on the eve of change? Do you find yourself looking into a new chapter? Is the foliage of your world showing signs of a new season? Heaven's message for you is clear: When everything else changes, God's presence never does. Your journey in the company of the Holy Spirit, who "will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I myself have told you" (John 14:26 NLT)

So make friends with whatever's next. Embrace it. Accept it. Don't resist it. Change is not only part of life, change is a necessary part of God's strategy. To use us to change the world, he alters our assignments. Gideon: From farmer to general. Mary: From peasant girl to mother of Christ. Paul: from local rabbi to world evangelist. God transitioned Joseph from a baby brother to an Egyptian prince. He changed David from a shepherd to a King. Peter wanted to fish the sea of Galilee. God called him to lead the first church. God makes reassignments. But he wants you to know: you'll never face the future without his help.

"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the LORD upholds him with His hand." Psalm 37:23-24

Same day: I went to the Wild Animal Park with my sister and the little girl she babysits. I felt "yucky" and was being rude to her. We saw animals and walked around in circles. There were signs posted saying "African Safari this way" or something using the word Africa and I seriously thought "This is definitely NOT Africa" and had horrible other thoughts. It was not like me. I guess going there two days after coming home wasn't the brightest idea. The same day, I had a phone interview with Gerardy Photography and it went really well. I was myself and thankful God opened that door for me.

I didn't go to Ghana simply as a volunteer. I didn't go to Ghana to help. I went to Ghana as a Missionary, with a mission to spread God's love across the nation. My goal was to pour out His love onto everyone that I came into contact with and be a light in a dark place. As a Missionary, I am a disciple/follower of Christ and that comes with a cost. It came with responsibility and accountability.

Today was not a good day. There are so many things on my mind but I'm not exactly sure how to express them, but I'll try my best. I've had a very bad attitude, not been myself. I have no filter and I'm careless about what I say without much expression. I missed my family and time with them while I was in Ghana, but now I'm home and I'm easily irritated with them. I'm ready to be in a relationship. I feel like God is going to do surgery on my heart and me, removing "stuff" that isn't good and I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet.

7.31.11

I feel as though there is chaos in my mind. I'm so anxious and I've been so busy and/or avoiding sitting at His feet that I haven't simply listened. Even being at Starbucks sitting here with God I don't have peace in my mind because I feel stressed. I am worried about not updating my supporters yet or writing a blog. I am feeling like I can't live my life based on my feelings. I keep talking to people and not to God. I sort of don't want to be around people. I guess it's normal to be feeling a bit strange coming home after being in Africa for 5 weeks. I know 3 weeks alone may not seem like that much to some people, but it is certainly a lot for me. It's weird having wanted to leave Ghana so badly and then coming home and something is just not sitting right. I've shared some things but it seems like I should have some big revelation or something and I don't. Maybe I'll just reread Jesus Calling and sermon stuff because they will encourage me and help me enter into His Presence.

Jesus Calling Devotional: (Very relevant)

TRUST ME IN THE DEPTHS of your being. It is there that I live in constant communion with you. When you feel flustered and frazzled on the outside, do not get upset with yourself. You are only human, and the swirl of events going on all around you will sometimes feel overwhelming. Rather than scolding yourself for your humanness, remind yourself that I am both with you and within you.

I am with you at all times, encouraging and supportive rather than condemning. I know that deep within you, where i live, My Peace is your continual experience. Slow down your pace of living for a time. Quiet your mind in My Presence. Then you will be able to hear Me bestowing the resurrection blessing: Peace be with you.

Next, God spoke to me through a word when I listened to Him.

Katie, Enjoy My Presence. Breathe in and out and enjoy this beautiful day. Stop stressing about hearing from me, about changes you want to make, about others. Simply rest and relax in My Presence. Stress can be the hindrance so let it go right now. Be still and know that I am God. Everything will work together for good when you hand it over to Me. You know Me and you know My character, so take time daily to listen to My voice and follow My leading. I know what I'm doing in you. It can be easier than you think and a much smoother process if you turn to Me first, the instant I nudge you. Let's work together and accomplish this quicker. Learn now and you will be thankful you did and you will walk in the abundant life I've given to you.

* The sermon this Sunday (today) was titled Strengthen Yourself. Again, impeccable timing on God's part. Even after a day of encouragement from the Pastor's message, I still felt discouraged.

I find myself turning in circles trying to find something to do. It's as if I'm avoiding God. I love to journal and read, but I won't sit down and simply do either. I want to text someone but I know it is unnecessary. I want to be on facebook but I know I spent time on it today and it won't satisfy. I want to eat something, but I'm not super hungry. I'm searching for that something to fill the gap in my heart, looking for something to satisfy. But why am I searching so hard when I know what I deep down desire and need the most which is right before me? I find it so interesting how I easily avoid something even though I know it brings true satisfaction. I suppose I am trained to seek after the things that don't satisfy (and I have a habit of doing this) so I need to show myself that I can resist those things. I mean, I want to make changes and I am capable, but it's going to take some discipline. I think I need to reread my blog about idols.

8.2.11

I began this day with journaling a few pages of prayers to God.

Jesus Calling Devotional:

BRING ME THE SACRIFICE of your time: a most precious commodity. In this action- addicted world, few of My children take time to sit quietly in My Presence. But for those who do, blessings will flow like streams of living water. I, the One from whom all blessings flow, am also blessed by our time together. This is a deep mystery; do not try to fathom it. Instead, glorify Me by delighting in Me. Enjoy Me now and forever!

"Difficult times have helped me to understand better than before how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever." -Isak Anesen

Today I felt fairly stressed. I was stressed about what photos and words to share with my girls group (Women's Bible Study). I'm stressed because Brittany asked for a sitter Saturday and I am available but I'm not at the same time. God said say no so I can spend time with my family, but I'm "available" so I feel bad saying no, plus it is so she and Brian can go to a wedding. It was family vs. finances. Girls group was good, but I have a continual feeling of Just me and God and nobody will understand all that I went through in Ghana. I heard on the radio something about women liking to juggle. Juggling means that we are constantly catching and throwing. So, you're always thinking about what's next. We are to stop juggling so that we can focus on one thing at a time.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Processing Everything

If you actually "follow" my blog or read it, you will notice I haven't posted any new blogs in quite some time. There is definitely reasoning behind this. I love to write and I love to share what God is doing in my life as I pursue Him, so it has been a bit strange not having a desire to post any blogs regarding these things.

So, here it is...over the past eight months or so, God has began some crazy work inside of me. It's unexplainable, really. I don't even know where to begin. Someone gave me a word about immense growth over the next year and I am seeing that pan out clearly as each day comes and goes. Anyways, part of that growth entails processing everything. I want to share SO many things with those of you who read this and are part of my life, but I just can't seem to type them up yet. I believe God wants me to process everything before I can be confident and strong enough in what He's revealing to me. This new season in my life has been interesting for me, but God constantly reminds me it's Just me and Him. So, I've been writing in my journal and praying much more often than typing up a blog and really, truly pursuing Him. The title of my blog has new meaning to me as Iam now pursuing Him wholeheartedly and sincerely.

That being said, stay tuned if you are interested in hearing what God has been revealing to me. I've written many journal entries and look forward to sharing them with you soon. In the meantime, know that I am simply processing everything God has placed before me and letting it resonate in my heart before sharing it.