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

Friday, July 19, 2013

From the Heart: Week 2

The second week I decided to write From the Heart was pretty crazy. It started out with a very busy weekend.

On Friday night I worked overnight, watching Charlee so that her parents could go to a concert and stay in a hotel. I ended up working later than I planned the next day. However, it worked out really well. Charlee went down early and when her parents arrived, I had her photo book, flowers, a bottle of wine, and a card for them on the kitchen counter as a housewarming gift. I couldn't wait to give them the photo book! It was such a special moment that God had given me with Charlee's parents. When you spend 10 1/2 hour days with someone, they feel like they are your own. I've worked for many different families before and cared for many different children, but Charlee is the first one who I have really felt like a mom for. It's not like I'm raising her, though. Her parents do spend just as much time with her when they aren't working. They just have difficult schedules with their jobs. Sometimes I spend time talking with her parents when they get home from work and so I have also grown to love them and feel like they are family as well. When I was leaving, reality set in that I only have so many weeks left working for them as her nanny and I got a little sad. I know God is going to provide them with another amazing nanny, though! He always takes care of the families that I leave behind when I follow His lead. But, that doesn't rid you of the attachment to the family. Saying goodbye to Charlee and her parents will probably be the hardest thing about moving to Redding. Thankfully there is facetime so we can stay in touch when I move. I am really believing we will and I hope to spend time with them when I come home for Christmas.

Immediately after leaving her house, I met with a good friend of mine, Katie. We usually catch up every few months or so. You know she's a good friend when she tells her husband when he asks how long she will be as she heads out the door and her response is "I don't know, I'm hanging out with Katie Elder, she likes to talk a lot." haha It's true! 2 1/2 hours later...we parted and I headed home. I love spending time with friends, and it was really great to hear how she is doing and be free to be myself. I literally walked out of Panera feeling like my head was spinning from hearing myself talk so much! I joked with her and said I hope she gets to go home and simply sit and do nothing. I'm really thankful for the friends of mine who know I am a chatterbox and are willing to listen when I get going and can't seem to stop. I really do want to be a better listener and talk less, but sometimes I can't help it! (the same goes for writing) Something that stood out to me in our conversation, okay, in my rambling, was how much I value my friends and how sad I am that I can't be friends with everyone to the same depth, in every season. I would be insane if I did! And, with the friends I do have, I'm working on creating boundaries so not everyone knows my business. Certainly, vulnerability is a quality that God put in me, but not everyone needs to know what is going on in my life. And sure, God has surrounded me with many friends from all different walks of life, but in reality, I cannot be friends with everyone to the same depth even if my heart desires to. Each season is different and although I come and go, and can't spend as much time with every single friend as I'd like, friends always remain. I need to know that all of the above is okay and I cannot allow myself to be discouraged by this. He's made me a "social butterfly" as my family calls me, and I continue to make new friends everywhere He takes me (YWAM and soon Bethel) So, if you're a friend of mine, know that I value you, love you, and appreciate you. Even though I don't get to spend time with you like I did at some point in time probably, I still think about you and pray for you when you come to mind.

Saturday night I decided to head to the Movement church. Little did I know my friend Monette's husband was going to be giving the sermon. It was really awesome to hear him preach! Something caught my eye that night and it was a sign and table for Financial Peace University. I had been wanting to do a biblical financial class like this for quite some time now and it was starting up that week. I wasn't sure if it was the right time, so I prayed about it. I wanted to be sure it was a "God thing" and not just a "good thing". God gave me permission to take the course, as it was confirmed as I discovered it is a 9 week class, and you're allowed to miss one week. For me, that will be the very last week because I move to Redding after 8 weeks. Come to find out, my mom had all of the resources I needed, so I did not have to pay for the class at all. It all worked out in my favor! God always takes care of me.

Sunday morning I woke up and had some quiet time with God. The theme seemed to be "enough is enough" because I had enough of myself. I recall having a serious chat with God about the things I was sick of in my life that I had the ability to change. Something in my spirit really shifted that morning and I believe having that conversation with God was pivotal. Side note: Even though I still went to three church services that weekend, I still woke up and had some time with the Lord Sunday morning. I am acknowledging this because it is evident that my relationship with God is not dependent on going to church. I'm not saying that to make myself look good or better than anyone by any means, just recognizing that a revelation of God's goodness truly brings you to a place of wanting to spend time with Him. It's no longer a chore or item on your to-do list. It's something you enjoy doing. It's something you want to do. And your motivation to spend time with God flows from your love for Him. After that, I went to service at Vista Assembly of God. Following the service, I met with my friend Drea. I hadn't seen her in a while, and she was running late. I felt the Lord wanted me to sit and be still, enjoying the beautiful day. Too often I'm doing something or keeping myself busy. God wants me to slow down, stop doing, and just be. So, I practiced that. And it was glorious. When she arrived and was ordering her coffee, I asked God how I could encourage her and listened. I knew that I didn't want to focus on myself anymore like I had been so I ensured that the conversation was mostly directed towards her and how she's doing, to which I shared the encouragement God had given me. One of those things I thought about "enough is enough" is how I just "go through the motions" of life. I hate that! God has given me the gift of encouragement, so I shall be using it at every opportunity. I know that I hear from Him, so I ought to ask what He wants to say to those around me like I did with Drea more often. I'm tired of just showing up to coffee dates and / or being so focused on myself that I need to talk about my struggles the entire time and hope that my friend will encourage me. It's not about me!!!

After my coffee date, I went home and had a quick bite to eat. Then I headed to Life Mission Church in Escondido. I had been wanting to stop by for some time now, and really felt the Spirit leading me to go that night. The funny part about it was that none of my friends who normally attend this church were going, or they were serving. And, the title of the sermon was "Being Led by the Spirit". As I was driving there, I sensed God wanted me to take out my blank note card from inside the glove box and bring it in to write the pastor and his wife and encouraging card during the service. As I listened to the pastor preach, I also listened to what God wanted to say to encourage them. I also finished a few other cards for people who I knew would be there that the Lord had put on my heart. It was a great service and I felt I accomplished what the Lord wanted me to do. I was exhausted by Sunday night. Monday through Wednesday I worked full days, from 6am430, 6am-330, and 4am-4pm. Monday night was the first night of Financial Peace University and it went great! I was really excited about the class, but also a bit overwhelmed and not sure exactly where to start with my budget since I had been used to doing something with it already. It was also difficult because I get paid weekly, and my hours tend to shift each week even from when I'm scheduled. Tuesday night I spent time with my family and played cards. Wednesday after work I met up with my friend Kristina for coffee. She's the one who went to Bethel for two years, went to Ghana with me, and got me the job as Charlee's nanny because she was watching her last summer. It was very nice to catch up with her. Then I went to youth group at Vista Assmebly, to hear Morgan Reynolds teach. Morgan was on my Ghana team, also, and she is such an inspiration. I know that teaching and theatre is what she is made for, and I believe in her and what God has called her to do, so I wanted to go and support her. It was such a blessing and I felt very encouraged by her and proud of her! (Above is Morgan on the left and Kristina on the right)

On Thursday I intended to stay in my pajamas and rest all day, but God had a different plan. I spontaneously went on a bike ride with Crystal Rider to the beach. We met at her house and parked somewhere in Oceanside and rode our bikes to Oceanside Harbor. As we were almost there, I asked her about how far we were biking. Come to find out, it was 16 miles round-trip!!! That's crazy. I had no idea. Haha. I was just along for the ride, literally. When you're in good company, the distance doesn't matter because the time passes quickly. We just chatted and laughed away as we rode to and from the harbor, 8 miles each way. When we got there, we had lunch at Beach Break Café, where I had a delicious salad. Then we went to see her family, who was at the harbor for her nieces surf competition. We sat and talked for a bit, and then headed back. I love spending time with Crystal. She is a spiritual mama to me, a dear friend, and like family. She never ceases to encourage me, believe in me, compliment me, and bring out the best in me. She also brings out the child-like spirit in me, which is always followed by joy. We have fun together! I traveled to Tanzania in February with her and her husband and son. You really get to know people when you travel with them, and they are certainly some great people! Even though it took up my entire "restful" day off, I wouldn't have traded it. I always walk away from spending time with her feeling joyful and refreshed.


On Friday I had a busy day planned. I woke up bright and early to go walking with my friend Andria. She has been my mentor, and dear friend for quite some time now. I was really excited because we were walking to Better Buzz, a coffee place I had not been to yet that she raved about. I was saving the special occasion to go with just her. And it was so special. So lovely to spend time with her and hear how she's doing. In the past, it has always been about me. She'd always listen, encourage, and give wisdom. Often times about the same things. (That's a true friend!) She has contributed greatly to my spiritual growth and I am so thankful for her. I admire so many things about her and who she is, and I have learned so much simply by her example as I watch her do things with excellence and humility. And, she was right, the "Best Drink Ever" at Better Buzz was certainly exactly that. After my coffee date and walk with Andria, I headed to get a smog check for my car. I utilized the time in the waiting room to read the Word and finish my coffee, because I knew I had a busy day. Afterwards, I met Charlee and her mom at the Vista Library to hear this little band she likes. It was fun to spend time with her and her mom. Following that, I met my friend Erin for coffee. Erin is a missionary in YWAM that I have supported over the last year. I met her on a missions trip to Mexico when I was attending the Movement church and we have been friends ever since. She inspired and encouraged me to do YWAM. She was home for a few weeks and so I got to catch up with her in person before I head off to Redding. I ended my day by spending time with my friend Robyn and her twins. One of them is a "Mama's boy", so I always hang out with the other one the entire time. I could hold him for hours. He started smiling and it was super cute!!!

And that my friends, sums up week two.


Friday, July 5, 2013

From the Heart: Week 1

God inspired me to share what He has been teaching me each week. I want to share with you the spiritual insight I receive, but these posts will not be limited to that. I will share whatever He puts on my heart as I look back on each week and discover what I've learned. I will be sharing from the heart because being vulnerable is part of who I am. There are some things that I may not be so specific about because they are personal, but I will definitely share from the heart. I hope to set aside time each week to post this blog and I hope that it encourages, blesses, and inspires you through what God is doing in and through my life!

I'm going to start with last Saturday. It had been a long week of working more hours than normal, and long days. I was exhausted. I got off around 2pm and went to my "happy place" of Starbucks and prayed for my usual favorite spot, the cozy chairs outside watching the airplanes land at Palomar Airport. Shortly after sitting down and trying to find rest in the Lord by simply being still, I saw something on facebook that caused me to cry. (It's too personal to share) But, I quickly began to dwell on it and recognize the severity of the circumstances regarding that situation. I was sad. There's this thing in my life, that has really challenged my faith. It's causing me to trust in God and believe even when I do not see any change. Even when I do not know when the change will come or how long it will take. But, isn't that what FAITH is?? 2 Corinthians 5:7 says "For we live by believing and not by seeing." God brought this scripture to mind in the midst of this moment when I felt so down and discouraged. He said, Katie, this is where you live by faith. And again I realized how my faith had been tested yet again. Was I going to continue to believe God is able to take care of this situation, no matter what the physical circumstances dictate? Or was I going to give up, stop believing, and have no faith? I'll be honest. The second sounded easier. And, choosing the first took some time. But, I know in my heart and my spirit I have made a decision that I will agree with 1 Corinthians 13:7 that says "Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." And so, although I felt discouraged by the circumstances, I chose to press-on and pray. I also sent a few texts to friends who know the situation and asked for prayer. It wouldn't be like me to not do that. God also reminded me that it doesn't matter what I see in the physical because there is stuff happening in the spiritual working for this situation that I am unable to see. God is for us, not against us!
A friend reminded me, as God has spoken to me before, that it is my responsibility how I respond to my circumstances. I need to not let things like that effect me in a negative way. It is important to acknowledge what happened, and it's okay to be sad, but it isn't okay for me to give the enemy a foothold by allowing myself to become so wrapped up in it that it brings discouragement, doubt, fear, and worry. All of those things are not from God and they are signs that I am not trusting God.

After working so much the week before, my bosses decided to give me Sunday off. (They were moving into a new home and so both of them were off anyways) It was just what I needed! God is so good to give us exactly what we need, exactly when we need it. He knows each of us so well. I went to church in the morning and then spent the rest of the day at the beach in Del Mar. There is a place that I like to go and hang out with God. It's a place that I always go to when I need to set all else aside and sit with Him and listen. It's a place where I leave my phone in the car, and I journal. It's like my oasis. I stopped by coffee bean and got my favorite tea latte and managed to find a parking spot in the craziness of Del Mar with the fairgrounds going on right now. I parallel parked for the first time! That was exciting :) I had plenty of space, but still. I spent most of the time reflecting on relationships I had been in the past, as that day marked 5 1/2 years since I broke up with my high school boyfriend, who I had been with for 5 1/2 years. I dated him from age 15-20. I may post more in depth about that sometime, but in short, ending our relationship was the best thing that ever happened to me. It actually brought me back to God (I was raised in a Christian home, but stopped going to church in high school). Quickly after, I went on my first missions trip and then got baptized, re-dedicating my life to Christ. It was then (September 2008) that I recall actually coming to understand what it truly means to have a relationship with God. I actually picked up my Bible and developed my prayer life after this. I also reflected on relationships I have been in since then, and where my heart was at emotionally. For some reason, I have no problem getting attached to guys emotionally. This is not a good thing and hasn't ever worked in my favor. However, with each relationship I was in, or not in but emotionally invested my heart in, I learned something from it. I have truly discovered that no guy can truly satisfy me except Jesus. Although I've gained this perspective, it hasn't always been an easy journey believing it. I have moments, seasons, and days where I feel totally free, in love with Jesus and trusting Him to bring me the man of my dreams. And then I have moments, seasons, and days where I completely lack trust, and fear being alone and never entering into the relationship I've always hoped for. God has also been working on my heart in preparing me for marriage in many ways regarding sacrificial love and knowing that when that time does come, I won't have the freedom and time that I have with Jesus right now. Someone recently told me she loves my child-like faith to trust in God regarding relationships. I laughed and began to share from the heart that this area is actually one of the biggest struggles for me. Some people would never know it, but those close to me know it very well. It has been a battle for so long and I'm really learning to trust God and hold onto the promises. He told me in 2010, "Let the guy pursue you. And, you won't have to do anything but be yourself and he will love you for you. Just keep pursuing Me and he will pursue you." You'd think that'd  be a simple thing to do, but I like to be in control and even though it hasn't ever worked for me, I still struggle. I'm so thankful that God does know who's best for me and He knows the best timing. And, He will work it all out. I do believe it will be effortless. Like falling in love with Jesus is effortless. I believe it will be orchestrated like God orchestrated many other things in my life. It will fall into place, without my efforts. Because like Jesus said, all I need to do is keep pursuing Him, and he will pursue me. That makes my part easy! So you'd think. Anyways, I walked away from reflecting on relationships thanking God for protecting my heart from each relationship that didn't work out because He truly did. My heart was emotionally invested in every single relationship and I realize now how emotions and feelings really can get in the way. And, I can pray, "Not my will, but Yours be done" since I haven't been successful in my pickings in the past. I also know that my story regarding relationships is a testimony and will be used for His glory to encourage and inspire young women one day. And I am also thankful for that.

Whenever I go to the Palomar Airport Road Starbucks, I look up at the airplanes as they land. There is something about airplanes that cause me to think about trusting God. Throughout my travels, I always get on a plane thinking about how I fully trust the pilot to get me from where I am to where I am going. I have no way of understanding it. I simply trust the pilot knows what they are doing and where they are going. I trust that they have learned to fly the plane and will get me there safely. Even though I don't know them personally, I trust them. I have no control over the plane and it getting me to where I need to be. It causes me to think about my relationship with God. In some areas, I am really good at trusting Him to be my pilot. In others, I am not. I need to trust God and not doubt His ability to get me from where I am, to where I am going, safely. To travel without worry. And to be okay with being out of control.

Something that God has been teaching me over the last year is that He is always speaking, it's just a matter of if we are listening or not. He speaks even in the midst of the most chaotic situation. We just have to listen. Sometimes it takes stepping outside of the chaotic environment if that is possible, and quieting yourself to be still so you can hear Him. Sometimes it helps to be at a peaceful place. Other times He speaks even when you least expect it. Something He is growing me in is abiding in Him all the time, staying connected to Him throughout the day, and knowing that He is always with me. He is there to listen and there to help. It doesn't matter to Him if I've read the Bible or had an extensive time in prayer, He just wants to do life with me. He just wants to walk with me. I'm learning how to walk with Him, no matter what my day brings. But I'm also learning that I do need set aside time with Him at least every couple of days to process in my journal what He's teaching me and speaking to me.

At one point in time, I woke up every morning with instantaneous JOY and I was eager to get the day started. This past season has been much different. It is very hard for me to wake up. I'm a slow mover in the mornings and don't want to talk to anyone until I've had some coffee and I'm a bit more awake. I prefer to lay in bed a little longer, if I can. Some days, I don't even want to get up and face whatever the day has for me, but I know that's not an option. And sometimes, once I am up and moving, I still am not in the best mood. This last week I decided that I am going to set my mind to praising God every morning. Even if it's in the quietness of my heart, I am going to praise Him. For who He is, for what He's doing in me, for what the day has in store, for the blessings around me, for where He's taking me, for whatever He puts on my heart. I want to praise God at all times, just as Psalm 34:1 says "I will praise the LORD at all times, I will constantly speak his praises." I do not want my praising God to be dictated by my circumstances or location. I want to praise Him at all times, and I know that I am learning that is a choice I have to make daily.

God desires to pour out His love on us daily. Have you ever heard people ask "Is it easier for you to give away love or receive love?" I know for me it's easier to give it away than receive it. And, as I was saying above about relationships, God has been showing me that He is trying to show me that He loves me no matter what I do, say, how I feel. His love is unconditional and never-ending, not based on my actions. He loves me simply because He loves me! And the same is true for you. I've been recognizing that God shows me He loves me in various ways, but I'm often quick to thank Him and then brush it aside and move on with life. I am not receiving the love in the way I want to receive it (through a relationship) and so I don't even recognize the love He is pouring out on me because I'm so caught up in how I am not receiving love the way I want it. Wow. So, on July 1st, He brought it to my attention. I had recently read the scripture "But each day the LORD pours his unfailing love upon me." Psalm 42:8 and thought I'd do something fun for the month of July. I am on the hunt for love. I am on a the hunt to see how God pours out His unfailing love upon me each day. I know it's His desire, and I know He does it in various ways. So, I've opened up my eyes to see and my hands and heart to receive. And it's been fun to see how He shows me that He loves me thus far and I'm not even one week into it. I want to spend more time focusing on God and His love for me rather than the things I don't have and want.

Recently I discovered that I have been learning the hard way regarding some things. One in particular is this phrase "Just because it's a good thing doesn't mean it's a God thing." You can read more about this in my previous post below.

Another thing that I have been recognizing in this season is that everything is out of my control and I have a great need for God to come through or I'm not really sure what is going to happen. I'm not going to go into great detail on this because it is more personal, but what I will share is a scripture that came to mind as I was thinking about this : "The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him." Lamentations 3:25 Therefore, God promises to be good to me when I'm in this place where everything is out of my hands and I am forced to depend on Him. One thing I will share is something I have shared before. My financial needs are great with Bethel coming up. I do not have a job (yet) and have financial needs to take care of before I move to Redding, as well as tuition for the school I will be attending, and monthly rent. It is a scary place to not have a job, but plan to move anyways. I don't have a plan B. It's a new place of trusting Him. But, God reminded me the other day when I was reflecting on this that He is fully capable of meeting all of my needs. He brought the following scriptures to mind. "...your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need." Matthew 6:32-33 "And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19 "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us." Ephesians 3:20  Now that I have these truths written down and planted in my heart, I can believe God to move on my behalf and meet all of my needs, just as He promises in the above scriptures. I am excited to see how He works everything out. And, I am expecting and believing for a job and all my financial needs to be met. The other things that are out of my control, I am doing my best to remember that it is better they are out of my hands and in God's. That God can and will work out every situation and I can walk resting in that truth, without carrying the burdens because He has it all in His hands. And, it doesn't matter what I see happening or don't see happening, He is still working on those situations and there is nothing I can do to change them, except partner in agreement with Him through prayer.

I've been thinking about Love Languages a lot lately and while reading "Keep Your Love On" by Danny Silk, he touched briefly on them. If you haven't heard of the love languages before, there are 5- Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Touch, Gifts, and Acts of Service. Often times we give away the love language we need the most, to my understanding. There is a book called "The 5 Love Languages" by Gary Chapman and it expands more on it if you're interested. I discovered my top two love languages are Words of Affirmation and Quality Time. Here are some notes I took from the Danny Silk book about them: Quality Time: "A Quality Time person feels love and connection when you find them interesting- with the evidence of this interest being that you want to spend time with them...For a Quality Time person, pain enters the relationship when you don't listen or pay attention to them. When you don't make time to fully engage with your Quality Time person, you send them the ugly message that you are not interested in them, or worse that they are not important to you." Words of Affirmation: "Words of Affirmation people feel most enjoyed and appreciated when your words and body language include a positive tone of voice, facial expressions, and word choice. They notice the "spirit" or intent of words exchanged, and that aspect impacts them powerfully. For the Words of Affirmation person, anxiety rises and falls with the way words are used in conversation. A simple word of encouragement goes a long way toward creating safety and connection. Love flows into them with every positive word, and they relax as they experience someone verbally expressing their enjoyment in them." To be honest, I was a bit hesitant in buying the book on my Kindle due to tight finances, but it was only $8.00 and I knew it would be a beneficial read for me right now. I am so thankful that I did because reading the above things about my love languages was really helpful and put together the pieces for certain situations.

Life as a nanny is so much fun! I am learning more and more each day about myself, how to parent, and God often speaks to me through my time with Charlee. Last week I still worked a lot, but it was later in the day and into the evening rather than early mornings. It was nice to be able to get more sleep and have some solid time in with the Lord before work. The other day, I told Charlee not to go in the tennis courts because we went to the park to play. She listened, but the next thing I know she was walking through some trees through a back gate to the tennis courts! Again, I told her we are not playing in there and redirected her to the park. Then it dawned on me! Even though I told her no, she found another way around it to get her way. And I thought about how often I do that. I tend to think God needs my help with something, so even if He says no or it's not time yet, like Charlee, I try to find another way around it. Another time we went to this place she loves playing at called Kidsville. We arrived too early for open play and had to go spend some time else where so I took her to the coffee shop across the street. She got really upset because we were leaving Kidsville after we already went inside. She didn't understand or wasn't listening when I was telling her that we would return shortly, because she was so caught up in how we were headed to the car, which means we were leaving. She cried the entire way to the coffee shop, which wasn't far at all, and as soon as we got there, guess what? She was fine! She was totally content sitting in the chair having a snack and drinking some water. She actually enjoyed it and didn't want to leave when we could go back to Kidsville. In relation to God speaking to me about this, sometimes I want to stay at Kidsville where I know it is fun and I feel happy. But, God takes me from Kidsville to the coffee shop because it is not time yet for Kidsville. (This may be making no sense to you, and that's ok. If it does make sense, awesome! If not, just disregard it. lol) And, He's teaching me to be content in the coffee shop because I will get to return to Kidsville when the time is right. And, He showed me that just as Charlee found contentment and didn't want to leave the coffee shop, so can I.

Well, that's everything I learned this week. Hopefully next week will be shorter! Lol Definitely not a short summary at all. Oh well, I hope it inspires and encourages you !

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Just because it is a "good thing" doesn't mean it's a "God thing"

It dawned on me tonight that just because it's a "good thing" doesn't mean it's a "God thing". I've heard this phrase before but it came more alive to me tonight as I began putting the pieces together of how I've learned this lesson the hard way over the last year, at least a few times. Here's what I can recall.

1. I joined my "girls group" for a Bible Study when I returned from YWAM back in September. These girls are my core group of friends and as I've come and gone over the last three years as a missionary, they have always welcomed me back into whatever study they are doing. This time around, after getting input from everyone, we chose to do a Beth Moore Study on the life of David. God had spoken to me very specifically about David in the past, and I had never done a Beth Moore Study before, so it seemed like it must have been a "God thing". That's what I thought until halfway through the study I wasn't seeming to feel like that anymore. I didn't fully understand it at the time though. All I could recognize was the difficulty of disciplining myself to do the study and my desire to be in fellowship with the girls more so than watching the dvd of a teaching and filling in the blanks in our study books. Looking back, I can now see that it was a"good thing" but not a "God thing" that I participate in my girls group Bible Study. *Side note: The thing about a "good thing" vs. a "God thing" is that it doesn't always make sense to everyone. I mean, there was no reason why I couldn't do the study with them. It's like I was choosing not to when I was fully capable. But truthfully, my heart wasn't fully invested in it. I notice this to be a signal often times when something is a "good thing" that I thought was a "God thing" and turned out to be the opposite. And, because of that when it came time to communicate that to my friends, I beat around the bush and nervously gave excuse after excuse when I could have simply said "I know this doesn't make sense probably, and you may not understand it, but I don't believe I'm supposed to keep doing this study right now." Instead, I rambled and made no sense at all because I was so concerned about their responses and giving them a reason as to why I was not going to complete the study with them. (Thank you girls for your grace!!!)

2. I'm connected with a ministry called His Hands and Feet Christian Ministry. (HHFCM) It is a ministry that equips you to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and teaches you how to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's leading and hear the voice of God. My amazing friend Andria started it with her husband. She mentored me for a season and both her and her husband have contributed greatly to my spiritual growth over the years. Their ministry has supported me as a missionary both prayerfully and financially. After returning from YWAM, I found myself on the leadership team of this ministry. I loved being on leadership, but wasn't really sure my role as a leader except being a missionary. I knew Andria was looking for someone to help with and oversee the children's ministry, so we talked about the potential of me doing that. After "sorta" praying about it, I made the decision to take on the "children's pastor" role. I used whatever resources I had and tried to be creative with it. The first time was so overwhelming for me, but I didn't want to give up. Time after time, things kept coming up, and I couldn't be there to teach. Most of the time, I was scheduled to work as a nanny and forgot to mark my calendar for HHF. I still managed to come up with a "sub plan", however that whole process was so stressful. I even thought to myself, maybe it is spiritual warfare because the enemy doesn't want me to be doing it. Wrong! I took on something that I wasn't supposed to.  Despite my efforts to make it work, something just didn't sit right in my spirit. It wasn't until Andria said something to me along these lines that got me thinking "if you don't want to oversee the children's ministry, you don't have to. Just let me know soon what you decide so we can work it all out. And you know you don't owe us anything, right? I don't want you to feel like you have to be doing this because you owe it back to us." As soon as she said that, an immense weight lifted off my shoulders. And so I was, stuck in that place again, wondering what was going on in my heart and why I wasn't fully committed to overseeing the children's ministry for HHF. God must have been up to something! You see, I was trying to find my place, and it only made sense that I became the teacher for the children at this ministry. I went to college and have a degree for teaching, so shouldn't I be teaching in some manner? Not necessarily. Little did I know in the midst of all this, serving as the children's pastor for this ministry was a "good thing" but not a "God thing", which is why I felt the way I did. I still kept trying to find my place on leadership at HHF and after much prayer and searching, I discovered the best option for me was to step down from leadership. At this point I had applied and got accepted to Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry and is planning on leaving in September, so it made sense that my heart was unsettled because I was soon to be moving. It was a hard thing for me to do, but just because it was a 'good thing" doesn't mean it was a "God thing." I felt much more at peace after making this decision and becoming okay with it. Therefore, I had to eliminate another "good thing" from my life because it was not a "God thing". And just because I stepped down from leadership doesn't mean I can't attend the HHF meetings or keep in relationship with the people on leadership. It simply means even though being on leadership was a "good thing" it wasn't a "God thing".

3. Today I discovered another example of something that is a "good thing" but not a "God thing". I was supposed to meet with a friend and discuss a book we have been reading together. It seems more often than not that I end up cancelling our plans. I found myself in that place tonight and I was torn.. Then my friend said to me "you still coming tonight?" and it opened up the door for me to really seek God for wisdom about this situation. I knew I had committed to reading through this book with her and discussing the chapters on a weekly basis, but I felt I should cancel yet again. I found myself back in that place- what do I do, God? Asking God for wisdom in the midst of it, after the commitment. And as a result, I heard God say "Katie, I never told you to commit to this. You thought it was a "good thing" so it must be a "God thing" , but remember that just because it's good doesn't mean it's part of my plan for you right now." I looked back on my decision to go through the book with her and I recall recognizing that we both had the same book, and were struggling with the same topic as the book. It made sense that we read this book together and discuss it because it would bring encouragement to us both. However, sometimes, when we'd get together, we'd end up chatting about life and praying more than discussing the questions from the book . I was able to share this with my friend and hope she'd understand and be gracious with me. I felt instant relief from this.

All that being said, learn from me and don't learn the hard way. Just because it's a "good thing" doesn't mean it's a "God thing". Always ask God for wisdom before you make any decisions and commitments.