Sunday, February 28, 2010

Good Words...

Today was a great day... mainly because it started out with a great message both in Worship Service and Sunday School. I want to share as much of it with you as I can here, and my thoughts on how it relates to my life. There are 3 particular things I want to share with you {sounds a bit like a sermon doesn't it! :) }

1. The following song, to me, explains one of the blessings of being a part of the body of Christ. To be in His sanctuary surrounded by your brothers and sisters in Christ that care, support, and encourage, even if they don't necessarily know you. I have been in church all of my life, and I've gone from growing up in a church where there is 150 in church on a Sunday morning to 1500 on a Sunday morning... and both places, big and small... God works in a big way if the body is broken and open to His work and movement.

God Is Here by: Karen Clark-Sheard

There is a sweet anointing in the sanctuary
There is a stillness in the atmosphere
O come lay down the burdens you have carried
For in the sanctuary God is here.
He is here, God is here
To break the yoke and lift the heavy burden
He is here, God is here
To heal the hopeless "Heart" and bless the broken.
O come lay down the burdens you have carried
For in the sanctuary God is here
Speak Lord, Speak Lord
Speak Lord, Speak Lord
During church this morning the part of this song that hit me hard was O come lay down the burdens you have carried... We all have these burdens, and they are different for everyone. Some people choose to carry their burdens and NOT ask for help even though people are available for support. Some people choose to carry their burdens publicly for all to see and use them as a conversation piece to call attention to themselves. And sadly, some people keep burdens to themselves so much so that they become overwhelmed and allow that yoke to break them down. If you are one of those people who keeps your burden to yourself, please please please (!!!!!!!!!!) don't let it get the best of you... ask for help, ask for prayer, ask for support. I truly believe that one of Satan's biggest weapons is Pride... so please don't be too proud to ask for help... ever... because God has placed people in your life for a reason... to be a support... to help you carry your burdens to the Sanctuary.
2. Dr. Ergun Caner spoke at church today from Ezra chapter 3. (Check him out and listen to his story: He said a lot of great things throughout his sermon about making noise for the Lord, tithing what you love God with not what you "owe", and finally the part that impacted me the most... our scars.
Dr. Caner used an example of comparing his kids with himself. Helmets vs. no helmets, knee/elbow pads vs. skinned knees, and padded playgrounds vs. asphalt. He said, "I am who I am because of my scars." This statement is so true. We make mistakes in life, big and small. I'm personally the type of person that when I screw something up... I do it real good. For example: I've never really had a little fender bender, nope... instead I flipped a car over. I will never forget walking through the woods with Daddy when I was little. He taught me a lot about God through nature... and one time in particular I remember him pointing out a tree, which was twisted and bent and unlike the others around it (probably a result of a tornado during its early years). He told me that tree had a "rough childhood," but went on to explain that it was that way because God allowed it to be. So... no matter how many scars we have, we are that way because God allowed us to be. And if we don't learn from those scars... they are a waste...
I'm not a parent (though I hope I will be some day), but one of the things Dr. Caner talked about in regard to these scars can physically relate to kids but can metaphorically relate to us all. By wearing the helmet, elbow pads, knee pads, and shin guards a child is less likely to get those scars, which means he less likely to learn certain lessons. Now relate that to yourself as an individual... By wearing the helmet, pads, and guards... whatever those may be in your life, not taking chances, not being open to God's plan, giving the bare minimum in life or in faith, whatever it is... that protection that you are putting on yourself is preventing the scars that you can learn from. So you have to make a decision... face your life guarded and not be open to the possibilities of God... or standing on the edge of the cliff waiting to see what happens. Both are a little scary... but I'm challenging myself to walk toward the cliff and be ready to see what's over the edge.
3. So, if you are scared of the cliff, and I think we all can be at times... what do you do? Another good word came from Sunday School today from Ben Pilgreen who is moving with his family in May to San Francisco to start a church. (Check out for info on their mission) Two major points to share from Sunday school, the first of which relates to the cliff... and the fear of it:
Now, I'm not saying that if fear didn't exist I would go and hop into a pit of snakes... cause though fear may not be there... that's just not a smart decision. But think about how this statement practically relates to your life. What would I do if fear didn't exist? Well, I would apply for any job in Higher Education that interested me... no matter what corner of the earth it was on. What's my fear? That tragedy will strike my family again and that I'll be too far away to be home when needed. That's pure honesty coming from me right there... that's my fear right now... that God will take another family member Home and I won't be available to my family when the time comes. If it wasn't for that fear, that concern... I wouldn't be limiting myself geographically when searching for jobs. I'm praying about that a lot right now... that God will give me peace about where to go and what to do... and for peace for my family too... my mom at least, because I know that if I moved further away it would affect her most of all. This is my burden, so please pray with me about this.
Finally, I want to leave you with the challenge that Ben left for our class:
Your dreams should be big enough so that if God does not have to act, they will not come true.
Think on that... you know what your dreams are... but are they big enough??
Please join me in prayer for all of our missionaries in the world, and more specifically for the Pilgreen family and their team who are packing up their lives and walking over the cliff... ready to see what God has in store for them in San Francisco, CA.
Love you all,

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Please pray with me about this...

I've seriously debated what to write about tonight... because I had a new word from the Lord in my heart... but my head is full of uncertainty. I've debated even writing about this issue on the blog since I still don't know who reads it... but I've always allowed myself to be vulnerable in my blog entries, so why stop now??

I feel very unsettled.

I love Samford. I love Birmingham. I LOVE the students I work with... but I am really feeling the need for a new opportunity professionally.

I have applied for a few jobs, but I am feeling the need to limit my options geographically as to not get too far from home.... Unfortunately, in this economy and the state of Higher Ed in Mississippi their are just not any jobs in my field close to home...

So... please pray with me that God will open the doors for me that He has planned. I'm in that moment where I know He has a plan... but I feel like I physically need to be doing something to pursue it... which is where the unsettled feeling comes from.

As I mentioned, I was unsure about sharing this concern... but it's worth it if I will have others praying with me for clarity and direction. Thanks.

As for the Word from the Lord... it's in the form of song lyrics, and old hymn with a great message... take a minute to read the words and truly think about them: (my thoughts in Italics)

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee; (God never sleeps... He's always available)
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not; (God is consistent, and God is ALWAYS cares about what happend to us)
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be. (Consistency, once again)

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see. (I think changing the words to "mourning" is also appropriate... if you can see God's mercy during a time of mourning then it is a true blessing)
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided; (notice needed... not wanted)
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me! (This one blows my mind... GOD HAS FAITH IN ME!!!!)

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love. (All of God's creation joins witness to God's faithfulness, mercy, and love)

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth (Forgiveness and Peace comes from the Lord)
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide; (the Holy Spirit is present for comfort and guidance!)
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, (...something to look forward to!!)
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! ( I can NEVER imagine all the blessings God will send my way... even though I don't deserve a one of them!!!)

I hope you can find some encouragement from this song as well.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Olympic tears...

I'm sure I'm not the only one who is seriously enjoying the Winter Olympics, and I have shed several tears over the last week. Starting with the opening ceremony when the Georgian team came out, to the Chinese figure skating pair who has been together for 18 years and put off their wedding to win gold. I also teared up a few times when my fellow Americans stood on the podium and sang along to the star spangled banner. But tonight... not only did I cry... but my heart ached in both sympathy and admiration for Joannie Rochette, the Canadian figure skater who skated a personal best tonight, 2 days after her mother died.

Here's an article about Joannie:;_ylt=AlaVbnUv9Cm1CoSPiaiYr1atIbh_?slug=capress-oly_fig_rdp-2428005&prov=capress&type=lgns

Having dealt with the death of a parent, I can relate to her pain... however, my admiration for her is just... well, I just admire her so much. I can tell you how hard it was to deal with the death of a parent and face another day, another person, another task. But to skate your personal best at the Olympics on international television 2 days after the death of a parent it just remarkable. I don't know if a Joannie, but her performance tonight is a true example of Phillipians 4:13. I think she can be an inspiration to anyone in our situation... if she can perform in front of the world, you can go back to class or work or whatever it may be.

"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." (Phil 4:13)
So... super props to Joannie... she's an inspiration to me.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Romans 5: 1-5... new favorite

A little inspiration comes from anywhere... today during RA interviews a student shared this verse with us... I wrote it on my hand so that I could remember to go back and read it later... Once I read it... I knew I had to share it... with whomever may be reading this:

1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (Romans 5: 1-5)

I think this is a verse that everyone should dwell on. Think about how it applies to you and your life. I believe that there is so much encouragement in this verse... this is how I see it:

verse 1 tells me how I am able to have peace... and not just peace, but PEACE THROUGH OUR LORD!!!!!! How much better can that be than any little measly feeling of comfort that we might have???

verse 2 tells me that I can't have grace without faith, and that faith comes from the Lord.

verse 3 tells me that by dealing with sufferings, I can learn to deal... and to persevere through those sufferings.

verse 4 tells me that perseverance builds character... and those lessons give hope... hope for the future and hope from your suffering.

verse 5 tells me that all these things are a gift from God through the Holy Spirit. Hope from the Lord will not disappoint.

I really hope that this verse will lend some encouragement to some of you...
it makes me smile just to read it. :) - KC

Here are 2 prayer requests for the night:

- my friend Allison's mom had a mastectomy yesterday... she is doing well but in pain, and is hopefully going home tomorrow.

- a coworker's 4 year old daughter Sophie had a tumor removed today. Here's his facebook update after the surgery: "She just got out of surgery and she did very well. The tumor was removed and the surgeon doesn't believe she has anything to worry about. The mass was rubbery rather than solid like something malignant..." Please pray for Sophie, her dad Kevin and the rest of the family.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dedicated to my sweet girl Savannah Grace...

(Savannah Grace, 4 or 5 days old)

(At Savannah's 1st birthday party on Saturday)

About a year ago to this moment I got a call from Kim, undeniably the person who understands me most in the world, to tell me that she was going into labor. Here's what I wrote in my journal that night: (Not even Kim has read this...)

For the first time in the 2 years and 8 months that I have lived in Birmingham, the following words came out of my mouth: "I want to go home."

You know me well enough to know that though I live away from them - my family is incredibly important to me. At the moment I'm writing this, Kim is in the hospital going thru the labor process - and I would love to be there to welcome Savannah Grace into our world. Instead, I cry and pray for them - anxiously anticipating getting on the road at 4:30 on Friday to go home.

Kim is my sister, if I had one. I swear at time throughout our lives we have had sympathy pains, could read each other's minds, and could finish each other's sentences. I'm closer to her... and cannot explain the attachment we have to each other - even though we don't talk all the time. God truly blessed me with a friend like her. Kim was born 3 months premature, if she had been born when she was due in October of 1983, we would not have been in the same grade throughout school - which is one of the reasons we were always so close. On the other hand, I was a surprise. Mom and Dad had not planned for me, and if I would not have been born when I was... she would not have had me!! God planned our friendship and attachement from the womb - even before that - SO AMAZING!!

I pray Savannah has friends like that one day.

I can't tell you (well, I guess I am) how many times I have thought about Savannah as our family's own personal blessing this year. In our times of sorrow, she was there to take our mind of things, to put a smile on our faces, or simply to put life into better perspective. Instead of thinking about first milestones without Pawpaw, Daddy, or Mawmaw... we (I at least) thought about Savannah's firsts and it helped to get through those things. Savannah is another example of God's divine hand in our lives. He sent her to us when we needed her... precisely when we needed her... and I tell you ... when she's not crying and screaming... that little on can put a smile on my face at any time. She's not my own daughter... but until I have my own kids (if God chooses to bless me with them one day) I don't think I will ever feel more protective of any one person (sorry Kristen, you got trumped on this one...)

Psalm 127:3 says the following:
"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward."

Savannah was a gift to her parents and our family... but we have also been given a great responsibility in her raising. Just as I pray that Savannah is blessed with great friends in her lifetime, I pray that we each uphold our responsibility in teaching her the lessons. Lessons of faith, friendship, morality, leadership, culture, and so many other things. I so look forward to those opportunities...

As she celebrates her first birthday, please say a prayer for Savannah Grace, that she will grow to become a woman who fears the Lord and follows His plans.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Press On...

I finally got back to Shades today!!! It's been about six weeks since I was in church due to Holidays, sickness, and Guatemala... so it was such a blessing to back with my church family today!!

I am always really excited when one particular lady in our church sings. Her name is Roszetta Johnson, and if you Google her... you'll discover that back in the day (circa 1970) she hit the Billboard top 40 with the R&B Soul hit, "A Woman's Way." I'm not really sure what Mrs. Roszetta's story is... how she got back into the church after singing in the blues clubs and why she joined Shades a few years ago... but I do know one thing.

She's battling cancer.

Today in church she sang a song called "I will Press On." I have searched the Internet for the lyrics... and there are several versions of the song. Unfortunately I don't know if any of them is the version I heard this morning.

Regardless of the words... the testimony as Mrs. Roszetta sang is what hit me the hardest. She has had a really hard time with her cancer... it has not been an easy road for her... but she could stand on a stage in front of probably 1,500 people and testify that she could "Press On" despite the cancer, despite the pain, despite the fear. As she finished the song she sang "Hallelujah" a few times... and it was so obvious to me that she was truly exclaiming the word which, by definition, is thanking and praising God.

She's praising and thanking God despite her cancer, despite the pain, despite the fear.

So... what does that mean for me??

If she can do it I can, right??
It was a challenge... God saying "Kacey... press on. Encourage your family to Press on... encourage your friends to Press on." Because despite it all.... whatever our ________ (cancer, pain, fear) may be... God gives us the ability to Press On with his help.
I have another confession for today. I totally had an answer to our discussion in Sunday school today, but I could not bring myself to vocalize it. We were reading/discussing Psalm 67.
Psalm 67
1God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah.
2That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.
3Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.
4O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah.
5Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.
6Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us.
7God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.
In this Psalm... the people are asking God to bless them so that they can share their blessings and the stories of their blessings with others... so everyone will know the Glory of our God. Well, In Sunday School today Steve (my Sunday School teacher, Singles Minister, all around encouraging influence on my life...) asked us why in our day and age, and in our generation people don't seem to share those blessings as much as they should. There were a few different answers: (let's see if I can remember most of them)
1) Insufficiency: My story is not as good as someone else. Maybe I have not had a Red Sea experience like the Israelites... something so big the story traveled farther than the people.
2) Pride: We may not want people to know our down and out story... what we were before what we have become...
3) Selfishness: Keeping our blessings to ourselves...
I know there were more, but the whole time people were talking I was thinking about my reason that I don't share with others the blessings that God has bestowed on me as much as I should...
... because it hurts. Emotionally and Physically.
Now I can talk all day long about how there is no doubt in my mind that God has numbered my steps to be where I am today... to have been where I needed to be when I was. To have had emergency surgery so that I was at home when my grandfather died rather than at a meeting in downtown Birmingham. To have been with my best friend when I found out daddy was sick instead of alone in my apartment. To have gone home the night before my grandmother died, when I had not been home in 2 months.
Those things didn't randomly happen... in fact, there is nothing random in my life... because I know that God has a plan for me and that everything that happens is meant for me experience and to learn from.
But here's the problem... maybe I can talk all day about what God has done in my life and how I know He is here... but then I have to talk about the experiences that surround those instances. I have to think back to the death of my father and how life without him will never be the same. I don't like to talk about it... because my heart literally hurts when I do... my eyes well with tears and maybe it will get better with time... I don't know, It's not even been 8 months... but it hurts now.
So what do I do? I keep my blessings to myself... when I know I shouldn't. I should shout from the rooftops that God has brought my through the worst thing I could imagine. That He provided me with the support system I needed through friends, family, coworkers, and my church families. That I WOULD NEVER have been able to survive this past year and a half without His hand in my life... I've said it before... and I'll say it again. If it is this hard to get through the death of loved ones as a Christian... when I know that one day when I die I have the hope and faith to know that Daddy, Mawmaw, Pawpaw, Rose, and Paw (and those I never got to know) will meet me at the gates. How does someone WITHOUT that hope and faith deal??
I need to share it more... and I know I can, but I also know that there will be tears. So friends... challenge me to do it, pray for me so that I have strength when the opportunities present themselves... because I know my story, our story as a family, is one that people can relate to.
I Love you all... KC

Monday, February 1, 2010

Emails from Daddy...

When I check my email, Daddy's email folder is always so tempting to me. After he died I put every email I had from him in one file and I always see that file on the left side of the screen when I'm reading an email from mom, the latest travel deal, or receiving a discount coupon for one of my favorite store.

The thing is... as tempting as it is... I always know that reading those emails will make me cry. The dates just keep getting farther and farther away. It's been so long since I received one and that's a harsh reality.

Anyway, today I didn't fight the temptation and I just picked on to read, and of course... there was a great quote of wisdom from Daddy that I will share with you all...

I've learned to leave the things I can't do nothing about to God, it's just that pretty regularly he has to remind me, that I am his, and he is mine. That he is in control, and if I'm willing to cooperate life will be better. - Daddy

So true... this reality that life is so much better when we realize and allow Him to be in control.