Friday, December 31, 2010

Year Ender...

Well, since it is 1:19am by my watch... it is now the last day of the 2010. Guess it's an appropriate time to give a little review of the year/list some goals for 2011. (that... and I'm waiting on new iPhone software to download...)

I've learned a lot this year... I've also grown up a lot this year (I have even learned to separate the word a lot... because it's two words, not one!). I have been reminded many many many many times, the God is 100% in control of my life... and I'm not. And frankly, I'm much better off if I give him the keys and get in the passenger seat, but giving up control is hard some times... but I'm a better person for it. I have learned that the pain of loss does get easier most days... I don't think about missing Daddy every day, but most. I have also learned that God reveals advice through memories and on those deep valley days when I miss him so much it hurts, He lets me dream about Daddy (I'm really thankful for those days). I have learned that the sound of Savannah saying my name, and the fact that she now knows that I am "Kacey" is pure joy. I learned from those sweet babies in Guatemala that a hug and a smile can be all the comfort someone needs even when you have no clue what you are trying to say to each other. I have been reminded by the students I work with that it's always worth it to take some extra time just to sit and talk, and those are the most enjoyable moments of my time at work. I have learned that one of the most incredible blessings in life is knowing that someone is praying for you... and also the blessing of praying for others... they may not ever know it... but it brings me satisfaction knowing that I am remembeing them as I talk to the Lord. I have learned that I am ready for a relationship, but am satisfied being single if that is God's will for me. I have learned that helicopter parents are incredibly annoying, but that I need to treat them like my own b/c they are just trying to take care of their babies. I have learned that those mountaintop days may be few and far between... but to celebrate them when they happen, and be thankful that they did.

I lost another part of my heart this year with the death of Pawpaw Cole, but I saw him die, literally before my eyes in a matter of weeks and the day of his death. His death taught me what Mercy truly is. I won't let myself eat the last bag of pecans he gave me, and the last piece of gum he bought for me and my office is sitting on my computer.

I blogged a lot of thoughts and feelings this year. Often through tears I bared my soul, my fears, my frustrations, and my hopes... but I'm proud of every word, for they help me heal... help me process the things God shows me, help me to grow and be a better person. Hopefully they helped some of you along the way as well.

I have been blessed with amazing friends this year... for my friends in Birmingham, our friendships have grown, we depend on each other for fun and comfort... and that's a blessing. Thanks to Facebook I have rekindled some friendships with old high school friends and family members, and I'm so thankful to social networking for that! I am sad to say that I think some of my friendships, friends who live in other towns and cities, have grown apart... but I love those people dearly and know they feel the same... no matter how little we see or talk to each other.

I have made new memories this year... with friends, family, and students that I work with. From trips to Guatemala, PBR in New Orleans, to the Opry to see Dolly Parton... God blessed me with more opportunities to make fun memories with the people I love.

2010 has been a prosperous year for me... not materialistically... but in every other way. I have looked back at my goals for 2010 and I think I've done pretty well. I say "I Love You" more often, I learned how to make Mawmaw's pound cake, and I am trying to continually study God's word more and more...

I so wonder what God has in store for this year... and I pray that I will be faithful to follow His path, wherever it may lead. For those of you in my life, in any way... I love you and am so thankful for you.

Some goals for 2011:
  • put a stamp in my passport... i need to take a real vacation.
  • lose some weight... I have a mental goal, but that's for me... not y'all :)
  • try to visit home more often... the trips always seem so darn quick.
  • learn to play guitar? (I've been thinking about this one for a while now... Daddy's guitars are never going to get played unless I marry a man who plays guitar or learn how to play it myself... we all know I'm a little to independant to wait on option 1)
  • spend more time with Savannah... she knows my name... I want her to know me more.
  • learn more... in general.
  • read more and study more about God, who created me, you, and everything else we hold dear...
  • Blog more consistently...
  • Volunteer more...
  • Send more cards and letters to my World Vision Sponsor Child Anjali.
  • Make sure my friends and family know just how thankful I am for them...

I finished off last years New Years blog with a prayer, the Serenity Prayer... so I wanted to do something similar this year. This is a Catholic prayer I ran across a few years ago. I have shared it with my students as they are going through their unsure times of life and I think it is worthy of a read from us all.

St. Theresa's Prayer:

May today there be peace within.

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to

May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of

May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the
love thathas been given to you....

May you be content knowing you are a child of God....Let this
presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.

It is there for each and every one of us.

As we end out this year I have 2 particular prayer requests:

1. My best friend from college, his wife (who is carrying a baby), and their 1.5 year old son are moving to Costa Rica tomorrow. Chris, Carole, and Abraham will be living there for about 8 months (I think) as Carole attends language school. After Costa Rica, they will be moving to Ecuador to be full time missionaries. These are great people with a great calling. Please keep them in your prayers as they travel, raise and have babies abroad, and follow God's plan for their lives.

2. A friend from High school had a baby yesterday... he was born extremely early, weighs 1 pound and 14 oz, and he is breathing on his own. Please keep the Garrett family in your prayers, mom, dad, and particularly little baby Garrett. (not going to post their first names as have not talked to the family about it...)

{I love you all dearly. May you have a blessed 2011! - Love y'all, Kacey}

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Never too late...

I went to a funeral today... and was inspired.

I was only in the service for about 5 minutes, because I had to take Savannah out since she was trying to crawl under a pew.. but in the few minutes I was there I learned a good lesson.

It's never to late to accept Christ as your Savior and start living for the Lord.

Mrs. Lois Greer became a Christian in August of 2009. I'm not sure of the day, but she and her husband John accepted Christ on the same day and in the same hospital room. Mr. Greer died soon after he accepted Christ as his Savior and Mrs. Greer went home to be with the Lord early Sunday morning.

My first thought when I heard she had died, around 2am on the 26th was that since it was still Christmas somewhere and what a day to go home to Heaven!! You meet Jesus on His birthday... He leaves his party to come and welcome you to Heaven!! Seriously, is there a better day? She automatically became a part of the Heavenly Chorus singing

{Glory to God in the Highest! and on Earth Peach and Good Will to all men!!} Luke 2:14

So, lesson learned here... it doesn't matter when you become a Christian. No matter if you are 7 or 70... live your life for Him while you can, and live it for Him every day!! Accepting Christ as your Savior is the more important decision you can ever make.

(... and if you have questions about how to do that, let me know.)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Single Forever???

I never went back to sleep after last nights blog... I couldn't. God had my mind going in so many different directions that instead of sleep I did the following:
- 3 loads of laundry
- vaccuumed my entire apartment
- folded and put up clothes
- dusted my entire apartment
- cleaned up my kitchen
- organized Christmas presents
- organized things to take home
- packed my suitecase
- took out the trash
- returned my library books
- went to church
- went to sunday school
- got a few groceries
- finished Christmas shopping
- watched the Saints/Ravens game

... I finally napped for about 2 hours later in the afternoon. I seriously think that today may have been the most productive morning of my entire life... I got so much accomplished and am allowing myself to start things new with a clean slate (literally!).

In an effort to study some different things I downloaded a few podcasts. Tonight I listened to one by John Piper on being Single in Christ, and it felt really applicable to where I am in life. At the age of 27, and with lots of single friends... my girlfriends and I often joke out our singledom, how we're "ready to mingle," and how "one day" ____ will come along. However, something I have never really thought about is that God calls some people to be single f.o.r.e.v.e.r.
{forever, really??}
"My main point is that God promises those of you who remain
single in Christ blessings that are better than the blessings of marriage and
children, and he calls you to display, by the Christ-exalting devotion of your
singleness, the truths about Christ and his kingdom that shine more clearly
through singleness than through marriage and childrearing. The truths,

1) That the family of God grows not by propagation through
sexual intercourse, but by regeneration through faith in Christ;
2) That relationships in Christ are more permanent, and
more precious, than relationships in families (and, of course, it is wonderful
when relationships in families are also relationships in Christ; but we know
that is often not the case);
3) That marriage is temporary, and finally
gives way to the relationship to which it was pointing all along: Christ and the
church—the way a picture is no longer needed when you see face to face;
4) That faithfulness to Christ defines the value of life; all other relationships get
their final significance from this. No family relationship is ultimate;
relationship to Christ is.

To say the main point more briefly: God promises spectacular
blessings to those of you who remain single in Christ, and he gives you an
extraordinary calling for your life. To be single in Christ is, therefore, not a
falling short of God’s best, but a path of Christ-exalting, covenant-keeping
obedience that many are called to walk.
Piper's point really makes sense (no matter how frightening the thought of being single throughout life)... because no matter if God calls you to be married or single, family is possible... because Jesus is our Father... and Jesus was always single. Our relationships and families are not bound by the walls of conventional families... they are what we create by sharing ourselves and our faith with others. If God does not see fit for me to one day get married and physically have children, that doesn't mean I will be fruitless... because I can be a mother to someone else through my influence, through my discipleship, through showing His love to others.

So my lesson learned here... Even if God calls me to be single, I will never be alone. My family will grow through faith in Him and faith shared with others. May all my single friends consider Paul's words to the Corinthians as we live out the rest of our days, whether they be single, in a relationship, it's complicated, etc...

1 Corinthians 7: 32-35:

"I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is
concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married
man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34
and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord."


"Study to show thyself improved/approved"

I have been praying for a while now that God will show me my next step in life... what He has in store for me next... I expected and anticipated there to be lessons along the way... and I think Lesson ___ was shown to me through a rapid heartbeat and some words that repeated them self to me over and over in a dream (or at least, I think it was a dream) tonight...

Study to show thyself improved... or approved??

I just kept hearing this... maybe seeing it(??) ... over and over. I woke up thinking about it. These were words I have heard before... I recognized them as scriptural based, just not sure what the context was. So of course I Googled the phrase, and the context of 2 Timothy 2:15 is my search result.

{"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God,
a worker who does not need to be ashamed,
rightly dividing the word of truth."}

15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.
17 And their message will spread like cancer. (and we all know how I feel about cancer!)Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort,
18 who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some.
19 Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ[a] depart from iniquity.”
20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor.
21 Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.
22 Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
23 But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.
24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient,
25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,
26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

I have been praying for the last few months for clarity from God specifically about His will for me in my next job. I have always had a heart for missions and have felt pulls and tugs in that general direction... but no doors have opened. The conclusion I have come to is this: I must be ready to go, but willing to stay. I love you all... but if God wants me to go live elsewhere to do His work... I love Him more. I will leave if He sets it up for me... and my major prayer is that if that is in fact His Will, we will all (especially my mom) have peace about it.

There {family}, it's officially been blogged about... it's out in the open.
Feel free to discuss with me if you like.
So as I read this verse that has woken me from my sleep I must now wonder... is God telling me I need to academically study him???? Personally study him??? I have to admit the thought of going back to school in ANY way does not appeal to me at all! But as I look at verse 20 I am compelled by the analogies used. Gold and Silver vs Wood and Clay. I think anyone who knows me can tell you I am more of a Wood and Clay kind of gal. All are natural elements, but wood and clay are more simple, more pliable. More accessible. I don't see myself as the Gold and Silver Academic type... but more as the Wood and Clay layman, that God might call to do something out of the ordinary... or that He just calls to love, to be patient, to be gentle to others... God says here that there are these types of vessels in every house... all are needed in some way, and all can honor or dishonor him. I understand His point here to me is that me and my vessel, no matter what material it is... need to work on it. I need to work on improving myself to be approved by Him.
For why should He show me to the path, when He can guide me to the path??
Please don't oversee the significance of that difference... because I think I have until now. What do I learn from Him just handing a plan to me?? Whereas if I become more knowledgeable about Him, and He guides me to the right path along the way... I have learned much more. I have improved much more.
Verse 22 is my prayer, and I need the help of all of those "who call on the Lord with a pure heart." As I begin my unknown plan to study to show myself approved/improved, please ask the Lord to grant me wisdom in what I pursue. Please ask Him to guide me to His will... because here's where my earthly desires begin to interfere... and it's petty, but it's the truth. At the end of this semester I am going to have to move out of my current home for a summer temporary one if other employment does not work out... and frankly the thought of moving out/in within 3 months is one thing I just cant stand (is it horrible that I am willing to move elsewhere but don't want to move across campus??). But here's the thing... I've been anticipating/praying about a new step in life for the last year or so... so I will continue that prayer with that hope that His plan will be revealed to me soon, oh I hope so soon...
I am also not quite sure where to begin... I mean, God's a big subject. So, if anyone has any advice of commentaries to read, books of the bible to read, authors to read, any insight at all... your ideas and accountability would be appreciated.
I love y'all, so so much...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Examine your reflection...

1 Corinthians 13

1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it (Love) is not proud.
5 It (Love) does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7 It (Love) always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.
11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Love hurts sometimes... heartbreak happens. I have felt the pain of losing a loved one in which your heart literally hurts. Love however, should NEVER intentionally hurt someone else. My heart is breaking tonight for someone I barely know... but he is someone who has been through a lot at the hands of his supposed loved ones... those who God placed him in their arms years ago as their son... but their form of love is not the love I know. Their form of love involves pain, a lack of protection, insecurity, and disappointment for a young man who deserves so much more. Without naming names I ask you to pray for this individual who is going through some harsh times in his young life.

I pray that the individuals that are causing this talented, smart young man such heartbreak will look into a mirror and see their ugly reflection, and that they will face their reality of their wrongdoings. God sees it... I don't know their hearts and I don't know that they care what God sees ... but He does no matter if we want him to or not.

So what does my reflection look like? It is by no means perfect in any form but I think it is important that we try to examine reflections from a different perspective. From His perspective. It is likely that we will not like what we see... but the reality of the reflection can motivate us to improve it... to make it better... to make us better. Which will in turn, help us to love better, and to show His love to others in a much better way.

I'm praying you friend... your name is heavy on my heart tonight.
Love y'all,