Sunday, February 26, 2006

Sanctified by glory and fire...

That's a line of one of the songs Chad led us in during the music today at church. I'm seeing it all around me in the lives of my friends as well as in my own life. For me, the question "why?" is almost pointless. You're never guaranteed and certainly not owed an answer. So minus the emotional release that might follow, it doesn't accomplish anything to ask the question. Our friend Job did. And God let him go on with it until about chapters 39 through about 42 ( I don't have a Bible in front of me, so please don't make nasty comments if I'm off by a couple of chapters). However, God finally answers him. And it's probably not what Job was hoping to hear. He didn't technically get an answer but instead received a staunch questioning pointing to the fact that God is God and man is not. You'd think by our generation we'd have this concept nailed. We all know that's not the case.

But back to the original topic of refinement. It's priceless. I didn't say inexpensive, but priceless. It costs everything. And as a Christian who's been walking long at all, you know you don't really have a choice. When you're honest with yourself, you know there's NOTHING ELSE worth living for. We've all tried our tastes with this and that, but it doesn't satisfy. So we're left with surviving the trials. But there's a jewel to be found...

My dear friend Moses Caesar (check out his book at challenged me when I was going through a rough time to look at times like these as an opportunity to experience God in a way never done before. When you are at your most vulnerable point, you are broken just enough to let God hold you like He never has. Instead of squirming for a way out, the peace comes in resting with the discomfort. Does that make sense? You find comfort in knowing you're being held, God's love and concern for you hasn't changed, and you're just as close to His heart as you've ever been. Check Deut. 33:12. It talks about the one the Lord loves resting between His shoulders. How sweet is that? Knowing we can lay our heads on His chest and REST there.

The verses Moses pointed me towards in this time were in Psalm 131, where the writer is broken. He compares himself to a weaned child. The significance comes in understanding that a weaned child can (1) recognize his need, (2) make his need known to the one that can do something about his need, but (3) he CANNOT do anything about his need himself. This is exactly how we are in life many times. So we rest in God, trusting His truths about His unchanging love for us (John 3:16, Rom. 5:8, Heb. 13:8), His plans for us (Jer. 29:11, Rom. 8:28, Ps. 139:16), and His eternal victory (John 16:33, Rom. 11:36).

Be strong, take heart, my brothers and sisters, for He has overcome the world, and we are joint heirs with Him!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I have a new link! Ok, I'm a bad friend and just now have Reems' blog linked. So check her out. She's my favorite Lebanese girl in Botswana...or anywhere else for that matter.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Question posed...Need response

Many times the issue of whether God allows or directly causes things to happen has been disputed. Some may say there's not a difference between them; if He's in control, then whatever happens was His will, right? Well, here's what initiated the thought process for me.

I was reading James 1:13, where in the latter part of the verse, James says "He Himself does not tempt anyone" (NASB). So God doesn't tempt people. The Bible says so. But consider Job. Satan asked God to have his way with His servant, and God allowed him to take things away. What about Jesus in the desert. He was definitely tempted. Was that God's will? We know it was part of Him embracing full humanness and exemplary in showing us how to respond. So it definitely served a purpose. And I believe God received glory in both the instance of Job and Jesus in the desert.

So I think this is sufficient evidence to show that there is a difference between God "doing" something and Him "allowing" something to occur. I believe He can receive glory from anything He decides (Rom. 8:28, Isa. 55:8-9, Acts 17:26-27).

Now the concept of His will...that's a whole other region of obscurity. Do things become His will after they have deviated from His best. Can His best ever include sin and its consequences? We all know He can repair and create beauty in the ugliest of circumstances, but what do you call that? His will? I have a hard time discerning where to use that phrase. Maybe we should ease up on that. What does Ecc. 5:2 and 6:11 say?

These kids are adorable. They both look 15 in this pic. That's why I love it. More accurate than you know. Since Nat and I moved from 2,000 square feet over in Midtown to the 1100 square feet of our downtown apartment, the luxury of space has eluded us. Needless to say, we get to spend much more time together. And I like it. Brad lives in the same complex, so he's less than within walking distance. We all ride out to GBC together, and lately we've shared a lot of meals together. But they're precious. I love being around them. They both have such an energy...kind of like that of a 5-year-old. All the time. Until either of them get still. Then they nap for hours at a time. It's hilarious. The randomness that comes out of their mouth and the volume at which they speak it always ensures an entertaining time. And all they have in common is just so fitting. It's a great story. God's amazing for writing it and letting me read it.

And I typed this in the color of my bridesmaid dress on purpose.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

I'm so full.

Today was amazing. At 2: something this morning, I went to bed after cutting up with Nat, watching a stupid movie on tv, and washing my face. However, I put off studying the Fusion lesson until the morning. I did, however, pray in repentance for being such a horrible steward of my time and energy. I had such a feeling of dread for having been so irresponsible. This is me being transparent. So I woke up early (about four hours later) and cranked up my newly-received coffee maker. I prayed God would just work in spite of me to communicate His Truth to my girls this morning. It's not that I personally have ever had anything worth giving, but I had definitely dropped the ball this time. So I read, prepared, prayed, and went to church.

Nat and I were running a little late, but I showed up right on time to less of my girls present than usual. I was so excited to give them their little goody bags of candy for Valentine's Day. They are my valentines. And they're the best ones I've had (and the only ones, shh, don't tell) in 7 years. lol. Yeah, I'm serious. But God totally worked in that time. The girls were responsive, attentive, and really engaged in the lesson. I even got choked up when I kinda chased a rabbit to share with them how much they mean to me and how much I hope for them in Christ. I love those girls. They really encourage me. Heck, one of them even called me this week just to talk! That made my day for sure. She even advertised for me today in class, telling the other girls that I was fun to talk to and (get this:) that I knew, like, EVERYTHING. lol. I definitely denied it, but laughed.

In the service, Matt and Meg came to visit since they were commissioning the Evangelism Explosion group and Matt was a part. I had the luxury of reminiscing when Meg and I would always sit together and sing different harmonies to the songs. It was great. The prayer time during the service was intense after Pastor Sam shared various tragedies going on around the world. The main ones hitting me were that thousands were dying in genocide in Sudan, and that missionaries were being evacuated from Venezuela. Yep, my country that I spent a summer of my life in was kicking out the vessels of Truth. I all but weaped during that prayer, but it was rich and I was glad to get to help bear the pain.

After church, a group of us went to lunch with Matt and Meg. Conversation and humor were delicious. My friends and the people God has brought across my path at GBC are some jewels if I've ever seen them. I left with that contented sentiment that you get after having been with those who appreciate you.

Tonight I joined the youth for Difference Makers, a program that teaches students to be servants every day to their classmates. We imitated the persecuted church by going in groups of two to this secluded hallway up a stairwell to meet. Phil gave us each a story of a person or a group that was being persecuted around the world. We then shared about them and prayed. The prayers were amazing. God was definitely there. I, of course, teared up again.

Then basketball. I had a blast this week. I'm getting a little better, but I've just now overcome the intense fear of looking stupid...which worked to my advantage because I absolutely busted it one time tonight when I tripped over the feet of a teammate. lol. Yeah, it was funny; you can laugh. And Casey, you'd be soooo honkin' proud. One time I was wide open at the 3-point line, they passed me the ball, somebody yelled "Shoot!" I replied, "okay" nonchalantly. Sure enough, threw that junk up and nothin' but net! Money! I was so excited, and immediately proclaimed that it would never happen again. I got congrats from both teams. I really enjoyed my team, and I love hanging out with the kids. I wish I could just get inside all of their hearts, inject them with the Truth of who they are in Christ, tell them how cool I think they are, challenge them to be men and women of God, and see the fruit. But I leave in May. Leaving this ministry makes me the saddest about leaving Memphis. Germantown Baptist, so much of it, is the single thing I'll miss the most.

Friday, February 10, 2006


We got some of that today. It was pretty for awhile, quickly transforming into sludge that makes the bottom of your jeans dirty. It was a nice, laidback Friday afternoon. Nat and I were counting our blessings that we went ahead and moved downtown. EXAMPLE: we were able to just walk with Brad tonight a couple blocks to eat at Huey's, then to Peabody Place to watch a movie. It was kinda funny...they have already seen almost everything out, and I've seen almost nothing. So I decided to go to a movie by myself while they saw a scary movie, which I don't do.

Last Holiday with Queen Latifah was my choice. It looked cute, light, and guaranteed a good ending. I wasn't disappointed. Irony was present, though. I'm sitting there watching her experience this life trauma and respond to it BY HERSELF. And she seemed almost satisfied to do so. The irony comes in because I was sitting in the theater BY MYSELF. No, I mean, ALL by myself. There was not another soul in the place. (You can only imagine how the Lauren Webb cackle echoed through the place at certain parts.) But it was neat in that I was content to do so.

God has answered too many prayers and shown Himself in too many ways for me to whine about what culture, society, or even my own thoughts pressure me into: why am I alone? There's always the little arrows Satan uses to try to get a foothold: is there something wrong with me that I can't see? Is there something I'm supposed to learn that I haven't been equipped with yet? Am I even datable?

But God hasn't failed me yet. And I don't have an urgency in this area, because He keeps showing me that He's here. He's going with me. He's planned it all out for me. And right now, it's my adventure to live. If He decides at some point, He'll intertwine someone else's story with mine, GREAT. If not, GREAT. The presence or absence of this life partnership that I see people around me joying in has no weight in my worth. God's grace is allowing me to be genuinely happy and joyful with them and at the same time be happy being

I guess that's the beauty of the process...

Monday, February 06, 2006


So much is occurring...and has occurred. Some I foresaw; others abruptly interrupted life as planned. But I see all of them as opportunities to learn new things about God's plan for my life and His character and His faithfulness.

Thank all of you for the kind words about the wreck. God definitely kept both of us safe, and the process to getting all that hemmed up is underway. I have something to drive, and it's more than sufficient.

Natalie and I moved on Saturday. Many, many thanks to Brad, Wade, Taylor, and Zach for providing brawn as we hauled two trailer-fuls of stuff downtown. We're still putting stuff where we think it should fit and making daily trips back to the sunshine house to retrieve a little at a time.

School's more than back in full swing. It's definitely assuming its normal position of trying to suffocate me, along with ASP. But it's a great use of time right now. I like what I'm learning.

Friends are great. I have so many great ones. I don't talk to anyone daily, besides Nat, but there are constants whether they're in Memphis or not even in the continental US. I love and appreciate you all. And of course, the family's always amazing.

We got our rotation picks for next year today. I'm very excited about my Nashville experience. It will be here in less than 4 months. Yay...more change. I'm banking on Hebrews 13:8.

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."

Thursday, February 02, 2006

I was driving down Southern Ave. on my way to meet Vilas, my president-elect, before Fuel. I needed to catch up with him since I've been out of the ASP loop for over a month now. The roads have been wet, so I knew not to drive my usual style. I saw a silver Ford Focus stopped at a stop sign on my right. She had just crossed the rail road tracks. Then I saw the unthinkable, she was inching out as if no one were coming. Sure enough, she kept coming until it was unevitable that I slammed into her driver's side door. I slammed on my brakes, but my tires didn't catch, and swerving didn't help. It was like the All State commercial. I keep playing it over in my head. I anticipated the impact, and then it seemed like an explosion. The car stopped immediately, and after taking inventory to see that I was okay, no bleeding, no apparent broken bones, I noticed the car was smoking. My airbags had come out, and my lip was still burning from where they must have caught me. I jumped out of the car immediately after grabbing what I thought was my cell phone (it ended up being my Ipod) because my fear was that my car might explode. Then it hit me to check on the other driver. She was okay, a little woozy, but unable to get out of her door. A girl had been behind the other driver at the stop sign and seen the whole thing. She was amazingly helpful and called 911 for us. There is a fire department right down the way, so we got them to come out since my car was leaking gas. I stayed calm the whole time, trying to discern the best way to handle everything. I try to cover my bases so that I don't have regrets later. The police came out, got a report, and they hauled our cars off. I only teared up talking to my stepdad and my buddy, Taylor, who came and got me.

It's amazing how things happen so quickly yet change so much about our lives. I've been so hungry lately to grow, and God has really been feeding me through His Word, prayer, and fellowship with others. So I knew He was in control and allowed this to happen for a reason. My prayer is that I glean everything I can from the experience. He is faithful. It could have been so much worse. I look at this time of adversity (finding a rental, getting my car back or finding a new one) as a challenge to better me. I trust God to finish His work in me (Phil. 1:6). I've asked Him to by whatever means necessary. Every experience is preparation for the rest of my life, whether on earth or beyond. That's how I see it. He's big enough to where I don't have to worry, wonder, or fear the unknown.