Wednesday, October 3, 2012

She Pondered All These Things in Her Heart.

My heart is so full after almost four weeks of NYSUM. God has done more in me I could ever imagine. It's funny because I'm not sure if I could sum up all He did in me. All I know is my heart feels different. I have this joy and peace in my heart telling me I am where I am supposed to be. I'm content, so content, and so in love with my Jesus. The city has captured my heart. I never though it would, but it has and does every day. I love the people here. I love the diversity, and the different churches. It's so beautiful to see so many different people live in the same place and do things differently. It's amazing to walk into a church that is a different culture and have them accept you as if you were like them. I feel like God has given me His heart for the people here. I see this beauty all around me and this overwhelming love for the people here. I may be a country girl, but my heart has been enlarged for the city. There's such beauty if you dare to look, if you allow God to open your eyes.
These weeks have been hard for me, not so much in the ministries we do, but more so dealing with my own junk while I'm trying to minister. Up until this week I've been wrestling with God over some issues in my life. I've been seeking Him for clarification on many things having to do with my future. Up until this week, I've been seeking God for answers rather than seeking Him for Him. He spoke to me this week telling me that I had forgotten about Him. I was spending time with Him simply to understand more about my life. God has asked me to lay those things aside and just be with Him. It's all about Him anyways. Everything will fall into place in it's own time if God is the center. God has just been showing me that He is faithful. I don't need to worry about the outcome of situations because God is faithful. If I give it to Him, He can take care of it. It's all bigger than me anyways. Why would I think I could handle everything and figure it all out anyways? Today during worship time I was telling God that I surrendered these things to Him and almost in the same breathe I felt this sadness come over me. I said, "But God, this situation is so important to me!" Almost before I finished my sentence I felt God embrace me in His arms and I heard Him say, "I know. I will take care of it for you. You can trust me. Put it in my care." It's like the verse that says, "Cast your cares on the Lord for He cares for you." He is more faithful with our situations than we are.
Another thing God has shown me this trip is that I am a perfectionist, but it's okay to be imperfect. I try so hard to deal with my issues in just the right way. The truth is, we learn as we go. God shapes us through situations that we succeed and fail in. One night in my journal God said to me, "How can I form something that is already formed? How can I perfect something that is already perfect? You are the clay and I am the Potter. I love being a Potter. I smooth your rough edges as time goes on. I don't remove the rough edges, rather I smooth them. So don't get rid of your imperfections, because you might be getting rid of something that I desire to smooth out. Why do you try to be a finished pot of fine china? You are only clay. Let me form you day by day. You aren't finished yet."
As humans we have a tendency to try to be a finished project. God isn't finished with us yet. Why do we feel like we have to be perfect? It's so far from reality. Why don't we just accept our imperfections and let God shape and form them to be all He wants them to be? That's all God asks of us: stop trying to be perfect and just accept the fact that you are clay. One day you will be finished, but you can't be finished unless you allow yourself to be formed.
What a good God I serve! I can't grasp all He has for me, but I just am loving life right now! My heart is pondering so many things in my life and the purpose of them. God is so faithful. How could I not trust His divine hand on my life? He has never forsaken me. He has guarded my life. He has showered me with His love, guidance and blessings. All I want to do is share His love with others. He is the answer to everything. He has given me such peace. What joy I have in my heart! I'm so excited to see all He has for me and how He works things out.
I do have lots of stories about encounters with people but I'm not sure I'm up to sharing all that right now. Next time! Blessings!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

First Week Down, Four and One-half More to Go!

Well, my first week of NYSUM was pretty good. We are very busy, but that was to be expected. The funny thing about New York City is that there are parts of it that are just beautiful. Before I came I was expecting to not like the city. I'm definitely a country girl. I feel close to God in nature, around God's creation. The beginning of this week we had some seminars, and one thing a man said was that those of us from the country tend to forget that people are God's creation too. That hit me hard. God cares a lot more for His people than He does for His countryside. Perhaps my priorities are a bit distorted.

I think when I decided I liked the city was when I rode the Staten Island Ferry for the first time at night. Not to be a total hopeless romantic, but it was one of the most romantic sights I have ever seen! This picture doesn't do it justice at all. I was just overwhelmed by the lights on the water. I've never seen anything like it. I suppose I never thought something man made could be so amazingly beautiful. I'm reminded, however, that God created the creativity of man as well. How beautiful is that?

We also did prayer ministry in Central park. We set up a booth and prayed for whoever needed it. It was a great opportunity to reach into other people's lives. I also just enjoyed how artsy Central Park is. There were so many people playing music and it just gave the atmosphere even more beauty to it.  Being a country girl, I wasn't expecting much for a park in the middle of a big city. "What do they know of parks," I thought. However, what a beautiful sight it was. It wasn't like a park in the country, it had it's own originality. It's funny how God can teach you things through landmarks. I felt like I was taking a big piece of humble pie.
There's definitely been some hard times here as I am learning to let God clean me out. I can't quite explain it, but it's like God is opening up my heart and taking all the junk out, but in the mean time I feel quite awful. My emotions are everywhere. I'm either laughing or crying it seems. I think God is allowing me to just pour out all that's in me that needs to come out, whether it's through tears or laughter. It's rather hard though because people I'm used to talking to are not here to talk to, so I'm forced to rely on different people and God more. It's good, but very painful at times. There's been times that the only person I want to vent to isn't there to vent to, so I have to go elsewhere. God is showing me how much I rely on certain people more than others. I need to rely on Him most of all. Why is it so hard to rely on Him at times? I've realized it's because from the beginning of our lives, everything has been about what we can see, feel, taste, smell and hear. We can't usually do any of those things with God. God may be more faithful than anyone else, but in order for us to totally trust Him, He's gotta work all of that stuff out of us. It's been hammered into us from children, until now, and God has to undo a lot of that. I want to trust God so much, but there's so many things that I am holding onto. There's so many things I want an answer or a reason for, but God just says, "Trust Me." Sometimes God sounds like a broken record to me, but that's probably only because I haven't gotten the message yet.
As I've spent more time here, I've realized how important my personal time with God is. I crave it. Those times when I'm surrounded by people and I'm annoyed and I want to cry and I can't get away, I long for God's presence. I long to just be with Him. You don't realize how good that time really is until you can't have it whenever you want to. I do make time for God everyday, but with all this stress and teamwork, it doesn't always feel like enough. There's many times I just want to hide away from everyone else and just be with God. He is enough, and I am learning that. I don't need anyone but Him. I'm sure as these weeks go by swiftly, I'll be learning that lesson over and over again.
Whoever is reading this, your prayers would be appreciated for us here in the big city. We will be doing a lot of ministry in the upcoming four weeks. Until next time! Blessings!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

NYSUM...The Excitement and the Dread.

I'm here on my internship at NYSUM. It's in NYC and my team and I will do ministry in the city for about five weeks. The number one theme is flexibility. This is a hard one for me. I like to have a plan and stick to it. I hate it when things don't go as planned, but I need to realize that everything is in God's plan. As we do ministry we may be asked to do things on the spot, for example, preach on the subway, or lead worship or do skits, ect. This is so difficult for me, but I am confident God will address a lot of fear I deal with.
NYSUM is scary to me for many reasons. I am scared of speaking in front of people. I desire to do it, but I'm scared to actually step out in it. I want to share the love of Christ, but there's this fear in me that freezes me. I was honest with God yesterday as I arrived in NYC. I told Him that I wanted to be willing to do anything. But I also told Him I couldn't promise Him I could always follow through. I couldn't promise Him that I wouldn't shrink back in fear at times, but I would try to follow through. My heart's desire is to be fearless and unashamed of the Gospel, but I'm not there yet in all honesty. My knees knock and my heart faints when I think of sharing the Gospel with others. I'm scared even to be in the city. I'm a country girl. I don't feel like I belong here, yet here I am. I feel like I could drown in such a huge city. My comfort zone is in my field with my guitar. This is another world to me, yet God has put me here. It's so unreal. I can't wait to see what He does in me and in those around me. I can't wait to see how I will be used by God.
Another reason NYSUM is hard for me is because during this time I'm letting go of some hopes and dreams, hoping I will get them back, but not having a promise that I will. It's very scary to place something in God's hands not knowing if you will get it back, but that's what God has asked me to do. God is teaching me to rely fully on Him and no one else. As hard as this is, there is peace in the midst of it. I don't know what my time here holds for me, but I know that God has me in His hands. He's been so faithful to show me that.

So the first experience I had in the city was this morning on a rooftop. Me and one other person on my team was asked to lead in worship on the rooftop as we prayed for the victims of 9-11. Up there we could see the whole city. It was beautiful. We interceded and worshiped over the city. It was just amazing to be there singing to God. I may never get to do anything like that again, so it was very special. I've posted some pictures of the view.
I do not have a lot of time, so this is a short one. However, keep me and my class in prayer, as I'm sure there will be warfare against us as we minister to dark places. Pray for unity and focus for all of us. Blessings to you! Thank you for reading. Hopefully I will be able to write again soon.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Old Dreams Remembered

I haven't written in awhile, mostly because I haven't had anything worthwhile to say. I've been in a discouraged gloom lately which God has been working me through. It's like since I left Elim my heart has become cold to the things of God. I wasn't sure why. It's not like I ever wanted it that way. What I've begun to realize is that God is pulling away from me that I might draw near to Him. He's showing me that if I really want to do this thing, if I really want to make a difference, I need to be committed to it. God needs to be my first thought when I wake up in the morning. He needs to be my driving passion. His love and passion need to be the center of who I am and the reason I do everything. It can't be unless I learn to run after God even when He seems far away. God can not entrust us with greater anointing or greater tasks until He sees that we are committed.
These past few months I've felt like God has forgotten His promises to me. I also felt like I failed Him and that I was doing something wrong. The things He promised me seemed forgotten. He gave me all these promises that He wanted to use me to make a difference, but here I was with no visible fruit in my life. I finally got honest with God. Did you know that God wants us to be honest with Him whether we have a good attitude or not? He already knows what is going on. So many times we walk around saying that God is good and that we are doing great when on the inside we are screaming, "I can't do this anymore! I can't pretend that I'm satisfied! God, where are you and what are you doing? I'm done being fake! I'm angry, I'm upset and I'm hurt and confused!" God already knows our hearts, but He wants us to know what is going on too. Sometimes we don't understand what is going on inside us until we vent it out to God. This is what happened to me last week. I told God that I felt like He forgot me. It's funny how very often when we are honest with God, He speaks to us powerfully or at least finally addresses the issue. All weekend I've been going to these meetings with worship leader/speaker Roy Fields and his wife. God is definitely with their ministry and it's clear they are after the heart of God. God spoke to me so clearly last night and just removed all my discouragement. I heard Him say in my spirit, "I have NOT forgotten you!" It was so powerful. I'm starting to remember the dreams He gave me a long time ago. The dreams that I had forgotten because they seemed so far away and so unrealistic. I feel so incapable of living up to those dreams. But God confirmed to me last night that He is making me ready for these things and that these dreams are from Him. He puts dreams in our hearts. He puts BIG dreams in our hearts so that we cannot accomplish them without Him.
Something else God has spoken to me this weekend is that my music needs to be about Him. I've realized that when I lead worship I focus so much on my voice sounding good that I forget who I am singing to. When I lead worship or sing I want to make God famous. I don't want to just sing songs... I want His power and anointing to change lives through my voice. I no longer want the credit given to me. Instead of people complimenting my voice, I want people to tell me that God touched them powerfully in worship. I don't want to play these games anymore. I want to be where God wants me. I don't want to push myself to be anywhere unless God says that's where He wants to use me. Enough of my own agenda! It never works anyways. I want to be used by God powerfully and I want to know His heart. I want to go where I am put by Him.
I'm remembering that God is all that matters. I'm once again so hungry to know Him and to be touched once again by Him. One touch from Him will change you forever. Once you are touched by Him you realize that He is so wonderful. Nothing will ever satisfy you again but Him, because nothing compares with Him. No one else holds a candle to Him. He is so beautiful and marvelous. Why do we run elsewhere when He is everything we need? I want people to see Jesus in everything I do. I don't want to hold anything back from God anymore. His way is best and it always will be.
If you are feeling discouraged like God can never use you, I believe that God would say to you, "Watch me!" Surrender yourself to His will and His plan. See what He does! What do you have to lose? You are discouraged and depressed, you can only go up! Let Him show His glory through you! If you thought you were capable, God couldn't show His glory through you as much. He wants all the credit. Just remember, the pressure is all on God, not you. He will come through for you!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

New and Old.

It's been so long since there has been a rainy day here. I'm sitting in my room with my fan on with the smell of rain sweeping into my window. My poetic mind is reminded that even in the times of life when it rains and you can't see the sun, there is always an aroma of God's grace there, we just have to look for it. I've been in a time of swiftly moving forward in my life, but yet trying to not forget memories, even the ones that hurt me. As I was talking to a friend last night about my past, I realized that it's hard for me to connect with my past. I don't know who I was back then. It's not always easy for me to look back and smile, simply because I don't know that girl anymore. I was living in hurt for so long and I finally feel so happy. So what do I make of the memories of the old me? What do I do with them? I could let them control who I am today. I've done that for awhile. It's been hard for me to let anyone get close to me because I'm so scared of losing them. The truth is is that God brings people into our lives to love. He brings friends into our lives for a reason. Instead of dwelling on the hurt of friendships or relationships not working out, it's good to be grateful that we've had those times. God is bringing to me a place where I can realize that I have a blessed life. I'm blessed to have been a part of peoples lives even if I am not now. I'm also realizing that I don't need to be scared to let new friends be close to me. Even if I lose them one day, I can look back and smile on the fond memories we have together. Through all the hurt and pain, I can finally look back and see God's blueprint on my life. I don't understand everything, but I know that I am a better person today because of all the people God put in my life and all the hurt that I went through. The truth is, you can't love anything or anyone without being hurt. People are imperfect and we all hurt each other. Loving is a risk. I love what C.S. Lewis said, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves 
When we open our hearts up to love, we are opening ourselves up to hurt. But we can't just live in a coffin and ever expect to truly be happy. Relationships with God and others is what makes life meaningful. It's not success or hobbies or money or talent, or romance... it's the relationships -- the ones that are fulfilling and the ones that break your heart.
I'm learning a lot about who I am. There is no reason I should change who I am for anybody. This is definitely a work in progress for me, because I always have wanted people to like me. I love people and I want them to love me back, but unfortunately that can't always be the case. I'm slowly beginning to know who I am and be comfortable with that. The truth is, I am a Jesus loving, curly-haired, strong-willed goofy, hyper, sometimes shy, weirdo...and that is okay. I have my issues, but we all do. Why do we try so hard to be perfect? We aren't. God knows we aren't. If we have given Him control of our lives we are under His grace. We should want to be like Him, but when we fall short (and we will everyday) it is okay. He knows we are only dust.
This summer is taking a crazy turn. I was rather annoyed at God that I was not going to Africa this summer yet again. Then I thought maybe He wanted me to go to Florida to see my family instead. When that didn't work out either I was like, "God, what the heck? I thought you had an adventure this summer? I feel like I have nothing to look forward to." I started to accept the fact that I was just going to work this summer and I felt peace about it. I really wanted to use my gifts for ministry or something. Then I thought maybe God just wanted to use me at work, which I think He is. He's given me such a love for the people there. I'm excited to get to know everyone more. But I wanted more for this summer. I wanted to do something even more exciting. Well, God provided. He swung a door wide open for me. I will not be specific yet because I don't find it necessary, but God is definitely making this summer way more exciting than I expected! God is so faithful to blow my expectations. I'm still so amazed at what He is doing in my family and in my life! What a blessing I am living right now! I thought I was going to miss Elim like crazy, but the truth is, I miss everyone, but I'm so excited about what God is doing now I'm in no hurry to get back. I'm content.
Well, I will hopefully find time to write again soon. Blessings to you all!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Beautiful People... Beautiful Uncertainty.

God is so faithful. I got a great job that just landed in my lap. The people are great, and it pays pretty good. I had to get used to the idea of going to work everyday, seeing as how I became used to owning my own time. I received a pretty quick wake up call from real life. After the shock of it, I learned to accept the fact that I am an adult and I'm growing up. However, I will never allow myself to lose the simplicity and playfulness of a child. That's not something I ever want to part with, even when I'm old and grey with arthritis and no hearing.
Making time for God has been a struggle these past few weeks, although He's never far from my thoughts. I'm constantly asking Him to use me in the lives of those around me. I haven't told many of my co-workers, but I've grown to like them very much in just these few short weeks. I pray for them often and think of them often. Their personalities and interests are so different, but yet so beautiful. The more people I get to know, the more I learn to love the differences in everyone. It's amazing just how unique everyone is. God has been filling me with love for people to an extent I don't always understand or know how to express. I just feel like I'm overflowing sometimes and I want to pour God's love out on somehow. It sounds strange when I say it, but it's true. I just want people to know how beautiful their uniqueness is and that God made them that way. So few people know this. They feel the need to be like everyone else, not realizing they are compromising something very special Christ put in them: uniqueness. It's better for people to love you as you rather than love you for who you are pretending to be. As you read this you might be in the same place as I was at one point. I didn't know who I was, so I couldn't be me. God created you so He knows who you were meant to be. Ask Him to show you, and He will.
My life seems to be full of uncertainty right now. It's so easy to want to fight it and figure things out, but that would mess up God's lesson in the uncertainty. There have been some things that have consumed my thoughts so much that I've felt bad. I've said, "God, I'm so sorry You're not what is consuming my thoughts! I can't seem to focus." I just hear His still small whisper say, "My Kelsey, don't feel guilty for a lesson I am teaching you now." God knows our hearts and our struggles and wants to walk us through them. There's a few potential opportunities in my life now, but I don't know what God's will is for them. I want to record a cd, and I think it will happen but I don't know when or how. I feel God calling me to Africa, and I think it's for next summer, but I'm not totally sure. I have so many desires and passions rolling around in me, and I have no clue how they are going to fall into place. At first it drove me crazy. Now, I'm at peace. I'm sure at times I will become anxious again, but I'm slowly learning to embrace the uncertainty. I know that God's way is best. He's proven it to me again and again. I know that God sees the desires of my heart. He knows what I'm created for better than I do. I can trust my future with Him. Though my life is so uncertain right now, I know who is the author of my story and I know He delights in happy endings. I'll write again soon!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memories, Good and Bad.

I've decided I'm going to write more, if my schedule allows. I feel like I have so much inside of me that needs to be typed on sometimes. I might as well use my blog to do it. Maybe someone else can benefit from my ponderings other than myself.
As I've been home I've come to love it here once again. The atmosphere is so different than at Elim. It's not as sheltered or as safe, however it's the real world. I've been doing a lot of thinking. I'm by myself a lot and my mind gets wandering sometimes. I love my home, and I'm grateful for the beautiful countryside I live in. Before last February I was unable to really appreciate it here. Going home flooded me with memories I would have rather forgotten. It reminds me of my high school years. My high school years were very different, although not that long ago. It's only been a little over a year. Whenever I think back to high school, it makes me sad. The majority of what I can see is broken relationships, broken friendships, and broken hearts. Now don't get me wrong, compared to most people, I had it made. I have just lost many of my friends I thought I would always have. I suppose it hurts to know that they are moving on, experiencing a new life, and have forgotten about me. I'm not saying this for some sort of pity party. I find it interesting. Even though I've experienced much hurt the past few years, I can look back and see God's hand in it. I do not have an answer to every trial or every broken heart I've had myself or have caused, but I know that God taught me things. He matured me. He has shown me that people let you down, and we let people down, yet He is always there and will never leave. He's not about to give up on us or walk away from us because we've hurt Him. He's faithful to us. He never takes the side of the accuser, He always takes our side. I think before I went to Elim I did not realize how much I've learned the past few years through hard times. Some of my friends would experience hard things and I suddenly knew exactly what to say. I found myself thinking, "Wow, God! I didn't know that wisdom was in there!" If you stay close to God, it's when you are kicked around, hurt, rejected, confused and lonely when you grow and learn the most! It's NOT all for nothing. That has been a lie I've believed. I was convinced my high school years were a waste. "I could have gotten my GED and left high school early," I thought. But no, it was not God's plan. He knew I would be leaving prematurely. There were still lessons to be learned. If I was never hurt, I would have never learned how to let Him heal me. More importantly, if I was never hurt, I never would be able to understand the hurts of others. I truly believe God is training to me to minister to broken hearts. I know others have experienced worse than I, much worse. I still know what a broken heart is, even if not to its greatest extent. I've learned to think that if what I've been through hurt that bad, how much worse does it feel for someone who has been through worse? My heart breaks for those who hurt. I wish I could help the mom sobbing wishing her baby to come home knowing he never will, or the wife who realizes her husband will never return from war. I know I can't, but my God can. He was there for me in smaller hurts than this, He will be faithful to be there for those suffering intense pain.
So when you are feeling like your sufferings and hurts have no purpose, please just remember that God will work it out for good if you let Him. You can fight Him, but He wants to give you a good life. He wants to use you. Don't even feel like what you're going through is for nothing. It may seem pointless, but with God, there is always a point to everything. Let Him lead you.
This post seems rather chaotic and random, but I hope someone receives from this. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Crippling Fear

My first year of college is finished! It's crazy how time flies, but at the same time it feels like this past year has been five years because of all that I learned and how much I've grown. It was hard to leave Elim. Even though it is just for the summer, it's hard to leave such a strong healthy community like that. You quickly become so entwined with one another's lives. It's also such a protected environment spiritually and emotionally. It's easy to live for God there. It's easy to feel safe and accepted more than any other place I've been. I don't think I realized just how different Elim was from home until I got home.
I was expecting to be spiritually attacked when I got home, because it normally happens. I wasn't expecting it to come in the way it did though. Usually I get hit with depression and gloom. I was determined not to let that happen again. I prayed often God would give me strength in that area. My attack didn't come is this way. It came in the area of fear...crippling fear. My first night home from Elim I began to feel very ill. I felt like the room was spinning, I became really hot and my heart started to pound. "Perhaps I didn't have enough protein," I thought to myself. So I began to eat nuts, but the feeling became worse and worse. "Am I having a heart attack," I thought. Surely I am to young for that. But as I thought about it I became fearful. I was afraid I needed to go to the hospital. I started to tremble all over. I must have scared my poor mother half to death! I asked her to pray with me. I couldn't seem to think straight. Everything was a blur and nothing made sense. I was trying to figure out if I needed to go to the hospital or if this was a spiritual attack. I asked God with the little strength I had to utter words. I began to realize it was a spiritual attack because every time my mom would touch my arm or say Jesus I started to shake more violently. I had no strength to do anything. I would try to worship or try to pray and shakes would overtake my body even more. "Oh God," I whispered, "I have no strength. Please help me. I can't do anything. Please help me." Whenever I would think it was starting to subside, it came back full force again. I listened for God's voice and heard, "Kelsey, you are fine. Nothing is wrong with you. You're going to be fine. Satan wants you dead." I told my mom what I heard and we starting saying it out loud. Slowly, the shaking starting to stop. As truth was spoken, the lie began to die. The lie that I was going to die or that something was seriously wrong with me. I started to sing Jesus over and over. Then I started to sing "There is Power in the Name if Jesus." The shakes subsided completely. My mom and I breathed a sigh of relief. This may sound crazy, or impossible, or psychotic, but I've never had anything happen like this to me. Since then I've had about 3 incidents like this but much milder. It happened once in church while I was on worship team. I didn't shake but I had major anxiety. Same thing happened on the way to the doctors last week, and the last thing I wanted to share was what happened last night. Before I went to bed I was worshiping and spending time with God. I went to bed feeling so full of peace. I was asleep for about an hour and I woke up with thoughts like, "What if God isn't really real? Maybe this is all in my head. What if I died tonight? What would happen?" I was overwhelmed with fear. I cried out to God, "Show me you're here God. Show me it's not in my head." I'd try to relax but I couldn't. I once again listened for God's voice and I heard Him again. "You're safe, you're loved, you're accepted.You're safe, you're loved, you're accepted," I heard Him say over and over and over again. I slowly relaxed and fell asleep.
You may think I'm a mental case now, and that's okay. I shared this that you might know how to battle with fear and doubt. I know God must be having me go through all this for some reason, and I'm sure He doesn't mind me sharing with you what I've learned from it all. When you are attacked, listen for the voice of peace. God is there speaking to you. Find His voice in your situation. Listen to what He says and declare it out loud. That's God speaking truth into your situation. He's there with you even when you feel overwhelmed and confused. He's there to be the voice of truth. Don't listen to the lies of the enemy. I'm certainly no expert, but I'm learning and so far this is the only thing that's been working. Maybe you aren't sure of God's voice. Maybe you doubt that you can hear Him. If you've accepted Christ, you can hear Him. It takes practice to recognize His voice. Start by reading your Bible. Read Jesus' words a lot. You can learn to recognize His voice by really getting His Word inside you. Read and meditate and memorize! Yes...memorize. That's one I have to work on. Also, journal. Write down what you think God is saying to you, even if you're not sure if it's Him. Practice makes perfect. God will show you if you're wrong. Obviously if it doesn't line up with Scripture it's not accurate. That's why learning the Word is important. But don't be so afraid to hear God wrong. You can't learn anything unless you're willing to make a mistake now and then. God's grace covers you. The truth is, you will hear wrong sometimes, but don't let that stop you from listening and stepping out on what He says. You'll learn quickly His voice. I'm simply sharing my heart and what God has taught me recently and within the past five years or so. He wants to speak to us and He is. Are you listening? He has so much to teach us! And we can only fight against the attacks of the enemy if we know His Word and know His voice. Knowing the Word without knowing His voice is not enough. You need to know His voice in order that He can speak into your specific situation. Knowing His voice without the Word is not enough. You are bound to get wrong ideas and not hear His voice accurately without the Word to guide you. I hope this is helpful to someone. God is the conqueror. In Him is victory. So don't fear if you feel like you're being kicked around by the enemy. So am I. And I can tell you God has something to impart to you and something to teach you in all of this.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Where has Time Gone?

Here I am at the end of the second semester and I can't believe it's gone by so fast, yet so slow at the same time. It seems like I've lived a whole new life here. It's probably because I have. I feel like a totally new person compared to who I was last year around this time. This year has been a healing process and a growing process. I finally feel free from my past, and everything that used to hold me down and come back to haunt me. God has finally showed me the purpose in it all...well most of it anyways. I've decided I really don't need to know absolutely everything. What would the fun be in that? God is showing me this semester that even if I don't know what's going on, He does and that's good enough.
This semester has been harder than last for a few different reasons. I will not get into all the reasons, but let's just say it has been emotionally, spiritually, physically, and mentally draining. I've struggled all this semester with fear of not being in God's will. It really tormented me. I want so badly to do what is right to the point that my closest friends were telling me I was a perfectionist. I thought, "Me? A perfectionist? How can that be true?" My view of a perfectionist is someone who gets perfect grades and has a clean room and is organized. Well God showed me that's not always the case. I wanted to be perfect at being a Christian. I didn't want to ever offend anyone or ever hurt anyone or ever disobey God or ever cause anyone any grief. It was to the point that I had an emotional breakdown one day. Something happened that I won't get into, and I started to blame myself for it. Suddenly I found myself thinking hateful thoughts against myself. God showed me that when I put that much pressure on myself to be perfect, I'll start hating myself. Only He can clean me out and make me holy. I didn't even realize I was trying to fix myself. I realized that over the years people put pressure on me to be perfect. If people ever heard how at home I disobeyed my parents as a kid they would say things like, "Kelsey? Nooo....I can't believe Kelsey would do that." Because of this, I felt like people expected me to be perfect from a young age. The need to do everything right was planted so deep in my heart and God has been working that out of me. Yes, it's good to want to do things right, but only God can help us do things right. We can't rely on ourselves like I did. We'll end up worn out and full of self hatred. God showed me that if my heart was to do His will, I was already in His will. It's all about the heart with Him. He knows I want to follow Him. I can't miss His will because of this. There's still things he hasn't made clear to me as of now, but I'm hoping He will soon. Even if He doesn't, I'm content. He takes good care of me all the time.
One thing I was praying about was going to Harvest School of Missions over this summer. It didn't end up working out for this summer, however I will be going next summer if I get accepted. Check it out if you'd like: . It's in Mozambique and I would get the chance to work with orphans, to feed the hungry, to pray for the sick, and to evangelize to bush areas. I can't express to you how excited I am to do this! I have been praying for a while about going to Africa. I thought about going the Uganda Water Project or staying with a missionary in Rwanda, but in my spirit it wasn't connecting. I knew I was supposed to go to Africa, but my heart wasn't lining up with these previous trips. It didn't feel like it was what I was called to do. Then I started hearing about this school. Finally I looked it up and as I read about it I started to cry and was filled with joy. I immediately knew this was what was in my heart to do. I started praying about going this summer. I was thinking about going and in was like God's voice interrupted my thoughts and said, "Go!" However, the spots were full for this summer. So I'm sure I'm supposed to go next summer. Whoever is reading this, if you could keep me in your prayers as I start to fund raise this summer and prepare to go that would be great. I'm excited, but at the same time I'm terrified! I've never been overseas before. I know God is speaking to me about nations though. I never would have thought God would ask me of all people to go to a crazy adventure to Africa.
As I've been thinking about this, I'm starting to think of other things God may ask me to do after Elim. I've grown to love and adore so many people here and the thought of us going are separate ways is heart-breaking. I can't imagine these people out of my life. They are my family as well as my immediate family. I feel like God never intended us to have to say goodbye. Once we're in heaven, we'll always be able to be together. It hurts so much to think of saying goodbye now though. I've felt my heart grow in love for so many people here. What's funny is most of them I thought unlikely to be close friends with. No particular reason, I just didn't see us as friends, but now I can't imagine my life without them. I love my Jesus and all the blessings He's given me. Some of them will be harder to let go of than others though. My friends will be hard to let go of...even for the summer. Seeing people every single day makes you close to them so fast.
Well, hopefully I'll be writing again soon. Love and Prayers to you and your family!