Friday, May 30, 2008

God's Sense of Humor

Last night, I went to bed hearing thunder off in the distance. Before I fell asleep, the distance had gone and the storm was here. Torrential rains poured down on my house, lightening flashed, and thunder roared. I listened to the sounds of nature, praying they were a simple thunderstorm and no more. I contemplated checking the weather to see if tornadoes were anticipated. Tornadoes have a tendency to appear when least expected, and I expected them last night therefore there would not be any. After all, God is in control and if a tornado blows my house over, in His loving arms I'll be. This storm made me think back to one several years ago.

I was still in high school one evening when a storm rolled through. We'd eaten dinner but no schoolwork had been done when the power went out. Our power goes out quite frequently. It's created problems and since then we've put in a generator. However, the generator only powers certain rooms and appliances (the sub pumps, the refrigerator, the furnace, etc.). Needless to say, my bedroom and computer aren't on the generator. It was going to be incredibly difficult to get my homework done in a dark bedroom. It would be just as hard to get my homework done in the lighted kitchen where my sisters were panicking and the radio was blaring.

Frustrated due to my overload of work and inability to do it, I opted not to do any homework for the few hours we were without power and just sit and enjoy the storm. Grumbling and moaning about the lack of power, I sat on the couch in the front room and watched the lightening, listened to the thunder, and peered out into our eerie neighborhood sans electricity. The lightening was lame and when I whispered,
"God, this is a boring storm" a huge bold of lightening flashed and thunder cracked shaking the whole house. He would make a liar out of me! The lightening got much more interesting after that.

Finally, I stopped my complaining and began to thank God for the nice break from the world. How I needed it because I was feeling overworked, underpaid, and not appreciated (just a perk of being middle class and educated). If taking the power away was the only way He could get my attention, so be it. Thank You.

At that very moment, the power came back on and a floor light was shining brightly into my eyeballs. Wow, You're funny. Lesson learned.

<>< Katie

"The men were amazed and asked, 'What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him [Jesus]!'" Matthew 8:27

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Light of the World

I had written a blog about garbage men and trash pickers, but it really had no point, so I deleted it and started over with something more useful. Then I wrote a second one but didn't like it either... so now we're on attempt three, I hope you like it!

God calls us to be a light to the world. I want to encourage you not to be like the light over the sink in my dorm room.

This light turns on quite slowly so you stand in a dark room for a minute or two before it finally decides it'll light up. Don't be slow to answer God's call, but trust in Him whether you understand it or not. (Chances are, normally it will be the latter).

This light randomly goes out. My roommate and I will be sitting there and all of the sudden the room gets darker. The first time it happened, we thought the light was broken and put in a work order. When the maintenance man came, the light turned on and worked fine. We were embarrassed and he had less work to do one day. Don't go out when you need God the most. Don't hide behind a bushel. Stand firm.

This light also has a tendency to flicker back on then off again. On again, off again. Do you always follow Christ or do you flicker in your obedience? Do you follow today, disobey tomorrow?

Ok, maybe one of the other two blogs I wrote this morning was better, but I'm not starting over again. Sorry all. I need a job.

<>< Katie

"I [Jesus] have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness." John 12:46

Sunday, May 25, 2008

And They Say Southerners are Hospitable!

Since it's a holiday weekend there are no youth events at church this week. Mom and I went to the early service (for the first time in my life!), went to Starbucks, then came home and went to a local church. I must admit it was a bit strange to be double-dipping on church. It's as if saying the first sermon wasn't enough, I need a second one (but actually, the first sermon was more applicable). The weirdest part was taking communion twice in one day, especially considering how often I take communion throughout the rest of the year. When I though about it: I had sinned since the first time I took it today. I was aggravated with the driver who cut me off. I was snippy with the cashier who couldn't get my order right. I was frustrated with my sisters. My emotions were all out of whack. :-) But, this isn't a confessional.

Our church and this local church are merging in the near future, and we wanted to see what this church was like. The pastor started the service announcing there were more visitors than members among the 35 congregants present today. Wow! Later during the prayer, he prayed for Pastor Mike by name. Prayed for Pastor Mike's leadership, wisdom, and Godly obedience... Now that's not something we hear everyday. Our prayers for Pastor Mike are usually more jokes: prayers for safe travel and thanks that he's gone... It made me think of Bob's lesson last week at youth group about encouraging each other. Even though jokes and playful teasing can be good and funny, we need to show just as much love.

After church, we were talking to a woman we know from the area. She was so excited to see us because it's been awhile and asked us what brought us to church. We explained what church we were from and suddenly there were a plethora of people around us.

"You're from there?! We've seen your beautiful facilities! Are you a part of this ministry? When does this pastor preach next because we've never heard him? We love everything your church is doing! We're so excited for the merger!"

To put it lightly, they were ecstatic! They are anxiously awaiting this merger to come to fruition. It's so exciting to see God working from the other side. Any reservations I had about the merger before have now been eliminated. Even though I'm not always keen on some of the things my church does and some of their choices, this is a good choice.

Learning to see the other side of the story,
<>< Katie

PS. I know it was not ironic that the pastor preached on Isaiah and read the benediction from Ephesians. :-)

"See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. " Isaiah 49:16

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tragedy for Steven Curtis Chapman's family

Steven Curtis Chapman's youngest daughter, Maria, was killed in a traffic accident in her driveway last night. See

The Chapman family had celebrating Emily's engagement.
They had been celebrating Caleb's high school graduation.
And now they're planning a funeral for their five year old.

In 1999, Steven wrote "With Hope" for a different five year old who died in a tragic traffic accident.

"This is not at all
How we thought it was supposed to be.
We had to many plans for you.
We had so many dreams.
And now you've gone away,
And left us with the memories of your smile.
And nothing we can say,
And nothing we can do,
Can take away the pain,
the pain of losing you, but...

"We can cry with hope.
We can say good-bye with hope
'Cause we know our goodbye is not the end, oh no.
And we can grieve with hope
'Cause we believe with hope
(There's a place by God's grace)
There's a place where we'll see your face again.
We'll see your face again.

And never have I known
Anything so hard to understand.
And never have I questioned more,
The wisdom of God's plan.
But through the cloud of tears,
I see the Father's smile and say well done.
And I imagine you
Where you wanted most to be
Seeing all your dreams come true
'Cause now you're home
And now you're Free...

We have this hope as an anchor
'Cause we believe that everything
God promised us is true

We wait with hope
And we ache with hope
We hold on with hope
We let go with home."

<>< Katie

"Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him." 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

Monday, May 19, 2008

Uno Mas

This started as a game with my friends from high school, but I'm pretty sure I've never played with them. :-) My church friends now love it, and we play every chance we get (we even played in a bus once!). It involves going around a round-about repeated while giggling and screaming "Uno Mas! UNO MAS!" ("One more! One more!").

It's really fun (and funny). The problem is: you waste gas and don't go anywhere. You drive in circles again and again and again until the passengers get dizzy, the driver is bored, or another car comes.

Sometimes do you drive in circles repeatedly with God? Keep passing by the same spot but never really going anywhere? Sometimes you have to hit the turn signal and exit the round-about. It's not easy. Driving in circles is much more fun but moving on is much more productive.

<>< Katie
Disclaimer: Do not play on big round-abouts with lots of cars nor at busy times of the day. Round-abouts in parking lots work very well. This blogger is not responsible for any injuries, dirty looks, nor tickets as a result of playing Uno Mas.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I've had this song stuck in my head all day. I don't know what it's called, but it goes, "Lord, I wanna burn for you, I wanna yearn with passion. Lord, I wanna burn." (Or something like that). I don't really like that song because I don't really like fire (for understandable reasons to be expressed at some other time), yet what did God speak to me through today?

I hung out with Brianne again today, and, unlike on Monday, we had a bonfire. This was an atypical bonfire because it was in the middle of the day. Brianne, however, had a blast, and now her summer can officially start. :-) She's not the best fire-building, but she's an amazing fire-player. As I was watching her (from a significant distance, might I add) play with the fire, God spoke to me. Sort of twice.

Brianne loves to have a stick in the fire at all times. No matter what she's doing, she has to be playing with the fire. Well, she kept throwing small branches on the fire. She threw a plethora of small branches on the fire. Enough small branches on the fire and she almost smothered the fire. Branches are good for building up the fire, but too many and the fire is put out.

God's work in our lives is kind of like that. Small changes are good, but too many small changes at once and we turn away from Him. (Maybe that's the Lutheran in me talking...)

Another way God spoke to me through the fire was through the ashes on the bottom of the fire pit. At one time the ashes were good, solid wood that was helpful in fueling the fire. However, later on they became less helpful and even bothersome. If the ashes weren't forgotten about and were turned over, they once again became helpful in providing oxygen to the fire.

Some of our experiences are helpful at the time in growing us closer to Christ. Yet, if we just leave them in the past and move on, they are no longer helpful. If we look back on them and revisit them, we can continue to grow from the good and bad times.

Ok, so that sounded a lot cooler in my head.

<>< Katie

"I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed." Malachi 3:6

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

God's Bandaid

I'm starting to feel like Natalie: within ten seconds of me being out of bed this morning God spoke to me. To make it better: it was something kinda science-y. (Or at least body-related). haha

This morning I went to put my contacts in and there was this huge scab right above my eyebrow. It was at least a centimeter in diameter. Yesterday I kept randomly finding blood on my finger but not that much blood and it was nowhere else but this one finger, so I don't have a clue how off the sudden I had this big scab in the middle of my FACE! I have no idea where it came from, but it didn't matter: it need to go away before my final at 8am. I had two choices:
1. Pick it off
2. Attempt to cover it up with makeup.

The first seemed easier, so I started picking off ... God's band aid. Here God was healing some obscure blemish on my face and I was doing everything I could to work against Him.

How often does God start working on something in our lives, we think He's doing it wrong and it's ugly, so we do everything in our power to change it. Sometimes we try to cover it up. Other times we try and undo everything He's doing. Either way: we think He's wrong and we're right. After all, could He have any idea what having a huge bloody scab on my face could do to my entire day? Of course He knows, but He knows the healing will make it all worth it in the end.

Sorry, that was a bit more graphic than I'm sure you wanted, but come on: was it anything we don't do? At least I was in my room and not in the bathroom! (Right, Natalie? :-))

<>< Katie

"Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. " Habakkuk 1:5

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

What just happened?

I have never taken an American Sign Language course in my life. Before August, I knew one deaf person and she doesn't sign. I knew like four words in ASL (No, I'm not kidding... Four signs: God, Jesus, worthy, and "I love you").

Last week when [my hard-of-hearing friend] Renee suggested we study together I was down right terrified. I've learned enough sign to hold my own in a short conversation and I like to watch conversations at dinner, but study together for multiple hours? And history? I don't even know the sign for the United States of America. Plus, Renee signs quite fast. Even if I could understand every fourth sign, what were the chances I could carry on a conversation with her and actually study? To help calm my nerves, I asked a mutual friend, Lizzy [name changed for confidentiality], to study with us. Unfortunately, she couldn't that day. So Renee and I studied together. And by studied together I mean studied the same thing sitting next to each other. We did this two or three times before Lizzywas actually able to join us. Each time I learned more sign, and we were actually able to communicate together.

Renee, Lizzy, and I studied together again last night. This time we really studied together, quizzing each other, and everything. For awhile I was wondering what the heck I was thinking trying to study history in a foreign language with two native speakers, but it worked out really well! I learned a lot of sign and a lot of history.

A little over halfway through our study session, we decided to take a break and go play BINGO. After the first round, Lizzy looked at me and said,
"If you want to help me interpret, that'd be great."
WHAT? Are you kidding me? It made more sense for me to interpret because I was sitting across from Renee and Lizzy was sitting next to her, making it harder to sign but still! So, I tried. I mean, how hard can it be to interpret Bingo, right? O 66. I 33. B 14. Relatively easy, right? Well, yes. Except that I didn't know any numbers above ten. So, I'm struggling through this Bingo game, apologizing for being a crappy interpreter. Renee said I wasn't that bad and she was helping me learn numbers like 12 and 13 (I missed those up EVERY TIME... haha).

Chief (the caller) announced this would be the last game and the president was paying $100 to the winner.
Phew, we're almost done! I thought.
Chief made a call and I hear Renee's voice,
"Bingo!" What?! Well, someone else across the way with a louder voice had screamed it almost simultaneously and Chief heard his scream before hers. We urged Renee to go up anyway (she said it first, in all honestly). The president decided to give all three winners $100!

So, my first interpreting experience and she wins $100! How cool is that? :-)
Once again, God's shoved me out of my comfort zone, but He hasn't forgotten about me. He's still right there! I love that about Him. :-D

Still learning to listen,
<>< Katie

"The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? " Psalm 118: 6

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Let God Shine

After a great coffee talk with Laura, Chelsy, Heather, Christa, Annie, Morgan, Liz, Natalie, and Russell I made a pit-stop on the way into the caf. I then felt like Natalie because God spoke to me while I was in the bathroom. :-)

I was in the ladies' bathroom in the top of the caf building (side note: that bathroom is so awkward!) and I was looking at the granite counter top. I'm pretty sure they installed them backwards.

Most granite has certain fish-scale like sparkles that can be seen only on one side. Most people are oblivious to this fact. In fact, the installer and owner of the company that installed our granite had never heard of this before. Looking at the granite from one direction it looks normal. Beautiful, but nothing extraordinary. Going to the other side of our island, the granite pops! The flakes catch the light just right and it shines! (Sometime when you're at my house, ask me to show it to you because it's kind of hard to explain). When we installed our counters, we asked that the sparkle side be facing toward the dinette--or out so all of our guests could see it--instead of towards the kitchen--or in to where we could see it.

I was looking at the counter tops in the bathroom and God said,
"Katie, sometimes you're kind of like the backwards granite counter top. I'm always there just like the sparkles but I'm facing in. You've got your counter top turned around so you're keeping the sparkles to yourself. You don't let the world see see Me shine; you keep Me to yourself."

It made me think of Christina's favorite song growing up: "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it... Hide it under a bushel? NO... I'm gonna let it shine... Don't let Satan blow it out... I'm gonna let is shine."

Are you letting your Sparkles shine or are you keeping them all to yourself?

In Christ,
<>< Katie

"For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ." 2 Corinthians 4:6

Thursday, May 1, 2008

One Volunteer Hour Closer to Graduation

Our small group has been planning these afternoon volunteer trips to the nursing home near our school. Honestly, the elderly are out of my comfort zone so I've opted not to go. I was talking to Laura about it the other day and she ran the guilt trip, "It's a really good way to give back." Yes, I know, but that doesn't mean I like it! There are other ways to give back then just working with the elderly! Well... needless to say, she finally got me to come.

As Laura and I were walking to her car I said a quick prayer in my head,
"Lord, You know this isn't my favorite thing to do but bless this time. Make this trip worth my while, and, please, if at all possible, don't push me too far out of my comfort zone. Amen." Short and sweet. :-)

Laura and I met up with Natalie, who'd already been working there for awhile. We ran around the building playing "Marco Polo" looking for her. Just kidding, but only a little... Laura and I did walk in circles for a good five minutes (You'd think we'd have learned from the river adventure... not so much).

We found Natalie and the festival we were supposed to be helping out with had just finished. The lady was unsure what exactly to have us do and finally she said,
"Well, I have a job for you, but it involves a lot of writing."

Natalie admitted that was fine and she got us settled. She had us working on some paperwork that didn't really involve A LOT of writing. Either way, when she handed us those pens, I knew God had heard (and answered) my prayer. He understood I wasn't comfortable with the elderly so He found another job we could do and still give back the community. How great is our God? :-D Just because He forces us outside of our comfort zones doesn't mean He deserts us there. He walks us through every step of the way (and sometimes we have to walk in the same place more than once, right, Laura?). He won't give you more than you can handle (like some little old lady you can't understand with her heavy drawl).

I'm glad sacrificed part of an afternoon when I could have (should have) been studying. I'm also glad I got to play with pens all afternoon instead of people. My efforts were worthwhile, I am now one hour closer to graduation, and I stepped out of my comfort zone. (Ok, I feel like a certain gym teacher talking about comfort zones... I'm done now).

Yes, I will confess God has spoken to me in an unusual fashion: elderly and pens.
This is my God moment for the week. :-)

<>< Katie

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27