A Thank You to my Readers!!!

Hello all!
In my last post, I mentioned how, even though I disappeared from the blogging world, some of you out there continued to read my blog and what an encouragement that had been to me. I promised “more on that soon”. :D I have had this promise pulsing in the back of my mind since then, and I truly do not wish to disappear again, so here is my ‘further explanation’!
As a blogger, young lady, and Christian, I try not to post anything on my blog unless it truly promotes Christ. This is why you don’t get any/many posts about me and what I’ve been doing in my personal life and such. (I am not saying those types of posts are bad; I am not saying those who write blogposts as such are bad; and I am not saying that this conviction/standard/way of posting will never change for me. I am only stating how God has ‘led’ me to post thus far :D). Sometimes, I even feel guilty checking my blogs statistics, knowing that this isn’t supposed to be about me or how much people read my work, but it’s supposed to be about God and encouraging young ladies in their walks with Him, through me. (That is why I began this blog, after all :D) However, I do still check… :D
As you all know (unless you are new to my site :D) I’ve been off the radar for a sadly loooooong amount of time. While y’all surely noticed my lack of posts, there is one thing that nobody has noticed.

Except me(Well, and God ;-)

What I noticed over the past couple of months is how, even though I haven’t posted for forever and a day, according to my blog statistics people were/are still visiting, reading, and stumbling across it nearly every day. I've been on that part of my blog quite frequently; so while it seems I've been doing nothing, I did happen to be poking around in the background ;-)
Was that because of anything I, Katie, had done?
Was that because God was working? Because He is good, gracious, and can still use us even when we feel “unusable”?
But the neat thing is that REAL PEOPLE backed up those daily, much-larger-than-I-thought-they-would-be statistics.
You are not a statistic; you are a young woman, probably a lot like me, who read my blog.
And this is what I want to say to all of you who patiently waited me out, and continued to check my blog regularly for updates during this ‘dry spell’.
Thank you
It blessed my heart and uplifted me to know you were still checking things out
That you still cared
I know this probably seems shallow or unimportant to some people, but to log on and see how many people had visited, what posts they had read, and that they were keeping tabs on my blog even though I hadn't been posting—

Whoever you are—thank you.
By His grace, God used you to be a great encouragement to me!!!

In the Night Seasons...

(BEFORE YOU BEGIN: I do realize this is rather a lengthy post. :D But if you have time—especially if you are hurting or going through a season of darkness or a night season spiritually—please stick with me! Lol)

Perhaps, if you are observant, you have noticed my lack of posts here lately. *winks*
Okay. You do not even have to be observant! Any little kid could look at the date of my last post and say, “Wow! This lady hasn’t posted in months!
Some of you have still checked up regularly for anything new—and you have no. idea. what ‘behind-the-scenes-encouragement’ that has been to my soul! (but more on that soon!). Just know for now that I've greatly appreciated that.
But others may be wondering where I've gone.

I've got a comparison for you today…
Usually, I write posts based on what God gives me and excites me with (or ‘ouches’ me with) during my quiet time alone with Him.
Well, you know how my blog has had this…’lovely’…dry spell?
Yeah. :( :(  So has my walk with Jesus.
Hence the absurd lack of posts.
Someday I may (honestly hope) to get into ‘how’ and ‘why’, but that as well is for another post. Er… posts. 
But I did have something I wanted to share with you today.
Some of you may have deep, intimate walks with the Lord, and some of you may be new to talking to and hearing from Him daily. Whichever girl you are, if you’re anything like me, you’re prone to bouts of discouragement. The discouragement could be little “bummer days” or it could be full-blown dark spells of depression.
It doesn't matter how significant or insignificant your discouragement may seem to be—the important thing is that you feel it. And it hurts.
So often when I would experience these times, Titus-2 women in my life would point me to Psalms because, while we think of him as this great mighty warrior-king who did fantastic things for God and was a perfect man after His own heart, David had these seasons of discouragement too! In fact, I’ve gotten pointed there so often that it just got plain annoying. I got so deep into discouragement that it was like ‘I’ve read the Psalms. I know David felt depressed, too, but at this point NOTHING HELPS!’ In fact, nothing seemed to help. The Bible was dry, and God seemed so. far. away. I wasn’t deep into sin or anything, but it felt as though God had turned His back on me.
And yes! Of COURSE I knew better. Still, didn’t help the cold, frightening feelings of utter desolation go away.

Maybe you’re there, sweet sister. ((Pulls you into a tight hug)) Maybe, while you’re not that down in the dumps, you can at least relate. Or perhaps, you’ve never felt this before ((stop right now and praise Jesus for that fact and ask Him for the strength to not let go to Him if it should ever happen!!!!)) but you may know someone who does.
May I say something to you?
Did you know, that even though you’re in the absolute dark and you can’t see Him for the trees, Jesus is visiting you during this season (yes, this hideously ridiculous) season of darkness??

I found an index card in my Bible I had written on one night while I quickly, but finally, did my devotions.
This is (basically lol) what it said:

Psalm 17:3thou has visited me IN THE NIGHT” (cross references with Psalms 16:7in the NIGHT SEASONS”—it would be interesting to see what that meant in the Hebrew. “Seasons of darkness” maybe???”

So, of course, I looked it up just before beginning this post, and was surprised at what I discovered. Basically, the word for “night” in Psalms 17:3 and “night season” in Psalms 16:7 means/refers to “a twist (away of the light)… figuratively {meaning} adversity… (mid-)night (season).”
Deeper study into those words gave the picture of a twisting stairwell, and I had the mental picture of someone holding one of those antique-looking brass candlesticks in a dark stairwell, and as they turned around and ascended the rounding steps, taking the meager light farther and farther away.

Maybe that’s how you feel. I know I did/do. :( I felt as though it was Jesus with that candlestick, twisting Himself away from me and hiding the light from my face :(.
But of course, He hadn’t… that’s just how it FELT. And we as ladies know how to not allow ourselves to be overcome by our feelings… … right…?? (*Cough, cough* yeah right!!! ROFL)

Psalms 17:3 says that God had proved David’s heart and that God HAD VISITED HIM IN THE NIGHT {SEASONS} when it felt as though He were nowhere to be found!!!!! Verse 7 of chapter 16 tells us that the Lord had given David counsel, and that his “mind, or interior self” had given had instructed him in those night seasons.
Perhaps I was so {inwardly} focused on how much I was hurting and on how much I felt like Jesus was not there to actually take the time to inquire, to see that He really was there.
Please sister—don’t do that! :( It hurts. So. Bad. Does it hurt!
But (of course!) the verse doesn’t end there! David goes on:
“Thou has visited me in the night; though has tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.”
… …
“And shalt. Find. Nothing.”
Nothing for God to reproach him with.

I know that when God tried me, when trials came and God checked on me, He found P-L-E-N-T-Y He could reproach me with.

During the night season:
I stuck to it for a good long while (only by His grace), but eventually I gave up on reading my Bible.
I did it diligently every day (again, by His grace alone), but eventually I gave up deep thorough praying as well.
I kept going (thanks to my parents lol) but I didn’t even want to go to church!
Lots God could’ve reproached me for. I was quite far from the example David somehow set. My card went on:
“God, while at one point in my life {in this night season} I may have been able to say this with the Psalmist… I no longer can :(. If you were to “try me”… :( you’d find plenty to disappoint you; plenty of things to find that I’ve been doing wrong, not doing right, or not doing well enough or with the right motives. Or at all. :(”
What is really cool, really comfortingly wonderful, is this:
That God we feel has turned away?
Yeah. HE SPECIALIZES IN THE IMPOSSIBLE. HE’S THE GOD OF 2ND, 3RD, 40TH, 60TH, AND 189TH CHANCES! HE LOVES US WITH AN EVERLASTING PERFECT LOVE! He DOES. NOT. HATE. YOU. And you are NOT. BEYOND. HIS. HELP or REACH! He misses you, but He LOVES you! According to Hebrews 4:15, He GETS IT! HE UNDERSTANDS what you are going through!
“But I keep messing up!” you tell me. “I keep falling back into this black whole or getting sucked into it!” “How can He still love me after I’ve totally failed His testing me?!”

First of all, what you see as failure did NOT take Him by surprise. It doesn't make it right, but you didn't surprise Him one bit.
Secondly, I recently heard on a wonderful movie that God is able to love us so passionately, so relentlessly, even when we give up on Him (or even purposefully leave or abandon Him :( ) because His love is NOT DEPENDENT on us or on our actions.     Wow.

My devotional card for that night went on, though. And Lord willing this can help you. Even if it is the smallest measure of help:
Psalm 17:5 “Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.”  This needs to be my prayer, 24/7/365. (Also see Psalm 119:133) Verse 15 of Ps. 17 says “as for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.” This verse cross-references with Psalm 16:11, “…in thy presence is fullness of joy…”
During these two separate times of darkness for David, he came to realize, (right at the end was when he noticed it though! :D) that even in the darkness it was in the presence of his GOD that he found Fullness of Joy.
These verses don’t say that “in the presence of those who encourage or give me Godly counsel” is fullness of Joy. {Although HE in whose presence IS fullness of joy CERTAINLY uses and works through those wonderful people!} Fullness of Joy wasn't found in a host of other material things we may use to distract ourselves from the pain of the darkness. Nope.
Fullness of Joy, even in the darkness, is found in HIS presence.
HIS PRESENCE presents us with the FULLEST measure of Joy. The best :) of happy.
Thank you Jesus!

The one drawback about this simple yet profound ‘being in His presence’ thing is that it can be hard, especially when you’re hurting. But can I tell you a secret?
Even if it doesn't’t “work” right away, (as in magically making it all go away) It certainly helps!
Sister—perhaps, brother—you are not alone. And you are not without hope. God’s love for you is NOT dependent of you. Remember, while she surely felt most alone, it was during the NIGHT SEASON that David says the Lord “visited” him.

As alone as you feel, HE IS with you, and in His presence is FULLNESS OF JOY.

"Thing of the Past"... or Useful??

I've read in a couple different places lately how blogs are apparently a ‘thing of the past’.
News to me!
Not in my world, they aren’t!
I wondered how or if this could really be true, because most of the blogs I follow, frequent, or am continuing to learn of, have incredible followings and have wonderfully uplifting articles (and occasionally products! :D). So whether or not the information is true concerning the worth of a blog at this point in time, I began wondering (in my gloomy moods) if I shouldn't simply get rid of my blog altogether.
But there was always a little part of me loath to do it.
Then last week, through a list of “Helpful Resources for Single Women” given by Miss Ashley at the end of her encouraging eBook, Single Girl—The Single Woman’s Guide to Life, Liberty,and the Pursuit of Godliness (which you can order from her blog/website for only $4.95!!!) I came across the Time Warp Wife. I am not a wife at present, but do desire to be married some day, and I found so much practical advice to save and apply later on down the road. I was just so refreshed and encouraged by all I found on that and similar blogs, and a thought came to me—hit me, as it were.
Blogging is not a useless thing of the past.
I was encouraged from hopping from blog to Godly blog, and I’m not the only one out there that needs encouragement from time to time, whether it be in our practical daily lives, or in our walk with Christ! If these dear ladies blogs could be such an encouragement to me, surely God can use my blog to encourage other young ladies who need encouragement! Maybe you! :D :D :D

So, by God’s grace, I’m going to keep on posting. :D

And, whether you struggle with your single state or not, I highly recommend you check out—ahem! —buy Miss Ashley’s book—it spoke to me right where I was at! ♥

WHY People Flocked to Him (Part Two)

(That was mean of me to leave y’all hanging on that last post, wasn't it!? :D :D Bwah-ha-ha!)

At the end of my last post, I posed this question: Even though many of Jesus’ followers eventually turned away from Him, not all did! Many people received His message and flocked to Him--- WHY!?!?
My answer?
Because His message was different
Different than the hard, cold, dead religion they heard preached and saw exemplified in the religious leaders of their day.

-Because His message was different—it offered hope
-Because His words were laced with kindnessTHEY WERE DIFFERENT!
-Because His heart, His eyes, His words, His actions were (undoubtedly) overflowing with a palpable COMPASSION—compassion they could not find anywhere else! (Certainly not from the Pharisees)
-Because His mighty acts of power were different—He could do things nobody else could! Things everyone felt were impossible!
-Because His love was evidentblatant—obvious—THAT was DEFINITELY different!
-Because His life was different!!! (Mark 1:35)
-Because He had authority—He WAS Authority- where others did not, no matter how much they pretended to the contrary—and that was different! (His genuineness as He spoke. He lived what He taught, unlike the religious leaders.)

Are we sensing a theme here? :D
Jesus’ life, words, actions, attitude, lifestyle was different~~ and it was obvious~~ from that/those of the world’s. And that OBVIOUS DIFFERENCE ATTRACTED SINNERS TO HIM. And when they came to Him—out of need, intent search, or simple curiosity—He was able to give the GOSPEL (Mark 1:15) whether or not they stuck with Him after that…whether or not they chose to believe the Gospel… because of His obviously different, yet attractive life, people heard—and often received!! :D His Message!

And why is that such a big deal???????

Because that is how my life, YOUR LIFE, by His grace and only for His glory, should look! Attractively different! To allow Jesus to seep out of me and draw others to Him! To bless others through me! That’s now it should be!!!

There can be this mixed up message in modern Christianity today that says “in order to reach the (lost and dying) world, we need to act, behave just like them We need to wear what they wear—we need to enjoy what they enjoy. In order to reach them, we need to listen to and sing their genre of music. We need to accept societies rules and conform to them instead of seeking to reform them. We need to conform to these societal norms so that they will see that we’re not a threat—we are no different from them and that there’s no need to be “freaked out” by our “religion”.  :(
WHAT!? >:(

Jesus never did that!!!

And yet… people flocked to Him!
Jesus was different, but that difference was joy, LOVE, health, compassion. That difference was TRUTH.
Difference doesn't have to be stifling
            Difference doesn't have to be frumpy.
                        Difference doesn't have to be forced, religious, or legalistic.
Difference needs to be genuine.
                                                Difference needs to be Joy :D :D :D
Difference needs to be Jesus living through us and loving others through us 

(not condemning them though, because Jesus doesn't condemn us!)
<3 <3

People Flocked to Him... Why? (Part One)

I am someone who nearly always focuses on the negative. Last week, I went into my Bible reading with the mindset that Jesus was “despised and rejected”—that “He came unto His own and His own received Him not—that nobody listened to Him or appreciated His message.
And all of these things are true!!
His own did reject Him…
                        At least initially. While His own brothers and family members portrayed animosity towards Him during His earthly ministry, at least one of them (perhaps two. At this uneducated, un-studied out further state, I’m not quite sure) eventually became one or two of His most avid believers, even penning one, perhaps two, books of the New Testament! (I’m speaking of James and possibly Jude.)
            And certain people (read Scribes, Pharisees, Rich-Young-Rulers lol) most definitely did not appreciate His message.
            And He was despised and rejected of men…
But not ALL men!
As I read through the first chapter or so of the Gospel of Mark, I began to realize that (at least at first, and perhaps then only because of the miracles He did) EVERYBODY FLOCKED to this Man!!! In verses 16-19, the disciples “straightway” dropped their work and followed Him. His fame was noised abroad “throughout all the region round about Galilee” in verse 28. In verse 33, “all the city was gathered at the door” of the house of Peter and Andrew where Jesus was; in verse37, “all men sought Him”! When instructed to keep quiet, the healed leper “BLAZED ABROAD” the matter of Man Who had healed Him :D LOL :D! In fact, it got so ‘bad’ that Jesus couldn’t go into that city anymore (or at least for a while) because they thronged Him so much! They came out of the woodwork— “out of every quarter” (verse 45) to see Jesus. And in chapter 2, when Jesus went back into Capernaum, after a few days it was “noised” (someone let the cat out of the bag—lol) that He was there and right away, so “many were gathered together” so much so “that there was no room to RECEIVE THEM!!! NO, not so much as at the door!” (Verses 1-2) Verses 3-4 tell of the palsied man having to be let down through the roof because they couldn’t get to Him by way of the door!!!!! :D
I mean


(That’s our God, btw :D)
And, yes, I know we learn that eventually “many of His disciples turned away from following after Him” :D But not all did! Many people received His message and flocked to Him.

(To be continued… :D :D)

Think about it! From the examples given, and even from what you know of Jesus and the Gospels, why do you think people flocked to Jesus?

Intense Truths and Leaky Buckets

You may be thinking, “What kind of a post-title is that?!:) And you’d be justified—rest assured, we’re getting to that. :D

For those of you who do not know this, my family does not have practical Internet access from our house, and so the only times I am able to use the internet, is when I am at the library or another source of free WiFi :D The way I work around this is by printing as PDF files the things I wish to read (blogposts, emails to respond to, etc…) for later to maximize my online time. This was the case with the following blogpost from one of my favorite blogs for Christian young women.

I’ve copied and pasted the following (concerning leaky buckets!) as well as the link to the entire post, should you wish to glean the rest of the post for your weaponry arsenal. :D

This post was an encouragement to me, and I hope that it will encourage you dear ladies as well!!!!! God bless! And God fill our leaky buckets! (Perhaps some of us are missing the bottoms of our buckets entirely!!! :( )

“…The people of Jeremiah's day had stopped looking to God for their satisfaction. I don't know who or what they were hoping would make them feel okay, but it doesn't matter. The result was like pouring water into a leaky bucket. It just didn't work.

You see the answer isn't to be noticed more often, loved by more people, or cherished more deeply. The answer is to know that God has already noticed you. In fact, He studies you. (Matthew 10:30 says He knows the very number of hairs on your head.) He loves you so much He sent His Son to die for you (John 3:16). He cherishes you like a father cherishes His own daughter (Rom. 8:15).
The trick is to let that be enough—to let the truth about who you are to the God of the universe fill your bucket instead of constantly looking to the people in your world to make you feel noticed.
It's not an easy switch to make. Praise from people seems so tangible sometimes compared to the affirmation we find in God's Word, but ultimately it is just like pouring water into a leaky bucket. It never lifts our spirits for long.
How about you? Have you been pouring water into a leaky bucket? Looking to the people around you to make you feel loved and important? I hate to go all Dr. Phil on you, but how is that working for you?
If your bucket's sprung a leak… …God alone is able to fill you up and answer your heart's cry. He's the only one offering "living water" that can take away our thirst for good.
I'd like to ask you to make a choice.

Option #1: Leaky bucket.
Choosing this route means continuing to look to other people to make you feel loved, accepted, and cherished. You should know up front that this route never works for long.

Option #2: Living water.
You make the choice to let God satisfy your craving to be loved. You study what He says about you in His Word, and you choose to believe it even if your feelings tell you otherwise.” (!!!!!)

(Emphasis of any sort was done by me, and the picture is from the original post as well J I encourage you, Dear, dear Princess, if this struck even the slightest chord within your heart, go read the (very short!) rest of this post at the Lies Young Ladies Believe Blog! Follow this link: www.liesyoungwomenbelieve.com/index.php?id=1956

When the Rubber Meets the Road...

Monday evening, I had a ‘rubber meets the road’ moment. 
It was one of those convicting, “ouch” moments.

My mother was planning to go shopping at Sam’s with a friend the following day, and I wanted ssooooo badly to go with her! 

But my Dad was going to be gone on-call, so if I did go with Mom and her friend, the kids would be left home alone—with the potential to pull a ‘free-for-all’ (you know the bit, no schooling would get done, there would be lots of noise and chasing each other around the house… :-)) and the would need someone to get them lunch.
In a whiny way and with a ‘poor me’ attitude, I told my mom I would ‘just stay home’.
I could have pushed it, but I could tell that my Dad didn't love the idea, probably as a whole, and mom wasn't keen on leaving the kids by themselves.

It would have been inconvenient if I had gone with my mom, and so I decided to stay… but I was sooo bummed.
I went back to mom and dad’s room to recant telling them “it was fine- I’d stay home”, but I was stopped by overhearing Dad (who didn't know I was there) tell Bethie (my 11 year old sister, who was looking right at me) how ‘it was good for me to be staying home, so mom could go do what she wanted and needed to do (go get food to feed her family!! :-D ) and to not have to worry because I would be there to just step in and take over’—keep things humming smoothly until she returned.
(And, apparently, Bethie informed me later, that he had said something to the effect of how ‘you don’t always get what you want’—which made me mad, but I knew he was right! Which is probably why it hurt so bad lol/;-/ I needed to hear it!)

I had a pity party and invited God—lol.
 I told Him I KNEW I was being selfish and asked Him to help me put Him first; others (namely, my family!!!) second, and reserve the few remaining crumbs for myself. I realized that I've been living a very ‘me-centric’ life lately :-( I so often do get my way or get to do what I want that I’d grown spoiled :-(
God helped me realize something.
Here I am, being all “passionate” about, involved in, and say I am and believe in being a Biblical, stay-at-home-and-heart daughter (who *clears throat* loves and ministers to her family…)(and by doing that is preparing for wife-and-mommyhood) but when it really comes down to it—when I encounter the HUGE test to act upon and actually LIVE OUT what my head knows and my heart believes…
Even when it comes to being a good example as the big sister—Bethie was right there watching and hearing the entire thing! (She mouths to me -and in a sweet, respectful way!- “but isn't that kind of selfish?!”… Um yeah. OUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) I was not so hot on the performance end.

When all is said and done, when it comes time to PRACTICALLY LIVE OUT what I believe, do I selflessly submit and practice what I preach?
Do I lay down my desires to defer to another’s (A HUGE, integral part of wife and motherhood, BTW!!!)??
Or do I push, twist, and maneuver circumstances to get my way—what I want—at the inconvenience of others?!
As you can imagine, this was a big light-bulb moment for me. I can romanticize about and expound upon the virtues of being a virtuous daughter, but daydreaming and talking :-) are easy things to do.
Selfless, virtuous living?
That’s TOUGH.
But by the grace of God, it’s not impossible! (Matthew 19:26) (Matthew 10:27) (Luke 1:37) (Luke 18:27) (Philippians 4:13)

What about you, dear daughter? Have you (like me :( ) allowed selfishness to creep in and derail you from what you know and believe to be true?

What about you, dear sister? Have you been a less-than-stellar example lately (like me :( )?
What about you, dear Princess? Have you allowed the enemy and his minions to convince you that holy living is impossible—so why bother?

Please know that I do not condemn you! I’m guilty as well. 
But by God’s grace, let’s get back up, learn from this, and keep going forward!

We can talk a good talk—but when the rubber meets the road, can we, can I, walk a good walk?