Friday, November 18, 2011

Weary, but not defeated

It has been a rough couple of weeks. I believe the Lord is refining me in a lot of difficult ways. This process has shown me so much of my sin, my selfishness, jealousy, impatience, judgement, wicked, deceitful motives. It has been quite the humbling experience.

In these past few days it has been exceedingly difficult emotionally. As a woman, these emotions can seem unbearable and overwhelming. We all have those times when the lies seem like the truth. It has been a battle of the mind this week.

Like a soldier in battle, I fought passionately and valiantly.
But I soon found myself in over my head.
My morale was low.
I was wounded.
And I had no more strength to fight.
I was running low on ammunition.
It appeared that I was going to succumb to defeat.

But God is ever-faithful to be our strength.
He has given me fellow soldiers of the faith to speak truth over me.
To strength my weary arms.
And the Holy Spirit to equip me with the power of Jesus Christ.

I am in a season with many unknowns.
Which means I have many opportunities to trust God.
And I often fail.
I could make many excuses for my feelings that don't align with the truth of God's word.
But those excuses don't change my situation.

So, what do we do? How do we overcome? How do I get through this season that seems so incredibly hard, and at some times very unfair?

An all too familiar passage comes to mind. Philippians 4:6-8 (emphasis mine)
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
 8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praisedwell on these things.

So, we are to pray about everything, especially the things that cause us anxiety. We are also to be thankful. (Why does it seem like I always forget that part?!) Have you noticed that when we pause to thank God for all He has given us that we have  a better attitude?
We also must think about good things! We can't keep ourselves in this vicious cycle of negativity! We must think about things that are true, right, pure, honorable, lovely, and praiseworthy. 

I believe this is key to overcoming and gaining victory in the battle of the mind through Jesus Christ. I will not pretend to be perfect, I am probably the worst at this, and I am still trying to apply this to my life.

~Set Apart for Him~

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Choosing Contentment

The last few months have been crazy busy. But so good.

I have noticed that often many women struggle with being content, and truly letting themselves trust God with their daily lives, and their future. I am not an exception to this, in fact I am probably the poster-child of such a woman.

Why is it so hard to trust God? It says in Genesis 3:16 it says:
I will greatly multiply 
Your pain [e]in childbirth, 
In pain you will (Q)bring forth children; 
Yet your desire will be for your husband, 
And (R)he will rule over you.”
 I have read many books that say this "desire for your husband" will be a desire to control and manipulate. At first I wasn't sure about that, but now I understand. Women like to be in control, I think it is so we can protect ourselves from the unknowns of life. I have been studying and meditating on contentment a lot over the last few weeks. I am finding that true contentment comes when you trust God for your today and your tomorrows. Just recently I looked back over the last few months and realized, with a heavy heart, that I have missed out on so many happy moments because I have been anxious or worried about the future. Growing up my mother always called me a "know-it-all" and "curious-George", I wanted to know everything-even then.

Sometimes I wonder why I didn't learn this before entering into my relationship with Phillip, but then I realize that this maybe the very sanctification God brings when you are in a relationship. (Ephesians 5) So how do I learn to be content?

I must not worry about tomorrow, but trust God to help me daily. (Matthew 6:34) Not compare my life with anyone else, or wish things were different than they are. (These principles taken from the book Calming the Anxious Heart).

This is not an easy lesson to apply, it is always a choice. And I know there is freedom in trusting God, and trusting His timing. I don't want to miss out of the joys of today because I am worried about the things of tomorrow. 

~Standing on His Promises~

Friday, September 16, 2011

Looking back to help me look forward

I seem to find myself in a transition of a transition. (yes that is repetitive, and somewhat confusing). 

It is like I am walking down a road, and so far this road has had some twists and turns, and some rough terrain but the scenery and general direction has been the same. And now, as I continue walking I am seeing some very small changes that lead me to believe this road is transitioning. The trees are thinning out, the flowers along the road are different, and in the distance I think I can see a sharp turn in the road, but I do not know what is around the corner.

This can spark some fear, or apprehension for me. But before I let the fear of the unknown overtake me, I stop walking and look at the road I have behind me. Though I cannot see the road in its entirety, I can remember it well in my mind. I see the place I started, a barren dessert land, with an uncharted path in front of me. I can remember losing my way and straying from the path a few times, finding myself if some very scary situations, and calling for help and being rescued. I can remember the joy I had when seeing the first signs of life, flowers, animals, green lush grass. I remember other turns in the road that scared me, drop off edges with only a narrow path to walk. I was so afraid, but I knew that I had to move forward, and once I made it safely I saw the most beautiful site yet-a peaceful flower filled meadow. And  then there were those forks in the road, deciding which path to take. At times the choice was clear, and at other points I just had to trust my intuition. And all these things led me to the road I am on right now.

So as I approach this new part of the road, with this unknown corner and unknown conditions, instead of being fearful, I choose to be excited, for this is just another adventure, and around that corner could be the best part of this journey so far and if it is not, than I know that this road is leading me closer to the One that created me, and His plan is better than mine.
Sadly walking out of this season into another unknown. But the Lord is faithful, and my heart is thankful.

~Standing on His Promises~

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


What does it mean to surrender?

Dictionary. com defines the word surrender as "to yield to the possession or power of give up, abandon, or yield or resign..."

Surrender is not a happy word. How often do we hear that we need to 'surrender to God'? Every time someone says that to me, a cringe a little. Why? Because I am a recovering control freak, and I am a prideful human being that doesn't like to be under someone's authority, even God's. How easy is it for us to yield our control to someone else? To give up control of our lives to someone else, in the small thing and the big things?

Imagine walking down the street and some random person approaching you and asking you if they could decide what clothes you wear or what you eat or how you handle your money or pick out your spouse. I bet that many of us would not surrender our lives over to a stranger, but what if it was someone you knew? Someone you trusted? What if they were the wisest, most responsible person you knew?

What if that person was all knowing, all powerful, unchanging God?

"Well, of course I would trust God" It is easy to say that, but let's take this a step further...If you are a follower of Christ, then your life is not your own. (1 Cor. 6:19-20) You are under the headship of Christ (1 Cor. 11:3). God has given us everything (Colossians 1:16-19) therefore nothing is truly ours, small or large. Friends, it is not easy to yield our lives to Christ, surrendering or relinquishing our control to God is not always pleasant. As a woman that struggles with remembering that God is the one in control, instead of  me, I often find that I take back control and have to let go once more, painfully.

Even though surrender is painful and somewhat scary, it is so necessary. God knows everything, He is perfect, He is all knowing, and His plans are always good. Like a parent who knows what their child needs, good food, rest, water, exercise, the child doesn't always like what is best for them.  God is our Father, and He knows what is best, and that is keeping Him as the center of our lives, and the one that is in control of out lives.

Surrender to God out of love for Him, and because He is worthy of it. Our lives are reflections of what God and He wants to use our lives for His glory.

~Standing on His Promises~


Monday, August 29, 2011

Cheerio's, Pandora, and my thoughts after a very difficult evening

I admit it, I eat when I am emotional/stressed/unsettled, but at least this time it is just a bowl of Cheerio's--they are good for the heart right?

Well my friends, I find myself learning a lot today. The Lord is faithful to reveal the true condition of my heart, which today was full of ungratefulness, jealousy, and much more. As I sit here in my tiny bedroom, listening to various Christian stations on Pandora, and yes eating my Cheerio's, all I am left with is the assurance that God never changes.

It seems that this evening the enemy would love for me to give up, to let this worry, and fear overwhelm me. It is one thing for us to look back on our mistakes and learn from them, it is another thing all together to let those mistakes define us. It is easy to feel defeated or to let doubt drive our decisions. I know that today I decided that I wasn't the problem, everything else was, that if I could just change something in my life (church, school, jobs, etc) that THEN I would feel better, happier.

But we are not to run away from our problems dear friends, and we can't just run away, escape or drastically change our lives when things get hard. No, no. This is what I am learning, that today, right now, I have a choice. I can keep 'coping' by trying to find a magic combination of right steps to take so that I am happy OR I can trust that God is going to be faithful to do what He promised, and TRUST that His plans for me are good and for the glory of His name He is going to work everything out. 

  • Trust that God is going to be faithful to provide ALL of our needs
  • Trust that God is going to give you what He has promised you
  • Trust that this hard time is going to grow you closer to God and that He is going to work it out for good!
  • Trust that His Word is TRUE, even when it doesn't feel like it
  • Trust that God is the same yesterday, today and forever, He never changes, He was faithful before and He will be faithful again
  • TRUST that God hears my prayers, and will answer me

Easier said than done right?

But then what in the world do we do about these darn emotions we have? Great question, I love the Psalms, because they are full of emotion. So let me share with you one of my favorites. Remember that our enemy (Satan) wants us to be discouraged and depressed so that we don't share God's love with others. Remember my friends, Satan has been defeated by Jesus Christ's death and Resurrection! So take heart as you read this:

Psalm 70

 1 (A)O God, hasten to deliver me;
O LORD, hasten to my help!
2 (B)Let those be ashamed and humiliated
Who seek my [a]life;
Let those be turned back and dishonored
Who delight [b]in my hurt.
3 (C)Let those be [c]turned back because of their shame
Who say, “Aha, aha!”

 4 Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;
And let those who love Your salvation say continually,
“Let God be magnified.”
5 But (D)I am afflicted and needy;
(E)Hasten to me, O God!
You are my help and my deliverer;
O LORD, do not delay.

~Standing on His Promises~

....Next Post: Surrender...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Reflections, a year later...

A year ago, I was just moving back to Idaho. I was in a transition, a season of isolation and refinement according to my post a year ago. So much has changed, and yet much has stayed the same. Funny how that works?

Now I find myself in a very familiar season, one of loneliness, more refinement and tons of testing of my faith. And yet, these situations are so different from a year ago. I am more mature now, and have learned so much since being here. God has given me some of the deepest desires of my heart, the ones I was just hoping for on a whim last year-they have now come to fruition.

I have been dating Phillip for about 4 1/2 months now, which brings me so much joy and also so much refinement-I am realizing more and more how sinful I really am, and how much I need Jesus. I have been to Africa and worked in an orphanage, caring for 2 months old that weigh less than 5 lbs. I am now in a different transition of sorts, my best friend is moving 10hrs away to do a year long internship and I could be in my last year of non-married life. Crazy. I learning that what my life really comes down to in Christ, so no matter what situation I face I just have to trust Him and if I put my hope in Him then my heart will find hope and take courage despite trials.

~Set Apart for Him~

I think this has been my longest absense...

I am so sorry my blogging friends! It seems that time has gotten away from me,  so many times I have wanted to post on here and every time it just seemed too overwhelming. So much has happened in the last few months,  I went to Ethiopia-which was so life-changing, I am determined to go back and bring home some children after I get married. The Lord taught me so much about how He cares for the orphan and the widow, and reminded me that He knows the hurt and the pain, and He is moving in Africa friends, in mighty ways!

I got back to the US and went to Texas for a week to visit my boyfriends family, and upon finally returning to Idaho, I started 3 part time nanny jobs. Along with a summer packed with ministry activities, work, and a small social life, things started to get really crazy and thus no blogging, which I have greatly missed.  I love writing to you all, even if no one reads it, I enjoy it so much, so now that things are hopefully slowing down a bit, I will be on here more. *fingers crossed*

~Standing on His Promises~

Monday, May 9, 2011

In Awe

Well friends, the count down has begun! 4 days until I leave for Africa. I can't believe it. God had proved faithful time and time again to provide for me! I now only need $174.16, which is great and I know that God will provide for that. It is amazing how He works in ways we would never expect.

As I prepare for the trip, I find myself excited, anxious and a little scared. I can not believe that after 7 years I am finally going to Africa to work with orphans for 10 days. Psalm 37 promises that God will give us the desires of our hearts if we cultivate faithfulness, and commit our way to Him. And this has been so true in my life. I can't tell you how many times I have read that psalm over the last couple of years, it has sustained me in the darkest times.

I would have never imagined that God would bless me like He has the last few months. It is all for His glory, and He is refining me into His image. I have been learning to trust in the Lord, in His plan, provision and timing. I have been blessed beyond belief, as people pray for me, and encourage me in this adventure.

As I pray and prepare for this trip, I believe that God is preparing me to love these people as He does, and to experience the heartbreak that He has for them. I believe the hardest part of this trip for me will be to love and serve these people and then have to leave them. To experience the poverty, the sickness, the loneliness, and not be able to take them home with me. Oh I can only imagine the heartbreak I will feel, when I hold the orphan-sick with HIV, dirty and alone without parents to love and care for them. To be a mother for a moment to these children, to sing them sweet songs, to tell them about a Father that loves them and about a Son who died for them. 

Lord, break my heart for what breaks Yours. Fill me with Your love so that I may love others as You do. 

~Set Apart~

Monday, April 18, 2011

When Fear and Faith Collide

You are standing in line at Six Flags, you have waited hours for this one roller coaster. Weeks of planning and saving, and the day has finally arrived! The anticipation and excitement has built up over time and as you inch closer to the ride, you feel like you could explode with joy. You are now standing at the gate, you are next in line. As you watch the roller coaster fly by, twisting, turning, climbing and dropping and as you hear the excited and terrified screams come from the riders it hits you: FEAR. I am about to do this, what if something goes wrong? You feel that familiar turning in your stomach. Now you find yourself mindlessly walking through the gate and strapping yourself into a potential death machine: Am I going to regret this? Suddenly the roller coaster jerks forward and it's too late to change your mind. You are in for the thrill ride of your life, you can either enjoy the moment despite the fear or you can let your fear consume your focus.

This is the story of my life.

As I enter into this new season of being in a relationship, I am obviously excited. Yet, just like the roller coaster story above, there are moments of fear and doubt. I have waited years for this season, yet as I find myself strapping in and committing, fear creeps in. I have a choice, I can let these fears overwhelm me and cause me to panic and run away screaming or I take a step in faith, despite the fear, and trust that God has good plans for me (Jer. 29:11). This season is full of making wonderful memories and very enjoyable dates yet it is also refining. When you choose to open yourself up, and be vulnerable you risk being hurt. The lies and insecurities that once felt far away are now so close, and at times it seems like I could very easily drown in the sea of insecurity and lies.

But as I take a deep breath, and turn my eyes to Christ, it is then that I remember the truth. When I look at Christ I find clarity and perspective. He is my hope, my rock, my savior, my redeemer, the lover of my soul, and my God. He defines me.

So friends, no matter where you find yourself in this roller coaster life, remember that Christ is your anchor and that His Word is always true. "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you, resist the devil and he will flee from you." James 5:1

~Set Apart~

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A New Adventure-God's Faithfulness

The journey began about a year ago. I was in Texas, at Teen Mania Ministries serving as a second year intern. I began to seek God and ask Him about His will for my future regarding dating, "God will it ever happen? Will have to wait 5 more years? What's the deal?" and all the other questions that young woman ask God about their future. As I continued to pray in the days and weeks to come I felt God begin to challenge me with a few things. 

  • "Casey, what if the man I have for you, isn't at all what you have in mind?"
That one stopped me in my tracks, literally (I was walking and praying). So, I surrendered my list of ideal or perfect qualities I wanted in a man. 

  • "Casey, I want you to prepare yourself to be in a relationship a year from now."
Umm...excuse me God, do you not realize that I moving back to the Northwest? There are no single, godly men there! But ok, I guess I will just keep reading books, and seeking Your face, but I really don't think this is going to happen.

Fast forward.....
January 2011. 

I have lived in here for 6 months and life is great, I remembered God's promise about the relationship, and seeing as there were no prospects thought, "Well maybe I will meet a missionary on my trip to Ethiopia in May, maybe that was God's plan...I could do that."

My roommate excitedly told me one night, "I have met the perfect man for you!" I literally laughed in her face. She said he was totally my type, from Texas and was here as a college semester missionary. I was not interested. But told her I would meet him. His name is Phillip Grant.

I met him and he seemed pretty legit, he loved the Lord, we had similar interests, and we got along, oh and he was pretty cute. As time went on, I found myself serving with his ministry and hanging out with him and other people. Within a few weeks, I had to admit, I was attracted to him. I started praying, everyday about these feelings, I didn't want them and I was pretty sure he wasn't interested. The feelings didn't go away and the more we hung out the more I wondered..."God, was this the answer to your promise?"

Over the next two months, we had a few conversations about our feelings for each other. We both wanted to pray about the future and see what God's will is. And for the next month and a half I wrestled with God, and waited for an answer. The more I got to know Phillip, the more attracted to him I was. I prayed that God would close the door if that was His will, and I prayed that God would make it painfully clear if moving forward was wrong. It was the hardest season yet, neither of us were sure. I had peace about moving forward, but knew that Phillip had some things he wanted to work out with the Lord, so I had to wait.

One week ago, I had made up my mind to take a step back from our relationship because I was starting to be really emotionally invested, that same night Phillip asked me to join him on a walk. And after a few agonizing minutes of talking he asked the question I had been hoping to hear, "Casey, I am asking if I can pursue you?" 

My reaction was quite dramatic, I was ready to walk away and now this amazing man is FINALLY asking to pursue me! I threw my bag down on the ground, and shouted, "Are you kidding me God?!" and laughed only to realize poor Phillip had no idea what was going on! So I explained and then excitedly got up and hugged him. We then took a two hour walk around the park, he told me all the reasons he wanted to pursue me--and what woman doesn't want to hear that?! And we talked about boundaries, ministry and what we wanted the relationship to look like, and we prayed together.

As we began to go out on dates, and pursue the Lord, we had a lot of peace about the relationship and where God has us on this adventure. It is now public knowledge, which I am very excited to share. :) It's been a week, and I still have all those giddy feelings, and yes I would even admit that I glow a little.

In all my waiting and all my dreaming I would have never thought of this, and it was harder but so much better than I ever could have imagined. And God honored His promise of a relationship and of a season of getting the desires of my hearts...a wonderful Godly boyfriend and a mission trip to Africa.

God is faithful.

~Set Apart~

Thursday, April 7, 2011

On Christ the solid rock I stand...

"On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand"
Have you ever had God shake up your life? Things that you were confident in suddenly fail you? Your perfect plan goes completely wrong? 

As many of you know, I like to be in control, I like to plan and be prepared. I have been reminded a lot recently that I can not be in control and the God is the only One who has a perfect plan. Often, I can get so caught up in my plan, and my ideas of how things should be that when God changes my plan, I get angry! Can anyone relate?

I realize now, more than ever, that my desire to be in control of situations stems from a desire to protect myself. If I am in control than I do not get hurt by 'surprises'. This seems perfectly logical in the moment, but I forgot one small detail...I am human which means I am sinful and imperfect. Which also means, I can hurt not only myself, but others.

Lately I have come up against a few challenges that cause me to wonder what in the world God is doing in my life. God has promised me that this season would be one of adventure and that I would see some of the deepest desires of my heart come to fruition. Notice that God didn't tell me which desires? Funny how He does that. He gives me enough of a promise to remain hopeful and yet not enough specifics for me to make it happen without Him.

My desire for control is a lack of trust. I doubt that God will come through and I fear being hurt or disappointed so I try to find security in 'knowing' something, anything. The more I try and control, the more my life seems to spin out of control. I find myself worried, depressed and anxious. In those times that my life spirals downward I am reminded, Christ is constant. He is solid ground. If I can just let go of control, if I can keep my eyes on Christ instead of on the wind and the waves of the storm of life, I can find peace. 

I don't have all the answers, in fact I have even more questions. But one things remains, Jesus. When I seek Him, I will find Him. And I may not get the answers I so deeply desire, but I can find rest and shelter in the shadow of His wings. 

Forgive me for desiring blessings and answers instead of desiring You.
Father, You have perfect plans for me. 
I trust in You alone, You are the solid rock that I stand on.
Capture my heart once more Jesus, and may my eyes be fixed on You.
Hold my hand through these valleys of darkness
and may I find the treasures You have hidden there for me.
Draw me closer God and use my weakness for Your glory.

~Set Apart for Him~

God is faithful

This past few weeks have been crazy. My college group and I went up to Cheney, WA to serve over our Spring Break, we had a great time. As many of you know I have been rasing funds for my mission trip to Ethiopia, and I had a deadline the week we were in Cheney. I had only a matter of days to raise the money needed for my trip. I knew that God wanted me to go on this trip, but I had no more resources for the money. It became hard not to think about the upcoming deadline, and wonder "God are you going to come through like you promised?" 

Saturday night, our last night in Cheney was the most difficult by far. We spent the whole day scraping off tape and wallpaper glue and didn't get it finished. Emotionally I was on my last straw, the upcoming deadline hung over my head like a huge weight ready to crush me and my dreams at any moment. As I prayed that night, I was frustrated. "God, I thought you promised this would be a season of getting the deepest desires of my heart? How is this going to work out? I can't ask anyone else for money, I need $535 and I can't get it. Lord, do you hear me? I am tired. I can't do this. So You are just going to have to make it happen."

The next morning, I found an envelope with my name on, sitting on my bag. It was from our host church, and with trembling hands I opened it, $700. More than enough to meet my deadline. And a reminder to my soul...


I told God if I could just make it through this deadline I knew He'd provide the rest! And I am standing in faith that He will. Only $1000 to go!

~Set Apart~

Friday, March 25, 2011

The beauty and pain of waiting

God is faithful to deliver on His promises.

In His timing.

I am not confident that others would describe me as a patient woman, and for good reason. I don't like to wait, and I can be very impatient-especially when it is something I want so badly. 

I know I am not the only one that has waited for something, or is waiting for something. All throughout scripture God makes His people wait. Abraham and Sarah waited until they were 90+ yrs old before God gave them a son! That is LONG time. The Israelites were in the desert for 40 years. Abraham didn't even get out of the desert. The word patience can also mean "long suffering"--no wonder I don't like to wait.

Many of us have heard it said, "Good things come to those who wait", and I know that phrase can be true and often times is true. Waiting is worth it. God's timing is perfect. Yet it is SO hard!

This season of life is full of waiting. Full of unanswered questions. Painful surrender of life long dreams, in exchange for God's will to be done  in my life. It can be easy to lose hope, to want to give up. I occasionally find myself thinking, "Is this even worth it anymore? God do you hear my cries? Do you hear my petitions? I want an answer! I am tired of asking God, please just tell me something, anything?!" Dear friends, this is when the pain of "picking up our cross" becomes uncomfortable, painful and exhausting but Christ gives us the strength to carry on and we are reminded in His Word that our hope will be restored:

3More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5
Suffering produces endurance.
Endurance produces character.
Character produces hope.
Hope does not put us to shame.

"Hope does not put us to shame" Do you ever find yourself telling yourself, "Don't get your hopes up" because you don't want to be disappointed or to be humbled if you don't get the outcome you were anticipating? Hope. Not the kind of hope that says, "I hope it doesn't rain today" or "I hope I win the lottery". But the hope that brings life, the hope that delights in the same things God does. "I hope I get to go on the mission field and serve people with the love of Christ", you might not set foot on foreign soil for many many years, but your hope is not limited by your location, you have a mission field in front of you everyday. "I hope that I can be a wife someday" that hope is not contingent on your beauty, charm, skills and abilities because you are already called the Bride of Christ. 

Is it not bad to want and desire something deeply. In fact the Lord says in Psalm 37:3-7a (emphasis mine)
3Trust in the LORD and do good;
         Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. 
    4Delight yourself in the LORD;
         And He will give you the desires of your heart
    5Commit your way to the LORD,
         Trust also in Him, and He will do it. 
    6He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
         And your judgment as the noonday. 
    7Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him;
When my hope is in the Lord, my desires are conformed to His desires. That is a beautiful process, being conformed into the likeness of God, yet it is not without pain. "Suffering produces endurance" in the pain we are made stronger through Christ in us. The hope we cling to in this suffering, in this waiting, in this desert, is not that the desires of our heart would be given to us, but rather that the desires of our hearts are going to be aligned with God's heart for us, and His ways are always good. Therefore, let us rejoice dear friends in the trials so that God may be praised and glorified, and through our weakness He may shine through.

~Set Apart~

Monday, March 21, 2011


"And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me." 2 Corinthians 12:9
Weakness. It is almost natural for us to turn away from that word as it applies to our lives. If someone were to ask me, "Casey, what would you say your top 3 weaknesses are?" I would probably be a little uncomfortable answering that question. I don't like to expose my weakness! I would much rather cover up my weakness and make it look pretty so that no one knows it is a weakness. For example, many of us over compensate for our weaknesses. We try to excel in another area of life in order to hide our weakness.

I don't think any of us would like to be described as weak, right? I also don't think that many of us enjoy exposing our biggest flaws, or weaknesses. Pride. I am a prideful person, that is one of my weaknesses. I don't like to be taken care of, I don't like having to rely on others, I don't like admitting that I can't do something, and I especially dislike being vulnerable.

I am realizing how much  this can hinder me, not only in my relationships but also in my relationship with Christ. When I don't want to expose my weakness, I am not living in the light and I am not allowing myself to experience the Gospel. If you or I could save ourselves, be perfect, or work for our salvation, we wouldn't need Jesus Christ. 

Pride can start a dangerous cycle. It starts small, not admitting when I am wrong, not asking for help, not sharing my struggles with my community, etc. As I continue to hide or cover up those areas of weakness, my relationship with Christ is hindered because I am now working to be 'good enough' or to 'fix' myself or a situation, I am not relying on Christ. Soon I am not only broken, but extremely exhausted trying to save myself and trying to pretend that I am strong and I am fooling no one. And then I am reminded:

"And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me." 2 Corinthians 12:9
Grace. My inadequacy, my weakness, my brokenness allows Christ to shine through me. Have you heard it said, "Broken is beautiful"? It's true. I can not live my life in fear of being vulnerable or of needing others. God has given us the Body of Christ because He created us to need people and most importantly to need Him!

So I will boast in these weaknesses my dear friends, for when I am weak, He is strong. I struggle with doubt, I am impatient, I struggle managing my finances, I am prideful, and as much as I try to hide it, I do need the Body of Christ and I most definitely need Jesus. So let down those walls friends, risk the pain of being vulnerable, and allow Christ to say to you:
"And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me." 2 Corinthians 12:9
As for me, I am going to go find a friend and get a great big hug, because I could really use one, and maybe you do too. Today let us remind each other that there is grace is enough for everyone, and there is always room at the foot of the Cross. He is enough.

~Set Apart~

Thursday, March 17, 2011


"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension , will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" Philippians 4:6-7
 This week, has been a roller-coaster of emotions, filled with tons of questions without answers. The enemy would love to get me to despair, worry and stress out over things I cannot control and cannot fix. Thankfully, God is faithful to remind my heart of the truth. When I pray and seek God with a thankful heart, He gives me peace, guards my heart and my mind! His Word is true, imagine that!

Each day this week, something has come up that has the potential to ruin or severely hinder my attitude. And each day God is faithful to remind my heart that it is in Him that I have hope and joy. And each day I have been able to love those around me, and be loved by the Lord. He truly fills us up to be poured out.

As I sit here, and reflect on all the ways God has refreshed me and sustained me just this week I am moved to tears. As you all know from my previous post, this season of life is difficult. But when everything else fades the Lord remains. He is faithful to my heart. (which is a great song, click here to listen)

I am so blessed by the Body of Christ that is encouraging me, speaking truth to me, loving me and praying for me. I may be unsure of a lot of things in my life right now, but you know what, that doesn't change God's promises, they are true regardless of my circumstances. The name of my blog, The Beautiful Promises of a Set Apart Life, is fitting isn't it? I always need reminded that God's promises are true and He is faithful to fulfill them.

Take heart my friends, Jesus has overcome the world. He is faithful. He will never let you go. He loves you with an everlasting love. He is jealous for you. He holds all things in His hands. He works all things together for good.

~Set Apart~

Monday, March 14, 2011


God is constantly growing and refining my faith in Him. Have you ever experienced the growing pains in your relationship with God? Those roads you walk down that make you face your deepest fears, insecurities, doubts and unanswered questions?

That is where I find myself lately. I would be lying to you if I said this was easy or without pain. I would be lying to you if I told you that I am not afraid. Here is an analogy of where I am at in a few different life situations:

I have traveled a long way, many days and nights, many miles through unexpected paths and rough terrain. I have endured harsh storms, and enjoyed days of sunshine. After traveling for so long, I think I am closer to seeing my life long dream come true. I approach a the door of a house. The Man that lives in this house, He has the power to make my dreams come true. I stand at the door, and I knock. I wait. No answer. Maybe I am not loud enough? I knock loud and longer this time. Still no answer. Maybe I am early? I know this is the right house, I know He lives here.
I start to fear, thinking all this time was wasted, that this painful journey was for nothing. I can't go back empty handed. I know this is where I will find my answer. So here I will wait. I will wait for answer.

Recently I have been trying to process my emotions and line them up with the Truth. I doubt, I fear, and I am anxious. I am unsettled. I am afraid. I fear that God will not come through, that I will have done all this for nothing. Shouldn't I be able to just trust completely and not experience these aggravating emotions? Shouldn't I just be able to be certain?

As I continued to think about this, I remembered the story in Daniel 3 of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego and being thrown into the fiery furnace. Their reply to the king struck a chord within my heart.
"If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.
 But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up." Daniel 3:17-18
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were not certain that God would save them from their death (even though He did), yet they still went forward. So here I am, at the door knocking, hoping and knowing that nothing is certain, except that God will have His way. 

I may not know whether or not the money I need for Ethiopia will come in on time. I may not know where God is taking me with ministry, school or my friendships. But I do know this:

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your path straight" Proverbs 3:5-6  
~Set Apart~

Monday, March 7, 2011


I have been thinking about beauty after hearing MercyMe perform their song "Beautiful" in concert this past week. If you are a woman, you are all too familiar with the pursuit of or pressure to be 'beautiful' as others define it, no woman is immune to it. Now this post is not going to be about how American culture defines beauty, or 5 tips to enhance your beauty. This post is me, being real about what God has been showing me the past few days.

God is the author of beauty, in fact, God is beautiful. (Psalm 96:6) I will be the first person to admit that I have wasted a few years of life in the pursuit of beauty. When I think about how much God has changed my life, and changed me, I am amazed. If you look here you will get a better idea of what I am talking about. People are often astonished at the physical transformation that has taken place, they ask me "What happened?" and all I can do, initially is smile-really big. You see my friends, the true key to beauty is not your hair, your size, your clothes, your make up or whatever, it is Christ in you

Now some of you may say, Casey, you don't know me, you don't know my situation. Oh but I do, maybe not exactly, but each woman faces the same lies. Listen, the most beautiful thing that we can do, is have an intimate relationship with Christ. By His Holy Spirit working within us, we become beautiful because God is beauty. Look at nature, it is beautiful because it is God's workmanship, we are no different! The Holy Spirit dwells in us, and we, being God's creation, are already made in the likeness of God. Does that blow your mind or what?

Have you ever heard it said, "A woman's heart should be so wrapped up in God's heart, that a man has to seek God before he finds her heart?" (or something like that). Well, I think the idea is right on. It is my hope that a Godly man pursues me, not because of what I look like, but because of my passion and love for the Lord. Can I just tell you, my friends, how beautiful it is to see someone (man or woman) operating in the role God has designed them for? How moving it is to watch someone worship God? To see some one's face light up when they talk about the Lord and who He is? 

Our bodies, they will grow old, and the 'standards' of beauty will change, but a passion and love for the Lord, that will never grow old and will always be beautiful. Take heart my sisters, the God of the Universe cares for you, loves you, adores you. He has a perfect plan for you, and He is faithful to complete the work He has started in you. Walk out today in the identity and beauty that is found in Christ.

~Set Apart~

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Vulnerability and the Body of Christ

The last week or so has been pretty intense spiritually. The Lord has been opening my eyes to some really life wrecking things. I have been praying that the Lord would shine His light on my heart and continue to refine me. He is faithful answer.

My leadership group and I have been going through the study, Jesus on Leadership by C. Gene Wilkes which has exposed just how prideful I am. OUCH. Pride is ugly. I have also been reading the book The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns, which has been pretty eye opening. Like I said in my previous post, I tend to turn a blind eye to the hurting, because it makes me uncomfortable. The Gospel is not comfortable, walking with Christ and carrying the Cross, is not comfortable, in fact it is down right painful.

I am also fundraising for my trip to Ethiopia, I need $1100 by the end of the month to secure my spot on the trip, I am not sure how that is going to happen. If/when I go to Ethiopia we will be working with HIV communities, and I will be seeing the broken, hurt, and 'least of these' with my own eyes, and I will not be comfortable. I will be wrecked for life.

I have been praying "Lord have Your way in me, wreck my life for the gospel". Well that it is happening. Also, because of the things the Lord is doing in my life, I have been bombarded with attacks from the enemy, the lies that I used to believe were coming back with a vengeance. You know those lies that hit hard down to the core of your being? The lies that sound so real, and so true?  
"You are so unattractive. Why are you even trying?" 
"Who are you to do ministry? All you care about is yourself"
"If they knew your past, they wouldn't love you"
"Why are you trying to change, you'll always come back to this struggle?"
"You will never see your dreams come true"
"You are so stupid, such a disappointment"

Sound familiar? I am sure we've all heard these lies, or ones very similar, many times. I had to call in the reinforcement of my brothers and sisters in Christ, because I was losing the battle, I was crumbling under the weight of the accusations Satan was throwing on me. 

We have to rely on the Body of Christ my friends, we can't do this alone, we need Christ and His Body, scripture is clear that we must build each other up and pray for one another. I had to go to my dear friend Rachelle, tell her about the lies I was being hit with and that I was believing them, that required being vulnerable(which is difficult and uncomfortable). Being vulnerable is hard, but if we keep our struggles and sin in the dark and don't tell anyone we continue to stay in bondage of the enemy. Scripture illustrates this in 1 John.

1 John 1:6-10 (New American Standard Bible)

 6If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;
 7but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
 8If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.
 9If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
 10If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.
So by being vulnerable with our trusted friends about what is going on in our life, we are letting Christ be glorified in our weakness. We can't do this on our own, the enemy would love for us to believe that. If we could fix ourselves we wouldn't need Jesus, and if we could handle our own issues God would not have given us the Body of Christ. There is love and acceptance at the foot of the Cross, and in the Body of Christ. Let us humble ourselves, confess our sin and pray for each other so that we may be healed.

~Set Apart~

Monday, February 28, 2011

What matters?

So I withdrew from my classes this semester. I feel really great about that decision for a number of reasons. I think that my heart is to really just seek the Lord and find out what He wants me to be doing. I am still working and doing ministry, which takes a lot of time, but is a very good thing.

My roommates and I just had an intense conversation about what it looks like to pick up your cross and follow Christ, to love the 'least' and the broken, to live simply so that you can serve others, etc. It is a lot to process, and honestly, was slightly overwhelming. I feel really tense, maybe its just because I couldn't match the passion of my dearest friends, or because it's just a heavy thing to think about. 

What does it look like to serve others with your whole life and yet have Christ honoring boundaries? Do I want to live a radical life that looks different and set apart, even or especially,  in where or how I spend my time and money? This aligns with the Kingdom perspective I have been desiring. To focus on the things that matter to the Lord, to seek first His kingdom and righteousness.

There is part of me that whines, "But what about my coffee, new clothes, shoes, etc.?" And some of those things are important when I need them. I am not saying that buying coffee or shoes is a sin. But the question I am asking myself is why am I buying coffee, shoes, clothes? I can justify all these things. And yes, when I buy new clothes, generally I clean out my old clothes and donate them, which is good. But what do I need?

It's hard to have the self control to say 'no' to good things, especially a Vanilla Latte or a pair of shoes or a dinner out. However, if I am reminding myself of what I need or even maybe what I could use that money for instead, I would think twice and act differently. And if I had some one other than myself to hold me accountable to my finances and how I use them, that would probably help. I am getting ready to go to Ethiopia on a mission trip, if I had not purchases Starbucks coffee I would have at least $100 saved by now, that's a sobering reality.

Priorities. Where are mine? Instant gratification or future reward? I am not swearing off coffee or shopping, but I think I want to reevaluate some things. I can buy some one else coffee when we go out and fellowship, like my youth girls, that's a good investment. I can treat myself every now and then. But what about my daily life? What about my time? Where does it all go?

What does my money and time say to others about what is important to me? Does it reflect my hearts desires(to love the Lord, do ministry, serve and love people, etc)? If it doesn't, then maybe what I call my 'heart's desires' are really just lofty ambitions that I will never work to see completed?

~Set Apart~