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~

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I wear this ring, on my ring finger. It's a wedding band. 
Although I received this ring as a symbol of my participation at Teen Mania's internship, it means much more than that.

The Hebrew symbols translate to, "I am my Beloved's and He is mine". I find it easy to put this ring on daily, forgetting the significant message inscribed on it. As a single woman it can be difficult to surrender my God given desire for a husband. 

Recently I find myself looking at my ring in the difficult times of waiting, and on some days it almost moves me to tears. The Lord is my Beloved, and I am His. His love is perfect and His love is enough. It will be enough on the days that being single, and waiting is painful, when all I want is to be loved, desired and held. It will be enough when I take grand and wonderful adventures with the Lord, to do things I never imagined. It will be enough as I go through the courtship, engagement, and marriage seasons. It will be enough on my darkest hours, and my brightest moments. It will be enough when I have more questions than answers. It will be enough when I watch miracles happen. It will be enough when my heart yearns. It will be enough when my plans fall apart. It will be enough. Always.

Psalm 37:3-5
Trust 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.
~Set Apart~

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lessons Learned the Hard Way

The lesson of the week: rest is important and busyness is a sin, if it pulls you away from the Lord.

I went to the doctor this morning because I woke up with a fever of 101, I was sick the week before with a sinus infection. Found out that I could be developing walking pneumonia, so they put me on a different antibiotic, and some other medicine, told me to go home and sleep. I slept for almost 6 hours straight. Thankfully this isn't hindering me from going to San Fransisco with my college ministry leadership team for a missions conference, considering we leave tomorrow morning.

However, I have no one to blame but myself for getting so sick. I have been so busy, every part of my life was suffering. It is so important that I take care of myself, and that I prioritize my time. As much as I don't like school, I have to devote time and energy to that, as well as finding time for me to rest and enjoy life, and enjoy my time with the Lord.

Life has been so different this semester, in many fabulous ways. I have built new friendships, gotten more involved in campus ministry, and grown a lot. But I must learn how to have stronger boundaries in where and how I spend my time, I don't want to neglect my school work, or ministry, or my own health. I want to be found faithful, and I want to be a woman who is found choosing the right thing, like Mary, instead of being caught up in the busyness of Martha.

~Set Apart~

Monday, February 14, 2011

God is faithful.

Last year, before I transitioned from ministry to 'real life' the Lord told me I was in for a season of adventure, which has been very true, and yet He continues to surprise me. I have the opportunity to travel to San Fransisco for a missions conference for virtually free (real cheap). I have never been there before, but I have always wanted to go. And I am going with some great friends. We leave early Friday morning and I have childlike excitement every time I talk about it. :)

Today is Valentine's Day. I am pretty indifferent to this holiday, which is an improvement considering I used to loathe it with a fiery passion. I am single, this holiday will be more fun (maybe?) when I am in a committed romantic relationship. I admit, there are days or moments, when the desire I have to be loved and cherished by 'the man of my dreams' seems so strong and painful, as a woman I was created to experience that. This is the season of faith and 'tension'.

I am not 'looking' for a husband, but rather I am waiting on God to direct our paths and make His will clear to 'us'. I have hope, and I am reminded that the whole reason God created man and woman to be united in marriage is to mirror our personal intimate relationship with Christ. I am putting Christ above all else, so that I may never forsake my first love. Christ is the center. Always. He is the defender and the keeper of my heart, and no man will ever compare to the love Christ has for me.

He is the only one that never fails.
He'll never break my heart.
He will never leave me.
He will always pursue me.
He has won my heart.
He is my Beloved.
And I am His.

~Set Apart~

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Today has been one of my better days, which is ironic considering I am sick. Oh well, anyway...

I had this great revelation today about freedom. Those of you who read my last post, may recall my comment about being a recovering control freak, this revelation very relevant to that. I was reading Colossians chapter 1, which is just a beautiful depiction of the gospel in verses15-23. When we become followers of Christ we are seen by God as holy, righteous and blameless, through the death and resurrection of Christ. We must be sure to stay firm in our faith and not stray away from the hope of the gospel. This got me thinking, most days I am so preoccupied with the fact that I don't have my life figured out that I stray away from the hope of the gospel-the very thing I NEED the most!

I am 22 years old, and I am in a season of tension between my desires and God's timing for them to come to fruition. Psalm 37: 3-5 says this:
"Trust in the Lord and do good. Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, and trust also in Him and He will do it."

That is the tension, cultivating faithfulness while waiting and trusting that the Lord will give me the desires of my heart. Instead of being focused on the tension, the most beautiful and honoring thing to the Lord is that I just keep letting go and trusting Him, and keep my eyes focused on Him. When I realized this I also heard this song (see below) that seems to fit by season of life very well at the moment. Take a minute and read the lyrics or listen to the song by clicking on the title.

Audrey Assad-Everything is Yours (click to watch video)
When all the world is blossoming 
When everything around is bursting into life 
And I don't have to strain to hear the beat of Your heart 

When all the world is under fire 
and the skies are threatening to thunder and rain 
And I am overcome by fears that I can't see  

If everything is Yours 
Everything is Yours 
If everything is Yours 
I'm letting it go 
No it was never mine to hold 

Who could command the stars to sing 
Or hold the raging seas from breaking through the doors 
Until the fragile roses wear the very same hand 
Oh, Oh 

If everything is Yours 
Everything is Yours 
If everything is Yours 
I'm letting it go 
I am, I'm letting it go 
Letting go, I'm letting it go 

I hope that this is an encouragement to you, where ever you find yourself. The Lord is faithful, don't let the enemy steal your joy or peace, keep your eyes focused on Him. He has everything under control.
~Set Apart~

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Fear and Faith

Do you ever find yourself asking God the same question(s) over and over again? 
I do. All. The. Time.
"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 4:6-8
Through out the Bible, God tells us to ask Him, (Matthew 7:8, Luke 11:7-9). Now, just because we ask doesn't mean that we will get an answer immediately or that we'll get the answer we want. We have to ask in accordance with God's will for it to be granted to us.

I often say that I am a 'recovering control freak'. This is true, I like to know where I am going, what I am doing, etc. Over the past few years I have been learning and experiencing what it means to be yielded to the Lord and to trust Him. This current season is far more intense than any before. There have been some new things happening in my life that are in a way 'forcing' me to be vulnerable, and open to things that I don't know the outcome. I am afraid of being disappointed, or hurt, or whatever. So as I have been on this journey the last month or so, I am seeking the Lord's will constantly. With only one answer.


As I was reading this morning the Lord gave me two verses. 
"Consider is all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have it's perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete not lacking anything"-James 1:2-4
Faith. My 'big sister' Christi has been calling me Casey-Faith for years. Faith is hard for me, it requires me to trust, to take steps towards the unknown. Scripture tells us that:
" is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen"-Hebrews 11:1
I am in a Hebrews 11:1 season. I know that the Lord has placed dreams and desires in my heart for a reason, though I do not see how He wants them to come to fruition I know they will in His timing. I am striving daily to be open handed with these desire, trusting that the Lord will have His way. I know that someday I will be blessed enough to be called 'wife' and 'mother'. I know that some how I will be a mother to the motherless, even if that means not living overseas, maybe it's here in the US. I know that my spiritual gifts will be used by the Lord. 

I know that right now, today, is all I a promised. That God wants me to seek His face. That I can do ministry everyday. That if I seek His Kingdom first, everything else will fall into place. I just have to wait, and trust Him, having faith in what I do not see, and do not understand.

~Set Apart~

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Proverbs 31 Part 3

She looks for wool and flax and works with her hands in delight-Proverbs 31:13
When I read this verse, I really have to examine that last part and how it pertains to my life. "Works with her hands in delight" I work with children, which can be a joy and a stress at the same time, and I admit I have a habit of complaining. Which reminds me of a verse (Philippians 2:14) that says to do everything without complaining or arguing. Hmm... Outside of my job, I have homework, not something I enjoy doing especially this semester with all my science based classes. I hate science. Delighting in the work of my hands. A Proverbs 31 woman might not instantly enjoy everything she puts her hands too, for example, changing diapers, doing laundry, paying bills, doing homework, etc but she can do everything as if she were doing it for the Lord, because we strive to honor Him in all we do. I am definitely going be thinking and meditating on that this week.

"She rises also while it is still night, and gives food to her household and portions to her maidens. She considers a field and buys it; From her earnings she plants a vineyard" Proverbs 31:15-16
 The Proverbs 31 woman is diligent, she wakes up early to get her family and house ready for the day. She makes wise financial decisions and invests in things that will benefit her family. Now, let's apply this to single life. Finances have always been hard for me, my family was always in debt, and unfortunately I have not learned fully from their mistakes. I am in debt from school but also have some credit card debt that I am determined to pay off in the next 6 months. I do not want to go through life living above my means, and not honoring God in how I spend God's money. The Bible is very clear that debt is not a good thing, the borrower is slave to the lender. So, how do we as single women make good investments or be financially responsible? We learn and practice Biblical financial principles, staying out of debt (as much as possible, which can be difficult with college). Tithe. Yes I know, its a scary word. However, tithing is very important, God promises that we can test Him on this. Malachi 3:10. I am a poor college student, but tithing is a must, yes it's 10% but it's God's money not mine, and He gets it back, I have to surrender my sense of 'control' over what is not even mine.

~Set Apart~

Friday, February 4, 2011

Proverbs 31 Part 2

An excellent wife who can find? For her worth is far above jewels.-Proverbs 31:10
This verse is somewhat self explanatory. An excellent wife's worth is priceless. So, how can I be an 'excellent wife' even though I am not married? I think Proverbs 31 may help us with that answer, so let's keep going.
The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.-Proverbs 31:11
We can see by this verse that trust is essential. Now, I don't think you have to be in a relationship to understand how important trust is. How can we become trustworthy people or trustworthy women? We can live above reproach (Philippians 2:15), not be a gossip or slanderous (1 Timothy 3:11), and be a good friend. Ultimately, when we get married, our spouse will be our best friend and our lover, both things must be rooted in trust and in Christ. As women, it is crucial that we trust our husbands. As a single women it is imperative that we trust The Lord first and foremost, and completely. 

Also as woman, we must learn to trust others. One way I evaluate that in my life is to look at my friendships. Am I trying to control them? Am I easily frustrated and angry when things don't go the way I want them too? Do I trust the Lord with these same situations, recognizing that He is in control? I look especially close at my relationships with the men in my life, do I let them lead? Do I trust them or am I always looking over their shoulders ready to correct them? These are things we can be cultivating in our lives right now in order to be a Proverbs 31 woman. These things are healthy and achievable through Christ. It is not a burden but a joy to trust!

Let's look at one last verse.
She does him good and not evil, all the days of his life.-Proverbs 31:12
It would be easy to read this verse, and then say "I got that down!" and move on. However I want to linger here for a moment. Now our concept of doing some thing 'evil' probably looks different. So let's break that down. Taking a look into our relationships/friendships with men in our lives. Do we constantly put them down? Are we mean to them? Do we do things to frustrate them or get them riled up? Do we disrespect them? Do we talk about them in a negative light? As women, we are made to be nurturers, we give life physically and by the things we say and do. Once we are married we are called to bring honor to God and to our husband.

~Set Apart~

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Proverbs 31, and a woman's heart

I have been thinking about Proverbs 31 today. So often I hear women talk about how they never think they can 'become' a Proverbs 31 woman or that they have something against the Proverbs 31 woman because she seems perfect. I have this theory that men and women view this Proverbs 31 type of woman differently. So I asked a few of the men in my life, their perception is one that I think more women should adopt.

There is this desire for women, this false perception that we have to earn things in life. This is our 'Martha' nature. (Luke 10:38-42) Martha, like many of us, are caught up on our to-do list, our planners, our pressure to preform and be the 'perfect' woman. While Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus. How does this relate to Proverbs 31? I think many of us have the tendency to look at the Proverbs 31 woman, and see all the things she is 'doing' and say to ourselves, "How can I ever be her? I can't even handle my single life!" or whatever we can't handle at that moment. Notice that is does not say in Proverbs 31 that this woman is perfect.

I think we miss the HEART of the Proverbs 31 woman. The Word says that our hearts are the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23). If our hearts are focused on Christ, then it is not a burden to be a Proverbs 31 woman.

The men that I have talked to have a different idea than we do about the Proverbs 31 woman.
She loves God. She takes care of her home, her value is far greater than just that because she handle other affairs as well. She wants to or did marry I Godly man, respects him and his position. She is an awesome mom and is known for her kindness and generosity. She is not a push over but takes pride in what God has called her to do and does it diligently. She does not try to over power her husband, but supports him and is submissive. 

This is the view of one of my good friends, that is a man of God, and I think it is quite accurate. I have this huge urge to pick this section of scripture apart in one blog, but I won't. Instead I am going to do something I have never done before. I am going to do a series, all about my study of Proverbs 31.

My perspective may be different from most, especially because I am a single woman. So those of you who are not in that category please bare with me. I do not think I have this figured out,  not in the slightest. However, I believe that God's Holy Spirit lives in me, that I have the mind of Christ, and knowing that God's word does not return void, I am confident that I will have a better understanding of what it means to be a Proverbs 31 woman: A woman after God's own heart, a woman who fears the Lord.

~Set Apart~

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Faith, Trust, Love and the Unknown

I am on an adventure with the Lord.

He is driving my car, called life, it's a red slightly worn sedan. I am in the back seat, I cannot see the front seat, because of the tinted privacy window, like you see in limos. I can look out my side windows and see the beautiful scenery as we pass it. The evergreen trees, the canyons, the waterfalls, the animals,etc. But I can not see any signs, no mileage markers, no destination clues, nothing that would tell me where I am going or how long it will take to get there. I am on a journey.

Taking a step back to look at my life, I realize that I have many dreams and ambitions, many goals and desires. However, I thought I knew where I was going, but I don't not at all. Instead I find myself enjoying the scenery of this journey. I am waiting. I think much of my life's calling will depend on the man I marry, which is a scary thought for me. That means that my dreams and desires might not look like I imagined. But that is where trust, faith and love come in. The Lord is my Guide and He has great plans for me.

~Set Apart~