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Archive for October, 2010

The Big Picture

We are sharing a post sent to us by Tammy Bolton this Thursday morning. What beautiful insight into the idea of stepping into the big picture.

So I am in a new chapter of my life, 8 weeks into college now and trying to step back constantly and see the big picture.  That is what God told me in my closet about 3 weeks ago (my closet has always been my safe place!) and that is all He’s said lately. 

At times, the big picture is my life viewed through eternal eyes, and always remembering that I WILL be with my son and this amount of time without him on earth is minuscule in comparison of the time that I’ll have with him in eternity. 

Also, the big picture reflects on all of this stuff that I’m learning in college and some of it is great and enlightening and some of it must be memorized for the exam but is information that I personally disagree with and do not feel that since some researchers proved something to be true that I am to absorb it like a sponge.   Only with deep consideration and prayer will I adopt new knowledge, especially if it conflicts with my core beliefs. 

Additionally, the big picture is not always stepping back but stepping IN and living in the moment; each moment that is an opportunity for a beautiful “gift from God” moment. 

That is one of the most beautiful gifts that God blessed me with in my 6 years with Justin, was to savor every moment with him.  That means to make every moment count.  Be fully engaged in the present.  Do not let thoughts of the past or worrying about the future distract and rob me of my precious moments, for that is also taking care of the big picture.

What is your “big picture”? Any experineces in which you stepped “IN” to the moment instead of stepping back? Any other thoughts or comments…

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Tough Lesson on Light

Hello, Monday!  can’t believe you are here already…what happened to the weekend?

Actually, we had a great weekend.  Those of you who were not able to go on women’s retreat this past weekend, we missed you very much.  It was a very sweet time – a time of rest and of just BEING together, of hearing more about God’s crazy love for us and how we need to get our identity from Him, not from this world.  I’d love to hear feedback from those of you who were on retreat about what you most liked about it….

But, on to Still Waters post for the day.  We are gearing up at our house for our annual Light the Night on Halloween night…so I am pulling up an old post from my personal blog to share with you about Light from the perspective of an 8yr old (she is now 9 but this was written in 2009).

Tough Lesson on Light – October 2009

As my fam is getting ready for our annual LighttheNight festivities this weekend, I was thinking back through the year about times when I have been so proud of Abby & Will for being that Light…for bringing Jesus into their everyday lives and interactions with people…

NOTE: THE FOLLOWING WAS WRITTEN WITH ABBY’s PERMISSION! SHE WANTED TO SHARE HER “STORY” IN HOPES IT WOULD HELP OTHERS BRING THINGS TO THE LIGHT.

 When I thought about the notion of “light” – a very particular experience in our house came to mind. One where my daughter, Abby, learned a tough lesson and I almost had a nervous breakdown.

Abby went to church camp for the first time this summer – it was a Friday through Sunday camp – with other kids from church and our children’s minister, Ms. Lesa. She had such an amazing time and came home very excited and on fire for Jesus…but as the days and weeks went by, I started noticing she was not sleeping well, she had dark circles under her eyes, she was really snippy and overly emotional and getting into way more trouble than usual. I knew something was brewing beneath the surface. I started worrying about her health – wondering if a dr.’s appointment was in order.

Well, one day, I ask her about what’s going on with her…her eyes get as big as saucers and she freaks out. I try to talk to her, to tell her that it’s ok, that there is nothing she can’t tell me and that I want to help her. She vehemently shakes her head and seals her lips.

I ask questions – are you feeling ok? Does your head hurt? Did someone hurt your feelings?

She starts to cry. She pulls me close and tells me she can’t say it in front of anyone else.

At this point, my mom-o-meter is going wild and I’m quite concerned.

We go into my room, close the door, and get in my bed and snuggle up. She’s visibly upset and struggling, I can see her chest about to explode…she’s almost hyperventilating. I’m praying to myself because I was more than just a little freaked out. I could SEE and SENSE a battle going on inside of her. At this point, God gives me enough discernment to realize that it’s spiritual, not physical. She cannot bring herself to talk at all, so I start asking questions again.

“Abs, did something happen to you?” She shakes her head no.

“Abby, did someone hurt you?” She shakes her head no again. I’m confused.

“Well, what’s going on, sweet girl? There’s not anything you can’t tell me. Nothing is going to change how I love you, you know that, right?”

She looks at me sideways because she can’t bring herself to make full eye contact, with tears in her eyes. “Mom, I did something bad.” Okay….. So guilt is the culprit. Whew. Got it.

“Did you hurt someone?” She shakes her head yes.

“When did this happen?” She tells me “at church camp…”

At that point, I was slightly relieved. I mean, how bad could it be at church camp? I hadn’t heard any reports about it from our children’s minister. Then I remembered church camp when I was growing up…dang. It might be bad.

She continues to visibly struggle with talking to me…but I finally get out of her that she took a picture of something she shouldn’t have. We had sent her a disposable camera to capture some memories of church camp…but hadn’t gotten around to downloading them yet. Now I was slightly worried. Did she take a picture of someone taking a shower or something? My imagination starts running wild.

Finally, it spills out of her…and when it did, it was just like she was throwing up. It just came spewing out and it hurt…but afterwards, she started feeling much better.

She took a picture of Ms. Lesa’s fully-clothed behind when she bent over to pick something up…. Ms. Lesa never knew it….And it’s been eating her up ever since.

While I had to REALLY struggle to keep it together and not laugh, I grabbed at the chance to make it a teachable moment…so we talked about how sin can just eat us up inside when we try to hide it, we are keeping it in the dark and it grows bigger and uglier and starts to rot, but when we confess it and bring it out into the light, God can begin to heal it and He can put people in our life who can love us through it and it doesn’t look as scary in the light. And God will use what we’ve been through to mold us and shape us and bring us closer to Him – to give us a story of healing to help others when they are hurting. And we talked about maybe needing to confess to Ms. Lesa and ask forgiveness, too.

And after her big confession, I went into the next room with my husband, Dallas, who was freaked out and going crazy, and (after getting Abby’s permission to share her story with her daddy) I laughed so hard that I cried as I tried to explain it to him…

As I reflect back on Abby’s experience with “light” this past year, though, I’m reminded not only of God’s sense of humor but also of God’s goodness – that He gave me an opportunity to share in this with my daughter…because since that time, she has brought it up several times and tells me again and again how God’s light can wash away our sins and makes us feel brand new…and how hiding secrets in the dark can hurt us…and she always ends it with “And I know, Momma, because, I’ve felt it…remember? You know….don’t make me say it.”

And Abby has given me permission to share her “story” so that others can see how a little “light” can go a long ways…

So what do you think of when you think of “light” in your life?

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Lifting Up

Happy Thursday everyone! Today I am anticipating leaving tomorrow with much baby gear in-tow to attend the Springs Women’s Retreat!

I just want to ask that as we have women attending the retreat and those remaining at home that you keep the women of The Springs at the forefront of your prayer list this weekend.  Please pray for protection for those traveling and those we leave at home. Also, there are always expectations whenever we attend retreats or other events like this, and I simply ask that we pray for a movement of the Holy Spirit this weekend. A movement that will renew and refresh our women to work for the purpose and promises we have been given. 

-Cathryn

For any comments, please just post a prayer for the women of The Springs. Thanks!

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We Retreat. . .

In 5 days, we retreat…(meaning the annual Springs Fellowship Women’s Retreat gets underway!)

So, I decided to look up the meaning of “retreat”…here you go, straight from www.thefreedictionary.com:

re·treat (r-trt)

n. 1. The act or process of withdrawing, especially from something hazardous, formidable, or unpleasant.
 
     2. A place affording peace, quiet, privacy, or security. See Synonyms at shelter.
 
     3. a. A period of seclusion, retirement, or solitude.b. A period of group withdrawal for prayer, meditation, or study: a religious retreat.
 
      4. a. Withdrawal of a military force from a dangerous position or from an enemy attack.b. The signal for such withdrawal.c. A bugle call or drumbeat signaling the lowering of the flag at sunset, as on a military base.d. The military ceremony of lowering the flag.
So, as we head into our retreat this weekend, which one of these definitions do you find yourself longing for (whether you are going on retreat with us or not) right now?  I think for me it’s a combination of #1, #2, and #3, but I most long for #2 – I love that the synonym for retreat is “shelter” – I long to rest and just BE in the arms of my Savior.  And I am most definitely looking forward to time this weekend just hanging out with some of my sisters in Christ….talking, laughing, wearing our pajamas, playing games, and just resting in His Shelter. 
– Kacey
 
P.S. If you haven’t signed up and are interested in “retreating” with us, please email me @ kasogayle@gmail.com

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The Great Pursuit

The numbers have been randomly generated…and the winner is….drum roll please….#4, Karla Venable! Woohoo!!! Congrats Karla!

This morning we are sharing a guest post from an honorary Springs member, Andrea Burton. Thanks, Andrea, for giving us an opportunity to take a look at our “true identity” and the “Truth” we need to know and believe. Here is Andrea…

Kacey and I had lunch several weeks ago and talked about vulnerability. She told me about this blog and I immediately thought, “oh man, I have so much I could share on that”. When I think about it more, EVERYONE has so much to share. I think one of the biggest lies Satan has us believing is that everyone else has it all together. Or that we have it all together and everyone else is just weird. Those beliefs separate us from each other.

So from one person who DOES NOT have it all together………..

Lately I feel like I can’t do anything right.

I can’t hear God. I can’t obey God. I can’t find His path. I choose wrong things, wrong people.

I sit, I wait, I seek Him, and walk through what seems to be an open door, trusting Him, only to have it slammed in my face. Or at least, that is what it feels like.

“But I was trusting You!” “I am a GOOD Christian! Doesn’t that count for something?”(stomp, stomp, stomp, SLAM…….back to being a teenager.)

And then I’m back where I started.  A place I don’t want to be!!!  Most of the time, I’ve responded gracefully to these closing doors. Yes I was upset, sad, confused……but there was a sense of peace, knowing God was my hero and would pull through at some point in my life. I’m not feeling this so much right now…..for a myriad of reasons. 

Lately the only times I feel truly alive, at peace, and a sense of purpose are when I’m worshipping.

Please no  “God has us in hard situations to grow”, “God’s timing is perfect”, “be patient”. I tell myself those things enough for all of us.

I AM STILL HERE. I don’t like it! I don’t like feeling strung along by nearly everything in my life. (okay, that’s a little exaggerated) I don’t like feeling like I see light at the end of the tunnel only to have it snuffed out AGAIN.

It’s like I keep landing on the “Go Back Three Spaces” space in the game of life, over and over and over.

Really, what I want at this point is to know in my spirit, my soul, my heart, my mind that I’m doing something right.

Am I following you and hearing you God? Am I loving You? Am I being moldable enough to where I am becoming more like your son? Am I loving others?

Or am I completely missing the mark? Have I gone crazy? Sometimes I feel like I’ve completely lost it and have no clue what it is to be God’s daughter. What is my role?!

Each new seemingly open door is harder and harder to check out and see if it’s God. The thought “It probably isn’t, so why even try?” becomes louder and louder and more reinforced each time that situation happens.

Satan picks at me, sees those weak places and tries to take advantage of me there. It hurts and makes me so mad because I am allowing him to. I feel too tired, defeated and frustrated to fight and then I think “what’s the point anyway”. THEN I feel even worse…..

                                …..like a complete failure, worthless, cold and closed off, fake, not good enough, etc.

 

So here you go Satan, a little dose of Truth…..

Even in the midst of this:

 I am so OVERWHELMINGLY BLESSED and LOVED by the Creator of the Universe!  And I really do love and adore him.

Right now, I have some of the most amazing friendships I have ever had ………. Especially with the worship team at my A-MAZ-ING church.

I have two “sisters” I live with who are truly a gift from Him.

God lets me lead worship at Lubbock International House of Prayer.  (An hour and a half to two hours in the presence of God worshipping Him, talking to Him, praising Him, getting my thoughts completely off of my life, my little world, and on Him, is soooooooooooooooooo good). He’s also given me a leadership role in worship at my church.

God has restored a world that was turned completely upside down….He’s healed my broken heart (but really, I think he gave me a brand new one) given me new friendships, new community. And you know, when God restores things, He makes them better than before!

He’s protected me, taught me, matured me, given me rest.

When I remember these things, who cares if I keep seemingly going in circles! First of all, He is GOD and more than worthy of my submission, obedience and worship. Second of all, He’s showered me with His love in ways I truly enjoy!

It’s so refreshing to believe a little Truth.

I wish I could ALWAYS walk in my true identity and really believe and know Truth. It seems like that would make the majority of my problems and heartaches go away. Or at least I would view them with a better perspective. But I don’t always this and so some days life STINKS and I have no answers. That’s how the past month has been.

What is your “true identity” and the “Truth” you want/need to know and believe in? Any other responses or thoughts on this post…?

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Happy Columbus Day, Still Waters friends!!! And Happy Monday!!  Today, I get to post another Giveaway Monday! Woo hoo!!!  As I mentioned before, we are not above bribery to get you to interact with us. 

So, the prize for today is:

Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado

  Yep – a hardback copy of Max Lucado’s latest book – Outlife Your Life.  All you have to do is answer one simple question…..

What did you want to be when you grew up? 

You can answer for when you were a child or in high school or even now, if you are still figuring it out.  

I have a couple of answers – when I was 2nd and 3rd grade, I wanted to be a teacher because a couple of my teachers (Ms. Johnson in 1st grade and Mrs. Ham in 2nd grade) made such an impression on me.  Then, around Jr. High, I discovered this crazy overactive sense of justice that God has instilled in me (and has been passed on to my son) and I fell in love with the U.S. Constitution, so I decided I was going to be the 2nd ever woman on the U.S. Supreme Court.  Sandra Day O’Conner was my hero.  It wasn’t until my 2nd year of law school that I realized that God’s definition of justice and the world’s definition of justice were not quite the same thing and I had to adjust my thinking a bit – and I now know the Supreme Court is not the place for me – but I still love the U.S. Constitution!!!

Oh, and there was a brief time period in there when I wanted to be a Broadway star…

So, let’s hear it, ladies!!!  What did you want to be when you grew up?  Rock star?  Veterinarian?  A marine biologist?   A mom?  A taxi cab driver?  You have until Wednesday night at 9 to post your response in the comments.  We will then use a random number generator to come up with the winner and announce it Thursday morning. 

Ready, set, go….

 – Kacey

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Empty Place

Today we have a poem from Missy Caporale to share with you.  Thanks, Missy, for sharing with us in such a beautiful form! -Cathryn


It’s another rainy day

Yet the sun is shining bright

I woke up tired this morning

Even though I slept all night


What is this feeling inside me

Is it even a feeling at all

There’s no love, no hate, no caring

Just tired and empty and small


Whatever this thing is

I’ve learned to hide “it” well

I smile, I laugh, I fake it all

And not a soul can tell


I know how I’m “suppose” to feel

But vast emptiness is there

Is this a wall I subconsciously built

It takes so much effort to care


Or is it that I can’t or won’t

What is it that I fear

Was I designed to feel this way

To never let anyone near


Pretty is, is pretty does

Never do anything wrong

Always hearing what a good girl I’ve been

And I’ve done it all on my own


I can’t be seen as dependent or weak

I must live this life on my own

I will help others and try to love them

But I still remain alone


“Get over it” defines my life

So many problems are bigger than mine

I continue to do it all on my own

To proud to take anyone’s time


You think you know me so very well

Laughing and smiling all day

But as soon as you’re gone, the laughter and smiles

So quickly fade away


Back into this tired shell

A sad existence for anyone

Hiding my lack of real emotion

Until another day is done


It’s so strange to me how this emptiness

Only surfaces when I am alone

But when in the presence of another

A different side is shown


I’ve become so used to this mixed up life

Have I fooled even me

It’s become such an easy game to play

And yet I long to be set free


I just don’t know how to get there from here

To get past something I can’t see

I’m so tired and the game is getting hard

Is there enough grace for me


Maybe I can’t truly love

Until I learn to receive

But how do I destroy this wall I’ve built

What if I am deceived


So I’ll keep this wall of protection

Playing the game while hiding my face

Selfishly serving others, taking nothing in return

Choosing to remain in this tired and empty place

 

I tend to find poetry a very personal form of literature with an interpretation that is different for each person according to our experiences. (Sorry, that is the former English teacher in me!) So I want to leave this question fairly open: Is there any part of this poem that especially resonates with you?

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