Sunday, June 19, 2011

Helloooo Houston!

I'm finally here! Houston is finally a reality! Rebecca and I arrived Tuesday evening and went straight to a prayer service for As Our Own ministries at Second Baptist Houston (my new church for the summer). We went out to dinner and then Rebecca and I got settled in at Kristen's. I'm living in a gorgeous house with my own room, although its unfurnished so it's just me and my bed and a little nightstand. Kristen is our host and she is absolutely the most welcoming, sweet, hospitable woman ever! I'm looking forward to getting to know her better this summer.

The first few days were a whirlwind of activity. After our first full day of work Wednesday, that night we went to Studio Movie Grille where we watched Super 8 which was great (think ET meets Independence Day). I'd definitely see it again! Then after work Thursday Marian hosted a BBQ dinner at her house for all of the RGM supporters. Marian introduced us to everyone and shared the Isaiah 61 vision of Redeemed Girl Ministries. This weekend we've been able to relax. Rebecca and I went to the pool where I got suuuuper sunburnt.... who puts on sunscreen in 102 degree weather?? not this girl..! Sometimes I think I'm invincible to sunburn, but my itchy red skin says otherwise. Lesson learned.

This morning we went to Second Baptist where Marian teaches a Bible study class on the book of John. She spoke about the facts of the Resurrection of Jesus and how it's a historical fact with tons of evidence to back it up. Our faith means nothing if Jesus didn't defeat death by rising from the grave. The resurrection proved His divinity and that His blood was enough to cleanse us from our sin. Christianity isn't a blind faith, there is a mountain of historical evidence that proves Jesus is God. It's so hard for us to wrap our minds around a man rising from the dead, but it really happened. There were 500 eyewitnesses to back up the disciples stories. Jesus went from death to life, which is exactly what a relationship with Him can do for you.  He brings us out of death and darkness and gives us new life in Him.

While teaching this morning Marian said, "Do you even realize WHO you serve?!"  and I so needed to hear that. Honestly, I've been feeling really apathetic ever since we got here, and I just needed to be reminded of who I'm serving. I've been feeling scared and insecure, as if God doesn't know what He's doing with me here. But I know that I serve the living God who raised Jesus from the dead. The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives within me. He's called me here for His purpose. And yes, I'm unworthy and under equipped, but He wants to use me anyways. Most importantly, it's not about me. I know I'll grow and learn so much this summer, but it's not about me. It's for His purpose and His glory so that young women can come to know Him. So, this morning gave me some great eternal perspective and a reminder of who God is. I'm so blessed with this opportunity to serve Him and get to know Him better throughout the journey.

On a side note, it looks like my internship will also include WEDDING PLANNING! Yay! Marianne Henry, the wonderful woman who does the business side of RGM, got engaged on Friday night! We went to an engagement party for her today and tomorrow will be a fun day at the office with wedding excitement in the air! Marianne is truly radiant and I'm so looking forward to spending the summer with her! Praise the Lord for the incredible women He has surrounded me with. I am so blessed.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The RGM mission: ALL for His Glory (Isaiah 61)

The vision of Redeemed Girl Ministries is for young women to be redeemed by the grace of Jesus Christ and transformed by His truth. And for those young women to become oaks of righteousness for the splendor of God's glory to be displayed. I am so blessed to be a part of that vision and mission this summer. Isaiah 61 says...

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
   because the Lord has anointed me
   to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
   to proclaim freedom for the captives
   and release from darkness for the prisoners,
 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor
   and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
  and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
   instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
   instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
   instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
   a planting of the LORD
   for the display of his splendor. 
For some reason tonight my heart is particularly burdened with the heartaches of my friends, sisters, and just young women in general. This world is so broken. Our culture rips us apart, telling us that the new "woman" is to act like a man. It's not okay to be vulnerable or to long for love. It's not okay to be yourself, it's not okay to want a family or a husband. Put on a tough face, get a corporate job, make it on your own. You don't need anyone else and you certainly don't need God. Fill up the emptiness with alcohol, sex, materialism, relationships, social status. As long as you can put up a good front it will all be okay...  Ugh, it makes me sick just thinking about all the lies that constantly infiltrate our minds and attack our hearts.

Without knowing Jesus and His truth it is so easy to believe the lies and drown in them. My heart aches for all the girls who don't know the joy that comes from a relationship with Him. He is all consuming, all satisfying. As John Piper says, "To know Him and to be loved by Him is the end of our soul's quest for eternal satisfaction. He is infinite; and that answers to our longing for completeness. He is eternal; and that answers to our longing for permanence. He is unchangeable; and that answers to our longing for stability and security."  

Isaiah 61 is my mission statement this summer and I will carry it back to my campus and sorority house. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for my sisters and friends, to bring light into the darkness. To give girls the hope and truth and new life that Jesus offers. A lot of girls won't like me and won't want to hear a word I say. I know I'll face gossip and hatred. I already have this past year, and its hard, but I won't stop speaking the truth. I pray that they see God's love through me even though I always fall short. If they understood how good knowing Jesus really is, they would listen. I spent 18 years drowning in the lies of this world and it absolutely breaks my heart to watch people that I love drown too. The joy and hope of a new life with Jesus is too precious a gift to keep to myself. 

Isaiah 61 is my mission this summer and always. Please join me in praying for young women's lives to be transformed for the glory of Jesus' name.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Daughter, Your faith has healed you

Today I am rejoicing in healing. Mark 5:34 says "Daughter, Your faith has healed you, go in peace and be freed from your suffering". I put my hope in that verse of God's word for the last two years; it was written in my phone, on my mirror, on my desk, in my heart. I believed, but the waiting was so hard. This journey has been difficult, but it could have been so much worse, and it has been such a blessing in disguise. I've had to rely on the Lord and trust in Him to get me through it. Looking back I can see more clearly how God lead me through it. I have seen His faithfulness time and time again.

I've had back pain since my sophomore year of highschool but didn't discover the cause was 3 ruptured discs until half way through my freshman year of college. We did everything to avoid surgery. Chiropractors, physical therapists, spinal decompression, cortisone epidural shots, everything. Instead of getting better it got progressively worse. I couldn't sit for more than 30 minutes without intense shooting pain down my sciatic nerve into my leg. I couldn't be active, go to the gym, or ski. Focusing during class was almost impossible.

The limitations it put on my life were frustrating, the whole situation seemed so endlessly aggravating. I cried so many tears over it. But He is faithful. Countless times He pulled me out of my frustration and literally spoke to my heart, saying "Kelsey, Do you trust me?  I will never leave or forsake you." And I had to trust. Which is so much easier said than done. I knew that surgery was the right decision, when Dr. Rambo, one of the best neurosurgeons in the Southeast asked if he could pray over me before we left the office visit. I knew that God had His hand on the surgery.

Finally, I am healed. I knew the moment I woke up that the pain would be gone 100%. I can sit, I can raise my leg, I can stretch, I can do so many things that I used to take for granted. I am absolutely joyful that I am pain free! Praise the Lord, from whom all blessings flow. When I was sitting in my follow up appointment today, I had to choke back the tears. It finally hit me. That this season is over. I was overwhelmed with gratitude and joy. I am so thankful for my God who brings healing and comfort. He is there in the hard seasons of life and He is there in the joyous seasons of life. I literally can't put my thankfulness into words. I don't know how to verbalize it, but I am just overwhelmed by the the love of God today. Praise Him.