Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My Thoughts on a New Year

2013 has been a year of newness and change.
I’ve gotten engaged.
Explored my favorite country (so far)- Turkey.
I graduated from USC with a Business Management degree and Marketing degree
I served THE Arnold Palmer, an “Arnold Palmer” at the Masters Golf Tournament. (So not a big deal to me, but hey I made it in the newspapers!)
I joined staff with Cru to serve as a full time missionary at USC.
I drove across the country to Colorado with my fiancé.
I began seminary classes.
On August 10th I married the most wonderful man I know.
On our honeymoon in Mexico we got to share the gospel with our waiter, Jack.
We lived in 5 different houses for the first month and a half of our marriage.
We (finally) moved into our first home together mid September!
We started this faith filled journey of raising the funding for our ministry.
We met other believers, both young and old, and heard their stories.
We’ve seen God meet our financial needs in crazy, abundant ways.
We joined a new LifeGroup with married couples and formed new friendships with people completely different from us (on the outside). 
And now we’re here at our first Encounter Conference with 1200 students from the MidSouth, about to ring in the New Year with a major dance party.

Today I’m thinking about the highlights. It’s been an incredible year full of blessings, but change isn’t always easy for me. There have been a lot of emotional ups and downs as I’ve taken steps of faith to face some of my greatest fears. Plans have changed, best friends have moved away, responsibilities have grown. I’ve tried to learn to embrace the new and not cling to the familiarity of the old, recognizing that seasons come and go. God has made everything beautiful in it’s time.

2014 is a new beginning. A new season. I always enjoy reflecting on the past year and making goals and dreams for the year to come, but this year I don’t really have a clue where to go from here. In 2012, I knew that 2013 was going to be a crazy one. I knew it was going to be full of anticipation and big changes, tears and joy all mixed together. I don’t really know what to expect from 2014. I think I took care of all the major life changes in one fell swoop in 2013. I’d love to just sit back and enjoy where I’m at. I pray that 2014 will be putting down roots in these new stages of life. I want to invest in my marriage and learning how to love my husband better. I’d love to become a better cook and eat healthier. I want to take better care of my body, not to lose weight, but to feel better overall. I want to finish support raising so we can begin our work on campus. I want to be teachable, learning more about how to share Jesus with college students. Through all these steps of faith I pray that my faith will be deepened and that my love for Jesus will grow as I see Him changing lives at USC. I want to continue to be intentional about building relationships with our ministry supporters. I want to grow deeper friendships with our new LifeGroup. I want to continue making our house a home. I want to become a better hostess as we open up our home to students, friends, and strangers.

I guess the only major change I want to make in 2014 is that I really want a puppy. (like REALLY REALLY)

Other than that, I just want to grow where I’ve been planted. Right here in Columbia, SC. In conclusion my New Years resolution is to fall more in love with Jesus and as a result love the people around me better. That’s more than enough.

Love, Kelsey & John 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Control Issues

Craving control is part of being human. We all want to be the master of our own life. What's so great about control? Well in my world, and maybe yours too,  Control = Security. If you're in control you get to choose what happens to you and when it happens. You're the one calling the shots and that gives you a sense of security. 

I happen to be a very controlling person. Take my Type A personality and couple it with my insecure life experiences and you've got me- white knuckling every situation to try to get things to go my way. I strive to be perfect. I always want to be better. I want our house to be clean and tidy. I want to control when our support comes in and how quickly we get to campus. I want to control John, his actions and responses. I want to control my weight and the acne on my face. I want to control my To Do list that never seems to get done. I want to control my sin by just trying harder to be good. It's all pretty exhausting. 

The sad thing is that I'm not even very good at this game. There are people who are much better at this "pretend to be perfect" life. God is showing me that my control issues are out of control. I'm losing at my own game of Try Harder. I mean- of course I'm not in control. I know that in my head. But why can't it sink into my heart? 

During this crazy, new, exciting, stressful season of life, Jesus is showing me that I find my security in my ability to control my life. I'm find my self worth in how much I can accomplish each day. I find temporary peace and fleeting satisfaction in crossing things off my To- Do list. I am putting my hope in my own ability to be good. Thinking I can fool God. Thinking I can fool myself. 

God is ripping this idol of control from my hands. It's not a fun lesson to learn but He is teaching me that my security is in His hands, that He has ultimate authority over my life. My self worth is found in knowing that I am a daughter of the Creator of the universe. My peace and satisfaction are found in knowing His deep love for me. My hope is not found in being better, trying harder, or any level of goodness. My hope is found in Jesus' grace and forgiveness of my sinful heart. 

I don't really want to be in control. I keep fighting Him, but what I really want is for God to be in control. He's a good dad and He loves me and I'm going to choose to trust Him with these every day struggles of life.