Monday, October 21, 2013

Be with Jesus!

I praise the Lord for showing me last week to keep my heart and mind on things above.  It kept me from only thinking about myself and the wedding and kept my thoughts on God and His purposes.  It allowed me to share life with the volunteers who came all the way from Northern Wisconsin.  Shout out to Ms. Jeri for bringing a team from her church!

The team was challenged to take their mission experience home with them.  They do not live in a city like New Orleans but they recognize that there are people around them who need the love of Christ expressed to them.  It just takes asking the Lord to provide opportunities to share Christ's love with those in need then being on the lookout for them.

My challenge to them was found in Acts 4:13 where the Jewish leaders realized that Peter and John spoke with courage yet they were unschooled, ordinary men who had BEEN WITH JESUS! Being with Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, gives us courage to live boldly for Him!  Our courage doesn't come from graduating seminary, or how many years we've been a believer, or how many mission trips we've been on...being with Jesus changes everything and gives us courage to live radically for Him anywhere we are.

So my focus this week is simple: BE WITH JESUS! I want to be in His Word daily, praying continuously, listening for the Spirit's leading and obeying, and singing praise songs to Him.   Being with Jesus will change me and give me courage to live boldly for Him.  Being with Jesus will make me more like Him who continuously put others before Himself and kept his heart and mind on things above.

"When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus." Acts 4:13

Monday, October 14, 2013

Did you catch that?

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." Colossians 3:1-2

The scripture above was my reading this morning and of course the Lord, in His loving goodness and kindness, politely tapped me on the shoulder and said "did you catch that? Where has your heart and mind been lately Katie??"

I'll be honest, I've been staying up late trying to figure out the color scheme for the wedding (and if you know me at all, that is very odd!  I don't do details.) Or thinking about where and when we'll get married?  How many people will come? Where should we have a reception? Will people have a good time? These are only a few of the thoughts that continue to rattle my mind at any point in the day.  I think I missed the fact that I just GOT ENGAGED!!! It's okay not to know these things now AND what is the goal of the big day?

I praise God for putting Godly people in my life who can speak truth in love to me.  One friend and mentor reminded me just this morning to "Keep it simple. In this culture, chaotic and complicated are natural. Simplicity must be purposeful or it won't happen. You want the marriage of your dreams more than the wedding of your dreams."  With a sigh of relief, I've asked the Lord to forgive me and help me keep my heart and mind on things above.  I know He can help me!

I have been raised with Christ! I no longer live according to the world and my old ways, but it says I have "put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator." (Colossians 3:10)

My prayer for this week is to keep my heart and mind on things above, on Christ and His character.  To glorify Him in the relationships and the work He's called me to.

So my question to you is: What is your heart and mind set on?

Monday, October 7, 2013


Reenactment the day after :)

In it's simpliest form...Mark proposed to me on my front porch coming back from dinner on Saturday Oct 5th, 2013...and I said YES!!!

When did he ask my dad? Mark asked my dad for permission to propose the first week in September when we were at the beach with my family.  Mom and I had left to get our nails done and that's when Mark asked him.

Where did he get the ring? This same week of vacation, my mom gave Mark the ring that I wanted him to use to propose, its a family heirloom which was planned to be passed down to me.  I loved the diamond but wasn't crazy about the band so Mark was given their blessing to change the band.

The gorgeous ring with a family heirloom diamond and crafted by my MN dad!
Who reset the ring you ask? This is one of my favorite parts about the ring, other than the diamond being in my family for years, it was reset by somebody I know!! Over the last 5 years I've met tons of people on volunteer teams and one team from MN has adopted me as their daughter so yes one of my Minnesota dads who is a jeweler by profession made my engagement ring!! He gave me a card a long time ago to give to Mark if he ever decided to propose.  I passed it on to Mark and said hey if you wanna call him go for it.  So sure enough, Mark sent the ring and new band off to my MN dad and he reset it and sent it all back to Mark without me finding it!  How cool!! Who would've thought that my MN dads would play a part in my proposal! Thank you Lord for all the people you've put in my life!

So what happened on Saturday Oct 5th, 2013...the detailed version!

We started off the day with coffee and devos! I am so blessed to have such a Godly man in my life who loves the Lord, loves reading the Word, and makes amazing coffee!! (and yes I'm biased!) Then we went for a run around the city, again praising God for a man who loves to be healthy and active! After running, we started our Precept Acts study...I mean honestly, how did I get so lucky? Mark and I are doing the same Bible Study in Acts through a church in Georgia. I asked Mark what we were doing for our dinner date and he says I got it planned out so don't worry.  I should've known maybe something was up but instead my response was "sweet!" Mark then headed off to work at our friend Josh's house that is undergoing renovations to their kitchen, again he loves to serve!  In the meantime, I worked on some intern stuff and took a friend to get a TV from another friend of ours.  When we met back up, we spent some time watching TV shows..haha yes Duck Dynasty may have been one of them!

Now when Mark leaves to go shower at the place where he's staying in the city, that's only what I thought. Turns out, he was trying to find a place to buy roses (for later) only to get lost in the french quarter! So I'm back at home getting ready for our dinner date not knowing he's lost around the city. Thankfully he finds the roses and his way back to his place to shower and tells me he got caught up talking to Matt (the guy he stays with in the city)...can't believe he lied to me ;)

When Mark does come to get me, he helps my roommate Mariko carry in some furniture (again what a servant!) she had just purchased.  While outside, she asked him where we were going for dinner.  He replies "Jacques-imo" and Mariko's reaction is "Are you proposing?" haha she knew! But Mark told her to keep it together until we left since I had no idea.

So off we went to dinner, where we had a 45 min wait but again I didn't mind, I had no idea what was going on.  Mark was a little more jittering than usual but I didn't think about it.  After dinner, we strolled along Oak St (one of my fav's in the city) then headed home.  I asked Mark if he wanted to get something sweet like ice cream and he said No!! Again I should've known then, this boy LOVES ice cream and he was turning it down. haha unbelievable.


Once we're home, I get out of the car carrying all my stuff (remember that) and walk up the steps to my front porch with Mark behind me.  I notice there are roses (yes those same roses) in my mailbox! As I reached for them, again carrying now all my stuff + roses, Mark gets down on one knee and says "Katie..will you marry me?" and is showing me the ring! In all my shock and excitement I can only think to say..."I'm carrying too much stuff!" So Mark in his kindness, gets up and helps me put things down then starts again, which of course I reply a happy happy happy "YES I'LL MARRY YOU!!"  He put the ring on my finger and it fit perfectly! We hugged and in shocking situations I laugh a lot and if you know my laugh, its quite funny.

We then go inside my house where Mariko my roommate is waiting at her bedroom door for us to come in!  Mark says let me introduce you to my fiance!!  She heard me laughing for 10 min and didn't know why we hadn't come inside...she didn't realize it wasn't til we got on the porch that Mark proposed.  She said she was glad she hadn't made that "Congratulations" sign like she thought about!  One of the reasons Mark picked my house was because I had wanted a private proposal and not in front of a bunch of people and this is a house we've both worked on through the ministry.  It's a sign of our love for the LORD who by His grace called us into a personal relationship with Him and out of that love, we have dedicated our lives to showing Christ's love to those in need!

As I type this and stare at my left ring finger which is a little more shinier than normal, I want to give all the glory and honor and praise to my God who gave me the ultimate gift of eternal life by grace through faith in His Son Jesus Christ!  We are nothing without Him.  May this stage of Mark and I's relationship only continue to grow our love for God and our love for one another.

Please keep us in your prayers over the wedding details.  We don't know the date or location yet so please be patient with us as the LORD leads us.  We are trusting Him to guide us as always!  Please pray for our pre-marital counseling as we begin to invest time and energy into preparing for marriage!

Oh and in case you're curious who put the flowers in the was Matt, the friend Mark stays with who just moved down here to New Orleans after serving as a volunteer with Crisis Response this past winter break! God is so good!  Who knew that when I met Matt back in January as a team leader he'd be an accomplice on my engagement day! Only God knows stuff like that! :)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A New Song in My Heart

I was giving the opportunity to share devotions in our staff meeting this morning.  Instead of sharing something from God's Word I played a song that helps me remember that my life here on earth is about praising God for sending His Son Jesus to be my savior.  I get so distracted sometimes in the busyness of life and ministry and lose sight of the reason why I'm here.

The song I played is one I heard from Camden Crossroads Community Church in Camden GA at the end of their worship service.  It's awesome.  One day I'll get to stand in front of my Savior and sing these words to Him. How cool is that!

The lyrics are below and here is the link to the song:

Thank you for the cross Lord
Thank you for the price You paid
Bearing all my sin and shame
In love You came
And gave amazing grace

Thank you for this love Lord
Thank you for the nail pierced hands
Washed me in Your cleansing flow
Now all I know Your forgiveness and embrace

Worthy is the Lamb
Seated on the throne
Crown You now with many crown
You reign victorious
High and lifted up
Jesus Son of God
 The Darling of Heaven crucified
 Worthy is the Lamb
Worthy is the Lamb

Crown him with many crowns,
 the Lamb upon his throne,
 Hark! how the heavenly anthem drowns
 all music but its own.
Awake, my soul, and sing
of him who died for thee,
and hail him as thy matchless King
 through all eternity.