HPW Update

(That looks really funny abbreviated like that, doesn't it? I've never done that before.) :)

I wanted to let all of you out there who still check on/visit/find my blog that I really appreciate you. I have been really wanting to do a post lately, but my river is still dry and I'm currently very busy with school. It blesses my heart when I log on and find that one of you have found my blog and subscribed, have commented on an old post, or to see that I have received X amount of views on a certain random day when it's been quite a while since the last post. 
I just wanted to let you know that, no, I'm not gone, just in a confusing/frustrating place right now, and that I see when you view and receive your sweet comments, 
and it really means a lot to me!
Thanks so much!!!! 
I would love to hear how you are doing, or if you have any ideas for future posts!
Katie <3

Princess Warrior-type Post to Share

I just finished reading a very good blog post over on the Lies Young Women Believe blog that deals with us going to battle with courage throughout this new year :) It made me think of how I want to be as, yes, a Princess, a daughter of God, but also His warrior, and not cowering in terror with the new fears and hard situations that 2015 might bring! I spent most of 2014 not being a good soldier, and by God's grace, I'd like to do better this year. 
Anyway, I'm sharing the link to this post in hopes that it will encourage your Princess Warrior heart as well :) Hope you enjoy it and are as inspired by it as I was. 
Link to post:
By God's Grace, 

When God does the Unusual

So far, this has been a wonderful Christmas. Yes. Our family had "our Christmas" yesterday ;-), and we will be having it again tomorrow with my mom's side of the family. My brothers, sisters, and I have had lots of fun, eaten great food (thanks mom!), and received wonderful gifts... but perhaps, most wonderful of all, were the little gifts I received from Jesus (also known as special blessings :)

This past year has been one of anger and frustration for me. So. many. times. this year, I've cried out  to God, through tears of anger, in moments of raw honesty and asked,

Why God have you allowed this into my life, to happen to me? 
All I ever did was what was right! Why am I going through this {pain} when all through {this period of my life} I followed hard after you, loved you, served you, obeyed you, to the best of my ability, are others being blessed, and I am not?

First of all, you must understand, I know this is wrong. And I would tell God that. I would tell Him I knew I was acting as though I was entitled to His blessing and being utterly disrespectful, and I was sorry, but it was how I felt at the time, and He wants us to pour our hearts out to Him, so I was doing it! 
My dad always told me when I was little to 'talk to Jesus as though I was talking to my best friend'. I've been blessed with a few special friends. Friends I know I can trust implicitly and be brutally, ugly honest, and they will still love me, unconditionally, for who I am, who I can be through Christ, and will pray me through the bad times. 
And that's how I am when I talk to God. Brutally honest. He knows my deepest thoughts that even I don't understand, so He knows how I feel already. ;) 
But anyway. :) More than once I went through this. 
I felt betrayed.
Betrayed by the One who promised to never leave me nor forsake me. 
(Funny thing is, my head knew/knows waaaaaaay better. But emotions?? eh... not so much.) 
I felt betrayed. Like, since I had lived rightly before God, I should be rewarded for good behavior. But that wasn't what I saw happening. I felt my life falling into weird places I never thought it would, as I watched (over, and over, and agonizingly over again) all my friends lives fall (as i perceived it) neatly into perfect place. 
And I felt betrayed. Like I was being punished for having done the right thing. Like Joseph in the Old Testament. 
But last Sunday, my Pastor preached a sermon that, in a way, contrasted Jesus' birth and John's birth and the reactions to each. Not only did it help me to see Mary in a different way, but it was an encouragement to me as well. 
You see, when John was born? People rejoiced! When Elisabeth became pregnant with him, people celebrated! She and Zacharias were not supposed to be able to have children, and yet they did! There was joy for John. 
But except for a handful of people, there was no joy for Jesus. His parents were not married, and became the object of gossip and ridicule. His parents were poor and had to make the journey to Bethlehem, then flee shortly thereafter to Egypt. When Mary became pregnant with Jesus, people whispered behind her back, they did not rejoice with her. 
Then pastor made a comment about how "being in the will of God will bring contrast into our lives. 
God may ask us to do things, or allow things to happen to us, that MAKE. NO. SENSE. Things that very few people will understand. 
Just like when He had a virgin conceive and bear a son, and how Mary was ridiculed for the rest of her life... for simply bearing the son of God!!!! For being the Godly young woman after His own heart that He CHOSE to have His Son! Mary had done "everything right". So right, that she became the mother of the most high. But at times, when people would scowl at her in the streets, murmur behind her back as she traveled through the village with baby Jesus on her hip, make snide remarks about she and Joseph that were untrue-- untrue because God had done the unusual in her life-- I wonder if she felt betrayed. Lifted her eyes to heaven and whispered, "Why, Lord? All I ever did was serve you!" I am not trying to add anything to the Bible, I just wonder if Mary ever felt betrayed, too. 
But she knew. She knew, just like I knew, that even though I feel that way, it isn't/wasn't true. 
She knew that God had chosen to do something unusual in her life, and she chose to obey that call. 
I'm sure that often it made little sense to her, 
Just as though it makes no sense to us, when we go through what we see as useless pain. Pain so unbearable at times we cry out to God, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING??? How could you possibly intend to use this for your glory!?!?". But that's exactly what He tends to do. Use the unusual, the painful, the unbearable, the things in our lives that we and no one else understands, somehow. for. GOOD. 
So today, this Christmas, please dear friend. 
Don't lose hope. 
When God does or allows something not in your plans that seems to wreck your life, realize He's not betraying you. Remember He loves you, and somehow, He's going to work this all together for His good, for His purposes. (Romans 8:28) if we let Him. Mary let Him. I know this is hard :( Remember how Mary in the New Testament and Joseph in the Old did what was right, and it seemed as though they only got pain in response?? 
But the ending of those two stories?? 
God worked through Joseph to save many nations from starvation. 
and God worked, through Mary, to bring the Savior into the world who would redeem the souls of all mankind. 
What could He be doing with your pain today, sweet sister? 

Merry Christmas!!!

Picture Source: http://www.testimoniesofheavenandhell.com/Pictures-Of-Jesus/
Source of Post Title: was pastor's sermon title ;)

Being Wearied with The Journey

"Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well." {John 4:6a}

We {the ladies of our awesome little church!} had our Ladies Fall Fellowship/Bible study last week. It was such a blessing, and full of laughter, but when my pastor's wife began to bring the devotional, I was totally not paying attention. 
"Wanna know why?"
Because after we'd turned to the Scripture from which God had led her to bring our study, God arrested my attention so completely, inspiration hit, and I was scribbling this from-God's-heart-to-mine encouragement in my journal before I lost it! 
(Don't worry! What God gave me actually had a lot to do with our Bible study anyway :) And my pastor's wife forgave me ;-)
But here are those notes, from my heart to yours. Not sure if they are all doctrinaly sound lol but it was if a light-bulb clicked on and I was seeing this Scripture in a slightly different hue than normal!

"Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well." {John 4:6a}
(seriously. that small, simple sentence was all God needed to use to encourage me and inspire three pages of writing. Isn't He amazing??? <3 )

"It stuck me as my pastor's wife read this verse aloud that John would include that Jesus-- king of the Universe; wholly mighty in strength-- became weary. 

Weary is a word I know well. Too well. 
Maybe you as well are far to familiar with that word :( 

Maybe I'm reading too much into it, I thought. 
Maybe not.
Maybe, God wanted us to know that it's okay to be tired. 
He knows. He gets it. He KNOWS where we have been and where we are. 

It was Jesus' journey that caused Him to become weary. 
Could we, perhaps, use this as a parallel to our spiritual lives? 
Jesus understands.
Could we also equate this with our daily walk in general??
Jesus gets it. He got tired. 
So He sat down. 
Maybe God put a subtle hint in here that in our life's journey, when we get tired that it's okay to sit down, to take a break... 
as long as we don't intend to QUIT!!!
Jesus was planning only on taking a break. Not on STOPPING!
Also this break Jesus was taking? 
It didn't stop Him from encouraging  another even when He was tired. 
Maybe we can even encourage others better when we're taking a break. because at that point?? HE GOT IT! He "got it" well! He was taking a break at the time! So maybe we can encourage others better during or after that break because "we've been there too" and therefore are better equipped to encourage them. 
Another thing. We know as believers that because He took this break, a woman's-- a TOWN's-- spiritual needs were met. 
We know it was a scheduled divine appointment on His part ;-) 
Maybe God slows us down-- has slowed YOU down-- allows struggles, sorrows, trouble, depression, discouragement, unfair/overwhelming circumstances because we can reach certainpeople during our hard spots, because of our trials, that we may never have been able to reach had everything continued to be hunky-dory, smooth-sailing. 
We (YOU!!!) can meet the spiritual needs of others because we've had this struggle, because we're going through this problem

It's okay to be tired.
It's okay to take a break!
Just take that break intending to get back up after you are rested!!!
Take that break cognizant of the fact that others need breaks too!!!
Take that break knowing that because you're taking it, God may be able to use you in a way He never could have otherwise!!
Knowing that God can use that break to encourage someone else down the road. 

You can encourage someone from a sitting position! ;-) 

First picture mine, edited from movie Mom's Night Out; rest of pictures courtesy http://www.freebibleimages.org/

Encouraging Video (One) ~~ When "Wait" is Your Answer

A few months ago, my sister bought a movie she’d really wanted to watch. The trailer had piqued our interest, and so had the fact that Fireproof actress Erin Bethea was in it. When we finally got it, I was excited to watch it with my sisters.
But I was not prepared for how God would use it to bless and encourage me!
The movie is called This is Our Time, and I highly recommend it, especially for any young adults out there who are trying to “decipher God’s will” for them in this crucial and extremely stressful point in their life. 
However, there are a few pivotal scenes that spoke to me more than others, and over the course of a few blog posts, I would like to share them, and a few others, with you!
I wanted to share these with you a few months ago, when the inspiration was still fresh in my heart, but I slacked and let it die. But a recent conversation with one of my cousins reminded me so much of this film and the encouragement wrought by it, that I've finally decided to post these! 

With this new school year fully in gear and everyone finally either back in school or in the swing of homeschooling, I've heard a lot about the pressure put on seniors (in high school) to suddenly have all these plans about where they’re going to college, if they’re going to college, what they want to do, what they think God’s will is for them, and all these pivotal, intense decisions—suddenly, as soon as you hit 12th grade, you’re supposed to have the answer to all of these! And then, regardless of what your passions and desires and even God’s will for your life, are the expectations put upon us as young people: by our friends, church family, teachers, peers, and even, our parents! You may not be very sure at all what God wants you to do, but you certainly know what everyone ELSE thinks you should be doing!
And that causes stress and no end of pressure. My sister and her best friend (who are both senior this year) have definitely been feeling this pressure. But so have I, because of recent developments in my life, and so is one of my cousins, and we are past the ‘graduation’ phase of life.
But what if, when searching for God’s voice and will for this next phase of life, all you hear is “WAIT”??
Then what?
You’re not wrong. 
You’re not a failure or a “less-than”.
 If this is you, whatEVER season of life you’re in and no matter what unfair expectations are being placed upon you, while everyone else seems to have their act together? YOU DO TOO. Just in a completely different way than they do. Because God’s will is different for everybody. And He’s using us all in different ways. Even if that means you don’t feel used or important, God is still using you! Yes, we must "search" and pray for God's guidance and try to stay close to Him. But just because the answer is "wait" doesn't make you less important or mean you're doing "nothing". :)

God’s will is not limited to a four year college degree
and God’s will/timing is not limited to what everybody else thinks you should be doing. 
God’s will often looks like nothing you would have chosen for yourself or expected you would do.

I cannot word it any better than the professor does in this clip. I hope this encourages you as it did me <3 


(I in no way claim any rights to this movie and all credit goes to Pure Flix Entertainment and Director Lisa Arnold!)

A Week in Skirts "Wrap-Up" ;-)

 This past week I took part of a blog challenge to wear skirts for an entire week. The challenge was Libby's from A Noble Calling blog; she contacted some different bloggers and I thought it sounded fun :)

I usually spend 4-5 days of my week in a skirt anyway, so it wasn't much of a change for me :)

 1st Day of Challenge:
Navy blue Northern Reflections T-shirt with fall and country-type decals I acquired from Salvation Army
My lavender cami underneath (I like to wear camis under most shirts for comfort and a layered look) was from a garage sale.
Long Khaki Skirt ( Old Navy brand ) I received this from a sweet Titus 2 mamma at my church
(The shoes I wore throughout the week are brown Sketchers Go-Walks that my parent’s bought me for my 21st birthday :D)
2nd Day of Challenge:
Navy blue and white Christopher & Banks shirt
(I’ve had that shirt for a long time)
White Stag jean skirt
(Again from the same Titus 2 Momma at church :D)

3rd Day of Challenge:
I had to work all day so I wore something cute but comfy that wasn't a big deal if I got a bit dusty
PURPLE! Cedar Point T-shirt
(Bought there last summer!)
Lavender cami
(So brand name, I believe I received it for Christmas)
Jean skirt 
4th day of challenge:
I was at work all day and I forgot to take a picture :( So I shall describe it the best I can. I wore a teal T-shirt with a logo of the continents with the caption “Preach the Word, Reach the World”, given to me by my friend, and Southern Gospel singer, Gabrielle Allen (they sell these T shirts at their concerts to raise money for the Compassion International children they sponsor!!) and a dark purple cami. Also, I wore a purple Aeropostale hoodie overtop, and I wore a jean skirt again.

5th day of Challenge:
Another day at work
Yellow smiley face T-shirt (Family Christian Bookstore-It says "smile, Jesus loves you" and John 3:16) over black cami (Salvation army)
Jean Skirt
6th Day of Challenge:
Again, was unable to take photo, so I took a snapshot of the blouse and skirt yesterday. (the pictures don’t really do it justice, though :( ) The blouse is a deep purple with magenta strips, and the skirt (white stag brand, again from my Titus 2 mamma) is actually an olive green color. (These two pics really do the outfit an injustice :( lol) 

Day 7 of the Challenge was Sunday, Mother’s Day, so I’m a bit more dressed up
Lavender shirt (Old Navy brand, purchased at Salvation Army)
Lavender/ purple floral skirt (again from my Titus 2 mom!!!)
I wore white sandals with small wedge heels and a round decal on top to church, but I had chucked them by the time I took pictures :)
Make-up worn: Cowgirl dirt 
(See those lovely flowers I'm standing by? My thoughtful brother bought those for our mom for Mother's Day!) 

This was definitely fun-- probably easier for me than most. However, my sister did save my hide Sunday by reminding me to spend the entire evening in my skirt! lol After church, I was ready to be outta my skirt and into my lounge pants for the rest of the night; but thanks to her reminder, after my nap (yes, I take naps on Sundays, thank you very much! LOL) instead of donning fuzzy Superman PJ pants for the rest of the night, I slipped into a jean skirt for the rest of the evening. :) 

These are the links to the other girls who participated in this challenge! Take a minute to check them out! :) 

Elyse at Elyse Lauryn
Caroline at Life as Caroline
Abigail at Jubilant Joys
Rebekah at Lively Laughter
Libby at A Noble Calling
Libby and Emmy at The Dutch Umbrella

Filled to be Emptied

Lately, I've been longing to do blog-post.
To write
To encourage
But often, when the desire hits, I have nothing to write about; or I have plenty to write about, but I feel unworthy because I've just gotten over a ‘blew it’ moment (yelling at a sibling, slinging a sarcastic remark at a parent, forgetting a chore, whining or complaining, simply) whether great or small. Something will impassion, inspire me to write, but satan smites my heart with, “oh you can’t write about thus-and-so… I mean, look what you just did! You’re such a horrible person, such a wicked sinner! How dare you write a blog post or a letter encouraging others to do right or keep their chin up when you cant even do it!?!?!?!?!”
Also, recently I’ll occasionally become discouraged by the fact that whereas four years ago, I was able to offer advice and encouragement to my friends, family, and other young ladies, I now am without Biblical insight to offer them.
And that is what they need
Not my opinions. (Although, yes—I can certainly get up on my soap box from time to time and dish them out!) Because my word on its own, no matter how heart-felt and presumable Scripturally drawn it may be, is just that.
It could be wrong. (Often is!!!) and I've recently been impressed with the importance of reading the finely printed ingredients on a package of “Biblical health-food” to check for sneaky, unwholesome ingredients before devouring the entire thing. And then finding out later what sounded Biblical at the time was, even if just slightly, off kilter.
But I've had no Godly advice or encouragement, Blog-posts or emails, letters or Sunday school lessons or special musics to offer lately…
Because my well. Is. Dry. :(
I cannot give what I do not have to offer.
And I can only get what I want to give by spending time with Jesus.
Something, which, through various circumstances, lack of determination on my part, and what honestly may be just blatant spiritual-warfare, has become very. hard. for me.
And somehow, I got it into my warped head that WANTING to blog, to post, to (maybe even write and encourage?) was impossible or wrong.
… ...
… ... ...
But as I began to finally, by God’s grace, take a step in the right direction the other night
It hit me! there’s really nothing wrong with having the DESIRE to (blog) post! There’s nothing wrong with WANTING to write!

As this thought bonked me between the eyes, another sort of thought meekly stepped in with it.
“Lord, fill me so that I may fill others.”
I've been hurting. Hurting. Dealing with the bitterness that “why God?” trials can bring. And with it, (only by the AMAZING GRACE of God), I've been given an entirely new perspective for others—on a number of levels.
And with that new perspective comes a “you’re hurting too!? O my goodness, you are SO not alone! There is some bigger purpose behind all of this, but for now just let me hug you and assure you that you’re not alone!” type of encouragement that I want to impart…
…and feel totally unworthy to do so.
as though I’m not good enough.
How could God possibly use a young woman like me who doesn't “have it all together” for Him?
Who isn't in her Bible like she knows she needs to be? Who often simply has no motivation for anything! Who so often wants, not necessarily to die, but to just. give. up. who is so SICK of this darkness and confusion and READY for it to be OVER! How could God use that?!
I have told those closest to me, who know my current inner struggles and unfounded fears, how I hate feeling “forced” to serve, “forced” to minister, because while those asking me to serve and minister have no idea of the turmoil inside, I feel as though I have nothing to give!! :( I’m “running on empty”—I’m empty, I tell them! I’m dry! I have nothing of God to offer because lately… I “have nothing of God” myself :(
And yes. I know there are problems with my attitude and often lack of effort. The darkness is real and unrelenting, but that doesn’t excuse my giving up. I’m not glossing over that.
But I do want to showcase something bigger than that.
Because when I am in those places. When I feel worthless. When I feel inadequate, ‘not good enough’, as though I don’t currently measure up. When I am there,
God does something unmerited amazing.
From an empty cruse, He anoints with oil.
From a parched well, He gives water; quenches someone’s thirst.
From a tank running on fumes, He squeaks out an “extra mile”.
And I’m blown away and humbled that He could—and would want to—use someone as unworthy as me!!!
But it kind of hit me.
What is so wrong with asking to be filled up so you can then be poured out?
What is so wrong with asking God to bless you so you can bless and encourage others?
To FILL YOU so He can then USE YOU?!
(And no—I’m not saying that God can’t use you unless you’re “worthy” because A) NO ONE IS WORTHY (Isaiah 64:6b) and B) He deign to use the “unusable” (see above!)
So, what is wrong with all these things????
However, while there is nothing wrong with this concept, there could be…
…if you were doing it with selfish motives; to receive all the attention and glory for yourself.
But! If to the best of your knowledge, your motives are pure, and if you genuinely have a desire to minister in a specific way, but truly know your ineptitude without the amazing grace of Almighty God?? ?
By His grace and with His help—
            GO. FOR. IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And I don’t say “ineptitude” to belittle, demean, or offend. I say it because the more and more aware of my sinful, fleshly state I become (“for without Me {Jesus} ye can do nothingJohn 15:5b); the more aware I become that my attempts at “goodness” (think filthy rags); at being “good enough” are worth nothing.
A big, fat nothing.
I am worthless apart from Christ’s worthiness in me.
The more I realize how BAD
I really (on my own)????
The more I realize JUST. HOW. GOOD—how amazingmy God is!!!!!

What about you, sister? What has God been showing you, even through darkness? How has He been revealing or reminding you that, even when it doesn't seem so, He.Is.Good? Have you ever asked God to fill you up with the specific desire to be poured out?