I’d Rather Have A Bumpy Ride To Heaven Than A Smooth Ride To Hell

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I have to say right off the bat…I found this image on Instagram. 
So I did not come up with this saying, or say it myself. But… it really made me think. I found myself asking questions about what I’m doing in my life and how I handle situations that arise. 

You see we don’t think about it very often…let’s be honest, we hardly ask ourselves these questions:

       How am I thriving?

       Do people see Jesus in what I say or do? 

       Am I taking the easy way through life?

       Do I allow God to work molding me into the masterpiece He’s designed?

       Am I working at living a made up perfect life?

Too often do I get into this routine of doing what Kelsea wants to do…or coming up with my own way of “handling” or “taking care” of situations. I forget that sometimes we just need to stop trying to handle these things or trying to know what the next step is. Instead we need to turn towards God. Why is this so hard to make apart of a daily routine? Why do we get so busy in our life with work, family, and personal needs instead of accepting the fact that we can not do it by ourself? Or that our way is not always the right way? 

This whole statement about rather living a bumpy ride to heaven then a smooth ride to hell…I mean come on. Who would disagree with that?? But even then, it’s so much easier to say this statement rather then live it out.  So when life brings the rain pours, the giant mountains we have to climb, an unexpected turn in the wrong direction, take it with a smile on your face because God is working in your life. He is either going to work on making you stronger because of the things you are dealing with or He can be teaching us a lesson we might have to learn the hard way. 

Either way life is going to get messy. We live in a sad world with hurt and pain. Life also will be amazing and leave you speechless at times. We’re all going to end up somewhere and I am going to work at taking these bumpy moments in life and work at getting to that other side because God is with me. He won’t let me get pulled down. I won’t take the smooth ride. No, I’m going at this life God’s put before me to work harder then I’ve ever worked at getting His name famous and working at living a life of pleasing Him. 

So what about you? Are you going to live a bumpy ride or are you going to give up and take the smooth way? 

 

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GoodBYE 2013…HELLLLLLLO 2014!

2014…I am ready for you. Come at me bro.

I can say that as I am {getting older} with each year that passes, it’s become clear to me just how much one person can learn and experience in such a small amount of time. The past year and a half have been life changing for me. I’ve talked plenty about that in previous posts. But I don’t want to focus on those as main thoughts as I bring in this New Year. Instead I am looking to the present and the future. I for once can say that this coming year is the first year where I can not tell you what’s going to happen. In years before it was always that next year in school…the start of adult life right out of college….new places and a new job.

This year I’m entering it in my beautiful state of Texas working with the youth group that started my ministry. I have great students who still teach me things, I have wonderful people God’s placed in my life who are just as family to me as my own.

But this year I can’t say what big things will happen. Will I learn more then ever about the life God has designed for me? Will I meet the man of my dreams? Will this be a tough year in ministry? Will I get to go out of the country again? Will God open my eyes to a new and exciting opportunities? I don’t have the answers to these questions. But I do know that for the first time I’ve never been so ready to start FRESH! Give me this New Year because I want to take it on differently then I’ve ever done before. No more always worrying about keeping EVERYONE happy. No more stressing about all the TO-DO LISTS. I will be focusing on what matters most, and forgetting the rest. This is going to be a simple, yet amazing year. Less is more. We can not be perfect…so why do we try so hard at it if it will only do more harm? {not to say we can not thrive at things} Grace, NOT Perfection. God is going to do great things in our life and He has given us another start to a New Year. He hasn’t returned on earth yet. So don’t stop living and searching for Him. Keep moving forward and building His Kingdom one experience, life, possibility and relationship at a time.

This is our year. So, ready or not 2014, WELCOME.

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Grace….Not Perfection

I won’t lie when I say that I am having so much fun with my new position at FCN. I also won’t lie when I say, we have to make it to Christmas….just two weeks to go! I knew coming in to the job there was going to be a ton to do. Now it’s right on the battle field and working hard at accomplishing things. As a church we have been extremely blessed with the love shown in our members and the funds available for us to get our new “concert” ( I know using that world with a much older crowd can draw some eyebrows…but for the younger ages it makes perfect sense) lights installed in the sanctuary as well as two new side screens and not one computer in the back…but FOUR computers. And I’m in charge of making sure they are doing what they are meant to. Talk about a TON OF RESPONSIBILITY. Also talk about the timing here….we have been able to pull it off taking on this huge task even when the original plans we weren’t going to get to this point until after the first of the year. So now we are working tough days to prepare for our big “Beautiful Things” Christmas service this coming week! It is going to be phenomenal! With this new equipment my job is a ProPresenter junkies dream! I won’t get into the nerdy details even though I am so excited! But think of this; video playing in the middle screens (or all three!!!) Two different motion backgrounds that fit together playing at the same time from three screens!

And then there are LIGHTS.  

Yes, lights…which we have to program before each service. Cool things…yet challenging. THEN TO TOP THIS ALL OFF, we have our INFUSE Cozy Christmas Party (one of my favorite events to plan for the group!!!) in one week from TOMORROW.

SHOOT DANG.

All I can say when people aks how I am or what’s going on….is BUSY BUSY BUSY. Yet, at the same time I am working at keeping myself from going nuts! I have found a tiny balance (still working on it) of getting work done, laughing and having too much fun with my best friends a.k.a. the crazy guy’s I have to work with each day and working at making disciples with our youth and the people I interact with each day :) So keeping one at a pace of GRACE and not PERFECTION can really help in day’s like these. Yes I strive to always get the job done better then it needs to be….but it is also important for me to learn from such tasks and to take it one thing at a time (during my multi-tasking”ness”) and making memories instead of wondering where the time went. 

Feelings from a busy girl living in an exciting world. 

#shespeakstruth  <<< this is my new favorite hashtag. 

OK. Thanks. Bye :)

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How I’m Going To Thrive With This New Ministry

It’s been 8 days at the new job.

This is my second time working at a church full-time; even though I’ve worked with this church before…my roles with the youth side of things have stayed the same (and excite me the most). But I now have a much larger job description and a whole lot more experiences to thrive through.

As the Communications Director, I’m in a sense doing what I love and that is combining media with ministry. So all at once there is so much on my plate. I won’t lie. There is a TON! It will be stressful. It will be tough. It will be lots of research and working with others and ALL getting on the same page.

BUT…it is going to be fun. You know how I know? Because this job is what God has called me, sent me and challenged me to do for Him. I am ready for the challenge. I’m excited and I’m in the know that it won’t be a slice of cake. Or a cupcake at that.

But for crying out loud….I was born for this! God wouldn’t put me some where to only have me get discouraged…I’ve been there…I’ve gone through some tough times and days where I had to give up my OWN plan to live by HIS PLAN. SO, why would I be concerned right now with this new challenge He’s put right before me?

I always think of Switchfoot’s latest album and the saying, “I wanna THRIVE. Not just survive”

I want to thrive! Not just survive!

WOW.

Honestly, how often do we just get through each day surviving it and only looking to the very next day as the same as the one before?? Don’t do that! We are a people designed by God and He did not design anything to only just SURVIVE. His plan for each and everyone of us, as different as they all are…is to THRIVE in everything, everything you do on a daily basis!

Might be on a power mode tonight, but honestly that’s the kind of day we had in the office today :)

There is a lot to work through and get all together as a team and then put that plan into action. So during these unknowing and challenging days in the office with some of my closest friends, I’m going to take each day one at a time but I won’t just be surviving through the work days…no. I will be thriving. Because if we all had this attitude, I completely believe that our work would get done not only faster, but better then expected and you would actually ENJOY going to work! (like I do!)

I love my job. I love my church. I love my God and I love the people God’s placed in my life during this exciting time working in ministry!

Get you some of that!

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Don’t Take A Second For Granite

As I’m writing this and bringing my thoughts together, I am sitting in the Common building at Southern Nazarene University. Here for a youth summit, but every time I come here I feel like I am reminded of all the wonderful people and places God has placed me in/with.

For example I always get to see my Infuse students who are now attending SNU and some West Texas students as well. Even though I didn’t attend this school my college days, it always brings back such wonderful memories I had while at my beautiful campus, Olivet Nazarene University. These few days that I am walking the campus in Bethany, OK I’ve also been able to see my wonderful Nashville student, Hannah who attends Trevecca Nazarene University. Small world….na, God planned that!

So this trip is a transition time for me; and I’m sitting blessed knowing how God has worked in my life this past year.

After my sad, not wanting to go departure from Nashville, I moved to Dodge City, Kansas and was for the first time a full time staff member at a church. It was a good experience for me to see how other churches do things and how having more of a responsibility is different from just being a youth intern…..who gets the fun jobs :) My time in Kansas was short…but I have learned a lot this year.
God has taught me what He can truly do to and with our lives when WE GIVE HIM OUR LIFE, WHEN WE WAIT ON HIM and not planning everything out in OUR time.

If it was all in my timeing and my planning…I wouldn’t have left Nashville….I would still be there, even if I was working at Starbucks for the time being. I love my family church there and that would have been the reason behind me wanting to stay.

But I didn’t do that. I listened and prayed to God to show me; tell me and help me know where He was sending me and if I was going to leave Tennessee. I did what He was showing me….and that was move to Kansas.

If you didn’t know, my year I took off before starting college was spent in Lubbock, Texas as youth intern for FCN.

This was how my ministry started. My heart grew for youth ministry from this experience and the years to come. This place and experience is what got me going and the reason why I’m still pursing youth ministry. No matter where I live or what church I’m attending. That’s the beauty of ministry…IT DOESN’T AND SHOULDN’T HAVE TO BE IN JUST ONE PLACE KEPT TO ITSELF.

I can truly say that in this past year, with the roller coster of a life I’ve been flying on, by truly waiting and listening to God, He has given me the opportunity I’ve only dreamed of and honestly I’ve always thought this would happen one day (I’m a BIG dreamer and never say “never” ;) But also not truly knowing if this would happen, or if so…when? But it has happened and I am beyond blessed to say that as of this Thursday, I will be on full time staff at the church that starting my ministry…working with some of my best friends, mentors, and pastors in Lubbock, Texas at FCN.

God. Is. So. Good!

Never give up. Always wait….the out come is so much greater when it is His timing and not Ours.
If you truly want something….aim for it….but make sure you are doing so with God with you constantly and in knowing that even in your dark days…He will always break through the clouds and shine bright! Then your journey…as tough as it might seem…will be a tiny part of your big ministry/adventure in life!!!!

Airplane Birthday Success!

So after several HOURS of “pinning” this and that onto Pinterest to my “Parties” board, I was finally able to put some of these super adorable idea’s together!  As a true Pinner….I feel very accomplished!

My little brother, Abraham turned 7 years old this past Saturday :)

So big sister(s) got to put this little shin dig together….I will say this, It turned out to be a great party, it was a lot of fun but it was  a LOT of planning and work before the day of the party! I love this kind of stuff though! I have so many different types of jobs I love doing and event coordinator/party planner is defiantly one of the top favorites!

I love that my biggest passion is Youth Ministry and if you spend a lot of time in that department….you must know that in one way or another, it always helps to have someone who can throw a good party together! Even if it’s on a short notice & a limited budget….party planning is one of my favorites for YM :)

Back to the airplanes….these are some pictures of the finished project!

Cotton Candy look just like a cloud! So easy and very creative.

Cotton Candy look just like a cloud! So easy and very creative.

Part of the goodie bags....made hershey's kisses with cute cut outs on the bottom and orange was a major color of the party so orange tic tacks added that extra color to this personalized message!

Part of the goodie bags….made hershey’s kisses with cute cut outs on the bottom and orange was a major color of the party so orange tic tacks added that extra color to this personalized message!

Add a little something special with a message from the Birthday Boy!

Add a little something special with a message from the Birthday Boy!

Found these on Pinterest and fell in love!

Found these on Pinterest and fell in love!

Set out a vintage suit case filled with the goodie bags!

Set out a vintage suit case filled with the goodie bags!

Adding guests names to their bags make everyone feel a little more special!

Adding guests names to their bags make everyone feel a little more special!

The main scene...

Sugar cookies for the 7 year old! His choice of clouds and the number 7 and of course....an airplane!

Sugar cookies for the 7 year old! His choice of clouds and the number 7 and of course….an airplane!

Jet Fuel to keep going!

Marshmallows are a huge hit for any child. Add a little chocolate and a stick and they are more fun to eat!

Marshmallows are a huge hit for any child. Add a little chocolate and a stick and they are more fun to eat!

Loved these vintage Disney Planes posters!

Loved these vintage Disney Planes posters!

Pin the Propeller on Dusty! Paper Airplane Station

Can't have a party with out a good Photo Booth!!!

Can’t have a party with out a good Photo Booth!!!

Birthday Boy! Pilots for the day! Success.

When all said and done...this boy had a great time and we won't forget this Birthday Party!

When all said and done…this boy had a great time and we won’t forget this Birthday Party!

Covered Up By A Fake Smile

I have thought over and over how I would write this post. It’s defiantly taken me long enough. Too long.

But I read something tonight that just slapped me in the face. I had to think, “we’ll duh.” And “why didn’t I think this way before?” But now I have a little lead way of how to write this story of a life changing experience I encountered almost a year ago.

It might seem a little crazy if you’ve been following up with me; graduating from Olivet near Chicago, then moving straight to Nashville after that, but then moving to Kansas only 7 months after being in Nashville.

My time in Nashville was amazing. It was a dream city. I fell in love with my church and was able to experience a real graphic designer job. I also was affirmed that youth ministry is such a huge part of who I am and where I want to be. It was last August and September when I started having mixed emotions about my job/career. Don’t get me wrong I believe God gave me the ability to design and I do love it. But there was something missing. I can now look back and be certain that it was being more involved in the ministry side of the job that I longed for.
So, last September (Sunday 22nd to be exact) we had a wonderful sermon from Pastor Alan about surrendering and how God DOES give us things we can’t handle alone. BUT with Him, we can handle anything. I went to the altar that Sunday and laid everything there. I told God I couldn’t do my job anymore with out Him and that I was surrendering to Him and letting Him take over. That exact week, on Thursday I was let go at my job. I couldn’t believe it. I keep remembering the conversation with Pastor Alan i had over the phone within that hour after it happened. I told him about going to the altar and what i asked God for. His response, “Well Kelsea, it sounds like He answered your prayer. Just a lot faster then you thought He would.” There were some long, sad, yet helpful conversations in those next weeks with my pastor and as sad as I was to have to leave, I am so thankful for their love and encouragement in my time of need. Some know this story, for others this might be the first time you have heard. If you are close to me and didn’t know, I am sorry for not telling you. This was for me, very much out of no where and still hard to understand. It was one of the hardest things to come to peace with. I had amazing pastors and close friends help me during this time. It was so hard at first to bring up. I felt like I had failed. And I have always worked hard for things. This defiantly brought me down.
The job I took in Kansas three months later was actually offered to me before I graduated, but it wasn’t the time; God allowed me to be in Nashville even though it was a short time, it was one of the best times and I love it and miss it still. But what I had to realize and it wasn’t so easy, is that it is NOT up to me and my plan for my life. But Gods plan and in His timing. Otherwise I believe we would be miserable and things would never go our way.
I can’t believe it’s been almost one year since this has happened. I can’t say I have everything figured out. None of us should say we do….who are we kidding? But I can say I never once gave up on Him. Even in my toughest decisions and times of the unknown, I feel like I listened to God and that still to this day I am finding out what He’s got planned for me.
I’ve always been a planner. Always. But I’m starting to quit. I don’t want to plan things and then come to the realization that its not going to happen my way. Instead I have HOPE and always trust in God and in His timing.

If you are a student from Brentwood Church of the Nazarene reading this, I want you to truly know how important you are to me. I want you to know I didn’t “look to leave” but I hope you can see how important it is to always trust God and always follow where He leads you. Even if it is scary and not part of your plan. I miss you and love you so.

It feels good to get this out. But I want to leave with the passage that made me realize how much we worry about things and how they are not going our way; but then to say God, I am yours and here with hope and the knowledge that You will not lead me astray:

I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed. I remember it all—oh, how well I remember— the feeling of hitting the bottom. But there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope: God ’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left. God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. It’s a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God. It’s a good thing when you’re young to stick it out through the hard times. When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The “worst” is never the worst. Why? Because the Master won’t ever walk out and fail to return. If he works severely, he also works tenderly. His stockpiles of loyal love are immense. He takes no pleasure in making life hard, in throwing roadblocks in the way: Stomping down hard on luckless prisoners, Refusing justice to victims in the court of High God, Tampering with evidence— the Master does not approve of such things. (Lamentations 3:19-36 MSG)

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Smiles Found In Low Places

I left the country a week ago.

I kept my heart open and my mind clear.

Just getting back to America today after spending a week in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, I am processing all that I have seen and was blessed to be apart of.

During our time we were able to do both mission work and ministry work. We put on three different VBS’s in three different communities. We were at one place that was a middle class community then two that were pretty pour communities. One thing that surprised me was how close you could be to a different view and different community. It really opened my eyes when we saw this first hand because our third time getting to work with kids we helped with putting on one of the Jesus Films presentations. We left the mission house we were staying at and walked….down the road a little and then to your right and down a hill…honestly it was probably just a mile from the house. And it was so insane how fast it was all a different place. These kids were living in shacks. They had little houses with pieces of metal holding it together. They were no bigger then a one bedroom some of them. The view was beyond anything I’ve seen in person. They don’t have electricity and probably don’t have running water. The water that was running down the hill was probably something we honestly didn’t want to find out where it was coming from. These homes, the shacks, the one room houses would just continue down these broken narrow streets. It went down a hill too so they were literally sometimes just 2 feet from each house. They had kids just playing, running around. So many just hanging at the door of their home. Some with no clothes and they would stare at you while we walked by. You felt so much for these kids. My heart was heavy and all I wanted to do was hold them and hug them and tell them Jesus loves you and tell them how beautiful they are.
This picture is from this very place I’m describing. It was just, something we could not have put together ourselves. God was there and He showed us the way the whole time.
The thing you have to experience for yourself in these moments is seeing first hand their living conditions and then spending time with the children of these places. They smile like no other. They have such an innocence to them and the younger they are, the truer that is. I think that these trips we make as missionaries and mission work help the younger ones before they can get into the wrong crowds. But no matter the age it is something I now have a huge heart and drive for. I can’t even explain how it was to be with them and even though we had a language barrier, they still loved on us and we on them. I did learn to say “Aqui” and “muy bien!” Every time when taking pictures of them!
More pictures and stories will come from my adventure and mission week from this trip. But just check this view out from a place that might normally be seen as hopeless or not worthy of anyone’s time. It defiantly isn’t how we feel about it.

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Where’s Your Simplicity?

I can’t believe it’s been just about 3 months since my last post.

Why do I let time just slip by?

Why is it harder these days to not enjoy the simple side of life?

Working in ministry you can never really “plan” things out just exactly. Something is always going to come up and sadly some of those things aren’t fun. We have been hit pretty hard this last week, even few months on just getting sad news of those in the church and their family members.

Because of this I am able to take a step back, to realize it doesn’t matter if I don’t have everything I want; I have everything I need. And I’m thankful God is wanting me to understand that. I know there is no one else other than God who could love me as much as He does. So why is it so easy to let ourselves get so busy. To forget how to enjoy the simple anymore.
I know it is easy to do….but why?

All I know is I would be lost if I didn’t have God in my life. I have some exciting things in my future to look forward to, but on the way to those adventures, I’m not going to let the joy of simplicity pass me by!

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Love Me Some Me

This past weekend I was in Lubbock, Texas for the annual West Texas NYI Youth-A-Rama. It was my sixth one in a row and I have to say one of the most different ones, but also one of the most meaningful ones for myself.
Our speaker was Cody Hodges and we had Everfound as our band all weekend! That was great to work with them again! But it was just about every message that Cody gave each night that truly made me stop and look at how I am living my life.
Cody Hodges has a long football career history and played at Texas Tech and even in the NFL for a while. But Cody today is not a football player. He does not let that be his identity. Instead, Cody is fully living his life to speak Gods word to thousands of high school students though each year working with Rachel’s Challenge.
Several things Cody said that weekend hit me and even made me stop and change how I “live”. I want to talk about how he spoke on identity.
For him, growing up he let football be his identity. He thought that was his life and he went from never being benched his entire high school career to being benched for three years at Texas Tech, red shirted and got to play his senior year as head quarter back. But he quickly realized while playing for Tech that God had something bigger planed for his life. After trying to continue playing after college, one by one places and teams just were not working. He said that as humans and in today’s world it is so easy to get caught up in loving some “me”. We all do it and the sad thing is we probably don’t even realize we are doing so. We all have things that bring us joy and that we feel we are good at. But are these things that are making God full of joy? Are they things something we truly are good at or our world just thinks we are? Are these things going to help grow the Kingdom of God?
That’s where I was being challenged. What am I doing to bring glory to our God? How am I going to allow the gifts and talents God has places in me to be my “identity”?
Don’t get stuck in today’s world of “trying” to fit in and making your own identity. You will only be wasting your time. For you see your indignity has already been created. Your identity was decided before you were even born. Start living a life of knowing God and worshiping Him through everything and He will help you find your God given identity.
We are all on the same adventure, we will go through different trials and different highs, but in the end we are all here for one purpose. That is to glorify God and grow His Kingdom and bring others to know Him and live with Him for eternity.
So go find your identity. Just don’t get stuck in loving you some you while you’re figuring it out.

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Broken and Whole

The more I learn, the less I know.

Just a girl on an adventure to find out what God has planned for her life.

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