Friday, April 23, 2010

GoG 112: The stinkin', daggone, flippin' amazing and exciting purpose!!!

So why is being single so hard?

I mean, I guess I know why it is. But sheesh. ..... Really, if relationships didn't change so much, I think being single would be just fine ... maybe even great!!! But when nearly all of your friends get married, start havin' babies ... move away. Gosh. It's lousy. Lame, even.

So what's so grace-full about that little rant, you might ask? ;) Well, let me tell you.

I, Mical Lynn Masterson, am a very single woman. I told some folks in the writing center the other day that "I am so single it's ridiculous!" Ha ha ha! It makes me laugh out loud still. .... But it's true. But again, why is that great if I'm calling it lousy and lame and other "l" words? .... It's great because God created me ... for a purpose. Yes!!! Did you read those last three words?

FOR. A. PURPOSE.

That's pretty daggone exciting, don'tcha think? .... The Creator of the UNIVERSE has a PURPOSE (and a mighty one, I might add) for my little life! That's pretty stinkin', daggone, flippin' amazing and exciting!!!!!! And His purpose is for me to be single. ... I don't know how long I'll be single. I could be married by this time next year ... I could be single for another 10 years ... for the rest of my life. (Yes, I am not ruling that out ... God knows, not I.)

Hannah and I have talked a lot about our singleness. We're pretty much the only ones left these days ... out of our comradery of friendships at least. We both want to do something BIG during our single years. Take advantage of the time! Doesn't that sound like a plan??? Why yes ... yes, it does, indeed. :) .... And the first step ... the very first step in taking advantage of my purpose, my single life, is to get excited about it! .... Now this is hard a lot of the time, but I'm gonna keep trying. ... And my GoG for the day is that God is showing me, today .... tonight .... that He has a purpose for not only my singleness but my life. And like I said ... that is pretty stinkin', daggone, flippin' amazing and exciting!

GoG 111: The Most Outstanding Peer Tutor!

At the end of every year in the writing center, faculty and peer tutors vote for the graduating senior they think is the most outstanding. And that outstanding tutor is awarded a certificate at the annual English department awards ceremony.

Christina, Eric, Nicole, and I were up for the award. Somehow, I was confused by an e-mail that had our names in it. I thought it said that these four people could NOT be voted for ... come to find out, we were the ONLY ones who could be voted for .... and earlier this week, I found out that I WON!!!! :) I was so confused ... and flattered ... and taken off guard. I thought I couldn't be voted for and I win??? What is this about? I felt like a huge dork when I went to work on Thursday to find out that I was one of the only four tutors who could be voted for. Ha! It was a hoot. And I think it made me appreciate the award all the more.

It was a glimpse of grace to be awarded such a fun honor. Who knew, right? But an even greater glimpse of grace came with five little words ... "I'm so proud of you." Tere is the director of the writing center. She was also my professor the training seminar when I was starting out as a tutor. She has been a great encouragement to me. And she's just the coolest. And hearing her tell me that she's proud of me was a real blessing. It's amazing what a gift words of affirmation are from those you hold in such high esteem. And that affirmation is such grace when it comes to us, isn't it?

GoG 110: The Floor was Swept ... and I got to do it :)

There are four after school locations on the Eastside of Indianapolis (through Shepherd Community, that is). One is at a place called Jireh Sports. Another location is at Shepherd ... another at a church called Brookside Church ... and finally, there's the location where I serve - Eastside Church of the Nazarene or BEACH, as it is often called. I forget what BEACH stands for though. Hmm ... anyways .... the kids and adults from Brookside have been joining us at the BEACH for the past several weeks. And we have LOTS of leaders! A good number of kids ... but lots of leaders ... it's almost, if not actually, a one adult per kid ratio. That's a great blessing ... but it also leaves some of us "without" jobs. Now I've blogged before about not feeling needed, when in reality, everyone is always needed. A child cannot have too many people lovin' on him. :) ... But specific jobs, jobs with names - tutor, game leader, reading buddy, food server, etc. - become scarce at after school from time to time because we are blessed with so many adults. So I try to help clean up when I'm not quickly pulled away by one of the little people. :) ..... I really enjoy doing behind the scenes work. At parties and big get togethers and church functions, I really enjoy staying behind to clean up afterwards ... or clean up messes while others are out and about doing "more fun" things. .... So as the kids were off doing homework or playing games or doing their daily reading with leaders, I waited back in the kitchen/dining area. I quickly grabbed a rag and wiped down the tables ... and then I swept the floor. While I was sweeping, I smiled to myself ... I was so thankful that the other leaders who were finishing up their dinner or just walking around let me do the job. ... I'm the kind of personality that says, "Oh, don't do that .... you don't have to clean up after us." Either that, or I jump right in and help 'em. So I was thankful they didn't protest ... they just let me serve. :) But also ... I was simply enjoying myself. It's fun to serve. And it actually gave me some good thinking time ... and a good wind down from a long morning working on SoZo stuff at the church and a long drive to after school ... and really ... it was just a good wind down from life. And I was so blessed to simply sweep the floor ... and serve. :) And as I swept, I was reminded of God's grace in that simple moment. Ha! Grace that God would allow me to enjoy something like sweeping a floor. Good times!

Heart Thoughts

Oh, Lord!!!! I need you! I always need you ... my need never ends ... it never even starts to dwindle ... because I am NOTHING without you. I can do NOTHING without you. I don't even wanna try. Please forgive me for the times that I go off on my own ... the times when I let my pride or worries get in the way. Help me to trust you with my ENTIRE being - with all that I am, Lord, help me to know your will and do it!

Lord, there are so many things on my heart tonight. I want to help my hurting kids. I want a husband. I want further training in my calling. I want to solve all the problems of all those who hurt. I want to be ALL for you ... the complete woman of God you've called me to be. I want to be full of grace and truth instead of worry and hypocrisy and lacking trust in you.

Lord, please help me. Help me trust you. Help me grow in you. Help me simply talk to you. Please discipline me, Lord ... to spend more time with you ... to take better care of myself ... to serve others first.

Lord, I pray for your guidance. You know that I want to serve in this mighty calling you've placed on my life .... with all that I am, I want to do my best with SoZo! But I feel so inadequate! Please help me trust that you will bring the right people to serve at the right time, that you will use my skills and my weaknesses to strengthen my kids in a way that only you can because you are made strong in my weaknesses. Help me trust you with this, Lord. But also ... help me know your will. You know I want further training ... please help me seek your face for direction. Do you want me to go back to school? And for what exactly? Do you want me to stay here? I will. I will, Lord. Are you going to bring me a husband to love me and push me to love you more? Will we work in ministry together? How will you provide for the needs of my kids? I love them more than life ... but I am at a loss to help them overcome their pain and struggles. Help me realize that it is not I who can help them ... but you. How will you do it? Will you do it soon? ..... What will come of this little life?

Lord! Wherever you want me. Whatever you want me to do. I will do it. I will go, Lord. Give me peace and strength in the waiting process. I do love you. I do trust you ... deep down. Don't let my flesh tell me otherwise. You are Lord. You are God. You are the One who is mighty to save ... mighty to lead ... mighty to overcome my weaknesses and sin ... mighty to love me completely ... mighty to use me for your glory ... mighty. Thank you, Jesus, for your mighty purpose for my life. Teach me to trust you with all of my heart and mind. Teach me to maintain an eternal perspective so that I can honor you with my life. Teach me to know you better and love you more. I love you, Lord. Please .... be glorified in me. I give you all the glory and honor and praise and utmost devotion tonight ... for your abundance of grace and love and strength ... and Lord ... because you ARE the Lord ... because you ARE my God. Thank you for being the master and ruler and sustainer and savior of my life. Oh Jesus, thank you. Thank you.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

GoG 109: The Frog-Kisser

I, Mical Masterson, am working towards a lofty goal: I want to be a frog-kisser.

Hahaha! I thought about just leaving it at that. That could be a great GoG - Mical wants to be a frog-kisser. The end. .... But no! I won't do that to ya.

I am being serious. I do want to kiss frogs. But let me explain this. It's not what you think. ;)

I went to a youth pastor's conference back in February. Boy, it was great! So refreshing! .... I went to a group of sessions in which Jeanne Mayo was the speaker. She's a veteran youth pastor .... and her sessions were so great! During one of the four sessions, she talked about frog-kissing. .... I'm sure you've heard the story about the prince who had been turned into a frog, and the only way to break the spell was for a princess to kiss him. ... Well, Jeanne compared the frog to youth.

I'm sure that princess didn't want to kiss that frog. Frogs are slimy, and the word is, they have warts. Pretty sure I wouldn't want to kiss a frog. But the princess believed that the frog would turn into a handsome, well put-together prince. So she kissed him. And he did, indeed, become a prince. .... Good news, right?

Well, youth ministry works the same way. Us youth pastors? We're the princesses. Our kids? Now, they are the frogs. They come into our youth groups with all kinds of drama, baggage, insecurities, problems - warts of all kinds .... and we, the princesses, are supposed to (and we desire to as well!) touch those warts, get our hands dirty trying to help them overcome those nasty little things ... even kiss 'em!!!!

It's a great analogy, really. Just like the princess was called upon to help the frog turn into a prince, youth pastors are called by God to help young people become God-fearing men and women. Now, see here ... GOD does the changing! But He uses us to do it. .... Gosh. That's really cool to think about. The Creator of the Universe chose ME to help turn my little frogs into princes and princesses of the Most High God. Amazing! I'll keep this calling ... thank you very much. :)

Youth ministry is challenging to say the least. It really takes a lot out of you. Some of those frogs have mighty big warts that you'd rather just cut off and throw out instead of kiss. But God has called me to be a frog-kisser. He wants me to give my kids a "kiss of encouragement," as Jeanne put it so well. So that is what I will do. No matter how nasty the warts, no matter how crazy or obnoxious or hurt-filled the frog, I will love my kids as God loves them .... and I will kiss 'em week after week. So ... like I said. I want to be a frog-kisser. :)

GoG 108: The Run

I got back to running yesterday! It's been months since I ran last. Lame, I know. I go in spurts. I'll run for a couple of months pretty consistently, and then I'll stop for a longer amount of time ... then start back up again.

But running at the park yesterday was a glimpse of grace because ... well, I did it! I'm more out of shape than I've probably ever been .... but I did it! It was a small victory! But it counts. And guess what? I ran today too? It was miserable, but I did it.

Ha! That's kind of a goofy GoG. Oh well, it's the simple things, right? God's grace can be simple as well as profound! :)

GoG 107: The SoZo Prayers

For the past several weeks, we've been praying for specific prayer requests at the end of each youth group meeting. We take down requests, and then I ask the kids to pray for the requests out loud. My glimpse of grace for Sunday night was listening to them pray. ... Now, I don't want to brag, but I've got some really good prayers in my group. My kids are hesitant to volunteer to pray, but they are so good at it! I tell them that almost every week. It was just such a blessing to hear my kids talk to God. It made me smile really big. :D

GoG 106: The Abundance

Whew! 4 more posts to go, and I'll be caught up. ... Gotta get those GoGs in! :)

This past Saturday, I was at the church getting ready for Sunday morning's lesson during youth Sunday School. We were having our pancake breakfast fundraiser that morning, so there wouldn't be a lot of time for a lesson ... so I was pondering on something short. Short but powerful. :) ... I've been thinking on God's abundance a bit lately. One of my favorite verses in all of scripture is the second part of John 10:10 when it says ... "Jesus came that we might have life and have it abundantly!" Mmm mmm! That is such good stuff!

So I grabbed a concordance and started looking for the word "abundant"/"abound"/"abundance" in the Bible. I found some verses about God's abundance of provision, God's abundance of grace, God's abundance of rejoicing .... and also, God's abundance of life. ... It was great to just think on God's abundance.

The word abundance is defined as "more than enough; amply sufficient; plentiful."

And if you think about that definition in correlation with God, it's really good stuff. God is "more than enough" for us. And His many abundances are "more than enough" in our lives. His many abundances are His grace. And isn't that what we're focusing on this year? Why, yes. Grace. God gives us an abundance of grace. We just need to be watching for it. :)

GoG 105: The WIN!

My brother won his first collegiate track meet!!!!!!!!!

Last Friday night, Wes ran the 800 meter race (that's half a mile) against several other schools ... I heard the number 15 thrown around that night - 15 colleges competed in his track meet last weekend, and HE WON!!!!! He beat all the other runners in the 800 meter!!!!!

156:88

That's pretty fast!

He was so excited! .... He's worked so hard! And it was such a blessing to see him win.

GoG 104: The God of All Comfort

I go to something called W.O.W. every other Thursday (soon-to-be Tuesday) night. It's a Bible study with a handful of women from Grace Fellowship ... WOW - Women of Worth. We're going through a book about significance ... how we look at ourselves, how we look at others, digging deep - good stuff. We've only had a few weeks of it, but it's been so great!

A terrific woman named Katie is apart of our group. I went to high school with Katie. She was a senior when I was a freshman. We knew each other a bit then, but it's weird and great to see how we're crossing paths again now - hanging out with each other - now after so many years. Well, during our Bible study, we dig kind of deep with each other. We share personal things ... things that sometimes lead to tears or at least noticeable emotion. .... A couple weeks ago, Katie shared some things that I totally identified with. And this past week, she shared some even deeper stuff that I identified with even more. She had gone through some of the same hurt and guilt that I've gone through - in a similar situation too! And I was so blessed to hear about her trials. Not that I wanted her to be in pain, but it was such a blessing - such an act of God's grace - to bring someone to this Bible study who has gone through similar trials .... someone who is older and who has overcome those trials. And it helped me further realize that God uses our trials to make us stronger but also comfort others.

The first part of 2 Corinthians chapter 1 talks about how God comforts us in our trials so that we can comfort others in their trials. And what a gift that is! It doesn't feel like a gift when we're going through those hard times, but God has a greater purpose for those times. And I got just another glimpse of that at our last WOW meeting. Thank you, Lord, for this special glimpse of your grace.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

GoG 103: The To Do List(s)

I'm a crazy woman.

Yes. If I don't write something down as soon as I hear about it, it will be as if it was never assigned to me. My desk is always piled high with index cards and post-it notes full of the things on my to do list. Sometimes, I'll condense the note cards onto a piece of paper to cut down on the clutter .... 'cause oh. my. word. It's madness sometimes! .... Well, now that I have an office at the church ... yes, Mical Masterson has an office! ... I have a second desk to pile post-it notes on. So in effort to condense my post-its once again, I wrote everything down on a piece of paper and entitled it "Wednesday's to do list" ... and then I realized that I was gonna come into the church again on Saturday, so I made another to do list for Saturday.

The funny part of the story is that .... I was in the church office (the one next to Pastor Roger's office instead of the SoZo office) finishing up the last few things on my Wednesday to do list ... and Pastor Roger was getting ready to leave. Now, when I cross off everything on one of my many to do lists, I get pretty excited. Sometimes I even dance. Well, I got excited and said, "Look (signaling to Pastor Roger - I had to show him I was accomplishing something!)." And I crossed off the last couple things on my list. And said, "I'm done!" And Pastor Roger let out a chuckle. But then I turned my paper over to Saturday's to do list .... and we both laughed.

As we left the building and locked up, I looked at pastor and said, "So, I was laughing at myself as I walked back to the youth room to get my stuff to leave because I got all excited to have everything done on my checklist just to turn it over and have just as much if not more on the other side. ... It's pretty funny if you think about it." Ha! And it was. You had to be there to see how funny it was .... but pastor and I had a good laugh about it. .... I am such a crazy woman. Too funny!

GoG 102: The Dunes

Last week, I took a solitude day trip to the Indiana Dunes. What a marvelous afternoon! .... I love Michigan Lake. It's one of my favorite places to be. I love the mountains, and I love lakes. If I ever moved away from my little town, I would move to either Michigan near the lake or Tennessee in the mountains. Mmm .... I love 'em!!!!

So I took a day trip to the dunes .... I sat next to the lake and read. I walked along the shoreline letting the waves hit my feet while running my fingers over the smoothest rock I've ever touched. I sat next to the lake, digging my feet into the sand, closing my eyes, and breathing in the brisk lake air and feeling the warm sun on my back. I listened to the waves crash against the sand. I watched little kids play in the waves and sand. I wrote prayers in the sand as I walked. I just took it all in.

God made something as wonderful and amazing as Lake Michigan, and I got to experience it for 4 glorious hours last Tuesday. And that, my friends ... is grace.

GoG 101: The New Perspective

It's funny how a lot, if not most, of my blog posts turn out to be so much longer than I plan. Ha! Like GoG 100 .... didn't mean to talk about my life purpose statement at all. Ha! But I did. What fun! ... And look, I'm already making this post longer than I planned. Ahh, what a Mical moment. :)

More about perspective ... not so much eternal this time ... but still interesting ... and full of grace. :) .... I took a walk in the park last Monday night with a couple of my SoZo kids. We had taken our Bible study to the park that night ... finished up early ... and decided to take a quick walk before heading back to the church. We took a short trail around the park ... it's the same trail I blogged about "The Rain" GoG from a week or so ago. Nice little trail. ..... When I walk, I nearly always go right first ... but during this walk, we took this trail to the left first. And as we walked, I was amazed at how different the trail looked. It was the same trail I've walked dozens of times ... but by taking the trail to the left, walking the loop clock-wise instead of counter-clockwise, I saw everything on the trail from a new perspective. It was so neat. I'd be curious to know if y'all are thinking "what the heck, Mical? Why are you so excited about noticing something so small and unnoticeable to most people?" Maybe you're not thinking that ... but I think it's kind of a weird thing to blog about ... a weird thing to even think in depth about. But that's why it's grace! Don't you see? God's creation ... I've seen this trail dozens of times ... I walk it often. But by walking at a different angle, I can see it from a new perspective ... and be all the more impressed by it. Seeing the trees and grass and leaves and flowers and fallen logs and tall plants and weeds and branches and the trail itself from a different perspective made me see it in a whole new way. It was like I was walking a totally different trail. I'm not joking - it looked that different! And I was so amazed ... so awed ... that God made something so beautiful and powerful and ... wow, I can't come up with the right word for this ... something so amazing that no matter how many times we look at it, we can take some sense of awe and majesty away from it every time if we just look at it a little deeper or from a different perspective. And to think that God created that trail for me ... for us ... and the rest of His creation too. It's just grace. Grace, grace, grace, grace, grace.

GoG 100: The Life Purpose Statement

A little over a week ago, I was really struggling with my calling .... almost a crisis of calling, you could say ..... but really, I think I was just discontent. I battle that little guy a lot these days. Is it that I want to find my future husband? Is it that I want to work ALONGSIDE a youth pastor husband rather than BE the youth pastor myself? Is it me not focusing on Jesus and His perspective on things? Umm ... yes!

A week ago Sunday, I was really struggling with that little guy called discontent .... he was gnawing away at my spirit, dragging me down. I went to the altar at church on Sunday morning, my friend Jon told me he was praying for me, and I took a nap .... and SoZo was really good that night. And by the time the day was over, God had restored an eternal perspective within me. Whew! I was so thankful. ... I've battled that little guy discontent off and on throughout the week, but God is teaching me (it's a continual lesson) that I must set my mind on the things above - on HIM. I must keep an eternal perspective in all things.

A few posts from now, I'll blog about my trip to the Indiana Dunes ... and during that trip, I sat on the beach and read another chapter in Calm My Anxious Heart .... that really great book I've talked about before about another little guy called content. :) The chapter challenged its readers (in this case - me) to write a life purpose statement. The author, Linda Dillow, shared some amazing stories about some women in her life who wrote amazing life purpose statements and then lived up to them. .... I want to do that too! So I wrote a life purpose statement for my life. I wrote something down ... and then I scribbled all over the page, putting my English major skills to work - editing, pulling out vague words, putting in more specific details, pulling out dull verbs and using more descriptive ones ... the page was pretty crazy by the end of it all. And here's what I came up with ....

I will honor God with my life by maintaining an eternal perspective in all things because everything that honors God only comes from a mind and heart completely set on Him.

And my life verse is Colossians 3:2 - Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.

Good stuff. Now, I'm not as far along in achieving this purpose as the women in Linda Dillow's book, but I have a very strong feeling that they didn't accomplish their purpose statements overnight. I'm confident that it took them a little something I like to call .... time .... to become mature and complete, not lacking anything (as a cool guy named James says). So I will strive to model my life after this verse. I won't be perfect right away. I will not achieve this purpose overnight. But isn't is a marvelous goal? Oh, my ... yes, it is!

My life has purpose ... now isn't that just another amazing little guy called grace? I think grace is my favorite little guy. :)

Monday, April 19, 2010

GoG 99: The Day with My Favorite Family

Saturday, the 10th, I spent the whole day with my favorite family in the world - the Cooks/Adamsons gang. .... Jarrod's birthday was the following Tuesday, and we all headed to Muncie for a party at his mom's house. We ate hamburgers and this yummy barbeque sausage dish, mac 'n cheese, green beans ... oh, it was really good food! Lisa is a great cook!

I rode to Muncie with Uncle Mike and Jen ... we chatted, sang southern gospel, chatted some more. I went on a walk with Uncle Mikey while we were at Lisa's house for the party. I got to hang out with UM and Jen and Adam and Kristina and little Noah and David and Kayla while they did their family pictures. And then I got to watch a movie with UM and Jen at the end of the day.

Marvelous day. A day full of grace.

GoG 98: The Jeremy Hendricks

Friday, April 9, I went to see Sing Love, Sing at one of their shows in Indianapolis. My friend, Jeremy, plays in a band called Sing Love, Sing. I hadn't seen him in a while ... we hadn't had a good talk in a while ... and in addition to just wanting to support him, I was hoping for a good, long chat with the guy.

I've been really wishy-washy with Jeremy for quite some time. The story is complicated, so I will spare you the details (ha!), but that night, I told him that I will NOT be wishy-washy with him anymore ... and we agreed to be real friends ... to get to know each other better.

What I know of Jeremy thus far is that he is in love with Jesus, passionate, fun, talented, incredibly patient and kind, slow to anger, honest, responsible, incredibly and entirely patient, gracious, has a great sense of humor, is low key in the best sense of the phrase, a leader, has a good head on his shoulders, loves playing the drums and is really good at it, amazingly humble, and incredibly, incredibly patient (and yes ... I said he was patient 3 times!).

He's one of the most amazing guys I've met in my 23 years ... and I don't even know him half as well as any of my other guy friends.

Well, I say all of this about Jeremy to say ....

Ha. I was gonna say simply chatting with him that night was my glimpse of grace .... but really, HE is my glimpse of grace. Jeremy Hendricks in my glimpse of grace for Friday, April 9, 2010. He's been a glimpse of God's grace in my life several times in the past ... but that night, talking to him was grace ..... but he, himself, is grace.

Ha! That is great! See ... isn't God cool. He gives grace in writing about His grace. That's entirely awesome. Thank you, Lord.

GoG 97: The Rest

GoG 97:

I had an evening all to myself ... to relax and rejuvenate from a long week. And oh, it was nice.

I heated up some chicken noodle soup, popped some popcorn, and made some sweet tea ... cuddled with my old, smelly, stained, favorite blanket and my Pooh pillow and watched Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakel ... all by myself. :)

Mmm ... "veg" nights sure are God's grace in action. He allows us to rest. :)

GoG 96: The Passion

Wow. I can't believe how behind I am! This is the worst it's been all year! Two weeks behind with my GoGs???? What????!!!

GoG 96 ....
A week ago Wednesday, I want to Living Word Baptist Church on the Eastside of Indy with a friend from the after school program. It was a prayer meeting of sorts with the preacher's sermon at the end. Ha! It was so great. If you've never been in an all black church before, you need to go. It was so great to see their passion.

I'm a fairly charismatic person deep down. Sure, I'm energetic and outgoing and somewhat of a spaz ... but I mean charismatic (however you spell that). I mean getting excited about Jesus and letting it show. I mean raisin' your hands in worship as the Spirit leads. I mean praying out loud, shouting or at least speaking out loud praise to God .... dancing! Voicing that you agree with the pastor when he says somethin' really good. Gosh! I want to do that ... I don't usually .... because not many people in my church do ... not many people I know, in general, do.

But don'tcha ever just wanna shout for joy unto the Lord? Dance in His presence? Shout an "amen" or a "mmm hmm!" or a "that's right" or a "preach it, pastor!" during some really good scripture reading or a convicting/encouraging message the pastor preaches from the pulpit? Don'tcha? DON'TCHA!?? .... Oh, please say yes. I know I do!

And that's what they were doing at this church. They were "mmm hmm'in" and "that's right'in" and singin' and shoutin' at times that night at this church. And I wanted to join right in with them. ... It was God's grace in action to see their passion. I might just shout a "mmm hmm" or wave my hand at Pastor Roger the next time he preaches a good word! Man, it's good stuff, yo. Spread the passion!!!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

GoG 95: The Walk in the Park

My friend, Jarrod, and I took a walk in the park today. I don't think we've had a better conversation - ever. It was good to talk with him for nearly 2 hours ... and just get to know him better. I understand better why we are good friends after our chat today. And ya know, that is grace. I've written before about how friendship is grace. Confirmations of friendship is also grace. Finding out things we have in common, laughing about ridiculous things, growing in friendship ... it's just a cool thing. Thank you, Lord ... for dear friends.

The Get To Know You Quiz ... yet another one

I really like these kinds of quizzes. You may not have time to fill these questions out, but if you do ... at some point in time ... answer 'em, and send 'em back to me ... or just put 'em on your own blog! :)

Here are my answers ....

The Get To Know You Quiz :)

Why were you given your particular name?
Ha! This question is asked of me all the time ... and until recently, I never knew what to say. I'm sure I've asked my mom why my name is Mical before just recently ... but I must've forgotten. So here's the story.
Michael Landon Jr. Heard of him? He's directed some things. The man who played Charles Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie - his son .... married a woman named Mical. My mom thought it was cool. So that became my name.

How many brothers and sisters do you have?
I have one younger brother. He is exactly two years younger than I am because we have the same birthday - March 6th. Cool, huh? :)

What is your favorite thing to do?
Go to church! I love my Calvary family ... and being with them, worshiping God together, getting into His word together, talking with them, loving on them and on the kids/youth ... oh! It's my favorite!!!!! By far!

What is your favorite food?
Potatoes - baked, fried, mashed .... ooo, yummy!

What is your favorite book?
My Bible.

What is your favorite candy bar?
Candy bar - The Crunch Bar ... Candy - M&Ms

What is your favorite cookie?
Double Chocolate Chip!!!

What is your favorite sport?
To play? Volleyball. To watch? Football.

What is your favorite kind of music?
Southern Gospel, fo sho!!!! Bring on the Gaither Vocal Band, yo! Well .... when David is in the band! ;)

What is your favorite song?
Wow! That is a tough thing to narrow down. At the moment, Funky Jesus Music by TobyMac is my favorite!

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Someone who honors Jesus. .... More specifically? Working with kids and youth in pretty much any capacity.

How many kids do you want when you get married?
At least 4. I wouldn't mind having 6 or 7!!!

What is your favorite temple?
Temple? What a weird question. What kind of temple? I'm a temple of the Holy Spirit. Calvary could be considered a temple. Umm ... ???

What place you would like to know about?
The Church where my future husband grew up ... and then the church where my future husband is faithful to.

What place would you like to visit?
New Zealand!!!! Oh, yeah!

What is your favorite thing about your mom?
She perseveres probably more than anyone I know.

What is your favorite thing about your dad?
He is incredibly selfless.

What is your favorite thing about yourself?
I am faithful ... to any and every job, person, thing - big or small.

Do you like to sing?
Oh, yeah!!! All the time!

Do you like to dance?
Oh my, yes! A lot!

Do you like to play a musical instrument?
Yes. I'm just not very coordinated with the guitar .... or rather .... I struggle with rhythm.

What musical instruments can you play?
Piano and guitar ... only a little though.

What is your favorite type of art?
Music!!!!

Have you ever seen a broadway musical? Do you like theater?
Nope ... and Yes.

Do you like building things?
Small things like crafts, as my SoZo kids like to call 'em.

What would you like to learn about cars?
How to change the oil.

What would you like to teach others about?
Being faithful to Jesus, how to encourage people every single day :)

What are three adjectives which describe you?
Faithful, passionate, energetic

How would your friend describe you to someone who has never seen you?
Outgoing, excitable, loves Jesus

In five years, what kind of person will you be?
Someone who honors Jesus with her life ... an overcomer, content, a stronger encourager

In ten years, what kind of person will you be?
All of the things above at a deeper level ... a sage.

What do you want to be doing in five years?
Beginning/continuing a family ... starting homeschooling ... loving my husband ... continuing to grow deeply in Jesus

What do you want to be doing in ten years?
The same as above at a deeper level ... continuing a family (maybe be done having kids, maybe not - ha!) ... loving my husband even more than 5 years ago ... growing even more deeply in Jesus than 5 years ago

What are your favorite subjects in school?
Physical Education and Choir .... and English class too. ;)

When you have an hour of free time, what do you like to do?
Take a nap, check my mail, watch an episode of Chuck, listen to music

What is your favorite church movie?
Church movie? Does Fireproof count? ... To Save a Life was good too. ... If that's what you mean by "church movie."

What is the strangest thing you ever did?
Camp alone for 2 nights and 3 days .... does that count for strange? People told me I was crazy for doing it! ... I can't think of anything else.

What is the strangest food you ever ate?
Sushi is probably the weirdest thing I've eaten ... or something from Dim Sum ... a very authentic Chinese place. Gross.

Monday, April 5, 2010

GoG 94: The Rain

Ahh ... today's glimpse of grace was probably the most prominent of any other this year. Thank you, Lord! .... I went for a walk at the park today, and as I started walking, the rain clouds started accumulating. I didn't know we were supposed to get rain today. But we did. And it was glorious!

I really like rain. Gosh, it's cool stuff. God knew what He was doing with that one. :)

So as I walked and saw the clouds forming, I thought, "Ooo, rain would be a great part of this walk. I would LOVE to walk in the rain for a bit." I started walking ... I took the trail across the bridge, across from the park ... decided I would walk that loop three times and then cross the street and head up the hill towards Old Farm. It was a pretty lengthy walk, and I was pretty excited about it. On my third lap around that wooded, grassy trail, it started to sprinkle. Then it actually started raining. Just a light rain, wouldn't soak ya through by any means. And I started feeling it cool down a bit - a wonderful thing that happens when the rain comes! And I stood there ... I lifted my hands, and I lifted my face ... and I smiled really big. I kept walking ... and as I walked I said to God, "Ya know, I wouldn't mind if it poured right now." And smiled heavenward. A few seconds later, it started raining harder ... and then harder, at which point I thought it had started to hail, and I said, "Oh no, Lord! No hail though, please." And started laughing. It wasn't hail, just big rain drops. And I continued walking as it started raining harder. And I kept laughing. And laughing. Thankfully, no one was around 'cause they probably would've thought I was a crazy person. I just couldn't stop laughing. I was awed at the grace I found in that moment.

Again, I love rain. I think it is one of the THE coolest things ever.

So I kept laughing, lifting my hands and my face to the sky in praise of my Lord who sent the rain on my walk in the park. I'd like to say that the rain was just for me ... but It probably wasn't. ;) .... But I do think God WAS answering my prayer for rain today. It was an incredible blessing!

And as the rain came pouring down, I prayed, "Lord, just as the rain is pouring down on me, shower your Holy Spirit on me today." And He did. I experienced the Holy Spirit today in such a refreshing way. Oh, it was beautiful. Thank you, Jesus!!!

GoG 93: The Tugging of the Heart (Part 2)

Lots of changes are a comin' for me. It's hard to tell what they are. But I feel God tugging at my heart in different ways - in jobs, in relationships ... ect. ect. :)

Yesterday, I "made" a fairly specific decision that I'm working through slowly. I'm keeping it on the down low for now ... so sorry this is vague. But God's tugging is my glimpse of grace for yesterday. It's cool when God works on your heart in certain areas and brings you to your knees either literally or in figurative yet specific ways or in certain areas of your life. I put "you" in there hoping that y'all have those moments/minutes/days/weeks/ect. of your lives as well. And when God brings us to those places in our walk with Him, it makes us re-evaluate things and strive harder after Him for answers and direction. And because He wants us to change - to be more like Himself - He gives us grace to re-evaluate, make decisions, seek His face, ect., ect. Good stuff, indeed.

And it's all by His grace.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

GoG 92: The Lullaby

I hung out with the McRoberts kids tonight while Tim and Keri went to the Butler game. (The McRoberts are one of my favorite families at Calvary ... and one of my favorite families in LIFE!) .... They have four kids - Lucy is 7, Caleb 6, Will 4, and Sam is about 4 months old. What a good time! The older ones mostly watched Monsters vs. Aliens, played the wii, and we played a couple of board games ... while I hung out with little Sam. 4-month-olds need nearly your undivided attention so that they don't fall off the couch when you sit 'em down for a minute ... I'm sure there are other reasons why little babies need our attention, but that's the best one right now ... I was constantly afraid he was gonna fall over or fall off of something and ... well ... die. Yes, I'm a dramatic one. ;)

Well, my glimpse of grace came from little Sam ... well ... from God through little Sam. :) ..... Some time between 8:30 and 9 tonight, Sam started getting really fussy ... he kept rubbing his eyes ... and those little blue eyes of his were having a hard time staying open .... but like most babies, he fought and fought. He wasn't gonna go to sleep without an all out war against me, his bottle, and his head and eyes that kept falling without his permission. He wouldn't let me sit down. He must've known I was trying to get him to fall asleep, so he fussed and cried all the more with every "sit down" on the couch I took. I stood and held him, swaying back and forth slowly, trying to persuade him into slumber. Keri is in the weaning process .... she's trying to stop breastfeeding ... and trying to get on with the bottle! Sam is not a big fan of this plan as of this day in time. He fought and fought. So I continued swaying slowly .... speaking gently in his ear - "You're doing great, Sam. You've got it, little guy." On and on. He would drink a little and fuss a little, drink a little and fuss a little. And finally ... his eyes couldn't take it anymore .... he plopped his head right on my shoulder and started calming down. The sucking of the bottle became less and less. And once I started humming a lullaby, he was out like a light. I continued humming for a few minutes, slowly inching the bottle out of his mouth .... and as I swayed and hummed, I closed my eyes, praising God for that moment. And then tears came to my eyes as I thought about my own children someday. In that moment, in this evening, I had a lot of love bottled up for that little guy. I knew that I would give my life for little Samuel McRoberts. So can you imagine how much more I would love my own son ... or daughter ... my own child??? Could I imagine it? Wow. All the emotions and wonderings showered me in that moment .... and tears came to my eyes.

Ahh yes ... grace in my arms in the form of a little red-headed baby named Sam. :)

GoG 91: The Lack of Vulnerability

Yesterday, I was reminded to be vulnerable.

I have been hurt in the past ... some of it was my fault; some of it was not. Hurt happens when you live your life. Period. You MUST move on from EVERY hurt so that you can LIVE your life. .... But I've been reminded a few times in the past couple of weeks that I have NOT moved on completely from past hurts. And I MUST move on.

My mom told me that I've put my guard up.
"And rightly so ... to some extent. But I think your guard is up a little too much."

And I needed to hear that. I don't know these things in and of myself. God's been bringing people into my life to show me my weaknesses (my lack of vulnerability in this case ... and hanging on to things that don't matter anymore as well). And what a good thing! God cares about me enough to keep pushin' on those tender spots of my heart. By His grace, He wants me to move on and LIVE my life to the fullest ... that ABUNDANT life He talks about in John 10:10. Praise the Lord!

And His little pushes are His grace at work in my life.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Addin' to the Bucket once again .....

Well, I haven't accomplished too many things on my bucket list .... but I keep adding to the list!
Swing dancing lessons? Check. I had a few lessons during my ballroom dance class last spring.
3-day solitude trip? Check. I went to Turkey Run a year ago March for 2 nights and 3 days of camping all alone. Oh yeah!
Other than that? Nada.

But here's my list ... and here's what I've added. :)

MICAL'S BUCKET LIST (not necessarily in this order)

#1 Hike through New Zealand!!!

#2 - Run a mini marathon.

#3 - Read through the Bible AT LEAST 3 times ... once in my NIV, once in an ESV, and once in my wide-margin NASB.

#4 - Learn to play bar chords on my guitar.

#5 - Take swing dancing lessons.

#6 - Marry and oober godly guy!

#7 - Have at least 4 kids and homeschool them.

#8 - Take a 3-day solitude trip!

#9 - Visit my sponsored child in Bolivia.

#10 - Read all of Mere Christianity.

#11 - Take a BBF trip to the Bosom Buddies Cottages in Canada with Emily!!!

#12 - Be a waitress.

#13 - Visit all 50 states!

#14 - Go to a Gaither Vocal Band concert.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

GoG 90: The Tugging of the Heart

Ahh. And today ....

To expand on "The Callings Chat with PM," I will say that God is BIG. He if FAITHFUL. And He has a MIGHTY calling for my life.

I don't know what that calling is exactly. I've been searching it out for a while. It's been changing for a while. And getting better all the time ...... BECAUSE God is so big and faithful and has such mighty plans. :)

Over the past couple of years .... since the 6th or 7th time of failing the Praxis .... I've been feeling a tug on my heart. I haven't been exactly sure what it is. I've been pretty sure it was God for quite some time. But not exactly sure what the tug meant and continues to mean beyond that. All I am pretty confident about is that it's BIG! I KNOW that God has a big calling for my life. That BIG calling could be staying in Danville, leading SoZo, working two or three part-time jobs. That is BIG. Working with my SoZo kids is a MIGHTY calling! But that tug has been there all this time ..... and I think it's God preparing me for something different.

Over the past couple of years .... since the 6th or 7th time of failing the Praxis .... I've been feeling a tug on my heart .... as if God is going to call me away from Danville ... away from Calvary ... away from SoZo ... my home ... my friends ... my comfort zone. And this tugging is growing stronger as the months go by.

I don't know what it all means. But I'm excited! And I'm seeking God for His direction and provision. .... And that tugging is God's grace in my life. .... He has created me for great things! He CAN and WILL use me! I don't deserve to be used. I CAN'T be used without His power working in me!!! And yet He chooses to love me and mold me and use me! Praise the Lord!!!

Lord, continue to have your way in me.

I

AM

YOURS.

GoG 89: The Cory and Mikey, Trayvon and Johnea

A few of the adults from after school pulled together to plan an afternoon with some of the kids at the park yesterday .... seeing as they were on spring break and all. We piled 8 inner city kids into our cars yesterday afternoon and headed to Garfield Park for an afternoon of peanut butter and jelly, flamin' hot cheetos, swings, slides, rollin' down hills, soccer .... and fun.

We drove all over creation to pick up the kids .... 42nd and Post Road ... the corner of 16th Street and Brookside Park ... Eastside Church of the Nazarene off of Gladstone ... aaalll over. Whew! But half the kids rode with me ... and it was a good time! I had Trayvon, Johnea, Cory, and Mikey in the car with me. Cory and Mikey are little black boys ... 4 and 5 years old ... brothers ... and way too cute for their own good. They strapped themselves in their seat belts in the back seat while Trayvon sat in the front seat with me, jammin' to my iPod and dancin' .... and callin' my friends on my cell phone. Then we picked up Johnea, who took Trayvon's seat in the front. Johnea is my favorite. You're not supposed to have favorites in ministry, but you do. You can't help it. Johnea is 13 .... and I haven't seen her since last summer. I've missed her. She is a ton of fun! ..... And seeing these little people was a huge blessing! God's grace, too - how does He allow me to work with the loves of my life - KIDS!!!!! :D By His grace .... that's how! :)

GoG 88: The "Darlin'"

I stopped at McDonald's for a sweet tea, and the guy at the register called me "darlin'."

"There ya go, darlin'" .... as he handed me my cup.

Ha! It made me smile really big. And oh yeah .... that little "darlin'" was God's grace alright! :D

GoG 87: The Red Beans and Rice

Monday afternoon, shortly before we left to head home from Poplar Bluff, Shelley made us lunch.

RED BEANS AND RICE!!!!!!

Golly, I was excited! That may not sound like anything amazing .... but I really like red beans and rice. It's a southern dish .... New Orleans kind of thing. And it is sooooo good! It's one of my favorite, if not my favorite, dish that Shelley makes. Mmm ... mmm! And she made it for us!

Good food is just grace. Period. We don't deserve to have such GOOD stuff to eat .... but God gives it to us anyway!!!!! Mmm mmm!!!! :)

GoG 86: The Callings Chat with PM

Sunday afternoon Tiffany and Neil went to Wal-Mart, and I rode home from church with Pastor Mike, Shelley, and the kids. When we got back to their house, Pastor Mike, Shelley, and I sat in the living room ... and PM started asking me about ministry. .... specifically, youth ministry ... and asked me more about SoZo and what I've been doing/continue to do with my life concerning ministry. We got to talking about callings ... my calling ... what I think it is right now ... and how I think it's changing.

It was really great to get some thoughts/ideas off my chest ... but it was just really good to talk to Pastor Mike, specifically ... Shelley too ... but Pastor Mike, especially - about my calling. It was grace because Pastor Mike was (and really still IS) my youth pastor ... next to my parents, he and Shelley have had the greatest impact on my life for Christ .... and any and every conversation with him is God's grace at work. I am so thankful for him. :)

GoG 85: The Princesses, Water Colors, and Bubbles

So Saturday, during our Poplar Bluff visit, was a great day because I got to spend extra time with the Chambers kids - Justus, Noah, and Anna. Oh, what fun!!! .... Justus turned 13 in February ... gosh, he's old! Noah is 9 and quite the little chatterbox ... my favorite chatterbox. I wanted to steal him all weekend ... bring him home with me and talk to him all day long! And Anna will be 3 later this month. She talks and talks ... and she's got the most prominent personality of any 3-year-old I know! She was my buddy for the weekend. We played princesses and painted with water colors and blew bubbles (her favorite!) ... and she told me "You always have to come" and "I need you to come" all weekend long. It was a ton of fun.

These are all glimpses of God's grace ... they are great kids ... and they love me. But I think I really noticed the grace when I was hold Anna at one point on Saturday. We were sitting on the couch watching The Blindside ... and Anna had climbed up on the couch, took a seat in my lap, and just cuddled with me for quite a while. Oh, it was precious!!! What a doll! It was a great weekend. :)

GoG 84: The PB Trip

Behind again. Too funny!

Last weekend, Tiffany, Neil, and I went to see Pastor Mike and Shelley in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Always a good trip! So Friday's GoG was pretty much that .... just seeing Pastor Mike and Shelley. And getting hugs from Shelley.

Gosh, I miss those guys!!!! What a blessing to see them!