Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Pruning (Part 2)

Okay! Listen up! You must read my previous post first - "The Pruning (Part 1)" BEFORE you read this post!!! It's a preface to the great thoughts to come now ...

Why might God plant us in less than ideal circumstances?
Check out these verses, yo!!!

Deuteronomy 30:6
"And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the hearts of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live."
Circumcise: "to put off the sins of the flesh; to make holy"
Less than ideal circumstances = trials
God allows us to go through trials so that we will learn to run away from the sins that so easily trap us and to make us more like Him. The more we overcome sin, the more holy we become.

Jeremiah 29:12-14
"Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will hear you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile."
God allows us to go through trials so that He can teach us how to seek Him and allow us to experience the grace of His restoration in and of our lives.

Philippians 4:11-13
"Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."
God allows us to go through trials so that we will learn to be content in every circumstance we face and and to learn that our strength not only comes from God but that we are utterly dependent on Him for all that we could want or need.

1 Timothy 6:6-8
"Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content."
God allows us to go through trials so that we will understand that we are nothing without Him and to teach us contentment with what we have and where we are in our lives.

Awesome, right? .... Wow!
Well, let me leave you with some questions that my devotional had me answer for myself ....
What keeps you from being content within your present circumstances?
What might God want you to prune?
Prune: "to remove dead parts"
What might He want to heal, mend, or perfect in you?
How can you "bloom where you are planted" in your present circumstances?

Lamentations 3:25-26
"The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord."

THE END :)

The Pruning (Part 1)

Well, it's true ... I am very behind with my grace posts again (surprise, surprise). I'll catch up with 'em later. Right now, I have some amazing thoughts to share with you. ... My devotions tonight are really awesome. "Are" being present tense because they continue here ... I just MUST share them with you all!!! :)

It amazes me how God works ... always and in perfect ways! Tonight, I talked with my dad about the season of life that I'm in right now. It's a rough season overall ... and it was a difficult conversation with my dad. Nearly tears ... almost. But I came away from it encouraged 'cause my dad is a great encourager, always keeps an eternal perspective, which I need to be constantly reminded of, and his words just simply gave me hope for my current circumstances.

The short version of my life-situation, or my "current season of life," is ...
1. Most my friends are leaving me either by marriage or kids or moving away or busyness.
2. I failed the Praxis 9 times. I still want to be a teacher, and I plan to take the test again. But I struggle with fear that is closer to the paralyzing kind than the healthy kind.
3. I want to find my future husband and work alongside him in ministry, but he's nowhere to be found. (And by the way, several of my friends have husbands!)
4. My insecurities have been nearly crippling me in my calling.

Without going into too much of a pity party, I will stop here. Wow! I'm finding hope in these circumstances, right? RIGHT! :D .... Oh, but first! In effort to keep this LONG post shorter, I'm gonna break it up into two posts. I really want y'all to hear this! And I wanna make sure my A.D.D. doesn't kick in too hard so that I can listen to it a second time ... 'cause this stuff is good! Straight from God. So ... read my next post.

This one is TO BE CONTINUED ...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

GoG 253: The "Why the Heck Would You Want All the Details about My Day?" Post :)

Today ... well, I tossed and turned all night. Not sure why ... I've been doing that for the past week. So I finally woke up at 8:00 and headed downstairs to watch Saturday morning cartoons. Cartoons these days are so weird - warped, even ... and sometimes gross or somewhat crude. So I finally turned off the TV and fell asleep on the couch. I woke up again around 12noon. Then, I got dressed and made a few stops ... went to Calvary to do a few quick things for SoZo, went to check on Jared and Maggie's garage sale - they're having it tomorrow instead (rained out!), and then I went to Dugan's for an oil change. They were closed. So I came home, plopped down on the couch, watched a movie ... and then fixed dinner, ate dinner. Then a walk ... a long walk. Then ... I took my autographed picture of Zachary Levi over to Uncle Mike and Jen's ... I just had to show them! And I stayed for over 2 hours ... chatting and watching a movie.

Ha! But why on earth would you want to know all those details??!!! Hahaha! We'll just say I'm sharing about my day with my BBF who lives 5 hours away. You'll appreciate the details, Em. ;)

Aww ... and the grace in all that. I'm sure I could find a few glimpses, but I'm gonna go with hangin' out with UM and Jen. They are definitely at the top of my favorite people ever list ... so it's always great to chat with them. And their house feels like a second home to me. :)

GoG 252: The Hug from Jaxson :):):)

Yesterday at after school, I got a hug from Jaxson!!!!!!

I'm still new to the after school thing, so I don't get many hugs yet. And you're not supposed to have favorites among your kids, but I do. Jaxson. Jaxson Molloy is my favorite! He is the cutest 5-year ... maybe ever! He's got kind of a mischievous side to him but oh, so lovable too! And he gave me a hug yesterday. Oh, the grace!!!! :D

Thursday, September 9, 2010

GoG 251: The Tears from James

Can you believe it????? I'm all caught up with my blog posts!!!!

Last GoG to write for the day!

Today at after school, I was headed out the door, ready to leave, when one of my kids stood close by looking as though he was about to cry. Ah! My heart was already starting to break!!! The face he was making was so pitiful. James. I said, "Oh, buddy, what's wrong? You look like you're about to cry." He looked at me and told me his dad wasn't there to pick him up yet. I guess his dad had come by to pick him up about a half an hour earlier, and he didn't want to leave. So his dad told him to keep playing, and he'd be back in 45 minutes or so. Well, James' friends started to leave, so he was upset that he was alone.

When he started to cry, I wanted to cry! A few minutes later, I was scheduled to leave early that day (that's how the system works - everyone trades off days to leave early as the kids begin to leave), so I was telling the kids in the room that I'd see 'em tomorrow. And James looked at me and said, "Miss Mical, you're leaving?" And he looked as though he would cry again. Broke my heart again! So I said, "I don't have to leave? Do you want me to stay?" And he just nodded his head, tears in his eyes.

Oh my goodness. It was so sad. So we sat and colored until his dad came. Then he said, "Okay, Miss Mical. You can go home now."

Soooo cute!!!!

GoG 250: The Keri McRoberts :)

Keri McRoberts.

She's seriously one of my favorite people in the world! .... She and I often laugh together and at each other. We don't really get to talk all that often. Even in a small church, it's hard to cross paths with a lot of people.

Well, I recently started reading the Twilight series ... and she's already read 'em. And she likes Edward, and I like Jacob. So we started chatting about the book back and forth yesterday ... and it's continuing today. We're starting to get into more important things ... haha! But it's been great to chat with her on facebook. She's just awesome! And any time I get to chat with her, I am blessed.

Keri McRoberts ... a glimpse of grace in Mical Masterson's life. :)

GoG 249: The Good Job

3 more!!!!

On Tuesday, I asked my supervisor how I was doing at my job at after school. It's been a fairly stressful week and a half, so I wanted to make sure I wasn't doing something wrong with the kids, being impatient, being lazy 'cause I was tired, or in a bad mood or something. But Miss Sandy said I was doing a great job. And even though I asked her specifically about my work, it was good to hear her say "yes!" :)

In the midst of crazy kids, I'm doing a good job loving 'em! :)

GoG 248: The Labor Day in Bedford

Only 4 more posts to go, and I'll be caught up! It's a miracle!!!!!

Every Labor Day, my parents, brother, and I head down to Bedford, Indiana for a day with my dad's side of the family. I remember, as a kid, I didn't like going 'cause "all we did was sit around and stare at each other." Haha! We really do that ... well, with a little talking. But I've grown to enjoy it the older I get. It's always good to see my aunts and uncles and cousins and my granny and gramps, of course. We usually eat lots of food and then sit around talking. Sometimes, we play cornhole or euchre. But mostly, we just chat, catch up on life since we only see each other about 3 times a year - Easter, Labor Day, and Christmas.

Family. Now that's grace, isn't it?
Thank you, Lord, for family :)

GoG 247: The Night of Volleyball with the SoZo-ers :)

Since the SoZo volleyball tournament, I've left our net up. And we've been playing a lot during youth group, before the lesson. I've actually got 3 or 4 kids who've decided it's their new favorite sport - so fun!

It's fun to get the whole youth group out there playing. I've got some pretty tall guys in our group, so they often spike it down our short people throats. And we just had a really good time last Sunday playing volleyball together. Lots of laughs, lots of boasting .... it was so much fun!

GoG 246: The Really Yummy Sweet Tea ... just about everyday!

Sweet tea.

Golly! It is heaven in a glass for me! I'm serious! I am addicted.
It's my comfort drink, my joy drink ... and it tastes so good!

And for God to have put the idea into someone's head for sweet tea????
Heck to the yeah! That sure is grace!!!!
Mmmm .... yummy!

GoGs 241-245: The First Crazy Days at After School!!!

Last week, I started at after school. It's a new program to the Danville schools, and we have tons of kids! I have 20 all to myself, and it is pretty chaotic most of the time! The group leaders and supervisors are working to continually structure the program, but it's been a hard road so far. And I've only been there for 8 days! Whew!

But when God gives you a passion, He sure knows how to help you persevere and even enjoy the chaos and frustrations. I find glimpses of grace in the chaos that is after school ....

I have 20 really cute kids.
I get hugs, hi's, and "Miss Mical, look at this's."
I have kids wanting my attention, making me feel special.
I get to serve the kids by loving them, disciplining them, opening their snacks, etc.
I have kids like Jaxson and Sam who have super mischievous personalities but sooo lovable!
I have adorable little girls like Izzy and Ana who are super agreeable.
I've got little guys like James and Luke who smile all the time.
I can even find grace in Kyler holding my hand after he's cried over something totally insignificant and in Joel giving me a hug after he's thrown his third crying/screaming fit of the day!!

It's been a rough start to after school .... but like I said, God gives me the desire to push through and love the kids.

GoG 240: The Talk to Me Meeting

I had a meeting with my student leaders in SoZo a little over a week ago. It was the first one ever! We got frosties at Wendy's and sat and "chatted" about the friendliness level of our youth group. I didn't get much out of them. I have pretty quiet and reserved kids in my group, which is pretty funny when you think about my personality. But anyways ... the meeting wasn't overly successful, but the 45-minute or so wait we had until youth group was pretty fun. Although most of my kids aren't too talkative with me ... when they get talking to each other, they are stinkin' hilarious! And it was fun to hear about their school stories and teacher stories and their jokes. I love to watch my kids smile ... and hear 'em laugh! So fun! I think it's a little extra glimpse of grace to hear my kids laugh because they are my favorite people!!!

GoG 239: The SoZo Volleyball Games

Whew! I really like volleyball! It's really the only sport I'm pretty decent at. Ask Jason and Adam about my football skills - they call me Droppy McDropperson! I quit playing basketball 4 days into basketball season my freshman year of high school. I played soccer for only 3 or 4 seasons in elementary school. So I try a sport I've never really tried before, and whatta ya know? I'm pretty good at it! Well, at least I think I am. Ask the SoZo-ers ....

We had a cookout and volleyball tournament at Calvary a couple weeks ago, and we all had a great time! It was so fun to hang out with my kids, play a really fun sport, eat hot dogs, and laugh a lot with them all. Good times, indeed :)

GoG 238: The Story of My Hiring :)

Like I said, I recently started working at an after school program in Danville. I started last Monday to be exact. :) .... And I found grace in the hiring process.

Ha! I was hired on the spot!

It was great! .... I haven't been in too many interview situations ... and this one was pretty laid back. But it was great to have someone look at my "working" resume and say "Yes! This is exactly what we need!" It makes ya feel good, ya know? In addition to being hired right then and there, my interviewer told me she would "call the other people" later. The other applicants were made to wait another day for their interview. But turns out, I was hired after a short chat with the supervisor! Sooo cool!

GoGs 235-237: The SoZo Prep Days

The downside of not keeping up with these GoGs is that I sometimes forget what they are for certain days. So here's to clumping a few days together, knowing I did much of the same things on these days ... specifically, in this case, I worked on SoZo stuff. :)

The last week of August, I spent 3 days in a row working on various projects for SoZo. I prepared lesson plans, worked on signs, wrote notes to the students, updated the SoZo facebook page ... things like that.

Lately, I've been lax with my focus on SoZo. I've just been lazy if I really get down to it. It's so easy to be lazy, isn't it? Gosh! .... And the past week and a half hasn't helped my prep for SoZo 'cause I started a new job at an after school program. It doesn't take up my whole day by any means, but it is something new ... and since it's later in the day, I can sleep in pretty late if I want to ... and I always want to! ;) ... So it'll take some focus to get back to a routine and start working on SoZo stuff again.

But when I look at my days of SoZo prep, whether they be a lot several days in a row or few and far between, I think about how blessed I am to be working in youth ministry ... and now kids ministry at the after school program! God allowing me to do what I love - everyday - now that's grace!!!! :D

GoG 234: The Relevant Magazine Articles

Okay ... back to blogging! I'm getting caught up ... a little. And I'm determined to finish all my long-lost posts and get totally caught up tonight. We'll see how that goes. ;)

Pastor Mike posts various articles on his facebook page from an online magazine - Relevant Magazine. It's a Christian magazine with articles about God, life, culture, our walks with the Lord ... it's got some good stuff!

I've found a handful of articles that I've definitely related to ... about the college/career years, about prayer and devotions, about waiting on the Lord. Sounds good, right?

It's so encouraging to read about the struggles and triumphs and strivings that others are going through. And it's always grace when another person's story encourages and convicts me. .... If you've never been to this magazine's site, Google "Relevant Magazine" and check it out! :)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

GoG 233: The Shy Girl ... well, she WAS :)

One of the girls in my youth group is pretty shy. Like won't read two words out loud, barely comes to youth group shy .... well, she WAS.

She's been doing so well.
She comes to youth group and Sunday School every week, she comes on just about every event, she comes to events even when her sister doesn't come!, she reads whole verses out loud, she volunteers to answer questions!

Oh, it makes me so proud! And it's such grace to see my kids grow. :)

GoG 232: The Dreaded Praxis!!!

So ....

THE DREADED PRAXIS RETURNS!

I'm taking it again ... someday.
But that's beside the point.

It still makes me cry when I get talking about it.
My dad I started talking about it last week, and ... well, I cried.
But my dad gave me great advice and compliments and a hug.
And I felt better ... and decided to take the test again!
10th time's a charm!!!!
:)

GoG 231: The Oliver :)

From time to time, I get to babysit Oliver ... probably the cutest baby in the world! :) And the last time I babysat, we fell asleep on the couch together watching Veggie Tales .... it was precious!!!!

GoG 230: The Southern Gospel Concert!!!

UM.
Uncle Mike.
One of my favorite people - EVER!
:)

Uncle Mike and I went to a southern gospel concert .... Greater Vision. A motorcycle ride, Starbucks, heart-to-heart chats, and some amazing music!

GoG 229: The Dinner with the Fam

Dinner with Mom, Dad, and Wes ..... and at Texas Roadhouse too! ;)

:)

GoG 228: The Daily Productive ....

My brother is a goal-setter. Always .... everyday, actually.

His most recent goal ... to my knowledge anyway ...
The title of his new lifestyle goal: The Daily Productive Time-Management Consistent Action Dominating Planned-Routine.

Ha! Isn't that awesome??? ;) I even helped him with it .... and we had such a good time! Laughed pretty hard. Hahahahaha! Love it!

GoG 227: The SoZo Signs

I made signs for our upcoming SoZo studies .... and it was fun.
Ha! How simple is that?! And I found grace in it. So cool!

GoG 226: The Smiles from the SoZo-ers :)

When SoZo goes extra well, it's always grace for me ... 'cause it's hard work! And to be rewarded with a good night is always a blessing. :) And seeing smiles on my kids' faces are probably one of my favorite things ever!

GoG 225: The Text ... on my way home from Nashville

I got a text from my friend, Jared Snyder. He was just "checking on me."
Yay!

GoG 224: The Campout

Campout! Campout!

Oh, wait .... we slept inside. Ha! 'Cause it was sooooo hot!! But we had a good time! And it's always grace to see my BBF, Emily :)

GoG 223: The Jesus Talk ... again :)

Lunch with Alex .... always grace 'cause they're always full of Jesus :)

GoG 222: The Sleepin' In ... oh, so sweet!

Sleeping in.

Isn't that grace???? Especially when you can't do it often, right?

Mmmm ......

GoG 221: The Life-Giving Friends ... again :)

I've told y'all about my friends, Sara-Ruth and Lauren, before ..... amazing friends!!!! Life-giving friends! :)

And they are yet more grace in my life :)

GoG 220: The Galatians 5 ... good stuff!

Galatians 5:1&16

FREEDOM! FREEDOM in Christ!
And a night with my SoZo-ers.

Both of those things are GRACE - everyday, all the time! GRACE!

GoG 219: The SoZo ... again and again :)

SoZo ...

SoZo is always GRACE whether it's a good night or a bad night. :)
Thank you, Lord, for youth ministry :)

GoG 218: The Day out on the Boat ... and a little Eclipse too!

Oh, what a good day!

A day out on the boat with Emily, Kathy, Josh, and Helen ...
And Eclipse with Emily and Mags :)

Oh, the grace in a day with friends :)

GoG 217: The Song!!!

Haha! The day camp on the Eastside was awesome! I was there for 3 days ... and we sang at the beginning of the day.

We "screamed" ... we even "danced" ... it was in the song to do so!
Soooo awesome!

GoG 216: The Compliment from Miss Laura

216 ....

Ms. Laura from the Eastside day camp was bragging on me. Saying I was a great volunteer ... and it made my day!!!

GoG 215: The Eastside Kids

Wow! I couldn't be more behind!!!!
So ... short and sweet, shall we?

GoG 215

A day with the kids on the Eastside!!!! :)