When we don't like His plans

Katie Kasey shares part 2 of her blog from yesterday.  To read the previous blog post click here.

Have you ever felt like -What is God doing? How can this be best? This is not what I wanted! God, I believe you are sovereign and you orchestrate all things, but I don’t like this! 

This summer has been a huge lesson for me in serving God on his terms and in his ways and praising him even when I don’t particularly like the circumstances that he has ordained. 

Most recently, my sister and best friend suffered the disappointment of finding out her 1st baby will have to be delivered by c-section because he is breech. She went through very painful procedure for the doctors to try to turn him, but after all that, she will still have to have a c-section. We know God’s plan has prevailed and His way is best. Though on the surface of these circumstances, we just don’t like it!  

When my sister told me that the procedure didn’t work, I sat solemn. Sulking. My whole spirit and mood changed. I didn’t feel inspired to write the cards I had planned to write. I thought how thankful I would have been and how much I would have told of God’s great work if… if he has done what I wanted him to do! Then I recognized that I must thank him in the midst of these very circumstances that he has given to my family. I ask myself -what can I thank God for in these circumstances? Then my wonderful sister and brother-in-law sent out a message saying, “To God be the glory for accomplishing his plan and not ours!”
It’s really about surrender. And it’s about perspective. Where do I stand before this Great, All-knowing God? Are my ideas of what is good really better than what He has ordained? By what do I measure goodness? 

Oh how terribly arrogant we are when we think we could have made things work out for the better! How narrow-minded to believe that the circumstances that we don’t like are anything less than God’s perfect and purifying plan for our lives!

Katie Kasey is a 2+2 (International Church Planting M-Div) student at Southeastern. God has given Katie the privilege of serving Him at North Henderson Baptist Church in Henderson, NC. She is excitedly preparing to serve God overseas with the IMB. Katie’s family is one of her greatest joys in life. She loves being a new aunt! She also loves using photography to encourage others and promote God’s glory among all people.

Change of Plans

Sometimes we plan things and things go nothing like we planned! This summer has been case and point for that type of planning! 

I decided in April that I was going to move home for the summer and live with my parents so that I could serve at my home church and live life with the students there while they are out of school. I had been home for the summer a couple years back and mostly served my family and worked in our home, due to health issues with my mother. But this summer, I was going to take care of that ahead of time! I planned it all out, sat down with my parents, and asked them if I could live at home for the summer and their home be my base to serve out of. I made clear that I would not be at home as much as previous summers, and I would be able to help some, but that would not be my primary task for the summer. Can you see where this is going?! Looking back this is quite humorous! It must have been to my Heavenly Father who sees the whole timeline of our lives.

Within a few days of being home for the summer, I began to see that I was going to be serving my family more than I had originally anticipated. I was pretty okay with this at first.  That next week, I would have a whole week to myself to jump start my summer of ministry while my parents were away at the beach. Then one afternoon, my grandmother called and was headed to the hospital because she was really sick. Everything changed at that point, including my attitude! My plans had been thrown out the window! And without asking me!!  My first step of progress was to tell a friend, “I realize this is what God had planned for this week of my summer, but I DON’T LIKE IT!” 

Such honesty in the face of God’s Word quickly humbled me. I was aware of God’s loving discipline to his children for sinful attitudes of self-centeredness and complaining. God began to patiently teach me of his plans for me.  
Has my desire been to truly serve God or to tell God how I want to serve him?  To truly serve God is not writing out a description and restrictions on how I will serve him. 

My summer has not been what I’ve expected, but what great truth God has taught me about what serving God truly is! I have still been able to invest in the students’ lives like I had hoped, but that has been through real life-on-life discipleship. Those girls have seen my struggles and my failures! They have come over to a messy house with interruptions during our times together to care for the needs of my family. They have served with me. We have run errands and gone grocery shopping together. But honestly what better way to make disciples than truly living life together and seeing Christ has the center of it all! 

We are all in different phases of life! I am single but have a family with lots of needs due to prolonged sickness and changing circumstances. Many women have full-time jobs, are wives or moms, and have full, busy schedules that we try to control and plan. How much greater is our God than we are to plan our days! We expected to serve God in one way, but God had other plans. We can rejoice together in that God has a plan and a great purpose for everyday of our lives! Oh and what a joy that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and his ways are higher than our ways! 

Katie Kasey is a 2+2 (International Church Planting M-Div) student at Southeastern. God has given Katie the privilege of serving Him at North Henderson Baptist Church in Henderson, NC. She is excitedly preparing to serve God overseas with the IMB. Katie’s family is one of her greatest joys in life. She loves being a new aunt! She also loves using photography to encourage others and promote God’s glory among all people.

          We had been waiting just under four years for the moment when we finally stepped onto foreign soil, into the place we only knew from stories, books and others’ experiences.  Our first days in the Middle East were the typical honeymoon full of new smells, new sights, new tastes, and we loved every minute.  It was only after meeting with my mentor the first time that I began to realize this journey would be a whole new experience in my walk with God.  She told me hesitantly that every person or family she has known 20 years on the field, dealt with some sort of tragedy their first term.  I took this news but stashed it away, secretly hoping she would be wrong about us. 
            We started language; begin to set up house and adjust culturally.  Our first modular class started seven weeks after arrival and we reluctantly headed to Prague.  We traveled with minimal luggage fully expecting to travel, sight-see and return home in two weeks, until we received the call that our team was being evacuated and we were to meet them in a nearby country.  We all waited, thinking we would be home soon, but the weeks turned to months, months a year, until 16 months later we made the journey back home. 
            I faced many days of uncertainty, emotional lows and moments when thoughts I never imagined were possible ran through my head.   As I walked through the fog, what began to emerge was a theme of constant provision.  When that light dawned I soon realized, that this first term was not a reward for having finally “made it”, but I was in the cauldron, being tested, refined and honed.  I found that through each new circumstance, God began to show me things I needed to learn or things that were important, not so that I could simply survive the first term, but how to thrive and be ready and willing to hop back on the plane for a second term.  I have heard the sad statistics of so many young families leaving after just one or two terms and I wanted to know why.  Surely, the emotions I felt were not new and they too struggled with the highs and lows of culture adjustment, language, company quirks etc.  My mentor kept telling me that this race was a marathon not a sprint and as I repeated this mantra, the light started to dawn.  If I wanted to succeed not just survive, I needed to open my eyes and learn.  The learning didn’t finish when we left the safe green of SEBTS; it only began. These are some of the lessons I have been learning since entering this new mission field.
            1.  A Quiet Pain – An Offering to the One who Sees and Knows
                        I had endless opportunities to gripe, whine and complain.  The downward spiral into negativity happens quickly like a flash flood.  Learning to seek God above all else, regardless of my circumstances and letting go of my own expectations, resulted in growth, but there were many nights I simply poured my tears out to the One who sees.  I had to learn to trust that He was holding the plan and my pain in his hands.  While waiting to hear from Him, I read good books such as “Calm my Anxious Heart” by Linda Dillow,  “The Art of Divine Contentment” by Thomas Watson, “The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom and “Unbroken” by Leslie Hildebrand.  I also prayed and fasted a lot and diligently read through the bible each day.  There were days it may have been a rote exercise, but I am confident that God’s word never returns void and even in the dryness, His words were healing balm to my soul.  By releasing my pain to God, He reminded me of His daily presence, provision and passion.  Even my most difficult moments became an offering lifted up. 
                        There was much temptation as well, to yell my pain from the rooftops, whether from frustration over yet another report due, irritating Internet connection or lack of real vanilla and chocolate chips.  What I discovered though was that the more I shared these burdens with others, the more I was weighing them down.  Everyone is struggling with their own weights and challenges, learning to be sensitive to their pain enabled me to love them more deeply and in return I turned to the only One who can really carry my burden and lighten my load.  My friends, my family, all have their own battles and mine may weigh them down beyond what they can bear.  Not only did I realize how to love them better but also I learned how to rely on God above all else.  Of course we need people in our lives and letting them in is a delicate balance that requires discernment and wisdom.  As you wisely share and others see you struggle, this will encourage them as well.  Learn to comfort others even if this seems unnatural.  You should be speaking truth into their lives not just complaining.  They may be struggling with the same things.  I had to learn in all circumstances how to be content, how to pour myself out to the King and how my pain could be used and shared appropriately.  “A contented heart is never out of heart. Contentment is a golden shield that beats back discouragements.”~ Thomas Watson
            2.  A Constant Adjustment – Living the Fluid Life
                        Sometimes your plans just don’t work out.  We all know this, but when it starts to happen to every plan, it leaves you wondering, scheming up new plans and even questioning if you remember correctly the first plan you had.  What I am coming to discover over time and through many mistakes is that God’s plan is the plan.  One step at a time, I am learning to become completely fluid in releasing myself to accept, revere and quit struggling against it.  His plan will be fulfilled whether you fight against it or be still and worship through it. 
                        After reading a book titled, “Crucial Conversations” my husband likes to constantly remind me to check the “story” I am telling myself.  Basically that means that in my flesh, I am a master at manipulating and changing plans.  When things turn sour, my first instinct is to tell myself a story of what, why and how we got to this place and then work diligently to readjust the plan.  But living the fluid life means riding the waves and thinking critically about how to do that, not insisting that there is a shark chasing you and then paddling like crazy for the shore.  If I want to see clearly, I have to use the logic God gave me and sometimes that means stuffing those emotions aside and taking a critical look at the story or lie I am believing in that moment.  There were many things in my plan that God changed or moved to direct me on to a new path but there were also emotions that came along with those movements.  Many times, my emotions blinded me to the truth until I removed the blinders and focused on the logic of where God was taking me.  He has always been more interested in my relationship with him, purging me to make me more like Christ than my desire to be comfortable. 

Here is a look at the other lessons I am learning that I will be sharing in future blog posts.
Hope to see you there!
            3.  A Tight Lip – Look, Listen and Feel, Leading by Example
            4.  A New View – Never Assume
            5.  A New Worship – The One on the Pedestal
            6.  A Better Plan – His!
            7.  A Tight Rope Life – How to do it all and survive
            8.  A Second Honeymoon – Living with your Spouse Cross-Culturally
            9.  A Surer Foundation – Rock vs Sand
            10.  A Living Hope – Filling your Jar

 Amy Lynn* has been married to her husband for 15 years.  He graduated last May from SEBTS with an MDIV in International Church Planting.  They are currently serving in the Middle East.  They have 4 children, ages 13, 11, 5 and 2.  Amy Lynn enjoys reading, writing and working out when she is not studying Arabic or visiting friends. 
*Name has been changed to ensure protection for our contributor.

BWI Classes are open for registration!

I hope that you are having a great summer so far!  Can’t believe that it is already July!!!  It will be August before we know it and that means BWI classes are back in session.  Term 1 classes are August 21st through October 4th, and Term 2 classes are October 16th through December 6th.  Registration is open for our Fall courses, and I encourage you to go ahead and register TODAY! 

Our Weekend Intensives will be different layout this fall.  Instead of packing information into a Friday evening and all day Saturday, we will be spreading the intensives over two weekends.  It is our hope that this will be a better layout and help you to digest the information and have a chance to ask questions. 

Biblical Women’s Institute Fall 2012 Course Offerings

Term 1: August 21st through October 4th

New Testament Book Study – John (WST0220)
This course will be verse by verse expositional/exegetical study of a book of the New Testament. The course will include a survey of interpretive methods with regard to biblical studies.  Also included in the course will be an introduction to theological interpretation. Key components of the book and the book’s theological contribution to the Biblical canon will be covered.
Tuesday Evenings, 7-9pm
Micheal Pardue

Biblical Theology of Womanhood (WST0250)
This course will examine biblical passages and concepts regarding God’s unique and consistent plan for women. Biblical Theology of Womanhood is designed to highlight the patterns of biblical femininity and to provide resources for implementing the Scriptures into the lives of women of today.
Thursday Evenings, 7-9pm
Carrie Gilliam

Counseling Women (WST0310)
The course objectives for this class will be to think about life/problems/solutions in biblical categories, to develop basic tools for biblical counseling, and to be able to evaluate “Christian counseling” and self-help materials from a biblical perspective. The class will also learn more about the field of counseling and its vast resources for further self-education and personal ministry to women.
Thursday Evenings, 7-9pm
Kathy King

Church History (WST0140)
An introduction to key historical events and figures that shaped the belief and practice of Christianity throughout the centuries.
Weekend Intensive, Saturday, September 15th & Saturday, September 22nd
Chris Thompson

Intro to Missions (WST0270)
This course is designed to introduce women to God’s global mission and the biblical, theological, historical, and practical bases for their participation in His mission.
Weekend Intensive, Saturday, September 8th & Saturday, September 15th
Randy & Kittie Trail

Term 2: October 16th through December 6th

Spiritual Disciplines (WST0320)
The purpose of this course is to integrate sound teaching with sound methodology regarding the spiritual disciplines in the hopes of increasing the wonder of personal and corporate worship as well as motivate vital engagement in the mission of our faith.
Tuesday Evenings, 7-9pm
Kristin Kellen

Preparing for Missions (WST0240)
This course is designed to offer women biblical and practical preparation for living and ministering on the mission field, with special attention to a specific region of the world.
Thursday Evenings, 6:30-9pm
Lesley Hildreth

Old Testament Book Study (WST0210)
This course will be verse by verse expositional/exegetical study of a book of the Old Testament. The course will include a survey of interpretive methods with regard to biblical studies.  Also included in the course will be an introduction to theological interpretation. Key components of the book and the book’s theological contribution to the Biblical canon will be covered. *specific book TBD
Thursday Evenings, 7-9pm
Jonathan Six

Baptist Identity (WST0150)
This course will provide a very basic orientation to key issues in Baptist History and Identity.
Weekend Intensive: Saturday, October 20th & Saturday, November 3rd
Chris Thompson

Biblical Foundations for the Minister’s Wife* (MIN3631)
A practical survey of issues relating to the role of the minister’s wife. This class is directed primarily toward pastors’ wives, current and potential.
Thursday Evenings, 7-9pm
Dr. and Mrs. Akin
*BFMW begins Thursday, August 23rd and run through Thursday, November 8th

Current BWI students can register online at http://campusnet.sebts.edu.
If you have not taken BWI classes before, the Admissions Process is easy!  Please complete the application that is available online or in our office.  You can find it online here

If you have any questions please contact Women's Life at womenslife@sebts.edu or (919) 761-2340.  
Our office has received some of LifeWay's newest studies.  In our in-office library, we have over one hundred books and bible studies, that you can check out for FREE!  Leader kits are available as well with various studies.  Please feel free to come by and check out our library! 

 OctoberBABY Bible Study & Student Edition Bible Study

OctoberBABY is the coming-of-age story of Hannah Lawson, a beautiful and naive college freshman, who discovers that her entire life is a lie.  Hannah sets out on a road trip to discover herself.  Ultimately, she finds the freedom she has always wanted and the true meaning of forgiveness. 
Embark on a life-changing personal journey through this 4 week Bible Study.  Built around dynamic movie themes and group interaction, this study helps you dig into topics like truth about secrets; discovering your true identity; power of forgiveness; and the joy of restoration. 

malachi: a love that never lets go 

Even on our worst day, God won't leave us. Explore God's unchanging love in Malachi, Lisa Harper's first video-driven Bible Study.  No matter how often we mess up, God loves His broken people. 

As you can see there are lots of great new additions to our library. 
Come by this summer and check out our resources!
Our office is located in the Ledford Center on the 2nd floor.  It is easiest to get to us by coming in the outside left stairs through the clear doors.  Our office is on the right as you walk in the foyer area.  
If you have any questions please feel free to call us at (919) 761-2340 or email us at womenslife@sebts.edu.