Happy Thanksgiving (or National Excuse to Binge Day)

Well, I hate the last Thursday in November. It’s like a nightmare to me. A whole entire day devoted entirely to food and binging. It never fails to bring anxiety, anger, and saddness. This year did not disappoint, however, I survived and didn’t cuss at anyone. Miracles happen, people.

One thing I do not hate is being thankful. If fact, listing things I am grateful for has become a daily thing for me. Living in Honduras taught me to be thankful for things that I am still reflect on all these months after my return. I still thank God when the water is warm and the electricity works. So, I thought I would list out the ways God has blessed me this year, and the things I am grateful for on this chilly Saturday night.

1. God, and His saving grace in my life.

2. My family who puts up with my junk, loves me, supports me, and respects the choices I make.

3. Laura Stewart, who calls and takes me to Zumba and still loves me even when I almost lose her dog while she is in a tree house in Costa Rica without her luggage. And she let’s me cuss unapologetically around her.

4. Kathryn Morgan, who calls me or texts me almost everyday to check on me and make sure I have both eaten something and kept it down. You, my friend, are a picture of Christ’s love for me.

5. The Hofmanns and their small group, who listened to me share, and without judgement, have allowed me to check out their small group and welcomed me in.

6. Geoff Ashley and Paul Matthies, who care for me and check on me and fight for what is right. May the Lord give them many blessings and super hot wives.

7. Joey and Kyle Vanderveer, who let me sleep on their couch and tag along with them to church and let me eat their animal crackers.

8. Max Vanderveer, for dancing to Justin Beiber with me and letting me have as many hugs and kisses as I want.

9. Graham Vanderveer, for letting me hold you (not like you have a choice, you are only 3 months old.)

10. Honduras, for showing me how to slow down, love others, and be grateful fo the blessings I have.

11. I am grateful for a body that works, legs that run, eyes that see, lungs that breathe, and ears that hear.

12. Easter Seals North Texas, for teaching me how to teach and letting me love on my students. And for paying me to act a fool.

13. My car, because it runs and takes me places I need to go.

14. Target. Need  I say more?

15. The Soup on E!, because without fail, I laugh out loud everytime I watch it. Bless you, Joel McHale.

16. The sun. I never think about it except when it’s cloudy, and then I am sad.

17. Kids. I am thankful for kids, because they are fun and silly and all the things adults want to be but somehow think they can’t be.

18. Diet Dr. Pepper. I pledge allegiance to Diet Dr. Pepper.

19. Amy Rankin, for letting me borrow her clothes, for asking before she borrows mine, and for being a super fly little sister. (yep, super fly)

20. Tyler Rankin, for using salty language and making stereotypical statements that we all think but only he says. Without him I would not have realized that all black people love dolphins.

21. Amazon.com for making the return and exchange of my smashed Kindle a pleasant and easy experience.

22. For all the people who have given me gift certificates and money to treat myself in the recent months, when I just needed a little retail therapy, God used your generosity to bless me.

23. Hot water to wash my face and take a shower. God bless hot water. Especially on cold days.

24. The Village Church, Hillside Community Church, and Crosspoint Community Church, for your prayers.

25. The internet, so I can talk to my friends in Honduras and my brother in Taiwan.

26. 1310 the Ticket.

27. NPR and all the things I learn from you.

28. My counselor, Angie, and her Godly wisdom. She lets me cuss, too.

29. Rap Music that is super fun to run too.

30. The cross.

31. Kelly Lynch, Matt Tonne, and countless others who have texted, called, and e-mailed me to check on me.

So, yes, while I hate this holiday, I love thankfulness and reflecting on the blessings God has given me.

 

Who am I?

I can describe myself in many ways. I can tell you what I like (running, pretzels, the color yellow), I can tell you what I don’t like (rum, spicy food and sand in my shoes). I can tell you when I was born, how many brothers and sisters I have.  My identity can be found in my classroom, or at my home, or in church, or with friends.  I am a daughter, wife, sister, aunt, teacher, friend. I am also an addict, a sinner, and a punk.

Recently, things in my identity have begun to change a bit, and I find myself in a place where I am not quite sure where I go. I mean, literally, what do you do with me? 

I went back to church today. Back to the church I call home and have called home for almost seven years. It was good. It was hard. It was scary. My good friend, Kelly, came to the 11:15 (i know, cardinal sin at The Village, going to the 11:15) instead of her usual service because God told her to love on me and that I would need someone to sit by. And I did. 

God saw my need and met it. And today’s sermon was providential for me as well. God came for me in a powerful way when Josh was speaking on who I am in Christ Jesus. That I am a daughter of the one true God. Nothing more, Nothing less. He is for me. He values me. I matter to Him. I am a bearer of His image. 

Here’s what God spoke to my heart today. Here’s truth:

1.      In Christ, I am … the salt of the earth (Matt 5:13)

2.      In Christ, I am … the light of the world (Matt 5:14)

3.      In Christ, I am … a child of God (Jn 1:12)

4.      In Christ, I am … part of the true vine, a channel of Christ’s life (Jn 15)

5.      In Christ, I am … a friend of God (Jn 15:15)

6.      In Christ, I am … chosen and appointed to bear fruit (Jn 15:16)

7.      In Christ, I am … resurrected to new life (Rom 6:5)

8.      In Christ, I am … a slave of righteousness (Rom 6:18)

9.      In Christ, I am … enslaved to God (Rom 6:22)

10.  In Christ, I am … a son of God (Rom 8:14)

11.  In Christ, I am … a joint heir with Christ, sharing his inheritance (Rom 8:17)

12.  In Christ, I am … the dwelling place of God (1 Cor 6:19)

13.  In Christ, I am … united to the Lord (1 Cor 6:19)

14.  In Christ, I am … a member of Christ’s body (1 Cor 12:27)

15.  In Christ, I am … what I am, by God’s grace (1 Cor 15:10)

16.  In Christ, I am … a new creation (2 Cor 5:17)

17.  In Christ, I am … reconciled to God (2 Cor 5:18-19)

18.  In Christ, I am … the seed of Abraham (Gal 3:29)

19.  In Christ, I am … a saint (Eph 1:1)

20.  In Christ, I am … an heir of God since I am a son of God (Gal 4:6-7)

21.  In Christ, I am … blessed with every spiritual blessing (Eph 1:3)

22.  In Christ, I am … God’s workmanship, made to do good works (Eph 2:10)

23.  In Christ, I am … a fellow citizen of God’s family (Eph 2:11)

24.  In Christ, I am … a prisoner of Christ (Eph 4:1)

25.  In Christ, I am … righteous and holy (Eph 4:24)

26.  In Christ, I am … a citizen of Heaven (Phil 3:20)

27.  In Christ, I am … hidden with Christ in God (Col 3:3)

28.  In Christ, I am … an expression of the life of Christ (Col 3:4)

29.  In Christ, I am … I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved (Col 3:12)

30.  In Christ, I am … a child of light and not of darkness (1 Thess 5:5)

31.  In Christ, I am … an heir to eternal life (Tit 3:7)

32.  In Christ, I am … a holy partaker of a heavenly calling (Heb 3:1)

33.  In Christ, I am … one of God’s living stones (1 Pet 2:5)

34.  In Christ, I am … a member of a chosen race, a holy nation (1 Pet 2:9)

35.  In Christ, I am … a priest (1 Pet 2:9-10)

36.  In Christ, I am … an alien and stranger to the world I live in (1 Pet 2:11)

37.  In Christ, I am … an enemy of the Devil (1 Pet 5:8)

38.  In Christ, I am … born of God and the Devil cannot touch me (1 Jn 5:18)

39.  In Christ, I am … participating in the divine nature (2 Pet 1:3)

(The above statements are courtesy of Josh Patterson, and not my own)

 

I, Kacy Neinast, am chosen of God, holy, and dearly loved. Dearly loved, by God, who made the mountains and the seas and the inner workings of all things. The hands that paint the sunset and sunrise, that chose the color of the ocean, that invented laughter and dancing, that God loves me dearly. He is for me. He is for me. He will not forsake me in my weakness. Yes and Amen.

 

On Telling the truth

Sometimes you tell the truth and no one wants to hear it. And then they get mad at you. Sometimes, you don’t tell the truth, and no one gets mad, but keeping it quiet was not the most loving thing that could have been done. 

I am outraged at what is happening at Penn State. The fact that a football program took precedence over the safety and well being of young boys is disgusting. Joe Paterno should have told the truth, to the dang police. Scott McQueary should have told the truth. Yeah, they did what they had to legally, but what about our moral responsibility. I wonder if they just didn’t want to believe that someone they love so much could be molesting children. Maybe they just wanted to do what they had to to cover their butts and sweep it under the rug. Maybe they wanted to live in denial. They not only failed those boys, but they failed Joe Sandusky. He should have been stopped long ago, he should have been called out on his stuff, he should have been exposed. Yet, no one wanted to hear it. If the men in that football program really loved Sandusky as much as they said they did, they should have called him out years ago. Because loving someone means telling the truth to them and about them, especially if they are involved in something so wrong. And even if no one wants to hear it. 

I tell the truth, at least I try, but I am not perfect. But I strive to always tell the truth.  It’s what I do. I will tell it when you want to hear it, I will tell it when you don’t want to hear it, I will tell you the truth because I love you. Now, I will be honest here, sometimes my words are harsh. Sometimes they are inappropriate, not well thought out, hurtful.I have many friends whom I have said things to in love, and they were not taken that way. I have hurt others. But that is never my intention. My intention is not to hurt you when I tell you something. It is to help you. I will be honest even if it makes me a total social pariah. Even if it makes things uncomfortable. And in return for telling the truth, I invite others to tell me the truth. And when I hear it, I make a conscious effort to take what that person says and weigh it carefully. Sometimes people just vent and bitch me out, sometimes I need to hear that truth, even if it’s ugly. But when I take a moment to consider what was said, I can take what I need to hear and leave the rest. 

I believe the truth will set you free. I believe that exposing someone’s sin is the most loving thing you can do. I believe redemption comes only once confession comes. I believe true redemption and reconciliation can only come with true repentance, true confession, and facing all the consequences of one’s actions. And I believe calling someone out is loving someone well, and as believers this needs to be happening. Regardless of it is uncomfortable. Because we need to love others more than our own comfort and desire to live in denial.

 

Cleaning up someone else’s mess…

There are things in life that drive me nuts. Absolutely nuts. One being when someone else makes a mess and I have to clean it up, not because I volunteer or am trying to help, but in a situation where the person who made the mess won’t clean it up and it needs to be cleaned up.

I have spent many hours in the past seven days cleaning up someone else’s mess. Not cleaning it up in a way that does not cause that person to have consequences, but cleaning up my part of it. Reconciling with people and engaging with others in a way that was really scary for me. It was not scary because I was in harm’s way, it was not scary because these are dangerous people. It was scary because of my pride. I had to swallow it, and show up, and share that things were not going well in my world. I had to show up and report that the thing I fought so vehemently against might be, in fact, the truth. I expected in this case to be met with judgement. To hear that awful phrase “I told you so”.

Nothing could have been farther from the truth. I was met with grace, tears, hugs, and arms welcoming me to come to a place that will care for me. I was given room to speak my concerns, offered an apology where that was needed, and I was given space to offer my own apology. I have been so grateful that I worship a God who redeems and reconciles.

You see, 2011 have been one of the worst, if not the worst, years of my life. I have been kicked to the ground by life multiple times, and each days seems to bring revelations worse than the last. Although most days I awake and my first prayer is a cry to God to come for me in a powerful way, followed by tears. Although I cry at the thought of what my future may hold, at the secrets I have not learned yet, and at what God will have me do in response, I know that my God is not out to torture me.

It feels that way sometimes. It feels like torture. Like the struggle will never end, like my days will be lonely and sorrowful forever.

But that is not true. And I can see that. I can see that God is for me when friends call to check on me. I can see that God is holding me tight when I am met with grace and reconciliation occurs. I can find hope in a future joy when I glimpse present joy at the park with my nephew.

So, if cleaning up someone’s mess is part of the redemptive process for me, I’ll do it. If reconciling my part in hurt and anger means that God is molding me to be more like His son, I’ll do it. If swallowing my pride and stepping out even though I am afraid means that God gets glory. Okay. It’s not fun. It’s not pretty. My eyes are often swollen and my heart is heavy, but God will redeem me. That’s His job. He’s our redeemer. He’s MY redeemer.

His Righteous Right Hand

I made a picture a few months ago. The circumstances in which I made this picture are now trivial, but the truth of what this picture represents still rings true.

Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Every morning, when I walk out of my door, I see that picture hanging there. It doesn’t match the “decor” of my room, it doesn’t fit where I hang it, but it matches this season of my life. He will strengthen me. He will help me. He holds me in His righteous right hand. Because I believe this with my whole heart, because I know, without a doubt, that God will not fail me or leave me defenseless, because I have written these words on my heart, I will not fear.

I will not fear.
Even though I have every reason to.
I will not be dismayed, even though every day seems to bring revelation that nearly knocks me down.
Because I know with my whole heart that God will not fail me. God will not fail. He will fight for me, He will fight with me, and when I cannot keep on, He will carry me.

And, that is why, despite the clashing colors and the odd placement of my painting, it still hangs there. It reminds me daily that this season in my life is not one that I face alone. The God of the universe holds me tightly in His hand, and for that reason alone, I do not dismay.