Monday, April 28, 2014


Last week we finally officially announced our move to a new city on Life with the Casterlines. So far the moving process has been relatively easy. Am I going to miss some folks at work? Yup. Am I going to miss my nice, big country house? Yup. Am I going to miss seeing my family whenever I want? Yup. But even though there are things I’m going to miss, all of the good that I know God is going to bring about from this move has helped me outweigh the sadness. I’ve been pretty proud of myself because I’ve been able to hold all of the emotions together and not have a crying-fit.  ;)

Until yesterday.

Yesterday was our last Sunday as worship leaders at our church. Ever since Roman and I felt like God was calling us away, we’ve tried to prep ourselves emotionally for leaving our home church. I think we failed miserably at that. I didn’t even make it through the worship set before I started crying. Looking over at the worship team that we have led for around three years…..all of them friends so close that I consider them my family (plus my father-in-law who actually is my family)....gosh, I just couldn’t take it. Our praise team has such a special connection. We operate so well within the moving of the Holy Spirit. We can follow each other and feel where the music needs to go. It’s hard to put it into words, but I can say that this connection and togetherness is not very common among praise teams. I am going to miss being a part of such a wonderful group of vocalists and musicians SO much. And so I cried….through like, the entire third song.

I started looking over our sweet congregation…and then I really lost it.

Y’all. If you don’t know my church family, you should get to know them. You won’t find a sweeter, more caring group of people who want to know Jesus more than anything. Their worship is pure, genuine and fearless. Their love is strong and unwavering. I have had the privilege of *attempting* to lead them in worship for around three years, but to tell you the truth, they don’t need my help. To be able to see them worshipping Jesus every week is a true blessing, one that I am dearly going to miss.

Roman and I truly had no idea that our church family was going to bless us like they did yesterday. So basically, once the worship was over and I started crying again because I realized our last set list together was officially over, I pretty much didn’t stop crying until we started eating lunch. The slideshow was beautiful and represented so many special memories of our journey at First Assembly. The words spoken by some of our dearest friends and family truly touched our hearts. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Roman cry in our entire relationship, so for him to break down like he did during the service yesterday truly shows how much it meant for him. The financial blessing was God’s way of providing for a great need in our lives right now, and we can’t be more thankful. It was an all-around beautiful service and we were emotional wrecks for like, the entire rest of the day.

My devotion last night was perfect for yesterday. The passage was out of Luke 2, and the focus was on verse 19: “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” The original translation for the word “pondered” in this passage of Scripture is “symballo” and it means “to bring together.” Mary took the events leading up to Jesus’ birth and the immediate events with the shepherds afterwards and “brought them together” in her mind. She pieced together all of the wondrous works of God and treasured them, because she knew she was holding the Messiah in her arms. The devotion ended with a challenge: spend some time reviewing over the last several years in your life. What major events has God brought you through that have shaped you into who you are today? “Ponder” them for a moment. And so last night, as I read my devotion and got ready for bed, I did just that.

When I review the last six years of my life, I can see the hand of God all over. I see a broken girl graduating from high school with more questions than she can count and a hardened heart towards God. I see this girl going back to First Assembly with all of her questions, insecurities, and doubts. I see a loving church family who took her in and dedicated the time and energy to shape her into who she is today. I see the best pastor and pastor’s wife in the world patiently mold her into a leader. I see friends that will last a lifetime entering into her life. I see her getting married and a church body that has supported and counselled this new marriage into what God wants it to be. I see her getting baptized in the Holy Spirit. I see the boldness and courage of the Holy Spirit rise up in her as she steps into leadership. I see a group of people who stood beside her, encouraged her, and prayed for her every step of the way.   


Stepping down as worship leaders and making that final “break” yesterday was truly the hardest thing we’ve ever had to do. I cried on and off for the rest of the day….and this morning….and I’ll probably cry tomorrow too….and probably the day after that. So much of my life and who I am today rests on the beautiful congregation we left behind yesterday and their willingness to follow Christ. There truly are not enough words that I can write on this blog that could ever convey my gratitude for this body of believers.

So to the dear people of First Assembly: We love you more than we can express. Thank you so much for being who you are…for being who God called you to be. Continue worshipping our Lord and Savior and seeking after His heart. Don’t stop running this race! Keep your eyes focused on Christ and the work He has called you to. We can’t wait to hear about all that God does through you, and we can’t wait to share everything He does through us as well. Know that this certainly is not goodbye; after all, we are only two hours away! ;)  Thank you SO much for such a sweet service yesterday, it meant a lot to both of us (even though I cried too much.)

And to anyone else reading this who is not a member of First Assembly: seriously, you should get to know those folks. If this post hasn’t convinced you, then I don’t know what will!

I’ll close with Romans 12 because it accurately represents everything that my First Assembly family is, and everything we are called to be as a body of believers in Christ:
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”



Thursday, April 24, 2014

Something new has happened here......

So….yea, we moved last week. As in, packed up the entire house, picked up a U-Haul, and moved two hours away to another state. Side note: we have waaaaay too much junk.

This time last week, we were finishing up the U-Haul and standing around in the living room with this crazy-tired look on our faces. “WHY do we have to unbox all of thiiiiiiisss????” Today, most of the boxes are totally unpacked and the house is mostly organized. Yippee!!

I can’t wait to tell you guys the full story about God calling us to move and all the ups and downs that have happened along the way, but this chapter of our story actually isn’t finished yet. As of today, we still can’t see the full picture, we still don’t know all of the tiny details, and we still are just trusting in God and His faithfulness to get us through this point in our lives.

Packing up and moving to a brand new city has definitely been scary. My nephew and his wife live here, but other than them, we don’t know anyone. I had to start a new job this week, which was very scary. This Sunday will be our last Sunday as the Worship Leaders at church, and starting next week we will be on the hunt for a new church (which quite frankly is the scariest part to me….) We had to leave our pretty house out in the country and trade it for a much smaller house in a subdivision. *gulp*

On the flip side, moving to a brand new city has been really exciting. We get the opportunity to meet new people, and the city we are living in now has a *lot* more things to do. My new job has been great so far, and I feel like it’s going to be so much better than my previous job. As scary as finding a new church is, it’s still exciting to think about new ministries we may get involved in. And even though the new house is in a subdivision and it’s smaller than the old house, the house itself is really pretty and the neighborhood is really nice and quiet. Duke and I have already taken a jog through the main streets and those hills kicked. my. butt.  

But the best part is how much closer we are in our walks with Christ now that we’ve started down this new path. We’ve had to place our trust in Him like never before, and it has grown our faith exponentially. I’m learning so much about God’s character and His love for me, and I feel like I’m closer than I’ve ever been in my relationship with Him.

Like I said earlier, I can’t wait to see the rest of these details come together so that I can share it with you guys. For now, I wanted to give you the big news and to ask you for your prayers. As many of you already know from your own  life experiences, when you take a big leap of faith and head in a new direction that God is calling you to, the enemy likes to do everything he can to thwart you. The mental/emotional/spiritual battle through all of this has been exhausting. The enemy has tried so hard to lead me down a path of anxiety and fear, and I’ve had to repeatedly bring my thoughts captive to Jesus and allow Him to fill me with peace. It has been all I can do some days to just stay standing….to not “check out” on Him and give up on His promises for me. I believe I’m through the worst of this battle, and that God is bringing everything to victory in the very near future, but the prayers of my spiritual brothers and sisters certainly have great worth in the heavenly realms. So to everyone that has been praying for us so far: thank you! Your prayers have made a great difference. And for those you are just now hearing our big news, we definitely would appreciate your prayers as well!

And now I’ll close with a street view of our new house…..

“I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; He saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them. Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. Fear the Lord, you His holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” ~Psalm 34:1-10


Monday, April 7, 2014

Trust in God!

Over the weekend, Roman and I went with my parents to the movie theater to see Son of God. We have already watched “The Bible” series on TV, and much of the Son of God came from that series, but we wanted to show our support to the creators of the film and watch something wholesome (for a change) as well. The movie was excellent, as I knew it would be. And I cried just as hard as I knew I would.
One thing that struck me in the movie, as well as the Bible series itself, was how many times the phrase “trust in God” was repeated. Throughout the Bible series, it seemed like every major character in every episode repeated the phrase at least once. And I know that I heard the phrase repeated at least twice in Son of God.
Trust in God.
Why is that so hard sometimes? It feels like I wrestle almost every day with trust. It was so easy for me to watch the movie and repeat over and over in my heart “Lord, I trust You.” But it wasn’t long after I left the theater that those feelings of love and trust slowly started to fade. It is SO difficult for me to keep those thoughts of fear and doubt at bay and place my full trust in Christ. I feel like I have walked around this mountain for ages…taking three steps forward and two steps backward, barely making any progress at all.
Currently, Roman and I are facing a major life event…and even as I write this post, my heart is filled with doubt, fear and anxiety. God has done so many things and spoken so many times to us, showing us the way we should go. And yet, we are still here. Still not knowing what the whole pictures looks like. Still stressing about the pieces of the puzzle that we can’t see right now. This is part of being in the flesh. This is part of having an earthly point of view, and not an eternal point of view. It is also part of having an enemy that loves to tear apart what God is doing in our lives. This is the faith walk. Where doubt and fear collide with faith and trust and you have to make a conscious decision: faith or fear?
What’s the best way to renew your hope and trust in God? Scripture. When Jesus Himself was tempted by the enemy, He combatted him with God’s Word. If Jesus needed the Word of God to combat temptation, how much more so do I need it? The only peace and rest that we will ever have on this side of eternity will always come from the Lord and His Word. So for today, these are the Scriptures that I am doing my best to meditate on:
“But for You, O Lord, do I wait; it is You, O Lord my God, who will answer.” ~Psalm 38:15
“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You.” ~Psalm 39:7
“I waited patiently for the Lord; He inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord. Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!” ~Psalm 40:1-4
“As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!” ~Psalm 40:17
“As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, ‘Where is your God?’ These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God.” ~Psalm 42:1-5
“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord if your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; He will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.” ~Psalm 121
“Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’” ~John 20:29
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” ~Matthew 6:25-34
In review of my life, I truly believe that this is the biggest “faith test” I have ever had to endure. I know that this temporary trial is nothing more than a path I must walk in order to strengthen my faith and trust in Christ. I know how important it is that I become victorious over my trust issues with God. And so today, I am keeping my thoughts captive on these verses and not allowing the enemy to destroy the new work that God is doing in my life.
I WILL trust in God!!

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” ~Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Lord Challenges ME

Ever have one of those moments when God (lovingly) reminds you just how small you are in comparison to just how big He is? I had one of those moments last night.
Anxiety seems to be the common adjective in my life right now. It hangs over my heart like a constant raincloud, and the last several weeks have been a struggle for me to feel the sun. Some of the questions I’ve been asking God are probably familiar to you too, from some point in your life:
“Where are You?”
“What are You doing right now?”
“Have You forgotten me?”
“I need _____ to happen now!”

Over and over I have danced around these questions. Playing scenarios in my mind. Crying. Blaming God for taking too long and being cruel. When you really think about it, it’s all been rather silly. But it doesn’t feel that way when your heart reaches that breaking point of being done. with. the. waiting.

Yesterday was particularly hard. Work was very slow, and it gave my mind time to think. Thinking can be bad sometimes. By the time I left work, I was an emotional mess and completely stressed out. I managed to calm myself down a little bit by taking Duke outside and throwing the baseball for him. But all evening those constant, nagging, anxious thoughts were running around my heart.

Guys, God is so very right on time with His Word. I opened up my Bible and devotion book last night before going to bed, and the reading was from Job 38. The title of the chapter in my Bible was The Lord Challenges Job”…  might as well have said “The Lord Challenges Sarah.”

“Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind:
‘Who is this that questions My wisdom with such ignorant words? Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’
‘Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much. Who determined its dimensions and stretched out the surveying line? What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?’” (Job 38:1-7)

As you might can guess, verse 2 is the verse that slammed my heart…. “Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words?” Um, forget all that stuff I said earlier God. I was just kidding. *gulp* Guys. The whole chapter, and the chapter after that, and the chapter after that, and the chapter after that were filled with God challenging Job. I can just see Job squirming while the Lord spoke to Him, because I was squirming myself. Obviously, I couldn’t just stop at chapter 38, so I kept reading. I loved the beginning of chapter 40:

“Then the Lord said to Job, ‘Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?’ Then Job replied to the Lord, ‘I am nothing—how could I ever find the answers? I will cover my mouth with my hand. I have said too much already. I have nothing more to say.’ Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind: ‘Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them. Will you discredit My justice and condemn Me just to prove you are right? Are you as strong as God? Can you thunder with a voice like His? All right, put on your glory and splendor, your honor and majesty. Give vent to your anger. Let it overflow against the proud. Humiliate the proud with a glance; walk on the wicked where they stand. Bury them in the dust. Imprison them in the world of the dead. Then even I would praise you, for your own strength would save you.’” (Job 40:1-14)

Ouch! For two chapters, the Lord challenges Job. Then He asks if Job is done arguing, and Job responds that he has “nothing more to say,” yet the Lord just continues! Finally, in Job 42, the Lord has finished His challenge to Job. What will Job say?

“Then Job replied to the Lord:  ‘I know that You can do anything, and no one can stop You. You asked, ‘Who is this that questions My wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me. You said, ‘Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’ I had only heard about You before, but now I have seen You with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.’” (Job 42:1-6)

It was after Job said this that the Lord allowed Job to be comforted, and Job received his blessings for enduring through the trials.
Today, my mind is still full of questions. I still don’t know how God is going to work it out. The enemy is still trying to throw that anxiety in my heart to make me doubt the Lord and His promises. But He definitely spoke to me through His word last night, and I’m clinging to who I know God is. Who am I to question His wisdom? Do I really still want to argue with the Almighty God? Today, my heart is responding, “I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.”

If you are struggling with anxiety today, I would encourage you to read Job 38-42. God shows just how marvelous and powerful He truly is as He challenges Job! He can certainly handle our situations!!

“Have you explored the springs from which the seas come? Have you explored their depths? Do you know where the gates of death are located? Have you seen the gates of utter gloom? Do you realize the extent of the earth? Tell me about it if you know! Where does light come from, and where does darkness go? Can you take each to its home? Do you know how to get there? But of course you know all this! For you were born before it was all created, and you are so very experienced!” Job 38:16-21