All In For His Kingdom.

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

-1 Peter 4:7-11

The following is a devo that I wrote for my church a few weeks ago on 1 Peter 4…Enjoy!

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As someone who has worked on PCPC youth staff for quite a few years, I’ve had the privilege of helping hire many two-year residents to work on our middle school and high school teams. In a recent interview with a hopeful new employee, the interviewee asked me what I thought made a strong resident. My answer was easy: an abiding relationship with God and a desire to be “all-in.” Rightfully so, the interviewee asked me to expound on what I meant by being “all-in,” to which I told him we needed people who had a passion for youth ministry, who were devoted to prayer, and who would sacrifice their time and efforts to serve the congregation to the best of their ability because, after all, it’s only a two-year program and time is of the essence.

The interviewee accepted this answer and moved on, but I did not. I started to feel convicted, wondering if I was as “all-in” as I could be in my current role. Truth be told, I quickly reconciled the feeling with the fact that I, as a permanent staff member, was not on a two-year time crunch; I even reassured myself by thinking, “coasting is normal and healthy in long-term ministry.” But, I’m here to tell you that I was wrong to have had that mindset, not only as someone who works in full-time vocational ministry, but also as a Christian who believes Jesus is coming back soon.

1 Peter 4 reminds us that we are people with a mission, a purpose, and a deadline. We are to rest along the way and lean wholly on Jesus, but we are never told to “coast” through Christianity. In fact, I would argue that believers should be the most “all-in” humans alive.

However, let me be honest with you: often when I read 1 Peter 4 I feel unable or even unworthy to live such a faithful, servant-hearted, and fervent life. Why? Well, because I’m deeply aware of my own weaknesses and failures. I long to live an “all-in” life for Jesus, and yet, I fail Him oh-so-often. Is my effort even worth it, I wonder?

In these moments of insecurity, I’m reminded of the very man who penned the Scripture we are studying: Simon Peter. You probably remember that Peter was not only one of Jesus’ disciples during His earthly ministry, but he was also one of Jesus’ best friends. We know that Peter left all that he had to follow Christ—very much a prime example of being “all-in”—but we also know that Peter did not always faithfully serve the Lord. Yet how amazing that even after Peter’s denial, the risen Christ comes to him, asking “Peter, do you love me?” and allowing Peter another chance to be “all-in.” Russ Ramsey of Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville said, “That Jesus would love a man like Simon Peter bodes well us, for you and for me. …It is not our record of righteousness that matters; it is Jesus’.”

We, too, are “Peters.” We fail Jesus, but we love Him and we continually try to follow Him, even in our weaknesses. Let us be a people who are quick to look to Christ’s righteousness, not our own, and strive to be imperfect, but faithful servants of Jesus each and every day.

KAT
Currently listening to “My Worth Is Not In What I Own” by the Getty’s (this is a current favorite)

Favorite Moments From Our Wedding.

This is one of those posts that I am writing for myself, to remember long down the road.

My favorite, unexpected moments from my wedding.

Want to know something weird? I was actually looking forward to seeing what would go “wrong” on the day-of. You see, where most brides would dread the cringe-worthy, strange, or unexpected, I am different in that I LOVE a good story to laugh about with friends for years to come. That being said, we really had a pretty smooth day. So instead of sharing the “bad memorable” with you, I’ll share the “fun and unexpected” memorable.

  • We were married in February, so cold and dreary weather was basically just the name of the game that month. I was fine with whatever, as long as I was marrying Creighton, but wouldn’t you know…the day of our wedding was sunny and in the 70s. Glory Hallelujah! I actually stayed the night before the wedding at my in-laws house (a whopping 100 feet from the Country Club where my bridal party got ready and we had our reception), so I decided to walk down to the venue all by my lonesome and enjoy a few moments of calm before the storm. As I walked, I felt so overwhelmingly thankful—for the Lord’s providence in getting us to that day, for the loving friends and families who were celebrating with us, and for having a springy day in winter, our very unexpected gift.

    (And in case you were wondering, yes I did walk down to the club in my getting-ready pajamas with my dress in tow. No shame.)
  • I wouldn’t call myself a “crier,” but I’m also not-not a “crier,” if you know what I mean. In other words, I can bring the waterworks if the moment is right. And let’s just say that the moment must’ve been RIGHT as I walked down the aisle—the only time I cried all day. Truth be told, I was a tad embarrassed later about my red nose and whimpering lower lip, but I later found out that my mom and sisters did the same. Guess it’s just a Williamson thing, which made the spectacle a lot more endearing in hindsight.
  • One of my favorite moments of the ceremony was the gospel choir that sang a beautiful song at the beginning of the service and “Oh Happy Day” during the recessional. Walking out of the door to such beautiful voices singing the most triumphant song was one of the coolest moments of my life. My only qualm was that I wanted to listen longer as the rest of the wedding party departed…so I did what any good bride would: I creaked open the church’s side door and listened/watched until the very end. Oh happy day, indeed.

    I am sad to say that we have no pictures of the choir (how did that happen?!), so the following picture will have to suffice. Just imagine that happy couple pictured below being serenaded “Sister Act 2 style” as they left the church.
  • My brother-in-law Hunter is a former professional musician, so imagine our delight when he hopped on stage and played along with the band a rendition of “Purple Rain” by Prince—one of his very favorites. We were all in awe and it made for such a special surprise!
  • One of the first wedding decisions I made was to offer peach fried pies to our guests in lieu of wedding cake as a way to honor my late Grandma Williamson (read the card below for a little more info about her + her famous fried pies). She raised five wonderful boys, all of whom were able to attend the wedding—such a treat since many of them live far away. I know this picture of my grandma’s boys in front of the pies would’ve made her smile, and thus this moment will forever be a favorite part of my wedding.
  • And finally: I couldn’t forget our “surprise” musical talent as we made our grand exit from the wedding reception. Oh, this one is fun.

    One of Creighton’s ushers, a nice young gentleman named Taylor, happens to be an incredibly talented musician/singer. Well, after a cocktail (or six), Taylor took advantage of a piano conveniently located right next to the exit doors. He played/sang “Don’t Stop Believing” as we exited our reception beneath the glow of sparklers and smiling faces. Isn’t it funny how some background music can make an already good moment downright magical. Three cheers for Taylor’s somewhat drunken (but also awesome) contribution to the ending of our day.

KAT
Currently listening to “Come and Get Your Love” by Redbone (fun fact: if Creighton and I could redo our first dance, we’d do it to this song!)

The Joy of Abiding

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. … These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” -John 15

I’m in the stage of life where all of my friends are having babies. As an “outsider looking in” on this stage, I’m constantly struck by how helpless infants truly are. They are glued to their parents, dependent on them for their every need. In addition to their dependence, babies, as we all know, aren’t the best communicators. They cannot tell you what they need or why they are uncomfortable; they simply cry out, hopeful that their adoring parents come to the rescue. And yet, slowly and subtly, you witness babies grow. They learn from their parents’ example and gradually pick up some tricks that help them become better communicators and more productive tiny humans. Babies lean wholly on their parents and glean from their examples, which in turn helps them become the people that God intended them to be.

Babies actually show us a beautiful picture of an abiding relationship with Christ. As little ones in the world constantly lean on their parents’ sturdy care, we too must be so dependent on God. We should look to Him in all we do; we should learn and grow from Jesus’ example in the Word; we should be quick to cry out to Him in moments of desperation. Like young infants, we must face the truth that apart from God, we can do nothing. 

We know we need a dependent relationship with the Lord, but often we rebel against that idea, choosing self-sufficiency over reliance. Practically, this may look like: feeling too busy to spend time in prayer or God’s Word; going to God as a last resort when troubles arise; not stopping to talk to God about big life decisions. There are a myriad of ways we choose self-sufficiency in our daily lives, but as believers, we must acknowledge the pride and foolishness in going that route. In the end, self-sufficiency will always fail us. But an even greater consequence, I would argue, is what we would miss out on by forsaking an abiding, dependent relationship with Christ: full joy.

Rankin Wilbourne wrote in his book “Union With Christ”: “It is a beautiful dance: our highest joy is found in God’s glory, and God is most glorified in us when we find our highest joy in him.”

When we abide with our Heavenly Father, we are reminded of His supreme glory, which is necessary to see Him, those around us, and ourselves as we ought. As we lean on His power and grow from Jesus’ example, we will find ultimate joy in His glory, and in turn, glorify Him through that joy.

Abiding is one of the greatest gifts we have as believers. Don’t let self-reliance keep you from the abundant joy that is promised through a thriving relationship with Him. 

KAT
Currently listening to “Yes and Amen” by Housefires

Our Wedding.

Well, a whopping 14 months after our wedding, I have finally sat down to share some photos and thoughts.

Truth be told, I dragged my feet. Creighton and I barely snuck our wedding and honeymoon in before Covid shut the world down. And though we feel so very thankful to have gotten those experiences, it’s felt awkward and even cruel to share a lot considering the 2020 world/social + political climate. There was a lot of trauma last year, but our wedding day was a small sliver of joy—one that we never mean to rub in anyone’s face, but one that we also want to celebrate and remember when appropriate.

That being said, I think it’s now time to share.

We got married on February 22, 2020 (02-22-20…gotta love a palindrome) in Austin, Texas on the most lovely 70 degree day. I won’t bore you with all the details, but I’ll tell you this: one year later and there’s not a thing I would change.

So without further ado, our wedding…

Whew! There you go. A photo summation of our wedding.

It was a beautiful day, but little did we know that soon the world would get a little darker and scarier. Maybe this is a “no, duh” statement, but getting married on the cusp of a worldwide pandemic brings a lot of things into perspective. Do we need hundreds of people around us to find joy? Do we need fancy clothes to make us feel worthy? Do we need pomp and circumstance for life to feel special? The answer, we found, was no—those things, though fun at times, are not the recipe to a beautiful, meaningful life.

2020 gave us a gift in that it striped down our marriage to the essentials—the Lord and each other. And you know what? We wouldn’t trade that for the world! I constantly think back to the words of one of my favorite hymns (which I also walked down the aisle to), “O, God Beyond All Praising.” Particularly the second verse meant so much to me this past year, and my prayer is that we always remember in our marriage to “marvel at God’s beauty” through the “triumph” and “sorrows.” To God be the glory for 02.22.20 and every day we have as the Drydens.

O God beyond all praising,
     we worship you today
and sing the love amazing
     that songs cannot repay;
for we can only wonder
     at every gift you send,
at blessings without number
     and mercies without end:
we lift our hearts before you
     and wait upon your word,
we honor and adore you,
     our great and mighty Lord.


Then hear, O gracious Savior,
     accept the love we bring,
that we who know your favor
     may serve you as our king;
and whether our tomorrows
     be filled with good or ill,
we'll triumph through our sorrows
     and rise to bless you still:
to marvel at your beauty
     and glory in your ways,
and make a joyful duty
     our sacrifice of praise.

All photos c/o the wonderful and talented Ann Mark Photography!

KAT
Currently listening to “You’ve Got The Love” by Florence + The Machines

Master Remodel.

We finally finished our master bedroom remodel, and may I just applaud professional home flippers because they must be the most patient humans alive.

It was a journey, but we couldn’t be happier with the outcome. Before we go into a full explanation of the project, a little background…

  1. Our home was a 4 bed, 2 bath upon purchase. And though 99% of the time it’s a bad idea to remove a bedroom, we decided to do it. For one, most of the homes on our street are 3 beds/2 baths or 2 beds/2 baths, so it wouldn’t be a terribly unwise move to eliminate the fourth bedroom based on the comps. Also, two of the four rooms were tiny and we really loved the idea of having a true master suite in this home.
  2. Another thing to know: all of the bedrooms were initially off of a really long hallway (seen below). This presented a small problem…If a baby ever graced our household, we would’ve had to walk all the way to the end of the hallway on creaky wood floors just to get to our room. Rumor is that babies are sensitive sleepers, so creating a separate entrance to the master suite was a must. Thus, we moved the entrance of the master suite to the living room.
  3. We fall in the category of people with a laundry closet, and said closet also landed at the end of the long, creaky hallway. When we combined bedroom #3 and #4 to make a master suite, the laundry area would have kept us from having a roomy walk-in closet, so it had to move. Because of these factors, we moved the laundry closet to the entrance of our new master suite.

    Clear as mud? Pictures will help…

HALL // BEFORE AND AFTER

Original hallway that led to the four bedrooms, one bathroom, and the laundry closet (on far right).
A more up-close look at our old Laundry Closet. No need for me to expound much here; it obviously was not a pretty sight.
Demolished hallway. Now, the hallway only includes two bedrooms and a bathroom…oh! and a fun, little addition…
A linen closet! We were barely able to sneak one in, but we are so thankful for the extra space. If you’re not impressed while reading this, you probably live in a newer home than we do. Let me tell you: homes from the 1950s have very little closet space. Even this infant sized closet brought tidings of great joy to our household.
The shortened hallway. Still looks a little long, but I promise it’s a much shorter, less creaky trek.

NEW MASTER SUITE ENTRANCE AND NEW LAUNDRY CLOSET HALL // BEFORE AND AFTER

The picture below is not great, but it’s the only one I could find with the original built in bookcase. Yes, that charming little bookcase unfortunately got the boot, but for good purpose—it became the new entrance to our master suite.

Bye bookshelf; Hello new entrance to our master suite
There you go! New entry to the master suite complete.

If you walk inside the new master suite entrance, you’ll first be welcomed by a tiny hallway (with doors on both ends) that houses the new laundry closet. Though we would’ve loved a full laundry room, that was just not possible with this house (but at least this new laundry closet is a bit of an upgrade!).

Our washer/dryer basically had to make a 180 and move up a few feet. Sounds like a simple project, right? Surprisingly, it was one of the most time intensive parts of this remodel. A whole breaker panel had to move, along with so many pipes, etc. It took a good, long while (and a pretty penny), but the new location of the laundry closet is much more practical, so we are happy folk.
So fresh / So clean / So complete

MASTER BEDROOM + CLOSET // BEFORE AND AFTER

The pictures below will make this part of the remodel look much smaller, simpler, and faster than it actually was. In all honesty, Creighton did the initial merging of rooms as soon as he bought the house three years ago, but it wasn’t until this past summer that we finally tackled the rest of the project (trim, bookcase, closet, bathroom, entrance change, laundry closet, etc.). We still have a ways to go when it comes to decorating, but it’s getting there!

Master bedroom before
This was the other bedroom that was combined with the original master to create our suite.
And the two became one…
Flash forward to this summer. I’ll spare you the demo pictures and jump straight to the framed project.
A little paint to make things sparkle.
Voila. A finished project. To help with perspective, the door to the left leads into the small hallway/laundry closet, the door in the middle is our master closet (see more pictures below), and the door to the far right is the master bathroom.

MASTER BATHROOM // BEFORE AND AFTER

This master bath was quite petite when we got our hands on it. We knew that we’d never be able to have a huge master bath, but our hope was to make it feel light and airy by extending the shower and sink out a bit.
We wanted a double vanity and rewrote the plans many, many times to try to get it to work, but alas…it just did not work with our space. That being said, we actually love our new vanity—one sink and all. We added a mirrored wall above the vanity (instead of a decorative framed mirror) to create the illusion of a larger space and to allow two people to get ready at once without fighting for the mirror.
I was certain I knew the exact finishes I wanted for the master bath—French blue penny tile, white cabinets, and marble-toned quartz countertops. But when we went to buy the tile, the white penny tiles were a whopping $10 less per sq/ft than the blue. My love for a good deal won out, and I’m honestly so glad it did. With the switch to white tiles, we decided to bring color to the vanity instead and settled on this greenish shade called Mizzle by Farrow and Ball.

There you have it! A long project (and a long blog post), but I do hope you enjoyed. Thanks for following along.

KAT
Currently listening to “Singin’ In The Rain” by Gene Kelly