Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ready to be...

I'm about to be engaged to the love of my life- a man so true to his heart, a man that loves the Lord first and foremost. I've had confirmation after confirmation, even as I am writing this, I happened to accidentally type in Philippians 4, when I meant Psalm 4, and this came up:

 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

If there's anything that this process of dating and engagement has reminded me of, it's that the enemy is around prowling like a lion. He is looking for couples that will go with the norm, looking for couples that will not glorify God in all they do, let alone love God with all that they are so that each person in the relationship can truly experience the love of God. I recently preached a sermon on how we have to be filled by the love of God first and foremost, then, and only then, can we truly be filled with the love of God. 

I've experienced nothing but the love of God in this relationship, more than I've ever known. I've learned how much Christ can truly love every part of me: flaws and all. I've learned how much Christ loves us individually, not just corporately, and I've learned what it means to give love and to receive love. That to me is an ideal marriage, one that I want to be a part of because it reflects the marriage between Christ and his bride. 

And because all of that, just as a Christian that is progressing and growing in their faith, so too are couples under attack wherever the enemy can fit in. Mine happens to be a feeling of anxiety. Nothing specific, nothing that is a red flag, just simply a large decision in the future that is unknown to everyone but God. 

I've talked with many wise people that have gone through this. I've prayed. I've asked for direction and confirmation from the Lord- all which were received- consistent, the same messages, and encouraging words that would build me up as a daughter in Christ. But today, I began thinking, not only would the enemy start attacking me in fear (because that is my greatest weakness- or my thorn in the flesh that can be used to glorify God the most) but I also began thinking- why would this happen now? What good does worry do? I can ignore the worry, but then that won't develop the character in me that God is forming me to become. Why is God allowing this? And dawned on me...

If this relationship is to be different than the typical relationship defined by society...
If this relationship will surely glorify God and actually become an example for the Church....
If this relationship helps me grow in my relationship with God as well as grow as the person he is calling me to become...
If this relationship is everything that God has confirmed, that it is right and perfect for each of us-

Then, not only will God get the glory in our marriage as one flesh, as a couple that can withstand the wind because our house will be built on rock not sand, but God will also get the glory in the midst of the attack of the enemy currently. God will get the glory now, by me learning to surrender to God and trusting him whole heartedly in a new way with a new stage in life; and God will get the glory in the future, when people see a reflection of Christ's love through the marriage of Matthew and me. 

God received the glory from the beginning...He will receive the glory in everything in between...and He will receive the glory forever. Thanks be to God. He is molding me in who I am to become, working within me, and working around me, and I get to marry the man that I am so blessed to call my best friend. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Sooner or Later

"Sooner or later, I promise. Hold my hand, and walk joyously with Me through this day. Together we will saver the pleasures and endure the difficulties it brings." ~ God

We're all standing with our backs against the wall, Sooner or laterWaiting on a phone that never calls, at allHeartbreak comes Rollin in like a storm, Sooner or laterTrying to swim but your sinking like a stone, Alone
and I can feel fire in the nightWaiting hereBaby its like we'reWalking on a wire thru the fearTake my handWe'll get there
Sooner or later I swear we're gonna make it, we're gonna make it,Sooner or later I swear we're gonna make it, we're gonna make itMilk and honey till we get our fillI'll keep chasing it I always willSooner or later I swearWe'll make it thereSooner than later
We're all waiting on dream thats hard to own, Sooner or latertrying to feel the high without the low, you know
you can feel fire in the nightlying hereBaby its like we'reWalking on a wire thru the fearTake my handWe'll get there
the fear insidethe hills we've climbedthe tears this side of heavenall these dreams inside of mei swear were gonna get there

Copied from 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Are You a Slave or a Master?

Recently, I've been studying the importance of unity within the church, in a marriage, in parenting, and in work relationships. Ephesians 6 discusses unity between a slave and a master, not specifically an employee or an employer. However, I often feel that as an employee sometimes we get caught up in the mindset of a slave. We forget why we are working. Who we are working for, or the impact of what we are doing. I feed the elderly, those that are not able to do so on their own. I wash dishes. I wait on tables and clean them. I do the things that no one likes to do. In fact, sometimes, I don't like doing it either. But, I was convicted this morning as I was reading this: 
"Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free. And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him" (Ephesians 6:5-9, NIV). 

Maybe you're tired of doing the same thing every single day. Maybe you love doing what you do. Or maybe somedays, you walk the line. I encourage you, whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Employees, serve your employers out of respect, fear, and a sincerity of heart so that they may see the love of Christ within you, regardless of how you are feeling that day. 

Choose to lead, not be led, no matter what position you have. 

Most importantly, remind yourself of the impact you are making, even if you work behind the scenes in the dish room. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

You're worth all of me

Afraid to love, something that could break,
Could I move on, if you were torn away?
I'm so close to what I can't control
I can't give you half my heart, and pray it makes you whole

You're gunna have all of me, you're gunna have all of me,
Cuz you're worth every fallen tear, you're worth facing every fear
You're gunna know all my love, even if it's not enough
Enough to mend our broken hearts, giving you all of me is where I'll start.

I won't let sadness steal you from my arms
I won't let pain keep you from my heart
Trade the fear of all that I could lose, for every moment I share with you
You're gunna have all of me, you're gunna have all of me,
Cuz you're worth every fallen tear, you're worth facing any fear
You're gunna know all my love, even if it's not enough
Enough to mend our broken hearts, giving you all of me is where I'll start.

Heaven broke into this moment, it's too wonderful to speak
You're worth all of me, you're worth all of me
So let me recklessly love you, even if I bleed
You're worth all of me, you're worth all of me

You're gunna have all of me, you're gunna have all of me,
Cuz you're worth every fallen tear, you're worth facing any fear
You're gunna know all my love, even if it's not enough
Enough to mend our broken hearts, giving you all of me is where I'll start

You're gunna have all of me,
Cuz you're worth every fallen tear, you're worth facing any fear
You're gunna know all my love, even if it's not enough
Enough to mend our broken hearts, giving you all of me is where I'll start
It's where I'll start

~Matthew Hammitt "All of Me"

What would it look like if every Christian offered all they had to the Lord? God declares that He is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5). He wants nothing less than all of you and all of me. He does not want to share you with the world. What would it look like if we started letting go of the brokenness of the past, the hurts, the scars, the walls, and started believing that the greatest Lover of all could work through us? We could start anew. C.S. Lewis says in the Four Loves: " To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

God is Love. To Love the unlovable and the lovable, is to be the hands and feet of Christ. May this be an encouragement to not only love God with all you have but to also love others through God's love with all you have.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

If you see a Soldier today, say thank you

Uh, tears hit her cheeks, like Tyson's glove,
Pain hit his heart, as she fights for love,
She says don't go, but the call came,
It's time to deploy, and they called his name,
Close to zero five-hundred, her mind starts wanderin
Butterflies, tummy starts rumblin,
Queezy, uneasy, tryin to hold it all together,
She doesn't want their last moments here to be

The car ride is quiet, outside it's hard to fight it,
Inside it's like she's dyin, that's when she started cryin,
He tries to comfort her, "Baby, it's alright" "Liar!"
That's what she screams louder from the thoughts of
They pray, it's okay, "I'll promise that I'll be safe" uhh,
That's what he tells her as he looks her in the face
and as he walks away,lookin in her eye
Last kiss as they say...

Chorus Benjah
"I pray this is not our last goodbye...... Goodbye" (x2)

Verse 2 Tedashii
Uh, graduation; her nine weeks are done
Hoorah, Hooplah, now it's time to move on
Leavin' out of basic, she just got her assignment
She's headed off to war and it's hard for her to face it
(or face her), the daughter that she's leavin
It's hard to come to terms with the truth, no one
believes it
And even when it's starrin in ya face, you don't
receive it,
She hears mommy, and it's just like her heart
stopped beatin
(beatin...beatin) inhales heavy breathin
Worried when she leaves she may not be back to
see them,
Her baby girl, and the family that she loves
Tryin to hold back the tears right now is
She fights to stay strong, gotta hold on
She says a prayer, just tryin to find a calm
Thoughts of eternity, then back to reality
And then she tells her family...

chorus Benjah
I pray this is not our last goodbye...Goodbye(x2)

I don't want to be alone, I dont wann...I dont wanna
be alone..No (x8)
I can't live without you

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

81 things I learned in a year @ IWU

A year at IWU:
(Fall 2010-Spring 2011)

The things I experienced, applied, learned, and enjoyed in a year at Indiana Wesleyan University.
1) You cannot love God without truly loving others. You cannot love others without truly loving God.
2) "Augustine" is not (A-u-g-u-s-teeeen). It is "A-g-u-s-tin"
3) We build up walls that are supposed to protect us from being hurt, but really they cover up our authenticity so people cannot see us for who we are.
4) God is ever faithful no matter the sickness one bears. He is always fully encompassing and wrapping his everlasting arms around his children.
5) God is faithful no matter what.
7) Athanasius, an early church father, once said that God is Love- thus, he had to provide a way for salvation because he cannot go against his very nature
8) God is my first love- no one can ever supersede or break that
9) Community makes all the difference, for we were never meant to be "independent"
10) A community is a body of wisdom with self-giving love
11)Friends make a good day better. Friends make a bad day spectacular.
12) One who is task-oriented needs to find a balance in order to be equally relationship oriented
13) Leadership is: Taking action to effect change while mobilizing others to accomplish a shared vision.
14) Your Love never fails me.

15) He makes all things work for my good because he is molding me into the likeness of Christ Jesus (Romans 8:28-39)

16) God is good. All the time, even at 2am.

17) Love people for who they are, where they are. For it does no good to try and change them.

18) Solitude- a time of quiet reflection is healthy for the body, mind, and spirit. It also is how God can speak to us, if we let him.

19) The kingdom of God belongs to children of all different ages and races regardless of their behavior or anything that people find "annoying". They are the ones that have the joy and faith that disappears in so many adults.

20) 1st Semester- God’s faithfulness; 2nd Semester- God’s goodness; Hopefully, I will learn a fruit of the Spirit each semester.

21) Anything more than 16 ounces of coffee in one day will make you sick L

22) I am a coffee addict- I get migraines without a cup a day

23) I am passionate about leadership- specifically the structure within the Church and making sure that the top leaders are servant leaders equipping the Body in the greatest way they are capable

24) Academics are a priority, not a life mission. They come second to God and third to others.

25) “God won’t fix things through prayer what can be fixed with sleep.” Coach Drury

26) When was the last time you woke up in the morning and asked God for the impossible? For an adventure?  C.S. Lewis)

27) Great Commission- Matthew 28 go into all nations - Greek for ethos- over 2000 ethnicities- go into all races, cultures, of every ethnicity- through power of Holy Spirit in relation to Acts 1:8

28) If I am 100% comforting and 99% managing, the question is not how can I choose one over the other, but rather how can I incorporate both so I am managing and comforting to others for the glory of God?

29) Economics is 2 gazillion times harder than asking for forgiveness

30) One can get caught up in “doing things for Jesus” rather than “falling in love with Jesus.” Ephesians 3:16-19

31) Ephesians 4:11-13- Goal of Pastoral Ministry

32) 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

33) There will always be people that are in a worse condition than you are. No need to complain.

34) Not only has God been sparing me of the heartaches in trivial relationships, but he has been shaping and molding me into the wife I am meant to be as I trust him that I will meet the right one. First and foremost, he has been molding me into his daughter who wants to be captivated in the love of Christ where no relationship can break or hinder the relationship I have with God.

35) Making time for God first and foremost is the best way one can start their day

36) Psalm 27:13-14; waiting on the Lord for the desires of our heart should cause us to be expectant and be strong in Christ’s strength

37) In our weaknesses we are strong because God’s grace is sufficient, for then God is the most glorified.

38) Sometimes our “daily bread” comes in the form of rocks. But your Father will transform the rocks of life to bread for they may just be blessings in disguise.

39) I love to beatbox in my free time

40) I want to start a ministry at a church for soldiers who are home from the war because I have a passion for the military

41) Rap is relaxing. I listen to it when I am stressed or frustrated. If I am running and listening to rap- you know it’s really bad!

42) I love the band Jesus Culture

43) I made lots of new friends and lost and kept some old!

44) I grew in my love for God with my heart, mind, soul, and strength

45) Learned that God’s love truly never fails

46) Naps are good

47) Running clears the mind and prepares it for exams

48) Stressing out does not change your circumstances, joy does.

49) 1st night of finals every semester, ever student on campus opens their window for the Midnight Scream!

50) I was known for the one in the room with the “bass cranked up” or walls vibrating

51) Late night chats are some of the best

52) Intercessory prayer is an ability to be in tune with the Holy Spirit

53) Being on your knees is the most beautiful thing before the Lord

54) Reading the Bible in 7 months is more difficult than you think

55) Taking a Sabbath is remarkable creating immediate and long term effects ((when one finds time)

56) Learned that in Evangelism class- authentic relationships are desired more so than anything in this generation.

57) I can now exegete since I wrote an exegesis.

58) Sometimes you just have to move on….let God take care of the rest for both you and the other person.

59) Friends are those that care for you when you are sick, love you despite your weaknesses, take you to the hospital, clean your room for you even though you’ve been sick and germy for days, buy you treats when you’ve had a bad day, make you laugh when you are frustrated, pack your bag in the middle of the night to send you home, have long chats over coffee, prank people in their dorms for no reason, hold you when you cry, dance with you when you are learning how to swing dance, make dance videos with you at 1am, and most importantly pray for you.

60) I learned to get out of my comfort zone meeting new people by being more open to people and more open to God about myself.

61) Learned that the best Leader doesn’t take a seat at the head of the table, but rather chooses another to be the most important guest

62) Learned to be happy and content with what I had

63) Learned to be thankful for the little things, like being able to afford gas

64) Learned to rely on God for EVERYTHING. Rarely is anything in our complete control.

65) Writing papers with the Holy Spirit is the best way to go. He leads, I type.

66) Doing homework with Jesus makes time fly

67) I have a great mentor who is “gangster” like me

68) When God says, “Your bodies are a living sacrifice.” He means for you to take care of it. So, if that means rest, rest. If that means take a break, then take a break! Watch a movie. Have fun. Enjoy life. Seek first His kingdom and all these things will be added unto you.

69) College is the most selfish period of your life, go serve somebody.

70) For the first time in my life, I have understand the despair that Job experienced when life seems to collapse around you.

71) I’ve learned to grow Rhino Sin (thick skin)

72) I’ve learned to not take things personally

73) I’ve learned I can’t fix everything, and I certainly can’t “change” other people no matter how hard I try.

74) I’ve learned I’m a leader. I am passionate about relationships, and I think I am gifted in relational leadership.

75) I’ve learned people won’t always treat you the way you deserve. Love them and pray for them, hoping they will come to a realization on their own.

76) Do your best and let God do the rest.

77) Reflection is key to being stress free. A time of processing is so good for the body and mind.

78) Fully depend on God and when you feel you can go no longer, lean on Him- He’ll hold you up.

79) There’s a difference between humility- knowing you can do nothing without Christ, and being humble- being open to what God is doing, even if it is unseen

80) Become a vessel for God to do his best in your weakest moments.

81) I LOVE IWU and the JWHC

Incredible wisdom- taken from Kelly Needham's blog

I found this blog today that my friend had sent me. It is Jimmy Needham's wife.

Our poor little girl had her first cold and boy was it rough! For about 5 nights in a row, I was up almost every hour trying to get her back to sleep because she couldn’t breathe. The frustration followed into the next day because our sick baby was now a tired, sick baby. Then top that off with constant pain from teething and the fact that we are not at home with all her regular toys and Baby Einstein DVDs…. And wow. I felt like I was just trying to make it through one hour at a time.

It’s amazing what a lack of sleep over multiple days does to you. I had checked-out emotionally and spiritually. Discouragement began to set in as I wondered if this was ever going to end. As I drove around Nashville waiting to pick Jimmy up from a writing appointment, I noticed this license plate in front of me. It read: 2COR610. An acute awareness of God’s sovereignty causes me to take these “coincidences” very personally as if God were sending me a message to read 2 Corinthians 6:10. Though it didn’t mean much to me as I quickly glanced at it in my car, I decided it was worth a more in depth look later.

Thankfully, Lively soon fell asleep in the car seat as I drove giving me a precious hour and a half of time to myself. I found a coffee shop and claimed the small nook in the back as my own to sit with this chapter of the Bible and a much needed cup of caffeine… I mean coffee. I began reading from earlier in the chapter: “But in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger…” Wait a second!! “in sleeplessness” Those words were balm to my soul. The moment I read them my eyes filled with tears as God’s Word ministered to my soul. In just a split second God spoke so many things to my heart.

First, just seeing the word sleeplessness let me know that God was aware of my situation. Sometimes just to know that He sees me and knows what I am going through brings such comfort. Then, sleeplessness is listed next to imprisonments, beatings, and hunger to name a few! In this I felt like my struggle became legitimate, that it is truly difficult to function without sleep. In the same way our bodies need food to function, they also need sleep to function. Finally, the main point of this whole passage is that even in sleeplessness I am to commend myself as a servant of God. What renewed purpose this gave me to know that I am to serve God in my sleeplessness. Not just get through it, but serve God through it.

I glanced down at the little feet sticking out of the car seat next to me. This little girl was not the burden or inconvenience that she seemed to be this past week, but a blessing that I had the honor of caring for as my service to God. I am to be HIS SERVANT even in sleeplessness.

Oh the Bible! How I love it! It’s pages always bringing such refreshment and renewal to my soul. It is like a never-ending fountain, allowing me to discover new mysteries each time I open it. Wherever you are at today, find time to sit with God in His Word. You might not be a new mom dealing with sleepless nights, but there is fresh wisdom, comfort, and encouragement for every situation in the pages of this precious book.

“How sweet are Your words to my taste!
Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”
Psalm 119:103

Wow! There are plent of times I wrestle with sleeplessness during the school year. Yet, we are to still to be His servant amidst it all.