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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

In the Here & Now

I didn't plan on posting today, but I read a blog post this morning that really struck a cord with me. And I find that when that happens to me, I just cannot seem to keep my mouth shut about it! Lucky you :)
 
THIS post was part of my Esther bible study that I've been doing through Love God Greatly. (I mentioned this study here too, and it's really been AMAZING! I cannot say enough about how God has been speaking to me through it. I would highly recommend their studies!)
 
No, I'm not a mom yet. But I want to be. I've thought so much about all the ways that life change will challenge me and pull me in a million different directions. Even without being at that place in my life yet, I still feel those pulls of distraction from my focus on God all.the.time. And all the time when I find my way back into focus, I beg God to use me. To use me in ways I never imagined possible, in ways so big that only He can get the credit for, because there's no way I could make these things happen myself.
 
I was so incredibly blessed by the opportunity to go on my mission trip to the Dominican Republic back in July. It felt BIG and important and like God was going to use me to change the world. When in reality, in so many ways, I was the one who was changed by it. I'd like to think I made even the tiniest of impacts on the lives of the El Carrizal community. I'd like to think that they think of me even half as often as I think of them. But my heart was impacted from the trip and that matters too. I talked about how when I came home from that trip I felt lost...disconnected...like I wasn't doing enough here. It's a whirlwind thing, really. And unfortunately, it's terribly hard to process the words and explain that feeling to people.
 
I'm not going to lie, sometimes I am tricked into believing the lie that what I'm doing here at home, and in the now, isn't enough. I like to rank the order of importance of the ways God is using me. The mission trip feels higher up there, while serving at my church every Sunday or spending time investing in the stories of the people around me doesn't feel as much sometimes. I meet with girls all the time who feel the same way. I've really been thinking about this lately, about the people in my life who buy into this lie. About the ways I buy into it and let it allow me to feel discouraged.
 
And it's such a dirty ugly lie! Clearly God wants me to recognize that and repeat it. Because this is the 3rd time in a row in 2 days that He has clearly pointed it out to me.
 
I saw this cute little pallet last night on Instagram - actually very randomly found this picture, and it really made me think about these "not enough" feelings. This was my caption:
(Look at how adorable this is!!! From @honeydewhomedesign right here in Knox! Found them randomly on IG!) This world wants me to doubt myself, but Jesus assures me that through Him I am enough! This world wants me to conform, but being obedient and faithful to my Savior fills me far more than this world ever could! You can have this world, just give me Jesus!
 

Then the LGG post from this morning. This just did me in:

"You see, “for such a time as this” doesn’t just include the big stuff. Oh, there may be some big, bold, exciting, risky God-opportunities that He calls you to along the way. Don’t miss them.

But daily, God is calling us to the here and now."

 

Where you are? That’s no mistake. And whatever your here and now consists of, I promise that if you stop and take a moment to look around, you’ll find whole lot of Kingdom work to do. That precious generation of little people right in front of your face? They’re tomorrow’s church. Your neighbor across the street and opposite your cubicle? You might be the only Jesus they ever see. That meal you made, that note you sent, that check you wrote, that prayer you prayed? You may have just inspired someone to love God greatly with their lives.
All because you decided to say “yes” to the here and now.
 
Just like that, God reminds me that I have multiple callings on this Earth. Sure, I have a heart for BIG missions, but realistically I can't drop everything to make that happen all the time right now. I also have a heart for ministry. For me, my ministry is here- at home, at work, my own family, the people I go to church with, the people who live in my neighborhood, who I talk to at the gym, my future children. There are lost people all around me. All around us all. It's not my job to save them, and I never could no matter how hard I tried. It's my job to show them love. And every single person that I can inspire to even take a 2nd look at God, matters in the Kingdom of Heaven.

YOU are enough. WHAT YOU DO is enough. It matters. It's important. It impacts people's lives. Letting your light shine is enough.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. - Matthew 5:16
 
I hope somebody out there is saying AMEN right now...

 
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Monday, September 22, 2014

Motivational Monday

So many Mondays are filled with heavy eyelids and complaints. NOT THIS ONE! Maybe it's because I've been sleeping so good lately, or maybe it's because my body is starting to feel even just a little bit better from working out and eating better-ish, or maybe it's because my heart is so full of love right now... but whatever the reason I am on Cloud 9 today. Here's a little motivation for your Monday!
 
3 important life lessons that have been reinforced to me lately:
 
1. Be brave, no matter what the cost. I promise you, it's worth it.
 
When you don't feel brave, listen to this!
 
 
Source

 2. Be an encourager. Make someone's day today.
Source
 3. Be out of this world thankful for your home team.
Source

Take that, Monday!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Pearls of Wisdom - from a 30 year old

Yesterday was my birthday, in case you missed that memo. I'm officially the big 3-0 now, or as I like to say I'm 360 months old. I had to get a new driver's license picture and everything. My 29th year ultimately delivered me to a place of grace, peace and – dare I say, maturity. (everybody who knows me in real life has my permission to laugh at the thought of me being mature). I mean, if Prince Harry can rock 30 then shouldn't I try to do the same?
 
I said it last year on my birthday, and I'll probably forever say it, but getting older is scary for me! The thought of moving into the 30's age bracket literally makes me want to vomit. It feels very "quarter-life crisis-ish". And by that I mean I'm definitely getting a new tattoo soon.

But even so, your birthday is YOUR day to feel loved and I definitely felt the love. Thank you to everyone who called, sent me a text, an email or a card - and especially Erin who sent me flowers!!

I am reminded of the great Carrie Bradshaw's quote about age brackets:
 "Your 20's are to make mistakes, Your 30's are to learn your lessons, your 40's are to pay the drinks."

I most definitely made more than my fair share of mistakes in my 20's. But isn't that what it's all about? Learning who you are and growing into who you want to be. My hope is that my 30's will bring me invaluable life lessons. Lessons of love, faithfulness, family and hope. I solemnly swear to eagerly pass those lessons on to others, over drinks of course, once I reach my 40's.

My only goal for my 30th year is to be in love with my life. Crazy in love with every single minute of it. The good, the bad and even the ugly - just to love it and know that every twist and turn serves a purpose.
 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Five on a Friday!

I'm pretty sure that the 5 on a Friday link-up isn't going on right now (hopefully just during the summer?), but I'm just going to pretend like it's still a thing. And since I'm clearly a part-time blogger now, Fridays are all I have to offer you. #sorrynotsorry Life, it has been a'happenin!
 
{ONE}
I have a boyfriend!!!!! A real, live, Facebook official and everything boyfriend. I know you're probably either experiencing a heart attack at this moment, or you have fallen out of your seat because I knocked your socks off. It's true. I'm not even sure I remember how to have a boyfriend, but here we are. It makes me want to pee my pants with excitement and terrifies me at the same time. He's a saint, y'all. And my absolute most favorite thing about him is his heart for Jesus. I had never looked for that in a boyfriend before, so I never realized how incredibly attractive it is.
 
"If you are a woman of God, don’t sell your spiritual birthright by marrying a guy who doesn’t deserve you. Your smartest decision in life is to wait for a man who is sold out to Jesus." - J. Lee Grady
 
{TWO}
Football is back. Praise the Lord! First home opener game was a big fat WIN, and just so happened to be sold out. There are few things in life that are sweeter than spending an evening with 102,000 of my closest friends and cheering on our boys. I had a blast!

Actual picture I took at the game - gorgeous skies that night!
{THREE}
If you can listen to this song, and not sing it all day then you're a better woman than I am. My co-workers are probably sick of hearing me sing "I'm bringing booty back" non stop.


{FOUR}
I started an online bible study with Love God Greatly about the book of Esther. Can I just be 100% real with you right now and tell you that it's only the first week and I have been blown away by what God is revealing to me? In just a few short days, my heart is lighter than it's been in weeks.

I've been struggling with a lot of emotions recently, and being in a new-ish relationship (while exciting) has definitely caused me some internal conflict. It's so easy to become complacent and too focused on the world's distractions around us. I am incredibly guilty of this, especially since I got home from my mission trip. While God is always pursuing me, I can easily push my pursuit of him to the side. When stress starts to weigh me down, I can all too easily fall back into the ways of claiming control over things as a coping mechanism. I revert back to old ways of dealing with my emotions - which is basically not dealing with them. Old, ugly scars were definitely starting to rear their little heads with my relationship issues. None of that is from God. This Esther study started at just the right time. It is truly amazing the ways that God will reveal himself to us, if we just make the time to seek him. I am constantly in awe when this happens to me. Yet it happens time and time again. This verse just captivated me.

"Not to us, Lord, not to us, but to your name be the glory..." -Pslam 115:1

I forget sometimes that I'm a changed person. My natural instinct is extreme independence. I used to pride myself on the strength that came from that. But I am reminded that I do not have to face any of these feelings alone. That instead, if I pour my heart out to God, He will renew me. I am reminded that through my weaknesses, God shows his healing power.  And that is the best feeling. Glory to God!

All that being said, just wanted to share this little nugget from Wednesday's lesson with you.
 
{FIVE}
If you read nothing else this week, read this. I love the idea of women holding each other accountable, advocating for each other, and just supporting each other - no matter what stages of life we are in. I would gladly do this with ANY of you over guac and margaritas - even if we have to do it virtually. It's important!
 
Happy Weekend, my loves! AND GO VOLS!