Saturday, December 29, 2012

Proverbs 31 Woman

Proverbs 31 women

Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.    She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.    She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.    She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.    She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.    She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.    She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.    “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”    Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the  Lord  is to be praised.    Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. (Proverbs 31:11, 12, 17, 20, 25-27, 29-31 NIV)

Proverbs 31 does a great job showing how a woman can live a life that honors God and her husband.  She works hard and does her best to be prepared for any situation that comes along.  By working on preparing a household in advance when something does happen she will be ready.  She is willing to help the poor because she has already taken care of her own family.  First we have to take care of our own lives then we can help others.

I believe it is also the same with raising a family.  We don't have children yet but I can imagine, the best thing you can do for your children is to have a healthy marriage.  You have to invest in your spouse and in your relationship with the Lord.  When you are full and satisfied you are able to pour into other people.  When you have a good marriage your children will benefit.  Keeping God in the center of your marriage is also so important.

Lately, Kyle and I have become so much closer because we have been praying together more often.  When something comes up that we would normally stress over, we look at each other and ask God for strength and wisdom.  I constantly pray for wisdom and then strength to do what I know needs to be done.  Patience is something that I constantly need.  I always try to be really kind and it is not easy when someone is hard to love.  It is important in these situations to respond and not react.  Being a Proverbs 31 woman is something you have to work on every day.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Through Sickness and Health

A True Love will be there for you in sickness and health.  We are in Texas for Thanksgiving and we got to spend time with Kyle's family.  His Grandmother is still in the hospital and his Grandfather is there by her side every day.  They have been married almost 68 years and he has been by her side ever since.

I am so grateful that Kyle has this example of love and loyalty because I think it has prepared him for our marriage.  I am so lucky to be a part of his family because there is so much love.  Everyone is so kind to one another and everyone is so easy going.  It truly has been a relaxing trip.

It feels really good to recharge my batteries after being so busy at work and just the day to day back in Atlanta.  Being here this week has reminded me what is most important in life... Family and Love.  The kind of love that will last through the decades.  That is what I hope to have.  I know we are on our way.

I think some of the secrets I have learned from being married and seeing healthy marriages are as follows:  Be kind to one another and never say anything you can't take back.  Do things that maybe you don't want to do sometimes because you know it will make the other person happy. Communicate constantly about your finances and make sure you are always on the same page about expenses and save for a rainy day.  Give generously to God and his Kingdom because it keeps you grounded in faith.   And, always keep God at the center of your marriage!!

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Departed

We watched the "Departed" recently and it really got me thinking.  It was so intense and the whole movie is about crime, deception, and living double lives.  It made me really grateful for my simple life.  The movie mainly follows two characters played by Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio.  Leonardo's character comes from a family with a long line of criminals. When he joined the Police Department they basically said he would make a better undercover cop because people would assume he would follow in his family's footsteps.  Matt Damon's character on the other hand came from a good background but he was secretly involved with one of the biggest criminals from a young age.  Matt Damon joined Police Department then became a detective who was trying to catch the criminal.  So Matt Damon was his inside man giving him the heads up at every turn so he wouldn't be caught.

It just made me think about  the difficult lives people have and how so many people can get wrapped up in the wrong crowd and have to pay the price.  When you start going down the wrong path you may not notice at first but then once you get really deep into it, it can be difficult to get out.  That is what happened in the movie and happens in life all the time.  You start to think you are not good enough and you can't ever measure up to be accepted by Christ.

So while it may be difficult in life to get out of difficult situations, it is really easy to become right with God!  You will never be good enough on your own to be right with God, but luckily you don't have to be.  Since Jesus came and died for your sin by accepting him as your Lord and Savior you can have that relationship with God.  The relationship you always wanted.  You can be accepted and forgiven so easily.  It is easy to be forgiven by God but a lot of times for us it is hard to forgive others.  So when someone comes to you that has wronged you, if you have the temptation to hold a grudge remember how easily Christ forgives and accepts you.  It's really that simple to be accepted and forgiven by Christ so why not make it simple for someone else to be forgiven.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Building Community

I am really happy how Kyle and I are getting involved with the church in our local community.  We have been leading a married small group and already we have gotten so close to the couples in our group.  We have invested in our small group by not only meeting once a week but doing get-togethers outside of group.  Authentic friendships are formed by doing life together and we are all there for the same reason: to become friends with like minded people.

Some of my best friends have been people that have been in my small group.  It is really cool to be the leader and able to bring people together and facilitate the group growing together.  If you are not already involved in a small group, whether it is a married, singles or men's or women's group, I would strongly encourage you to look into it.

Another thing we have been doing is leading a Transit small group.  If you are not familiar with Tranist it is our church's middle school program.  They meet when adults are in "Big Church" and they have a similar schedule.  First when they arrive before it starts they have fellowship complete with donuts!!  Then once it is time to get started they have an icebreaker or game, then they listen to worship music, then they have a message tailored to their specific stage of life, then we break into small groups.  This is where we come in, as small group leaders we have the privilege to each lead a group of boys and girls.

The middle schoolers are so excited to be there and are eager to hear God's message in a relevant way that they can relate.  Then to be around adults and high school co-leaders that care about them and want to build relationships with them, they think that is pretty cool too!  They get to hang out with kids just like them from different schools as well.  It is so much fun leading these middle schoolers and it is neat to see the things they deal with were issues I faced growing up as well.  I think leaders get just as much or more out of leading the groups as the kids do.

I am just really happy with the direction our lives are going and being apart of such great communities and having such healthy relationships.  It definitely helps our marriage and brings us closer together too.  Any time you can spend time together serving common interest is always a plus! 

How do you serve and give back to your community?!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

I Knew You Were Trouble

I'm sure everyone has that one relationship that they knew from the very beginning was going to be trouble. Taylor Swift's new CD "Red", that is going to be released October 22, has a new song called, "I Knew You Were Trouble." This song reminds me of one guy in particular that I knew from the beginning wasn't good for me. We didn't have a lot of things in common but we both loved to play soccer.

He wasn't a Christian but at the time I remember thinking I would influence him and then he would learn to love God the way I did. Christians have a term for this. It is called Missionary Dating and I do NOT recommend it. The idea is God's light will shine through you and they will become a believer. God also discourages this and that is why he calls us to be with a man who can lead us closer to him. My life has always been on fire for God and he was throwing water, so to speak, on my relationship with my Heavenly Father.

There is a bright side to this story...

 Through this relationship, as with others I have been in, it taught me what I did and did not want in a man. It helped me see the type of man God desperately wanted for me. I had known my future-husband for over a year and a half and after that other relationship I saw him in a whole new way. I was able to appreciate him for the incredible man is was and continues to be every day. I fell in love with Kyle and now I know it was all meant to be.

Kyle is a strong Christian, he is compassionate, brilliant, and dashing. He is everything I always wanted. Like the other relationship I knew from the very beginning how it was going to be, except this time I knew it was also what God wanted for me!! I am so grateful that Kyle and I are together and give thanks to God every day for blessing both of us by bringing us together. Through our relationship we are able to give glory to God. Marriage is now our ministry, and together we will shine God's light.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fighting for her Life

I haven't known too many people that were in intensive care and do not know any that have been there for about four months... I am inspired and awed that Kyle's Grandmother Una has been fighting for her her life for 6 months now.  It seems like she is getting better from prayers because she hasn't had very good care.  I was talking to Kyle's Grandad today and he said she can feel the prayers and is finally improving.  The recovery has been slow but she is a fighter and has a great support system of people who would do anything for her.

Grandma Una and Grandad have three amazing daughters, and he said that they are all very strong willed [stubborn] women.  In a case like this when she desperately wants to live, it has turned out to be a very, very, good thing to be.  He tells me every time he sees her she begs him to take her home.  At first she wasn't getting out of bed and that wasn't helping the recovery.  It was hard on everyone.  Especially her husband of 60 wonderful years!!

Then he told her something I think was a great thing to tell Grandma Una in this situation. "As soon as you can walk out of here I will take you home."  So, then she asked the physical therapist to help her walk.  And today he told me that she has walked about 100 ft today, and then 75 ft.  This is huge progress.  She also had a trachea breathing tube getting oxygen and was also getting food through a tube.  Now today I heard she is eating real food and is breathing on her own.  We are all extremely proud of her!!
Grandma Una on her way to a full recovery!!

For those of you who have been praying for her recovery, it is picking up speed.  I think she is looking forward to our pending trip to see them there in Texas this Thanksgiving.  She is working towards being home by then, which will be a miracle.  We are trusting God that his will be done.  If Grandma Una has anything to do with it her persistence will keep her spirits up and she will continue to persevere!  She has a lot to live for: a husband that would do anything for her, 3 daughters that love her to pieces, and 1 grandson (my husband) who is benefiting from her legacy and loves her so much.  I think she is also waiting to have a grandchild... one day!

Saturday, September 15, 2012


1. the quality or state of being perfect: as
a: freedom from fault or defect: flawlessness...
2. a: exemplification of supreme excellence
b: an unsurpassable degree of accuracy or excellence
3: the act or process of perfecting

It's in the dictionary, but in the Biblical sense I don't think it is even possible.  It doesn't stop people from labeling various things as having perfection.  The first thing that comes to mind is Kelly Osborn on Fashion Police.  Any Joan Ranger would know when an outfit looks amazing Kelly is the very first person to call it Perfection.  I even like the way she says it and she is usually spot on with her favorite pick.

Needless to say, most people strive for Perfection.  But, realistically speaking we will always fall short.  If this is consistently our goal, it is possible to be unsatisfied and unfulfilled if you are not careful.  When we will fall short, we could have the feeling that we can never measure up or achieve our goal.  Though, it shouldn't stop us from striving for Perfection. 

My Senior Quote in our yearbook was, "Shoot for the Moon and you are sure to land among the Stars."  This quote reminds me, that while true Perfection is impossible, if you aim for it then you will and should be proud of your results.  This is the reason people tell me all the time how detail oriented I am.  I work hard and pour over the details.  If I can check and double check things to look for accuracy then I may be close to getting things just right.  It may turn out that I fall short but if I am truly honest with myself and the effort, then I can sure be proud of my results.  I also really enjoy being efficient.  "Work smarter, not harder."  I use that as my personal motto as well.

But when we fall short, The Trick is to accept the Grace of God that we can never become perfect.  Jesus was the only one who anyone can ever say was perfect.  He lived a completely blameless life.  Thus when he was sacrificed, it paid the price so we could have a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior. So give yourself a break.  Do your best and you will never have any regrets.  I truly believe that and this is why I work so hard.  I try to take pleasure in the small things and joys I come across.  I accept the Grace of God and live a life I can be proud of because I always give it my all.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Pushing Through Difficult Times

Hi everyone, 

I want to apologize to those of you who have been checking back and I haven't posted anything in a while.  I have been battling bronchitis recently and I haven't been feeling up to writing.  I always try to post really good content and thus why I also post maybe once a week.  I could just post stuff all the time but I really want to make sure the things I post are a value add and something I can be proud of over time.

That being said, I am feeling much better!!  It was really all I could do to come to work every day and give 100%!!  It was really tough most days but I pushed through it.  I have more responsibilities now at work and the end of the month is always a really big push to finish the month strong.  I didn't want to let my team down by taking a bunch of sick days (even though they would have totally understood.)

I think this is a theme of any kind of a life worth living. 

We push through difficult times to hope for better circumstances.  This is the hope and faith that better things are yet to come.  We have to stay positive in light of hard times.  The moment we give up hope, I think is the moment we become defeated.  You hear stories of people saying things like 1,000 times failing is just 1,000 times that prepare us to the right answer. 

It can be really hard to work hard when things aren't going well, BUT we must. 

"Perseverance is being determined and not giving up in spite of challenges." -Jen

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” -Elizabeth Kubler Ros

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." -United States Declaration of Independence

Be Beautiful and Pursue Happiness!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Beginning of the Second New Year

It may sound silly but many people consider THIS time of year to be the second beginning of the year.  You guessed it, school starting and fresh starts.  The Church does a big push for people to volunteer and people to join community groups, and flat out get involved.  You can look at the different ways to get involved at  Buckhead Church click here.  There are tons of other things you can do through all of the Northpoint Ministries.  They have Next which is learning more about Christianity and community service projects through intersect.  They also do a global outreach for mission trips through their global X program.  For my Watermarke friends the link is here.

The point is every year when people start back at school and they start back at other events, programs, and hopefully Church.  The summer is a time for vacation and fun in the sun!  The weather is nice and who would blame you?!  You can go to the pool, the lake, the beach and so many other fun things to be around water or outside!!  I love being around water and being in nature.  I feel so much at peace and just being able to relax is always nice!  I love spending time with my friends and there is a ton to do in the summer. 

Think about the difference in the Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics.  It seems like most of the sporting events are in the Summer Olympics.  There is so much to watch it can seem over whelming.  But who doesn't like the Olympics?!  It seems like it always goes by so fast!!  I can't believe it is already over.  Think about how long the athletes train and all the hard work they put into getting ready for the biggest competition of their lives.  If it was me I would just want to do my best and not have any regrets.  I would want to think that there was nothing else I could have given to my endeavor.  I feel so bad for the athletes that fall or make some kind of stupid mistake that they will regret forever.  How many times do they perform the same routine or drill and almost never fall or trip?  Then when it really counts and millions of people are watching they mess up.  That would be the worst.

So with everything that we do and all the things we are starting for the first time in this new season, do your best.  Don't have any regrets, wondering what else you could have done to give your all.  Practice makes perfect, so always persevere!  If you have a challenge face it head on and don't look back!  There is only the present so focus on what you can do today to conquer your obstacles.  Dream Big and think about ways you can always improve yourself. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What my Church Community Groups have Meant to Me

As a member of the Northpoint Ministries I can tell you first hand how important and influencial my Community Groups I have been in have been to me! When I first joined Buckhead church I got involved in a Community Group right away.  It was so great to meet people who were interested in growing together and developing relationships centered around the body of Christ.  Community Groups are intentional relationships and are a great way to surround yourself with people who have a common interest in the Lord.

Before joining the Community Group, I had just gotten back from college and the only people I hung out with were people that didn't share my faith.  I was not growing spiritually through these relationships and it was a change from my college experience when I had believers that were holding me accountable.  The leader in my first small group quickly became one of my best friends and it was so great to have someone in my life who was genuinely interested in my spiritual walk and committed to being there for me as I became closer to the Lord.  The other girls in the group were also pivotal as I decided to take the next step in my faith.  On September 28, 2008 I was baptized and it was such a powerful experience to declare publicly that Jesus Christ was my Lord and Savior.  (The video on the BIG screen wasn't as scary as I first thought it would be.)

The group multiplied and the next two groups were just as influential and I also expanded my group of friends that I walked with in my spiritual journey.  The girls I met and did life with all became some of my best friends and it is amazing how God uses these relationships to bring people together for his glory.  The groups helped me become a better person and in addition to Andy's messages I became the Christian woman I was designed to be.  I became prepared for marriage and invested in my relationship with myself and also with the Lord.  Becoming complete and satisfied with these relationships, I didn't need to rely on a man to fill that void.

On August 21, 2010 I married the man of my dreams and because of these groups I was ready to be united and continue to grow together with Christ in the center of our marriage.  The best thing we did for our marriage was joining a "Just Married" small group.  This unique group is designed for, you guessed it, couples that have been recently married.  With a mentor couple that has been married for more than 10 years they were able to lead us together as a couple closer to the Lord.  After that group multiplied about a year and a half of being together we joined a second married small group.

These married small groups have been pivotal in the transition from being single and then being married.  They have blessed us with new friends that are in the same stage of life and that has been so great since life is so different now than when we were single/dating.  When you get married your goals and heart move to a different place.  So as a new Group Link is coming up to join small group I would really encourage you to consider taking the next step and joining a small group.  This as an investment in your walk with Christ and the value is remarkable.  You can learn more about Group Link here.

Friday, July 27, 2012

I'll PRAY for you

I know a lot of people who may be righteous (Have faith in the Almighty) but don't like Christians who push their beliefs on other people.  One way I kind of get around that is to be persistent and consistent in showing my faith.  The best way I know how to do this is when I see someone in need of prayers, I just simply tell them that I will pray for them.  It comes naturally to me because I was going to do it anyway so why not just let them know?  People are usually so grateful and they will know from my actions that I am a believer.  That way when they have questions or would like to know more about my faith they may know one person they can talk to about Christianity.

I think it is effective to be the body of the Church through service and my actions.  Just being a really happy person from the inner joy I get from just having the relation with my Savior and being grateful for all of my blessing.  I hope people close to me can just tell by the way I love them and how I help in their time of need.  I want people to know they can count on me to be there for them.  I want to be known for making this world a better place. By not only shining a light but shining brightly.

It's funny, I was out of town last weekend and so we missed Church on Sunday, and I had not had a chance to watch it on line.  I was in my married small group last night and we were talking about how we wanted to make a difference in the world by sharing our faith.  I brought up this concept of praying for people.  I was surprise to find out that this is exactly what Andy Stanley had talked about in his message last weekend in the Series Red letter Prayers.  For the full messages and to get caught up for this Sunday you can watch the previous messages here.

I hope you have an AMAZING weekend and thanks for continuing to support my efforts in writing and blogging.  I am well on my way to writing my book.  Please "Like" me on Facebook here. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

I choose you, EVERY time!

In August, it will be two years of being married to Kyle.  It has really flown by.  I love him more every day!!  We just really have fun together.  He is the most amazing Christian leader and someone worth following.  I would follow him anywhere and everywhere. I trust and respect him completely.  In return, he loves me completely, as I like to notice, how Christ loves us.  This is the key to our marriage and I believe any healthy marriage.  In marriage it seems you either grow together or unfortunately, you grow apart.  Growing together is what we will constantly strive for throughout our marriage.  It takes joyful work, patience, and tons of grace!  Sometime you have to, consciously, choose to love your spouse.

I really don’t know how I could ever live without him.  He is my everything. I tell him almost every day, “You know, if I had to pick one thing to have in this world… I choose you, EVERY time!!”  I also tell him that he is “my favorite, anything.”  He is my best friend, and the love of my life.  It is kind of funny to think about but, when I was single, I never really could imagine or expected to ever find someone like him or think about loving someone so much.  He is kind of easy to get along with which helps.  We were also older when we started dating so we were mature.  You have to be satisfied in your relationship with yourself and the Lord or there will be a void in your heart. Then, you try to fill that void with someone else.    

To quote part of my favorite poem by St. Anthony of Padua, “Be Satisfied in Me” he wrote:

“Everyone longs to give themselves completely to someone,
To have a deep soul relationship with another,
To be loved thoroughly and exclusively.
But God, to a Christian, says,
“No, not until you are satisfied, fulfilled and content
With being loved by Me alone,
With giving yourself totally and unreservedly to Me,
With having an intensely personal and unique relationship
With Me alone…”

When I was single, I had this poem taped behind my bedroom door and I read it almost every day.  It helped me focus on my relationship with myself and the Lord.  I really can’t stress that enough, how important it is to be a “complete person” before you are serious about adding that special person to your life.  My recommendation to those being patient in God’s plan for your life is to enjoy every season.  Then when you are ready and the person God has for you is ready, God will unite you together.  Timing is everything. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Don't Give up on Me!!

"Don’t Give Up On Me"
Jason Aldean
I don’t to church enough
I curse out loud, I drink too much
I’m more of a sinner than a saint
Got a dusty Bible on my shelf
I just pick it up when I need help
Lord know there’s a lot I need to change
And I want to, baby, you make me want to
You tie the knot
When I’m at the end of my rope
You never stop believin’ in me
When I don’t know who I am
Or what I’m supposed to be
I don’t give you no good reason
But baby, don’t give up on me...

Some times people need to know that someone believes in them. If you feel like there is not anyone who believes in you, know this... God never stops believing in you! God will always give you a second chance when you don't think anyone else will. God wants to be there for you all the time not just when you need help. Pray to God when you are thankful not just when you want something. The more in tune with God you become the more his will for your life will be clear.

Jason Aldeans song "Don't Give up on Me" starts out telling a very familiar story. Someone feeling like they are not good enough or can't measure up.  But let's be honest, this is all of us.  We can strive to be perfect but we will never be that way so we need to accept God's grace and forgiveness! 

In the song I feel like the "Baby" could be replaced with "Lord."  When he says, "You tie the knot, when I'm at the end of my rope" I believe this is how the Lord Loves us.  He is there for us when we have nothing else or anyone else.  The Lord doesn't let us slip away... ever.  All we have to do is reach out and grab on to the rope of salvation.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Home of the Brave and Land of the Free

I love the Fourth of July!!  We have such an AMAZING country and while a lot of people will disagree on political affiliation one thing we can all agree on is we love this country.  We have every reason to be patriotic because we live in a country not like any other country.   In the honor of National Independence day look over what our country stands for in our National Anthem!!  Always be grateful...

USA National Anthem Lyrics

United States of America
The Star Spangled Banner
Oh, say! can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming;
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there:
Oh, say! does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In fully glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh, long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution!
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Oh, thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust":
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

You. Just. Got. Served.

This one little phrase seems to have a pretty negative connotation lately.  It is the idea that you really slammed or put someone down.  It can seem funny if someone is joking around, but other times it may really be painful if it is a little to close to the heart. How many times a day do we hear about people that have a negative impact with their words cutting deep?

What if people thought of "serving" in a more positive way?!?!  One thing I love most in this world is giving back to my community in time and money.  Serving for me is a part of who I am and something I am really committed to doing with my free time.  I feel like I can really feel the heart beat of the church through the different areas I have assisted.

When I first served at Buckhead church it was in Wamba Land, the pre-elementary school ministry.  Here I saw first hand how the church starts to show God's love to children and teaches them how "God loves them and wants to be their friend forever."  I think it is awesome how the church simplifies the message so even a three year old can connect and understand the basic idea of Christianity.

Then I moved to volunteering in a Fusion group, the old version of Single's Gathering.  After that I started to co-lead my own Fusion groups.  It is amazing to see how God uses the get-together to make authentic friendships and then see how the relationships develop.  Dating relationships are not the goal but when God blesses a relationship that honors him, only good things come from it.  The Singles Ministry at the Northpoint Ministries has an incredible way of bringing like minded people together to honor God through friendships.

One of the coolest groups I led was the DoJustice Atlanta wide community service event.  For one day groups of singles come together and each group of about 15-20 people complete one project through hard work and dedication.  It may seem like one group may not make that big of a difference, and maybe if it was just one group it wouldn't.  But the Northpoint Ministries is a huge organization and never does something half way.  So imagine 100 groups of 20... 2,000 people serving in a day.  That kind of man power can really make a difference in the community.  One united front.  It is kind of like a Christian Army for good.  Serving people throughout the Atlanta area building relationships with your team and making a real difference.  I feel like the whole city gets a face-lift bringing a light to otherwise dark parts of this town.  By serving others we realize what makes us great... the will to put other people before us is humbling, making the Lord first.

Now I am married, and my husband and I are serving in Transit, the middle school ministry.  Middle school is a rough awkward age for so many young people.  Kids are growing, changing, and learning independence everyday.  They struggle with trying to fit in and sometimes give into peer pressure.  The goal with serving these young people is to empower them to believe in themselves and grow into young adults who truly know and love the Lord.  If we invest in them they will realize they are valuable and become confident that they can be true to themselves while maintaining their relationship with their parents and the Lord.

I believe in the power of three.  Three good influencers can make all the difference.  A parent, a teacher, and a third person supporting them.  A lot of times there will be a coach, a friend's parent or maybe a youth group leader.  In our case we are small group leaders to these girls and boys (I have a girls' small group and my husband has a boys' small group).  Just to think that we are serving these youth in the most impressionable time in their lives is already so rewarding.  It is so cool to see them open up while being authentic and real.  It's pretty cool to be able to relate to them.  The difficult things I had to deal with are still relevant issues that they go through today.

So next time you think about putting someone down, think about the difference you could make by serving them instead.  Bringing other people up by being a friend to them and putting them before yourself.  Then imagine what a group of people can accomplish if they work together to change the town for the better.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Life in the Fast Lane

When you are in the fast lane the world moves by you in a blur.  You don't notice the beauty of the trees or even the smell of delightful flowers or the smell of Spring.  If you just go through life working you may miss the joy of appreciating what the world has to offer.  I am not discounting the importance of putting food on the table, but I am making the point to say it is more than that... It is the conversations at the table that are more important.

Making time for your family I think is so necessary.  The relationships with the people you do life with is what it is all about!  I remember growing up in a very loving home and I am forever changed for the better.  My mom has her Ph D in education and because of her schedule she was always there after school and at all my extracurricular events. 

My dad on the other hand has such a demanding job he never has a set schedule as his clients can call him day or night for any reason.  But what I remember most about my dad, and something that has helped me as an adult, is he always made time for me.  I was never "bothering" him, when I needed to talk to him.  I always knew his time is literally money and thus very valuable.  But the fact that he always was at there for me and at every soccer game or cross country meet made me feel valuable.  I found my self-worth from knowing I was important to him and my mom. 

I have memories of looking for him and sometimes he was not there at the beginning. I would look and sometimes even be distracted until I saw him there watching me.  I have a couple memories of running in a cross country meet and seeing him running across the field to watch me in the race.  Let me tell you seeing my dad in full suit and tie running in a full sprint is something that has ingrained in my mind.  He was there for me rooting me on when he had a thousand other things that were also important.

At soccer games my mom was there and my dad was an announcer.  I use to pretend to be embarrassed that he called the game like it was the radio with a play by play style, but it meant the world to me because he was so into it!!  I learned a lot about how to be a wife from my mom.  She never gave up and worked all the time to make our family work.  She took night classes when she was getting her Ph D but I always remember her being there.

I know how important it is to be there for your family and I hope my family and friends know they can always count on me to stop, pull over from the fast lane, and appreciate the joys in life that don't cost a thing but your time.  We only have a limited time on this earth and I want to be remembered for how I contributed to the world, making it a better place, not just driving and pushing towards material things.  Relationships with people and our attitude are the only thing that matter.  How you treated them and how you made a difference is what people will remember.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Unanswered prayers

I was just praying about the things I thought I wanted in life and the things I love now that I have them.  When I was little I made a list: 1-20 about the characteristics I wanted in a husband.  (I wonder how many people have a list?!?)  Standards.  When it all comes down to it, I realize that there may be things that you think you want but some times you don't know what you need.  This is where God intervenes.  God knows not only what we really want but he gives us what we really need!!  He sees us through and lets us figure things out on our own but in the end we get what He knows will make us happy. 

Life is a quest on the pursuit of happiness, as I went into yesterday, it is a journey.  I am so grateful that I didn't have certain prayers answered because I wouldn't want my life to be any different.  My life is exactly how it should be.  I am so blessed that God has a perfect plan for me.  He has looked out for me throughout the years.  I went through some very difficult seasons but those experiences made me stronger and prepared for the things in my life now.  This song just about sums it up!!

"Unanswered Prayers"
     Garth Brooks

Just the other night a hometown football game
My wife and I ran into my old high school flame
And as I introduced them the past came back to me
And I couldn't help but think of the way things used to be

She was the one that I'd wanted for all times
And each night I'd spend prayin' that God would make her mine
And if he'd only grant me this wish I wished back then
I'd never ask for anything again

Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers
Remember when you're talkin' to the man upstairs
That just because he doesn't answer doesn't mean he don't care
Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers

She wasn't quite the angel that I remembered in my dreams
And I could tell that time had changed me
In her eyes too it seemed
We tried to talk about the old days
There wasn't much we could recall
I guess the Lord knows what he's doin' after all

And as she walked away and I looked at my wife
And then and there I thanked the good Lord
For the gifts in my life

Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers

Remember when you're talkin' to the man upstairs
That just because he may not answer doesn't mean he don't care
Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered

Some of God's greatest gifts are all too often unanswered...
Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Struggle

I have had my fair share of struggles.  I have gone through long periods of sickness, I was laid off three times in Commercial Real Estate before I went into different fields, and I had loved and lost multiple times.  Now I am healthy, I love my job, and I am married to the most incredible man!  Without having lived my life and experiencing the struggles, I could never fully appreciate the blessings God has given me.  I always knew in my heart that God was with me and leaning into him and my loved ones is what carried me through the trials in my life.

It is kind of like appreciating a rainbow, or two, after a huge storm.  Or witnessing the most beautiful sunrise after the darkness of night.  The colors seem so brilliant when you gaze at a rainbow and the sun and breeze feel heavenly after leaving the shadows.  God let's us experience life, and unfortunately he can't protect us from bad things happening to us.  What he can do is give you the strength to persevere and he can carry you through the darkness or help you move past the trying periods in your life.  He blesses you with the grace to stay strong when we feel like we can't go on anymore.

My favorite quote is from the United States Declaration of Independence:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." 

We have the right to pursue happiness and have a will to thrive.  I don't know why but this is so profound to me.  No one ever said we had the right to be happy.  It is something I strive for every day and I make my own happiness by enjoying the little things and living in the moment.   It is a journey we are on all of our days to live life to the fullest, keeping all the while our inner joy.  Letting our light shine bright and loving others as Jesus and the Lord so loved us.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 NIV

Friday, June 1, 2012

Your Whole World

I love this idea.  I may be just one person to the world, but to one person I might be there whole world.  I live to do life with people, to have people in my life I can count on to be there for me when I need them.  I want to be that friend to someone as well.  I live to love and embrace the challenge to love those who are difficult to love.   The love of one person can change everything.  I know my husband's love has changed my world.  I can't imagine a world without love in it!  That is not a place I would want to be. 

God is love and if you feel that you are all alone, just remember God is love and to Him you are His whole world!!  He is desperate for you and to be there for you.  You have to accept Him into your heart, though.  He won't barge in unannounced.  He will wait for you.  He has to be personally invited into your life.  He doesn't just want to be there when you need something: money, good favor on a big project or event.  He wants to be included in everything.  He wants to be in constant conversation with you and included in the decision making process of your day to day life. 

This is mutual love: confiding in someone about your plans and doing life together.  God wants to do life with you.  He wants to be there for you in good times and bad.  I know one big thing that helps my relationship with my husband is we share our faith in God and he is always in the center of our relationship and he dictates our choices that we make together.  We honor each other to honor God as our marriage is our ministry.  When we are parents one day the best thing we can do is have a healthy marriage.  Every day we work towards loving each other more and continuing to build our life together!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Be True to Yourself

I may not be some things but I always strive to be myself and be true to my beliefs!!  I want to be known for loving myself for who I am and never trying to be something I'm not.  Having a solid relationship with yourself and your Heavenly Father are two of the most important things we can do.  Besides feeling accepted by our peers it is essential to accept yourself, to love your imperfections and realize you are only human.  Some people try to hold themselves to impossible standards and in that case are never happy or satisfied.  I'm can't imagine worrying all the time about being perfect, which is not humanly possible.

Jesus came and died for our sins so that we may have a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Since we are not perfect we could never be right in God's eyes unless we have the grace of Jesus.  His blood made the relationship possible because he paid the price so we can have a atonement for our sins. 

God made us just the way he wanted us.  Who are we to say that we are not good enough?  God doesn't make mistakes.  When Jesus is the one strengthening us what can stop us.  I love leaning into the Almighty and knowing he is rooting for me and that he is on my side, cheering me on the whole time.  He is desperate to have a relationship with us and just loves us unconditionally. 

The Northpoint Ministries is doing a series called "Climate Change" and the big take aways is that: Acceptance is the cure for insecurity.  Our views of ourselves improves when we learn to see ourselves the way God sees us.  We are already accepted by God and that is enough.  His love is complete.  If we don't learn to accept ourselves then our insecurities will follow us through life and we will not be satisfied.  Learn to love yourself, accept, and try to see you as God sees you.  He is proud of you!!

You can watch the full message here.

Friday, May 18, 2012

One Compliment

Isn't it funny how one compliment or good deed can totally change  your outlook and mood?  Words and actions can be so powerful.  They can convey love and appreciation bringing and lifting a persons spirit or they can be weapons to bring someone down.  Obviously everyone would love to be encouraged.  There is a cycle of love and it can all start with someone choosing to love.  If you are having tension in a relationship and things seem difficult, saying something encouraging or doing something to please or help the other person can change the trajectory of the relationship.  Love is always a choice.  In the midst of any circumstance we always have a choice how we can respond.

Every decision we make will change and set into motion other actions.  Most people go through life reacting to situations instead of being intentional.  It is all about being intentional.  How we respond is so important.  One of the biggest things I have learned is when you say something you can never take it back.  We get one shot for a relationship and if the trust is broken that is it in a lot of cases.  It is also great to be consistent in your words and actions.  You just never can know how much something will mean to someone whether positive or negative.

I love when people go out of their way to let you know they notice your hard work and dedication to a job or endeavor.  Sometimes just knowing people care can make all the difference in the world. Knowing that you are instrumental to a goal or a mission and you are helping execute and work towards a goal is pivotal.  Be the change you want to see in the world.  It can all start with a smile and a mind set to improve the lives of those around you through laughter, joy and love!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Graduate

Graduation day.  After often years of hard work,  dedication, studying, breaking your brain on finals, when you graduate all the effort pays off.  It is a quantified result of how much you put in to your studies.  Some people will get honors, some people will just be happy to be done.  Either way it will be an end of a season and the beginning of a new chapter in your life.  Graduating is definitely something to be very proud about.

Sometimes it seems people focus so much on getting into a University that once they get in they realize that is when the real work begins.  Long days in class, combined with work if you are doing night classes and working full time, can cause exhaustion when it is finally time to go to bed.  Trying to memorize everything when you are studying, all you can hope is to at least try to remember everything you would need to do well on your exams.

My husband just graduated from Emory's Evening Master of Business Administration program.  He has worked full time and has taken night classes for the past three years.  On top of all the physical work he had to do it seems like a bigger accomplishment because we got married in 2010, and he drives all over GA for work.  I have so much respect for him because while doing everything for school he made it look relatively easy!  He always made me a priority, keeping our relationship number one.

So when he walked across the stage to accept his award, I know this is just the beginning of great things to come.  Since this is his second masters he is officially an overachiever!  He is definitely one of the smartest people I know and I am so happy to be his wife.  No only because he is bonified, he is the sweetest and most loyal husband I could ever have dreamed of having.  I am truly blessed to have him in my life!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Enjoy being single

I am a big proponent that it is better to be single than with the wrong person.  How much time can you “waste” if you know in your heart the relationship is not going anywhere?  There are four seasons in the year but there is no telling how many seasons you will have in your personal life.  Another way of saying this is, you will go through many different periods in your life: from growing up, to dating, single, back to dating, back to single, then possibly marriage.  In every season of your life enjoy the moment!!  I cannot stress this enough.

 In your ministry you can do more as a single person. You will have more time to serve his Kingdom, because when you are married your ministry is to your spouse and family.  There are limitations like coordinating schedules etc.  When you are single you can pick up and head overseas to serve internationally, for example.  The most important thing you can do to honor God in marriage is to love your spouse as God loves the church.  Keeping God in the center of a marriage is imperative to keeping a healthy marriage.  If you love someone you will never do anything to intentionally hurt that person.

God never promises you will be married. As much of a desire it may be in your heart, it may not be part of your story.  If it is then it will happen on God’s timing.  You really cannot force love or a great relationship. There is either the connection that is mutual that will lead to marriage or there are not those feelings.  I dated quite a few people before I found the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with growing old together.  I happen to realize the man of my dreams was right in front of me the whole time, but it may not happen that way for you.  There is not a cookie cut away a relationship will develop and every person is different.  I never blamed one person for what the last person did.  Always keep an open mind, until they show you otherwise.

I will say I had never dated a friend, until my husband, and I would recommend it with extreme caution.  It is a tricky situation because the first thing I wanted to do was preserve our friendship.  Love developed.  Again, it was a natural progression.  Feelings became love through a purposeful dating relationship.  Timing is always everything.  You may be madly in love with someone but they may not be ready to date or be in a relationship.  At the same time I don’t recommend putting your life on hold if they expressly deny feelings for you. 

So the moral that I hope you get from this is: be content, enjoy the moment, trust the Lord that he has your best interest at heart, and stay positive!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

An Underdog...

Can be bullied, beaten, doubted, pushed aside, unloved, under appreciated, and abused by society.  Everyone likes a comeback story where the underdog gets the courage to prove them wrong.  When we look to the Lord for strength and comfort His grace will carry us through any situation.  This is why it is so important to have the Savior in your life, your corner, and in your heart!  When the people close to you are the ones bringing you down, it can feel like an even bigger challenge to overcome the adversity.

People don’t like different from what is considered “normal.”  If you are too unique in any way you can become subject to criticism.  If you are too pretty, too smart, too rich people can become jealous and ugly in their heart.   A lot of people can have trouble just being happy for someone.  It can almost be like they are waiting and wanting you to fail.  If a relationship starts to have trouble some people can be so quick to confirm that they thought it wouldn’t work out.  How awful is that?!  On the other side if you are unattractive, unintelligent or poor some people feel like they are better than you.  Then they will put you down to bring themselves up.  This is the worst.

Regardless of all these depressing options there is hope and good news.  Jesus came for everyone so that we may have a relationship with the Lord. He loves us no matter what happens, no matter what people think of us, or what situation we may be in at the moment.  So be you, be extraordinary, and be different.  God loves you and accepts you the way you are.  Don’t spend one second listening to your critics if you are trying to pursue your goals and they are trying to bring you down. Don’t listen to them if they doubt your future success.  Who is to say what the Lord is capable of within His plan for your life?  If God’s answer to your prayers is “Yes,” who then should tell you “No?!?!?” 

We should then only take our cues from the Lord above. Until his answer is clear, keep pursuing your goals.  Don’t listen to your bullies or abusers.  Be strong and know, through God all things are possible.  If you have gifts and blessings from the Lord Almighty don’t feel guilty or ashamed.  Use the gifts for good and enjoy the season of peace.  There will be tough times so you will need to be rested so you will have the strength to persevere!  Have confidence in your own self-worth through God.  This is the key to satisfaction in self.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The most important thing in life...

The most important relationships in my life, in this order are the ones with: the Lord, my husband, my family, and my friends.  How fortunate are the people that are able to develop healthy relationships with all three.  If you ask me on any given day which I would rather have a good professional life or a good personal life?  I would tell you healthy personal life wins every time. 

From healthy relationships everything else starts to make sense.  The people in your life have the biggest impact on you.  Andy Stanley talked today about the people that love you and the people that hurt you.  The story of my life and the people in it, this is what has shaped me today.  The Lord has blessed me with incredible people who have poured love into me, because of this I have been able to pour love into other people. 

If you know love, you show love. Having love in your heart and in your soul, there is nothing that can beat that.  Through love you can overcome any obstacle.  I am a big believer that you grow.  You can grow stronger, you can evolve into something different. Through the loving pivotal relationships in your life you will feel the comfort.  Love can comfort you even in the most difficult circumstances.  If you have love it gives you strength.  Love will lift you when you can't lift your own spirit. 

The good news is Jesus Christ.  His love is perfect and sustaining.  The love of Jesus will comfort your soul when you feel uneasy.  If you let Jesus into your heart he will give you guidance.  This is exactly where he wants to be... in you.  He wants to be a part of you.  He wants you to have the closeness to feel his will and not make you go so far to get good advice.  Being in the word of the Bible will reveal to you the way Jesus loves and how we should love others.  When we love others we can provide the comfort Jesus gives us. 

We all are desperate for this love.  When people don't look to Jesus sometimes people look the other way and go into a dark place.  The thing to remember is Jesus is so big he can pull you out of the darkest place and he will fight for you.  He will fight to be in your life and all we have to do is ask him to come into our hearts.  He won't barge in, but he will be there with you.  Even through periods where he is silent or the answer to your prayers are "No."  It never, ever means he isn't listening or is not there.  He is always there.  He voice may not seem very loud if you are not listening but the whisper gets louder as you are more open to his will for your life.  The quieter you are the louder his voice will become. So, quiet your spirit and God's voice will lead your path.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Account of YOUR Life...

What am I doing with what I have?!  When I give an account of my life on judgement day to the Lord, I will not compare my story to anyone else. In the end, all that will matter is how I lived my own life.  Comparing our lives to other people is a waist of time!! In deciding where you will spend eternity, it will not matter how other people treated you, it will depend on how you treat other people!  It will not matter how much money you make, it will matter how you give back.  How you give back to God's Kingdom.  How have you blessed other people with the blessings God has graced you with in your life?

What a thought!!

Think about the people that are heroes.  The people that inspire us.  They are the people that help in others time of need.  The people that come to mind are the women and men in uniform.  They sacrifice, they lead, they save.  They fight for justice and freedom... so we don't have to be in danger.  They physically leave their family and loved ones to serve our country.  They leave their families to ensure that the greater good can rest easily.  While we sleep, they are vigilant.  They keep watch, and often times put themselves in EXTREME danger.  Most people don't think twice about how safe and fortunate we are to live in a society that respects every walk of life and our freedoms. 
Jesus is the ULTIMATE hero, and He inspires me!!

I really don't care what people say about religion and politics in our country.  The Lord is part of us and our Nation.   "IN GOD WE TRUST," American Money!!  We shouldn't have to hide or feel sorry for having a relationship with our Savior.  God is alive and well!  God commands us to love one another.  "So now I am giving you a new commandment:  Love each other.  Just as I have loved you, you should love each other," John 13:34 NIV.  Christians and other religions that know God and accept His love, realize when you show love, you model God.  We shouldn't have to hide our love for one another, just like we shouldn't have to hide our love for the Lord. 

The difference between Christianity and other religions is the realization that Jesus came as God in human form and He so loved the world that He died the most humiliating and excruciating death on a cross so we will ALWAYS be forgiven.  If this wasn't the case we would still be making animal sacrifices trying to make atonement for our sins.  Now, it is so easy to be forgiven just by letting Jesus into our hearts.  All we have to do is pray to God admitting that we are sinners.  Realizing we can NEVER be good enough or do enough to live a blameless life.  Then we ask for forgiveness of the sins in our life.  We ask God to live in our hearts.  Then we accept his grace that we don't have to be perfect and we never will be.  We can be forgiven because Jesus already paid the price with His blood for our sins.  Jesus died so we could have a relationship with God. 

So, on judgement day this is how my conversation with God will go:

"I know you are Lord. I know that you died for me. You died so I could be forgiven.  I am forgiven and I accepted your grace.  You showed me grace so I showed others grace.  You love me, so I loved others.  By this love, they knew I am yours." 

Then I will ask him, "Pretty please, can I share eternity with you?!"
Then He will reply, "Yes, you are MINE!!"

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Humility, Truth, and Grace

One of the things I love most in people is a humble spirit.  There is nothing that can replace someone who is not proud or boastful.  This is actually one of the main reasons I feel in love with my husband.  He is the most humble person I know.  He is the type of person that has a lot of things to boast about and many accomplishments, but he is not the one who will tell you about them.  He works so hard.  Not to show off but for his personal drive.  He has worked so hard and after 3 years of working full time and taking MBA evening classes, he is about to graduate!  I am the one who has to brag on him! 

I feel it is the type of thing that it is better for people to bring up your accomplishments and be humble. Rather than trying to show off!  I admire this quality in people a lot.  It is so cool to know someone and like them and then have no idea what they do.  To like them for who they are and not what they do.  I always would prefer for someone to like me for the real me.  I never pretend to be someone I'm not.  I have a personal motto that, "I would rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not."

Obviously I would prefer to be liked.   "Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible." 1 Corinthians 9:19  I try to love like Jesus loves, to be his disciple.  I want to love one another as Jesus loves us.  "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another!" John 13:35 NIV

Andy Stanley brought up a great point the other day during part of his series "Christian," there is a tension when we want to love like Jesus.  We are often tempted to resolve the tension.  Don't walk away from the truth that we are sinners and accepting the grace to be loved by Jesus.  He brings up the story in the Bible where Jesus tells a crowd that whom ever has never sinned they can throw the first stone.  We have to live a life full of truth and grace. Jesus came to seek and save, he came for sinners.

The truth is we are sinners, and the grace is Jesus couldn't love us less!!  We must love others this way!

You can hear more messages from Andy Stanley by clicking here.

Friday, April 20, 2012

My Legacy

I have had a lot on my heart lately about my dreams, the things I want to do, and transferring them into actions.  I realized recently I am ready!!!  I have been wanting to pursue my calling to write my story for a while.  I actually started my blog to prepare myself for this journey, essentially the next chapter in my life.  I am coming up on the 2 year anniversary of and I feel equipped to take the next step.  Now, I am turning the page... 

The reason I am writing about this today is I want to hold myself accountable.  When you say things out loud and honestly submit your prayers to God, I really feel like He knows you are serious and you completely trust him.  God, "this is me submitting my life and the grace you have given me be brave and take the next step toward my dream and calling of becoming a real author."  I write, obviously with my blog, but I have always felt that there is an accomplishment associated with a hard bound book!

I have been praying about this endeavor and God whispered in my ear, "One step at a time, patience and determination lead to success, and hard work will pay off." Then I felt very inspired when he revealed to me, "a three hundred page book is 30 parts of 10 pages."  This is sounds absolutely nuts but this was a revolutionary mindset to me.  I think about 10 pages, and I think about one chapter or story of my life.  I could write one chapter of 10 pages and if I think about 30 different stories of my life I could accomplish this easily.  It was a comforting feeling.  This is why I feel God's presence in this path he is leading me down.

It was so daunting to think about writing 300 pages.  I now I am just thinking about it in sections.  My life has prepared me for this.  My courses in high school and my courses in college especially have been so helpful in developing my writing.  It is funny when I heard God's whisper, "Imagine how many pages of 10 I have already written!!" Just in alone I have written 86 blogs posts!! I could probably compile a book just on my posts alone that I have already written. What a cool thought!!! 

But the blog is not my dream.  My dream is to be a published author.  My blog has been a means to an end... 

People talk about wanting to make a difference in this world.  My story is the type of story that will encourage people to overcome and thrive no matter what you go through in your life.  I know everyone has struggles and adversity.  Not everyone is comfortable or willing to share these intimate details.  Through the Lord I know this is one of the things I must do. 

This will be my legacy!

Friday, April 13, 2012

So grateful... I'm scared

I know I need to trust the Lord. I need to embrace the fact that whatever the circumstance, whatever the situation, every day, every year, for a lifetime because God loves you and Jesus wants to be your friend forever.  Our church, is part of the Northpoint ministries , teaches this and our mission is to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.

I know he is my friend and he loves me forever.  I know this, I always have and always will.

But then the small voice in my ear, that evil voice whispers to me.  It doesn't seem loud but it is there...

"You're life is too good.  Bad things are about to happen."

So then I pray, "God you are so good.  I love you.  I am so grateful.  Everything I have is from you.  Everything that is good in my life, great in my life, every thing... I know it is a blessing from you AND I don't and never will take any of it for granted!!"

Gosh, it feels really good to write this down.  I confess to you that I know that voice is not mine and not Gods... It is empowering.  God never wants or wishes bad things on anyone.  If anything God knows a true believer will trust him and be grateful for the blessings in our life, no matter had small.

I feel so blessed: physically, emotionally, and personally.

Physically:  I am fit, I work out, I have lost 6 pounds.  I have recovered from a broken collar bone, too many sprained ankles, and breaking my nose... twice.

Emotionally: I am truly happy.  I love my job. I have healthy relationships in my life.  I have people that love me.  I feel satisfied with everything in my life.  I don't want for anything.

Personally:  I have the most amazing husband.  He is not perfect.  But he is definitely perfect for me!!!  I love waking up every day.  I know I can overcome any obstacle. I have been through a lot of things.  My life may not be the way I would have thought it would be... It is better.  My life is way better than anything I could have ever dreamed. I prayed for things and God answered the prayers he did because he knew how things would turn out.  He is always with me.  It is a very comfortable feeling.  A loving feeling knowing my Abba knows and has planned my life so that I may honor Him and give back to Him, living my life as a testimony of His will and grace.

So because of this I wake up everyday grateful.  I look at my husband, I am grateful. I look at my things, and know they are just things.  I love my family and friends, you guessed it... so grateful!!

So when I hear that voice whispering that bad things will happen, I'm going to say out loud... "God is with me, with Him I am safe and what ever comes along I will handle it and adapt." Because in all honestly I know from my life especially, His plan is the BEST plan!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Disciple... Following Jesus and being like him.   I feel very inspired by Andy Stanley's current series at the Northpoint Community churches called "Christians."  I want to talk about it with a review and my thoughts on his BRILLIANT message.  It reminds me of the true meaning of the word disciple and how Jesus changed the world.  The series discusses how Christian was not a name we gave ourselves but one that other people gave us.  The word Christians is only used a couple times in the Bible.  So if the name is barely mentioned in the Bible what did Jesus' followers call themselves?  Disciple is the word consistently mentioned throughout the Bible instead of Christians.

In the Bible Jesus commands his disciples to LOVE one another.  This is what Jesus calls us to do... Love one another.  John 13:35 "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another!" Andy pointed out that any time people put more emphasis on anything else other than love, we are going in the wrong direction and backwards.  People fight wars in the name of religion, churches take and use authority to leverage power but this was not what Jesus was truly about! 

Love, it is all about love. Acting like Jesus. The whole "What Would Jesus Do" idea was right on target.

A lot of people don't like Christians because they feel like we are judgmental.  From my perspective I would say for certain Christians this is the case.  I previously thought that we shouldn't judge anyone.  When in fact the only people Christians need to worry about is other Christians.  No one who is not a Christian ever said they would commit to the things Christians signed up for themselves.  In 1 Corinthians 5:9-12 it references that Christians need to be judging each other and hold another accountable for our actions.

Some people have to figure things out on their own.  We have to know what life is like without Jesus to know what grace we can have THROUGH Jesus.  With grace we are all forgiven.  It is through humbling ourselves that we receive grace.  It is when you realize you desperately need forgiveness that you can pray honestly to God that you need his grace.  Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you come back to the church and realize you need Jesus in your life as your Lord and Savor.
If we do this we will make disciples when people feel loved and accepted for who they are and not condemned.  Matthew 28:19-20 says "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.

So the lesson here is love one another and don't criticize other people, unless you are calling attention to a Christian who is sinning. Love one another and don't judge outsiders.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Persistence in Life

Persistence to Pursue a goal is everything I have ever done.  In school, in work and in love.

In school, I have always worked hard and have never let circumstances deter me from doing the best I could. I wasn't the best in my classes.  I did well because I didn't give up.  I achieved my good grades by being consistent in studying, learning and asking for help when I needed it.  Any one can tell you if you apply yourself you can get great results.  The key is to carry on and not give up.  You may not be the top of your class, but you don't need to be.  Set your own standard and improve upon that.  If you can, you go for the highest result you feel you master.  I compared myself to myself.  I fought to be better than my last grade.  I took the endeavor to beat my personal goals.

In work I am dedicated.  I take my love of life, people and the Lord and I bring it to the work place.  We can live the life that is pleasing to the Lord in our job.  Through that I hope to be able to show others, by example, the Holy Spirit in me.  Then  when someone is interested or going through a trial I can be there for them.  The first step is to build relationships.  People are more apt to listening to what we have to say when they trust us, because then they know we are genuine. They know our heart is in the right place.  They would be more likely to come with us to church.  Then  from there the Lord is already working through us, but we have to be Bold.  We have to see the right time.

In love, I am always on a pursuit.  When I was single I went through many different stages.  When I was young, I was learning what it was but it was something I didn't fully understand. My parents loved me completely, but I didn't recognize that when I was little.  When I was older I experimented with dating people that were accidents.  I say they were accidents because almost every single one began because I needed a date to some kind of event.  I didn't realize that until I started dating people on purpose... my husband is the first person I did this with ;)  I had some extremely wise advise from my dad who said, "Jennifer, you need to stop reading about dating and relationships and find someone you like and make it happen."  I was to a point in my life where luckily I was tuned into my relationship with Jesus Christ and never have felt closer.  I was able to pray about it honestly.  I remember specifically a thought coming into my heart and it said, "Kyle would be perfect for you." I thought back to that voice and replied, "You are right."  I never talk to myself, never.  So this was divine intervention.

As a woman married to the love of my life, I am still persistent.  Every day I love my husband completely.  Love is patient, love is kind, love does not envy or boast, love completely, love through good times and bad.  With Christ in the center of our relationship it is much easier to do.  Since I am married to Kyle and he is a Christian leader in our relationship it also helps keep our love in the right place.  Love is persistent, just as we have the right to pursue happiness.  We have to live our life and as my Grandmother says, "Do your very best in everything you do, and you will never have any regrets."

Friday, February 10, 2012

Love and Heroes Persevere

There are times in my life I can remember, when I was so discouraged, concerned about what people thought of me, but most of all embarrassed with my situations and or mental health.  The best part of these times and the things that get me through it is Love.  The Love of my family, friends, doctors, teachers and coworkers has helped me through some very tough times!  For that, I thank all of you!!!!  I hope you know how much you all have meant to me and the amazing influence you have had in my life.
None of these incredible people let me feel sorry for myself.  They are some of the most positive people I have ever known.  Your encouragement has given me strength to never give up.   I can be positive because I have the Love of these people and I know the Love of the Lord.  How the Lord is perfect in his Love for each of us.  People need to just be Loved no matter what.  Through a relationship with Jesus you can be surrounded by his Love. People need someone to believe in them, when we don’t believe in ourselves.  The Lord doesn’t and will never give up on us, even in our darkest days. 
People need someone to say: “Everyone has something they are going through or dealing with in their own lives.” When we seem excited or surprised when someone likes us, it brings confidence to say, “What’s not to like?” something my mom has always said.  People need someone to remind us about our good qualities when we get hurt emotionally.  Sometimes the best thing we can do is to just hold someone when they are balling their eyes out. Sometimes we need to hear “take things one day at a time.”  Sometimes we need to stop, and be grateful for our blessings. When we are going through a trail the best thing to do is to think about how “one day this too shall pass,” something my Aunt says about her cancer.
Being brave means so many things to me.  When I think of the brave people I know, they don’t give up or stop pursuing their mission.  Bravery doesn’t waiver in its beliefs or goals. Heroes don’t stop or give up when faced with adversity.  They pursue.  They persevere.  They only think of succeeding, they are relentless in doing whatever seemingly impossible task they are undertaking.
A person in armed forces, those who protect, and public service personnel these are my heroes.  People that have not given up on all possible solutions to live a healthier life, these are my heroes.  For every man, woman or child that has been abused, or is an addict and works through the recovery process, these are my heroes.  People who forgive someone, even if it is unhealthy to have them in your life, these are my heroes. 
The news and media are filled with terrible things, and exploiting people’s misfortune.  What is rarely on the news are millions of people all over the world that make it a place I love to live in every day. A place where there is hope, love, and grace.  The Lord blesses us and those who work in his name by giving us the ultimate gift… eternal life.   

The best part, it doesn’t cost a thing.