Thursday, December 23, 2010

Content.

I'm tempted to start this post with an apology. However, in an attempt to recognize the coming and going of seasons, of times of rest and times of busyness, some that keep me writing just to stay awake and some that lend no time to even think and process life, let alone write about it... I'm going to leave that part off. After all, the beauty of this is that its not a rigid assignment, its a matter of the heart... an expression. So there aren't rules, it can be as it is, whether this is my first post of thousands to come, or my last. So hello. I've missed the beauty of writing to you. I would love to think that this new and exciting season is one that will allow the cultivation of the intimate joy that I too often find in words.

Since last time, a semester has come and gone and a lot has happened. I'd love to give you the highlights, and maybe, just maybe, now that my academic career as a student has come to an end (a definite highlight from the past four months) I can begin a faithful processing of it piece by piece... and invite you along for the ride.

for now, here are the highlights.

A new job. After returning from working my fourth (and I'll spare the suspense, my final) summer of camp, I returned to another semester of school and working part time at Bath and Body Works. I could write a book about my three year experience at that dang store, that I consistently loved and hated all at once. Well the moment my four wheels hit Fort Worth city limits I was stressed about my looming graduation that would no doubt usher in a new and hopefully "adult" season. Two questions overwhelmed me. The question of where I would work, and the question of where I would live. The Lord was so faithful to provide and you will hear me screaming from the mountaintop that is this blog over and over again that I LOVE MY JOB. An opportunity opened up in the office of the church I had been attending for two years. My flesh pleaded, but I thought, "This is too much... too good to be true." I went before the Lord, prayed for his leading, and followed in obedience (though there were times of doubt, of confusion, of confidence, of fear, of excitement, and of pretty much every other emotion you can think of). I interviewed and within two weeks was offered a job on staff at 121 Community Church in Grapevine, TX. And so my time at Bath and Body came to a precious end in September. I am so thankful for the refining that took place as the Lord developed in me a heart and a deep compassion for the women there. I messed up a lot. I missed a lot of opportunities. But I believe the Lord purposed that time and used it for his glory, and that will always be my prayer. And now the Lord is blessing me and challenging me in new ways, ways that are new and scary and exciting... He knows exactly what I need.

Calling Texas home. And so with the coming of this job, I knew that I would stay in Texas. Jordan and I decided that we would look for an apartment together since her lease would be up in January and on our first day out apartment shopping we found an amazing place... and an amazing deal on said amazing place! We made plans to move the day after graduation and the countdown to Belterra, the new apt complex, began!

Becoming a Master. First of all, totally a joke. It still doesn't seem like I'm old enough, or "adult" enough to have a Masters degree, but I have it... in all its glory. The Lord blessed me with a less stressful semester in school, which was good considering the new job. I finished some basic classes and completed an internship as part of my required field experience. This internship was a huge blessing... possibly a highlight in itself. In August, I began working at 121 with the Student Ministry, specifically with girls, both leaders and students, as an intern. I did a number of things throughout the semester including planning and implementing a girls event, meeting with sweet girls one on one and engaging in the process of leadership development with some junior high small group leaders. I had found my sweet spot, using my gifts of administration in the office and then engaging in ministry to girls, a clear passion the Lord has given me.

And then, on December 10, 2010, I walked across that stage and took from the hands of Paige Patterson himself, my degree. Crazy to think about even now, but I am so grateful for the process, the journey, the sanctification.

And so here I am, 24, a resident of Fort Worth, TX. I'm on staff at 121 Community Church and I commute in rush hour traffic everyday, like a real adult. You know, I'm not sure how long I will be where I am, at this job, in this city, in this stage of life. But I know without a doubt that I am completely content.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

the forgotten post.

So I found this little blurb today that I wrote this summer and realized I never posted it! Surprise! So sorry dear friends. And so sorry for the lack of intentionality in posting and updating you on life...

From a small coffee shop in Chimney Rock, North Carolina.

It’s been awhile since my last post. I've spent the past almost two months here in North Carolina, working my fourth summer of camp, which seems a bit unreal. This summer, more than any other, has flown by. I'm not sure why, but I can't believe its almost over. Two more weeks of camp and I will be back in Texas, back at school, and unfortunately, away from some precious friends the Lord has put in my life this summer. Ultimately, I'm trusting the Lord to make these relationships continue, though they will undoubtedly look very different. He has a plan and a purpose, and even if it was only for a few months, the Lord has used this staff to bless my life, to teach me and challenge me, and to encourage me and spur me on towards Him.

After two months of training and camp, the Lord has grown me in my relationship with him in a few different ways. Though I'm not sure I could ever sit down and really debrief the summer and give it the weight and value it deserves, I will attempt to give you some thoughts that seem to have prevailed in the craziness of camp. These are actually two things that the Lord began showing me and teaching me prior to camp and then he faithfully provided confirmation and opportunities at camp to really flesh these out.

TRUST. I've recently been reading through some books in the Old Testament and this summer I've camped out in 1&2 Samuel. One of my favorite accounts of David is found in 1 Samuel 26. In this chapter, David spares Saul's life for a second time. The story begins with Saul learning of David's hiding and pursuing him in the wilderness with three thousand men of Israel in order to take his life. David hears of Saul's pursuit and comes to the place where Saul has camped. David stands over Saul, whom the Lord has caused to fall into a sound sleep, and spares his life. With a spear stuck in the ground right next to Saul's head and Abishai, son of his sister, telling him that this is the moment of his deliverance, David understands that if he were to strike the Lord's anointed, he would not be free of guilt. He says, "As the Lord lives, surely the Lord will strike him, or his day will come that he dies, or he will go down into battle and perish." David trusts the Lord. David could have been free from a fear for his life, but instead he chooses obedience. He sees the wrong in taking Saul's life, and chooses trust. I think sometimes the Lord orchestrates our circumstances to give us exactly what we want, or what we think we need, only so that we might choose Him instead. Will we trust him and be obedient no matter the cost?

PRAYER. In preparation for the summer, I dove into the story of Hannah, one of the characters studied in this summer bible study material. I absolutely fell in love with the realness and honesty of her story. I love that she struggled with a desire of this world, a godly desire that she couldn't seem to balance in her everyday. But I also love her faith. Because of her faith, she took her desire unashamedly before the Lord in prayer. And when she leaves the presence of her God, she is changed, not her circumstance, but her heart. I have been so encouraged by her story this summer and have felt the Lord reminding me to consistently come before him in prayer, in honest repentance but also in a posture to receive fully His love and grace. The overarching theme of Hannah's life speaks to the inability of anything on this earth to satisfy, that the delight of Hannah's heart was not in the promises of God on earth, but in His very presence.

Even now, the Lord is teaching me the intimate connection of trust and prayer. That our trust for God both stems from and leads to a consistency in prayer. If we trust God, will we not come to Him in prayer, and if we come to him in prayer, will he not deepen our trust in Him?

My hope is that these truths will be reflected in my heart as I leave here, as I begin my last semester of seminary and anxiously await the prompting of the Lord for the next season in my life. This is just a hint of what the Lord has taught me this summer. Hopefully there will be more reflecting to come.

Monday, May 3, 2010

"I can't get no... satisfaction"

Hey friends. I was recently asked by some amazing women here at seminary to be a guest writer for their blog, "Unlocking Femininity." Their desire is "to see women like us come to know all that God designed for our femininity and to unlock the timeless truth of His Word." They have an amazing ministry and I was so blessed to have an opportunity to write for them!

The article I wrote was posted today... check it out at http://unlockingfemininity.com/.

Monday, April 5, 2010

update in photos.

Hey friends. It has been way too long!
To update you on life, I wanted to post some photos of what I've been doing for the past few weeks.

SPRING BREAK 2010
Spring break this year was such a blessing. I was invited by my dear friend Tori, who I worked camp with last summer in Panama City, to go on a cruise with her and her family. It was a much needed break and a precious time spent with a dear friend. Hear are some of my favorite photos.

La Playa Mia beach break excursion in Cozumel.

Tori and I in Cozumel, Mexico.

My view laying on the beach in Cozumel.


Sting Ray City in Grand Cayman. There are sting rays in that water... just sayin.


Tori and I on the boat headed to snorkel at Sting Ray City/coral reef.


Beautiful beach in Grand Cayman.


Between the Carnival Conquest and Grand Cayman.


View of the Conquest.



Jamaica.

Tori and I on the first formal dinner night.


Jamaican woman. She was not happy with me for taking her picture and then having no money to tip her. :(


On the Jamaica "hot spots" shuttle bus.


First night at dinner.

RUN FOR A PURPOSE
The weekend after I returned from the cruise, I ran my 2nd 5K. A friend of mine's aunt put this run together. It was called "Run for Purpose" and was held to benefit lung cancer research and prevention. My goal was between 32 and 35 minutes and to run without stopping (even if I was barely running). Well, I met that goal! I finished in a little over 34 minutes and ran all 3.1 miles. I actually placed 4th in the 20-24 age bracket.


The rankings about halfway through the race.



Dear friends. Valerie, Hillary, Lori, Sarah, Me and MC. (PS it was quite windy... which made for a tough run and an awkward photo)


Hope that gives you an idea of what I've been up to lately. I've been missing you and I long for more blog time. Unfortunately the end of the semester is here and my days are packed with school and work. Bear with me loveys! I will be pouring my heart out to you soon. :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

updated apt photos.

Since I moved in August, I have added/changed some things in this little apartment of mine. I thought I would take some photos and show you. This post is for those of you that are far away and want to see a little bit of my life here in Texas.

(These uploaded in a weird order...sorry)


It may not seem like a huge deal but I moved my microwave on top of my refrigerator. brillant. I have so much more counter space.


The result of such a brillant decision. Little bit of a red-theme.


Here is my dining area with new curtains! Curtains really make a huge difference. I got these from Urban Outfitters.


The flowers are a new edition, from Ikea. And there is also a doorknob on the wall (bottom left). For some reason I loved that doorknob but I wasn't quite sure where to put it so it just ended up there. Its definitely unique. :)


This is my amazing new shower curtain from World Market. I love it! And my brown towels matched perfectly!



A little out of order but here is the counter in my kitchen. The red flower and vase in the window is also from Ikea.


I moved things around a but so my personally refurbished chair that I found by a dumpster ended up here.


I moved my bed to a different wall because I couldn't stand not having a table next to my bed. The sign over the closet says, "After All, Tomorrow Is Another Day" -Scarlett O'hara. I got that from the Shops at Brownstone Village in Arlington. It matches perfectly with the photo on the opposite wall (see below)!



These pictures I got when my family went to Paris. Three of them used to be on a wall in my room but I thought they would look good all together the bathroom.


This is the new arrangement in my room. The lantern in the corner is from Ikea. The Gone With The Wind photo is still in the same place on the wall it was before I moved my bed so it looks kind of random... I'm hoping to move it soon.


New chocolate brown curtains and red pillow from Target.


I got this bookshelf from Kayla when she moved at the end of October. It fits nicely in this little corner but unfortunately it is pretty much full at this point. Oh seminary and all your books.

The end.

Friday, March 12, 2010

stuck.

Single Moment 3.
(you're welcome.)

Wednesday afternoons are usually my favorite. I spend Wednesdays with my dear friend Jill and her boys, Grayson and Griffin. Definitely a highlight of my week and a good mid-week break from work and school. We usually have lunch, hang out while her boys are napping and then go to lifegroup together. Well this past Wednesday evening I was driving from Jill's house to lifegroup at the Griggs'. If anyone is familiar with the dfw area, we always take 820W, which is far superior to the horrible bane (which means "a person or thing that ruins or spoils") that is 35W South. yes, 35 ruins and spoils my life. I could probably write a whole post about my loathing of said interstate but I won't. You're welcome. So I stop to get some food for Jill and I only to get a call from Jill (who had gone ahead in her car) saying she was stuck in traffic on 820. ugh. So here I am thinking, do I pray for the best on 35, the venom of dfw society, or do I hope that by the time I get on 820 traffic will have cleared? I took my chances with 820. In my defense, I've given 35 a fair chance to redeem itself plenty of times, to which it always fails miserably and just digs its own grave deeper and deeper in my mind. Well traffic had not cleared on 820 and I was stuck for at least 45 minutes.

Enter single awareness.

As some of you may know, I drive a standard. Standards are not friends with traffic. And this isn't like slow moving traffic... it was stop and go. After about 20 minutes I was just in tears. Call me a wuss but my left leg was cramping like nothing else. As ridiculous as it may sound, I wanted nothing more in that moment then a husband who could drive in that mess while I sat passenger seat beaming with encouraging words. There is something beautiful to me about a husband taking the lead in the drivers seat and a wife riding passenger, being a helper and encourager. I guess I just see a clear reflection of the biblical mandate for husbands and wives. This is what I longed for in that moment.

Contentedness is not automatic. Paul says in Philippians that he has learned in all things to be content. My prayer is that I would learn the secret of facing any circumstance, knowing I can do all things through God who strengthens me (Phil. 4:11-13)

All my single ladies... this is my prayer for us.
1 Corinthians 7:34,35
And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit... secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

early mornings.

I am officially addicted to early mornings. what?!?! did I just type that? who am I?

It's true. Let me first say, I am not a morning person. Not at all. The Lord did not put in me that natural bent to rise with the sun. However, I started hearing a lot about getting up early and spending time with the Lord from one of my mentors in college who was blogging about it. Every time I read her blog I just thought, "I really don't think I could ever even do that!"

And this is partly true. I can't. But its amazing what He does through us in spite of us.

I was at lifegroup last Wednesday night and each week we split up at the end and have guy/girl time. We take turns sharing what the Lord is doing in our lives and where we need prayer and encouragement. Well after one voiced the need for consistency I thought, "maybe we should commit to some accountability in that area... maybe even getting up together each morning..." At this point, this was just a thought in my head (why would I even suggest that... then I'd have to do it!) and I bit my tongue. Well when the second one to share wanted prayer for the same thing, I knew I needed to say something. By the end of our time together, we had committed to communicating daily with one another about our time with the Lord and in the Word. My lovely friend Caroline and I decided on the drive home that we would commit to 6am every morning.

And so it began.

When my alarm went off at 6am this morning, it made one full week of getting up at 6 and immediately spending precious time with the Lord. It absolutely amazes me that the Lord has given me the strength to follow through on this.

Only by His grace.

If he is first in my heart, should he not be first in my day?

Francis Chan puts it this way...

"When you are truly in love, you go to great lengths to be with the one you love. You'll drive for hours to be together, even if it's only for a short whole. You don't mind staying up late to talk. Walking in the rain is romantic, not annoying. You'll willingly spend a small fortune on the one you're crazy about. When you are apart from each other, it's painful, even miserable. He or she is all you think about; you jump at any chance to be together." (Francis Chan, Crazy Love)

I pray this is true of my love for the Lord. I pray that I would never cease loving him and being absolutely crazy about him. And if I do (and I surely will in this battle with the flesh), I pray that he would help me love him more.


My early morning setup.



The view I have each morning. What a joy to watch the darkness turn to light.

My encouragement to you is to give it a try. Even if you think you can't. Rely and depend on him to awaken you physically but more importantly spiritually each morning.
Rise with the Son.