Saturday, November 17, 2012


Thanksgiving... Giving Thanks. Thankful for the things I have been given. I am the sponsor of a club at my school called the Kindness and Compassion Club. We do exactly what it says... promote Kindness and Compassion throughout our school, city, state, and world. It goes along with Rachel's Challenge, which was started by the family of one of the students killed in the Columbine Shooting, Rachel Scott. It is a really great program and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time pouring into these kids and challenging them to be not only kind when people are watching, but also when they are alone. I have had the opportunity to love on and encourage them. I speak Gospel truth and use my time there to shine brightly and let Jesus speak through me. It is really awesome and I love it.

Coming back from that bunny trail, I talked to my KC Club about what it means to be thankful. We talked about how we are a people who are constantly dissatisfied with our lives. We always want more, more, more. We rarely stop to thank the Lord for what we have been given and what He has provided for us. I had them make posters about the things they were thankful for, and then I had them make announcements every day saying what they were thankful for. I thought in doing this, that the entire school could get the mindset that we are very blessed. The second week I thought it would be good for the students to hear what the teachers were thankful for. I thought it would humanize them to the kids and let them see that we are just like they are.

It literally shocked me how hard it was for people to tell me what they were thankful for. I would ask them "what is something you are thankful for that you would like to share with the school?" And you would have thought I asked them "which of your children do you love the least?" haha Ok that may be a bit dramatic, but it was sad. I thought, "gosh, I have so many things in my life I am so blessed by that it is hard for me to chose just ONE thing to have said." I think we have developed this mindset that if things aren't going exactly the way we want them to that life is hard or bad. That if we are having to cut back a little financially or if our life plans/goals are not coming at the pace we'd like them to (guilty) that  things are tough and we are 'just getting by'.

Maybe it is because I have seen what true poverty, sickness, sadness and hurt looks like. Maybe it is because I have felt a tummy grumbling so fiercely while holding a precious baby boy that I have a clear vision of what the meaning "I'm STARVING" feels like. Perhaps it is because I have seen the look on a child's face when I told them 'I love you' and realized that was the first time they have ever been told that, that I know what loneliness overcome by joy looks like. But I also see what restoration in Jesus looks like. He has allowed me to see "good news for the poor" and "freedom for captives" (Isaiah 61:1).

::Lord... let me not get so overwhelmed with this temporal life I have. Let my eyes be constantly fixed on You and Your goodness. Let me not only be reminded of all the blessings You have poured out on my life during this time of the month but year round. Allow me to be a light in my school, my church, my group of friends, my family, my neighbors and those I come into contact with. Let my THANKFULNESS be attractive to those I encounter and that it is contagious.::

What I am THANKFUL for :

-My Beloved. I am thankful that He loved me so much that despite already knowing my disgusting sin and choices that He chose to die for me. That He endured pain and hate and suffering so I wouldn't have to. That He still constantly pursues me and loves me despite my mistakes. And that He is my advocate and fights for me when I am helpless and broken.

-My Family. I have an amazing father who loves me well and provides me for. He seeks to uplift me and points me to Jesus in every situation. I have a mother that is caring and wants the best for me. I have two sisters who have become my close friends. We used to fight a lot but by the grace of God, He is maturing our hearts and spirits and allowing us to truly enjoy and look forward to each other's company!

-My Friends. I have two different groups. First group... I have friends of old (who are still my friends but we don't get to see each other as often). These are my E's, who I have written about on here. They are the women who I met my freshman year of college and who were apart of some big points in my life. They were and will always be there for me and I am so blessed by them! Second group, is my current group of friends/community. These are the men and women that I live life with. They are the ones that I can count on to come hang when I am bored, join me in a random late night movie, listen to me when I am sad or angry or lonely, pray for me and know the things I am going through, get heated when I am hurt by someone and promise to be there for me and protect me when I am scared. They know my heart and tend to it well. They are the ones who encourage and care for me. I am so blessed by the group of people I have in my life right now. The Lord has really poured out His grace on me in this area.

-My School. I love my job. This year has been kind of overwhelming, but so good. In my times of craziness... which happen almost daily... it reminds me that I am so weak and cannot do it on my own. It points me to Jesus and has me pour out my junk at His feet and rest in His will. I have a job that I can love on people well and help shape the lives of our future. I am intentional with my words and actions and see every opportunity as a chance to share Jesus.

-My Church. Gosh-- I don't even know what to say. My church is amazing. It doesn't sugar coat things which I appreciate so much. It makes me uncomfortable and convicted every single Sunday. It is brings the Gospel and shows us how to sift things that are not of the Lord out of our lives. It has made me understand and fall more in love with Jesus more. It has allowed me to see Him as not only a Pursuer, a Father, and Protector, a Romancer, a Satisfier, a Confidant, a Teacher, a Motivator, a Comforter, a Heartbreak Healer.... but as a Friend, a Care Taker, a Shepherd, a Savior, the Creator, the Maker, Life Sustainer, My Redeemer, Lord and King, Beginning and the End.

I am thankful for my life and the purpose I have here on this Earth. Use me Father... wake me up from my stagnate life and allow me to be used for Your glory!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

You are working in our waiting...You're sanctifying us.

That is a difficult truth to understand and see clearly. You are working in our waiting...You're sanctifying us. Working in our waiting. Waiting. Wait. I feel like that word has been saturating my life for the past 4 years since I graduated college. I have been in this season of waiting. Waiting... to see if I get a job. Waiting... to move out of my parents house. Waiting... to change the world through the eyes of my students. Waiting.... to leave the country and go to an unknown continent. Waiting.... to return back to that continent and see the ones I love so dearly. Waiting... to be pursued. Waiting... to be loved fully by a man. Waiting.... to be a wife. A mother. Working in our waiting. Waiting. Wait.

The word hits me like a ton of bricks. I have been told by my friends, family, teachers, pastors, homegroup leaders and books upon books to be still before the Lord and wait PATIENTLY! They told me "keep seeking Jesus and when you are completely satisfied with Him and when you least expect it... He will bring your husband to you!" I am ashamed to say I believed and fell into this idea. Like God was a teacher giving out tickets (this is how I reward for good behavior so bear with me)... He was looking for the student that was quietly working, that listened every time He tried to get our attention and that if someone was in need of help-- like if they dropped their crayons or needed help tying their shoes-- that you were willing to help and were the first one at their side. However... like my students, I need to be reminded that I am doing this because this is what we are called to do... not because I expect a reward for my efforts. I have to have a deep and inward shift of my heart so that my actions are not "so Jesus will see me living for Him and hear the desires of my heart"... but rather "so Jesus will see me living for Him and because I am so enthralled with Him and humbled by the fact that He has chosen to love and pursue me, that my heart is aligned with the desires of His heart and that I love His people because that is what He has called me to do!"

I want to live life and live it abundantly. I want to live everyday to the fullest. I want to be spent every night because I gave everything I had sharing Jesus, loving people well and being a reflection of our Savior. I don't want to be known as a woman who is sitting around waiting for someone or something. I want to be known as a woman who is helplessly, hopelessly, fully and completely in love with the Ultimate Romancer. I want people to see me and say "WOW... that girl loves her some Jesus!" I want the joy in my heart to be seen in my actions. Through my words. On my face.

Thank you Lord for loving me so much that You continue to sanctify me through my waiting.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Praying Scripture

A friend asked me to pray for her today. Something that has been stirring on my heart lately is that when someone asks me to pray for them I want to truly pray for them. Lift them up. Be burdened for them. Humble myself and get on my face for them. Intercede on their behalf. So I think, being the ADD person that I am, that the best way I can pray for her is through scripture! It is "God-breathed" (2 Timothy 3:16) so why not lift her up with the beautiful Spirit filled Word!?? So A... know you are on my heart and that there is a time for everything (Ecc. 3), that Jesus is in control (Jer. 29:11) and that He is GOOD in all things (John 10:11).

"Lead me to the rock that is higher than I..." -Psalm 61:2

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" -Matthew 6:25-27

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” -Matthew 11:28-30

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." -John 14:27

"Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you." -2 Thess. 3:16

"Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken." -Psalm 55:22

"Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up." -Prov. 12:25

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff  they comfort me." 
-Psalm 23:4

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." -Phil. 4:6-7

God is good... all the time. All the time... my God is GOOD!!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Take-away Thursday

This post with be random information about me you can take-away with you. I saw another blogger do this list and I thought it was interesting... I'd love for others to respond their lists back to me!

20. I love being tan. The darker I am-- the better I feel (must be all that Vitamin D)!

19. I am EXTREMELY ticklish on my neck. As in I drop to the ground or lose control of my arms and hit things when something even brushes up against it.

18. I think I have hoarding tendencies. I simply like to refer to it as being a pack rat-- you never know when you might need something... so you should probably just keep it.

17. I hate running. Running with a purpose like up and down the basketball court makes sense and I can do that all day long. But unless someone is chasing me with a knife... running long distances, and just because, is not something I enjoy.

16. I contradict myself. AKA.... I just bought and started a running plan to prepare for a 5K! :/

15. I truly enjoy people watching. We as a human race are... let's just say it.... really weird and interesting. Er go.... I sit and watch.

14. I'm super emotional. Thing that I have seen or experienced that has caused me to lose control and bawl in the past week? The Olympic Mom commercials on TV. Have you seen them? E-Mo-Tion-Al.

13. I have climbed a mountain. Not a hill. Not a Texas mountain. A REAL mountain. A 14,258 foot mountain. I may have gotten altitude sickness really bad afterwards. I may have thought I was dying and prayed for the Lord to come down and get me. I may have been absolutely miserable the rest of the day. But by-golly.... I.Climbed.A.Mountain.

12. If you know me then you know my heart for dancing. And my heart for dancing means I am obsessed with the Step Up movies. There has been like 3 already... and the next one comes out Friday. Carter Bear and I already have plans to go see it Saturday!

11. I am such a people person, but I really enjoy being by myself sometimes. Today I treated myself to lunch, a movie, shopping and a treat afterwards. Love God, Love Others... then Love yourself. It's okay to have me time every once in awhile!

10. I truly enjoy singing. It brings me so much joy. I love how the Lord has given me an opportunity to use it to bring Him glory and assist others to the foot of the cross with that gift!

9. My parents think I am going off the deep end. In the last 8 years I have gotten my cartilage and nose pierced, gotten a tattoo, and gone to do mission work in Costa Rica, Hawaii and Africa. Between us... I have a feeling this isn't the end of my adventurous lifestyle. God has a lot of plans left for me I believe!

8. Speaking of traveling I didn't set foot on my first airplane until I was 21 years old. The first time I flew by myself I was mid twenties.

7. My sisters and I made up a language when we were younger... it's more like an accent I guess. Anyways-- we used to talk like that all the time as children. We were extremely weird and awkward but I believe that has grown us up to be funny, sarcastic women!

6. Most teachers don't like party days... However, I still get super excited during them. Same goes for field day (even though that works my nerves a bit more).

5. If you want to make me happy... bring me Mangoes and Powerade Zero Mixed Berry. Yummy.

4. My best friends are still the E's.... we were called that in college because all of our names ended in an E or E sound (Mallory, Stephanie, Shelby, Ali, Ashley, Stacy and Lacey). We don't all live in the Metroplex but still get together a few times a year and group text to keep in touch.

3. My roommate is ca-razy (as I was writing this she actually called to tell me about how a few of her flights got cancelled and how she is staying the night in Detroit haha). Like I said--- crazy! But so funny and such a blessing to me. The Lord gave me a roommate who is just like me in so many ways that we actually can stand living with each other. She is a great friend and someone who will probably be standing up by me at my wedding someday in the future.

2. Christmas makes me happy. Like reeeeaaallly happy.

1. I'm a thinker. Sometimes even an over thinker. I think about the future. I think about conversations before they happen. I think about conversations after they've happen. I think about things and how they'd be different if I reacted a different way. I think and think and think and sometimes think too much! But it's me and who I am.

Friday, July 6, 2012


"Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
This verse in Romans 12 is heavy on my heart tonight. How do you turn the other cheek when you have been slapped? How can you forgive when words cut deep? How can you persevere when the ones that are pulling you down are the ones that the Lord placed in your life to uplift, stand beside and encourage you?

It can be so disheartening when you are striving as a woman to whole heartedly seek Jesus and that doesn't seem to be enough. When you desire, above all else, to be a clear reflection of Jesus and your appearance is something that they can't get past. Jesus was a beautiful representation of how we SHOULD be. He hung out with the prostitutes, the leapers, the socially unacceptable. He was able to reach people many couldn't because of His grace and non-judging attitude towards them. He was able to present the good news and love them with an agape love because He displayed fullness in, not how they looked or dressed or acted, but because He had compassion for them knowing that they were a sinful people who needed a Savior.

My sinful nature inside rises up when I feel threatened or cut down. However, Jesus was mocked and beaten. He was ridiculed and humiliated... and He took it. Who am I to have this 'woe is me' attitude when I really don't have it that bad? I should be concerned with the One who's worth I should truly seek. Instead of having a fear of man and focusing on what they say or think... I should focus on Jesus Christ's opinion of me. Am I a sinner? YES. Do I screw up? YES. Will I continue to fail Him and those around me daily for the rest of my life? HECK YES. But am I forgiven when I repent? YES. Does Jesus look past my outward appearance and straight into my heart? YES. Will He look upon me one day and say "Good job my good and faithful servant"? GOSH I HOPE SO. If my heart continues to yearn for Him, seek Him daily, meditate on and hide Gospel centered truth in my heart and go out and share the good news reflecting Him in everything I say and do...I believe I will hear those precious words ring in my ears on that day.

::So Lord... forgive my bitterness. Forgive me when I become more focused on the words of man instead of You. Allow me to have a clear picture of what is good and true and right in Your eyes and focus on such things. Let me not become hard to those who tear me down in this world, but love them and pray for them more since it is them who need my patience, grace and forgiveness! And Lord continue to humble me so that I don't become self-righteous... but see myself as redeemed because of what You're doing in me and how You have refined my heart!::

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Virtuous=Strength and Rubies=Pink Pearls

I have decided lately, that if I want to be set apart... and truly live as a Proverbs 31 woman I need to start now. Becoming a wife of virtue and mother whose children rise up to call her blessed doesn't begin once I attain these things (husband and children), it begins now. A Proverbs 31 woman is way more than a wife and mother... it is a woman whole heartedly seeking the Lord and being a reflection of Him in everything she says and does. So I am going to begin this journey. I am writing it all out so I thought, why not share what I learned? It may be interesting and beneficial to someone else! So here we go... this post will be solely about verse 10!

In the King James version, verse 10 is written “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.” After doing some research on certain words and meanings of this, I found out that the expression "virtuous" is from a noun meaning strength, efficiency, ability.  Here it refers to strength of character. I also found that this word virtuous, when referring to women, is found in a couple other places in the bible. In the same book of Proverbs (12:4) it says A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.” Also, in Ruth it says “And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.” Goodness… that speech is hard to follow sometimes isn’t it? But even through that, you can see the meaning. Virtue… in this case meaning strength… is rare. Remember, I don’t mean physical strength (I feel like you can find that anywhere you look—the gym, the TV, the parking lot of the mall where two guys are about to go at it over the little teenage girl who could care less but feels important). I mean moral strength. As a 26 year old woman, I notice more and more how rare that really is. When a woman of moral strength and character (or virtue), is seeking and fearing God, going against the gain, believing and freely living in gospel centered truth and despising sin, then she will be set apart. Also, others will take notice. It will be so completely obvious, because it is so completely unusual to this world.

Then when looking at the second part of this verse it says “For her price is far above rubies.” When I began looking into rubies, I found out that back then, when this was written, rubies were actually a Hebrew term for a pink pearl or a type of red coral.  Pink pearls, found in mollusks from the Red Sea, were of great value due to their rareness. So when applied to this verse it makes it more meaningful to me. These were precious to people that found them because they were rare. Something that is rare and precious is costly because it is not ordinary. If you could drive down to Walmart and buy a bunch of rubies or pink pearls there would be nothing special about that gem. Everyone could have it. If you wanted another one… you could buy two. And think about all the rocks you have in your backyard. Are they beautiful? Exquisite? Eye catching? Probably not. The Lord made rare stones elegant, luminous and lustrous. So in referring to this, not only is this woman a gem… but a beautiful, rare gem.

So how can I obtain these things? How can I strive and successfully become a woman of virtue? Well, first I have to take that "I" out of it because it is impossible to do by myself. I am such a ridiculous screw up that this is not something I can do at all. It has to be Jesus. It has to be Jesus doing a great work in me. My eyes must stay fixated on the author and perfecter of my faith and He has to give me abundant grace over and over again. I have to work at obtaining that moral character. This means that I must die to myself daily and take up my cross and follow my Beloved. In the good and the bad. The hills and the plains. The rain and the shine. If I desire to be described as rare, beautiful, virtuous, luminous or exquisite I must remember that I am none of these things... it is JESUS in me!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Call to be Set-Apart

Greetings blogging world. I was recently burdened to write again--it has been months-- and woke up yesterday feeling that burden and having some ideas but no direction. I try to be very careful with what I write because of the following I have of people, that I don't know personally, but that follow me on here. I just want to be very intentional with my words. Then, this morning I woke up about an hour before my alarm clock went off and with thoughts in my head that would not allow me to go back to sleep. This may be offensive to some or many of you. It may hurt your feelings because you have enjoyed one or both of these things. Pre-cursor... I am not here to condemn but to remind. Uplift. Encourage. And edify. This is my opinion and I know this will not be popular of the world-- but I am not supposed to be of this world anyways. So with that... here I go!

Lately, directed towards the female population, two things have become crazy popular. One is a book and one is a movie. Both are damaging. I am talking about the book "50 Shades of Gray" and the movie "Magic Mike". (Insert guarded walls flying up and angry faces forming.)  

I have grown to love reading. A good romance. A tearful ending. A plot twist. Its so easy for me to get wrapped up in these things and check out for days at a time. I've been known to read books (plural) in a week. But when I heard about this book and the fan following they were displaying I was shocked. The amounts of women I knew that were devouring this book was hard to believe. I even heard about someone's grandmother being on the library's waiting list. It always made me twinge a bit when I would hear people talk about it, but it wasn't until recently that I have become completely sickened by it. Because... let's not beat around the bush... it is porn ladies. It may not be visual, but it is giving you images in your mind that will be stuck there. As a Christian woman, desiring and striving to be set apart,  I cannot support or promote this book. Let's look at it from some of your vantage points (I'm not married yet). Imagine you were cleaning your house and you stumbled across your husband's stash of porn or Playboy magazines... you would, most likely, be hurt, upset...maybe even get mad and yell. Men are visual.... that is why this appeals to them. Books like these appeal to women's minds.

I'm not married. I hope to be someday. I desire to be a Proverbs 31 woman and love and cherish my husband. I long to be his helpmate and come up alongside of him and do more Kingdom work together as one than we could apart. But if I... even now as a single woman... read stuff like this I will have an unclear, and tainted idea of what a marriage looks like. I will have these images in my head of what my husband should do for me physically and take away the desire I have for my husband and place it on something that is fake. So if I have in my head that this is okay because I don't have a husband I am justifying this and lying to myself. I'd be finding my desires from an unnatural source. It is porn. 

Next, the movie Magic Mike. This was really convicting for me because some of my favorite actors are in this movie. I love Channing Tatum... and this movie is a reflection of his life. He was a male stripper before making it in Hollywood. But all of this goes along with everything I wrote above. It's taking things that we should not be looking at and putting them out there for everyone to see. I have seen teenage girls that are 17... that I taught in Sunday School a few years ago... going in groups to see this. It breaks my heart because this will only lead to a long road of destruction. I have situations from 6 years ago, and images in my head that I cannot get out to save my life. I never intended to see them-- but you better believe that Satan has used those images and situations in my life. Jesus is good and I am His forever... but we were never promised an easy life. We knew difficulties and trials would arise.

In 1 Peter 5:8 it tells us... "Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."  We are to be on watch... it this case the devil comes in the form of a man named Christian Gray and a handful of strippers. He uses this to take our eyes off of and steer us away from Jesus. It's terrifying how simplistic his tactics can be. By reading a book? By watching a movie that's rated "R"? How can that truly harm me? It can and does...Jesus warns us to avoid the very APPEARANCE of evil. Every form of evil. And to guard our hearts, for they are the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23). In Galatians 2:20 it says "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and have himself for me!"

So stray from these things. Be set-apart and remember that Jesus desires us to think on eternal things... not things of this world. "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." -Philippians 4:8

"How can we love sin, when we remember that because of our sins Jesus died?"
-J.C. Ryle"

Monday, April 23, 2012

"Blessing Journey" Post #2

Oh my goodness.... the craziness of my life has prevented me from writing in awhile. However, I have a free night at home, with nothing to do, so here we go! This is a continuation of my "blessing journey" today's blog post is centered around Shelby Harp McCaleb!

Shelby was the very first person I met at Hardin-Simmons University in the fall of 2004. She was in my NSO (New Student Orientation) group and the closest one sitting next to my parents and I. I was feeling very, VERY uneasy about leaving home (my friends, my family, my church, everything I knew) and moving 3 hours away to a place where I did not know one single person! Now, looking back, I see that was the best decision I could have ever made. I worried that all my friends would have better experiences because they were going off together, but I think my situation was so much better pulling myself away from everyone and starting over fresh. So as the leaders were telling the parents to start saying their goodbyes I knew that I had to find a friend, an acquaintance, anyone and fast. I introduced myself to Shelby and left with my parents to say goodbye! After being strong and hugging their necks I boldly walked back to my new home, locked the door, sat in the middle of the room... and bawled my eyes out. I was terrified and felt very vulnerable. However, it was Shelby who made me feel better. We left to go to that night's activities together and were INSEPARABLE from that moment on. People would call me Shelby or her Stephanie and we would answer to either. Our names soon became mashed into one name StephanieandShelby or ShelbyandSteph. We spent every free moment together, ate every meal together, tried out churches together, went home with each other on the weekends and for holidays and became close to each other's families. We were attached at the hip.

Shelby and I developed a bond that was so great. We opened up about our pasts fully and freely and felt no judgement from the other...just grace. We knew of the guys (good and bad) that took up places in each other's hearts. We stood up for one another... once I even (in my mature nature as a freshman) talked to one of her ex-boyfriends on the phone and got cussed out by him! haha Shelby laid into him and stood up for me. She took my side when she didn't have to. We formed a friendship so quickly and deeply it has lasted all these years.

We did go through a rough patch in college. Friendships and relationships moved in and that took away time from each other. It was awkward and very hard for awhile (dang girls can be dumb). But the Lord was so good to us--revealed sin and pride in our lives-- and allowed our friendship to be renewed and strengthened. I have been apart of some of the most beautiful moments of her life... seeing her pursued by Jared, finding out before anyone else on the steps of Sandefer that she was engaged and that she wanted me to stand by her on her wedding day, and then today being texted and updated throughout the day as she was in labor. I see that those moments make our friendship beautiful. I see that even though she lives in Houston and I live in Dallas we can still remain close. The Lord knit our lives together 8 years ago and will continue to use us to edify, encourage and spur each other on! I can't wait--Lord willing--for the day when she gets to see me get pursued (even if via Facebook), hear my voice crack as I whisper "I'm engaged!" and see her face as I add "I need you to stand by me on that day!"

::Father, thank you for Shelby! Thank you for the woman you have fashioned her to be! Thank you for her obedience to Your will! God, You are so good to have entrusted me with her friendship! Thank you for loving me so much, that you allowed her to be apart of my life!::

PS: I had to steal a picture and show my precious friend and her new daughter Lucy! Congrats Jared and Shelby! I am so incredibly excited for yall and the impact you will have on this beautiful baby girl! Love yall!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Freedom Seeking Friday (Kony 2012)

This man has been circling the web... everywhere you look--Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs-- Joseph Kony is being exposed. He is being made "FAMOUS"... not to bring glory to him but to bring attention to him. He is a Ugandan guerrilla group leader, head of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). He has been kidnapping children for 26 years. The girls are being made into sex slaves and the boys are having weapons thrown into their hands. He is forcing them to kill. Not just random people... their friends, their families. I know this is a long video but it is completely worth it. I have been here. I have seen these children's tears. I have held those whose families were taken from them. Please be praying for my Ugandan babies and let's continue to make Kony Famous so that these horrid situations can cease. Pray for restoration in these people's lives. Pray for comfort for these children and Ugandan people. A comfort that can only come from the one who created life.

Follow this link to watch this and learn about Kony and what he is doing... it will change your perspective and your life!

When you hear Ugandan children... don't just think of a random African kid. Look at these faces... see their hurt. Their sadness. Their fear. Now think of them when you are hearing about the children being taken into unimaginable situations!

Monday, February 20, 2012

All the MEN in my life...

Haha Ok I know what you're thinking... all the men in your life? What are you talking about? Well it's not how it sounds. The Lord has been really gracious to me and and has put strong, godly, caring, affirming, and intentional men in my life through friendships. He has given me the opportunity to build these friendships and see what a man seeking the Lord's heart looks like. These guys care about my well being and seek to build me up as their sister in Christ. They care for and look after me. We have good gospel filled conversations and laugh... A LOT! I have many good friends but I am going to focus on a few that have meant so much to me during these past few months!

Grant: If I had to choose a word to describe this man it would be CA-RAZY! He is someone I know will laugh at my jokes and make me laugh if I need a good pick me up. He is the guy who I can act a fool with and know will never judge me (usually). haha Grant and I have known each other since high school-- remember when we went bowling? haha-- but our friendship didn't truly start until both of us graduated college and moved back to Midlo. The thing I appreciate about Grant and my friendship is that we can be silly but also have conversations with depth! We pour into each other and encourage each other! I am super thankful for this man and what he means to this season of my life!
Kevin: Oh Chazy boy... this guy has become such a great friend to me over the last 2 years. We met when he came and helped move Lauren and I into our apartment, and we have all been great friends since. He is funny, crazy talented, such an encouragement and wise beyond his years. His love for God's children is inspiring and challenges me to love hard and have Jesus seep out of my entire being! The way he leads our church to the foot of the cross means so much to me. And the cool thing about Kev is that more than anything he truly cares about my relationship with the Lord and sanctification. THAT is true friendship and THAT is something that I hold dear to my heart. So blessed by this crazy man "shore. and shore. and shore. and SHORE!"
Marky Mark: The first recollection I have of Mark is my roommate shoving me in the middle of church and whispering, "Who is THAT boy in the salmon shirt?" haha The rest was history... Mark, Lauren and I began hanging out nightly last year after he had returned from playing for the Met's farm team up in New York. We would cook dinner, watch movies, hang out.... just the three of us. Then, Lauren and Mark decided that they were interested in each other. They began to hang out more... without me. We had a rough start (I was being left out you know) but now Marky Mark is a wonderful friend of mine. I have seen such amazing growth as he has deepened in his faith and I have enjoyed watching him pursue my roommate. He is a good man and despite the times we argue (sometimes we just don't quite see eye to eye) he is someone who plays such a pivotal role in my life.
Brandon: Brandon and I met this time last year. He had just returned from Australia and was about to leave for Spring Training. He came to one homegroup before leaving and I met and talked to him for a good while. I remember thinking "this guy loves him some Jesus!" I didn't talk to or keep up with Brandon in season except for one or two Facebook messages (seeing that we had only talked once before). However, when he returned from season in October we began to hang out in groups, at church and through our co-ed softball team. The initial impression I got of Brandon was spot on... This man loves Jesus. Brandon has been pretty transparent with me and has allowed me to know him and walk through life with him. He has been an encourager and has quickly become a wonderful friend of mine. It makes me so sad to know that he is leaving in two weeks for Spring Training, but I know that the Lord has chose him to be a light in this dark world. He has put him on this team, with these people and in the situations he is/will be going through for "such a time as this" (Esther 4:14). Six months is a long time for him and Mark to be gone, but I just know that their return in September will be that much sweeter!

::Thank you Lord for the blessings you have given me. Thank you for each and every one of these men and what they mean to me. Thank you for entrusting me with these friendships and allowing me to be challenged, spurred on and poured into by these guys. You have appointed all of these relationships and I ask that while they encourage and affirm me that I can do the same. I pray that you allow me to show these guys what respect looks like. That I can learn to follow through friendship and watch their actions carefully and cautiously. I ask that you are in the center of these friendships and that they bring You all the glory, and honor, and praise! You are so good to us Lord and I thank you for being intentional and loving us well through the gift of friends. I am enthralled by your mercy!::

Monday, February 6, 2012

"Blessings Journey" Post #1

In my last post I wrote about how I was going through a season of difficulties. When reflecting on those difficulties I thought..."what about all the good in your life?" You see, it is easy for me to think and meditate on the bad things. The frustrating situations. The hard times that make me question "why?" However, I think it takes more effort to focus on the blessings in our lives. Which is completely ridiculous. We are all so incredibly blessed and need to bring light to the goodness the Lord showers us with. So I am challenging myself to do this. In the next couple of blog posts I will be focusing on the people and things that God has brought into my life that have blessed me immensely and have made me into thewoman I am today! So let this 'blessing journey' begin...

The first post I am going to dedicate is to a friend that has been such a sweet blessing in my life. Miss Fort Worth Teen 2004 herself... Mallory Elizabeth Chain Shows. This woman means more to me that I can express. She is the picture of a Proverbs 31 woman and is someone whose friendship means so much to me. Mallory and I met our freshman year at Hardin-Simmons University. HSU isn't big so I knew who she was but we didn't get to know each other until the Spring semester of our first year. I remember it like it was yesterday... I walked in the dorm late with some of my friends and Mallory and Ali were sitting down in the lobby eating Cracker Cuts cheese with Trisquits and watching Friends. We stopped and talked a while and soon were hanging out daily. Mallory had such a similar life story to me, which made it really easy to talk to her about things and be vulnerable (which ironically both of us hated doing and were not good at). We realized we both had been attending the same church and decided to get more involved at Beltway through the College class and homegroup. Also, another thing that brought both of us together closer than ever was pledging Sigma Alpha. We went through 5 weeks of ridiculousness and in those 5 weeks learned more about each other and ourselves. Mallory and my friendship has had rough times (cough cough Australia), and sweet times, but the thing that has made this entire relationship work out the way it has is that the Lord has always been in the center of it. God has been so good to us and has used this relationship, I feel, to mold both of us and grow us into the woman He desired us to be. Mallory is closer than a friend. She is my "soul friend" as we like to call it. My sister. We were connected for a purpose. To encourage. To edify. To bring joy to each other's lives. To make one another laugh. To pole vault (haha). To cry with. Stand next to on the most important days of our lives (I was there standing by Mal on her wedding day and with her the day her beautiful daughter came into this world-- and hopefully someday she will return those moments of mine). The important, funny, life changing, hard and exciting times in my life has all had Mallory in them. Whether she was there when I needed a shoulder to cry on, sending an affirming text or calling me just to check in. Mallory has been my biggest fan, encourager and prayer warrior these past 7 years (ok that makes me feel super old) and I believe she will be the same for many years to come. When I think of Mallory there are certain words that come to mind: beautiful, classy, intelligent, caring, selfless, wise, encouraging, loved, new anchor, bold, hilarious, intentional, set apart.
::Thank you Lord for putting Mallory in my life. You knew exactly what I needed all those years ago when I was a young 19 year old. She has spurred me on to You and has poured into me selflessly. She is a woman who truly fears You and is a beautiful picture of what I am called to be as a wife and mother. Continue to use our friendship to draw us closer to each other and You. You orchestrated this all those years ago and Father, if it is Your will, allow Mally Moo Moo to be in my life for many more years! You are good and everything that comes from You is good. We love and serve You humbly.... use us and our friendship for Your Kingdom Work!::

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Fear Not.

Have you ever been burdened? I mean really burdened. Your insides feel all tangled up, you can't eat, you feel as if you are going to throw up because of the knot in your throat, and you feel like a huge weight is pressing you down. That's how I feel right now. I have been feeling this way for a while and the only way I can explain it is that I feel as if something bad or hard or trying is about to happen.

I have been through seasons like this before. Seasons that I have been extra sensitive to the Spirit and could feel the goodness from Him, but could also feel the enemy lurking by. We have been warned about this, however. In 1 Peter 5 it says "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings." I take two things from this. The first thing I take is that God loves us so much that He is warning us. If you had a boyfriend/girlfriend/child that would be driving down a road you know is curvy and dangerous you would warn them beforehand to make sure they are aware of the danger and that they are paying attention. God is this loving Father that is warning us that there is some things that may sneak up on us and that life is filled with dangerous curves so we should be alert! The second truth I take from this is that "the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings". This means that we are not alone in our sufferings. We are living life alongside other believers and we're given to each other to be accountability and gifts to each other.

Like I said, I have been through situations and seasons like this. The difference now though is that I am whole heartily seeking Jesus (personally, eternally, intentionally) and that my heart is so closely knit to His. I am resting in His promises and treasuring His compassionate pursual. Through this season I have become aware of some things...

First, we are all sinners. My heart is just as gross and ugly and corrupt as other's hearts. Just because their sin may seem magnified and is visual doesn't mean I am better.
Second, more than anything we need grace and acceptance and prayer. People are put in our lives for a reason. Maybe simply for the fact that I am called to pray and encourage them.
Third, I am in no way, shape or form at a place to judge others. Just because their sin has come to the light, doesn't mean they are worse than me. If anything, they are stronger than me because I have a lot of junk in my life that I suppress and don't want people to know about me.

We are called as believers to be filled with faith. I desire more than anything to be a Proverbs 31 woman... in that she has many great attributes. In verse 17 it says "she dresses herself with strength..."--this is important because we are encouraged later on in 2 Corinthians 12 about weakness and strength. It says "But He said to me. 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will most all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." So this is something so incredibly beautiful to be reminded of.

The next, and I think most important verse for me to remember during this season, is verse 25 which says, "Strength (there's that strength we just talked about again) and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the days to come." Wow. How many times in the past week have we been fearful? Fearful of finances. Fearful of relationships (or lack there of). Fearful of health issues. Fearful of man in general. I don't want to live in fear. In fact we are called not to. There are so many verses about fear in the Bible. There is "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me." (Psalm 23:4); "The LORD is my light and my salvation-- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1); "The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" (Psalm 118:6); "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." (2 Tim. 1:7); "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." (Deut. 31:6); "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Is. 41:10); "For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, "Abba," Father." (Romans 8:15)--LOVE THIS ONE!!! Those were just a few in the Word that speak against fear. We are commanded, by the Lord Himself, over and over "do.not.fear." Don't do it. There is no good that will come from. It WILL NOT edify you. It WILL NEVER affirm you. It WILL tear you down. Freak you out. And push you away from Jesus... which is a lot more frightening than anything in this world.

So Jesus... be patient with your Beloved. I am so screwed up. I hate sin... but sometimes I allow it into certain parts of my heart and life and I am confessing and repenting that. Lord, I don't want to be a woman who is burdened by evil and bogged down by fear. But rather, Lord let me be a woman who is clothed in strength and dignity, LAUGHS at the days to come and is filled with wisdom and kindness. I pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ right now. God-- we.are.not.perfect. Sometimes it is really easy for us to believe we or others are. So humble us in that. Show us with your grace and mercy and allow us to do the same to each other. Let me not condemn or judge, but rather, love unconditionally. Steady my heart--it is beating wildly right now--and remind me minutely that You are in control, are good and are GOD!