Tuesday, February 28, 2012

This City, Is My City.


This week I was reminded of God's sick-awesome goodness as I was riding with Nate past downtown (Cleveland).

You see, when Nate and I were praying where to serve in full-time ministry, I was willing to go absolutely anywhere in the world, EXCEPT Cleveland, Ohio.

I did not want to stay here. With the snow, the cold, the winter that last 6 months, the dreary grayness of the city...did I mention the snow?

Yet, as Nate and I continued to pray for God's direction, it was obvious He was calling us back here. To invest in the city. To respond to the problem right in front of our faces: the problem of zero CRU staff to serve on college campuses here.

So we said, 'Yes.' Nate was way more into it than I was. My attitude at best could be described  as begrudgingly obeying. Dragging my feet.

Here comes the God part.

He could have just let me stew in my bad attitude, believing the ministry was destined to be a chore. But instead, He put in me a passion for this city. He gave me a heart for the people here, a longing to see a move of God shake the foundations of Cleveland to its' core.

I am PUMPED for this city and what God has in store for the people here. He's doing BIG things and I feel so privileged to be a part of His plan. This picture reminded me that He reached out and touched my heart with an affection for this city that I never expected.

He is good, people. Sick-nasty awesome good.




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Sunday, February 26, 2012

First Day Jitters

Tomorrow is my first day on campus.

Schwoah. I have been waiting 18 months to pen those words.  For 18 months we have been raising finances to work as missionaries on college campuses.

We finished our support this morning in my home church. When I found out I began screaming, running around the church, sweating, and aggressively hugging anyone in my path. I couldn't stop moving, or smiling....or sweating.

As I'm sitting here, eager to sleep and not being able to drift off, I find myself excited and fearful at the same time.

How could I possibly doubt God's goodness after He has provided so much for us to get to this point? And yet, how the heck am I going to lead college students into a deeper relationship with Jesus. How do I help them grow? How do I love them well?

So many questions. And yet I am so joyous that my God knows my eager and willing heart and tells me that He can handle the logistics. He's basically like the ultimate 'Easy' button. Kind of. Not really sure how far that analogy can go...anyway.

I am loving me some Jesus right now. Loving the fact that He called Nate and I to this ministry. Loving that I can wear jeans and a hoodie to 'work' tomorrow on campus. Loving that we can being living life with students. Loving being able to love students as my job. Especially loving this verse:


Full of LOVE. And hoping to fall asleep soon. Happy Monday lovelies. 


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bits of splendor monday

FindingBeautyintheOrdinary.com

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Found.

I have been loving this new blog Beautifully Rooted. It's a collection of women who come together to inspire others. It's beautiful. Heather introduced an awesome photo link up. Finding ways in which we are found by God through pictures in what others may see as ordinary moments in our lives.

This is my first picture.


Backstory: Nate and I began raising our full-time support to be missionaries on college campuses in July of 2010. We were nervous, unsure and definitely hoping to finish the process as soon as humanly possible. 

This note was written around the fall of that year. We were early in the process, but could clearly see that our vision for this process - kind of a quick hit and then get the heck out of dodge approach- was not going to happen. I was discouraged, disheartened that people were not seeing this vision of reaching college students for the gospel. 

I wrote this note to remind myself that God's hand was in our process. That ultimately our support would not come from my performance, but HIS goodness, and in HIS timing. 

That was Fall, 2010. It is now almost Spring 2012. We are nearly done with our initial support raising process. This year and half long process has been the most stretching of my entire life. 

After this note was written, our process nearly came to a halt. Support stopped coming in and I grew angry, doubting God's goodness and even the fact that He wants to provide for me. I began to become critical of myself, believing that if my walk with the Lord were up to par, so to speak, then our support would come in. I believed so many lies about my character, and even God's character that it damaged my spirit severely. 

Here comes the 'Found' part of the story =). I was reading my Bible, not even in this passage, and in flipping there, came across this page. 

This passage is as true now as it was in the fall of 2010. God is still good. He still desires what is best for me and he is still faithful to provide...always. 

This process has been difficult, yes. There are numerous ways that my marriage and faith have been tested, stretched, and shaken. But we have emerged on the other side (almost), and are better equipped to love and serve each other as husband and wife, and ultimately, Jesus. 

Some may see this passing as flippant or coincidence. I see it as a sweet sweet reminder from my Father of where I've been, what He has brought me through. And a cry to continue to unwaveringly place my trust in the only one who is ultimately trustworthy. 





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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Authori-TAY.

I had the awesome privilege of speaking at our church this morning. Nate and I have been so super blessed by these people and are honored that they trust us to preach the Word of God to our peers. Seriously, I'm not sure why they like us so much. They even clapped BEFORE I spoke this morning. Schweird. Must be a Jesus thing.

Anyway...one of the things I asked people was what experiences in their life give them authority to speak to certain situations. For instance, I have an expertise in the struggle with body image. It's real to me, and so I can speak to other women who are viewing their body destructively because, well, I've been there slash fight not to find myself their often daily.

In fact, it has been other women, who have embraced their authority in this area and spoken into my life that have shone hope onto what I once thought of as a lifelong burden I would toil with and try to trudge through for the rest of my life. I have seen more victory than I ever thought possible and want other women to gain this as well.

I have authority in this issue.

I absolutely don't have authority in anything art related. My stick people look like a kindergartner trying to draw while holding themselves. I can't practice OR appreciate it like some people. That's ok.

There are certain struggles that I haven't gone through myself and so I wouldn't have an authority in that arena.

But the point that I spoke about and that several people told me really struck them was that EVERYONE has authority in something. Everyone has an expertise. Everyone has natural giftings and strengths.

Because we all have lived life and therefore have this vast array of life experiences, we ALL have authority.

The question then becomes, will we let Jesus use these arenas to bring other people to know him personally? Will we embrace whatever our expertise and allow other people to know them?

It has been one of the scariest and yet most fulfilling adventures of my life. Pretty sure my entire relationship with Jesus can be summed up like that, but being used to bring this joy into other peoples' lives is well, amazing.

I hope you see these opportunities, embrace  your authority, live fully with Christ.

Happy Monday.

P.S. I got bangs this week. Whatcha think?

Anyone watch How I Met Your Mother? 
"I said a bangs, bangs, bangidy bangs. I said a bangs bangs bangidy bangs." =)

FindingBeautyintheOrdinary.com bits of splendor monday Miscellany Monday @
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Pre-Husband Love Story

I'm not super sappy (but obviously am an alliteration fan). But today I think I'm just going to throw out all the sappiness I have stored up over the year and hope that I can hold off for another year until next Love Day.

So here goes. Before I met Nate there was this man. He was older than me - WAAAYYY older - but seemed to relate to me unlike anyone I had ever met.

At first I didn't like him, because, well, I kind of thought he would be lame.

Yet this guy reached out to me. He seemed to show up exactly at the time I needed him most. He showed me that I don't have to act tough. In fact, he cherished it when I cried on his shoulder, loving me when I was most honest with him...even if that came with a hurricane of emotions and blubberiness slash blotchiness.

Basically, this guy was perfect. He brought so much joy into my life. I decided to make it official, and give him my heart.

Since then we have walked together through so much heartache (mostly caused by yours truly), and yet so so much goodness. He has helped me discover not who I am, but who I was created to be. There have been periods where I've been an idiot and ignored him for lengths of time, yet He continues to be there, wooing me back. I hurt him, and have to apologize often. I honestly don't know why he loves a jerk like me.

It was actually this same guy who introduced me to Nate. I had no idea but he had been talking to Nate all along, kind of prepping us for each other. Super sweet and thoughtful, right??

I know you are absolutely on the edge of your couch, the TV is paused and you can hardly blink because you don't want to miss my dream guy. Wait for it. WAIT FOR IT...

Some people call him Jesus. Actually, I'm pretty sure everyone calls him Jesus.

He showed me perfect, selfless love way before my sexy husband entered the picture. Jesus gave his life so I could be in relationship with He and His father. He sweat for me. Sacrificed for me. Died for me.

We're not talking chocolates and sappy cards, people. We're talking about knowing the inner workings of my heart, my fears, dreams, and unspoken doubts. We're talking leaving paradise, dying to take away my eternal separation from God. It's kind of a whole other level.

He has awakened in me passions that I didn't know existed, joys which could only be divine, and helped me to grow out of an incredibly selfish nature (we're actually still working together on that last one).

Do you know him? Have you noticed him pursuing your heart? Have you entered into his love? Valentines Day would be a great day to start, just sayin'.


Linking up with The French Bird as well =)

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cookies, A Birthday, & A Guard Pig.

So sorry for my absence around this space. Things will pick up soon. Pinky promise.


This week began with a random 2 and 1/2 hour road trip for some very delectable cookies. Yes, my friend and I drove almost 3 hours for cookies. These are the things we can do pre-children and we're taking advantage of them =) It was a sweet trip of good music, sweet conversation and AH-MAZING cookies. 


Then, on Tuesday, my sexy husband celebrated his birthday. 

We went out for wings at BW 3's for his birthday and watched college basketball. It was our kind of celebrating, topped off with some amazing birthday cake that my sweet sweet momma baked for us =) I'm convinced that fun-fetti can sure any and all ails in life.


Nate is the kind of man that well, he's just awesome. I love the way he serves others, and me so well. Since being married I have realized how selfless Nate is, and how selfish I am. Not sure if this is a good thing, but most definitely true. Probably one of my favorite things about Nate is when he gets laughing really really hard, his face scrunches up and he just looks like an ecstatic little boy. He loves life, and me and is so worthy of celebration. I'm super glad he was born.

On a more random note, we found this driving to our prayer-walk-park on Thursday:
A guard-pig. Incredibly intimidating, yet surprisingly low maintenance. 

I can see the infomercials now. 

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life rearranged


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Instafriday

Instafriday 02/2

1. Hannah and I. Her birthday was this week. Read my letter to her here =).
2. Took Momma to Starbucks. She's in love, obviously.
3. Kevin and I watching our new obsession, Downton Abbey on Masterpiece Theatre. Seriously, SOOO good.
4. Funnel Cake Fries at Max & Erma's for Hannah's birthday.
5. We are ridiculous.
6. The sun was out this week in Downtown Cleveland, in February. Now tell me that God's not good.
7. Sometimes I can't find my slippers...so I wear Nate's tennis shoes. I know, I know, I'm classy.
8. Something that always makes me laugh- 69. Never fails. Have I mentioned that I have the humor of a middleschooler? 





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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Hannah Banana


Yesterday, January 31 was my sister, Hannah's 16th birthday.

SCHWAT?!?!?!?!?

I must admit, I had a mild panic attack in the morning when I realized my baby sister is now 16. SIX-FREAKIN'-TEEN.

I can't believe it. She's not supposed to be this old. She's not supposed to be taller than me. And she's definitely not supposed to be thinking about being a real adult. I'm not even a real adult yet. Good grief.

Yesterday we took Hannah out to dinner and then went back and watched Glee. Hello, Michael Jackson.

SO i thought I would use this little space to write Hannah a birthday letter. Cheesy, I know, but she likes cheesy =)
Hannah, 
Oh mylanta. You are my woman!  
I cannot believe that you are old, and wearing high heels and, well, just old. You have grown so much in the last year in your walk with the Lord and I want you to know that I absolutely could not be more proud of you. You are seeking to grow in your faith and desiring to lead others in the same. Your life is a testimony to Christ, a beautiful testimony. 
Speaking of beauty. Hannah, it radiates from you. First of all you have a great body (I know you're blushing and super mad at me right now), and second of all, your spirit speaks to the 'unfading beauty of a gentle spirit'. **I left out the quiet part of the passage =)** You're gorgeous.
 I love so many things about you. Your laugh for sure. I love when we laugh together, and then realize that our laughs are exactly the same and so we end up laughing about our laughs. I love that you work in the nursery. You are unbelievable with kids and I'm excited to see how God uses that in your future. I love that you love life. I love that you have this great ability to laugh at yourself. I love that you thought Fidelity Life Insurance was a place to go and work on staying true to your spouse. 
I just love you a lot. You are no longer becoming a woman of the Lord, you are one. I'm proud to be your sister. 
Happy (belated) Birthday. 

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