Friday, August 28, 2015

Open Doors

I have been meaning to blog all summer but eventually it just all seemed like to much. Summer went way to fast and I haven't been able to process the fact that summer is really over and that school has already been back in session for a month.

I would say my family had a great summer. We got to visit family in Indiana for 2 weeks and spend a week in Mexico. Other then that we really didn't do much. It was kind of nice to just hang out and have nothing to do.

I suppose my last Blog post was kind of a "to be continued..." post. I ended bible study and Mops not having a clue what my next step would be. It was scary, but it was a door that had to be closed. As soon as I closed those doors God was good to open new one's.

I sat at my computer one day feeling completely useless and overwhelmed by my need to be used by God. I didn't understand why He would give me so much passion but not let me use it. I began looking through different organizations, places I could volunteer or just feel useful. I finally realized that it was not my place to figure this all out. So I asked God to put something in my lap, to make it so obvious as to what I was supposed to be doing.

Well, God is good to give you what you ask for, when you truly hand it over to Him. The very next day I had a meeting scheduled with the director of operations, Laurel, from my church and the pastor's wife, Kim,  along with a group of women who were pushing for a women's ministry. Laurel called me and said that I would be the only one at the meeting with her and Kim and that we could reschedule if I wanted or we could have the meeting. I was in the place of desperation, I needed to know if this was going to turn into something and if not I needed to be able to move on so I asked to please keep the meeting.

We met up for a couple of hours and the 2 ladies gave me their blessings to plan an event for the fall. How all of that worked out was a total God thing because really they had no reason to give me a one on one meeting but I'm so thankful that they did.

I immediately got to planning and praying (lots of praying)! We decided that to get a win for an event we should start with a women's Bible study. Esther was put on my heart right away (by Beth Moore), what better way to start a women's study then with a study of a women, of a whole book of the Bible and of courage?!

I don't think anyone expected the amount of interest we generated for this study. God was good to supply me with amazing child care workers for the morning study and with 14 loving group discussion ladies and with 2 amazing Kitchen ladies!
We had over 100 ladies sign up for the study.. seriously.. mind blown!

The first day of the study was a little crazy, figuring everything out took some time. When I went to the night time study I sat in the back and I was able to see all of the tables so full with women ready to learn and ready to connect with the other women but most importantly to grow in their faith. In that moment I was completely awe struck. I had been praying for all of these women since the very beginning before I knew any of their faces or names and now here they all were. All I could think was that THIS was HIS plan all along, this is exactly what HE wanted and I was only fortunate enough that He allowed me to do His work.

Don't get me wrong, there have been some rough patches and I know there are some deep valley's in my future but when you allow Him to use you and you tell Him that you are truly willing to do anything for Him, He does not take that lightly. Those valleys that I will/have seen are only going to grow me.

I have been fortunate enough to have some amazing people in my corner, who have been cheering me on, and mentoring me in every aspect of life. This summer God answered prayers in ways that I didn't even know were possible. Answering prayers that I have been praying for months. He has shown Himself to me in ways that make his existence undeniable.

If we truly believe that there is a God and that He is for us not against us, then why would we every hold back? Why wouldn't we give Him all of us?

God took me from a place of desperation to a place of leadership in the matter of a day. For Him to trust me, for ANYONE to trust me with all of this has been so humbling, so encouraging and such a blessing!

So there it is... I ended one season, feeling sad and lost, only to have a new season begin with the snap of HIS finger.

He is good to give, if we will just ask!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A New Season

For the last week or 2 I have been feeling a little out of place.. A little lost... If that makes sense? For the first time in probably ever, I finally am feeling very balanced. Everything in my life seems to be very evened out right now. 
I have a good routine going and the places where I was feeling like I needed to have better habits I have been working on. 
Yet something has still been off. This morning a friend helped me realize what it is. 
Six years ago after I had Gabe I had started to get a little depressed, I was living in Tucson, just quit my job and was very lonely. Thankfully we moved to Sierra vista when Gabe was 6 months old so I had friends and family to help me cope. My mom told me about a great bible study teacher that I just had to go do a bible study with. I was so ready to get back in church so I jumped at the opportunity. Little did I know that a bible study meant actually studying the bible and doing homework! What?! It was great though, I got pulled into it and I have loved it for the last 6 years. I have grown so much, met amazing women, and grown close with that amazing bible teacher who has been there for me every step of the way {even when I would text her telling her how crazy I was feeling because of Juliana, she was loving and reassuring every time}. 
This church where I do the bible study is also where I do my women's events, and my mops. Not to mention it's the church I grew up in and went to school. 
Through women's ministry and mops I have learned what skills I have, what skills I could work on, that I can be an affective leader, that I can speak in front of crowds {ekkk}, that I can love women even if they are only here for 6 months {that's the military for you}, that people will let you down but oh boy people sure can lift you up! That to be a good leader it all comes down to your heart, and giving A LOT of grace. I learned to pray for wisdom and discernment and for confidence but also for a humble heart. 
I LOVE women's ministry, I love bible study, I love mops, I love women! However, I have decided that it is time to move on. To jump feet first into my own church with whom I have committed to. That my season of mops and bible study is done {bible study for now}. Unfortunately my church does not have a women's ministry and I think that is one thing that is causing me to feel so lost these last few weeks. I am leaving everything that I have known for the last 6 years, it is truely bittersweet. I just don't know where I fit in at my church yet, it's scary and it's exciting all at once. 
I know that God has a place for me there, I just need to be still. 
Change can be so hard, so sad, so happy, so bittersweet. 
I am so thankful for every single thing that I learned from the church, mops, leaders, and women these past 6 years. The friendships and bonds that have been made will forever be with me. I'm a better person because of those ministries and those people. 
I don't know what my next season will be, I don't know what my future holds or where I will end up, in terms of ministry, but I do know that Gods got it covered. I will just be spending the summer listening for His direction. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Building Character


Last week was full of trying new things for me, for putting my faith to the test, for being brave and for working on my confidence. I have seen God's faithfulness come through so much in the past year, not saying that He wasn't there before but I have been more open to it and been much more aware of it recently.

About a year ago it had been put on my heart to speak to my MOPS (Mothers of Pre-schooler's) group, but I kept putting it off and I kept making excuses. A million things would run through my head about what I could speak about, but nothing was really worthy enough to speak on to me. This past year we have had girls get up and talk about amazing, life altering situations that they have been in. Awesome stories, yet a little intimidating. I haven't had anything super crazy or horrible happen to me (Thank goodness!), so then I felt even less worthy to get up and speak. Yet that nagging feeling was still on my heart...  

bad.

 It was taking over my brain, suddenly everything became a possible topic to speak on.. I couldn't take it anymore! I finally said "Fine God! You want me to speak.. I will but you need to take this off of my heart and you need to provide something worth while for me." Pretty sure demanding God to do things isn't the best idea, however it worked. As soon as I made the commitment to speak, the nagging feeling that had been on me so bad was suddenly gone. I BELIEVED that God would provide.. and then I OBEYED Him in what He was telling me to do. Pretty soon after I committed I was feeling pretty confident on what I was supposed to speak on, however as it got closer I started to question whether that was what I was supposed to speak on. Also I questioned if that nagging feeling really was from God and not from myself. That is satan for you, he will ALWAYS attack, make you question yourself, your faith, your God. I let him in for about a minute and then I turned back to God, and handed it all over to him. Through it all I had so much support from friends. My pastor even took the time to talk to me about it and sent me a book that helped me understand the whole process of being obedient and staying in obedience. Such a blessing he was in that time, so supportive and someone I knew who I could get great advice from. 

The day before I was to speak I had no clue what I was going to speak on... NO CLUE! I laid in bed that night, prayed that God would make me still, open my ears and give me the message that HE wanted me to speak. I fell asleep super early that night, right after asking to Him to make me be still, He clearly knew I was exhausted. The next morning I woke up knowing EXACTLY what I was to speak on... it was the original thing that I had felt so confident about before. At that moment I knew that God would (and had) provide, that He would give me the words, and that He would have me say exactly what HE wanted me to say, no more and no less.

I was still super nervous, but I got up and began speaking, once it started flowing I knew that what I was saying was not from me alone. I had already decided that it was ok if what I spoke on didn't speak to anyone, that it was a growing experience for me. I knew that God was using this to help grow my character, and to show me that I can trust Him 100%. When I was done speaking another mom got up and told her obedience story and that she was thankful for my willingness to share and then another mom shared and then another women signed up to speak. Even though I didn't plan on my speaking to effect anyone it did and God is good to show us just enough to show us that He is working.

Every time that I see God working it helps me to put more and more faith in Him, to question Him less and less, to put my confidence in Him every time. 

That same week my church was having a volunteer appreciation night to honor all of the people that serve in the church. They had asked for a story about someone who has helped in one way or another. I wrote a letter about a childcare worker, soon after that I was asked if I would be willing to talk about it in a video.... Uh what?! 
I did it. 
I figured it was just one more growing experience. The night we were to watch the video I wanted to run out of the room, I didn't want to see myself on video! Yet, the pastor and 2 good friends cornered me and refused to let me leave. The video turned out good, however you see things about yourself that you can't see in everyday life. For me I saw a lack of true confidence, which is something I have been praying about a lot lately. I thought I was somewhat confident before but I don't think I show it like I used to. Just another thing to work on. 

The last thing I did that week was let my sweet friend Hannah do my make-up. She did an amazing job! But then she wanted to take my picture... Ummmm what?! 
I let her. 
I am not a fan of myself, I see everything wrong with me in a picture and I just don't like it. Hannah did a great job with the picture, but I was still overly critical of myself. 

As I think about all of these recent experiences I tend to think that they are all Gods way of breaking me down so that He can build me up. I have noticed that when you pray for something, God will answer the prayer but it might not be in the easiest way. In fact things may get a whole lot harder before they get better. I know that doesn't sound very reassuring but in the end it is ALWAYS worth it. 

I have been studying Exodus for awhile now and that book is full of God taking the longest, hardest routes. All so that the people can see that it is Him who provides for them and so that the people can grow in Him and in their faith and in their character. He knows what He is doing and I trust that 100%. Seeing it played out over and over again in the Bible gives me that hope and understanding. When it's hard it's because God is doing a work in you. It's just our job to hang in there, to not turn away from him and to trust That "He has a plan to prosper you, not harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah  29:11)

Monday, March 9, 2015

Break my Heart

Over time I find myself more and more overwhelmed with thoughts, with sensitivities, with deep thoughts of wanting to be more and to do more. I suppose most would just say that is being a woman, however I don't think that is the case. I think it is being a CHRISTIAN. As you get deeper in your walk with God you are more sensitive to most everything. Your heart hurts for the things that hurts God's heart. I see so much corruption, so much bad in the world and I get overwhelmed with the need to help. Yet, I get stuck, I don't even know where to begin. I want to help the orphans, and the human trafficking, the widows, the single parents, the 27 million slaves, the abused children all over the world, the starving families, the homeless, the lost, the confused, and so many more. Every news story, documentary, every single horrible thing I see I have a deep need to help. But I have a family, a bubble, a comfort zone. My children are still very small so I realize that I can't go throw myself into the grit of it all right now, but there are still ways to help. A message I have been receiving over and over again lately is that God did not send us into this world to be safe and comfortable. He sent us so that we can get into the deep uncomfortable places, so that we can help those in need, to reform them, to comfort them, to love them and to lead them to the cross which is greater than any sin out there.

 
Here is my list of how to help... one step at a time..when you can't go on mission trips, when you can't get your feet as dirty as you would like, when you can't risk your life in the name of Jesus at this time (This may freak some of you out, but I would be beyond honored to die in the name of Jesus and if I could get out there in the front lines I absolutely would.).

1. One person at a time. You don't need to save the entire world (As much as I want to I have to remind myself of this daily).  It can start with ONE person. You can smile at a stranger, give that homeless man your last dollar, who cares what he does with it, give it with love and God will see your heart and your good intentions. Talk with a friend who is going through a hard time, Share the gospel with someone and then continue on their new path and adventure with them, don't just bring them to Jesus and then walk away. Every single day we encounter people who are so lost, who are wanting just 1 person to notice them, to care about them. You can be that person for them. Open your eyes, see the hurt in a friend or stranger and then figure out how to help them. We become so complacent in our everyday lives, we are like zombies, walking through life not seeing or caring about anyone but ourselves and our inner circle. Get over yourself, put your life in God's hands and let Him lead you. YOU will find so much more peace and wholeness in handing yourself over to God. I promise this!

2. Your children. I am a firm believer in raising children in church, our society is just getting worse and worse, the least we can do is raise our children with good morals and solid beliefs. Your children can grow up to be amazing disciples, they can be the world changers, the doers of the world if we just let them and train them up right. I pray that my children grow up to have a desire to change lives and that they meet amazing God loving men and (a) woman. Pray for your children every day and for their future friends and spouses. Be the person that you want your daughters to be and that you want your sons to marry. Show your children what it means to love each other and to love your neighbors and to love your God with all of your heart. In doing all of this you have multiplied yourself by 3(or however many kids you have) and in turn those 3 can go out and change thousands of other lives.

3. Your community. Look in your community and see what is lacking, what is struggling, what is the need? I live in a small town so sometimes I feel limited, and then I find out about some of the needs and I am surprised. We shouldn't be surprised that there are needs in our community no matter how small it is. You can likely go to any church in your city and find out about all of the ministries that have already been started. Start there, go volunteer where your heart feels led.

4. Global level. If you want to help on a bigger scale there are lots of campaigns, ministries, coalitions, councils, outreach programs and so on that you can look into online. You don't always JUST have to give money, there are several other ways to get involved. The one I am most passionate right now is the A21 Campaign. This campaign was started by Christine Caine (who I HIGHLY recommend youtubing and watching her videos) it is to abolish and bring awareness of human trafficking all across the world. This website http://www.a21.org/index.php tells you everything that you need to know and what I really love is that they give you 21 ways to help! If this is not your passion, that's ok I still encourage you to check out the website so that you can find other websites like it. When you decide where you want to help globally I also encourage you to do your research. For me, it has been a lot of researching human trafficking lately, filling myself with knowledge, statistics, and as painful as it is to read or watch the stories of some of these slaves.

Whatever you decide to do, do it with passion, do it with God's help, do it because it breaks your heart and you want to see a change. I know it is easy to get overwhelmed feeling like we are only 1 person, how can I possibly help? But if you don't do anything at all... you aren't helping anyway. And if you don't hand over what little you have to God, in order to help then you will never know how He could have used you. One person can do more then you would think. Please just do SOMETHING!
 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

New year.. Same me..

Happy new year everyone!! I know the last year flew by for me and probably for all of you! Why does it seem to go faster and faster every year?! 

Last year I did so much growing and learning! I would have to say that 2014 was an amazing year for me. 
I turned 30 which I was actually excited about! Jesus was 30 when he really started his ministry and not that you need a certain age to do ministry I just felt like I grew so much spiritually that I was finally ready to put myself out there more in ministry. 
I worked on my discipline a lot this year, staying rooted in the word, watching my mouth, controlling my thoughts, and changing things about myself that I didn't like. None of that stuff is easy at all but over time it gets easier and eventually the good over takes the bad naturally. 
I finally had a chance to act in complete obedience, acting out of 100% faith and it was so amazing! I can't even explain the feeling and the experience! 
I finally feel like I have a purpose in this world and something to look forward to, I have a true geniuine peace and happiness that can only be experienced through God. 
So what's on the agenda for this year? This year I plan to keep working on myself, to give more, love more, help more. There is so much that I want to do and learn and I feel like so little time. I have finally figured out my gifts {2 atleast, I can't imagine I have more then that!} so I will and have been using them in the ways that I can. 
I'm working on finding ways to contribute some money to our household and hoping to find a hobby that I'm passionate about in the meantime. I'm really wanting to go on a mission trip to Mexico this year with my church and I have been praying about how I can get fully involved in my church. I think I know what the answer is, I just need to dive in and do it. 
My ultimate goal is to be better this year then I was last year, that's all I can ever hope for. 
I hope you all have some great resolutions, dreams and goals and I hope that you go for them!