Thursday, November 29, 2012

Banner Years

Elevation Church has been celebrating all that God has done in the last six years that we've been in ministry and examining what has made each year a banner year in an effort to make the coming years banner years.  It's been a really fun and practical series. 

In the year 2008, Elevation did "cardboard testimonies".  Several people stood up on stage with their cardboard testimony.  Two weekends ago, we did this all over again.  I can't tell you what it was like in 2008, but I can tell you that it moved me to tears this time.
He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love.

Before I share my cardboard testimonies with you, take a look at this video

Pinned ImageI was me-first with my finances.  Now God's banner over me is financially stability through God-first with my finances.

I was sleeping with my boyfriend.  Now God's banner over me is restoration through salvation.

I was insecure.  Now God's banner over me is security and faith in Jesus.

I was consumed in the worlds view of me.  Now God's banner over me is an importance only in doing what He wants me to do.

What is God's banner over you?!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hey, It's Okay!

Whispering Writer has a series called "Hey, It's Okay". I loved it so much that I started doing it too

... to be so confused by everything that happened last week.

... to have to remove yourself from toxic relationships in an effort to grow and move forward with life.

... to be so thankful for my job, and the relationships that have stemmed from a little girl I met three years ago.

... to be missing my grandpa a lot lately.  He was the glue that was the holidays in our family.

... to not have any strength but the strength the Lord has given me.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Nehemiah and Me

"Do I still follow God's plan, even if it means I lose my relationship with my parents?"
"Is getting my Master's degree worth losing my relationship with my parents?"
"Can I spend Thanksgiving with you, because my parents don't want to see me."

Those were just a few of the text messages that I sent Tuesday evening to close friends of mine.  I laid awake this past Tuesday debating on the worth of pursing God's call on my life. 
I did some research on Bible characters that refused to give up.  I came across Nehemiah.  He is quite a great man of God.  He was a cup-bearer for the king, (meaning he tested the drink before the king drank out of it), was a trusted man of the king and was a trusted advisor.  He fasted and prayed for help when hearing the news about Jerusalem.  He left his job to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple.  Despite constant attacks by enemies, Nehemiah led the rebuilding of the walls in 52 days!
I skimmed the book of Nehemiah.  It's a long stretch, but I'm able to relate to Nehemiah in this moment of my life.  I've fasted and prayed for God to reveal a plan for my life.  He revealed it.  I've made arrangements to fulfill this plan.  And despite constant ridicule, hurtful words and attacks by those who are close to me, I will do what God has called me to do.
... But I prayed, "Now strengthen my hands."
Nehemiah 6:9b
There is no way that I will be able to accomplish all that I plan to accomplish without God's strength inside of me. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Fixing the Funk...

Quick Re-Cap: I haven't written much lately because I've been in a funk. Back story on the funk - I'm going to pursue going to seminary after graduating this summer. I asked my parents if I could live with them to save for grad school. They said I could pay them one dollar less than I pay in rent. Trying to fix our problems, I was explaining/defending/believing in a dream of mine to find out on twitter that I'd been passed up for the opportunity once again. Thus began the funk where I didn't pray or read my Bible for three weeks because I was mad at God for leading me down a dead end path.

One day, I realized that a few days of the funk had turned into a few weeks.  I hadn't prayed or read my Bible in three weeks.  I had let a few days of resentment toward God turn into a few weeks.  That was dangerous!  I was trying to keep a good Christian girl facade.  But, on the inside, everything was falling apart.  I didn't know who to turn to.  I couldn't tell anyone of what was going on because of this good Christian girl facade I had going on.  I cried in my car.  I cried in bed.  I cried when my roommate wasn't home.  I didn't want to do my homework, because being a Religion major means studying all there is to study about God.  Kind of hard to be a Religion major and be mad at God.

Pinned ImageAfter acknowledging that what I had slumped into was not okay, I began to cry out to God.  On my knees, calling out to him with tears streaming down my face.  I needed Him.  He hadn't left me though, I walked away from Him.  I couldn't go on another moment without acknowledging that I'd messed up and needed to get back to where He was.

I dove into my Bible.  I earnestly seek His Word every morning and pray continually.  I've been listening to old sermons at every moment.  I need to live and breathe His word.

So, in a funk?  You are spiritually choking.  Give yourself a good gut check.  Get back into the Bible.  Seek His counsel.  Acknowledge His goodness and kindness and accept His forgiveness.  I hope my openness this week has been able to guide you to a deeper love for our God.  We are human, and we make mistakes.  But, He loves us and He won't leave us.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

How Deep it Got

Quick Re-Cap: I haven't written much lately because I've been in a funk.  Back story on the funk - I'm going to pursue going to seminary after graduating this summer.  I asked my parents if I could live with them to save for grad school.  They said I could pay them one dollar less than I pay in rent.  Trying to fix our problems, I was explaining/defending/believing in a dream of mine to find out on twitter that I'd been passed up for the opportunity once again.  Thus began the funk...

It was unimaginably hard to read on twitter that I'd been passed up once again for an amazing opportunity that I dream of, not be able to tell my mom that I'd been passed up once again, and have to continue defending God's plan for my life.  God gave me a vision for my life three years ago, that I continue to pursue despite constant rejection. 

I just wanted to scream off of the rooftops - GOD!!??? What do you keep doing this to me?

Pinned ImageI could be alone on this.  I could be making a fool of myself by posting this on the internet.  But, I was mad at God.  I was hurt.  How could He keep leading me down dead end roads?  What did I do to deserve this?  I was a faithful servant.  I tithe over 20% to my church, I serve every weekend - rain or shine, holiday or not, I read my Bible daily, I pray continually.  Was I not doing everything right?!  How could He keep leading me down dead end roads?

I was a mess.  I didn't read my Bible for about three weeks.  I wasn't praying.  I was legitimately mad at God.  He hurt me.

Then one day, when I realized a few days had turned into a few weeks, I got a rude awakening.  I let the devil win.  I felt God lead me down a path, I was obedient but it turned out to be a dead end, and I got mad at God.  I didn't trust His plan.  I turned away in a rage.  I let the devil win.

Am I alone?  Have you ever let the devil win?  Have you ever felt the only way to fix a problem was to turn away from God? 

And, today, I'm linking up with Pour Your Heart Out with things I can't say... Because sometimes there are just somethings you can't say outloud but need to be said.

Thank you for stopping  by!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Where it Began... Pt. 2

Quick Re-Cap -  I haven't written much lately because I've been in a funk.  Yesterday, I posted a back story on the funk by explaining that I'm going to pursue going to seminary after graduating this summer.

I don't ask for much.  I got a job at fifteen to help my parents.  I bought my own clothes, paid for my phone and helped them in whatever way possible.  I moved out of my parents house two months after turning nineteen to the big city of Charlotte into a one bedroom apartment.  I've struggled to support myself since I moved out almost four years ago.  I've never gone without, but I've lived a pretty lean life. 

Recently, my parents went under contract on a house.  The house was going to have four bedrooms for my parents and my youngest brother.  As I was figuring out the logistics of getting my Master's degree and the financial debt I'd be in, I began to stress a bit.  Being the overly independent woman that I am, asking for help is humiliating.  But, I've managed to live on my own for {nearly} four years and am still debt free.  Quite an accomplishment, right?  I'd have to "throw that away" to get my Master's.  For weeks, I debated asking my parents if I could move in with them when they moved into their house.

I'd joked around about the whole moving in with them thing.  I was having dinner with them one evening and wanted to make it more concrete.  With knots in my stomach, I struck up the courage to ask them.  The conversation went a little something like this... "So, I'm looking into getting my Master's degree after graduation.  It's going to cost a lot of money.  What do you think about me moving in when you move into your house?"  My mom, dead serious, asked me how much I paid in rent now.  I told her.  She said I could pay one dollar less.  For the next few hours, we argued about this. 

I went home irate.  My parents had to know how independent I am.  They had to know how much it took out of me to ask them if I could loose all of my independence and move back home after {nearly} four years of living under my own roof.  For them to tell me that they were unwilling to support this bold endeavour without a rent check from me hurt more than anything.

For a month, I didn't talk to them.  I didn't call.  I didn't text.  I ignored their calls.  I ignored their texts.  I was stepping out and making one of the boldest decisions in my life.  I wasn't asking them for money.  I was asking if they could allow me to have an extra bedroom in their grandiose house.  Four weeks into not talking to my parents, I began trying to figure out how we could move past this.  I woke up one Sunday to the most hurtful email from my mom, telling me how selfish I was to ask them and explaining how much they already do for me without appreciation from me.

Pinned ImageOne thing led to another, and we ended up "talking".  I yelled. I cried.  It could be said that we "fixed" everything.  While I am pouring my heart out to my mom, about a dream that I have for my life, a dream which she continually tells me will never happen, I was looking on twitter.  The dream that I had, the dream that I was defending, the dream that I was believing God to fulfill, had once again been shot down.  I couldn't tell my mom that once again I'd been passed up for this dream of mine.

Thus began the funk...  

Tomorrow, how deep the funk got...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Where it Began... Pt. 1

Pinned ImageWhen I was younger, getting my Master's degree was always one of those unachievable dreams that I had for myself.  As high school ended, I gave up the dreams of a four year university for reasons that I won't explain.  I graduated high school, went to a community college and began to settle with the reality of a two year associates degree being all that I'd obtain.  Three years into community college, I'd changed my major twice and was beginning to realize that God had greater plans for my life.  Two classes away from graduation, walking across the stage of a not so notable college with an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education, God put the breaks on my plans.  God was calling me to something greater.  I took a semester off of classes and soul searched.  I applied and was accepted to Liberty University.  I began pursuing my Bachelor's in Religion.  God's hand has been all over this situation, as all of my credits transferred and any unrelated classes are counted as electives!

Now, I am 15 classes (2 semesters) away from graduating with my Bachelor's in Religion from Liberty University.  My childhood dreams of getting my Master's degree is becoming an attainable reality.  I've been praying through what this looks like in my life.  What do I study?  Where do I go?  Is the cost worth it?

What do I study?  Ideally, I'd like to study Children's Ministry.  Researching schools, this program isn't as common as I would have thought.  I'm looking into Master's in Divinity or Theology or Christian Leadership.  I've got to figure out what you do with those degrees, but they all sound so exciting and pretty legit.  Where do I go?  I don't know yet.  There are a few local schools that I've looked into.  They don't have the Children's Ministry program, but they have one or more of the other three.  Is the cost worth it?  Yes. Yes. Yes! God is calling me to this. This is a part of God's greater plan for my life.  So, yes!  The cost is worth it because God is going to do something great in and through me with this. 

Tomorrow, will be part tw of "Where it Began..."  A little preview?  It began when I asked my parents if I could live with them to save some money.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Pinned ImageReaders, I've missed writing to you.  I haven't had much to say.  I've been feeling as if things weren't going my way and I was allowing that to get me in a funk.  I haven't had anything super encouraging or uplifting to right to you.  And, when I went public with this blog, I promised myself that it would always be one that encouraged people.  There is too much negativity in the world. 

I believe that if you earnestly seek God in your every day life and live as close to Him as possible, the devil will come after you.  You will struggle.  Life will have some difficult moments.  I'm not going to sugar coat that one bit. 

As I reflect on my lack of writing to you and accept that seeking God in every day moments will attract the devil, I realize that I can't not write to you through this funk that I'm in.  I need to share these moments with you.  They may be dark and grim to me, but they have the ability to encourage or help you.

So, this is just the introduction.  This week, I will share with you what led me to the funk I'm in, how deep my funk got, and what I'm doing to get back on the sunny side.  It'll be a week worth of posts that I hope will encourage you and get me remember why I love writing.