Monday, October 29, 2012

The Unknown

I have spent my entire life in the Tampa Bay area. I grew up in Seminole and went to college in Tampa. Which means, certain things have become the norm and a way of life... like family nearby, Publix, 80 degree Christmases, beach sunsets, snow birds, flip flops almost year round, Pinellas County parks, and much more.

All of that is about to change and I don't know quite how I feel about it.

At the beginning of this year, my husband and I went through training and joined full-time staff with Campus Crusade for Christ's athletic ministry, Athletes in Action. Following training was a season of raising our financial support, as missionaries. During our training, I would have told you how scary that seemed and there didn't appear to be a light at the end of the tunnel. The end of the tunnel, which I have been so eager to reach since February, is Rutgers University in New Jersey! Now, the light is growing in brightness as we are quickly approaching our goal with financial support! Sounds exciting, right?

Well, yes, it is VERY exciting! I cannot wait to begin ministering to student athletes full-time! But, the day to day life change is becoming a reality. My winter's will no longer begin in January, fall will no longer be an extension of summer, grocery shopping will not consist of BOGO deals at Publix, my family won't be just a short drive away, flip flops won't be my year round footwear, snow will be expected (no longer a dream), and people around me will sound different (New Jersey accents!). Again, I am very very excited to step into this next phase... but so much will be changing! I'm actually struggling to grasp it all.

With all of that change and looking ahead to much of the unknown, there are things that will remain the same (whew!). My husband and I will continue to love each other and seek to glorify God as a married couple. My relationships and friendships, although distance will grow, thanks to technology the communication shouldn't! And most importantly, my God will not change. "For I the LORD do not change" 
- Malachi 3:6 I can always count on Him, because He is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore! For that, I am so very grateful. I am thrilled to know that there will be consistency in the chaos, and familiarity in the unknown that lies ahead for me. My intimate relationship with God is not in jeopardy because of my location... 


"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." - Hebrews 13:8

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


This past weekend was one of the most refreshing weekends I have had in a long time! Saturday, Tyler and I spent the majority of our afternoon at the park, sprawled out on a handmade quilt. We enjoyed peaceful surroundings, cool fall air, and time together & with the Lord, and good books.

It was rejuvenating for me, to simply be outdoors! But to also get to spend that time with the two loves of my life... my Savior and my husband was simply marvelous. God wooed my heart, as He regularly does through His Word and the book I am currently reading, Gospel by JD Greear. Later that evening, we took out my mom and step-dad for a lovely dinner as a thank you, since they have let us live rent free this year! We spent our time over dinner laughing and making memories as a family. Sunday, was another beautiful day that we enjoyed together doing more "everyday" things, like grocery shopping and movie watching. As I reflect back on this past weekend, I am encouraged by how refreshed I felt. It was a combination of many things.... the weather, the events, and the people. I want to say, I wish every weekend was like that, but if they were, I wouldn't treasure them nearly as much.

How do you spend your weekends? Have you experienced a time of refreshment lately (a day, weekend, week, month)? What refreshes your soul?

"My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places." - Isaiah 32:18

Friday, October 19, 2012

Before the Future

Have you ever felt like God ordained opportunities are escaping you? Like, if you don't act now, they may soon be out of reach?

I was catching up with a friend recently and our conversation got me thinking.... she is currently engaged in a group setting that she will soon leave. She sees the importance of grooming others to take over once she's gone, but her time leading is not yet over and she's currently being slightly robbed of her opportunity! My immediate thoughts are, it's because of the eagerness of others that she is being robbed of her leadership opportunities. That eagerness is not all bad, for it is their eagerness that is pushing them to step up and willing to be the future leaders. However, their time is not now, but it will come. While they are all together there is such a unique time of growth and development, for everyone!

Where would you fit into this scenario? Are you being robbed of your leadership opportunities? If this is you, set appropriate boundaries and remember that you still have the chance to lead. In fact, not only do you have the chance to lead the group, you have the chance to lead and teach the future leaders. They need your help! Or, are you not taking the time to learn the ropes from an experienced leader while you have the chance? My advice is to step back and let those who have the experience lead. Learn from their example and allow them to develop you into the leader you're destined to be! Your time will come... your dreams and opportunities are not escaping you. Trust in God's timing and give others the opportunity to lead as well.

"Listen to advice and accept instruction,  that you may gain wisdom in the future." - Proverbs 19:20

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Quiet Time

When I first became a Christian, I was introduced to this thing, often referred to as, a "quiet time" -- a time to be still with the Lord. Jesus modeled this "quiet time" while he was here on earth. What happens during this quiet time, or devotional time? Well, there are many options! Keeping a journal of prayers, reading the Bible, praying, worshipping, fasting, reading a Biblically sound book, memorizing Scripture, and/or studying Scripture extensively are some of the possibilities. Whatever connects you to God.

For me, I enjoy journaling. It helps keep me on track and gives me the opportunity to go back and look at how God has answered prayers and grown me. I also enjoy reading, studying, and memorizing Scripture -- either straight from the Word or with the use of devotionals to help guide me. In the background, I often like to play worship music as I spend time with the Lord. Worship music is probably that one thing for me that connects me to God, like nothing else. And I once had a friend suggest differentiating worship music that was Christ centered versus "me" centered. When I'm seeking to align my heart with God's and worship Him, I try to look for the "Cross-centered" music. I will sometimes find myself caught up in song, tears flowing down my cheeks, hands lifted high or face on the floor, in complete awe of the God of the Universe!

Have you had this "quiet time" lately? If not, I challenge you to begin today! What's keeping you from it? What connects you with God? Is it music, reading, praying? God desires to connect with you, daily and deeply. Sit down with Him and enjoy the intimacy!

"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." - Mark 1:35

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Jehovah Jireh

Are you waiting expectantly for God to provide? Maybe you're waiting for finances, a relationship, reconciliation, transportation, pregnancy, a job, or healing.

I am currently waiting on God to provide, majorly, in the area of finances. My husband and I are missionaries, currently in the phase of raising our financial support before we report to New Jersey to serve with Athletes in Action. I recently came across this passage in Joel and was brought to a place of remembrance...

"Be glad, people of Zion rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given you the autumn rains because he is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before. The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil."
- Joel 2:23-24

God has provided before, in many different ways, for many different needs, and He will provide again. His timing will be perfect, in order to receive the glory He deserves!

Trust Him for your every need. He will show up exactly when is best. God is never late. And because He is Provider, He cannot fail to provide! He is Jehovah Jireh!!

"So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul then I will send rainon your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil." 
- Deuteronomy 11:14

"Let us acknowledge the Lordlet us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” 
- Hosea 6:3

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Problem with Sport as Religion

A friend recently posted a rant on Facebook about not being able to purchase beer before noon on a Sunday, to go with his football plans. Several comments were made on the post and one said, "Football itself is a religion in this part of the country [the south]. What happened to freedom of religion?" This got me thinking....

Who or what do you worship? I have heard it said that sporting events are simply stadiums full of worshipers. Is this you? Do you worship sport? Maybe you are a spectator or maybe you're a player, or perhaps you're a parent or coach. Do you worship sport... the game, a team, the players, the trophy, or the "W"?

God warns us against worshipping anything other than Him. To many, that may sound restricting; just another one of Christianity's rules. But, God desires for us to worship Him alone, not just because He is the only One to deserve it or because He enjoys putting rules over us, but because He knows that worshipping anything/anyone else will eventually disappoint us and leave us dissatisfied.

"You shall have no other gods before me." - Exodus 20:3

"Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things." - Romans 1:22-23

"Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry." - 1 Corinthians 10:14

Think about it. EVERYTHING, besides God, will fail us. A player whose top priority is playing time, will always be let down, especially if an injury ever occurs. A coach will likely never have a perfect season, let alone career. A parent (of a player) will see that there is an end to their players playing time. Referees will never call every penalty perfectly. A fan will be disappointed whenever their favorite team doesn't come out on top. In the athletic world, injuries happen, teams lose, coaches disappoint, parents don't show, even the championships fade....

I'd encourage you to take a look at your heart. Is sport, or maybe something different for you (a dating relationship, career/school, possessions, etc.) higher ranked than God? Are you worshipping something that will ultimately fail you or even shatter? Trust, worship, and love God. He will never fail you!

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might." - Deuteronomy 6:5

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October Inspired

October seems to be a popular month. While it has a very different feeling than January, which often brings a feeling of freshness and newness, October seems to be inspiring people. I've heard radio talk about working out to get fit in preparation for the holidays. I've seen Instagram photo challenges to celebrate the month of October. I've seen blog posts about de-cluttering and refocusing. It just seems to be a popular month....

How am I feeling inspired this month? Well, thank you for asking! I, too, like my favorite radio personality Jayar, am feeling the daunting deliciousness that lies ahead with pumpkin baked goodies and Christmas cookies. So, I am continuing to push through more Insanity workouts than what is prescribed. It's very much a love/hate relationship I have with Shaun T. and his Insanity workouts!

I also am feeling motivated to read more. Over the last 40 days or so, I have gotten into a better habit of reading the Bible everyday -- which sustains me and fills me with the Truth I need to guide me through. But I've noticed that I tend to be more inclined to watch an episode of Gossip Girl or Grey's Anatomy than I am to pick up The Circle Maker, which I have been "trying to finish" for what seems like months now. That needs to change. I definitely enjoy relaxing and watching TV because it's mindless, I can just simply relax. But, I am not growing or learning as I veg out on the couch. With Shannon Ethridge, one of my favorite authors, coming out with a new book this month, I have decided to aim to read at least one book each month. At this point, it looks like a scary goal (since I've literally been working on reading The Circle Maker since August?) but I'm looking forward to all that these unread books have to offer!

And lastly, I feel motivated to pray through, to trust God, and to expect miracles! Tyler and I are in need of the last 19% of our financial funding, for our ministry. We're asking, hoping, trusting, and believing God to finish up our support, and get us moved up to New Jersey within the month of October so we can begin serving in full-time ministry up at Rutgers University. It'll likely be more of the same roller coaster we've been on during this process, since February, but we know that God provides!

How are you feeling inspired this October? Do you have any goals, dreams, or aspirations you can shoot for this month? Don't delay! 

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ." - Colossians 3:23-24 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Happy, Holy, or Both?

This past Sunday, my pastor preached on World View vs. Word View. It was a very well spoken message! There were several points that jumped out at me. One was the world view of "hedonism" which is "pleasure is god." This jumped out at me because I often run into this world view today, especially on the college campus!

I often hear people say, "God wants me to be happy. He wouldn't have put this [person, situation, etc.] in my life if that wasn't what He wanted for me!" Well, how can you be so sure? Our enemy, Satan, disguises himself as an angel of light. So, what is tempting us looks shiny and "right" but is it really? Stop asking yourself, "will it work?" and ask yourself, "is this right?" because there is a big difference! "and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord." 

- Ephesians 5:10

Another common argument is, "I'll just do this now, and get back on track later. I'm not ready now." or "This is the time of my life I want to have fun and live it up! God will be there when I'm done." The temptation of sin is so heavy that holiness is no longer the focus, but pleasure is. "You’re addicted to thrills? What an empty life! The pursuit of pleasure is never satisfied." - Proverbs 21:17 Beckah Shae hits on this point in her song Supernova"We all know what it's like to live the nightlife, mixin' wrong with right leads to nothing but a dead life." God will indeed be there when your time of sowing wild oats is over, but your consequences will be very present. We don't think about the possibility of falling into the wrong crowd, finding ourselves so severely under the influence that we don't remember important details, or being lured into seemingly romantic yet promiscuous situations that could end with disease, a baby or simply a broken heart. All of those things come with their own set of consequences that may last an entire lifetime. Is it worth "living it up" now to pay for it all later? "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life." 

- Galatians 6:7-8

Jesus teaches us that there's nothing wrong with happiness, but happiness can't be the end goal. "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." - Matthew 5:10 That world "blessed" = happy. Persecuted people don't feel good, but they do it for righteousness' sake. Happiness is always a byproduct of living out the purpose that God has called you to live. They're happy because they are holy. And that is what God wants for all of us, above all else, holiness! The feeling of happiness is temporary, but the joy of the Lord lasts forever. And when you are walking in righteousness with integrity, that joy will be overflowing and much more meaningful than any moment of happiness the world can offer.

"By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin." 

- Hebrews 11:24-25