#TrendingTuesday | #AprilFools

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Happy April Fools Eve!

I remember one April Fool’s a friend came to me crying and told me her and her boyfriend broke up.

“Haha, April Fools, real funny,” my response.

“No, I’m serious.”

*Silence.*

Ever since then, April Fool’s Day has kind of made me a tad nervous.

I know you are all having a massive brainstorm today trying to come up with the best April Fool’s Day prank to pull tomorrow.

But do you even know why you’re pranking?

Why don’t you take a little break? Maybe the history of April Fools will inspire you a little…

And to all you pranksters out there, you better be ready to not only dish it out but receive it tomorrow.

And please, if you want to break up with your significant other, pick a different day.

A Friendly Weekend Trip

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9 Things a True Friend Would Never Do to You

I heard it was hard to find deep friendships with other couples, especially as newly weds. But, like many things in life, you don’t fully understand something until you live it.

Hubs and I have quickly learned that just because two people are merging together does not mean their friend groups will. Just because you get along with your closest friend and their significant other doesn’t mean your spouse will. Friendships are harder when all four people need to click. And differences in seasons of life make friendships hard because lack of understanding is a hurdle, if not a road block, in friendships. I’m not saying we can’t be friends if we’re in different seasons of life, I’m just saying these friendships tend to lack a certain depth.

Me and hubs didn’t know how much we longed for deep friendship until we got to experience one this weekend.

We took a spontaneous hour and a half road trip to spend some time with a dear college newly wed friend of both of ours and his wife (who we were acquaintances with but never really had much time to really get to know). We sat around the dinner table with them and lingered (thanks to the restaurant being packed causing a major back up in the kitchen). We were brutally honest and open about marriage, struggles, fears, joys, and celebrations. It was raw. We laid it all out there and we’re still lived in this safe place. It was real. It was life giving. It was encouraging. It was genuine. It is the type of relationship our souls were made for. We didn’t care how late it was getting for our drive back, this time was too sweet to rush.

Today, my lack of sleep makes me tired but I am more rested than I have been in quite some time.

And today I pray for more times like these, for more friendships like these. I know to have these types of friendships I have to be this kind of friend. It takes intentionality.

I pray these things not just for me, but for you. I pray you have friends who are in your season to walk beside you, friends who have gone this season before you to help guide you, and friends in seasons you’ve weathered for you to encourage.

Don’t be fooled by the lie that you don’t need anyone and nobody needs you.

A Song for Your Saturday

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Sometimes we get lost in our own lives, so much going on right in front of us that we forget the bigger picture. As you listen to this song today, I pray your perspective is shifted outward and upward; you get a bird’s eye view rather than a microscopic focus on life. May you be awed by God’s sovereignty over your life. May you be assured that He hasn’t forgotten you and His plan has not been thwarted. No one or no thing can mess up God’s plan for your life. May you rest in the shelter of His promises, because if you know Him as Lord and Savior these promises are true, and they are for you.

For those of you who enjoy full band versions…

For those of you who enjoy acoustic versions…

Featured Friday

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“In 1952, Florence Chadwick stepped into the waters of the Pacific Ocean off Catalina Island, California, determined to swim to the mainland. An experienced swimmer, she had already been the first woman to swim the English Channel both ways.

The weather that day was foggy and chilly; Florence could hardly see the boats accompanying her. Still, she swam steadily for fifteen hours. When she begged to be taken out of the water along the way, her mother, in a boat alongside, told her that she was close and that she could make it.

Finally, physically and emotionally exhausted, Florence stopped swimming and was pulled out. It wasn’t until she was aboard the boat that she discovered the shore was less than half a mile away. At a news conference the next day, she said, ‘All I could see was the fog…I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.’

As you face discouragement, difficulty, or fatigue, or as you are surrounded by the fog of uncertain circumstances, are you thinking, if only I could see the shore, I could make it?

Set your sights on Jesus Christ, the Rock of salvation. He is the one who has promised to prepare a place for those who put their home in Him, a place where they will live with Him forever. If we can learn to fix our eyes on Jesus, to see through the fog and picture our eternal home in our mind’s eye, it will comfort and energize us, giving us a clear look at the finish line.

When the apostle Paul faced hardship, beatings, and imprisonment, he said, ‘One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).
What gave Paul the strength and perspective to ‘press on toward the goal’? A clear view of Heaven. He wanted to ‘win the prize’ that awaited him in Heaven, and he knew that God had ‘called [him] heavenward in Christ Jesus.’

…No matter how tough life becomes, if you can see the shore and draw your strength from Christ, you’ll make it.”

-An excerpt from “50 Days of Heaven: Reflections That Bring Eternity to Light,” by Randy Alcorn.

Photo Cred

Spring Has Sprung

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It’s spring.

Not just in nature but in my life.

A new beginning.

After a year (which at times has felt like a century) of asking where The Lord wants me, after pleading for a job/different job, I am joyful to announce I will be serving as the Worship Ministry Administrative Assistant at a church near our home as of Monday!

It is crazy how when you finally get the thing you’ve been wanting for so long, sometimes you question if you actually deserve it, want it, or if it’s even for real.

There’s a mixture of excitement, disbelief, gratitude, hope, joy, sadness and a little fear stirring in my heart.

I’m excited for something new. New ways to use my gifts to serve others, new people, new lessons, a new office. I’m excited to finally have a (somewhat) consistent work schedule and get into an actual routine for the first time since I’ve been married. I’m excited to get to work somewhere close to home. I’m excited to serve in a church! I’m excited because me and hubs decided that if I got this job we would go to the Mat Kearney concert . We bought the tickets last night!

I’m in disbelief because I don’t deserve this job. In my disappointment I became bitter. I felt like God had forgotten me (even though He hadn’t). I sought understanding over seeking The Lord. For a long time I sought what He wanted me to do more than Himself. “Lord, I hear so many stories of people randomly and suddenly getting jobs. I hear stories of how people network for people they know. Why aren’t You doing that for me?!” And being gracious, He proved me wrong. He reminded me not to doubt Him. He humbled me. In His sense of humor, this is exactly how this job came about. The pastor at the church I will be working at is a college friend’s dad. Her mom was the one who told me about the position. I’m in disbelief over God’s perfect timing and provision. When we decided to move two months ago, I never would have guessed this is where God would place me. I never really thought I would work at a church.

I’m full of gratitude for this position. For the lady who told me about it. For all of the people who have prayed for me during this time and have rejoiced with me today. For all the experiences I have had that prepared me for this position. For all the other potential employers who did not hire me. For this humbling season of discouragement.

I’m full of hope because “for in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?” I hoped for something I didn’t see, something I didn’t have, and God was faithful. I don’t see Heaven yet, but I’m hopeful for it because I know He will be faithful still.

I am full of joy because I know circumstances can’t steal my or give me joy. Sometimes my joy may be hidden, or confused with happiness, but my joy comes from The Lord and He is constant.

I am sad because a new beginning always means an ending. I’ve been working at a local bakery since September. And let me tell you, this isn’t your normal bakery. We are busy constantly. Bakeries are different than restaurants, I know because I’ve worked in both. Crabby customers come to restaurants because their hungry, celebrating customers come to bakeries. When you work at a bakery you aren’t just selling a cake, you’re selling a celebration. “I’m buying this for my mail man.” “This is for my garbage man.” “This is for the lady who waits on me at Wendy’s.” These customers reminded me of the good in people. But it wasn’t always sunshine and roses with the customers, especially on days when your patience was running thin. This job taught me how to respond kindly even when internally I was about to explode. This job taught me more about going out of my way to serve others. This job gave me a beautiful picture of managers and owners who truly care more about their employees than their profit. This job taught me how to interact with and love people that are very different than me. This job helped me to be positive when others were negative. This job helped me practice how to handle gossip. This job taught me that mundane tasks like making boxes and cutting stickers have purpose. This job humbled me. And this job has made me gain a few pounds (excited lose those!)

I am fearful because the process of change isn’t my favorite thing. I am fearful because there’s always the learning curve, and we learn best when we make mistakes, but nobody likes to make those. And perfection is my enemy. I am fearful because the lady who held the position before me is AWESOME! Will others be open to the change of me? I am fearful because I want this job to work out, I really want to enjoy it, especially after jobs that have sucked the life out of me and a long season of disappointment and searching. I am afraid that I will gravitate towards finding my identity in my job, something The Lord has really been convicting me over the past two years not to do. I am fearful because what if this doesn’t work out? Then what? I am fearful of the unknown. I am fearful because on the same day I got an interview for this job, I got an acceptance letter to an alternative teacher certification program. This timing was confusing, yet I didn’t have a peace about the program after I applied weeks before. And peace flooded in when I got the call about this job. So I choose to walk in faith. Fears fade into faith.

It’s spring.

Another time to bloom where The Gardener has planted me.

This season will change, as it changes me.

What About You Wednesday | Elizabeth

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Today we welcome Elizabeth to the blog.

Let’s step into her season…

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Describe the season you currently find yourself in.

Life has been a blur, more specifically, these past two months. I had two part time jobs, three different church commitments, and friends and family to keep up with. I honestly couldn’t tell you how many times, if ever, in these last two months that I’ve gotten on my knees before my Father. I spent all of my free time sleeping and still didn’t get enough. That’s what happens when you lose sight of how big God really is and become self righteous. It’s been about a week since I quit both part-time jobs and have became a teacher’s assistant at a small private school. I am hoping that this allows me to have healthier relationships with my family and grow my desire, longing, and need for my Savior. I currently feel very apathetic towards my faith, confused, on overload with life, and unsatisfied with everything in my path.

What is God teaching you/revealing to you during this season?

I have terrible self motivation – but God

I am a horrible friend – but God

I constantly fail myself and others around me – but God

I run to the lusts of my flesh for satisfaction – but God

I find joy in gossip – but God

I find my identity in the world’s view of me – but God

He is teaching me that, alone, I am a COMPLETE failure. NOTHING about me is good or capable….until Christ and ONLY because of Christ am I of any worth. I’m learning the joy and beauty of relying on a perfect God to lead and love me. Trying to walk in line with what He has made and adopted me to be.

How have you/are you changing during this season?

Since it’s really only been a week, my heart is very much still in overload. Honestly I haven’t really changed much. I have become more concerned with my apathy and more aware of my need for rest, but I’m still relying on my morals and good ethics. I have been honest with the people in my community with the hopes of good accountability and for affections to be stirred.

What encouragement would you like to share with someone who is in a similar season?

Plead with the Spirit to MAKE YOUR HEART BELIEVE. Sometimes when our mind knows it, but our hearts aren’t listening, it’s hard to put any of those truths we know into action.

“…be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like” (James 1:22-24). Plead with your Heavenly Father on a daily basis to grow your desire. Be specific, He can handle it. Remember that God doesn’t like you better because of the good things you do. He is just as pleased with you in this very moment as He would be if you were doing the complete opposite. His view of you cannot be swayed in either direction based on any of your actions. Rest in that, brother/sister.

A Prayer for Elizabeth

Heavenly Father,

We are a mess, but You make beauty of our mess. Thank You for Elizabeth. Thank You for the season You have her in. Thank You that You are aware of her and with her in this season. Thank You for her vulnerability and honesty. Thank You that You are using this season to bring her closer to You (even though she doesn’t feel like it), to remind her of her constant need for You. Thank You, Jehovah Jireh, for the job You have provided for Elizabeth. Thank You for her gifts, talents, and passions, some which she is getting to utilize in this season, and others You are saving for other seasons. Thank You for loving Elizabeth enough to convict her and reveal to her the sin in her life. Thank You for Your blood which covers her sin. Thank You for Your grace that has saved and sustains her. Father, restore to her the joy of Your salvation and grant her a willing spirit, to sustain her. May the gospel fall fresh upon her. Even when her situation does not change, change her. May she be satisfied in You alone. May her dissatisfaction with this world stir her longing for Home. May You lift her eyes from the mess of this world and fix her eyes upon things above. Teach her the difference between sleep and rest, and give her time for both. May she not try to remove herself from apathy on her own, but may she fall on You to lift her. Continue to surround her with community who will encourage, challenge, and spur her on during this season. May her heart not become bitter when she does not understand. May she choose You above understanding. Show her who You are, correct her view of You. May she rest in who You are. Amen.