What About You Wednesday | Brittney

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Today we welcome Brittney to the blog! Let’s step into her season…

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Describe the season you currently find yourself in.

“The only phrase that seems to suffice the past two years and where I currently am is “The Assurance of Christ within the Change”. Of course a season and attitude of change is a constant and very necessary thing, but what I didn’t expect was that it would be so painfully beautiful. I began full blown vocational ministry right out of college, and through many joys and trials I have seen God move in crazy ways in the lives of myself and my faith family. From grieving hurts that come along with the progress of immense change in a church body, to seeing God have to remove people from positions to deal with sins or simply because He has another plan for them, the Lord has shown me so much about finding my assurance in Him.”

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

“It has been a long process in seeing what God has been teaching me in this season. Mainly because of my stubbornness. I don’t know if others do this, but this past couple of years, it felt like I just needed to keep my head above water. “Don’t sink Brittney, you have to keep going even when the waters around you seem to be crashing everywhere.” This was the mindset for a while and it was exhausting. The sweetness of God and His consistent character is that He doesn’t stop pursuing us and He deals with us with so much patience. In the book, “A Dangerous Calling,” Paul David Tripp sums up exactly what God has been revealing and teaching me during this season. “Either you will be getting your identity vertically, from who you are in Christ, or you will be shopping for it horizontally in the situations, experiences, and relationships of your daily life.” and “If you are not requiring yourself to get your deepest sense of well-being vertically, you will shop for it horizontally, and you will always come up empty.” I quickly became weary due to this “horizontal search for identity” and I finally recognized because the idol I had made to replace the perfect Savior was hope in myself and hope in other people. I found assurance in people’s approval, assurance in my morality, and assurance in my abilities, when all the while Christ was patiently guiding me to assurance in Himself.”

How have you/are you changing during this season?

“God has been moving me from the fracturing assurance in self to abiding in the joy-filled assurance of Christ. Even though I knew Christ was who I needed to abide in, I definitely wasn’t living out or understanding John 15:5 – “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, it is he who will bear much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” God has shown me that the gospel frees me to obey and serve Him because He has first accepted me. My obedience and service is not a way to earn His acceptance. The way of working hard to keep my head above water, performing well, not screwing up, and gaining people’s approval is NOT the gospel. Honestly it’s pride. God has been breaking down that pride, making me dependent upon Him by allowing me to walk through a season of change filled with fear to make me realize that Christ is my only assurance. He is the only one who brings joy, peace, endurance and to the fact that I need Him in all I do. That seems like a “DUH” moment, but it’s huge. I am not sufficient! Brittney isn’t capable of holding her head above water. In the past two years I have felt like Peter in the passage in Matthew when he went to go meet Jesus by walking on water but was so quick to take his eyes off of Jesus, became afraid, and quickly began to sink. But in Christ’s sweet sweet grace He has reached out, caught me and spoke softly, “You of little faith” and then carried me in His security to show me truly who He is. That He is able and I am not. That He loves me enough to give me the strength and capability, things I sought in people who were incapable of supplying those things (myself included), to continue in what He has called me to do.”

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

“God cares about His people and He is a God of compassion. The idols we make out of people or our own abilities can never give you the assurance you desire or need. Only in Jesus and the giving of the Holy Spirit are we able to find assurance, strength, love, acceptance and joy within difficult situations. God is a good Father who never stops changing us into the image of His son. Let us all find sweet assurance in Him above all other tempting and sweetly-false things through every season of change.”

A Prayer for Brittney

Constant Father,

Thank You for Brittney. Thank You that You are aware of her and with her in this season. Thank You that You use change to change us. Thank You for using change to change Brittney, to make her look more like Jesus. Thank You for revealing to her the idols of others and self. Thank You for being the One who never fails us, never gets fed up with us, never needs time away from us. May the same gospel that saved Brittney continue to sustain her. May she continue to walk in freedom and do things out of adoration instead of obligation. May she continue to crave Your sweetness and long for more of You. Continue to help her to utterly depend on You. Instead of just doggie paddling to try and stay above water, may she sink into Your grace, may she drown in Your love, may she lose control only to rest in You. Help her to continue to abide in You and as she does May You bless the works of her hands. May her ministry, her life be fruitful because she knows you as the Vine. May Brittney rest in Your blessed assurance.

Amen.

What About You Wednesday | Krista

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Today we welcome Krista to the blog! Let’s step into her season…

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Describe the season you currently find yourself in.

“I currently find myself in a place of patient anticipation. Each year as winter comes to a close and spring is approaching, I get a bittersweet sense of excitement and discontentment. As the long, cold winter months come to an end and the spring bursts through with new life, warmth and hope, my heart always anticipates what a joy the next season will bring. And yet in the anticipation for the next season, my heart becomes weary in the waiting. I feel like that is my life right now. It has been a brutally cold and disheartening year, but I can see the springtime coming fast. I anticipate the Lord’s goodness in the time to come and CHOOSE DAILY to see Him working even now.”

(I just want to point out how symbolic Krista’s above picture is. The little white flowers look like the snow of the winter and the pink flowers shout spring.)

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

“The Lord has been so sweet to be patient in my doubting and untrusting heart. He shows me little bits and pieces of His plan and promises at the times that I need it most. He is gently teaching me to depend upon His grace and to trust that good works together for His children who faithfully love Him. A verse that I have been clinging to during this time is found in Lamentations 3:21-24 and it says, “But this I call to mind and therefore have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies are new each morning. Great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion’, says my soul, ‘Therefore I will have hope in Him!

I have also been taught through the loss of loved ones within the last year that our hope and satisfaction can only be found in the fact that eternity will be spent in the perfect presence of Jesus. All things good or bad in this world are fleeting compared to the eternity we are promised as children of God. Therefore all things should be counted as temporary here on earth, held loosely, knowing that the eternity that awaits us is the most high honor and greatest gift we could ever receive. This has kept so much in perspective of the urgency of the Kingdom for me. For the first time in my life, dying and going to be with Jesus is something I look forward to not something that I fear.’”

How have you/are you changing during this season?

“I have become so aware of my need of time alone and away from busyness. It is so funny because all throughout college I was a people-person, constantly surrounded by and interacting with a ton of people. However, now I see the great importance of being alone, internally processing with Jesus and using the ‘pray about it more than you talk about it’ concept. I have found it to be so peaceful and encouraging to grow in my relationship with the Lord in this way. My dependence on Him has been strengthened and my friendships have continued beautifully. I have learned to not fear being alone, but embrace it as an opportunity to draw near to the Father. Although, this is most certainly not always my initial attitude, keeping this in mind has strengthened my ability to rest during this season.”

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

“Whether you are walking through a season post-grad or are just unsure of where the Lord is leading in the time to come, be comforted. The Lord is faithful to complete the work that He began in you and He will surely do it (Philippians 1:6). Walk each day with faith in trusting that everything that the Lord has equipped you with for that day is exactly what you need to serve Him (Hebrews 13:20-21). He is working in the midst of our doubt and anxiety and will reveal His will in His perfect and beautiful timing. Be STEADFAST and HOPE in the faithfulness of our Father. Remembering that in all things, our purpose is not to serve ourselves, but to glorify the Father who saves, loves, redeems and chooses us to be His own.”

A Prayer for Krista

God, You are good. We thank You for working all things for the good of those who love You. Thank You for Krista. Thank You that You are aware of her and with her in this season. Thank You for Your faithfulness to her in the past. May she cling to the truth that You will be faithful again and again. Thank You for how You are using the waiting to increase her longing and hope for You. Thank You for using death to birth truth in her life, an urgency for the gospel, and a peace about Home. Continue to comfort her grieving heart. Thank You for being a God who can handle our doubts and our questions. May Krista continue to bring those and lay them at Your feet. For someone once said, “faith does not eliminate questions, but faith knows where to take them.” Thank You for the many lives Krista has invested in. Thank You for her kind and giving heart. Thank You for this season where she’s been able to pull back and come away and rest with You, receiving after giving so much of herself. May she continue to be strengthened in her alone time with You. As spring approaches, and the buds begin to bloom, may she be thankful for winter, for the time when growth was happening under the surface. As things begin to shoot out from under the ground, may she burst with joy. Although winter was cold and brutal, may she also remember the quiet, the stillness, the calm which winter can bring. And may she continue to hold onto those things even as seasons change. Thanks for loving us, Lord. Amen.

A Little Change

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When I first sought out on this journey, this blog, I had committed to blog everyday for an entire month to get my momentum going. That goal was achieved. Two and a half months later, the number of days I haven’t posted something can be counted on one hand.

My season has changed since I started the blog. Back then I had more time on my hands. Now, I’m grasping for more time. We all have the same amount of time in a day, but we all manage it differently, we all have different demands. 
When the blog started I committed to be disciplined in blogging. A few weeks later I committed to be disciplined in running. And a few weeks later I committed to be disciplined in my new place of employment. But I’ve slowly seen myself becoming less disciplined in other areas of my life. 
That’s the thing with being committed, being disciplined…there’s only so much you can give. And when something else takes up a chunk of your time, something has got to give. The more disciplined you become in one area, the less you become in others. It’s not something you consciously do, it’s something you slip into.
So, it’s time to realign my priorities. As much as I love this blog, posting every day is just not wise any more. I never wanted this to become something I felt like I had to do but something I got to do.
I know my blog isn’t this thing that thousands of people flock to each day. Nobody expects me to blog every day. They probably don’t even have time to read it everyday. But I guess somewhere along the way I put pressure on myself, I put expectations on myself, and the “people” in my head told me I needed to blog everyday, that they needed it.
So, I’m giving myself the freedom to not post every day, not to force this blog but to let it come as it does, naturally, inspired. And I’m hoping that the surprise, the out of the ordinary, the random, sporadic posts will be sweeter because they won’t be expected, they won’t be routine.
As seasons change, they change us. But when the changes make us lose focus one  The One who never changes, we’ve got to change things.

A Thought for Your Thursday

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Would things happen if we didn’t petition for them in prayer? 

Would my friend have gotten the job? Would my husband have had the opportunity to share the gospel? Would that guy have asked her on the date? Would I have made it on time? Maybe. Probably. If they were God’s will, yes. 
But if I hadn’t of prayed, would I have noticed God’s hand so evidently and been so thankful, giving Him the credit? Would I have been so awed and aware of Him? Most likely not. No.
Prayer positions us to see God at work and give Him the glory, praise and credit. Prayer isn’t about changing God. Prayer changes us. Prayer doesn’t change things, changed by prayer, He changes things through us. 

(Photo Cred)

Featured Friday

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Sometimes, out of nowhere, you come across something that speaks exactly into your season. It can challenge, encourage, convict, or comfort you. There’s just something about someone else putting into words what you are going through.

This week, I happened upon these two quotes. Maybe they’ll hit you like they hit me…

what now

(Quoted by Emily Freeman on her blog).

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(Posted on Instagram by my friend, Samy).

What About You Wednesday | Bethany

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Today we welcome Bethany to the blog.

Just a little background to help understand Bethany’s responses a little more…

Bethany worked as an intern for Athletes in Action, a Christian ministry that works with college athletes, in Ohio for two years. She then decided to join staff full-time and she was placed in Boston. She returned home to Texas to raise support (have people join her team financially to allow her to be paid for the ministry she does). After many months of waiting patiently, God recently provided enough funds for her to move to Boston! Here she will be disciplining athletes, evangelizing on college campuses (Harvard, Boston College and Boston University to name a few), leading Bible studies for athletes, and so much more! For more info on Athletes in Action you can go here.

Now, let’s step into Bethany’s season…

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Describe the season of life you currently find yourself in.

“Well, season of life that I’m in would be transition. I just moved to Boston from Texas and it has been interesting for sure. Going from living at my parent’s home in the middle of no where Texas to living five minutes walk from Harvard Square on one of the busiest streets in Cambridge has been a culture shock. I feel like I am in a foreign country, which is not necessarily a negative thing. This season of transition also includes having about four friends in Boston and the rest of them in Texas. Transitioning from being known to unknown. Transitioning from knowing every street to always using my GPS. Another huge transition pertains to ministry. The last two years I worked on a small D3 campus with student athletes in a small city. Now, I am on a metro team in a city that has 54 colleges and universities. Basically I’m experiencing every type of transition.”

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

“God is faithful. He is faithful even when I am not and His faithfulness doesn’t depend on mine. I feel like I had the whole “God is faithful” down but then I started raising support to do ministry. And then I moved across the country to a city I’ve been to once where I knew no one. God is daily reminding me that He’s brought me this far and He will never let me go. If He raised my support, why would He not find me a place to live in Boston? If He raised my support and a place to live why would He not give me friends? If He did all of that He clearly wants to use me in Boston with athletes. Why do I worry?”

How have you/are you changing in this season?

“I hope through any season I am changing to come out looking more like Christ. I honestly do not know what that looks like more specifically right now.”

A prayer for Bethany…

Faithful Father, we thank You for the season You have Bethany in. We thank You that You are aware of her and her needs in this season. We thank You that Boston is not a new place to You, but that You’ve always been there and You are with her there now. We pray in confidence knowing You will supply all of Bethany’s needs (but not always her wants) according to Your glorious grace. As she adjusts to her new surroundings, may she know more than ever Your consistency in her life, how constant You are. As she is lonely, would she see You as Friend. As she learns how to do ministry in a new place, may she look to You as Example. As she seeks to see the lost save, may she look to You as Savior. Thank You for the way You are using this season to help make her look more like Jesus, a friend to sinners who went to great depths to make sure they heard the gospel. Grant her favor as she pioneers ministry on college campuses in Boston. Open the hearts of athletes that need to know and grow in Your grace and truth. “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Strengthen Bethany to do Your work, Oh Lord. In Your Name, Amen.

What About You Wednesday | Austin

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Welcome to the first “What About You” Wednesday segment! Each Wednesday we will have a guest on the blog. Stepping into their season, we will uncover what they are learning and how they are changing.

Today we welcome Austin. Let’s see where he finds himself today…

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Describe the season of life you are currently in.

“I would describe the season of life I’m currently in as a snowstorm in Downtown Chicago. What I mean is that there have been some beautiful times where the snow has fell to create a perfect landscape of closeness to the Lord. However, there have also been many times of slush and ugliness when the snow melts and gets walked on and driven over where things are just not pretty and my sin is ever before me.”

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

“PATIENCE. Not the kind of patience that deals with waiting on the Lord for Him to act, but the kind of patience that just straight up deals with people. God is revealing to me almost daily how selfish I am. And it’s hard, downright impossible, to be patient and selfish. Something’s gotta give. Just the other day was my wife’s birthday, and subconsciously I was putting my own desires before the desires of what my wife wanted to do. And I was getting very frustrated that what I wanted to do wasn’t being done. It was a visual representation to me of what was going on in my heart. On my wife’s birthday, a day that should be spent rejoicing in who my wife is and has become over the years (essentially putting her at the center of the day), I spent the majority of the day wanting ME to be at the center. Frustration ensued. Obviously.”

How have you/are you changing in this season?

“I’m learning that I need to allow people to be themselves. I teach 8th graders for a living. I know, right? And getting upset with them for being kids is just stupid and a waste of time. Just as similarly, getting upset with my wife for having a different opinion than me or doing something different than the way I would do it is stupid and a waste of time.”

What encouragement would you give someone in a similar season?

    • “Life happens. Things get cancelled. People say stupid stuff. Just breathe, relax and constantly remind yourself that if you are a child of God, literally everything that happens to you is for your good intended to shape you into the image of Jesus (Romans 8:28). A lot of times, and I mean A LOT, this doesn’t make sense and doesn’t seem like it’s true, but you just have to choose to believe that it IS true because God said so. Take everything in stride believing that God is using it to make you better.
    • Release your desire to have control. You will never be able to grip oil. The same goes for control in your life.
    • To ask for a giving spirit encompasses giving literally everything. Time. Thoughts. Desires. Money. So be careful what you ask for.”

A Prayer for Austin…

Father, We thank You for Austin. We thank You for the season You have him in. We thank You for not only being aware of his season, but being with him in it. Thank you for what you are revealing to him and how you are changing him to be more like You: patient with Your children, a selfless servant. May You continue to give him Your eyes and compassion for others. As he feels the weight of his sin, may he feel the power of the cross even heavier on his soul. Raboni, as You teach Austin, grant him favor and wisdom as he teaches the flock You have entrusted to him. Increase his desire for You, Jesus.  Thank You for hearing us when we pray to You. Thank You for answering. Amen.