Friday, December 30, 2016

Lesson Learned in 2016

As the year ends, I always reflect on what I learned. This year, I had one big lesson that seemed to repeat itself. Simply put: My plans are not always what is best. I am going to get out of my comfort zone and be completely transparent.
There are 3 major life experiences that taught me that God's plans are better than mine.
1. One of my co workers got a new position. She is a dear friend and was one of my greatest supports, confidants, and a great team player. I was devastated that we would not work together. Selfishly, I wanted her to stay. What I didn't know then, that I know now is that God was in the process of growing us both in our job and leading us to develop new relationships and friendships as well as grow us professionally. God placed two amazing co-workers in my life due to the change that I would have never met. Both of us have grown professionally, personally, and made new friendships which has made my life richer and better.
2. I have had a dream that involves working with youth in some type of ministry. Every door has seemed to close that I have tried to go through this year. This has made me want to give up at times, but what God has revealed to me is that his plan is even on a larger scale. He reminded me that I already serve kids through teaching. He has opened my heart up to an even bigger dream of ministering to those in the education field. I have a dream of putting together a support group/Bible Study/or Lifegroup that is geared toward supporting people in the educational field and providing opportunities to grow together. Stay turned....
3. Very few people know this last experience. I am very private about matters closest to the heart, but my heart was crushed this year. Simply put: I fell in love with someone. He is an amazing man. Hard worker. Dedicated. Unconditionally loved me. He has been my best friend for several years. I really thought in my heart we would get married. We even talked about it more than once. We did not and will never get married. It was not in God's plan. Today, I have a deeper understanding. He got a job in another state miles away from here. I would not have met the people I have met this year if we would have married. He would not have met the people he has met if he would have stayed in Arkansas. I treasure the time we had together. God taught me a lot through our relationship, but my heart and soul are in the community that I teach and go to church. I know we are both where God wants us. We both were obedient to what we felt in our hearts God wanted us to do.
I am at total peace about how this year turned out. Everything happens for a reason. God always has our best interest at heart. Thankful he knows what's best. I love him for it!
For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Future Wife's Prayer

Dear God,

I have a longing in my heart for a family.  I trust in your plan for my life.  The desire to have a husband and family is so strong that I believe it is your will for me to add on the role of wife and mother.  I know I have not met the man I will marry, but the desire is burning in my heart. God, that scares me.  Do I have what it takes to be the Godly wife and mother you are asking me to be?  I don't want to get caught up in the fairy tale.  God, you are my first love and always will be.  Lord, if it is your will then please help prepare me.   I ask that you help me become the woman my future husband needs in a wife.  

Help me: Love him unconditionally , Be encouraging to him , Honor Him, Respect Him, Submit to him, Support him, Serve him, Be my husband's confidant , Pray for Him, Be genuine and real with him, Love His children, Serve him and our children as selflessly as I can. When I mess up, help me be humble enough to say I'm sorry. Above all, help me to depend on you to help guide and direct me every day in being the wife and mother you want me to be, and please help me never to take for granted the most precious gift you provided, my husband and best friend.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

To the Man of God Who Will Be My Husband Someday......

To the Man of God Who Will Be My Husband Someday-

I have had a longing for you in my heart since I was a young teenager.  I have always dreamed of you and our future family.  At first, my idea of our life together was filtered through my worldly eyes.  I wanted you to save me from myself  by loving me unconditionally, treating me like a princess, protecting me, providing for me and our future family, spending time with me, traveling with me, and spending the rest of your life with me.

I know, a lot of ME's!  Remember, I was young and gained my idea of you through TV, movies, country songs, and those awful romance books where the knight and shining armor comes and saves the girl and they live happily ever after.   

To be honest with you, I searched like this for ten years.  I got my heart broken (even crushed) during my search for you.  When I opened my heart wide to be loved, I was taken advantage of in many ways, lied to, and told that I was not the one and/ or not good enough. I made a lot of mistakes in my search for you.  I looked for you in all the wrong places.  Eventually,  I began to believe that I really wasn't good enough to be your wife because of my mistakes, so I put a wall around my heart and decided that since it was not God's will for me to marry you, then I would not share my heart with anyone.

As you will learn some day, God gave me a heart for others.  I love to help others, encourage them, and serve them with all my heart.  So, the wall around my heart had to come down as well as the whole foundation I built of our future life together.  It was not fun to tear everything down, but it was necessary in order for me to allow God in my life so HE could heal me, save me, define me, and fulfill not only His purpose for me to be your wife, but to show me my purpose in the world as His daughter.  Before I met you, I had to find my ONE true love - JESUS!

I love Jesus with all of my heart.  I serve him every day as a daughter, friend, teacher, mentor, and woman.  I pray each and every day that His light shine through me and that others will feel His love through me.  I long for the lost, broken, abused, neglected, and the unloved to find Christ and be transformed.  God has used me beyond what I could have ever imagined, but it is now time for me to meet you, my helper and best friend.  I believe everything is better in teams.  I long for us to serve God together in whatever he has planned for us and our family.  I have been praying for you. My prayers have included the following:

I pray that when you have had a bad day or have an important task, God will put you on my heart to   intercede for you now, even before we meet.
I pray that you know God and know who you are in Christ.
I pray that you know how wide and deep his love is for you.
I pray that you serve God in your job, relationships, and your life.
I pray that you not get discouraged in the world by the ways in which people live.
I pray that you be the man you were meant to be.
I pray that you seek God for wisdom and direction in your life.
I pray God would bring the right people in your life to help you move towards God's plan for your     life.
I pray that God protect you from anything that would keep you from God's will for your life.
I pray that God gives you patience - you are not only going to need it in your job and ministry, but     you will need it on my stubborn days.I am a woman of God, but I am not perfect.
I pray that you learn to let God define you not by your money, your job, your position, or your           successes or failures, but by the man he created you to be.
I pray that you are learning what a great leader you are.
I pray that you already pray for our children, their future, and their own salvation.
I pray that you will not be afraid of failure - because God teaches us more during those moments.  I   want you to know that I love you despite your failures and mistakes.  I love you for the Godly man     you are and the father you will be to our children someday.

Until we meet and are married, I promise I will wait for you for as long as it takes.  I will pray for you every day until then.  I promise to seek after God and live a life that is pleasing to him and I will seek forgiveness  when needed as soon as possible so nothing will delay in us meeting. I promise to depend on God during my lonely nights and not search for love anywhere except in the arms of Jesus.  I promise that I will love your family and your children if you have them.  I am already praying for them too. I promise to be patient until he has prepared me completely to be the wife you have prayed for and need.  

I am not perfect and never will be, but I promise to be open to learning from you, making things right, forgiving, loving, encouraging, supporting, honoring,  and respecting, and laughing a lot with you through the life lessons God will teach us together as husband and wife. I already love you with all my heart and our children because God has placed you all there.  May God's love and grace sustain us all the days of our life.

I can't wait to meet you!  Until then, know that I love Jesus and you now and forever!


"But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.' 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." Mark 10:6-9 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Go and Do

I wanted to share with everybody a new journey God has taken me on.  In January, my Creative Living Sunday School class encouraged us to read a book: One Word that Will Change Your Life by Dan Britton, Jimmy Page, and Jon Gordon.  The idea is to allow God to reveal one word that you focus on throughout the year.  The one word that came to my mind in January was GO!

As I prayed, I sensed that through the holy spirit, I needed to listen to my inner voice, tell me when to:
Go the distance,
Go help someone,
Go home,
Go rest,
Go share my journey,
Go have fun,
Go on a trip.
Basically, Let Go and let God direct my purpose for the day.

Then, in April, God put a scripture on my heart.

Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:19.

I felt a personal call by this scripture, but knew that I could not travel the world due to my physical limitations. God has given me opportunities to show his love and serve, and I have felt that teaching was my ministry, but I sensed there was more for me to do.

It was about this time I ran into a former co-worker and friend. For the next several months, this friend invited me to church.  I explained several times that I was involved in a really healthy church and I was NOT interested in leaving. Then, during the summer, I said yes to an invite.  I visited New Life Church in Cabot.  During the service, I sensed God telling me to GO and serve the community of Cabot. After processing the statement and shedding thousands of tears at the thought of even leaving my current church family, I began to seek God for confirmation to what I sensed he spoke to me in that service.

A few days later, I ran across an email that I sent my pastor on 7/23/12. Here is part of the email:

I feel God calling me to make a kingdom impact with youth in the city of Cabot!   I have talked to Pastor _____ and he mentioned that there is a new church in Cabot that has started up.  I feel God calling me to connect with this church in some way.  

I felt God telling me that I needed to be His light to the youth of Cabot and help build a bridge.  I wasn't sure this made any sense, but I knew I didn't want to ignore God's voice if He was leading me somewhere.

As I read the email, I began to cry.  The hard truth is: I ignored God's voice.  I was disobedient.

Two years later, I heard God's voice again. This time, I decided to take action.  I shared with my best friend, who is an amazing Christian mentor in my life.  For the next month, we prayed together, read Scripture, and listened to God's voice.  I then began to share with other key people in my life (close friends and family).  I made the decision to visit NLC Cabot and another church to see what happened.

One Sunday, I got turned around and ended up driving around the city of Cabot.  As I was driving, the song God of this City by Chris Tomlin came on.  As I drove, tears began to fall as I sang. It was in that moment I knew Cabot had my heart and soul.  I would be obedient to God's call and move to NLC Cabot and serve the community of Cabot.  I have had struggles and doubts along the transition, but I do not doubt my heart towards God and the community of Cabot.  Everyone I have met within the community touches my heart.  I would say that I have a love for not only the youth, but all people in the community. 

I love First NLR with all of my heart.  I am not leaving the same person I was when I came through the doors.  I had a personal encounter with God, went through healing, and grew so much during the years I have been there.  I made a lifelong commitment to Jesus and made lifelong friendships. I consider First NLR my home.  God is sending me out into the place where I have the greatest connections and the biggest heart for.  It has been an amazing journey and I am forever grateful for the Pastors and relationships I made along the way.  Serving in the youth was the highlight of my week. I love the heart and soul of First NLR and I will never forget the incredible journey.

I have joined a life group in Cabot, and the group has been a blessing during the transition.  They have prayed for me and supported me as I shared with my pastor and leaders that I was moving to Cabot and following God's call to serve the Cabot Community. I have learned that what I am really doing is expanding my church family. My life group has been a gift from God to help me connect.  I think within 2 weeks, I felt like they were family.   I am in the process of joining the youth ministry team at NLC and will be serving the youth in Cabot soon. I love the hearts of the pastor and leadership of NLC and I am honored to join their team and mission of serving Cabot and introducing people to Jesus. I am out of my comfort zone and I am so not qualified, but God is with me more today than he ever has been.  God's word says," Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you." Deuteronomy 31:8 

With that promise, Lord, I will Go where you want me to Go and I will do what you want me to do.  I am excited about what God has in store for Cabot. I am honored and humbled that he would allow me to come along to see it.  I love my WHOLE church family and pray God uses us all in his Great Commission.  

Monday, June 23, 2014

For Real?? (Part 3) -The Good, Bad, and the REAL Ugly

During a conversation with a close friend, we started having a discussion on what people post on social network sites. During a stressful period in my life, I made a comment that everyone on Facebook always looks so happy. It looks like they are having fun and enjoying life.  My friend quickly responded that it was a bad idea to compare my current situation to others on Facebook.  She stated that most people don't post the real part of life, just the happy moments.

I have thought about our conversation a lot.  I agree with my dear friend. It made me wonder how many people are truly real about life. Do most people walk around with masks? Do people pretend to be someone or something their not just to impress those around them?  Sadly, I think the answers to these questions for a lot of people would be yes. In fact, I did for many years.

In my last post (For Real?? (Part 2) -The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly) I gave my thoughts on what holds people back from being real. My idea of being real is to be able to feel comfortable with the good, bad, and ugly parts of our lives. Most people are comfortable sharing the good moments in life, but for some reason, a lot of times, people  want to hide the bad and ugly real pictures of life. I think what holds people back from being real with others is that  they fear that they fit into the real different category and that they will be judged. People ask themselves, what will others think if they knew I struggled with ____________ and that I wasn't perfect and have everything together?

As I stated earlier, I was one of those people who hide the bad and ugly from others. I shared with you in my previous post that others have been frustrated in the way that I retreat when I am struggling in order to process my emotions.  I perceived their frustration as judgment. Others told me that retreating was like putting up a wall. That was not my intention at all, but after hearing it, putting up walls was exactly what I did. I thought: if others get frustrated and don't like it when I retreat, then they really won't like me if I was real about the ugliest parts of my life - my failures, my weaknesses, and my deepest hurts.

The real truth is - a person's failures, weaknesses, and hurts are what makes a person who they are and, over time, develop strength and character.

God himself tells us in his word, "we can rejoice, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance (and perseverance)". Romans 5:3

What is the real ugly truth about me?

I remember the first time I was real and shared my hurts and failures. In order to move forward, I decided it was worth the risk of being judged. I told a trusted friend of my past of being hurt and taken advantage of by others in my life. You know what happened?

My friend wrapped her arms around me, cried with me, prayed with me, and encouraged me through a journey towards healing. My friend responded in love.  During the process of healing, I learned to accept the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I learned who I was as a person and developed  a real healthy self-image. 

How can others who struggle with being real learn to have a healthy real self-image? In my next post, I will share things I learned in my journey.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

For Real?? (Part 2) -The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

After reflecting on a life lesson that I always teach my students about being real, and having a conversation about people portraying the "right" self image on Facebook (See For Real?? (Part 1), I decided to reflect on the following three questions:

1.Do many people portray a real self image in life?

2.What holds people back from being real?

3.How can others who struggle with being real learn to have a healthy real self-image?

First to answer these questions let me give you my interpretation of being real. For me, to be real means that you are genuine, authentic, and true to self.  Some might describe being real as being able to show the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

For the most part, I think people have no problem sharing the "good" part of being real.  Everyone enjoys sharing their accomplishments, joys, and precious moments with others.  There is very little risk involved in sharing the "good" things in our life.  I love to share the good things that happen in my friends lives and celebrate special moments. I am honored that people invite me to share in their moments, but I am even more honored when my friends invite me to share in the bad and ugly parts of their "real lives". Yes, that's right, I am honored and even like it when people share their bad and ugly sides.

Now, don't judge me by assuming that I take pleasure in hearing about people's struggles or that I think I am better in any way.  That is not the case at all. I have just learned through my experiences that there is a deep and special connection that I make with the people that I am real with and who are real with me.  The key to the kind of connection I am talking about is the response that follows after being real.

Let me explain it this way.  When I am struggling or having a bad day, I usually retreat.  I have to process things before I share.  The problem is that my face usually shows that something is wrong, but I am not ready to talk about it. Some people may not like this "real" part of  me.  In fact, some people have even judged me for putting a wall up. I have tried to explain to people that it's just me trying to process, but I still feel like it is "bad" I that retreat or  "put a wall up".  People who respond in frustration to my way of dealing with  things causes me to feel uncomfortable.  I understand that people mean well and they are just trying to help me in the way that would help them, but it is important to realize that real people respond in real different ways sometimes and - that is ok.

I think what holds people back from being real with others is that  they fear that they fit into the real different category and that they will be judged, or, like me, they have experienced others putting me into such a category.

I am learning that my response makes a difference in how "real" people become with me.  The more I learn to accept the real differences in my friends lives, the more rich our relationship becomes, and the stronger our bond gets.

Hang with me. I will share the real ugly side of me next time. :)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

For Real?? (Part 1)

As many of you know, I am a teacher.  I teach high school and I have several seniors each year.  The last few weeks with seniors is exciting.  They are usually happy, excited, energized, and well for lack of a better word -done!  It is hard to keep them focused.  They don't know it when I do this, but I keep them engaged by teaching Life Lessons.  I have tried to do as many life lessons as the year they graduate (ex: I did 14 life lessons for the class of 2014), but that is getting hard, so I might need to rethink that in the years to come. :)

Anyway, one of the life lessons I always teach is Be Real.  We talk about the importance of not being someone or something your not just to impress others.  We talk about not hiding behind masks - with the understanding that we all have to fake it sometimes, but to try not to give a false image. It leads into a lot of great discussions about knowing who you are as a person and developing a healthy self-image.

Then today, I was talking to a close friend of mine about the images that people portray on social network sites.  We were discussing how "real" their status appears.  For the most part, (or at least for the purpose of this blog post :)) people post happy vacation pictures, funny kid stories, positive things at work,  funny jokes they find, and food they cook.  You don't usually log onto Facebook and see a video of the argument someone has had before she got to work or a picture of the burnt meatloaf that your neighbor had to throw away. 

This whole conversation lead me to think about how many people are really - real?   How many people portray a real self image in life?

Before I move on, let me be clear on a few things:

1. I am not saying that you should post all your "stuff" on Facebook.  The point that my friend was making to me was that we should never compare our lives to others lives based on what is seen on Facebook. There is more to life that happens than what others put on social network.

2.  I am also aware that there are always going to be the  Eeyores. People who always seem to post negatives. Although it relates to self-image, it is not the purpose of this post.  (It may be the topic of another post in the future. :) )

3. Finally, I don't want you to think that Facebook posts are really even the point I am trying to make.  It is just the conversation that lead me to the questions:

*Do many people portray a real self image in life?

**What holds people back from being real?

***How can others who struggle with being real, learn to have a healthy real self-image?

In the next few posts, I will share with you how I learned the answers to these questions.